Episode 1 - The Wars to Come
16 April 2015
Synopsis: Cersei muses over the future during Tywin's funeral. Lancel returns having found religion. Tyrion arrives in Pentos in depression. Little Finger takes Sansa away from the Vale. Brienne tries to push Pod away. Dany welcomes Daario home but struggles over mutiny, fighting pits and her dragons. Stannis offers Mance freedom if he will fight for him. He won't but Jon kills him before he can burn at the stake.
The Good: Last year I complained that the opening hour felt like too much of a recap. Although this was similarly calm I felt it was more necessary. The cast has grown and dispersed ever further around the world so it was good to reestablish the situation.
However I don't have a huge amount to say. It was competent and logical stuff across the board. Varys and Tyrion heading to meet Dany is a hopeful thought but I'm sure there will be complications along the way. Her learning curve as a ruler keeps getting steeper. Jon Snow is really stepping up as a man and a leader but you just know Melissandre can smell the royal blood in his veins. Sansa seems to be growing smarter as she tries to decipher Little Finger's agenda. Stannis remains a potential source of vengeance (on the Boltons and Freys) even if his religious fanaticism is going to lead to suffering.
The Bad: Nothing yet.
The Unknown: Wouldn't there be a less damaging way to pull down that statue?
Lancel's new religious feelings was probably the most surprising moment of the episode. Seeing someone renew their faith is a nice reflection of the horrible civil wars that traverse the land. However as soon as he reminded Cersei of his role in Robert's death I wrote in my notes "You're a dead man." Sadly I wrote something similar when Margaery said "Perhaps" at Loras' assesment of her prospects with Cersei now that Tywin is gone (though I suppose the Witch's prophecy says otherwise). I can only assume that bad things are coming to King's Landing now that Cersei has no check on her power. The first flashback (I think) we've had was an interesting choice. To begin the season on the tragedy of her existence hints that her downfall could be coming.
I was interested in Varys' line "Perhaps we've grown so used to horror, we assume there's no other way." I don't know if that was trying to be meta. With a coalition of reasonable people surrounding Daenerys and Jon Snow being noble at the Wall, it would seem like the show is leading us to believe goodness can still emerge in this world. But I've been burnt too many times by thoughts like that. So I wait to see if Grey Worm and Missandei are only growing close so that their deaths will be sad. Or if poor Shireen is to be sacrificed or if the Tyrells are to butchered or Theon is to be further mutilated.
Best Moment: Mance's execution generated the only real emotion of the episode as the horror of the climbing flames gripped those watching.
Conclusion: A solid start to the season but I wait to see what it will become.
Add your comments on this episode below. They may be included in the weekly podcasts.