Monday, April 13, 2015

Game of Thrones: Season 5 Episode 1 - The Wars to Come

Hello friends from the Earthly realm and welcome back (finally) to the drama in Westeros and Essos! Game of Thrones season 5 is here and it's awesome!  So, we are now into books 4 and 5 of George R. R. Martin's A Song of Ice and Fire.  The producers have made it no secret that they intend to keep plowing forward with plot regardless of George's progress on the books.  So, the popular guess is that this season will include most or ALL of both of George's latest books.  The stories, for the most part, run in parallel in both books chronologically with book 5 A Dance With Dragons stretching the timeline further in the 2nd half of the book.  It also has been implied that this season will differ THE MOST from the books, which has book fans all in an uproar.   Usually, I've been one to champion the differences between Book and Show.   They seem to always make the right choice and keep the spirit of the books alive.   Some of the things I assumed would be cut OUT of the show are pretty much what they're cutting out.  (with the exception of one large twist that could've been at the end of last season and is probably cut out entirely)   All of that said, the majority of the season premiere played out almost exactly like it did in the books with the exception of a few different scenes.  And, based on some interviews, the final scene seems like it may have a different final outcome than the written word! 

Okay, I know.  Half of the readers of that first paragraph probably just rolled their eyes and thought to themselves (maybe even exclaimed outloud), "Oh great.  Here we go again.  Another book reader endlessly comparing to the books!"   For anyone that has read my recaps before, I do pretty well at only comparing to the books when it's clear that the show already covered it or has no plans in covering it.  Even so, I'm pretty good with spoiler warnings and splitting out any strictly book discussions for the bottom of the recap.  The same goes for the comments.  If you're going to post about stuff to come from the books, PLEASE INDICATE SPOILER in your comment!  

All of that said, I think we're ready to dive on into the season 5 premiere!  Let's do it! 
First of all, here are a few Exclusive EW columns on the premiere from the one and only James Hibberd:

Discussion Points
Opening Credits

  • Winterfell is no longer burning!  And it should be noted that the Flayed Man sigil of the Boltons was present on the iconic locale.  So depressing.  Long Live the Starks! 


  • That's right, the show had its first flashback!  According to the article, the show runners claim that it really isn't technically a flashback because the episode started with it.  They have to justify because they claimed they are not fans of nor never would do flashbacks.   Though, fans are probably hopeful that this flashback may lead to others involving a certain Robert Baratheon's War against the Targaryans.  Rest assured though, this apparently will be the only flashback this season. 
  • It certainly was a good one and dove into a prophecy once given to Cersei Lannister.  It seemed to have been given on the grounds of Casterly Rock, the Lannister homeland.  Maggy the Frog was the fortune teller/witch, and I must say she was aged down quite a bit from the books!  
  • Cersei's prophecy is important, because we learn that most of it has come true and it fuels her motivation and decisions.   She was promised to Prince Raegar Targaryan, but was told she'd marry the king.  (i.e. Robert Baratheon)   She was told she'd have 3 children but never with the King.  And the king would have 20 (the bastard children).   And then, the final part of the prophecy, Gold will be their crowns and gold would be their shrouds.   This indicates that all her children will be king/queen and all would perish.   Joffrey has already died.  So, clearly this makes her concerned for the welfare of her other 2 children.  One, Tommen, is king now slowly being pulled away from her by Margary Tyrell.   The other, Myrcella, is in Dorne thanks to her loving imp brother Tyrion.  And guess what family is in Dorne and not very happy about a certain turn of events last season?  That is correct, The Martells of Oberyn fame! 
  • Now, I thought in the books there was more to this prophecy dealing specifically with Cersei.  But, since I can't recall and since it might not be pertinent, I'm just going to leave it at that.   This could be a good or bad thing, but my memory of books 4 and 5 is a little bit worse than my memory of the first 3.  I find that strange because I read 4 and 5 most recently! 

