Game of Thrones, Season 5, Ep 1 “The Wars to Come”

Intro: I’m watching Game of Thrones for the first time. I don’t know anything about it more recent than this episode.

And here we are into Season 5!

King’s Landing: We start with an unfamiliar scene, with two girls I don’t recognise walking through a forest. They come across a hut and go inside, the blonde one urging the reluctant brunette girl on. Inside is a woman – and at first I think it’s Osha, who we haven’t seen for a long time after she took Rickon and parted ways with Bran Stark. So I’m a little confused for a minute, because it turns out this isn’t Osha at all, it’s some witch. Blonde girl accuses her of being able to foretell the future, and asks what it holds for her – specifically will she marry “the prince”? Not-Osha says no, but she will marry a king.

At this point I have an inkling who this blonde girl is. Blonde-girl asks about children, and the not-Osha witch says the king will have 20 children, but she will only have three. Yep, that clinches it. It’s young Cersei. Blonde-girl says that children thing makes no sense. Not-Osha tells blonde-girl she will be queen, but a more beautiful queen will rise to take her place…

And Cersei snaps out of a flashback dream. She’s riding in a litter to the Sept, where her father Tywin lies in state (after Tyrion shot him last episode). Someone tells her that the visiting dignitaries are waiting to pay their respects, but Cersei snaps that they can keep waiting and goes in alone, to find Jaime inside. They argue, she accusing him of letting Tyrion go.

Later Cersei runs into a Lannister cousin, who seems to have taken some sort of monkish vows. He tries to preach his new faith to her, but she is grumpy and dismissive. He asks for forgiveness for “their adulterous affair” (Cersei and this guy? Really??) and for giving Robert Baratheon wine before his fatal encounter with a wild boar on his last hunting trip. Cersei seems disinclined to chat further and storms off.

Loras is enjoying the company of another young male in his bedroom, when his sister Margaery walks in. She dismisses the paramour, telling him that the King is expecting to see Loras and he doesn’t want to keep the King waiting. Margaery admonishes Loras for being so indiscreet. he says it doesn’t matter because (a) everyone in King’s Landing knows everyone else’s secrets anyway, and (b) he doesn’t need to worry about Cersei because now that Tywin’s dead she’ll cancel their engagement, so he has nothing to worry about. He reckons this is bad news for Margaery though, since now he won’t be taking Cersei away to Highgarden, so Cersei can stay in King’s Landing and mess up Margaery’s plans to manipulate King Tommen. Margaery ominously says she’s got a plan to handle that…

So. The witch’s prophecy about Cersei has come true so far… all except being deposed by another queen. Who could that be… Margaery or Daenerys? Well, I guess we’ll see. This new Lannister cousin is a bit odd. I presume he’ll have something to do with the story coming up, otherwise why introduce him here? Maybe he’ll convince Cersei to adopt his religion and become a nun? Ha ha! Good one. And finally Margaery. What Loras tells her is true, but what devious plan does Margaery have to deal with Cersei? This all looks good for palace intrigue in the near future.

Pentos: We are treated to a Tyrion’s-eye view of the inside of his crate as he is hauled off the ship in an exotic foreign port. Pentos! Across the Narrow Sea, and safe from King’s Landing. Varys opens the crate and Tyrion stumbles out, stretching his legs, and going straight for the wine. Tyrion asks Varys what his game is. Varys says he’s doing this for the sake of the Seven Kingdoms. He doesn’t see a good leader in Tommen or Cersei or Stannis. No, he’s backing another horse… Daenerys Targaryen. And he reckons Tyrion has something to offer Daenerys, and offers to send Tyrion to her.

Well! That’s an interesting development. Firstly, Varys has left King’s Landing to be here. I wonder if anyone’s missed him yet. Presumably he could return and nobody would bat an eyelid, since nobody but Jaime knows he helped take Tyrion away. Secondly, Daenerys… she’s long felt like a side story with no intersection with anything else going on in Westeros. She’s been stagnating over there in Meereen. I assumed that after conquering Astapor and Yunkai and Meereen, she’d form a huge army and sail on Westeros and a huge war would ensue. But she seems content to settle down and rule here, and what’s more, she seems to be getting bored and doing a moderate job of it at best, with piles of little problems cropping up all the time. But this… Tyrion travelling to meet her… this could trigger something. Hopefully it’ll prod Daenerys into some sort of action. I have no idea what Tyrion will do with Daenerys though. Enemy? Ally? Either way it’s intriguing.

Meereen: Meanwhile, over there in Meereen, Daenerys’s soldiers pull down the huge harpy statue thing from the top of the pyramid that we see in the opening credits sequence every episode. I wonder if the opening sequence next time will show the statue gone from Meereen? Actually, speaking of the opening credits, this episode seemed to show Winterfell being rebuilt, rather than burnt down as it had been for the past season or so. That’s an interesting hint at events we haven’t seen yet.

