A Song of Ice and Fire, Aidan Gillen, Arya Stark, Books, Bran Stark, Carice van Houten, Cersei Lannister, Charles Dance, Conleth Hill, Daario Naharis, Daenerys Targaryen, Death, Dragons, Emilia Clarke, Fantasy, Finn Jones, Game of Thrones, Game of Thrones Season Five, George RR Martin, Gwendoline Christie, Isaac Hempstead-Wright, Iwan Rheon, Jaime Lannister, Jodhi May, Jon Snow, King's Landing, Kit Harington, Lena Headey, Lino Facioli, Littlefinger, Maggy the Frog, Magic, Maisie Williams, Mance Rayder, Margaery Tyrell, Meereen, Melisandre, Michiel Huisman, Mockingjay, Murder, Myrcella, Natalie Dormer, Ned Stark, Nell Tiger Free, Nell Williams, Nikolaj Coster-Waldau, Pentos, Peter Dinklage, Politics, Pop Figurines, Ramsay Bolton, Rhaegal, Sansa Stark, Sci-Fi, Ser Loras Tyrell, Sophie Turner, Stannis Baratheon, Star Wars, Stephen Dillane, Television, Telltale Games, The Best Show on TV, The Hunger Games, The Iron Throne, The Mother of Dragons, The Red Wedding, The Wall, The Wars to Come, TV, Tyrion Lannister, Tywin Lannister, Varys, Viserion, Westeros, When You Play The Game of Thrones You Either Win or You Die, White Walkers, Winter Is Coming, Winterfell
There’s a lot to come in this season of “Game of Thrones”, as Arya (Maisie Williams), Jon Snow (Kit Harington), Sansa (Sophie Turner), Jaime (Nikolaj Coster-Waldau), Tyrion (Peter Dinklage), Cersei (Lena Headey), Margaery (Natalie Dormer), Stannis (Stephen Dillane), Brienne (Gwendoline Christie), Daenerys (Emilia Clarke) and more fight for both their lives and screen time, in what is sure to be one of the most eventful seasons so far. There are so many characters to get through each week and an abundance of stories to tell, so while this season opener didn’t quite manage to get around to everyone, it did a good job of setting the foundations for what is to come and getting me back into the political landscape of Westeros.
The first episode of this much anticipated season begins with a treat for book readers, as a young Cersei Lannister (played by Nell Williams) visits Maggy the Frog (Jodhi May) and is told a prophecy of what is to come in her life. We know that a lot of what she’s told is true, so it’s intriguing to hear what else the witch will tell Cersei of her future. Sadly, nothing additional is revealed, and I was left slightly disappointed by the opening scene. I’m not sure if perhaps more of the prophecy will be revealed later on in the season, but if it isn’t then I think that the showrunners might as well have stuck to their guns and avoided flashbacks altogether.
The dynamic between Jaime and Cersei was set straight away; Cersei let Jaime know exactly how she felt about his role in Tywin’s (Charles Dance) death as they stood over his corpse, and it wasn’t rainbows and sunshine. Whether or not their relationship will continue is up in the air right now, but the seeds have been sown regarding Jaime’s role in what is to come. If you’ve seen the trailer then you will know that he’s headed for Dorne, and that the people there aren’t all that keen on Lannisters, so it should be interesting to see how he handles himself with one hand in a land full of enemies. It seems like he’ll be going there to retrieve Myrcella (Nell Tiger Free), or at least to protect her in some capacity, and you would assume that in doing so he’ll hope to win back Cersei’s affection, but of course that’s just one possible motive in a world full of characters with ten or twelve for every drink they pour.
Tyrion and Daenerys are given sparse amounts of screen time in this first episode, practically being relegated to side characters, which is always frustrating. However, when they are on screen the show lights up and things become really interesting. Daenerys has it all to do in Meereen, and it’s abundantly clear that she’s not going to have it all her own way in season five. Not only are Rhaegal and Viserion very unhappy with their current living arrangements, but she’s also in a full-on relationship with Daario (Michiel Huisman) which can only end badly for him (although the highs are probably worth the lows). She also has the slight issue of a band of masked men killing her Unsullied soldiers, so all in all she’s in a bit of a pickle, and it doesn’t seem like she’ll be getting out of it any time soon.
