BITE OF THE HARPY
Note: The following review goes into detail about the episode. SPOILER ALERT!
Those of us watching at home who have found Game of Thrones to be a little slow this season will surely have been delighted at the way “Sons of the Harpy” ended. I haven’t been too bothered by the pace so far, but I do admit it’s been fairly quiet by this show’s standards. The bloodbath that ended this episode was a great piece of action that also added some much needed impetus to Daenerys’s struggles over in Meereen. I’m not too happy with the portrayal of the Unsullied. They were talked up as the best warriors in the land, but they were laid down fairly easily to an undertrained, albeit superior-numbered foe.
The major shock to come out of all of this is the presumed death of Ser Barristan Selmy. Selmy has been a very welcome presence in Dany’s side of things so far, so to see him get cut down by the Sons was a big downer. He took around eight or nine of them down in his attempt to save Grey Worm, but unfortunately his wounds looked fatal. Grey Worm also took a severe beating, but I can’t see the show killing off two of Dany’s biggest advisors in one fell swoop. While I don’t buy the Sons of the Harpy taking out that group of Unsullied so easily, this does go a fair way to establishing them as a bigger threat to Dany. She has spent plenty of time being the underdog so far, but now she finds herself acting as the occupying force that’s facing guerrilla warfare. It’s an interesting reversal, and one that looks like it’s leading to plenty more blood spilling as the Sons grow bolder.
The other significant action took place over in Dorne, with Jaime and Bronn landing on the shores of Westeros’ nicest holiday destination. It wasn’t to be a welcome arrival, however, with the two unlikely companions immediately set upon by a patrol of Dornish guards. My main takeaway from this fight was how completely vulnerable Jaime still is without his hand. It was always going to be a hard ask for him to regain even half of his sword-fighting prowess, but it’s clear that if he was to come up against a man or woman of above-average skill in a fair fight, he’d more than likely lose. His golden hand was the only thing that saved him here, but he remains adamant that he’ll be the one to save his “niece.” Staying in Dorne, we also got a brief introduction to a group known as the Sand Snakes. These women are all the bastard children of Oberyn Martell, and while their time in this episode was brief, it’s clear they’ll play a larger part on the show going forward.
Cersei’s plans to strike back at Margaery became a bit clearer this week, and we also got an explanation of why she would give so much power to the High Sparrow. Tasking the High Sparrow with cleaning up King’s Landing, she also pointed them in the direction of someone who had been committing “impure acts,” Margaery’s beloved brother Loras. What’s so very clever about Cersei is she always strikes out at the people closest to her target. So instead of going straight for the new Queen, she took away her brother. This little skirmish between Cersei and Margaery also highlighted just how hopeless Tommen is at being king. He is stuck between the two most important women in his life, and he couldn’t make the hard decision when it came to it.
My favorite scene this week was Stannis’s chat with his daughter Shireen. Stannis, who has been so cold on the show, opened up and showed just the tiniest bit of vulnerability with his daughter. It’s interesting, Game of Thrones (along with its source material) does a great job of making us like its “cripples, bastards and broken things.” Here’s Shireen, a perfectly normal little girl who has been outcasted because of events beyond her control. Even her own mother openly doesn’t want her around. So seeing Stannis telling her the story of how he fought to save her, and then declaring “you are Princess Shireen of House Baratheon, and you are my daughter” was a genuinely touching moment from a normally stoic character. Stannis is about to ride into battle, so I hope this doesn’t act as a farewell for the two of them, but it just served to make me like Stannis even more. He is basically the character Ned Stark would be is he had made more decisions with his head instead of his heart. One thing to note here is that we got a few more mentions of Grey Scale and the Stone Men, which makes me think they’ll be playing a bigger part on the show in the coming episodes.
Jon had a quiet week by Night’s Watch standards, but it looks like he’ll be facing a tougher choice between his duty and his family name in the remainder of the season. The prospect of becoming Jon Stark just hasn’t gone away yet, and it’s becoming obvious that things will come to a head at some stage. Melisandre certainly tried a different form of convincing than Davos, but even her seduction tactics couldn’t change Jon’s mind. It’ll take something a lot more to spur Jon into action, but with Sansa due to marry Ramsay Snow, it might not be too far away.
A surprising and bloody episode of Game of Thrones came to a close with two important characters lying in a pool of their own blood. It seems like at least one of them is dead, and it also highlights just how perilous Dany’s situation is in Meereen. Perhaps this will pave way for Jorah and Tyrion to stand by her side, although they’re still a long way away from her. Cersei made her first proper move against the new queen, while Jaime and Bronn landed in Dorne on their mission to rescue Myrcella. There’s still a hell of a lot going on at the moment, with some characters getting a single scene per episode, while others get none. It may be packed, but things are just starting to take a little bit more of a shape now.
90/100 – Superb
Have we seen the last of Selmy and Grey Worm on the show, or will one of or both of them survive? Tweet me [SPOILER FREE] @OldSnake24. Also, be sure to follow us @YouNerded!
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