Synopsis of 5×04: The action has picked up in this week’s Game of Thrones as battles draw closer and tempers flare throughout Westeros and the rest of the land. We are also introduced to two groups who are hungry for blood – The Sand Snakes and the Faith Militant, as well as see how far the Sons of the Harpy are willing to go.
This episode focused a lot on loyalty – loyalty to a queen, loyalty to a religion, loyalty to revenge, you get the idea.
The loyalty to her family is strongest in Sansa Stark, who’s loyal to one thing and one thing only – getting revenge for her family and reuniting them all. The show has definitely shifted away from the books and this can be seen multiple times throughout the episode, but none have diverged in the way that Sansa’s has.
Still back at Winterfell and trapped in the clutches of the Boltons, she finds time to make her way to the tombs where she’s praying for her late aunt, Lyanna. Baelish finds her there and begins to tell the tale of Rhaegar Tagaryen and how he humiliated Robert Baratheon by gifting her with flowers. Sansa turns this on him and reminds him that the war started because he ended up kidnapping Lyanna and raping her, before Baelish tells her that he’s been called back to King’s Landing and will see her soon. And of course, he ends this by kissing her on the lips and me saying, “What the ****”.
Back at the Wall, Jon continues to turn down Stannis’ offers of joining forces – saying that he must remain loyal to his vows. Someone else tries to make a play for the bastard and offers herself to him – saying that if he broke his vow once he would do it again. In a moment of sincerity, Jon admits that he loved Ygritte and that he had resumed his vows after her death. Melisandre seems bored with his reasoning and redresses and walks away, but before she leaves she turns to him and utters, “You know nothing, Jon Snow,” leaving the man in shock.
Stannis Baratheon also shows loyalty to his daughter Shireen, a character who has mostly been in the background as the sickly child of the candidate for the throne. Shireen comes to him in a moment of boredom and admits to him that her increasingly fanatic mother (who is more devoted to Melisandre’s God than anyone else) keeps telling her that she wished they never brought her to the Wall.
In an unexpected moment of vulnerability, Stannis tells Shireen of how someone had tried to kill her and they realized it the moment the Greyscale started to form. Many wanted to send her away to die but he steadfastly refused, for she was his daughter. Shireen cries and embraces him and he wraps his arms around her too, giving us a side that had never been seen before from him.
While Varys and Tyrion seemed to be unlikely traveling buddies, Jorah and Tyrion make an even more unlikely pair, especially since Jorah has no idea what he’s doing or how he will get to the Queen. Tyrion is just purely fed up with the man at this point and makes a snide remark on how he was already heading there anyways so it wouldn’t be a huge surprise, and Jorah knocks him out. Tyrion’s moments have been far and few between but it’s still good knowing that he has the best one liners still.
In Meereen though, the Sons of the Harpy are out planning their revenge on the queen mother, who they believe is destroying their culture. In one of the shocks of the episode, the fate of two fan favorites lies in the hands of the writers as Grey Worm and Barristan Selmy lie with their outcomes unknown. The Sons of the Harpy had once again laid a trap for the Unsullied after they murdered many people in broad daylight. Bringing them into close quarters, the Harpys attack the Unsullied until it is just Grey Worm and Barristan, who succumb to their wounds after killing many of the Harpys and the rest of the Unsullied had died. Dany’s losing control of Meereen, or the question is did she ever really have control?
Elsewhere in the world, another group, the Faith Militant, have been resurrected by Cersei, who is simply doing it to embarrass her son and show him who’s the real leader of King’s Landing. After appointing the High Sparrow as the Septon, she has him reinstate the Faith Militant who go out on a rampage and murder and arrest anyone they believe to be committing a sin against the Faith of the Seven, including Queen Maergery’s brother, Loras. As Tommen approaches her and demands that Loras to be set free, she simply instructs him to ask the Septon. When he goes to do that, he is turned away. Cersei straight up humiliates and emotionally abuses her son just so that he remains more loyal to her than his wife and who knows how far she’s willing to go.
But in Dorne, there is another family who is seeking their own revenge. The Sand Snakes, or the daughters of Oberyn, are some of the fiercest warriors in the land, and their power and skills are demonstrated and they should be admired. As Ellaria asks them whether they want to be peaceful like their uncle, or go to war, they kill the man who has brought Jamie and Bronn to their country with a simple, “I have chosen my path.” These warriors will not stand for the multiple sins committed against their family.
I know that this episode had a lot of build up once again, but I have a feeling that the action is going to continue. The preview for next week’s episode does leave me sick to my stomach, so I will warn you that rape is implied within the first few moments if that’s something you don’t want to see.
The game is only just beginning.