Tyrion is having a rather more mundane time in Pentos, as he attempts to drink himself into an early grave. However, Varys (Conleth Hill) comes to the rescue with a plot to see an individual with honour and the right family name sit on the Iron Throne. Drumroll please… it’s Daenerys! I don’t think that anyone whose seen a trailer or a poster will be very surprised by this revelation, but the fact that the journey for Tyrion is clear right from the start of the season is very exciting, because the quicker the journey begins the sooner it will end. So it seems like we might actually see the two most noble characters on this show meeting up by the end of season five. Whether or not their relationship will soar like a dragon or be dismissed like an imperfect lion cub is yet to be seen, but here’s hoping that they are in the same room by episode ten.
Probably the most eventful scenes took place at The Wall, as Stannis asked Jon to convey a request to Mance Rayder (Ciaran Hinds) – bend the knee and serve the one true king, or be burned alive by Melisandre (Carice van Houten). The subsequent back and forth between Jon and Mance was brilliant and made you really feel for Mance as both a man and a leader, which is great writing when you consider that in episode nine of season four he was leading an assault which killed a lot of likeable characters.
Sadly things don’t end all that well for Mance, but the story at The Wall is getting better with each episode, and I’m genuinely excited for what is to come. Where things go from here for Jon is very unclear, but I was pleased that while Ramsay (Iwan Rheon) didn’t get any screen time, the Boltons were mentioned as being in control of Winterfell, and it was revealed that Stannis intends to deal with them. Things can only get better for Jon’s story from here, with an impending battle with the Boltons happening on one side, and a White Walker invasion looming as a possibility on the other.
Finally, I should mention a moment which lacked any real impact for me, and also a couple of things which I would’ve liked to have been introduced in the premiere. The first of these issues, the moment which lacked impact, involved Sansa and Littlefinger (Aidan Gillen) as the two left a young and feeble Robin (Lino Facioli) in order to venture to a place where even Cersei Lannister couldn’t find them. I am keen to see where that place is and who Sansa will be when they get there, but I found this scene slightly disappointing after waiting so long. I understand that the pieces are being put in place and this episode is basically a set-up for what is to come (so in that sense this scene works) but I wanted to see a bit more, because we knew they were going to be travelling somewhere before the season started, so we’ve effectively learnt nothing from that scene.
I felt that Dorne should’ve been introduced at some point in the episode, because I don’t count the sexposition that occurred whilst Loras (Finn Jones) was talking to his lover as a real introduction to that setting. The show has a very limited amount of time to get us invested in completely new characters, so I would’ve liked to have got a look at them straight away in the premiere. It seems like they could be being saved for when Jaime goes to Dorne, but even so, if their role in this story is really that important then I think it should be at the top of the list for things to include in the first episode of the season. The fact that Dorne wasn’t introduced in the first episode leads me to question whether or not they are really all that important in the grand scheme of things.
Another gripe that I had with the episode was that Arya wasn’t involved at all. I know that she’ll get her time and that there’s so much to get stuck into that sometimes we have to accept the sacrifices (at least Bran (Isaac Hempstead-Wright) has been sacrificed, I don’t hear anyone complaining about that), but when you end a season with a particular character setting sail for somewhere new, I think that that somewhere should be front and centre when the next season begins.
Nevertheless, this was a good season opener for a great show. I am ecstatic that “Game of Thrones” is back and that I can spend the next ten weeks talking about what is going to come next, and this episode does nothing to quell that excitement. Jon Snow’s story carried on where it left off, becoming more interesting and rejuvenating my love for the character, and Danaerys’ situation looks like it will be very intriguing in the coming weeks. We’ve already seen dragons which is a good sign, and there’s been a significant death, so the scene is set for another busy season with a lot of pieces shifting as the game carries on being played.