An Unsullied soldier enters a brothel and pays for one of the women to simply hold him. It looks like he craves a hug. But then a bunch of people race in and kill him, slitting his throat. Daenerys is mad… it’s some sort of guerilla rebels against her rule. She orders them tracked down like dogs. She’s also curious as to why an Unsullied (who are all eunuchs) would go to a brothel, and wants to find out why. She might not like the answer – that they’re lonely and unhappy.

In an audience, Daario says his mission to Yunkai was successful, with the old masters agreeing to a ruling council made up of former masters and former slaves. A representative wants the fighting pits to be reopened, for the amusement of the people. Daenerys is horrified and refuses. Later, after sharing her bed, Daario counsels that the pits would be a tangible measure of return to normalcy under her rule. He says he rose up through the fighting pits, and he turned out fine, Maybe open them to people who want to be gladiator heroes like him, rather than force slaves to fight. Daario also boldly says that Daenerys is in danger of appearing to be a weak queen, and she should use her greatest strength – her dragons, to impress her power on the people.

Daenerys goes to the two dragons she chained up at the end of the last episode, but understandably they aren’t all that happy to see her. They lunge at her, and she races away. Hmmm. So what’s happened to the Mother of Dragons? They don’t seem to respect her any more. This may be Daenerys’s low point. Which primes her for possibly accepting advice from Tyrion when he arrives. Maybe it’s all uphill again from here.

The Eyrie: Petyr Baelish is trying to get Lysa’s bratty son Robin to grow up and be a man, but the weedy kid is no good at fighting practice, being all left feet and gawky arms as he tries to prevent a sparring partner from whacking him with a wooden sword. Petyr asks another lord to train him, as he and Sansa are going away for a bit. The lord says he’ll try, but makes no guarantees. Sansa has dyed her hair black, and looks very different. I don’t know what she is playing at here. I suppose just trying to be meek and go with whatever Petyr says, as she knows she’s surrounded by hostile forces and just wants to keep a low profile and stay alive. Maybe she’s given up all hope.

In the countryside, Brienne and Podrick argue about his role. She’s frustrated by the fact that they lost Arya, and tells Podrick to leave her, she doesn’t want his help. He is dogged in his matter-of-fact insistence that he’s staying. The camera pulls back to a passing carriage, and inside we see Petyr and Sansa! Brienne was looking for her, and now she’s just missed her as well! Oh dear. Well, Brienne really has no hope of finding either Arya or Sansa in the near future. And who knows where Petyr is taking Sansa. This episode sure is setting up a lot of future plot.

The Wall: Sam and Gilly chat about what’s happening around them. Gilly is afraid of being thrown out, Sam says he’ll go with her if that happens, but she says they’ll execute him. Stannis talks to Jon, asking him to convince the captive Mance Rayder to kneel before him and join his army. If Mance joins, Stannis will promise him freedom and land to live on after they retake the North lands.

Jon talks to Mance, but Mance won’t agree. Mance asks how he’s to be executed: Beheading? Hanging? Jon tells him burnt alive. Mance visibly inhales sharply, before saying, “Bad way to go.” It looks almost like he’s going to change his mind, but he doesn’t. He’s duly led to a pyre at nightfall, and the logs are lit. The other captive wildlings are forced to watch. Bad move, as you can see the leader of Ygritte’s band getting angry. Mance bravely tries not to scream, but hes going to break any second… and then an arrow hits him in the chest and he slumps dead before the fire can do the work. Up on a battlement, Jon stands with a bow. He put Mance out of his misery. I don’t expect Alliser will be too happy about that, but we don’t get to see his reaction because the credits roll.

Hmm. I presume Stannis will now try to talk to the wildling bands piecemeal, without Mance as a leader, and try to convince them to join him. Good luck. I don’t know what Stannis’s real options are here. Maybe Melisandre has something up her sleeve. Oh yeah, and Stannis’s wife and daughter were there watching the execution too. I presume at some point they need to make a contribution to the story somehow. The daughter in particular has been set up with an intriguing story behind her facial disfigurement. A lot of open questions this episode and not many answers.

2 Responses to “Game of Thrones, Season 5, Ep 1 “The Wars to Come””

  1. Glen says:

    The Lannister cousin (Lancel) looks quite different by season 5 so you might not associate him with his earlier appearances.

    He appears a number of times in seasons 1 and 2 (starting just after they get back to Kings Landing; he initially appears as a timid, long-haired blond fop acting as cupbearer to Robert and the butt of Robert’s verbal abuse), and also later in a scene where Robert’s too fat to get into his armour for the tournament; Robert abuses him some more and then sends Lancel to get “the breastplate stretcher”.

    Lancel and Cersei are definitely lovers (though it’s perhaps nearer to abuse on Cersei’s part), and Tyrion later figures this out and uses it as leverage to get Lancel to spy for him. You describe this event here: http://www.dangermouse.net/blog/2017/09/game-of-thrones-season-2-ep-4-garden-of-bones/#more-716

    Near the end of season 2 he took part in the Battle of Blackwater, where he was wounded (and a bit later Cersei punches him on the wound because she didn’t like the news he brought her).

    Lancel suffers a lot of abuse in the early seasons…

  2. Javier says:

    welcome to the worst season of GOT (just my own personal perspective)

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