Game of Thrones fanatics around the world can rejoice because the time has finally come to return to Westeros for more political intrigue, backstabbing, bloodshed and of course sex as we catch up with our favorite characters in the aftermath of last season’s epic shocker of a finale. The biggest question on every fan’s mind is undoubtedly what would happen to their beloved Imp, Tyrion Lannister after he killed his father, the mighty Lord Tywin and was smuggled out of King’s Landing by Lord Varys. As for Tywin’s other two children, Jaime and Cersei, the question on everyone’s mind is what the brother-sister-lovers will do to preserve their family’s legacy now that the all-powerful Tywin is dead, creating a tremendous opportunity for the two remaining contenders for the Iron Throne, Stannis Baratheon and the mother of dragons herself, Daenarys Targaryen, to make their moves. These are only a few of the big questions fans are dying to have answered now that the new season has officially begun.
Sunday night’s premiere, entitled “The Wars to Come,” begins unexpectedly with two young girls walking through the woods. The more assertive of the two is a blonde haired girl whose commanding demeanor and confidence suggests that this is a young Cersei Lannister, proving that she’s always been a conniving woman. The two girls come to a dark hut in the woods and go inside to find a woman asleep, a woman Cersei knows to be a witch whom she demands tell her about her future. After drinking a few drops of Cersei’s blood, the witch reveals that she will marry a king but have no children by him and although she’ll be queen, she’ll one day be overshadowed by a younger, more beautiful woman. We then jump ahead to present day Cersei, being taken by carriage to the Sept where her deceased father is being mourned. In typical cold Cersei fashion, she ignores the requests of the mourners and enters the sept alone, glaring frigidly at Margery Tyrell on her way inside. She finds Jaime standing over their father and scolds him for releasing Tyrion, saying, “At least Tyrion was man enough to kill our father on purpose. You killed him by mistake.”
Not surprisingly, the next scene finds us looking through a hole of the wooden crate in which Tyrion was smuggled out of King’s Landing. We hear his ragged breathing as he’s carried through the streets and finally put down in a beautiful ocean side house in Pentos, at which point the crate is wrenched open and the human cargo comes rolling out, to find Varys staring down at him. What follows is a gripping yet humorous conversation between the two fugitives as a disheveled and bearded Tyrion stumbles up to a table and pours himself some wine. Varys tries to convince the disheartened half-man that they must still work for the future of their country, to which Tyrion replies, “The future is shit, as is the past,” before puking up his wine and drinking some more. Tyrion always manages to be funny even in the worst of circumstances.
Next stop is Meereen where Daenarys’ Unsullied are busy tearing down a giant gold statue from atop the great pyramid to proclaim the new queen’s rule. We follow an unsullied soldier as he walks into a brothel and lies down with a prostitute who sings to him and rubs his head. This strange scene ends abruptly with the soldier’s throat being slashed by a mysterious figure wearing a golden mask, who we soon find out belongs to a group of terrorists called the Sons of the Harpy, who aren’t happy about their new rulers. Learning of the murder, Daenarys commands the soldier to be buried publicly and orders the rest of the Unsullied to find the men responsible. Unfortunately, terrorists aren’t Daenarys’ biggest problem as she still hasn’t found Drogon, her dragon who burned a little girl alive, which led her to chain up the other two in the catacombs. Later in the episode Daenarys descends into the crypt to see them, appearing frightened of how her children might react to her. Out of the darkness they come shrieking at her, now towering over her and angrily belching fire. Dany leaves the crypt terrified and hurt that she’s seemingly lost all control over her own loving children.
After all the sunshine and tropical weather, we return to the wall, where Stannis and his army are camping out before heading south. The red woman tells Jon Snow that Stannis wishes to see him atop the wall and when Jon arrives, Stannis informs him that he wants the remaining Wildling captives to fight for him to retake Winterfell from the traitor Roose Bolton. Stannis believes Jon can convince Mance Rayder, the king beyond the wall, to bend the knee or be burned alive at the stake.
We also catch up briefly with Lord Baelish and Sansa, still at the Eyrie and watching as Robin Arryn gets his ass kicked in combat training. It seems Sansa has embraced the manipulation and cunning that comes with playing the game. Meanwhile we see Brienne of Tarth, still reeling from her brutal battle with the Hound and her inability to gain Arya’s trust as her loyal companion Podrick tries to convince her that they should still look for Sansa, who ironically enough passes by them in a carriage with Baelish on their way west to a place where he assures her even Cersei Lannister can’t find her.
Although not a super eventful or action packed episode, the season five premiere does a wonderful job of catching us up with just about all the key players (except for Arya who hopefully will be in the next one), as well as artfully setting the stage for the epic events to come. This show has always done an excellent job of building intensity over the course of a season and this episode is no exception. It’s a testament to the characters and the dialogue that you can have a relatively uneventful episode (at least compared to others), which is still gripping and intense. The set up in this one episode already promises to deliver all the shocks, twists and thrills that fans have come to expect in the epic world of Game of Thrones.