Note: The following review goes into detail about the episode. SPOILER ALERT!
Game of Thrones is back! I love how much of an event this show has become over the last couple of years. The ratings have steadily climbed each season, and it’s marvellous to see an epic fantasy adaptation become one of the most popular shows in the world. As a massive fan of the book series, I have to admit to feeling a little conflicted in the run-up to the start of the season. I was and always will be a firm believer that the story should finish in the books first, but considering that’s not going to happen, it’s great to have such a fantastic show to fall back on. Two books worth of content could be burned through in this season, with several plotlines being left completely out of the show, with new ones being added. It’s an interesting situation for a show to be in, but I have no doubt that they’ll nail it.
So, “The Wars to Come” was a pretty standard season opener for Game of Thrones. Everything looked fantastic. We only got a scene or two with most of the important characters, and nothing really major happened. None of this is a bad thing, though. Episodes like “The Wars to Come” are absolutely vital in establishing the foundation of the season, along with reminding people which characters hadn’t suffered horrific deaths in the last season. We didn’t even catch up with everyone yet, with Arya being the most noticeable absentee.
The show did shake things up a little bit by giving us our first flashback. It was a smart choice to open the show with it, and it gives us another look into the mind of Cersei. It’s hard to tell whether her run-in with the witch has influenced her plotting over the years, or whether it’s only coming back into her thoughts after everything that has happened to her. Her father Tywin is still casting a rather large shadow over proceedings even after his death, with several characters mentioning his demise. One of my most anticipated aspects of this season is seeing the Lannister’s on the back foot for once. They’ve been so powerful for so long, but all of a sudden they don’t seem so menacing without Tywin in charge. Tommen is already under Margaery’s spell, Cersei’s influence is weakening and Jaime can’t fight like he used to. Tywin’s brother Kevan has arrived to steady the ship, but only time will tell what kind of person he is.
The prospect of fan favorite character’s meeting up is something everyone gets excited about, and it looks like we’re on course to see Tyrion crossing paths with Daenerys in the not so distant future. They each have their own problems. Tyrion is in exile in a foreign land after killing his father, while Daenerys is facing the beginning of a revolt amongst the city she has only recently freed. While the prospect of Tyrion and Dany together is mouth-watering, it’s worth pausing for a second to think about how Dany would react to Tyrion. Sure he murdered his father and is rumored to have killed Joffrey, but that would hardly make him appear trustworthy. And above all else, he is a Lannister, which instantly makes him persona non grata with the Targaryen queen. It looks like things are only going to get worse for Dany, and she can’t even rely on her dragons. Perhaps desperation would make her listen to Tyrion’s council if they do indeed meet up.
The arrival of Stannis has really added a lot of extra impetus to the Night’s Watch side of things. The Watch’s struggles against the wildlings have often felt very isolated from the rest of the show’s arcs, but now it’s suddenly taken on even more importance. While the threat beyond the wall is a serious danger, the war for the Iron Throne is still one of the most interesting aspects of the show—and having Jon wrapped up in it is a nice change. Mance Rayder has only had a few appearances on the show, but he’s made a lasting impression. His death was the biggest moments of the episode. After so much build-up to “the king beyond the wall,” he was quickly defeated by Stannis’s smaller but better equipped force. Defiant til the end, he fought to not scream as the fire engulfed him, and Jon’s mercy kill was a nice touch. Stannis has big plans for the wildling army, but as it stands, it seems nearly impossible for him to win them over. It looks like Jon will be having him as a guest for a while longer.
“The Wars to Come” was an effortlessly easy returning episode for Game of Thrones. It was a leisurely stroll around to catch up with many of our main characters, with a spot of throat-cutting and immolation thrown in for good measure. This is where the seeds for the entire season have been sewn, and I hope we’ll get to reap the rewards later in the season as we have for the last four years. We’ll almost definitely catch up with some of these characters again next week, but I’m most looking forward to seeing what young Arya Stark has gotten herself into now.
85/100 – Great
Were you happy with the first episode of Season 5? What storylines are you most looking forward to seeing this season? Tweet me your answers @OldSnake24 and we can discuss. Also be sure to follow us @YouNerded!
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