Game of Thrones

Season 5 Episode 1

The Wars to Come

Aired Sunday 9:00 PM Apr 12, 2015 on HBO

Episode Fan Reviews (4)

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  • The Wars to Come

    It's good to have the show back. The dialogue is still witty and strong, the scenery great, but this was not an eventful season premiere. We have to be objective with our reviews, and in that regard it wasn't.

    Solid, but not quite what I wanted after a year away.
  • "Burn Burn, Yes You're Gonna Burn" (Episodes and Partial Book Spoilers to Follow)

    It's finally back! Woot woot for Game of Thrones. I know that the first four episodes are available online you Westerosi pirates you. It was a very thrilling episode yet no Game of Thrones season opener is ever the meatiest episode of the year. This is nowhere near as good as last year's "Two Swords" but now that's we've caught up with the books (mostly in some respects) viewers and reading viewers are now on about as much of a similar playing field than ever before as far as what to expect. We also get to see Dorne this year, not the Iron Islands other book fans.

    Flashback/King's Landing

    Deploying the TV series' first ever flashback sequence, of which there are numerous in the book series, sees Cersei see her future at the hands of Maggie the Frog. Book fans, and show fans, probably laughed at her saying that her husband having "18 kids" but none with her was a great nod to Robert (RIP). I like the show's use of flashback so far, especially since it was used as a framing device to introduce the season as launching during Tywin Lannister's wake. Cersei and Jaime's talk about consolidating their power now that realm no longer has the fearsome Tywin Lannister to rule over it was well deployed. A scene that was not present in the books, but given that I'm not much of a fan with Jaime/Cersei of last season, this was a noted improvement. I think adhering to the book's usage of distance when Jaime returns to King's Landing and reclaiming a sense honor, first by sending Brienne to retrieve the Stark girls, and then staying on the Kingsguard serve nobly, is a much more interesting story than him being back in Cersei's good graces. After all having the incestuous twins be at each other's tropes is one of the things that makes their rivalry in the books, and Cersei's alcoholism, that much more understandable. It looks like we're also seeing the religion of Westeros factor much more into this season, as Lancel (the cousin Cersei was doingking back in Season 2) has apparently found the Seven and wishes to repent for his ways. What a swell guy. But his piousness is a sign of a much larger movement, and Cersei will have to do deal with more than just her daughter-in-law's grip on her son Tommen's ear this year than she has had to endure in the past. The bigger question is, will Loras and Cersei wed this season with Tywin out of the picture? I'm sure not, but this divergence from the book was a noteworthy one that I was a fan of seeing Cersei have to married to another man who wouldn't have sex with her. Also, Lancel may have to be dealt with the Lannister way, since he so much as confesses to giving Robert more potent wine than he thought he was consuming on his hunting escapade back in Season 1.

    Margaery and Loras are still way too close, although they are two twins. Loras not wanting to keep his sexuality a secret any longer is nice to see, but Margaery is right that reflects on the honor of Highgarden. Also kudos to the writers for introducing Dorne via a scar on Loras's lover's leg. I'll bet whoever thought of that one got a raise.

    Also of note is Cersei's instance blaming of Tyrion. If last season, and their entire family history is any indication, she's always just been waiting to land Tyrion with a conspiracy or an excuse to hate her younger, and infinitely smarter brother than her, in contempt. Although in this case he did actually do what she says he did.


    Leaving King's Landing to catch up with our favorite new Patricide participant, the well-edited transference of Tyrion's "Hobbit-esque" barrel adventure lands him and Varys at the estate of Illyrio Mopatis (from back in Season 1). Here we learn with certainty that Varys is part of a large group of dissenters that began during Robert's reign to re-install a Targaryen onto the throne given Robert's ineptitude. Tyrion's willingness to drink himself to death displays his downward spiral after having killed his father and the second woman he ever truly loved with his bare hands. Naturally he would want to be defeated, drinking himself to near death after having been aboard a ship for weeks on end with only breathing holes and pushing his own feces out of a hole from the barrel. The little detail of Varys having to throw it overboard was also a nice jab at Tyrion. This sets up Tyrion to collide stories with Daenerys, who is having her own issues ruling Meereen now. This is shown in the books, but Varys does not accompany Tyrion. I like the changing from Illyrio to Varys as it keeps the character in play and not absent for too long like he felt in books 4-5. Clearly Dany is now the best candidate to sit on the Iron Throne, given that Tyrion's fall from grace has landed in a great position to politically maneuver someone else to the top of the Iron Throne, since he couldn't assume even Casterly Rock while his father was even alive. Under Daenerys he may be able to do just that, and use the Lannister fortune to be pardoned of patricide and rule next to Daenerys as a just Lord of the realm.

