Game of Thrones, Season 5, Ep 4 “Sons of the Harpy”

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

The Wall: As the new Lord Commander of the Watch, Jon gets to sign a bunch of requests to surrounding lords for more men to man the Wall. Sam hands them to him one by one and Jon works his way through them, until he gets to one requesting men from Roose Bolton. He objects, saying Bolton killed his brother Robb. But Sam points out that they need more men to defend the Wall, and Roose is now Warden of he North, and Jon’s oath is to defend the Wall, not seek vengeance. Having no counter-argument, Jon reluctantly signs.

Later, Melisandre seeks out Jon and tries to seduce him, but Jon manfully resists. He says he still loves Ygritte, even when Melisandre tells him that dead people can’t return love. She leaves, defeated, but gives Jon an ominous sounding parting message. I bet she has more tricks up her sleeve. Melisandre really is a mystery. I don’t know what her game is. She talks to Stannis later and warns him not to make the same mistake of leaving her behind like he did at the Battle of Blackwater, and he says no, he won’t.

Stannis is making plans to march on Winterfell. His daughter Shireen approaches and asks him if he’s ashamed of her, with her facial disfigurement. He tells her the story of how a passing merchant from some land (I think he said it was Dorne, but not sure if I remember correctly) suckered him into buying a wooden doll for her when she was younger. She held it close to her cheek, but it had been infected and gave her the greyscale disease. Stannis’s advisers told him to send her away before the infection spread to others, but instead he sought all the Maesters he could until he found one who could halt the disease. He is proud of her, as a Princess of Westeros. Shireen looks pleased.

So, this greyscale disease seems like a plague of some sort. I’m guessing it’s been introduced as a thing because maybe it will play a part in the story later. Although it’s hard to tell, because this series introduces so many different things. Maybe it’s just another bit of detailed worldbuilding. But presumably Shireen will end up playing some important role later on.

Winterfell: Sansa is wandering in the crypt below Winterfell, which has survived the destruction of the town. This is the area where Bran used to hide many seasons ago, before being driven from his home. Sansa lights candles to her ancestors. Petyr Baelish arrives and tells Sansa a story about her aunt and her interactions with one of the early Targaryen kings.

Petyr tells Sansa he is returning to King’s Landing. When Sansa expresses her incredulity, Petyr says that Cersei has summoned him, and the best way to avoid her getting suspicious is to answer the summons and not give her any reason to look deeper. Sansa complains that he can’t leave her here, to marry Ramsay Bolton. Petyr says that Stannis is preparing to march on Winterfell, and he has a bigger army and better tactical sense, so will no doubt retake it. And that as the last Stark, Stannis will no doubt name Sansa as Wardeness of the North, replacing Roose Bolton. Sansa is sceptical and asks what if he’s wrong and the Boltons win? Petyr says he thinks Sansa can handle Ramsay Bolton in that case.

Are we finally seeing some gumption from Sansa? It seems likely that Stannis should prevail, as he also has Melisandre up his sleeve. which Petyr either doesn’t know about or cunningly failed to mention. And Sansa will then be in a position of power. Will she become an effective leader, or will her basic naïveté see her easily outmanoeuvred on the political playing field? I’m hoping for the former, but fear the latter. Odds on the Boltons beating back Stannis? Low to zero.

King’s Landing: At a Small Council meeting, Margaery’s dad Mace Tyrell is the new Master of Coin. He says that the Iron Bank of Braavos has called in 10% of the debt owed by the Lannisters, but that they only have enough on hand to pay about half of that. Cersei sends Mace in an expedition to Braavos to negotiate with the Bank, under the protection of one of the King’s Guard. He expresses what an honour it is to be sent on this mission, but it’s clear that Cersei is doing this to get Margaery’s father out of King’s Landing. It’s not entirely clear if Mace realises Cersei’s motive, or genuinely doesn’t. Once Mace departs, Maester Pycelle comments that the Small Council is getting smaller. Cersei says menacingly, “Not small enough.”

Cersei meets with the High Sparrow, and authorises him to lead a revival of an old religious military order, the Faith Militant, effectively giving the High Sparrow an army to enforce religious law. Soon after, the new religious army raids one of Petyr Baelish’s brothels, killing several “sinners”. Cersei could have known that they would do this – it seems to be a hostile move against Petyr. It will be interesting to see their meeting once he returns.

