TV Review: "Game of Thrones" 05x04: "Sons of the Harpy"

Holy shit, what? Guys what the fuck did Game of Thrones just do?

It's taken me a couple of day to re-combombulate after that unexpected little twist but we were warned about book characters getting killed off in the show (and it's not the first time it happens). Naturally I have my doubts about this middle finger to the book readers but, I repeat, I watch and read because I love being shocked.

That being said, I didn't like that scene. It wasn't very good. My problem with this scene wasn't the unexpected kill(s?) but the poor writing. I don't like it when shows change already established parameters to shoehorn an important conclusion. What the fuck happened to the Unsullied being the baddest warriors ever? They were killed by regular folk like lambs, without showing any of their apparent might. Secondly: what the fuck happened to Barristan Selmy being the greatest swordsman in Westeros? I understand he's supposed to be older now, but he didn't do anything we haven't seen much lesser swordsmen do a million times over. I'm okay with the conclusion of the scene, but this wasn't the way to go.

Now let's get cracking.

Jaime and Bronn. Of course they would steal the show. Their incredible chemistry was already displayed last season when Bronn began to give Jaime sword fighting lessons (taking the place of Ilyn Payne from the books, thankfully), so I was very glad to see them begin the journey to rescue Myrcella together. I felt like the conversation they had in the boat was a bit heavy-handed, making blunt exposition to answer the question of why it had to be Jaime who went to Dorne. I don't think it was necessary, but oh well. I loved when they passed by Tarth, and the look on Jaime's eyes. He also talked about the woman he loved later, and I have my suspicions that he's no longer talking about Cersei. OTP confirmed.

Of course the fight scene was great. Finally we get to see a respected fighter act like a respected fighter. It was nice to see Jaime get some action as well; I would've hated for him to get humiliated again; we got enough of that in season three.

If I hadn't read the books I would be mostly unhappy with the whole Sparrows plot, at least as it's presented in this episode. They took it a bit too far in the adaptation, but I liked the politics involved. I don't think we had ever seen Margy's feathers ruffled like this, but I was at least a little bit happy to see it, because she was a proper bitch last episode. Cersei might be Queen Crazy but it's very fun to see her being a vile, scheming evil bitch. Poor Tommen though; sure, he was getting some from one of the most beautiful women on Westeros, but now he's being used like a puppet, disrespected in his own Kingdom, and morally unable to cause anyone any harm. He needs a little Joffrey in him.

Looks like Littlefinger is leaving Sansa alone with Ramsay, which has given me some doubt about his ultimate goals. It's become a bit more clear that he doesn't really care much about Sansa, or he wouldn't leave her with someone he knows is a huge psychopath. I feel he only wants to secure some power in the North; Sansa is just an extra. The scene in the catacombs was nice, as we hadn't seen them in a while (season two, maybe?). Also the detail of the feather was very, very nice. Reminded me of Ned's doll from the first season showing up after his death.

Finally we got to meet the Sand Snakes (or half of them) in the flesh, and I was mostly happy. The scene didn't really set up their personalities very well (though to be fair I couldn't tell them apart in the books) with the exception of Obara, who was pretty terrifying. Considering the stuffs that's going on in Dorne and how it's changed from the books, this could go any number of ways. I'm guessing they'll be meeting Jaime soon? That should be fun if no one gets cut in half.

I was pretty happy also to see that they didn't chicken out with Tyrion and Jorah. A part of me thought they might respect Tyrion too much to show Jorah beat him around like he did in A Dance with Dragons, but boy did the Imp get a good ol' bearslap. I hope there are more fun dynamics to their travels like Jaime/Bronn, but this one scene was very good. I loved how Tyrion just dropped some shit, unraveling Jorah's shroud of mystery in three seconds.

My favorite scene was Stannis removing the stick up his ass for five seconds to make his adorable daughter feel a little bit better. I swear if people were still a bit dubious about liking Mannis, they don't after this scene. It didn't go against the character, and it was so fucking sweet I almost spill a little tear. When Shereen hugs him? Get the fuck out of here. I don't even want to talk about it.

Jon Snow grabbed some Melisandre boob. He's been having a fantastic season. I hope everything works out for him.

Despite being the most shocking, this was probably the weakest episode this season. It had some amazing scenes and considerable strengths, the highlights being Stannis and Jaime. However, it's one of the few times when the show suffers from some less-than-stellar writing. Still, even the worst Game of Thrones is a million times better than almost anything else on TV.

Reader Observations

  • Highly suspect that Littlefinger decided to tell Sansa all about Rhaegar and Lyanna.
  • Preview of episode 5 showed Ramsay getting it on with one of his hoes. I wonder if that means horrifying traumatic Sansa scene.
  • "You know nothing, Jon Snow." Can we expect "For the watch" this season finale? That would be sweet.
  • What the fuck is up with Barristan dying? He's a POV character in The Winds of Winter (at least until he inevitably dies fighting a dragon) for god's sake.
  • Stannis is already leaving for Winterfell. They sure got that ball rolling quickly. Anything that happens from now on with him is either new territory or full book six.
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About The Damn Beast

Pre-op trans-minotaur, sci-fi/fantasy/horror author, metal singer, videogame journalist, pop culture blogger. I also lift heavy things and put them down again repeatedly to occupy more space.
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