Game of Thrones Season 5 Episode 1 “The Wars to Come”: My Unsolicited Review

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After far too long, it’s back, people! Game of Thrones is back! Let’s just jump right into it.

Fresh off the murder of her father, we find Cersei grief-stricken and in a mood even fouler than usual. The episode starts off with a flashback of her – the very first in the show’s history – as a child, visiting a supposed witch who lived in the woods on Lannister lands. At Cersei’s instructions (she was a demanding bitch even as a child), this witch took a sip of Cersei’s blood in order to tell her her future. According to this witch, although Cersei would never be a princess, she would be Queen… at least, for a time, until someone younger and prettier came along to take her crown away. Cersei was also told that, although her husband would father twenty children, Cersei herself would only have three. None of this made any sense to her as a child but, now, Cersei is seeing all too clearly the truth in these prophecies. In present day, she leaves all the mourners of her father outside, while she goes in to see him alone, finding Jaime standing guard over the body. She wastes no time in bringing it to his attention that it was Tyrion who was responsible for the murder, accusing Jaime of unwittingly aiding in Tywin’s death.

Cersei is in full on bitch mode, and no one is seeing this more than Margery Tyrell, who, after walking in on her brother, Loras, and Olyvar, the male prostitute hired by Cersei, voices her dissatisfaction at the fact that she will be forever linked to Cersei as family and hints that it may not always be that way. Since her introduction in the show, Margery Tyrell has been far more opinionated and cunning than she was portrayed in the books, until this actual book/season. At first, I wasn’t very pleased about it, but now I’m all for it, and I absolutely love the way that Natalie Dormer brings this out in the character.

Everyone’s favourite murdering imp, Tyrion, is now on the run with Varys, who brings him to the palace of Illyrio – the man who helped broker the marriage between Dany and Drogo, and gave the dragon eggs to Dany as a wedding gift – to hide out. There, Varys introduces Tyrion to the idea of meeting Dany and helping her win the Iron Throne. Tyrion accepts, provided that he can “drink himself to death” on the way.

As for Dany, we find her still trying her hand at ruling in Mereen, where her opposition is still fierce – so much so, that the rogue vigilantes, Sons of the Harpy, have taken to murdering an Unsullied in broad daylight – albeit it was in a brothel. There are many odd and sordid acts that go down in a brothel, but what that those Unsullied do there (considering that they’re eunuchs) is beyond odd. While Dany orders that the perpetrators be punished severely, she tries a more diplomatic approach to her other enemies in Yunkai, having a diplomatic envoy negotiate between the two. Well, it isn’t so much negotiating, since Dany has no interest in granting their requests, the primary of which is the reinstating of fighting pits. She remains vehemently opposed to the idea until Daario informs her of how beneficial the fighting pits had been to him when he was younger. His story was a good one but, let’s face it, wouldn’t you have agreed with him too if he’d been bringing wine to you in your bed while stark naked? Either way, he talks her into the idea a bit and then steers the conversation to the fact that she no longer uses her dragons. Although Dany argues that she can no longer control them, and that she fears having the bones of another child brought to her, Daario points out that “a Dragon Queen without dragons is not a queen.” As such, Dany goes down to the tombs where she  had the dragons locked up… and BOY, did she have a surprise waiting for her! Ever heard the expression “let sleeping dogs lie”? Well, that should probably be changed to “let chained up dragons wallow in their betrayal”. I’m telling you, Viserion and Rhaegal did not take kindly to being locked and left in the dark. And whether it was because they were truly hurt, or because they were forgetting who Dany was, their rage was a sight!

And we round out the recap with Jon Snow, who is instructed by Stannis to convince Mance to bend the knee to him, as Stannis recruits the wildlings to fight and take the north in his name. Jon knows that Mance would never agree, but he tries anyway, using all arguments in his arsenal. Naturally, Mance shoots the idea down, admitting that although he is terrified of dying – by being burned alive no less – he’d worked too hard and too long on being his own free person to now betray his principles. As a result, Stannis sentences him to death at the pyre, where the Red Woman sets him afire. Before Mance suffers too much, though, Jon puts an arrow through his heart in a move so badass in its simplicity, everyone just stares.

It was a really good start to the season. There wasn’t too much happening all at once to overwhelm us, and it was a great continuation from last season, while establishing the new plot lines for our characters. Hours before the premiere, news broke that the first five episodes of the season had leaked. I won’t even lie… I was very tempted to give in and seek them out, but I decided not to. As much as I love the show and want to see as much as I can, half the fun is in the pacing of the schedule. For the next several weeks, I’m going to be glued to my TV on Sunday night, just as God and HBO intended!

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