[intro-text size=”25px”]It is a new world emerging this season for Game of Thrones. In episode four, Sons of the Harpy, we’re seeing new dynamics take place and certain characters lock into terminal tail-spins that may prove permanent this late into the series.[/intro-text]
Jorrah Mormont has always been a poor man’s Charleston Heston and his lovesick devotion to Daeneyrs was admirable in a world with so many knights but so little gallantry. Since his exile last season, Jorrah has been drinking his miseries away in whorehouses. Now, some self-flagellating navel gazing can be forgiven for Sir Friend-Zone, but not when they run counter to the audience’s interests. We’ve waited so long for any Westeros connection to tie Dany’s storyline into the larger narrative, and now that we’re so close we can smell the wine on the Imp’s breath Jorrah snatches him away, only to take to the same place he was going anyway, just slower.
Another two-man voyage sees Jamie Lannister and Bronn of the Blackwater make their way to Dorne. Their encounter with Dornish soldiers is a classic Western fight scene reminiscent of Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid. Although the fight was satisfying, I was hoping Jamie would employ the ‘gilded bitchslap’ that Bronn taught him last season. The captain of the ship that brought them made a piss-poor deal and sold them out, and in exchange got buried up to his neck in sand, surrounded by scorpions, had to listen to a ham-fisted monologue, and then catch a spear through the back of his throat—hey, it’s how they do it in Dorne. There may be less of them than were in the books, but Oberyn’s illegitimate daughters, the Sandsnakes, are just as intimidating as anyone could imagine. I’m looking forward to seeing the chaos they stir up throughout Westeros.
No one takes hints worse than Mace Tyrell. Father to Queen Maegery, Mace was named both the Master of Coin and Ships. Not such an illustrious task when you realize how indebted to the Iron Banks the crown is. Cersei sends the bumbling father to Braavos to meet with the Iron Bankers but after sending her personal lap dog, Ser Meryn Trant, with him I feel this may be the last time we see Mace Tyrell with his head on his shoulders. These are the kinds of schemes that personify Cersei. Her motivations are immediate and despite all her claims to contrary, she is not a very strategic character. She has no idea of the calamity she has unleashed on Kings Landing by giving legitimacy to the ‘Faith Militant’—a bunch of murderous, violent, homophobic, self-mutilating, hypocritical fanatics. Then again, I doubt she would care.
They say women marry men like their fathers and that is certainly true for the Queen. Sure, Mace may not know what day it is, but Tommen is living in a dream world. Say what you will about Joffery, but I think we all know the showdown between the defiant Sparrows on the steps of the Sept would have ended differently if he were still king. As gentle a boy as Tommen may be, this episode proved he is pitifully incapable of ruling anyone or anything.
At the Bolton-held Winterfell, Sansa Stark-Baratheon-Bolton is lighting memoriam candles, but let us not ignore what is really happening. Deep within the bowels of Winterfell, where the ancestors of the North are frozen in stone, the last true heir of the Starks has returned home and is literally lighting a fire at their feet. Here’s hoping her actions can live up to her symbolism.
The big event had to be the Harpy uprising in Mereen. As Dany looks out from her grand pyramid’s balcony and asserts, “everyone looks happy enough from up here,” she displays her complete ineptitude at leading on par with Tommen. She is far too idealistic and naïve, even after multiple seasons of character development. Her Unsullied are taken unaware through a cleverly choreographed fight scene in a claustrophobic corridor that greatly hampers their ability to swing their cumbersome spears. The Harpies take some hits but not before grievously wounding Gray Worm and definitely killing Ser Barristan, perhaps the most noble of characters, proving that Westeros is no place for high ideals or delusions of honor. It is kill or be killed, rule or serve. Five seasons in and we’re beginning to see major characters live and die by that ethos.