Game of Thrones Episode 501 Recap

Okay guys. This is my first recap for an episode of television, so be kind. I did it by character, not by how it aired in the episode, as that isn’t always important with Game of Thrones. Also I haven’t read the books, so no book spoilers here. Enjoy.

Cersei

Screenshot 2015-04-16 18.29.10This season started off with a flashback of two pre-teen girls, one of whom is a slightly-less-pissed-at-the-world Cersei, in the middle of the forest. Cersei leads the two into a creepy-looking cabin with an emo witch. Cersei, always thinking she is smarter than she is, asks the witch to tell of her future. The witch warns the will-be queen that “Everybody wants to know their future, until they know their future.”  Cersei pushes and the witch tells her that (1) she won’t marry Prince Rhaegar Targaryen, (2) that she will still be a queen “for a time” and that another younger girl (Margery or Dany?) will cast her down and take everything Cersei holds dear, and (3) that the king would have 20 children, Cersei would have three with “gold crowns” and that “gold would be their shrouds.”

When the flashback ended, my first thought was ‘really… just that.’ We had gone four full seasons without a flashback, and then this is what they chose? We knew that Cersei wouldn’t marry Rhaegar, we knew that Cersei would have three Lannister children and we knew that at least one of them dies young (RIP you little bastard.) But then we zoomed to present time.

While flashback Cersei left the cabin a confused little girl, present-time Cersei has seen her future occur just like she was told. All those confusing things that badass witch said seems true. No wonder she was so worried when they shipped off Myrcella. No wonder she was so protective of Joffrey and now Tommen. No wonder she eyes Margery with so much disdain, thinking she will be her downfall.

Screenshot 2015-04-17 17.45.19The flashback wasn’t to give us more plot information like most flashbacks do. It was to let us get into the mind of one of the few remaining “villains” of the series and lets you understand her unforgiving life. And now her family, with Tyrion murdering Tywin, is kind of in shambles. Let alone the fact that she (rightly) blames Jamie  for letting it all happen.

Later, Cersei deals expertly blows off both Loras Tyrell (who she is still technically engaged to) and Grand Maester Pycelle, before she runs into Lancel Lannister, her cousin that she used as her boy toy while Jamie was captured. Oh yeah, and he “may” have been responsible for the death of King Robert in season one. Lancel is now a Sparrow, a religious order under the Faith of the Seven. Lancel begs forgiveness for “tempting” Cersei into “unnatural relations” and for “what happened with the King.” Cersei just smiles and says that she has no idea of what he’s talking about, while mentally thinking that this might turn into a problem for her.

It’s interesting that we are focusing on Cersei so much at the beginning of this season. She is one of the few characters that we still can’t fully get behind as an audience member. I’ve been told that it is at this point in the books where Cersei becomes a point-of-view character, and I’m excited to see a Cersei storyline match what they did with Jamie in season 3. Or maybe this is it for her. Anything can happen on Game of Thrones.

Jamie

Screenshot 2015-04-16 18.29.40Gets yelled at by Cersei, hopefully gets more to do next episode.

Arya is the best.
Arya will always be the best.
If Arya dies, I might have to quit watching this show.
Seriously, though.
Valar Morghulis.

Margaery and Loras Tyrell

Screenshot 2015-04-17 21.32.55Loras is sleeping with Olyver, and they remind us that Dorne is a place we should remember by giving Loras a birthmark in the shape of the kingdom. Then Margary comes in saying that they are late to dinner. I love the relationship of these two. They seem to always have the others back. Margaery warns Loras to be slightly more discreet, to which Loras says that everyone knows that he’s gay.

The topic of Loras and Cersei’s engagement comes up, with Loras pointing out that if they don’t wed, Cersei stays in King’s Landing (and continues to stop Margaery from having the power she truly deserves. Margaery replies coyly, “Perhaps.” Maybe Cersei should be scared of Margaery after all.

Tyrion and Varys

Screenshot 2015-04-16 18.28.17God, its great to see Peter Dinklage again. He’s just so good, even how he gets out of the box is brilliant. But anyway, Tyrion and Varys are across the narrow sea in Pentos. They play the best game of ‘would you rather’ ever, with the options being sticking your own poop out an oxygen hole in a box vs. taking someone else’s poop and throwing it overboard.

