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REVIEW: Game of Thrones 5×04 “The Sons of the Harpy”

Red alert to all Martell fans: we have Sand Snakes! Oberyn’s daughters have made their long-awaited appearance in the show and they are just as we’d hoped. It makes sense really that Oberyn would have such bad-ass daughters (and I’m glad Obara’s weapon of choice is a spear, just like her father’s!) Their scene with Ellaria Sand sets up some interesting future plot points although Obara’s random story about her father did seem bit irrelevant and forced – Ellaria just wants to know if you’re in or out, yes or no would do. I know the show loves these long story answers to questions but sometimes they’re a bit shoehorned in! Either way, I am excited to see where their story goes (although I really really don’t want them to hurt Myrcella or Jaime! I have conflicting loyalties. This show does that to you.)

Jaime is certainly having an interesting time travelling to Dorne, being offered snake for breakfast and doing some of the worst hiding I’ve ever seen – seriously, that tiny bump in the sand is not going to protect you. Turns out that a metal hand is super useful in a fight! His and Bronn’s mission seems somewhat doomed and I wonder how aware they are of this. I enjoyed Bronn’s raised eyebrows at Jaime’s use of the word ‘niece’ when talking about Myrcella, it said a lot! Also, it hadn’t really registered with me that Jaime now hates Tyrion. It’s a pity; they were the only two Lannisters who actually had a reasonably healthy relationship!

Speaking of Lannisters, back in Kings Landing, Cersei is getting rid of Tyrells pretty quickly! First poor sweet Mace Tyrell (you’re too nice for this world, mate!) is sent packing to the Iron Bank on a hopeless mission with the eternally unpleasant Meryn Trant. Fingers crossed that Mace will bumble into him on their ship and knock him overboard. And then Cersei goes full-on crazy and decides that a ‘Faith Militant’ is a brilliant thing to reinstate! I really hope this bites her in the ass someday. Predictably, she aims her pet army at Ser Loras and gets him arrested. Mark the millionth time I’ve shouted ‘NO!!!’ at the screen while watching this show (and not just because Ser Loras happens to also be lovely in real life!)

Tommen is, of course, utterly ineffectual at freeing him. I give him credit for not wanting unnecessary bloodshed in the streets but good grief boy, command these Sparrow guys to step aside, don’t just go ‘Ooh ok, so sorry to disturb you, bye!’ Last week I wondered whether we would ever see Margaery show sincerity and actually, this week, I believe we have! She loves her brother, she loves her family, and her anger at hearing of Loras’ plight was almost enough to shake her carefully worn mask – almost but not quite! I rather admire her ability to stay level-headed and continue to manipulate the situation even when she’s upset. She knows she has to keep Tommen on her side and continue to dig away at Cersei, no matter what.

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Time for a trip up to the Wall now, where Stannis shows his human side to daughter Shireen. Her mother is awful, I’m glad to hear she has one parent who truly loves her. Stannis’ story about how Shireen caught Greyscale (something we’re hearing more and about…) really quite melted my heart toward him! For some reason I always enjoy hearing characters talk about the past in Westeros, especially when it’s their really personal memories of events like this.

Also at the Wall this week, we saw creepy Melisandre making a pass at Jon Snow who confessed he still loves Ygritte – but how did Mel know that Jon ‘know[s] nothing’? Creepy. I’m not sure what point she was trying to make with her nudity, to be honest. She went from trying to convince him to seek vengeance for the North to just pulling her dress open. Ah well. I do understand Jon’s reasoning for refusing to join Stannis’ fight but damn, I wish he’d march down there and serve up some justice to the hideous Boltons. I worry that Jon’s increasingly emphasised honour is just a harbinger of doom!

The Boltons make no appearance this episode but their presence was felt in Sansa’s scene with Littlefinger – it’s a relief to hear he expects Stannis to beat the Boltons, rescue Sansa from her marriage to Ramsey and reward her, but equally I worry whether he does actually believe all this or is just telling her what she wants to hear. I was constantly worried in this scene that we’d see Ramsay lurking and listening to it all as well! I did enjoy hearing about Lyanna and Rhaegar (personal memories of the past again!) and Littlefinger’s expression when Sansa mentioned Rhaegar kidnapping and raping Lyanna was pretty interesting if you like a certain fan theory…

It was actually a bumper episode for personal memories of the past, as Barristan Selmy shared a fond memory with Daenerys of Rhaegar venturing into the city to sing. It was interesting to hear a nicer side to the Targaryens and certainly caused a bit of bonding between Daenerys and Barristan – he is her only link to her past.

Unfortunately, this may have been a bit of a death knell for the poor man: as soon as he goes out for a walk, a fight breaks out between the titualar Sons of the Harpy and the Unsullied. Or possibly more of a massacre. To be honest, my notes at this point devolve into a lot of messy scribbles of the words ‘NO!!!’ and ‘OH BALLS’ in big capital letters. I also seem to have written ‘Oh no! Barristan and Grey Worm stabbed SO MUCH. ARE THEY DEAD??’ Really, I don’t think there’s much more to say!

Episode Grade: A

Extra Thoughts:

  • Favourite quote of the week by Tyrion: ‘I was drunk through most of the Small Council meetings but it’s all coming back.’
  • Every now and then in Game of Thrones a scene opens with a boat and I get excited because I think Gendry is on it and we’ll finally see what happened to the poor guy. I’m not sure why I care so much. But anyway, that happened three times this episode. Three! That’s just too much. Stop teasing me, writers.
  • Mmm ok Jaime and Bronn, you’re going to bury the bodies. BUT WHAT WILL YOU DIG WITH?
  • Ellaria’s horse was really beautiful. Where can I get a horse like this?
  • I miss Oberyn.

About the author

Grace Davis