King's Landing

  • When we return to present day, King's Landing is mourning Tywin Lannister, which is another event attributed to Tyrion!  Cersei has refused to let anyone see the body so far.  Her brother/former lover Jaime is inside guarding the body.  Thankfully, this scene didn't play out like the last family viewing.  And please, let's never  again get into the debate about that scene that the show caused!
  • Jaime is concerned that their enemies are going to rise out of the dust now that the Lannister Patriarch is gone.   Cersei is furious at Tyrion and a little bit at Jaime for setting him free.  The "at least he killed our father on purpose" line had to hurt!  
  •  Cersei dealing with Loras' sympathies was as hysterical as ever.  She continues to ignore her betrothed (though, with Tywin out of the way, we can assume that marriage won't take place.  Or can we?)  
  • We also had a run in with Lancel Lannister who has joined the Sparrows.  He's turned to religion and the light of the 7 to atone for his sins.  What sins you ask?  Oh you know, sleeping with his cousin Cersei, being a wuss in The Battle of Blackwater, and just a tiny thing of killing King Robert Baratheon on the queen's orders.  I don't think it was ever CONFIRMED that this happened until this scene, just strongly implied.  
  • Here I go again.  Now, IN THE BOOKS, there is more to the Lancel plot.  Before Tyrion killed Shae and his father, he went on a tirade against Jaime and told him that Cersei had been sleeping around and mentioned Lancel by name.  Jaime also shared some details of Tyrion's past flames in that encounter but the plot seems to be totally scrapped from the show.  
  • We also got reintroduced to Kevan Lannister, Tywin's brother and Lancel's father.  He has played a minor role in the show, but the actor remains the same.  If the show follows the books, he may become a little more prominent now.  
  • We also dove into the Tyrell bedroom for a bit.  More Loras and Olyvar business.   This time Margaery comes in and looks equally annoyed and turned on.  They have a whole discussion about Cersei and how Loras doesn't need to marry her anymore.  But Marge has other plans.  She wants her out of the capital.  She wants to be THE QUEEN.   She's still working her paws into Tommen.  We'll see where this juicy plot goes!    

  • Tyrion has made it to the East!  And he certainly is not looking well.  He has drank his troubles away in a crate for the entire journey (and continues to do so).  He shoved his feces out of holes in a crate, while Varys threw it overboard.  He is in a state of depression feeling he has no purpose in the world anymore.  Killing his lover and father in one blow could do that to a person.   (though, finding out who he originally married wasn't truly a whore, one final insult from his father, might have put him into an even bigger funk.  That plot has been scrapped as well.)  
  • There was some excellent acting and dialogue here between Varys and Tyrion.  They're in Pentos which is where Illyrio lives.  Illyrio was in season 1 and helped arrange the marriage between Dany and Drogo.  He was also seen talking to Varys in Kings Landing with the dragon skulls and Arya eavesdropping.  We get a little more input here that Varys was never a fan of Robert Baratheon and a true Targaryan Loyalist.  Well, he still says he serves the realm and will do anything to unite it and make it stronger.   He feels that Dany Targaryan is that voice that can unite the people, earn their love and bring a prosperous future to Westeros.  
  • Tyrion will need convincing to be motivated to support this plot, but for now he will drink his way to Meereen to meet the Queen! 
  • Finally, stories are converging!   This story is in the books, but it already shows more promise with Varys being on the journey with Tyrion.  In the original script, Varys did not stow himself away on the ship with Tyrion.  He remained a secret partner in arranging Tyrion's escape.  


  • The harpy has been taken down!  This made for a great visual.   But, the people of Meereen are in an uproar with their new Queen.  She freed them, yes, but she is not respecting their traditions which is causing a whole mess of boring political crap.  This storyline is easily the worst story in A Dance With Dragons.  Though, we're not to the worst of it yet!   This was all part of George's Meereenese Knot that he couldn't untie himself out of.   I do have faith that the show will make Dany's story a little more interesting than the mundane stuff that was in the books though.  
  • Showing her dragons a little more than a book called A Dance With Dragons did, would be a good start!  That scene with her walking through the place where she locked up 2 of her dragons was creepy and awesome!  But, we can see she fears her dragons now, as she should.  They are pissed!  They're paying for sins that their brother Drogon caused.  Speaking of...that big black dragon is still missing since he set that boy on fire.  
  • I'm skipping ahead though.  One big plot that Hizdar Lo Something asked of Dany was to open up the fighting pits again in an effort to show she respects the traditions.  She is against that as much as she is slavery.  (since you know, slaves used to be the ones fighting)  These people are trained fighters though and WANT to fight in the pits.  
  • We learned that Daario pretty much had the same career path as Maximus from Gladiator.  His mother was a whore who sold him to slavery.  He fought his way to fame in the fighting pits and then joined the Second Sons.  If anyone can convince Dany to do this, it's probably the man that she has googley eyes for.  
  • The show continues to try and humanize the Unsullied as well which was not a plot whatsoever in the books.  Some Grey Worm look-a-like went to a whore to be treated like a baby and have the topless woman cuddle him and sing to him.  (before his throat was sliced mind you)   Missendei asked Grey Worm why the Unsullied would go to a brothel.  He did not know the answer.   But, since they were taken as children and now are free, they might be reverting back to missing their mothers' love.  I'm totally grasping at straws here.  I wonder if there was a hidden subtext to Missendei's maybe she has the hots for Grey Worm.  They hinted at it last season.  

