It’s here! At last! After ten long months we have a new “Game of Thrones.” What new plots would be discover? What secrets would be revealed? What characters will be first to cross death’s door? And could episode one possibly live up to all the expectation? Find out after the break!
The season opens with a full-on “Lost”-style flashback, as Young Cersei and friend visit a witch who had taken up residence on Tywin’s lands. No amount of pleading from her young friend, nor the initial refusal of the forest witch can dissuade her… Cersei wants to know her future and as we know, Cersei gets what Cersei wants. In this case, Cersei probably got more than what she bargained for, as the witch accurately predicts marriage and their children, including the three of hers who would have golden hair AND golden shrouds.
In the present, we find Cersei waiting to view her father’s body. A crowd of dignitaries awaits, and they’re going to have to wait a little longer, Cersei wants her time. Inside the chapel, Tywin lies in state, being watched over by Jaime. Cersei mocks her brother, denounces his support of Tyrion, even as Jaime urges her to remain united else “they” would tear down everything their father built.
Later, as she receives the condolences of the dignitaries (and drinks glass after glass of wine), she is greeted by her cousin and season one boy-toy Lancel, who apparently has found religion. She also spots Tommen sharing a moment with his betrothed Margaery that must have set her teeth on edge. These scenes did a great job of once again adding depths to Cersei’s character. She’s more than just an ambitious, bitch-queen, she’s a mother, and one that we now know has been burdened for a lifetime by a prophesy that her children were not long for the world.
Elsewhere in King’s Landing, we find Loras sneaking some nakie-funtime with his newest boy-toy, before being interrupted by Maegary, who reminds Loras discretion might be warranted at the time. We learn (to no real surprise) that the whole point of marrying Cersei to Loras is to keep her in High Garden to allow Maergary unfettered access to the young King. Whether that’s for reasons good or foul remains to be seen.
Speaking of foul, our favorite Lannister sure felt and smelt foul after a week or two packed into a shipping crate. Tyrion emerges from the crate in the Pentos home of Illyrio Mopatis, the wealthy merchant who helped arrange the marriage of Danaerys Targarean to Drogo way back in season one. Varys allows Tyrion a few days of self-pity before he reveals his plans to save the realm: a trip to Meereen to meet the Queen of the Dragons. A trip he hopes that Tyrion, whose he considers a man of value and wisdom will make as well.
Dany’s hold on Meereen continue to fray at the edges. Seems a terrorist group called The Sons of the Harpy are stalking the streets, killing an Unsullied that looked enough like Grey Worm to make me pull up IMDb to see if they pulled a Daario and switched actors from the last few seasons.
And speaking of Daario, he’s back in Meereen after a successful foray in Yunkai. The Yunkai lords are fine with Dany’s rule, as long as she opens the fighting pits. Dany refuses. Later, during their own nakie-fun time, Daario tries to convey the importance of the pits as well as the importance of dragons. Dany decides to pay a visit, only to find her fire-breathing children are more than a little pissed. They force her to flee, leaving us to ponder Daario’s words, “What is a Queen of Dragons with no dragons?”
Over in the Vale, Westeros’ prince of darkness Petyr Baelish continues his plans of world domination. He and his new disciple Sansa watch as little lord Robyn Arryn proves thirteen years of breast milk don’t really prepare you a life of swordplay. Robyn is being fostered for his “own protection,” though you wonder if a accident with a dulled sword isn’t far in his future. Later, Sansa and Baelish discuss matters of trust as they head somewhere west. I’m sure there’s more to come on that front.
Also in the Vale, Podrick and Brienne discuss what’s next… Brienne is disheartened. Without a king or someone to follow, she’s nothing, certainly not a knight. And if she’s not a knight, then Pod is certainly not a squire. Not sure where we’re going with these two, but the coming attractions indicate something is up.
Jon Snow is back to doing what he does best, training the nearly untrainable Night’s Watch, when he is summoned by Melisandre to meet the King. Melisandre continues her creepy, frank evaluation of our mopiest bastard, at one point inviting him to feel how warm she remains in the cold.
Turns out Stannis would like the Wildling Army on his side, using them to avenge the Starks, take the North and restart the war on the remaining Lannister’s and Tyrell’s down in Kings Landing. To make this happen, Stannis wants Jon to convince Mance to kneel and swear fealty.
Jon does try, pointing out that joining Stannis would save his people and fulfill his promise to deliver them across the Wall. Mance refuses, not just out of pride, but because doing so would invalidate everything he believes in. Mance is put to the torch, but as the flames approach and he’s about to break, an angry Jon puts an arrow through his heart, giving an honorable man an honorable death. I guess next week we’ll find out what Stannis feels about that.
An okay episode. It definitely had a set-up feel, and after the events of last season, which have almost wiped the board clean, maybe we need a breather. It did raise some questions like:
Did half the cast share the same hair dye? We know Sansa traded in her red locks, but Melisandre suddenly seems to have moved several degrees towards the darker end of the spectrum. And surfer-boy fop Lancel Lannister is now a somber, brown sparrow. Is this just another way of showing winter is coming?
What was going on with Thorvald and Mance at the end. I know they were best bros, but that long intense eye contact and the camera’s jarring back and forth made me think that something else was going on there.
Margaery’s complete non-discomfort hanging out with her naked brother makes me wonder if the Lannisters aren’t the only royal family with the secret “incest is best” t-shirt.
So, already counting down the moments until we enter “the House of Black and White” and find out what Arya is up to. See you next week.