‘Game of Thrones’ szn 5, ep 4: definitely better than ‘Avengers: Age of Ultron’

Note: full spoilers for last nights episode “Sons of the Harpy” ahead.

In a weekend filled with major letdowns (Floyd-Pac, the Yanks sweeping the Sox, Avengers: Age of Ultron), I’m glad we at least got a solid hour of Game of Thrones to chew on.

After I make millions designing cufflinks I plan on starting a rap group, and that rap group will probably be called “Sons of the Harpy”, just like last nights GOT episode. Much like my yet-to-be-heard rap group, the Sons of the Harpy are violent, skilled, and very angry. They’re more or less strolling around Meereen in cool attire murdering anyone loyal to the lady who will probably ruin the next Terminator movie Daenerys Targaryen. Last night, they ran up on Grey Worm; who took a decent shanking but was able to kill most of the ambush with the help of Ser Barristan (who appears to be dead). It was a bloody scene in what has otherwise been a slow season action-wise, and it feels like only the beginning.

It doesn’t matter if you view the Sons of Harpy as a legitimate protest group, or just some uber-violent “thugs” causing destruction for the hell of it (we’ve never heard that one before, right?). They’re beginning to throw a real wrench in Daenerys’ plans, and they don’t appear to be going away anytime soon. This seems to be her storyline for the season, and she may require the diplomatic skills of one Lannister, Tyrion in order to put a stop to the bloodshed.

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Tyrion’s observational skills were on display last night as he was quickly able to deduce his captor to being the Ser Jorah he had heard so much about. It was confirmed that those two are headed to Meereen rather than King’s Landing. I thought it was a very classy move by Jorah to leave the random dude a tip after he knocked him unconscious and stole his boat. Despite flip-flopping like a young John Kerry, Jorah is really as close as you can get in Westeros to being a good person.

In Winterfell, Littlefinger broke the news to Sansa that he has to go back to King’s Landing, and then gave her one of those “I’m like a father to you but I also want to sleep with you” kisses he’s so skilled at. Sansa has become a trooper, and she should be fine faking a smile until someone comes in and frees the North from the Bolton’s rule.

Jon Snow is finding that getting people to send troops to the Night’s Watch for aide is about as difficult as getting people to send troops to (insert foreign nation you feel our military should support in wake of disaster) for aide. Melisandre tries to seduce him, removing her top and sitting on him in that “no touching” position that has become the norm in American strip clubs, only she wants him to touch her. But Jon does not give in, for he still loves another. I thought it was sort of lame how Melisandre said “You know nothing, Jon Snow”. You don’t just give that line to somebody else. Imagine if in a James Bond film, someone other than Bond said “shaken, not stirred”. Not cool.

But I did find the scene between Stannis and his daughter Shireen at The Wall to be quite touching. Her mother is real trifling bee-yotch, yet Shireen is loved by her father despite her more lizard-like features. The show continues to talk about the sickness “greyscale” and how it can spread quickly. Perhaps the now-cured Shireen will reacquire the disease and put the Night’s Watch and/or Stannis’ army in jeopardy. Now wouldn’t that be a very GOT moral dilemma; do I kill my sick daughter or risk her infecting others?

Jamie and Bronn arrived in Dorne and were discovered by some guards. This gave Bronn and chance to Bronn (“Bronn”, when used as a verb, means to kill larger people in crafty ways). Jamie even utilized his metal hand to block a sword and then bleed a guy out. It was a fun scene, but not as fun as their conversation on the boat. Jamie is such a complex character, and when Bronn asks him about Tyrion, Jamie claims that if he ever sees him again he’ll kill him. I doubt this is really so simple, but it’s interesting that Jamie said that. Right before this, he’s humanized by cracking a smile when the boat goes past Tarth, Brienne’s home. A very nice piece of visual character-work.

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Elsewhere in Dorne, we were finally introduced to the Sand Snakes, Oberyn Martell’s bastard daughters, who appear to be skilled with spears much like their father. They’re aware that Jamie is in Dorne, and ready for war. Their prince may not want a war, but these ladies certainly do. I enjoy these recent discussions on GOT about what is and what isn’t worth fighting over. Also, Sand Snakes is a possible rap group name.

But this week, King’s Landing is ultimately where most of the fun happened. Cersei has now allowed the Sparrows to take up arms, and on top of some serious Inglorious Basterds-esque tattooing, they kicked some more ass and even jailed Loras Tyrell (presumably, for batting from the wrong side of the plate). This is, of course, a slight to Margaery, who demanded that her husband free Loras. When King Tommen tried to do so, he was met with resistance. He chose to not have the King’s Guard fight the religious nuts, at least for now. Cersei is pulling out all the stops to keep herself in power, including sending Mace Tyrell to Braavos to try and renegotiate some of the crowns debt (this probably won’t end well).

Last week, I briefly touched on how this season of GOT is a transitional one; one that breaks away from the books and pushes the story closer to the grand finale. This is why I expect a lot of deaths in the coming episode. At this point, if a character doesn’t factor in to the shows end game, why keep them around?

Characters on the chopping block for me over the next few episodes:

  1. Littlefinger: What if Lord Bolton has notified Cersei that Littlefinger basically stole Sansa? What if someone finally calls him out on his conniving ways? What if someone visits one of his brothel’s and see additional charges on their credit card the next morning?
  2. Bronn: I love Bronn, I really do. But as he admits, he’s just a sell-sword. He and Jamie are surely going to run into some serious conflict in Dorne. IF HE DIES SAVING JAMIE I WILL CRY.
  3. Selyse Baratheon: Stannis’ wife doesn’t really do anything given that she’s a crappy mother and that Stannis seems to be more concerned with Melisandre. Then again, if she just disappeared from the show without being killed, would anybody notice?

Final Verdict: Season 5 moves forward with a very fun and bloody episode that continues to develop some of the seasons key conflicts, as well as introducing some badass new characters.

And five more quick tidbits:

  1. Next weeks episode, “Kill the Boy”, is directed by Jerem Podeswa, who did the film Fugitive Pieces on top of his work for Six Feet Under, Queer As Folk, and The Pacific.
  2. HBO is now estimating that the first four episodes of this season were illegally downloaded around 35 million times. If you accounted for one of those 35 million, you disgust me. Just bite an HBO GO password from someone, jeez.
  3. No Arya this week, but that’s fine. She will be a major focus next week.
  4. What happened to Varys???? Tyrion got kidnapped, but is Varys still chilling in that brothel? Seems like a weird place for him, all things considered.
  5. If this week did in fact mark the death of Ser Barristan, I just want to say I appreciated him as a character. Ian McElhinney did a fine job with the role.

 

 

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