Game of Thrones make its return to television this week. While this fact is somewhat marred by the leaking of several episodes on torrent websites, the episode itself is rather solid…
As with any season opener on this show, there’s often a lot to set up and only so much time to do it in. ‘The Wars To Come’ handles its task splendidly well, choosing to focus on certain characters rather than attempt to sweep the board. Another highlight is the show’s first (hopefully not last because the scene was missing some parts) flashback scene. We meet a young Cersei as she attempts to gain knowledge of her future from a witch.
Fast-forward to the present. Cersei, Jaime and a host of lord and ladies attend the funeral of Tywin Lannister. Jaime warns Cersei that now everything their father worked for is undone, as it was fear that kept them at bay. Cersei troubles may only just be beginning as a newly religious Lancel Lannister appears and attempts to apologise for their affair as well as his involvement in murdering King Robert.
Tyrion may have only spent a few weeks in that box, but he looks all the rougher for it. Sporting a beard and in desperate need of a drink, everyone’s favourite dwarf seems only mildly interested in finding out why Varys went to such lengths to help him escape King’s Landing. The two banter a bit, and while the chemistry is good, there’s just something odd about Varys swearing. In any case, it becomes clear fairly quickly that Varys intends to Tyrion to be one of Daenerys’ advisers.
Littlefinger and Sansa are on the move. It’s not clear where they’re headed, but they leave Robin Arryn in the care of Lord Royce. There is irony to be had here. As their carriage moves along, they pass Podrick and Brienne. The latter clearly has wouned pride from Arya’s rejection of her help last season, as she lashes out at Podrick and suggests that they should separate.
Across the sea in Mereen, Daenerys is still learning that ruling is not easy. The new problem is a group called the Sons of the Harpy. One of Daenerys’ Unsullied is killed whilst visiting a brothel (just a lullaby, deep-seated psychological issues, it’s heartbreaking really). Daario and Hizahr return to inform her that Yunkai is back under her control, but then the latter suggests that Daenerys re-open the fighting pits as a way to show respect for the city’s traditions.
Daenerys is disgusted by the idea, even after Daario explaining that his own past is linked to these pits. She is forced to admit that she has no control over her dragons. This is seen when she visits her two imprisoned children and finds them angry enough to breathe fire at her. It’s also nice to have Viserion and Rhaegal named on-screen, as Drogon is the only one to have been named previously, and subsequently has the most screen-time so far.
At the Wall, Jon takes on a more active role. Stannis gives him the chance to convince Mance Rayder to bend the knee and he will spare him. Stannis intends to use the Wildlings to help take back the North and in return he will give them lands and freedom. The would-be king appears to be missing the bigger picture of the White Walker attacks but this is still the nicest we’ve ever seen him. Of course, he then has Melisandre do her thing so it’s short lived. Jon’s response to how Mance is treated will most surely put him and Stannis at odds in the weeks to come.
A final word to the direction of the show. It’s been revealed that this season will feature more new material than ever, including unexpected deaths. This means that book-readers and non book-readers are on even footing.
Who do you think is on the writer’s hit-list this season? Will Tyrion make it to Mereen without drinking himself to death? Let us know what you think in the comments below…