Last night’s episode of Game Of Thrones served up a teeming cauldron of fresh intrigue, plot twists and characters; all spiced with enough sex and violence to keep the most ardent HBO fan happy. In other words, it contained everything addicts of the show have come to crave – including a trademark shock death or two. (Noooo!) Read on for our full recap.
Warning: Spoilers within!
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To date, Season 5 of Game Of Thrones has been moving at a slow burn which suits us just fine. Each episode has devoted more screen time to fewer characters; giving individual stories room to breathe as the overarching plot gradually snaps into place. Episode 4 stuck to the same formula, although we suspect the glacial build-up has finally reached its peak – from next week onward, expect things to start moving at a breakneck speed. The Dance is nearly upon us!
At the end of last week’s episode, Tyrion got himself dwarf-napped by the disgraced Jorah Mormont who casual viewers may know as “Ser Friendzone”. After presumably spending the previous season skulking in a brothel, Jorah is hoping to get back in his queen’s good books by delivering the captive Lannister in a stolen rowing boat. In an amusing nod to the knight’s warped code of honour, Mormont knocks the boat’s owner out cold and then carefully deposits some coins on his chest to pay for the hijacked vessel. That's chivalry, Westerosi style.
Ironically, Tyrion was already on his way to Meereen to pledge his service to the queen when Jorah nabbed him. As the Imp cheekily points out, Daenerys is just as likely to pardon him and execute Jorah as the other way around -- seems like a poor gamble to us. As always, Peter Dinklage and Iain Glen’s acting was exemplary: we could have happily spent the entire episode in that tiny boat, watching them trade cuffs and insults. We can’t wait to see where their rowing adventures take them next (perhaps they’ll run into Gendry, eh?)
We then move across the Narrow Sea to this season’s star location; the sun-scorched kingdom of Dorne. The local populace is understandably a bit peeved about the eye-popping skull explosion that befell their prince during last season’s trial by combat. As a vengeful old Northerner once said, only blood can pay for blood – and the knives of Dorne have already been sharpened. We subsequently join Jaime Lannister on his secret mission to rescue his “niece”/incestual daughter from the clutches of the Dornish aristocracy.
Along for the ride is the roguish sellsword Bronn who appears to have traded one Lannister bromance for another. If yesterday’s episode is any indication, the quip-happy duo are poised to be the show’s best team-up since Arya and the Hound. With that said, they didn’t do a whole lot this episode other than arrive in Dorne and fight a random troop of soldiers. On the plus side, the action was both exciting and funny thanks to some inept swordplay from the one-handed Jaime.
Next up, we finally meet the Sand Snakes of Dorne: three bastard warrior daughters of the late Prince Oberyn Martell. After being hyped by the showrunners for the better part of a year, the introduction of Obara, Nymeria and Tyene was a bit underwhelming. They basically rattled their sabres and vowed to avenge their father before promptly vanishing from the screen. Based on their physiques, I’m not altogether convinced of their martial prowess either – Brienne could snap all three of them over her knee like bundled kindling. Still, I’ll reserve judgement until we see more of them in action.
Meanwhile, the religious army known as the Sparrows continue to amass power in King’s Landing thanks to Cersei’s unhinged scheming. In a bid to weaken House Tyrell’s influence at court, the dowager queen ships the family’s patriarch off to Bravos and arranges to have his son Ser Loras arrested for the crime of homosexuality. This creates a wedge between Cersei’s son King Tommen and his new wife Margaery Tyrell, which was precisely her intention all along. Presently, the so-called Faith Militant are being wielded by Cersei with the effectiveness of a war hammer – but no good can come from arming religious fanatics. Expect this to bite her in the bum in episodes to come.
Over in the North, the freshly-minted Lord Commander of the Night’s Watch, Jon Snow, is busy wrestling with the responsibility of ruling -- along with a certain Red Woman who clearly wants to jump his gloomy bones. Melisandre makes her most overt pass at Jon yet, complete with saucy disrobing and forced ta-ta fondling. To his credit, Jon remains true to the memory of his wilding love and resists her amorous advances. Looks like she’ll need to find her shadow baby daddy elsewhere.
Otherwise, nothing particularly important happened in the North this episode: we got some insights into Littlefinger’s plans for Sansa and a touching scene between Stannis and his daughter Shireen – so touching, in fact, that my prediction about her impending death seems completely on the money. Sniff.
Speaking of character deaths, the show offered up a doozy this episode that book readers are still reeling from – Deanery’s chief advisor Barristan “the Bold” Selmy fell beneath the knives of Mereen’s blood-thirsty slavers. (His book counterpart is currently alive and well, proving once again that no one is safe in HBO’s fast-and-loose adaptation.)
In addition to Selmy, there’s a strong chance that Grey Worm also bought the farm which essentially leaves Daenerys with no military advisors. We can only assume the show is making room for Tyrion and Jorah to join her entourage. Nevertheless, it’s a bitter pill to swallow for fans of these characters.
All in all, Sons Of The Harpy was a solid episode with the exception of the climactic battle in Mereen. The fight chorography wasn’t great and the music was distractingly terrible – it reminded me of the pseudo-orchestra synthesiser muzak commonly found in cheap soap operas and direct-to-DVD actioners. Selmy deserved better.
What did you guys think of this week’s episode? Did anyone see Barristan’s death coming? Share your views in the comments section below.
Note: Please, no spoilers from the books in the comments below!
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