Game of Thrones – S5E1 – The Wars to Come – Recap

Like a corpse reanimated by the White Walkers, I’m back! Much has changed since my last Game of Thrones recap. I’ve read the books, well some of them. I’ve read the first three books in A Song of Ice and Fire. I’m now caught up in the books to the end of season 4 on the show. I didn’t want to read past the show, so normal rules apply: Please do not leave comments with spoilers for events that have happened in the books, but have not yet happened in the show.

I watch Game of Thrones on HBO Go. We got a “Previously on Game of Thrones” for the first time ever on HBO Go this week, bringing up scenes from as far back as season 1, episode 1. Do the TV viewers always get a “Previously on…” or is this a new thing for everyone?

I cannot tell you how excited I am that Game of Thrones is back. Even having Daredevil to take my mind off the return of Game of Thrones only worked so much. By Sunday morning, I was humming the opening theme to Game of Thrones, counting down the hours until 9 PM. I rewatched the final episode of last season. In the months between its first airing and my rewatching, I forgot how good an episode that is.

But we’re not here to talk about the end of season four. We’re here to talk about the start of season five. The opening title sequence looks new. They made some changes, right? I need to watch each season’s title sequence one after the other. I feel like they’re different each season, but I can’t think of specific examples off the top of my head. Wait, Pentos. Is Pentos new this season?

The episode opens on two girls, a blonde and a brunette. Crap, I accidentally cued up Into the Woods instead of Game of Thrones. The young blonde girl is dressed and has her hair styled similar to Cersei Lannister. Oh wait, that is Cersei. Huh, apparently Cersei is one of those people who found a look when she was 12 and stuck with it for the rest of her life. If I was like that, I’d still be walking around with spiky hair, a batman t-shirt and a denim jacket filled with superhero pins. Hmm, on second thought, there’s nothing wrong with people finding their defining look at age 12 and sticking with it forever. Those people are totally normal and shouldn’t be judged. Now excuse me while I get back to folding my Batman t-shirts…

Cersei and her friend go to a witch’s hut. Cersei wants to know her own future. To tell her future, the witch needs Cersei to prick her own finger and let the witch taste the blood. I’m not quite sure what the witch is getting out of this, unless she really likes the taste of blood freely given. Maybe she just likes the looks on the faces of people when she tells them riddles about their futures where every good thing is weighed down by a slew of bad things. Cersei finds out gems like yes, she will be queen, but she won’t have any children with the king, even though the king will have 20 children. She will have 3 children of own though. They’ll wear crowns of gold and shrouds of gold, a feat of poetry which makes the witch cackle. Lesson learned: never go to fortune tellers.

We jump to the present and preparations are being made for Tywin’s funeral. Tywin is laid out in the sept, and has those creepy, open-eyed stones on his eyes. Jaime is watching his father’s body.  Cersei walks in. Who else thought the two of them might be DTF next to their dad’s dead body? What? It’s these two, don’t judge me for thinking that!

Tyrion is still in the crate we last saw him enter at the end of season 4. We get a cool crate’s eye view of Tyrion’s travels, first on boat, then on land. Eventually, Varys lets him out of the crate. Tyrion doesn’t understand why he couldn’t let him out sooner. Varys says it was for their own protection. I think it’s half that, half Varys likes to be a dick sometimes. Tyrion says Varys doesn’t know what it’s like to have to poke your own shit through the hole of a crate. Varys counters that Tyrion doesn’t know what it’s like to have to pick up that shit every time and fling it overboard without people noticing. They’re in Pentos at Illyrio’s house. You might remember Illyrio from waaaaayyyyy back in season one as the guy who arranged the marriage of Dany to Khal Drogo.

game of thrones s5e1 tyrion and the crate

Speaking of Dany, we cut to Meereen, where one of her Unsullied is off to meet with a whore. Say what? Are they suddenly sulliable again? No, he pays to cuddle with a whore. No sex. She strokes his head like a mother’s touch. It’s almost sweet until a gold-faced assassin slips in and slits his throat.

game of thrones assassin

Up at Castle Black, both Sam and Gilly look thinner. I don’t know if this is to show they’re running low on food at Castle Black, or if both actors just wanted to get in a little bit better shape in the off season.

Alliser Thorne is the Acting Head Crow In Charge.

