Game of Thrones Review “Sons of the Harpy” S5E4

This season of game of Thrones has been all about cliff-hangers. It seems like every episode ends with me saying, “I’ll be so pissed if that was the end of…. Dammit!” With so much of the story spread around Westeros, there’s usually not even an immediate answer to those predicaments. This week is no exception; it’s more of a set-up episode than an action episode, but you can already see the dominos that began to fall at the end of Season 4 are tipping over – and my, they fall quickly. No matter the outcome of this Game, I don’t see anybody getting a happy ending.

Pros

Religious zealots with power? What could go wrong?: This is a love/hate relationship, but I’m a big fan of the portrayal of the conflict of interest that arises when real power is given to religious cults. It’s been going on throughout time (and is still kind of happening today), but the way Game of Thrones tackles the issue with the Sparrows is genius. It’s all a stupid chess move from Cersei – equivalent to leaving your Queen open to protect a pawn – but the implications are much deeper.

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Cersei is really bad at chess: Cersei has zeroed in on Margaery, and is so worried about Margaery taking over the little power she has left that she is willing to throw out the baby with the bathwater to take her down. She’s imprisoned Ser Loras, who, although quite gay, is quite the fighter. Then, she sends the blundering idiot Mace Tyrell to talk to the Iron Bank of Braavos about a reprieve in payment. Oh, and she unleashes the Sparrows on her enemies, which is like setting a nuke off in your backyard and then plugging your ears to prevent collateral damage. In short, she end up with a lot of bad things happening to her in her efforts to thwart Margaery. Too bad Olenna isn’t there to set things straight.

Jon Snow’s self-control: You know, I’ve never been faced with the dilemma of asking the man who murdered my family for help, but I’d like to think that I would have the fortitude that Jon Snow had when he agreed to ask Roose Bolton for men and supplies. Not even the evil vagina of death could persuade Lord Commander Snow to defect from his vow. Stannis was certain that it was honor that got Ned killed, but I’m certain Snow’s honor and duty is the only thing keeping The Night’s Watch from murdering Jon, should he ever choose to defect.

Stannis has a heart?: Wow, of all the crazy crap that happened this episode, Stannis Baratheon sharing his feelings was by far the most surprising. This man has been as emotional as a rock throughout the series, so when Shireen asked him if he was ashamed of her, I was expecting the same old a-hole Stannis we’ve always seen. Instead, we are blessed with one of the sweetest father-daughter stories of the series. Maybe this guy isn’t too heartless to rule the kingdom.

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Cons

Tommen is not about that life: Let’s be honest, this little bastard is so screwed. In whatever twisted Incest Goldilocks story going on, Tommen bear got the short end of the stick in the leadership area. Yeah, he’s just a boy, and he’s been raised by the most manipulative bastard in the Kingdom, but this goes back to what I said last week about where Robb Stark was at that time. Tommen has been bred to be a snobby little Lordling, while Robb was groomed to become Warden of the North. Either way, this city is gonna swallow this little dude whole if he doesn’t wise up soon. Monster he may have been, but the Crown could definitely need some Tywin wisdom right now.

You don’t get to say those words: I think they’ve done a great job with Melisandre thus far, but hearing her say Ygritte’s phase just got under my skin. I don’t know if it was in the book or not, but not a well-written line. If I were Jon, it wouldn’t magically convince me to do the sex with the Red Woman. It would, however, make me start to believe that I really didn’t no anything.

Ellaria’s vengeance: I’ve heard that Ellaria is actually a benevolent person in the books, which makes sense given that she was practically soulmates with Oberyn Martell. So, her unrelenting resolve to start a war seems like good TV, but it’s a bit conflicting to who she has been as a character. I’m especially drawn aback by her determination to fulfill the revenge by murdering Myrcella, something that both Doran and Oberyn were adement against it. It makes me worry that this is going to make her unlikable and one-dimensional; hopefully it doesn’t bleed into the Sand Snakes, who seemed much more impressionable than I previously thought.

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The Unsullied kinda suck: For having their wieners chopped off and trained to murder from childhood, these guys kinda suck. They’re outfitted with armor (-ish), a shield and a long-spear, and still somehow have difficulty to defeat a bunch of guys wearing party masks and pajamas, brandishing daggers.  Color me unimpressed, but I expected this army to be ridiculous in combat. Only Grey Worm really brought his A-game, and it still wasn’t enough to save Ser Barristan Selmy. RIP Ser Barristan, the only guy with enough balls to tell Joffrey to shove off and keep his head.

