Show: Game of Thrones
Watched: Episode 44 – May 3, 2015
Title: The Sons of the Harpy
Summary: Solid transitional episode
Last week was a great episode and so this one has big footsteps to follow in.
NOTE: SERIOUS SPOILER WARNING. This review/discussion contains tons of spoilers about the episode and even ones crossing over from the books. It’s really my free-for-all musing given all the information at my disposal.
Tyrion – Jorah steals a boat by clobbering a fisherman and tossing the half man in like a sack of potatoes. Later, they are sailing along, and a gagged Tyrion makes annoying noises until Jorah the rags out of his mouth. Even gagged Tyrion is funny. And amusing as always, ungagged Tyrion complains that he “can’t sleep without wine.” Tyrion is at first under the impression that Jorah is taking her back to Cersei, but realizing they are going the wrong way, clues in that by “queen” she meant Dany. Tyrion then shows off his wit by observing nuances of Jorah’s outfit, figuring out who he is and his motivations to a tee. He’s so delightfully annoying that Jorah knocks him into unconsciousness.
Jaime and Bronn – are also sailing, but on a much larger ship. They pass a green island which a sailor identifies as the Sapphire Isle, a nod to his use of said location in season 3 to help Brienne avoid a rape. Bronn quizzes Jaime on why they are taking a merchant vessel. On his “niece” (Bronn being quite suspicious about the royal parentage). There is some character development as they discuss how they’d like to die, with Bronn opting to die old and rich and surrounded by kids and Jaime in the “arms of the woman he loves.” Well, that isn’t going so well.
As they row ashore Bronn is also concerned that the captain knew who they are, and as it turns out after a slithering breakfast the next morning a foursome of Dornish soldiers show up. They try to talk their way past but they need to do what they do best — or at least Bronn does best, as Jaime barely managed to handle one of the raiders, and that one with a clever move involving his golden hand. It’s a solid fight livened up by some trademark dialog.
Sand Snakes – Episode 4 of the season, and finally we meet the infamous “sand snakes” (Oberyn’s daughters). Ellaria Sand is visiting the trio of snake-clad brunettes. I loved her last season, but this is the second time this season she’s all venom (haha). I don’t love the casting for the Sand Snakes. They come off as goofy and trying to hard to be woman warriors (unlike many of the others on the show, like Brienne or Yara). They do have that previously mentioned ship captain buried in the sand up to his neck, head covered in scorpions (ick!). They know all about Jaime’s arrival and have plenty of reason to speculate on why. Ellaria, continuing as the hawk wants to start a war by killing Princess Marcella — and certainly doesn’t want her erstwhile father/uncle interfering. The snakes are up for some violence.
Cersei – is meeting with the smaller council. Mace announces that the iron bank has placed a margin call on a tenth of their debt. Cersei wants to send him to Bravos with (uh oh) Ser Meryn Trant. Probably mostly to get him out of the way and weaken Margaery’s power base. Although maybe he’ll have a run in with “nobody” — or they just want to use their cool Iron Bank set again. Pycelle then even jokes about the smaller council.
Next, the dowager queen entertains the High Sparrow, who apparently got mysteriously promoted to High Septon, something which was clear in the books but unclear here. At least the old one seems to have survived — in the black cells. His birdiness doesn’t drink wine. In a crazy bid presumably to control him through favors (although this is very unclear in the show) she offers to revive the Knights Militant, the special Templar-like military order of the church. And she refers to someone living in particularly gross sin…
Next, Sparrows smash beer kegs and break wine bottles. They storm around town busting up all the fun stuff. I’ve never been a big fan of these type “mob” scenes without a main actor on screen. These are intercut with Lancel getting a new “wheel of the seven” sigil carved in his forehead with a knife. I can still hardly recognize him. Then the Sparrows are raiding Littlefinger’s ever popular brothel — which gets pretty boy Olyvar beaten up. Some gay guy is pulled out and killed. Then Lancel storms in on Loras Tyrell (not in the brothel) and arrests him.
Margaery storms into Tommen furious about her brother and demands the king get him free. A confused Tommen goes to Cersei who is all plausible deniability, but she does send him to the High Sparrow. Alas, our wimpy kid king is stymied by the guards on the steps to the Sept. Seems the High Sparrow is praying and he doesn’t want to use violence to bust in. He slinks away. I know he’s just a boy, but he could have offered to join the Sparrow in prayer, or to wait. Instead, momma’s boy that he is, he creeps back to Marg. She scolds him and gives him the cold shoulder, saying she needs to be with her family. Poor boy, he’s going to get blue balls.
