The fourth episode of Game of Thrones season five is like a pressure cooker of budding conflicts across the map. Kings Landing is knee deep in political warfare as Cersei stacks her house of cards, Stanis Baratheon’s armies prepare to march against Winterfell, and the Dornish plot a war to avenge the death of their beloved Red Viper. Meereen is facing a threat from within, yet somehow Khalessi finds time to give a riveting interview on The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon. Want to know what her favorite food is? Major spoilers after the jump!
When we heard that writers for Game of Thrones season five were adapting the source material and moving it in a different direction, we didn’t realize that it’d involve renaming Khaleesi “Karen”, having her favorite food be “meats” or changing her address to a forest near a mountain. In all honesty, this interview was hilarious and deserves an honorable mention considering this week’s episode didn’t have much Daenarys time. Much of her screen time was spent with her stalwart Queen’s Guard hearing stories of her brother Rhaegar’s minstrel ways before Robert’s Rebellion. Anytime Ser Barristan Selmy and Khaleesi share screen time is always a treat – the chemistry between Ian McElhinney and Emilia Clarke is charming, and will be missed since another of the anticipated retcon’s for seasons five is the apparent death of Selmy and Grey Worm at the hands of the Sons of the Harpy. They better hope Dany doesn’t sick “Carl” aka Drogon on them!
Change is on the winds for Game of Thrones fans, but some of the same storytelling devices are still front-and-center on the show, most notably the buddy film/road movie narrative. Buddy films as a genre are when two or three people of the same sex get together, most often with stark personality differences, and travel long distances whereby they alter the perspectives of their everyday lives. We can see this trope in the relationship between Jamie Lannister and Bronn as they south through the narrow sea towards Dorne, and between Jorah Mormont and Tyrion Lannister as they sail to Slaver’s Bay.
Jamie and Bronn set out to liberate Princess Marcella from the Dornish royalty she’s been living with since the Battle of the Black Water. This voyage is about change for Jamie. He’s never seen his children from the perspective of a father, especially not in the books. But in this adaptation we’re led to believe that the death of his eldest boy Joffrey has had more of an affect on him. He’s now taken it upon himself to travel to Dorne and free her from those who might use her to start a war, namely the Sand Snakes aka the daughters of Oberyn Martell.
Honestly, this version of the Sand Snakes seem a little boring so far. Part of what made them so awesome in the books was their relationship to their cousin, Arianna Martell, the eldest child and heir to Prince Doran. The sand snakes were more shrouded in mystery, almost like a secret service, or an elite fighting force. They were deeply embedded in the Dornish court, and the greater political scheming of Doran. In this version they’re more opposed to Doran with the absence of Arianna, even though the introduction of Elaria Sand is supposed to mitigate those relationships. Perhaps having them interact with Jamie will make up for all the elements missing in this adaptation? Maybe they should do a road trip to bond! We’ll have to wait and see.
Similarly Ser Jorah Mormont, desperate to be in the good graces of Daenarys Targaryen kidnaps the Imp in the hopes of delivering an enemy to her feet. We’re not entirely sure where this is going, especially since this will have passed the books chronology but we’re guessing his self-discovery will have something to do with loyalty and honor. It’s also rather convenient that they should be approaching Meereen just as two of her most trusted advisors are killed. We see what you did there Benioff and Weiss.
King’s Landing is a shit show. There, we said it. Everyone was thinking it. Cersei is running the Capitol unchecked; she bullies the small council in the name of the King, sends Lord Mace Tyrell to the Iron Bank of Braavos, and authorizes the High Sparrow to revive the Faith Militant, an armed force in service to the Gods. She’s switched things up enough to where her power will likely go unchecked entirely, now that daddy is out of the picture. While she has the ear of the Sparrow, she informs him of a particular highborn who is living in sin, and we’re led to believe it’s her betrothed, Ser Loras Tyrell.
Lancel Lannister, after having burned the sigil of the seven into his forehead like Bullseye from Daredevil, throws him into the dungeons for sex perversion and Queen Margery is not happy! When she confronts King Tommen aka Sir Pounce, he says he knows nothing. When King Tommen confronts the Queen Regent, she says she knows nothing. When King Tommen confronts the High Sparrow he is told the Sparrow is in prayer and cannot be disturbed. Honestly, Cersei is either a genius mastermind or a chaos loving insane person! We’re banking on a little from column A, and a little from column B. She better watch out, Margery is off to warn Lady Olenna of the situation – talk about not wanting to wake the dragon.
Things are heating up in the north, oddly. The Red Priestess, Lady Melisandre is convinced that Jon Snow will play a part in the war to come. She swears that there is power within him, and even tries to tempt the Lord Commander with her ginger minj in order to make a shadow baby. Now, if you’ve been watching this should have registered as defcon five as the only other times she’s attempted this maneuver is with king’s blood; Stannis Baratheon, and Gendry in particular. Either the math has changed, or Melisandre just confirmed one of the biggest fan theories about the books thus far, that Jon Snow is the son of Rhaegar Targaryen and Lyanna Stark. We’ll admit, there was a moment in this scene when we thought Snow would fall for her Asshaian ways, especially given his track record with red heads. The scene is played delicately and surprisingly sensual for Game of Thrones, hats off to Carice van Houten and Kit Harington for capturing the balance between sexy and creepy.
While we’re on the subject of sneaky gingers, Sansa Stark is welcomed back at Winterfell by House Bolton as the betrothed to Ramsey. Talk about a red flag relationship, but Uncle Petyr is confident that Sansa is up for the task. Either manipulate Ramsey into loving her, or wait for Stannis to bulldoze Winterfell and ascend to Wardeness of the North when he takes Kings Landing. It’s a gamble, but as Littlefinger says he’s a gambling man. Once again the north tackles sexy/creepy as Sansa and Petry share an awkward kiss in the Stark maosoleum. He’s headed back to King’s Landing because someone is killing his whores. Seriously what is it with this show? Kisses like these skirt the boundary between daddy issues and creepy uncle, and we’re not always okay with it – probably explains why we keep coming back for more.
With Cersei and her crazy parenting skills to the south, Petry’s creepy uncle bit to the north, and Daenarys’ god-mommy complex to the east, we find solace is father-of-the-year, Stannis “The Man” Baratheon. He recounts to Princess Shireen the story of how she contracted grey scale after being reminded how horribly Queen Selyse had treated her regarding their relocation to Castle Black. He tells her how hard he fought to save her life, how proud he is of her, and how much he loves her. Its rather telling when good parenting is a shock on Game of Thrones. Stannis continues to evolve on the TV show, way more than we’ve ever gotten considering he was never a POV character in the books. In a wash of amoral players, he’s a refreshing voice of lawfulness and purpose.
The approaching conflicts are ever rising. King’s Landing is set to go to war with Dorne unless Jamie can act quickly. Stannis will march on Winterfell and attempt to win the North for his cause, and the Sons of the Harpies will soon come to know the wrath of Daenarys Stormborn! Now that the leaked episodes from HBO Now have expired, there are no illegal spoilers for next week’s “Kill The Boy”. Can you handle the anticipation?
Game of Thrones airs Sunday nights on HBO.