Cripples, Bastards and Broken Things (Odds and Ends)

New real estate: Dorne is finally important enough to have a  opening credits – took them long enough, jeez. Also, when Jaime and Bronn are on their way to Dorne, they pass Tarth, the Sapphire Isle. It’s no coincidence; that’s where Brienne of Tarth is from. The water is so blue that it shimmers like jewels, not because it’s teeming with riches.

One more name on the list: With Mace Tyrell being the bumbling idiot that he is, Cersei sent Ser Meryn Trant with him to stand before the Iron Bank of Braavos. Trant is the one who led the charge to apprehend Arya in Season 1 and presumably murder Syrio Forel, and he just so happens to be one of the names on Arya’s short Hit List. We could see a reunion. Or, in her attempt to let go of her previous life, maybe we won’t. Although, I’m personally waiting for a Janos Slynt-sized fistful of karma.

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Fighting and fuckin: Really, isn’t that all this show is? Maybe that’s why we like Bronn so much.

More depth to Jaime: As long as he’s boinking his sister, Jaime Lannister will always an irredeemable character. However, that doesn’t mean he can’t be a complex character. Here, it’s revealed that Jaime regrets helping to free his brother, since Tyrion thanked Jaime by putting a couple bolts through his father. There’s also gotta be some symbolism there with the snake in the sand that Bronn kills… whoa… Sand Snakes? I might be on to something.

High Sparrow/Eddard comparisons: They’re not exactly the same, but it’s an interesting parallel to see how Cersei and the late King Robert enlisted the services of these noble men, and how it sort of blew up in both of their faces. As honorable as Ned was, it couldn’t save him from others’ intentions. Similarly, the High Sparrow himself is a noble and devout man (seemingly…), but his followers… eh, not so much. I’m excited to watch this blow up in Cersei’s face.

Hodor Hodors (Best Quotes)

“There’s nothing like a good fight to get you in the mood to fight. And there’s nothing like a fuck-mad Dornish to clear your headfor the next fight” – Bronn

“Come, let’s speak somewhere the dead can’t hear us.” – Petyr Baelish

“You are Princess Shireen of House Baratheon and you are my daughter.” – Stannis Baratheon

Who won the Game of Thrones this episode?

Uh… The Sons of the Harpy? Varys? Nobody really won this episode. I think Littlefinger has to be the closest to “winning” as it got here. He’s been playing Sansa like a fiddle, and he has a very “big picture” type of game in mind. He knows that Stannis is coming to reclaim the North, and if successful, will need to give a Stark the North to gain the other families’ favor. On the other hand, if Stannis is unsuccessful, then Baelish can play both sides and Sansa can go back to being a submissive wife to Ramsay while Littlefinger keeps favor to the Boltons. That kissing scene, though? Probably could have done without that.

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More exciting is Petyr’s exposition about the late Lyanna Stark. The account of a past tournament insinuates that the late Prince Rhaegar Targaryen was visually unhappy with his wife, Elia Martell, and quite smitten by Lyanna Stark. Whether or not she returned the affection is unknown since the popular belief is that Rhaegar kidnapped and raped her. Notice Petyr’s reaction to Sansa’s declaration; it looked like he had something to hide. Anywho, the point is that this scene is just adding fuel to the fan theories.


Hush Comics gives “Sons of the Harpy” a B for meandering around in spectacular fashion. The dominos have begun to fall, and it doesn’t look like anybody is going to win this Game.

All media credited to HBO

Game of Thrones Review “High Sparrow” S5E3

If took him almost 4-1/2 seasons, but Jon Snow knows something! He knows a lot about how to lead, and how to tell the king of the world to kindly go fuck himself. This week’s Game of Thrones episode, “High Sparrow,” wasn’t all about Jon Snow, but there was enough enjoyment at Castle Black to keep me satisfied for the entire hour. Margaery is Queen and Arya is on her way to becoming just a girl. Sansa is being whored off unknowingly once again, and Cersei is plotting revenge by way of the President in the G.I. Joe movies. All hell is breaking loose in Westeros, and we get a front-row seat!

Pros

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It’s nice to see Arya eager to learn again. She’s been so full of sass and ready to run through people that I miss the time when she was working hard for Syrio Forel’s approval. It seems there is a new master. The House of Black and White looks like no joke. She better get ready to be Karate Kid’ed all over again. I also loved that she wasn’t willing to part with Needle, the one connection that Arya still has with Jon. Too many feels to let go of at once.

