Game of Thrones: Season 5, Episode 1 (“The Wars to Come”)

SPOILERS: Don’t read this review if you have not yet seen or don’t want to know details from the Season 5 premiere of Game of Thrones.


The woods:

Who is this little blonde girl?  Is it Myrcella (who was taken to Dorne for her protection)?  No, it’s a pre-teen Cersei (notice the same hairstyle and nasty attitude)!  This is the first flashback scene in GoT, showrunner David Benioff notes. Cersei learns of her future from a witch (played by British actress Jodhi May) living deep in the woods.  Instead of marrying the prince she was betrothed to, Cersei will marry a kind and become a queen.  Her future husband (Robert Baratheon, of course) will have 20 children, but she’ll have 3 (as we know Joffrey, Tommen, and Myrcella).     

Gold will be their crowns.  Gold will be their shrouds.  -The witch 


Queen Cersei Lannister & Ser Jaime Lannister in The Grand Sept:

Many lords and ladies are lined up to see/pay respects to Tywin (killed by Tyrion at the end of Season 4).  See those creepy stones on Tywin’s eyes?  Cersei (Lena Headey) doesn’t care, saying that they can wait a bit longer.  Inside the sept, a somber Jaime (Nikolaj Coster-Waldau) is guarding the corpse.  He says that their enemies are outside, eager to see Tywin’s dead body.  Cersei says their enemy is Tyrion, who Jaime let escape from jail, and now “look at the consequences.” 

He loved you more than anyone in this world.  –Cersei

Lord Tyrion Lannister & Lord Varys arriving in Pentos:

There is a cool POV shot of Tyrion (Peter Dinklage) breaking out from the crate.  The fluffy beard on him shows us that a good amount of time has passed since the end of S4.  Varys (Conleth Hill) says that they are at the home of his old friend, Ilyrio Mopatis (who was an ally of the Targaryens and arranged the marriage in S1). Tyrion throws up, but then continues to drink (red wine, as usual).

Westeros needs to be saved from itself.  -Varys


The (main?) harpy statue is pulled down from a high pyramid and smashes to the ground.  An Unsullied visits his usual pro in the city, hoping for some cuddling, but gets his throat slit by someone in a creepy gold mask and shapeless robe. When Danerys (Emilia Clarke) and her council talk, Ser Barristan (Ian McElhinney) explains that the killer was one of the Sons of the Harpy, an “insurgent” group.  Dany declares that she’s “not a conqueror.”  Notice the young freed slave in her council? 

Missandei (Nathalie Emmanuel) goes to ask Grey Worm (Jacob Andersen) about some of the Unsullied being seen in brothels (awkward).  He says that he doesn’t know anything about that. (Um, what’s the point of this scene?)

Castle Black:

That young orphaned boy (from S4) is training with Jon. Gilly (Hanah Murray) asks Sam (John Bradley) why he’s not fighting (oh, please).  He reminds her that he’s killed a Whitewalker and a Thenn- a rare feat for any man. (It’s cool to see Sam w/ some confidence!)  Gilly worries that she and baby Sam will be sent away if Ser Alistair (Owen Teale) is chosen as the next Lord Commander.

Melisandre (Carice Van Houten) comes to fetch Jon (Kit Harington, looking mature/intense).  She (sorta) hits on him on the long lift up to the top of The Wall, but he’s not amused.  Stannis (Stephen Dillane) asks Jon: “Don’t you want to revenge him [Robb]?”  But Jon has pledged himself to The Night’s Watch.  Stannis decides that Mance Rayder will either “bend the knee” or be burned at the stake.

They were born on the wrong side of The Wall.  They’re not monsters.  -Jon


The Riverlands at Lord Royce’s castle:

We learn that Robin Arryn is now 13, but can’t fight worth squat (to the dismay of his new protector, Lord Royce).  Littlefinger (Aiden Gillen) says that some boys don’t need to fight- they have the right name/title.  He gets a message (via raven, of course) and Sansa (Sophie Turner, now an even more striking young woman) wonders what’s up.

Back on the road w/ Pod & Brienne of Tarth:

Brienne (Gwendoline Christie) is in a bad mood- she’s not really a knight, so Pod’s not a proper squire.  Pod reminds her that Sansa Stark is still out there somewhere, even if Arya refused her protection.  On the road nearby, Littlefinger, Sansa, and their retinue go by (irony).

The good lords are dead.  The rest are monsters.  -Brienne


Lord Tywin Lannister’s wake (at the palace in Kings Landing):

Guess who’s back?  Cousin Lancel, now one of the Sparrows (a religious order), is wearing a threadbare robe and a very short haircut (which suits him actually).  When they are alone, Lancel asks her forgiveness for their “unnatural relations” and what happened w/ the King.  (Yes, I knew he had something to do w/ it!  Lancel probably poisoned Robert’s wine before he went out on that boar hunt in S1.)  Well, Cersei is not happy to hear this spoken out loud- watch out, Lancel! 


Tyrion & Varys in Ilyrio’s garden:

A very depressed Tyrion wants to drink himself to death- calling himself a “coward.”  Varys disagrees, saying that Tyrion can have an important role in deciding who rules the Seven Kingdoms.  There is someone he should meet in Essos (Dany, of course)!

I will never sit on the Iron Throne.  -Tyrion

No, but you could help another to climb those steps… take that seat.  -Varys 

Meereen: Dany’s court, her chamber, & in the dragons’ cell:

We learn that many people in Yunkai want “the fighting pits” to be reopened, though Dany thinks it’s barbaric.  Later on that night. Daario (still don’t buy this actor, Michiel Huisman, in the role) tells her how he saw sold by his mother (a pro) into slavery.  In time, he became a good fighter (“I wasn’t big, but I was quick…”) in those pits, earned money for his master, and eventually was freed. Dany is worried about ruling, but also about Drogon, (“hasn’t been seen in weeks.”) When Dany visits the two other dragons, this huge head comes out of the dark and breathes fire at her (scary and effective)!

Castle Black: Mance Raydar’s jail cell, then the courtyard:

When Jon comes in to talk, Mance (Ciaran Hinds, underused on this series) already knows what Stannis wants.  “I’ll never serve him,” Mance says calmly.  Jon tries to change his mind, telling him to “think of your people.”  (Jon has become more serious- good to see!)  Mance explains that the Wildlings follow him b/c they respect him; they don’t care about Stannis. 

Oh, I am afraid… no shame in that.  -Mance   

Everyone is waiting/watching (even Gilly, the young boys, and Shireen) when Mance is brought before Stannis, then put on a big wooden pyre and tied up.  Melisandre says a speech about choosing “the true God or the false” (whatever, you nutjob) and sets the pyre aflame.  Mance begins to sweat and shake as the flames get higher/hotter.  Jon decides to end Mance’s suffering by shooting an arrow right through his heart.  (This was a heroic thing to do and also a great ending for the ep!) 

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