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What We Learned From This Week's 'Game of Thrones': Spoiler Whore and Book Reader Edition

By Genevieve Burgess | Game of Thrones | April 14, 2015 |


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This is a book reader review for Game of Thrones, which means that below the dragon there will be discussion of plots from the TV show up to the most current episode that has aired on HBO, as well as spoilers from all five books that have been released. Chapters from books that have not yet been released, as well as information from any episodes that have not aired on HBO, are still spoilers. Thank you for cooperating!

“So long as men remember the wrongs done to their forebears, no peace will ever last.” - A Dance With Dragons

There are wars coming to Westeros and Essos. Maybe not this season, but soon. This is clear not only from the fact that the title of the first episode of the fifth season was “The Wars to Come” but because A Feast for Crows and A Dance With Dragons both spent a lot of time moving people into place to face conflicts that burbled along below the surface. Conflicts great and small are brewing, and the show is setting up some of those conflicts as well as some new ones.

In King’s Landing we see Tywin Lannister being laid to rest, and Cersei basically ignoring everyone coming to offer their condolences. Except Lancel, who doesn’t quite come out and say “I’m ratting you out, you vicious bitch” but he doesn’t NOT say it either. Between his sudden reverence for religion and Margaery’s plotting face, Cersei’s downfall is clearly being established. The first half of the Maggy the Frog prophecy (from a very non-frog-like Maggy, I guess prophecy is better husky-voiced and bedroom-eyed), the half that deals with her already over marriage to Robert Baratheon and her doom at the hands of a younger queen, was introduced in the beginning of the episode. Which means you see this shot here?
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I’m betting that a very different shot of Cersei walking through a crowd on the steps of the sept is coming by Episode 8.

In greater Westeros (all the middle bits, basically) we see Sansa and Littlefinger departing the Vale just in time to pass Brienne having an identity crisis that she takes out on Pod. It’s not entirely fair, but Pod DID take his eyes off Arya thus costing Brienne the one thing she’s accidentally done right in this entire show. But perhaps there is a new purpose just around the corner for Brienne. She may not be a knight, but I’m betting the Brotherhood without Banners is recruiting again, and there’s a whole lot of Freys that need killing.

As for Sansa and Petyr, they were headed west from the Vale after disposing of Robin Arryn. This means either the Riverlands, or the Kingsroad. Why might they be headed for the Kingsroad?

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There’s a Bolton symbol on that main tower, but the two lower towers still have Direwolves on them. I think Sansa’s heading north, and I think Roose and Ramsay don’t understand what they’re in for between her and Littlefinger. Unlike Jeyne Poole, Sansa actually DOES have standing to inherit Winterfell, she knows it, and she now has her previous abilities with courtesies and knowledge of noble families along with Littlefinger’s lessons in subtle manipulation and lying. Plus, there’s the Chekov’s gun that is Theon’s broken mind, a mind whose last unpunished thought was that Ned Stark was his true father. Things might get very interesting in Winterfell this season.

At the Wall, we get our first hint of an election of a new Lord Commander from Sam, who is handling having a first girlfriend by bugging her while she’s obviously busy. That’s the ticket, Sammy boy!

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Right on schedule, Stannis and Melisandre start taking a creepy interest in “The Bastard of Winterfell” and using him to achieve their ends when they send Jon to negotiate with Mance Rayder. Mance, despite one hell of a chin quiver when he hears the execution method in store for him, burns for his crimes. I think it’s pretty clear that they didn’t pull off the switch from the books, as Mance specifically refers to Castle Black as “my home for many years” before being placed on the pyre. The other interesting thing there is that Melisandre seems to have dropped her obsession with “King’s blood” for the time being. Although she does ask Jon Snow if he’s a virgin, and perhaps she’s feeling a yearning for a new terrifying shadow child. So far she’s not being actively wrong about her visions, though, so I guess that makes this a pretty good episode, Melisandre-wise.

Across the Narrow Sea, Tyrion and Varys have washed up in Pentos. They are at Illyrio’s manse, but there’s no sign of the amply-proportioned man himself. Their journey isn’t over yet, though, as they’re both headed to Meereen now to serve Daenerys cutting off several meandering plots that taught us a lot about the river Rhoyne and how to joust on a pig. Thank the gods.

Speaking of our dragon queen, she’s facing an uprising in her city from faceless rebels. You’d think she’d consider this before being quite so short with her own envoy to the former slavers when Hizdahr asks her to reopen the fighting pits, but if she had demurred more politely then we wouldn’t get to see a naked NotMyDaario correcting her later! And how exciting that was. I don’t mind that Daenerys takes counsel and advice, I mind that they insist on making her look unreasonable before having one of her (always male) counselors step in and show her the “reasonable” path. Besides which, I’m still not thrilled with a Daario who’s all about lecturing Dany instead of just offering to kill people for her. He wooed her with a bag of heads, and now he’s all “let me tell you about my childhood in a vaguely scolding way” and I’m not down with it. Neither are the dragons, apparently.
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Or it could be a representation of how Daenerys is at war with her own nature in trying to rule Meereen. She says she’s not a conquerer, but she’s pulling down statues and refusing to compromise. Then again, we’ve never heard of any other Targaryen raising THREE dragons instead of just one, so maybe everyone needs to back off her for a second with how she needs to get them under control. Apparently, judging parenting methods doesn’t even stop for fantasy species.

Overall, I think this episode set the season up pretty well, and with introducing Dorne and Braavos next week we’ll get all our characters lined up for their next big events. I also appreciated that we got a healthy amount of naked dudes in this episode, as if to make up for the earlier lack of them. It’s shallow, but if the show runners are listening to these things I’ll keep praising them for it. I’m excited to see where this season is going, and I expect there will be some changes that will require a much closer examination as the season goes on.


See Also:

Stannis the Mannis, the Besteros in Westeros is the epitome of that thing in The Office where Michael and/or Dwight…

Posted by Pajiba on Tuesday, April 14, 2015


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