Game of Thrones "S5E4 Sons of the Harpy" - Review: Has a fan theory bombshell been dropped?

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Game of Thrones "S5E4 Sons of the Harpy" - Review: Has a fan theory bombshell been drop...

Are you the kind of person that just has to take a peek at the final page before the end of the book? If so, then you’ve probably given some thought as to how you’d like to die. Whether it’s in your own bed at the age of 80 with a belly full of wine and girl’s mouth around your pork sausage, or something a bit more dramatic. One thing is for certain: You imagine yourself with a smile on your face. For death smiles at us all, so why shouldn’t we imagine ourselves smiling back? Yet as the chief poet of Westeros puts it this week, there are no good deaths, only crap ones and it’s more than likely you won’t get to choose where the wheel of misfortune will stop for you. Many a bold man will try to choose their own fate and their own death, but as “this week’s” episode shows, even the boldest man can have his fate taken from him.

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Sons of the Harpy – Cersei Lanister reinstates the Faith Militant to violently enforce the God's will against the sinners, but points them towards one tainted rose in particular. At Castle Black Jon faces a more unexpected persuasion to ride against Winterfell with Stannis, Jamie, and Bronn arrive in Dorne, Ser Jorah takes the captive Tyrion towards Mereen where The Sons of the Harpy make their move against the occupying forces of Daenerys with dire consequences.

Just as the season opener marked out “the wars to come”, this week sees several have their opening skirmishes. As the title might imply, the biggest of these is in Meereen as Dany’s gold-masked insurgent foes make their military strength and presence known. It’s a fair bet their ranks swelled considerably following her pubic disfavour in episode 2 and here they evolve from a concern to a considerable threat. The street and ally scenes are fascinating to watch as the harpies employ guerilla style tactics to overwhelm even the disciplined and skilled likes of The Unsullied, more used to straight up fighting. If your opponent will win a fair fight, then don’t give him one. Some of the ambushes even have an interesting mirroring to last season’s scenes of the slaves rising up against the masters. Do many of the Harpy’s see themselves doing the same again towards Dany? The tunnel ambush gives a great feel or desperation as multiple familiar faces fight for their live against vast numbers and ever declining odds. We even finally, after 4+ seasons, get to see the world’s greatest living swordsman in action, who despite his age, puts on quite the show. The conclusion sees Dany as a goddess shown to bleed and her rule hanging on the edge of a knife, which (as the episode 5 trailer implies) will lead her to some very desperate actions. On the road/boat to Meeren Tyrion and Jorah make a good character pairing. Tyrion is immensely enjoyable as he quickly pieces together Jorah’s identity, story, and intentions purely with a Sherlock style glance to his personal effects.

The Dorne storyline is the most enjoyable this week. This is helped in no shortage by the outstanding chemistry between Jamie and Bronn. Their scenes together cover all the bases of action, laughs, and drama. Bronn appears to have picked up a few of Tyrion’s back-story, guessing tricks from their time together as from a few simple slips of the lion’s tongue, he pieces together much about Jaimie including parentage and his single hand in Tyrion’s escape. Their skirmish with the Dorne patrol gifts some great sword action from Bronn and makes a nice turning point for Jamie as (even if by chance) he comes to use his metal hand in combat and best an opponent in a fair fight despite believing he’s scarcely a match for stable boys. The Dorne story also provides a long awaited introduction of The Sand Snakes (like a Dornish Destiny’s Child but with less singing and more lethal killing). As much as we want to see these characters, this scene is a weaker moment for the episode. Despite some interesting words about their feelings towards the late Oberyn and a novel spear-catching moment, they come across as being rather bland. This will surely change when we see them in greater action but this debut scene does not deliver their hype. The larger political tug of war in this fighting and fornicating loving of the seven kingdoms is panning out nicely as various different parties do their utmost to start or avoid a war. It feels unlikely one will actually start though, as there’s just too much going on elsewhere but how it all works out is far from certain.

Kit Harrington has another good week up at Castle Black as he attends to less glamorous side of Night’s Watch's command by sending out begging letters. This scene also makes good use as Sam and Jon’s voice of reason (the election aside, Sam’s been poorly used so far this year). The way he turns Jon’s own words of impartiality towards the kingdom’s events back upon him is nicely-written The full frontal persuasion assault from Melisandre on the surface feels primarily trouse- pleasing but her intentions do have cleverer undertone to them. She seeks to make him break another of his vows so he feels less inclined to honour the rest. It’s quite touching that it’s not the Watch’s code, but his lingering affections for Ygrette that stop him taking another redhead to bed. Stannis gets a similarly-rewarding emotional moment with his daughter but while it solidifies the love between them it can’t help feel like a death sentence for young Shireen. It feels all but certain that Stannis will be required by Melisandre to sacrifice his daughter for the cause.

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In Kings Landing, the holy war ignites as the church looks to become the new dominant power in King's Landing. This isn’t looking good for young Tomen. As much as he hated his brother, he could really do with some of Joffrey’s sternness right now as nobody seems to fear his authority. His scene of attempting to demand of his mother is hilarious as she quickly disarms him any power. Although Cersei appears to have won this round over Margery in the battle of the queen,s you can’t help feel it won’t last as The High Sparrow gives the impression of knowing more than he’s letting on when discussing sinners. The new Lancel Lanister continues to impress, complete with new facial decorations. Elsewhere, Littlefinger and Sansa’s crypt confides have no shortage of curiosity with Baelish spelling out is planned treachery of The Bolton’s and encouraging Sansa to play the game however it takes to regain control of the North.

Finally, there are also some subtle but very serious notions given to a highly prominent fan theory concerning the true parentage of a certain Jon Snow. This could very well just be a tease on the theory or could see the series teeing up a bombshell ahead of the books. The short version is that Jon was actually a Targaryen baby that Ned smuggled out of King's Landing following the fall of Mad King and passed it off as his bastard son. The best hint is Stannis‘s early notion, when discussing Jon’s birth, that the tavern lass theory of Jon’s mother is not in keeping with Ned Stark’s character. He was a man of honour and principles, not the sort to idly forsake his marriage bed in even his darkest moments but shouldering a lifetime of dishonour and shame just to save an innocent child’s life seems exactly the kind of noble sacrifice he would be foolish enough to make. Melisandre further hints at this as she speaks of Jon having power within him in the same way she’s eluded to “power in a king’s blood” in the past with Stannis and Gendry, implying royalty to his parentage. Then top this all off with multiple mentions of the former prince Rhaegar Targaryen (the believed father) and even clues to “The prince that was promised” prophecy in Littlefinger’s tale as he drops in the winter roses connection between Rhaegar and Lyanna Stark (the believed mother). Only time and pages will tell, but right now, it looks promising.

It’s a brilliant episode delivering on many levels with many characters and exciting new changes taking place. Maybe many of us won’t die with a smile on our face, but good episodes like this are doing their best to help.