After a supremely elongated wait, HBO’s flagship show finally returns to UK and US screens for it’s fifth season, and in typical Game
As opposed to retelling the narrative through a verdict of each episode, we thought it would be fun to tweak the review format and deconstruct key elements showcased during each outing in Westeros, so without further ado, let’s get down to business…
The Title: ‘The Wars to Come’
What Does It Mean?
The future is a frequent source of debate throughout David Benioff & D.B. Weiss’ first screenplay of Season 5; be that what may lie ahead for particular characters, or indeed the world in which they reside. Forming an alliance is quite frankly essential if you wish to prolong your existence in Westeros – even the Lannisters, known as the ruling family – fair better when another has their back.
The title is muttered in the climatic frames, however it features in a more prevalent area. Escaped and exiled from King’s Landing, a drunken and scraggly Tyrion is freed from a shipment crate by soothsayer Varys (whose return is ever-so welcomed) upon the sun-soaked bays of Pentos, and it is here where the episode’s title really hits home.
Varys explains that a man in ‘The Imp’s position is the perfect candidate to guide a suitor towards the Iron Throne. “In the wars to come” he says, the residents need a ruler stronger and more rousing than Tommen, but softer and more emotionally connected than Stannis. There really is only one person who strikes that balance beautifully: Daenerys Targaryen.
Most Shocking Moment:
It is still very early days so viewers can rest assure they will be plenty of jaw-dropping moments throughout this season, but even in the first episode, the showrunners serve up a couple of striking scenes. Many will cite the gloomy conclusion in which Mance Rayder refuses to kneel before Stannis and surrender his dignity as well as The Wildings – a group greatly desired to strengthen his enlarged army. Meeting his demise being burnt at the stake in front of all occupying Castle Black and The Wall is a gruesome sight. However the most shocking moment comes earlier on as we venture through Khaleesi-operated Meereen.
One of her loyal Unsullied soldiers temporarily leaves duty to visit the city’s prostitutes, yet his intentions aren’t entirely sexual. Clearly desiring human contact, he lays delicately in the woman’s arms as she massages his temple and hums a lullaby before suddenly having his throat brutally slit by a masked mercenary.
We later understand the assassin belongs to The Sons of Harpy (the big statute atop Meereen’s landmark pyramid which Daenerys has pulled down to assert her rule).
Schemes are never far away in Westeros and a major one is brewing already. Those potentially harnessing the biggest agenda is the Tyrells – the building bridge link to truest royal blood in King’s Landing. Not even attempting to hide his homosexuality, Loras is caught by his sister in the act.
Despite his preferences, he knows he is aligned to marry Cersei Lannister whilst Margaery (who still technically is the Queen of the Seven Kingdoms) must appear to continue her infiltration to Joffrey’s younger replacement Tommen. The key word here is ‘appear’. We are likely to see fireworks ignite between the beautiful and certainly sharper-than-expected young Queen, and the expertly slimy beavered mother.
One thing is for sure: Lady Tyrell does not want this monster-in-law…
Best Overall Moment:
There are a handful of top moments during The Wars to Come, but the best one actually opens the episode. We follow two young girls; one assertive and persistent, the other concerned and questioning, as they bound through the overgrown woodlands. They reach a straw-bound hut that is believed to be a witch’s lair. The girls enter awaking the haggard sorcerer and the feisty one demands for her future to be read. She exclaims that the land in which this hut lies upon belongs to her father, and that if her demands are not met, violent consequences will follow.
The pair both exchange blood by the slicing of a finger and the witch grants three questions: all of which will offer answers the young heir will not like. She asks about her right to the throne, whether she’ll bear children and so on, and as promised, the responses are tainted. Then we quickly cut to the present day and the young girl’s answers have become a reality.
She is Cersei who is arriving for her father’s funeral. Fans were told to expect the uses of flashbacks throughout this season and the creative duo kick-start the campaign perfectly. Cersei is amongst the most complex and intriguing lead characters in Game of Thrones so to see further and deeper developments at this late stage is truly exciting.
HBO’s fantasy epic returns to our screens with a thunderclap. The first offering in the 2015 season sets strong paths for the cavalcade of characters to journey upon and serves up a number of surprises along the way. Episode 2 is eagerly awaited…