    Slaver's Bay

    An unnamed Unsullied visits a brothel to pay for a woman lie with him, embrace him, and sing songs to him. I believe this is meant to be a connection to the soldier's mother before he was cut and forced into being a soldier. Yet, his relaxation is cut short with his throat being cut by an unknown soldier dressed in gold. Dany tearing down the statue of the Harpy of Meereen has produced a rebellion from the slave lords of Meereen to overthrow her. She decides to put more Unsullied on the streets. Seeing Dany have to deal with her dragons being left down in the put since the end of Season 3, and them almost roasting her (just kidding I'm pretty sure she's like Hellboy in that she's fireproof) and quashing a rebellion are a lot more high-stakes than handling scorched goats and children. She is also counseled on re-opening the Fighting Pits in Yunkai by Daario, her newfound lover, upon his return to Meereen and the former slave masters of Yunkai agreeing to abolish Slavery but in return of the industry of fighting pits. Daario's story is rather troubling, but do show the meritorious rise that a humble slave could conceivably rise through the ranks and gain fame to class mobility (in his case it was joining the Second Sons, two captains of which he would later decapitate and put ino a bag before being magically re-cast). But Dany is facing the most complex story thus far this season, as ruling takes more finesse too it than any single advisor, or political act, can please an entire population, especially one that was conquered militarily. I'm interested to see how Drogon plays into this, and how his wanderlust to the countryside will mean if he ever does decide to return to Dany or not. Post-Jorah, Dany seems to be off her footing even more with one of her most trusted advisors having betrayed her and with a rebellion to quash and three thirds of her dragons unable to look at her without breathing fire or flying away she's got an interesting road ahead.

    In the Vale

    I loved watching Sweet Robin fight and squirm to be trained as a great fighter, as Littlefinger and Sansa drop him off with Lord Royce while they go to an unnamed location. This is not written in either of the books but I'm sure it's related to their quest to get Sansa married and to take the seat of Winterfell. Their undisclosed location I believe to be Dorne, because he wouldn't be going back to King's Landing with Sansa still being so recognizable, although presumed dead at this point probably. This is the first major storyline to divert this much from the books so I'm truly excited to see where this goes and how surprising it will be if it ties into any of the plot from Books 4-5.

    Brienne suffers a crisis of conscience as she remands Podrick for wanting to go after Arya. In the books Brienne never found Arya and went on a very different path. So them being turned away from the Vale, and Arya slipping away to Braavos must be a real psychological blow to Brienne's mission of making OathKeeper live up to its minted name. Notably ironic, though, is that Littlefinger and Sansa's carriage drives right passed them on their way to who-knows-where.

    The Wall

    Jon is summoned by Melisandre and he stands with Stannis atop the Wall and is told tell Mance Rayder to pledge his allegiance to Stannis and in exchange he will give the Wildlings land near the Wall (called the Gift from a Targaryen ruler who visited the Night's Watch) in exchange for their military service in him reclaiming the North. Stannis has really sped up and added a newfound purpose to the story of the Wall. Before "The Watchers on the Wall" the Night's Watch story, much like Dany's, all felt very disjointed from the rest of the story. Especially since so much of Season 4 took place in King's Landing itself. Also this is another example of some sort of magic existing, as the Lord of Light apparently keeps Melisandre warm. Just an observation that her God can't just be a load of hoopla if we get this many textual examples attributed to some sort of unexplained occurrences. Mance refuses to bend the knee, since he sees it as betraying what he stood for. Mance is then sentenced to burn by fire as a sacrifice to the Lord of Light. I know Game of Thrones would've gone through with it so Jon shooting him with a merciful arrow before he burned completely alive was a spot of decency in front of a more than already too bloodthirsty audience. Jon's allegiance is already enough in question given his antics with Ygritte and North of the Wall the past few seasons, so his diplomatic skills are going to be needed if the Wildlings are going to be more than obstacles and storypoints for the coming battle of Winterfell.
  • Winters Coming

    Amazing start to what very well seems to be the best season yet. (may or may not be a couple episodes ahead ;D) Better CGI, exciting plot twists, and near perfect acting/writing. This show keeps blowing me away. Can't wait to buy season 5 on blu-ray!

  • Exceptional!!!

    Powerful return for a highly promising season!