Review: Game of Thrones – Season 5, Episode One: The Wars to Come

Bend the knee.

We return to a King’s Landing in mourning, Cersei and Jamie Lannister still reeling from the demise of patriarch Tywin at the hands of their brother Tyrion, not out of grief but fear of the power vacuum their father’s death will cause, and also Jamie’s possible implication in the tragedy, given that he was the one who freed Tyrion from the cell he was in for supposedly killing Joffrey. Lancel also returns amongst Tywin’s mourners, now a member of a religious cult called The Sparrows, regretting his incestious relationship with Cersei and his secret part in the assassination of her former husband and King Robert Baratheon. Gotta love those Lannisters.

For anyone just randomly tuning in to HBO on a Sunday night at 9pm, no, this is not a good jumping on point. This is Game of Thrones, and it’s back and bleaker than ever.

Jon Snow continues to (unofficially, of course) run shit at the Wall, with Stannis (coolest cat in Westeros) asking his help to convince Mance Rayder and his Wildling armies to join their forces to take Winterfell back from Red Wedding planner Roose Bolton. Things go about as well as expected, with Mance refusing to bow to Stannis and being burned alive for it. Only Jon Snow has the compassion to end Rayder with an arrow to the heart before the flames fully consume him.

And what of Tyrion himself? Hiding in a crate and sailing across the narrow sea since his murderous escape (at least he had some hay to sleep on, and holes to push his shit out of), he meets up with Varys in the just wonderful looking land of Pentos to discuss the pressing matters of drinking oneself to death and putting one Daenerys Targaryen on the Iron Throne.

Speaking of Daenerys, Mereen continues to pretty much go to shit under her control, as masked assassins pick off her soldiers and her two remaining dragons (now almost full grown) nearly attack her, resenting their captivity.

And finally, Sansa Stark continues to suffer her pseudo-abduction at the hands of Littlefinger, dumping notorious breast feeding enthusiast Robin Arryn off and getting the fuck out of dodge, right under Brienne’s nose.

Again, if this all sounded like nonsense, you have some catching up to do. But for the indoctrinated, the is as good as TV gets, and we’re off to a promising start for another instant classic season.

Kevin Hawkey is the co-founder, head writer and editor of Riot-Nerd. He enjoys Fighting Games, Metal, Marvel, Horror and all the weird shit in between. A lifelong Philadelphian just as comfortable in a circle pit at Underground Arts as he is drooling over the new Hot Toys figures at Brave New Worlds, Kevin’s idiosyncratic sensibility gives this site it’s unique dichotomy between “riot” and “nerd”.
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