Tyrion drinks and Varys explains why they really are here. Varys apparently has been behind trying to get the Targaryens, first Viserys and now Daenerys, back on the Iron Throne.  Now he wants Tyrion to be an advisor to Dany. Cause Dany is a decent ruler, but is an epically bad politician.

Varys talks about a future where there is peace and where the powerful don’t prey on the powerless. For the first time since Ned Stark’s head left his body, there is hope in this show. Tyrion is given a choice between drinking himself to death in Pentos, or travel to Meereen and work to make the world better. Being Tyrion, he chooses to drink while traveling to Meereen.

White Rat

Screenshot 2015-04-17 14.33.17 So we follow this random unsullied soldier into a brothel, even though he is obviously a eunuch. It’s actually kind of sweet because the prostitute just holds him and sings to him. Then he gets his throat slit by the prostitute while this creepy dude in a golden mask watches. Welcome to Game of Thrones.

Daenerys

Screenshot 2015-04-17 22.36.58Dany is starting to understand that just because you tear down the giant statue of the old regime, there aren’t those who want their country back to how it was before. That group of people include gold-masked guys, aka the Sons of the Harpy. Dany decides to combat this by poking the bear. She decides to publicly burying White Rat and have the unsullied patrol to streets. She says that “angry snakes lash out [making] chopping off their heads that much easier.” Not sure I agree with her logic, but it sure sounded cool.

In old business, Hizdahr zo Loraq (the guy from Meereen that wanted to bary his father who died at the stake) returns from Yunkai saying it was a huge success with the formation of a council of elders there made up of both former slave owners and the freed men. However they asked for the opening of the fighting pits, where slaves battled to the death. Dany shuts that shit down.

After sexy time, Daario tells Dany that he wouldn’t have ever become a fighter or a freed slave were it not for the fighting pits. He added that Dany should reopen the pits, but give it a Targaryen spin (aka add some dragons to this thang.) Dany decides that might not be a bad idea, and that she should see how her two captured dragons are doing. However, her teenaged dragons are a bit pissed at their mother for grounding them, and they send Dany running out of there afraid for her life.

Grey Worm and Missandei

Screenshot 2015-04-17 14.37.40After Missandei learns that some of the unsullied go to a brothel, she asked Grey Worm why one would do that. Grey Worm lies and says that he doesn’t know. Tell her that you feel love, Grey Worm!!! These two kids just need to get together already.

Arya is the best.
Valar Morghulis.

Sansa

Screenshot 2015-04-17 14.50.25Sansa looks really bored watching Robin get pummeled during a fighting lesson, but at least she is relatively safe. Littlefinger gets a note and creepily glares at Sansa like something is up. Meanwhile he talks about how Robin may not be a fighter, but having the “gift of a great name” should get him far. But Robin is really bad. Like Sam-would-laugh-at-him bad. He literally screamed in fear every time a sparring sword hit his shield. Sansa and Littlefinger head out in a

Sansa and Littlefinger are heading to “a land so far from here even Cersei Lannister can’t get her hands on [Sansa.]” I think we were supposed to take this as comforting, but it’s kind of like this creepy dude telling you that you aren’t safe from a potential murder, so why don’t you hide in the back of his van. We’ll see.

Brienne and Podrick

Screenshot 2015-04-17 17.15.23The last two honorable people in Westeros are without a mission after Arya choose not to go with them at the end of last season. Brienne doesn’t want to head north for the slight possibility that Sansa might be at Castle Black.

She has finally given up on hope in this world of pain and misery. She said, “All I ever wanted was to fight for a lord I believed in, but the good lords are dead and the rest are monsters.” She even tried to push dear Pod away, saying that she isn’t a leader and that he has no reason to stay. Pod obviously isn’t going anywhere because did you read the thing earlier about these are the only “good guys” left?

The salt in the wound is that Sansa and Littlefinger literally passed their camp. Brienne was feet away from both the Stark girls and wasn’t able to protect them. This show, man.

