Everybody’s favourite bloody sexy fantasy medieval show Game of Thrones returned to our screens earlier this week (hallelujah) and although the episode was slightly slower than some it feels like ‘The Wars to Come’ (says it all in the title really) is the calm before the storm that will surely tear up Westeros and Essos this season.
To set the season off we got a flashback from Cersei and the twisted prophecy she was warned of as a young girl. It added a nice little ambiguity to her character and possibly gives the schemer a small slice of redemption pie as can she be fully blamed for her actions as she is perhaps just a victim of fate (that and bad parenting)? Hmm interesting but I think we’ll have to wait and see where HBO goes with this.
We also said goodbye to two characters this episode. Firstly the diabolical Tywin Lannister (complete with those groovy Painted pebble eyes) laying in the sept, this signifies that practically no time has passed since Tyrion killed him last season which is great as we can then see the unfolding consequences of the most powerful man in Westeros’ death and what that means for the future of the seven Kingdoms. The second farewell takes us up to the wall with Crows, Wildlings and Stannis’ men mingling together. After refusing to kneel to Stannis the stubborn King beyond the wall Mance Rayder played brilliantly by Ciaran Hinds meets a fiery end (although not completely as the merciful Jon Snow ended his suffering with an arrow) this leaves the North in a sort of Limbo, Will the wildlings march south with Stannis for coin and a promise of citizenship or will they continue on their own under the patronage of Rayder’s logical successor Tormund Giantsbane?
In the capitol at Tywin’s wake we are also re-introduced to Lancel Lannister who seemingly disappeared for a long while (3 seasons was it?) and thus has returned a very changed man and part of the Sparrows, A highly religious collective. A shaven head and ragged robbed Lancel asks Cersei for a pardon in his in incestuous behaviour and for the part he played in the late King Robert Baratheon’s death. Having Lancel back adds a little tension to the plot (as if we need more!) as he clearly has some volatile information against Cersei that he could quite easily use against her. But again we’ll just have to wait and see quite how the Sparrows will factor in this season.
Across the narrow sea Daenerys who seemed from quite early on in the show to be the most likely to finally prevail in the claiming of the iron throne appears to be having a series of setbacks. Her hold over Meereen looks to be slipping with the rise of the Sons of the Harpy a resistance to the new Targaryen rule which begs the question is she ready to rule across the sea anytime soon? Also we saw The Mother of Dragon’s actually flee from her imprisoned dragons in utter fear despite the fact that we know she can’t be harmed by fire. I loved this scene as it shows just how precarious Daenerys situation is because if she can’t use her best weapon (fire and destruction, anyone remember what Harrenhal looked like?) does she really have a chance of conquering the seven kingdoms?
Tyrion is finally across the sea with Varys and I am really quite excited to see what this season will bring for these two as I have loved they’re verbal sparring since Season 1. Also I loved the shot through the little hole of Tyrion’s cargo box as it was a clever use of cinematography to put us in his shoes for a brief moment. And I must say the exchange about finding the right ruler for the seven kingdoms was great with Tyrion’s dismissive “Good luck finding him” Varys responded brilliantly with “Who said anything about him?” which led to a nice plot exposition. Now cast your mind back to season one where Arya is chasing Cats among the dragon skulls and we see Varys and Illyrio Mopatis skulking around in the shadows that moment coupled with Vary’s explanation to Tyrion about his part in their grand plan to restore the Targaryen’s to the throne shows just how much Vary’s has invested in the future of Westeros. Moreover the fact that Tyrion and Daenerys will appear together in the coming weeks is really exciting as these two are my favourite characters in the series plus if they unite they could possibly be unstoppable and Tyrion’s intelligence could be The Mother of Dragons only other plausible way into The Seven kingdoms if she can’t tame her dragons.
Anyone notice a recurring theme? Questions lots of questions, and that’s exactly why this episode worked so well, nothing is set in stone. Which is something that has been proven true time and time again throughout the past four season’s especially for those like me who have not read the books just yet (it’s on my to do list); which is part of the appeal of the show, as no one is truly exempt from dying at any given point. I remember sitting open mouthed last season with the fight between the Mountain and the Viper. Oberyn’s death was truly a shock (silly me) as I thought the Dornish Prince who was fast becoming a favourite character of mine would perhaps get a shot at revenge, just perhaps. But then he was killed, just like so many before him. So what can we learn from this? Someone unexpected will most definitely die this season. Place your bets.