You know, like Winter has been coming for the past four seasons.
It’s the most wonderful time of the year. That’s right, kiddies, Game of Thrones has returned and along with it all the gore, politics, and boobs you can handle. I’ll spare you the recap of where our Throne-y friends left off last season because there’s about a bajillion recap posts out there and me writing another would be about as useful as nipples on a breastplate. (…Eh? EH?!)
Much like the previous seasons, the first episode of season 5, “The Wars to Come,” is a slow affair. It spends most of the hour setting up all of the plots we’ll follow throughout the season and because of that, there isn’t much in the way of action. That doesn’t make it terrible because I’m all ’bout that character development, but aside from the final ten minutes, nothing jumps out as exciting.
The episode begins with a (never before seen!) flashback to a young Cersei Lannister and I’m immediately struck by how well Nell Williams has managed to capture that “Cersei” look.
Along with her friend, Melara, the wee Cersei is on a mission to find Maggy the Frog, so that she can learn about her future. I admire the bravado in the young Lannister, but true to Cersei, she’s only interested in her status, and the answers are not the ones she wants. Note: it looks like Game of Thrones is retconning that scene from season 1 when Cersei told Catelyn about the black-haired baby she lost before Joffrey was born.
Back in the present, adult Cersei attends the memorial for her father, Tywin, and Jaime is in the sept when she gets there with that “We’ve got to stop meeting like this” look. I clutched my pearls for a moment, afraid that there might be a repeat of the rape from last season after Joffrey’s death. (I don’t care what the actors/showrunners say, that was a rape.) At the very least the twins should find a new location for date nights; there aren’t many show-important Lannisters left.
Jaime continues down this path where he is less likable than his book counterpart. Rather than Cersei being the one who is paranoid about losing power, it’s Jaime, and once again, Cersei is the more sympathetic of the pair. She *almost* respects Tyrion for what he did because at least he intended his actions, whereas Jaime hides behind his ignorance, taking no blame. As the scene ends, you can see the respect she once had for her brother/lover draining out of her.
Tywin, however, is looking fabulous.
Oh, heyyyyyy. There’s Lancel at the memorial, asking Cersei to spare a moment to talk about the Seven. Aaaaand look! Another Lannister funeral for Jaime and Cersei to attend is on the horizon, because Cersei is going to murder that dude if he doesn’t keep his Sparrow mouth shut.
Meanwhile, we see Loras for the first time in forever and I don’t think he’s left the bed the entire time. Nor has he put on clothes. Ten points from House HBO for the character assassination of Loras Tyrell. Margaery does not approve either.
The sickly lord of the Eyrie, Robin Arryn, is learning to use a sword and spoiler alert: he’s terrible. Not much else occurs with Sansa and Littlefinger other than another Stark girl slipping right on by Brienne and Podrick. I wonder why this scene was included except to remind us that yes, they are all still alive and Sweet Robin is totes strong and not at all about to die from some crazy illness. Littlefinger is innocent, I swear.
On the other side of the hill, Brienne is fed up with Pod’s shit.
Tyrion gets drunk and vomits. No, really. That’s basically all he does this episode. Oh, he and Varys have great verbal sparring matches, to be sure–they’re really the best duo on the show–but it’s only good for the laughs.
And then Varys continues to make grand speeches about the fate of Westeros, good rulers, blah blah. He uses the iconic line from the trailers, “Who said anything about him?” And somehow it isn’t as powerful. However, the point is made. Tyrion then decides to drink himself into a coma while Varys continues to pick up his poop all the way to Meereen.
HBO, you gave me a start because for a moment there, I thought you had replaced Grey Wurm and I was going to be very upset.
Meereen begins with a depressing scene as we learn that the Unsullied go to brothels to be held. We also learn that the Meereen brothels are home to the worst cuddle partners ever. Oh, and hey, look. A naked woman.
Daenerys is, of course, not pleased by the news that her Unsullied are being killed, so she sends more Unsullied to patrol the streets. One guess as to how that goes down. Later, Dany seeks the bedroom advice of Daario, the guy who cut off the head of his last boss. So, you know, a wise dude. He tells her that she isn’t the Mother of Unsullied but the Mother of Dragons. Dany, being the rational type, then decides to see the “children” she put in time out months ago. Unfortunately for Dany, dragons don’t know what it means to “be cool” and instead they stomp around screaming that they have way more fun over at dad’s house.
Jon Snow spars with the kid who killed Ygritte and proves that he at least knows how to show restraint and not murder the little git.
Just kidding. I’m sure he’s a sweet kid.
Sam and Gilly have an awkward conversation and Gilly puts him between a gravestone and a hard place. “Sam, don’t let them kick me out.” “I–I can’t. I’ll just go with you.” “They’ll kill you, idiot. Don’t let them kick me out.” “I…” -_-
Melisandre then takes Jon to see the Stannis the Buttheart, rightful King of Westeros. On the way, she reminisces about her time spent with another dark-haired young man and we get to see Jon Snow be super awkward about it.
Atop the wall, Stannis convinces Jon to convince Mance Rayder to convince his people to follow Stannis so he can “convince” the Boltons to leave Winterfell. Ya dig? Unfortunately for Jon, Mance Rayder decides to pull a Ned Stark and get all noble, telling the pretty boy that he has principles and won’t be seen as weak in front of his BFF Tormund. Besides, Jon’s track record about knowing things isn’t exactly squeaky clean, so the King Beyond the Wall decides to take his chances with the Red Woman.
It does not end well.
Not pictured in this episode:
Bran “Wah I can’t walk” Stark
Hodor “Hodor” Hodor
ANYONE from Dorne >:|
Jaime’s right hand
The Boltons 😀
Arya “I’m going to kill everyone” Stark (what gives?)
Gendry “I’m still rowing” Baratheon
Game of Thrones airs Sundays at 9pm EST on HBO.