Recap: Game of Thrones: SE5 E01: The Wars to Come
On Saturday night the first four episodes of the new Game of Thrones season were leaked online. Four precious dragon eggs out of nowhere. What to do? The noble thing to do would have been to wait for the premiere, but we all know what happens to folks who do the noble thing around these parts.
Like The Hound in a room full of chickens, I devoured them all in one sitting.
You’ll have to wait until they air on HBO to find out what happens for the rest (or, you know, use Google), but let’s recap the first: The Wars to Come.
The new season opens with a flashback to Cersei Lanniser’s childhood. She drags a friend along to the woods to seek out a witch with the power to tell fortunes. Young teen Cersei is already blossoming into the lovely woman she will become. She threatens to have the witch’s eyes gouged out if she does not share Cersei’s future. The witch obliges. Cersei learns that she will not marry the prince (she was then betrothed to Rhaegar Targaryen), but she would be queen one day and bear three children before being supplanted by a younger and fairer queen who will totally wreck her world.
Cersei wakes with a start from her flashback dream and we’re back to the present time in King’s Landing. On the steps of the Great Sept of Baylor, she throws some shade Margaery Tyrell’s way, then she goes to pay her respects to the departed Lord Tywin. Jaime is there already. She blames him for freeing Tyrion and getting their father killed in the process. Then she stalks away.
Meanwhile on the other side of the world, Tyrion is set free from the box he’s been traveling in for what looks like months. Varys has accompanied the box all the way to Pentos, to the home of Ilyrio Mopatis (who you may remember conspired with Viserys to wed Daenerys to Khal Drogo.) Tyrion has seen better days. He’s got a dirty beard and has finally lapsed into full-blown alcoholism. Varys says he once worked with Mopatis to restore the Targaryens to power and he tries to convince Tyrion to help the realm, but Tyrion seems only interested in drinking himself to death. He’s moved from wine to the harder stuff and pours another glass right after vomiting without hesitating.
In Meereen, the great Harpy statue on top of the pyramid is brought down by the Unsullied. Afterward, one of them goes off to a red light district and pays to cuddle with a prostitute (because why not?). Just as she begins to sing him to sleep he gets his throat cut by a man in a golden harpy mask.
Daenerys meets with her council about the murder. She commands that he gets buried with honors in the temple of the graces, then charges Grey Worm with finding the culprits and bringing them to her. Missandei asks why White Rat (the dead Unsullied) would visit a brothel in the first place. Grey Worm replies that he does not know.
At Castle Black. Ser Alliser Thorne is still a dick and is running for Commander of the Night’s Watch. Meanwhile, Melissandre tells Jon Snow that the king wants to speak with him. On the way, she flirts with Jon and asks if he’s a virgin. He says no. She says good. Stannis tells Jon that he plans to depose Roose Bolton from Winterfell and re-take the north. He wants the Wildlings to join his army and will pardon them if Mance Rayder bends the knee. He tells Jon to convince Mance to do so by nightfall or he will burn.
In the Eyrie, creepy young Lord Arryn is learning how to fight with a sword. Sort of. Sansa and Littlefinger are about to go on a trip to somewhere far away where Cersei can’t get her hands on her.
Speaking of the mother of madness, in the capital Cersei is dealing with tedious well-wishers following her father’s death. Most tiresome of all is her cousin and former lover Lancel, who was seriously injured at the battle of the Blackwater. He is now a member of a group of religious fanatics called the sparrows. He tries to convince Cersei to repent and meets with predictable results.
Loras is with a playmate when Margaery bursts in and tells him to get ready for dinner. They commiserate about having to be so close to the queen. Margaery makes it sound like she has a plan to get Cersei out of the way.
Back in Pentos, Tyrion asks Varys why he risked so much to save him. Varys says he did it for the seven kingdoms, because he sees something in Tyrion and wants his help to put a ruler in power stronger than Tommen but gentler than Stannis. He asks him to ride to Meereen to meet Daenerys. Tyrion agrees, but only on the condition that he can drink himself to death along the way.
In Meereen, Hizdahr zo-Loraq asks Daenerys to re-open the fighting pits to establish good will and show respect for the city’s traditions. She says no. Later in bed with Daario Naharis, she learns that he made his way by starting in the fighting pits. He tells her she should open them as well and let her dragons out for some air to remind everyone who she is. She says she can’t control them anymore but Dany feels guilty enough to go visit Viserion and Rhaegal in the dungeon where we last saw them. She finds the two much larger, hostile and more untameable than ever and runs away scared.
Back at Castle Black, Jon fails to change Mance’s mind about bending the knee. Even when he learns he’ll be burned alive, he won’t budge. At the stake Stannis promises mercy if he kneels and Mance refuses but wishes him good fortune in the wars to come (I love it when they say the title of the move in the movie!). Melissandre sets the pyre ablaze. Mance stays stoic until the flames start licking at him. Then just as he’s about to start screaming Jon Snow bails him out with an arrow to the chest.
On Top: Cersei Lannister: With Tywin out of the picture and her son the king a weakling, Cersei is undoubtedly the top player in the game, but she’s her own greatest enemy at this point.
Rising: Margaery Tyrell: She’s about to wed Tommen, a sweet boy who should be easily manipulated. If she can get rid of Cersei she might become the most powerful person in Westeros.
Falling: Tyrion Lannister: Self pity, hard liquor and shitting in a box: our hero is lucky to be alive but Tyrion has fallen on hard times.
Quote of the night:
“There are quicker ways to kill yourself.” -Varys
“Not for a coward.” -Tyrion
Next week on Game of Thrones:
Jon Snow starts studying for the GED so he can finally know something.