Sansa – Our time in the (non wall) north is much reduced this week with just a single scene with Sansa in the Winterfell Crypt. She stands in the very spot used for Episode 1 lighting candles to her late aunt. Littlefinger joins her for some manipulations. He talks of Lyanna and the tourney at Harrenhal where Rhaegar Targareyn chose her over his wife — leading of course to Ned and Robert’s rebellion and the whole (previous) civil war. We are reminded that he kidnapped and raped her after, which leads me to wondering if they are doing longterm setup for Jon Snow’s parentage (NOTE: highly speculative spoiler thought). As much reminding the viewer as Sansa, Littlefinger tells her that he is off to Kingslanding to play Cersei’s lapdog but that Stannis is on his way with an army — and that he will likely name her Wardeness of the North if he gets the chance. Sansa is concerned what she does if that doesn’t happen, and ever pragmatic, warns her she must win over Ramsay. That could be more difficult than either of them realize (woof woof!). This leads me to wondering how much Littlefinger really knows about Ramsay — and I’m inclined to believe this is one of the rare cases where he is under-informed (as he himself said last episode). Dark Sansa herself seems resigned and ready for the task. Oh, and Peter can’t leave without giving her another wee kiss. I do suspect that he actually has some feelings for her — or what passes for feelings where Littlefinger is concerned.
Jon/Stannis the wall – King and Queen stick-in-the-mud are watching Jon Snow in the fighting yard. The queen continues to bash her own daughter but the Red Lady approaches and praises the girl. Melisandre and Stannis remind us that they’re heading to Wintefell soon — and the Lady asks if she’s going this time (which she is). Lady might be creepy, but she is a good luck charm.
In his office, Jon is signing papers with Sam. Requests for more men to local lords — including Roose Bolton. Jon pauses, but eventually signs it, as he is resigned to his path as a man of the Night’s Watch. Then Sam and the Red Lady swap places and she wastes no time telling him she wants him to come south with her and popping her breasts out of her dress. She’s obviously sniffing out his kingly blood (another hint like above with the Rhaegar stories) and horning in on his powerful seed. This isn’t the first time (remember Stannis and Gendry?). Clearly she’d love to work some mojo. Jon resists heroically, although he does cop a feel. He admits he still loves Ygritte. And even more on the way out she says “you know nothing Jon Snow.” Sigh. Where’s the alternate reality porn episode with Jon and Ygritte stuck in the cave?
Than we have a peculiar little scene where Shireen pops in on her father (people are forever entering the room in this show) and asks if he is ashamed of her. He tells a little story which proves clearly otherwise, which is a rare warm and touchy moment for someone described as having all the personality of a lobster.
Dany – finishes out the episode. This is at least the second time the title has nothing to do with the internal balance. The queen and Barristan hang out on the balcony of her pyramid. The view is great but he’s grown kinda tedious. He tells her about Rhaegar (second Rhaegar story of the episode, and we have to wonder why). In this story we learn that the late prince liked to sing for change in the streets of king’s landing. Meanwhile, Dario comes to get her, as the Meerenish nobles are downstairs in the throne room. That noble son, Hisgar or whoever is pleading again to let the fighting pits be opened.
Cut to a bunch of masked Sons of the Harpy killing what are probably Second Sons. Then Unsullied trotting through halls (in Split Croatia). These Unsullied sure do a lot of jogging. They are ambushed and one is revealed to be Grey Worm. He fights well but is outnumbered. Barristan, who happened to be on a convenient walk (setup before), runs into the fray at the sound of trouble. In the end, he and Gray Worm take out a huge mass of Harpies, but are badly wounded in the process.
I’m just not feeling it with these Dany scenes this season — but they had the same effect when I was reading ADWD, so not so surprising.
All in all, a very solid episode. Not as exciting as last week, and with less threads, but it had some good stuff. Too little Tyrion, but what we got was good. Too many crowd scenes (Sparrows, Harpies, Unsullied) but we did get some great Jaime/Bronn banter and fighting. I was a little disappointed in the Sand Snakes — too cheesy, but Sansa’s “dark territory” story line continues to be highly intriguing.
The show is really upping the visual ante too. Nearly every locale, window, and hill shot gets some giant combined real and CGI view and they look totally gorgeous.
HBO’s official inside videos for the episode: