A somewhat disjointed affair, this week’s Game Of Thrones manages to be both entertaining and perplexing at the same time.
Season 5 is already proving polarising among fans, book readers and show only alike. With the changes to the source material meaning more original stuff, it was never going to be anything else. That being said, the show has had original ideas since its beginnings. The scenes then felt considerably more fluid, despite having no counterparts in the books. George R.R Martin described the changes as a snowball effects, as one minor change can effect things later (there was a minstrel in season 1, who’s fate turned out differently and had a chain-effect on a major plot point in season 4).
Tyrion was born in the wrong era/reality. A bit of Sherlock Holmes-esque deductive reasoning allows him to identify Jorah Mormont with incredible ease. While he’s at it, he points out enough holes in Jorah’s plan to sink the stolen boat they’re sailing in. It’s possible these two could have some good scenes together, but this is mainly filler, presumably to prove that a: Tyrion is alive, and b: that he’s still snarky even when captive.
Cersei has apparently decided that religion can be used as a weapon. Indeed, she re-arms the Faith Militant, a fanatical group under the control of the High Sparrow. Three guesses why she decided to let homophobic zealots off the leash (complete with montage). It certainly makes a crack in Margery’s docile demeanor as she confronts a weak-willed Tommen about he brother being arrested. What Cersei has apparently not noticed are the obvious problems that will follow. As the High Sparrow told her: all sinners are equal. Cersei has always had a superiority complex, so it should be interesting to see when this one comes back to bite her in the back-side.
Dorne has been added to the opening credits (yey!). Unfortunately we still don’t get to see the Water Gardens or indeed anything besides sand in two scenes that while presumably miles away look like they were probably able to play catch in between takes. Jaime and Bronn have the buddy-movie thing down, and while I love it, I can’t help shaking the feeling that this series has become one long string of such relationships and at some point we’ll probably see characters like Cersei/Stannis getting in on it (I jest).
There’s somewhat tension in Jaime’s first real fight since losing his hand. His lack of coordination clearly shows, and considering that the show-runners have said all bets are off on who lives or dies even if they have plot armour from the novels, there’s a moment or three where you think the Kingslayer may be about to get offed.
We finally meet the Sand Snakes, Oberyn Martell’s bastard daughters. Obara, Nymeria and Tyene are the eldest and currently only introduced (of a mentioned eight previously). From the offset it’s clear that their fighting styles will be their defining characteristics, as Ellaria Sand has got them on her side in the kill the-innocent-princess-plot that she has going on. Ellaria has mistaken Doran Martell’s inactivity for apathy on the whole thing, and is taking matters into her own hands, and they’ve just learned that Jaime Lannister is in Dorne. Oh dear.
At Castle Black, Stannis gets a spectacular scene with Shireen. It says a lot that a character I’ve pretty much despised since he first appeared can still partially win me over with something as simple as demonstrating a father’s love. Shireen herself might be in danger, though, as Melisandre has apparently noted her King’s Blood, and Selyse is obviously open to the idea. Speaking of Melisandre, she attempts to convince Jon Snow to join Stannis’ march by (shocker) attempting to seduce him.
Sansa and Littlefinger have a moment together in the crypts of Winterfell. Therein which we get the story of Sansa’s aunt Lyanna and Rhaegar Targaryen, finally. This particular plot point will most likely get book reader’s attention, as it’s mention and therefore inclusion in the show potentially points towards the solutions for long guessed at fan theories. However, back on topic, Littlefinger is returning to King’s Landing and leaving Sansa with the Boltons. Oh dear.
In Mereen, we see Ser Barristan having a tender moment with Daenerys as he tells her about her older brother (no, not the deranged one). It’s a sweet moment, but as the music kicks in, and Barristan wanders the streets of Mereen, you know something bad is about to happen. The Sons of the Harpy are considerably more adept and frightening than their novel counterparts. Either that or the show’s version of the Unsullied (Grey Worm aside) are just rubbish at fighting. However, we get to see why Barristan is considered one of the most deadly fighters in the world.
Unfortunately, the ending of this episode will upset fans of all kinds. With two potential deaths on the cards that have not appeared in the books, there’s so many reasons to be upset about it.
Will the Sand Snakes beat Jaime to the Water Gardens? Will Tyrion be able to find a more amicable travelling companion? Let us know what you think in the comments below…