The Vale

  • Not much here.  We were treated to Robin Arryn being trained to fight which was a comical site.  The main point was probably getting rid of the actor in a convincing way so that he wasn't involved in Sansa and Littlefinger's road show.  (a difference from the books if I'm not mistaken)   Littlefinger wanted him trained to be a more convincing fighter and stated that a strong name is sometimes all you need. 
  • Littlefinger lied to where they were going as they head West from the Vale.  Sansa observed this and questioned him on it.  He indicated they're going somewhere far enough where Cersei couldn't reach them.  I honestly have no idea what he's talking about but am intrigued! 

Brienne and Podrick

  • Brienne is sitting around feeling sorry for herself for failing with the Star girls.  She tries to rid herself of Podrick, but something tells me he won't be leaving her side.  Another slap in Brienne's face, Sansa/Alayne rode right past them right under her nose! 

The Wall

  • We open up with Jon training Ollie to fight.  You know, the guy that killed Ygritte.  I'm guessing he got a little joy knocking the kid to his feet.  But, he doesn't seem to have a gripe with him.  
  • We see a little bit of Alliser Throne and Janos Slynt brooding and plotting their next move.  
  • Sam and Gilly have a discussion about their next move as well.  Gilly is concerned that she'll be forced to leave Castle Black if Thorne or Slynt becomes Lord Commander.  Sam states that wherever Gilly goes he will go too, which she claims they'll execute him.  They would indeed if he abandoned his post.   I did like the look Gilly gave Jon when he implied he didn't need any training.  Anyway, Sam does have an interesting story in the books, but it remains to be seen if it'll go that way in the show.  This little sidebar scene seems to indicate it might. 
  • The main plot was all about Jon Snow though.  He talked to Mellisandre in the Wall Elevator where she eyed him up for some times in the Hot Springs (though she would be bringing the heat this time).  She asked what every woman asks when they first meet, "Are you a virgin?"  And when they say no, the obvious response is, "Good."  
  • Stannis, Davos and Jon have a discussion about the Wildlings and how Jon has a soft spot for them.  He indicated they were born on the wrong side of the wall.  Stannis is trying to recruit an army to march South.  His first stop would be Winterfell which he thought might appeal to Jon.  He implied that Mance Rayder needs to bend the knee or he will burn.  
  • Jon has a great discussion with Mance about swallowing pride and bending the knee and his people would respect him for it rather than watching him burn.  But Mance cannot disobey his beliefs and what he stands for.   
  • In the end, Mance tells Stannis to make himself at home.  Mellisandre speaks some lord of light mumbo jumbo and sets the pyre on fire.  We watch Mance suffer and everyone's frightful faces while watching.  Jon gets annoyed and walks away but before we know it he shoots an arrow into Mance's chest to end the suffering.  This might not go over too well for him!   But, RIP Mance.  Poor Ciarin Hinds didn't get a lot of meaty material for his meaty role.  And some of his best stuff was yet to come.    
  • This is where I say, IN THE BOOKS, this scene happened exactly as it did in the show with one big difference.  (SPOILER, but not really since it's implied it won't happen)   Mellisandre had glamored someone else to look like Mance it really wasn't Mance that was killed.  But, that type of confusion doesn't seem to be somewhere the show wants to go.   So, I guess they'll make do without him.   
So that's it for this episode.  Arya didn't have a scene which is pretty traditional for season premieres. I love her story in the books, so I'm looking forward to seeing it play out.  Bran has been benched for a season since his story is complete (i.e. we're caught up to the books and waiting for everyone else to catch up to him).   

I'm not going to spoil WHO, but I will say it's interesting that they still haven't named the Lord Commander of the Night's Watch yet.  I wonder if that's going to be a season-long story.  It happened at the end of A Storm of Swords (book 3).   We shall see! 

I'm going to turn it over to the comments now.  Remember, for book discussions of events that haven't happened yet, note SPOILER!   Hope you enjoyed my ramblings and I'll see you next week! 


MJ said...