The Faith Militant also capture Loras Tyrell, holding him for the crime of homosexuality. Margaery is outraged and tells Tommen that he has to release her brother. Tommen, still smitten with Margaery, goes to Cersei and asks her to release Loras. She tells him that she isn’t holding him – he will have to go talk to the High Sparrow. So Tommen takes a guard escort and goes to the High Sept, where he is stopped by armed members of the Faith Militant on the steps, who tell him he can’t see the High Sparrow, because he is praying. Tommen’s guards ask if they should make short work of the religious warriors, and weapons are drawn, but Tommen orders them to back off, saying he will seek another way. While he dithers on the steps, a few voices from the gawking peasantry call him a bastard, obviously suspecting the rumours of his parentage. Tommen goes back to Margaery, who is disgusted at his weakness.

Poor Tommen, caught between Cersei and Margaery. Those two will rip him apart at the seams. I don’t know what game Cersei is playing here. Or wait… maybe I do. She’s trying to get rid of Margaery, by doing anything that will annoy her. Giving the priesthood powers to arrest Loras makes some sort of sense under this plan, but it does seem a bit of overkill. Still, I suppose that’s Cersei’s way. I was wondering why she suddenly thinks religion is a good thing, but now it becomes clear. It’s just a tool to get at Margaery. I wouldn’t put it past Cersei to have the High Sparrow executed once he’s served his purpose.

Dorne: Jaime and Bronn arrive off the coast of Dorne. Bronn rows them ashore, and when he complains that they should share the rowing, Jaime simply holds up his metal hand with an apologetic look. Bronn questions why Jaime is even here – it would be better to send a squad of men. Jaime says they’re there to perform a rescue, nto start a war, and he personally wants to rescue his niece. Bronn says incredulously, “Your niece?” Obviously he at least half believes the rumours about Jaime being the father of Cersei’s children.

On the beach, they encounter four soldiers, who recognise their accents as from King’s Landing. The soldiers order them to throw down their swords, but Bronn and Jaime attack suddenly and win the fight. Although Jaime can’t fight very well, he manages to use his metal hand to advantage, to catch an incoming sword, and astonish his attacker. This sequence is quite humorous. And maybe Jaime will learn to fight better on this mission.

Somewhere presumably not too far away, the bitter woman we saw two episodes ago is in a camp with three younger women – her daughters? They have captured the captain who brought Jaime and Bronn here, and tortured him to get info out of him. The woman realises they are probably here to take Myrcella back. She gets agreement from her daughters to start a war against the Lannisters. Well, I don’t know how effective four of them will be in starting a war that the ruling prince doesn’t want. Probably more effective than their lack of numbers would indicate, I suspect.

Mereen: Jorah is sailing Tyrion to Mereen in a small boat. Tyrion annoys him su much by yelling through his gag that Jorah removes the gag, letting Tyrion annoy him even more by talking. Tyrion correctly deduces who Jorah is, and that he was spying on Daenerys, and that she exiled him, and that he wants to take Tyrion to her to get back into her good books. Jorah takes this in his stride. Tyrion tells him that this is the most useless kidnapping ever because he was actually heading to see Daenerys anyway.

Actually in Mereen, Daenerys hears the petitioner again who wants to reopen the fighting pits, but she isn’t impressed. The scene then cuts to a bunch of the Sons of the Harpy, the local resistance group, who rampage through the streets and attack a group of Unsullied. In a bloody battle, both Grey Worm and Ser Barristan are apparently killed – though it’s possible one or both might be healed next episode, as the credits roll before we see the aftermath of the battle.

Daenerys is losing control of the place. I’m really hoping she does some more serious arse-kicking before long. She’s gone from a cool and awesome military leader to a boring an ineffective bureaucrat. Maybe Tyrion and Jorah will turn thing around when they get here. I hope so.

We haven’t seen Bran for a while. I wonder what he’s up to?

One Response to “Game of Thrones, Season 5, Ep 4 “Sons of the Harpy””

  1. Glen says:

    Reading your guesses about possible future events had me thinking of Old Nan’s words…

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