After the leak of almost half of its new season before the season premiere (remember, true fans stay loyal–don’t spoil it for yourself and watch all four leaked episodes!), Game of Thrones still returns to HBO with its usual blood and nudity for its fifth season on Sunday with 8 million views–just as much (or more) views as it would have even without the leak.
This episode is everything any fan would have hoped for, with some serious, major plot points. As usual, my expectations were met not even within twenty minutes into the episode. The plotlines were entirely compelling, which is what makes us come back for more each episode.
Here’s a quick recap on what went down:
The episode opens with a flashback of little Cersei and her friend visiting a supposed witch in the woods. Cersei, no different than she is now, shows no mercy or fear for the witch and demands her fortune or it’d be the last time the witch would open her eyes. The witch obliges to the fiery little Cersei and tells her that she will be queen until a younger, more beautiful queen casts her down; and although the king will have 20 children, Cersei will have three. Well, the two obvious candidates for this younger queen are Margaery Tyrell and Daenarys Tagaryen but we know for sure Cersei will be keeping a good eye on Margaery.
Back to the present, Cersei keeps busy as usual; blaming Jamie for her father’s death, she becomes warier of Margaery and laughs off her cousin Lancel’s efforts to convert her to a strange religious group he is now a part of. We can clearly tell this introduction to a new group of beings is a start to a new conflict. Lancel may look like a typical harmless believer of religion in his plain clothes and short hair, but he sure seems sinister and too pure to be true.
Margaery then walks in on her brother, Ser Loras, engaged in some kinky swordplay with a man named Oliver, in the bedroom. The two siblings bemusedly discuss whether Tywin’s death means his engagement to Cersei is off and Loras plants the idea that Margaery would be stuck in King’s Landing with Cersei, the monster-in-law. Cunning, plotting Margaery, we all know she would deal with this with her conniving ways, and she does, by manipulating her new husband, the new King. Is it just me or is this war between Cersei and Margaery strongly in Margaery’s favor? Cersei is being cautious and clearly needs to step up her game. I didn’t feel her dominance and control over herself and the ones around her as much as I expected.
Meanwhile, our favorite Lannister finally rolls out of a box and wastes no time in getting back to his favorite hobby- drinking and being pessimistic. However, Varys has other plans for Tyrion Lannister- he wants to take Tyrion to Meereen to meet Daenerys and see if it’s worth fighting for. Hallelujah, finally! The moment I’ve been waiting for. Finally, some sort of crossover between these storylines take a turn for the better and we’re hoping that Tyrion won’t be stubborn about it and thank goodness he isn’t. Instead, this news has Tyrion interested. Let the voyage begin!
In Meereen, Daenerys is encountering problems of her own as her men are being targeted by the Sons of the Harpy, a group of men who have been going around murdering their targets in gold masks. Daenarys simply orders for their deaths. She deals with the fact that the freed slaves want their fighting pits back in a similar way- by shutting them down and ticking them off. Daario, her new love interest who has returned, suggests that Daenarys use her dragons to their full potential, “A dragon queen without dragons is not a queen.” Daenarys admits that she can’t control her dragons anymore as proved by the scene of her unsuccessful, terrifying visit to her two dragons who try to flambe her. Uh oh poor Dany, someone needs to find solution soon.
In the free folk storyline, Stannis summons Jon Snow as Stannis wants to take Winterfell back. But he needs the wildlings that Jon is fond of to help him, and they’ll never do that unless Mance Rayder pledges his loyalty to Stannis. Let’s also not forget that awkward elevator scene between Snow and Melisandre… Mance, who refuses, ends up dead as Mance takes a direct hit in the chest by Snow’s arrow. No surprise there.
Elsewhere, Littlefinger is taking Sansa to a place “so far away from here, even Cersei Lannister can’t get her hands on you.” During their voyage in their carriage, they unknowingly pass by Brienne and Pod, who are having their own squabbles. Did anyone else want to scream at Brienne in that scene that Sansa is in that carriage and that they should just take her into their care right then and there?
I can’t wait for next week’s episode. A number of rich plotlines hit throughout this episode, yet so many questions waiting to be answered. Is Jon going to get away with what he’s done? Where is Arya Stark? What tricks does Margaery have up her sleeve? Will Tyrion get to Daenarys without trouble?
– Hyun Jung Choi (‘16)