How creepy those stone eyes are ! I had to laugh at young Cercei's puzzlement how she would be married to a king have 3 kids not his and he'd have 20 kids. Thanks for the confirmation that we did not know Cersei had Robert killed using her cousin. Cause my jaw kinda dropped last night with that one. I had assumed that she would not marry Loras now - until your comment. LOL Only reason I can see her marrying him now is to be closer to the enemy (Maergery) . Interesting move by Varys to have Dani and Tyrion on the same side. I swear that right before all the feces talk I said to my husband no way he's been in the crate this whole time cause how would he go to the bathroom ! Yeah - thinking Missendi and Grey Worm will hook up - I just rewatched the ep where he sees her naked and she then talks with Dany about it - both wondering if both 'pillar and stones' are taken. LOL

Mike V. said...

Don't look to me for Cersei/Loras marriage info. lol I was puzzled by Margaery's comment. It seems like it might take a different route than the books. But, I do know what's coming (sorta) for Cersei so maybe not. But, I will say they did not get married in the books. :-)

Good call on the's a thing that 24 wouldn't touch, but Game of Thrones never shies away! lol

Yeah, it certainly was implied that the wine killed Robert, but you'd only catch that implication if you rewatched it 10 times or read the books. :) If you rewatch that episode you can see Lancel was making sure Robert was always drinking his wine.

Anonymous said...

MIke, thank you for doing this. I've been waiting to read your post since last night.

I can't believe the unsullied don't have a pillar-lol. Now, Theon on the other hand. Anyway, I thought the ep was pretty much in line with the books too. I found it interesting that the opening includes the Vale and Pentos as a part of the CGI but not Dorne or Bravos. Usually the opening cities are important. I am SOO over the Brienne/Pod story line!! They want to cut stuff and leave that in yet don't have some really cool stuff from the book on the show. It was predictable and silly when Sansa went by Brienne. But hey, made me laugh. What is Peter up to, heading West from the Vale?? Let's see, the Bolton's are that way as are the Frey's and of course the Tulley's. I'm including NW, W and SW in that. So, I'm guessing he's going to the Tulley's but I thought they were not in a good spot right now with Brynden on the run after the Red Wedding.

The thing I found interesting was the frog lady telling Cersei that a younger more beautiful queen would take her place. So, is that Margery or Dany--lol???? So, Cersei has to be fearful of Margery, I don't know what she thinks of Dany.

POlitics--Varys thinks it important and Dany doesn't. She thinks because she's queen that's all that should matter. I wonder if Varys will be so enamored with her after he finds out she doesn't get it(how to rule). This ep really didn't portray Dany as ready to rule and that's probably on purpose. Daario pointing out her need for the dragons and her inability to work with them is NOT a good sign. We know the Targeryans rode and used their dragons in warfare. She can't even get close to them. Of course Drogon is a question mark. But, the other two can't be either useless or usurped if she's to be the left as the ruler. Certainly Tyrion can help her with the politics a lot, if she'll let him. BTW, when Tyrion said he would never sit on the Iron Throne and Varys agreed, I was secretly wondering if maybe he would end up on it??

I'm really going to be interested to see what Jaimee does since his book character will likely be different in a few key areas.

IN my rewatch of S4 it became so clear how the titles and content of each ep were well synched. If that carries on this season, there is a lot of foundational material in this ep given the title of wars to come.

***************Potential Spoilers************
If the books and TV show diverge on Mance, I'm not happy at all. AGain, we have Brienne, an unlikeable character vs Mance. The hound told her the truth about Arya and she didn't get it until she started a fight, just dumb. Then they open her up with a scene and her being all down realizing he was right. Just dumb to me.

I wonder if JS is treated the same way on the TV show when his time comes?


Mike V. said...

Richard, no problem. My time has been very limited but I had to find time to write about GoT!! Just don't have much time to comment. Once Wednesday rolls around I should be getting closer to normal.

Jaime's story...did you read the EW feature a few weeks back? They pretty much said what his story is going to be and it makes total sense with a more streamlined story of the show vs. books. I really am confused at what Brienne will be up to this season...I'm not bored with her and don't hate her at all..but understand why you might not be interested. lol

I didn't even consider Dany with the prophecy but when I listened to a podcast they did. Certainly could imply Dany in the long run...but Cersei would interpret it as Margaery the immediate threat. Which should make for some fun fireworks this season! :-)


If you read the articles I linked to...seems pretty final with Mance which is why I didn't shy away of talking about it. But if you think through his storyline, it's not like they can't do that stuff with someone else who has had more screentime. (i.e. the red hed dude I can't remember his name)

JS - doubt it...he seems to be around for the long haul. but we'll see!