Sam and Gilly

Screenshot 2015-04-17 14.41.30All seems well at Castle Black. We first see Jon training Olly, aka the kid that killed Ygritte. This must be weird for our favorite bastard. Sam looks on as Jon has someone new to train thinking that was him four seasons ago. Now he’s killed White Walkers and a Thenn (the cannibals.) Gilly gives him a look that screams “Mmm, okay.” They’re perfect together.

Gilly is worried about Sir Alister not letting Gilly and Baby Sam stay if Alliser Thorne becomes the new Lord Commander. Luckily, they talk about a supposedly good guy, Denys Mallister, who is also running. Hopefully we see him soon. Sam seems to have backed himself into a corner with that whole “never gonna leave you Gilly” speech from last season. Sure it was sweet, but I’m not sure he really thought it through.

Jon Snow

Screenshot 2015-04-17 14.42.06He gets a message from Stannis and Melisandre. Stannis wants to uses the wildlings to be his army in exchange for their official citizenship below The Wall. But there is one tiny hitch in the plan. Jon has to persuaded Mance Rayder to bow before Stannis or he is burned at the stake.

Also, in passing Melisandre asks Jon if he’s a virgin, and it got really uncomfortable for everybody. Stannis also asks Jon if he want’s to avenge Rob, and Jon replied “I want a great many things, your grace,” which might be the smartest thing Jon Snow has ever said.

Jon Snow tries to convince Mance Rayder to take the deal, and Mance won’t have any of it. Mance knew exactly what Stannis’ plan was for the wildling and even said that he respected Stannis. However, he would never serve him. Jon tries to retort that Mance didn’t bring together 90 clans for power or glory, and that he wouldn’t kneel because he was “afraid of looking afraid.” Mance admits to being afraid and not wanting to die. He asks how he will be killed, in which Jon replies that they will burn to death. Mance said that he didn’t want to be remembered screaming while being burned alive, but that it was better than betraying everything he believed.

While I don’t agree with Mance’s point of view here, you got to admit that he’s facing this thing like a champ. Jon tries one last tactic, by asking what happens to the wildlings after Mance is gone, but Mance just replies that “if you can’t understand why I won’t enlist my people in a foreigner’s war, there’s no point explaining.” Jon realizes that Mances fate is set and Mance is set to be burned.

It’s at this point in every Game of Thrones storyline that I think someone will stop it right before a character dies. I’m always disappointed. Melisandre starts the fire, and Jon leaves the viewing area. We see the fear in Mance’s eyes as he slowly starts to burn alive. Then an arrow hits him in the heart. Jon Snow ends Mances misery as the screen fades to black.

I’m not sure how this will work out for Jon. On one hand, it is just a continuation of making decisions like a true leader. On the other, he really isn’t a leader yet, and this might bite him in the ass. Not to mention the fact that Jon has been perceived as being a wildling-sympathizer (which he totally is) since he buried Ygritte above The Wall, and this sure isn’t going to help his case.

Final Thoughts

  • Seeing the flayed man sigil at Winterfell was bittersweet. Sweet because I was tired of the burning Winterfell and bitter because the Boltons are the worst.
  • Oh look, Stannis’ wife and daughter are still around and given nothing to do!
  • I want Cersei and Gilly to have a sarcasm-off. I honestly don’t know who would win.
  • I know some people thought that not a lot happened this episode, but I feel like it set up a lot of groundwork that I’m excited to see progress. Sansa is off somewhere, Tyrion is going to Dany, Brienne is back to square one and Stannis and Jon make each other actually interesting.
  • I’ve never really been a huge supporter for anyone to get on the iron throne, but right now I’m leaning towards Margaery, Dany (only if puppeted by Tyrion) or Gendry (I still have hope he’ll come back.)
  • People we have yet to see this season: Arya, Theon/Reek, Bronn, Ellaria Sand and all the new people from Dorne
  • Remember that Bran, Hodor and Meera are taking the season off. Still no word on Rickon and Tonks.
  • Overall, I liked this episode. I feel like Game of Thrones does two people talking scenes better than almost anybody, and this episode was chock full of them.
  • Let me know what you thought of this review in the comment.
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