Game of Thrones S5 E1
The Wars To Come by Nikole Gunn
So, by now you probably know that the first four episodes of the new season of Game of Thrones has been leaked online. In just a blink of an eye, episode one had been downloaded 50,000 times.
50,000 people around the world got in ahead of everyone else to see what show-runners Dave Benioff and Dan Weiss had in store for the fifth season. I hope it was worth their effort.
As a season opener, it lacked the punch of the last three episodes of season four. But we shouldn’t expect all the bells and whistles just yet. This was a scene setter; a launching pad for the storyline ahead. A storyline that has deviated somewhat from the source as written by George RR Martin.
It was always going to happen given the source material. We’d been warned some storylines would be brought forward and others pushed back. Some characters would, by necessity, take a back seat.
So, what did we get in “The Wars To Come”?
The episode opens with a little trip down memory lane and a young Cersei and a friend visiting a witch in the forest (didn’t happen in the books). She predicts Cersei’s future. She wouldn’t marry the prince, but she would marry the king. He’d have 20 children and she’d have three. She’d be Queen, but would be usurped by someone younger and prettier.
We KNOW all this, so let’s move on,
Next it’s the funeral for Tywin Lannister in the Great Sept. Dear old dad is laid out in his funeral best; his eyelids painted to appear open. Just a little bit creepy and not that long ago, the family Lannister had gathered there for poor old maniacal Joffrey.
There is no twin-on-twin action by the body like last time around. Instead, Cersei rails against her brother Tyrion, while Jaime urges her to keep it together. She’s not having a bar of it, lashing out at her lover/brother for his role in Tyrion’s escape and murder of their father.
Speaking of Tyrion; he and Varys have made it to Pentos. Tyrion is a little worse for wear. But then again, he’s spent the entire voyage in a crate with a peephole for the view and ‘toileting’.
Later, Varys reveals his plans to return a Targaryen to the Iron Throne, offering Tyrion a chance to use his talents to bring ‘good’ and peace to the Seven Kingdoms.
Speaking of Dany, we travel to Mereen, where her army of the Unsullied are being picked off by the Sons of The Harpy – a local uprising against her rule. She’s encouraged to be the Mother of Dragons and she pays a visit to two of her babies, who she locked away in a darkened dungeon in Season 4. There is no ‘mother and child’ reunion and she flees from their fiery anger.
Episode one is a touch base chapter, where we catch up with some, but not all of the characters. In this case we dwell briefly with Brienne and Pyp, who almost run into Sansa and her alleged protector Petyr Baelish, who’re fleeing to safety.
But Brienne’s not to know that the ‘other’ Stark girl that she seeks is riding in that carriage and like ships in the night, they go their own way.
That brings us to Jon Snow. The last we saw of him, he was bending his knee to Stannis, who’d ridden to the rescue of the Night’s Watch at The Wall.
Mance Rayder is his captive, but unlike Jon, he won’t swear fealty to Stannis to spare his own life. Instead, he’s to be burned alive much to the pleasure of the Red Woman and the Queen.
So there they all are, standing around and watching as Mance is put to death. As the flames begin to grow, Jon disappears. Suddenly, an arrow flies through the air and strikes Mance, killing him before the flames can.
Jon Snow is a bad ass. He defied the king to offer mercy to a dying man. He let loose the arrow and doesn’t seem to care that it might just make things a little difficult with Stannis.
Episode one doesn’t set the world on fire (deliberate play on words) but it does provide a link between seasons. Those who downloaded it ahead of everyone else might be a little disappointed.
However, they might already be teasing us about what we may see in episode two and it’s fan favourite; Arya Stark, who has struck out on her own and has made it to Braavos.
Bring it on.