by Jeremie Mutolo
While the sun may shine over the lands of Westeros, anyone who has followed Game of Thrones knows that winter is coming. With the first episode in the fifth season of HBO’s hit medieval fantasy thriller premiering on April 12th, winter may not be too far off. The first scenes of the season depict an adolescent Cersei Lannister receiving a (pretty accurate) prophecy from a witch in the forest, telling her the fate of her children and how she will be queen for a while, only to be replaced by a younger one. We then jump back to the present, where we are greeted by a deceased Tywin Lannister, along with Jaime Lannister. Cersei lashes out at her brother/lover/father of her (remaining) two children saying, “Tyrion may be a monster, but at least he killed our father on purpose. You killed him by mistake.”
Sailing across the Narrow Sea in a tiny, cramped box, arriving at the feet of the eunuch Varys is none other than Tyrion Lannister himself who was last seen fleeing after murdering his father in the conclusion of season 4. Varys informs Tyrion of the real reason behind his rescue which is to find Daenerys Targaryen and her dragons and bring her to the Iron Throne. The episode then shifts to the city of Mereen, where the aforementioned Mother of Dragons has liberated its people, yet faces more challenges from the rebellious Sons of the Harpy It also appears that Daenerys has lost all control of her dragons as the two she locked up greet her with contempt and the third is still roaming the skies of Mereen.
At the end of season 4, we left off with Jon Snow and the Men on the Night’s Watch defending The Wall from the wildings, only to be saved by Stannis Baratheon. Stannis then provides an ultimatum to Jon Snow: make Mance Rayder, the King Beyond the Wall, bend the knee, or die himself. Seems simple enough. The wildlings join Stanni’s army and march on the North. In return, they will receive land for their troubles. However, Mance refuses as he believes that if he bends the knee, his people will no longer respect him. Mance is burned alive at the end of the conflict.
The first episode wasn’t filled with too much excitement, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing with Game of Thrones. With the show no longer following the books exactly, it’s interesting to see where the producers are willing to take the show. Particularly interesting storylines to follow are Tyrion/Varys and their pursuit of Daenerys as well as the situation at the Wall. We have yet to really see Arya Stark and her arrival at Braavos, and Sansa’s storyline really doesn’t have much intrigue, not yet at least. With winter fast approaching in the series in contrast to the arrival of spring in the real world, and the White Walkers readying to make their wrath felt on the citizens of Westeros, this is a pivotal season for the Game of Thrones series.