MJ said...

Cersei replaced - huh ! did not think of Dany either !

I avoided the article about Jamie's path since for me that would be a spoiler FYI.

Anonymous said...

Yea, I agree the red head dude is the likely guy who will fill in. He's good, but not Mance. Yea, it seems like a done deal too.

I didn't read the ew articles. But I think I read on WIC or something about some things Jaime's up to. And so in considering it, is one reason I suggested Sansa/Petyr may be heading in a smilar direction AS Jaime. Just a guess. I really am hoping Jaime's storyline is more exciting than how I read the articles.


Mike V. said...

@MJ - yeah i figured you wouldn't know so I've been careful not to mention it. Which makes it tough because I want to tell Richard! lol

But based on what you said about LF and Sansa I don't think they're heading to the same place...if that helps at all! :)

Mike V. said...

2nd line there was meant for Richard!

Mike V. said...

Ahh forgot about these articles. no time to read it but I love them.

TV vs. the Books!

MJ said...

So - why is Brienne wandering around aimlessly ? She was on her way to the Aerie when she ran into Aray and the Hound. Arya did not tell her that her aunt was dead so Brienne should still be going there looking for Sansa. I understood her feeling bad she did not get Arya but she still has her oath in regards to Sansa - so I don't get her despondency.

Go ahead and tell Richard - I won't read it if SPOILER is there.

Anonymous said...

I thought they told Brienne that Arya's Aunt is dead, that she had no where to go, no where for Brienne to take her. She would have the same problem with Sansa. Which is what Jaime pointed out to her last year. She could take them to castle black if she knew what was going on. Part of me thinks she'll end up speaking with Jon this season though. Maybe she'll take over the nights watch from Jon at some point--lol.

YES, YES, YES--there's no purpose for Brienne--lol. What really bothers me is that for some reason the show runners like her and are going to make some c*^p up. LIke taking over the nights watch or leading the Wildlings, something crazy like that.


Mike V. said...

Brienne - I think Richard is right. They might have passed on the news...but I'm not done my rewatch so I forget. But this is a case of where they've changed the show from the book a bit. I'm interested to see where they send her next because there is no way her story can stay the same. lol But, unlike Richard I'm optimistic they'll find a use for her! :-)


Richard, Jaime is going to Dorne to get Myrcella....(there is a storyline to try and get her back in the books it's just not Jaime who goes to do it).....So I don't think Littlefinger and Sansa will be running into Jaime at riverrun. Popular opinion is that Bronn will be going WITH Jaime on the trip instead of Ser Illyn Payne (the actor has cancer I believe).

But, interesting point on Riverrun...maybe Blackfish will resurface like you said. He was in AFFC and ran into Jaime.

Anonymous said...


Yea Jaime ran into the Blackfish so I thought they might all meet up.

I obviously didn't read about Jaime going to Dorne, opposite direction and all. I actually can see a Bronn/Jaime combo as being pretty good down with those Martell girls--lol. Of course Bronn's married now and who knows with Jaime. Maybe it will help him forget Cersei-lol.

Sansa gets Petyr in with the Tulley's, that was my thinking.

If Brienne takes over the Nights Watch then that's one heck of a use. We don't know if JS survives, at least from what I've read. Even if he is a T, he may not survive. But in reality I expect that he will survive so don't think I've gone and lost my mind.

Mike V. said...


Brienne as a MAN of the Night's Watch!! LOL that's a good time. Interesting idea, but yeah I doubt it. There's no telling if she'll head up that way to help out though. Or go take on Ramsay herself. That could be a good time.

The whole Sansa/Petyr with the Tulley's would be an interesting twist.

From what I also read Arianne Martell will not be a character, but Ellaria Sand will take her place....which makes sense. She was already introduced and I got confused with all of the introduction of the Dornish in Book 5. So it was good they slimmed them down.

Also a big fan of Varys being on the road with Tyrion. I think that's going to be acting gold!

Anonymous said...

From WIC on books vs TV. So now there's a possibility that differences in the ending could occur. What a mess. Duh George it was just DUMB to stop writing. But that's what happens when promotional people get involved--they ruin stuff trying to exploit whatever they can. I could see HBO justifying an extension beyond 7 seasons as a way to give GRRM time to write--lol. But there's NO guarantee that will work.

D&Bs statement that S5 begins and ends as the books do tells me a lot. But we already know that the Mance death is different. So, in a way D&B are not being truthful.