Episode five lacks classic Game of Thrones action, however is made up for by it's importance by planting the seeds for future events.
Episode 5 of Game of Thrones means two things: the long awaited season is at its half way point and intricate storylines are already flowing fast.
Highlights from last weeks episode include epic duo Jaime Lannister and Bronn abroad in Dorne, fighting off snakes, the reptilian ones and from the looks of it eventually the Martell ones, hoping to bring home Marcella Baratheon. Jon Snow, the newly elected Lord Commander of the Night’s Watch removes the head of uncooperative Janos Slynt, finally! Arya is serving in the House of Black and White, continuously hoping to become a Faceless Man and Brienne in her struggle to win over Sansa Stark has a heartfelt moment with Podrick Payne. Finishing with a cliff-hanger, the episode brought back emotions thought forgotten at the Red Wedding with Unsullied Grey Worm and Ser Barristan Selmy left wounded in a battle with the Sons of the Harpies.
With a brutal reminder of last weeks events the opening scene of episode 5 depicts a wounded Grey Worm (Jacob Anderson), overlooked by Missandei (Nathalie Emmanuel), and the terrible confirmation of Barristan the Bold’s (Ian McElhinney) death, to the surprise of readers. In true Targaryen fashion, Daenerys (Emilia Clarke) threatens those she believes responsible for their deaths by threatening them with her monstrous dragons: Rhaegal and Viserion. However, despite the befallen horrors, Daenerys has a change of heart, with the intent on making peace with Meereen: demonstrating Daenerys’ never ending wish to rule peacefully. By opening the fighting pits long called for by Meereen’s masters, the Mother of Dragons hopes to achieve this. Grey Worm later wakes with the surprising revelation of his feelings for Missandei.
A world away on the wall Maester Aemon Targaryen (Peter Vaughn) shows concern for long distance relative Daenerys while also reminding Lord Commander Jon Snow (Kit Harrington) to “kill the boy and let the man be born.” Taking this seriously Jon begins his rule as Lord Commander with the seemingly ridiculous idea to unite with The Wildlings. Despite this, Tormund Giantsbane (Kristofer Hivjju), the only apparent Wilding leader, makes it clear that Jon must depart Castle Black and head to Hardhome to tell the remaining Wilding’s this personally. A surprise discussion between Samwell Tarly (John Bradley) and Stannis Baratheon (Stephane Dillane) reminds us of the constant, often forgotten, threat by The Others.
Back in the cold confines of Winterfell, no longer the friendly home of House Stark, Roose Bolton (Michael McElhatton) sits as Warden of the North. However, the return of Sansa Stark (Sophie Turner), soon to be Sansa Bolton, is the greatest plot I believe to be unfolding. Sansa finds herself back at the tower her brother, Bran Stark, fell from which consequently set off the events witnessed in Game of Thrones. Her meeting with Theon Greyjoy (Alfie Allen), or ‘Reek’, and uncomfortable meal with Ramsey Bolton (Iwan Rheon) parading the old ward of Winterfell in front of her demonstrates the strength Sansa now holds.
The Bolton’s are also later seen discussing the threat Stannis poses in the North, planting the seeds to something that could be the next best battle seen in Game of Thrones. Later, on the wall, Stannis, as if he knew, announces his plans to march on Winterfell, soon leading his host South out of Castle Black.
Finally we are reminded of Jorah Mormant (Iain Glen) and Tyrion Lannister’s (Peter Dinklage) meeting, forcing two of the most interesting characters together in a clever move by the show’s writers, David Benioff and Daniel Weiss. Their journey down the River Rhoyne introduces us to the ancient land of Valyria, radiating essence of an aztec rainforest reinforcing the ancient world’s mysteries. Tyrion soon gets his greatest wish to see a dragon as we see Drogon flying gracefully through the sky. This majestic scene is soon interrupted by Stone-Men, plagued by the disease greyscale descending on their boat, ending with Tyrion being dragged to the depths of the river. Despite this Jorah somehow drags Tyrion ashore only to secretly reveal his contraction of the dreaded greyscale.
The episode certainly continues promising storylines with interesting moments throughout. The huge yet seemingly simple moment of Sansa standing at the base of the tower of Bran’s fall meant just as much to the audience as it must have for Sansa. However, despite this, I was still left wondering: what are the epic duo doing in Dorne? What are the Sand Snakes up to? And most importantly when will we see Arya Stark continuing her story in the House of Black and White?
Game of Thrones airs on Sky Atlantic Mondays at 9pm.