Jon is training the kid that killed Ygritte in sword fighting. Man, that has to be awkward. Sensing things weren’t awkward enough, Smoky Vajayjay, Stannis’s firecrotched witch, escorts Jon Snow to Stannis. On the way, she asks him if he’s a virgin. When is that question ever not awkward? He mutters no. She tell him, “Good.” She’s such a weirdo.

Stannis wants Jon to convince Mance to bend a knee to Stannis and have his people join his army to take back Winterfell. Jon knows Mance won’t bow a knee to anyone. Stannis, ever the flexible negotiator, says no problem. Just kidding, Stannis is as rigid as the pole up his own ass. If Mance doesn’t bend the knee, Mance dies.

jon and stannis

We check in on Littlefinger and Sansa. They’re watching Sansa’s sickly cousin Robin Arryn train. Robin’s not doing well. It’s noted that “he swings his sword like a girl with palsy.” Ouch. Sansa has grown approximately 8 ft since season 4 ended. She towers over Littlefinger.

Since we’re on the subject of tall women of Westeros, Brienne of Tarth isn’t doing well. After being shunned by Arya, she’s ready to call it a day. She tells Pod to leave her, that they’ll never find Sansa, and that “the good lords are dead and the rest are monsters.” Ironically, while she’s wallowing in self-pity, Sansa and Littlefinger drive right past them. D’oh. Littlefinger tells Sansa he’s going to take her “to a land so far from here, where even Cersei Lannister can’t get her hands on you.”

Cersei hates the Tyrells. She’s convinced they’re all just biding their time for her father’s funeral to be over to make a power play. It’s like they say, you’re not paranoid if everyone really is out to get you. Cersei’s cousin shows up at the funeral. He’s a Lannister, but he’s dressed like Varys, if Varys was homeless. He’s a “Sparrow.” It’s some kind of religious order. Wait a second, this is the cousin from a few seasons ago that Cersei fucked when Jaime was missing? The one that looked like the Little Dutch Boy logo? Is this a new actor or do the Sparrows hold their meetings in Westeros gyms?


Jon meets with Mance Rayder. Jon tries his hardest to convince Mance to take the knee for the sake of Mance’s people, but Mance knows that if he does take the knee, his people will immediately turn his back on him. He would rather die on his feet than live on his knees. Jon is sad, because he likes and respects Mance, and knows Stannis will yield nothing and kill Mance if Mance refuses.

The Knight of Flowers, who you may remember as being Princess Low Cut’s brother, Princess Low Cut’s husband’s lover and now Cersei’s betrothed is naked with some dude. Princess Low Cut walks in on them. I feel like I should just call her Marjorie here for two reasons: she’s not wearing a low cut dress (it is a funeral after all) and since reading the books, I’m getting better at remembering character names. Still, I really do love that nickname for her. In this scene, I definitely get the feeling that Marjorie is her grandmother’s granddaughter, and that she might try to kill Cersei.

At Illyrio’s house, Varys and Tyrion are discussing the future of Westeros. Varys says they need someone on the Iron Throne who is stronger than Tomlin but gentler than Stannis. Tyrion wishes him good luck on finding a man like that. Varys says the famous line from the season 5 trailer, “Who said anything about a man?” Varys gives Tyrion the choice of heading to Meereen to meeting Dany or drinking himself to death at Illyrio’s house. Tyrion compromises by asking if he can drink himself to death on the road to Meereen.

game of thrones s5e1 tyrion and wine

In Meereen, the former slave masters are petitioning for the reopening of the fighting pits. Slaves used to fight to the death in the pits. Dany isn’t having it, even if it would be free men fighting. Later, in bed, Daario makes his pitch for the fighting pits reopening, saying the pits made him into the man he is today. Side note, there is a lot of man ass this episode. Put some pants on, Daario.

Drogon, the black dragon, is still missing. Dany visits her other dragons. They snap at her, acting angry for being locked away for so long. They don’t try to kill her, so surely they still recognize their mother. Still, it’s obvious that Dany now fears them.

At Castle Black, Mance is brought before Stannis, in front of all of Mance’s head people, Stannis’s captains, and the crows of the Night’s Watch. Unsurprisingly, Mance doesn’t take the knee. Stannis’s men tie him to a stake and start the fire. I find myself hoping that the Lord of Light will somehow make Mance immune to the flames. Weirder things have happened on this show. Sadly, Mance is not immune and starts to burn. Jon can’t watch. He walks away. Suddenly, two arrows pierce Mance, killing him. Jon fired the arrows, a final act of mercy to Mance Rayder. RIP Mance Rayder, you’ll be missed.

mance rayder