Tommen is actually pretty cool. He has a gentle heart, which means he is going to get eaten alive. He’s already getting played by Margaery. With all that’s going on with him, and remembering that he is around the same age as Bran, it made me think of where Robb Stark was at that age. He was being named King in the North by surrounding tribesmen, and defeating Jaime Lannister in battle on some grown man shit. Starks > Lannisters.

Podrick’s heart is as big as his wiener. I’m glad he and Brienne had a bonding moment, and Brienne’s story about Renly was touching.

Finally, something big that happens in the show that hasn’t happened in the books. I can’t wait to tell all my book snob friends that Sansa is marrying Ramsay Bolton. I love that the show is starting to diverge, little by little. Marrying off Sansa is a great power play by the Boltons… even if it doesn’t make a damn bit of sense in their relationship with the crown. I love that Roose isn’t falling for Littlefinger’s shit. There’s a much bigger power play at hand, and now the book fans can’t spoil it!

I’m petitioning that we change the title of United States President to King Turtle.

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Cons

To be honest, that’s a little bit too much family sex talk, even for Cersei. Margaery is playing a very heavy-handed game right now. Cersei sees right through her ploys and Margaery has absolutely no idea what kind of diabolical shit Cersei is capable of. She’s not just playing with fire, she’s pulling the lioness’ tail. In short, this bitch Margaery must want to get cut.

While I was ecstatic to see Llittlefinger’s ploy unravel, Sansa continues to make the weakest decision possible at any given time. Who in their right damn mind would be goaded into marrying into the family of the man who murdered her family? Also, how easy was it for Littlefinger to manipulate her to go along with it? Girl is a bonafide idiot. If her plan doesn’t involve revenge, then she’s gonna get torn apart by Ramsay.

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If Stannis were a rapper, then Davos would be a sub-par hype man. The guy is just not convincing. He does such a poor job of convincing Lord Commander Jon Snow to join the cause against Roose Bolton. “Hey kid, tell me the oath. No, no. Skip all that crap about honor and brotherhood. Let’s go to the part where you have to help us do stuff when it’s convenient. Ice walkers? Squash that noise. Just help us get The North back.”

On that note, I thought the whole reason for them to come North was to fend off the White Walkers. Instead, Stannis is essentially playing house by taking his borrowed army to the weakest part of Westeros to wipe out a family nobody really likes anyway. The guy has no friends, and nobody will give any shits about his rightful claim to the throne if you don’t put a Stark in charge at Winterfell. Basically, Stannis is the bologna sandwich of rulers.

Cripples, Bastards and Broken Things (Odds and Ends)

Somebody get Cersei some Banana Boat, because she is getting buuuuurned. The whole way to the wedding, people were cheering for their Queen – their NEW Queen. Must suck being old. Margaery even jabs at her, calling her the Dowager Queen, which is what you might call Elizabeth II. This never happens, but I was kinda Team Cersei this episode. The reaction that Cersei gave the High Septum was priceless.

The issue with the Septon was also indicative of how we treat sexuality as a whole today. Privately, everybody engages in the lewd acts, but once it becomes public that other people do it, too, they are instantly shunned. Out of fear of being publicly ridiculed for their acts, their opponents turn up the act of innocence a notch. In this case, it was Cersei who tries to warm herself to the High Sparrow.

Let’s talk about Reek. The guy didn’t say a word all episode long. He just shared horrified winces with us anytime Ramsay or Sansa came close. I have two theories. The straight-forward theory is that he is afraid that Sansa will recognize him, causing him shame (or pain). Ramsay is a sick fuck who enjoys hurting Reek, and Sansa, being betrothed to Ramsay, is apt to join in after what Theon did to her home. The more pensive guess is that Reek is having remorse for what he did, and is debating whether or not to warn Sansa of the type of man Ramsay is.

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Qyburn is up to some nasty stuff. He’s somehow managed to resurrect The Mountain, although, maybe it’s just Ser Gregor Clegane’s body with a dwarf head attached to it. I’m not a fan of this guy’s practices, but he does seem to be pretty good at handling people’s BS.

When Tyrion and Varys walk through Volantis and stop to listen to a woman speaking, that woman is a Red Priestess. By her speech, she is one of many women who are brought to Voltantis as slaves and then bought by the Red Temple. She didn’t much like Tyrion’s mockery, so I doubt that’s the last we’ve seen of her. Plus, she was played by Rila Fukushima, who plays Tatsu (Katana) on CW’s Arrow.

I guess the easiest way to kick the habit of sexing whores is to fall in love and kill one. Tyrion might be growing a conscience. It’s too bad, though, because that’s what led to his capture by the badly-sunburnt Jorah Mormont. When Mormont captures Tyrion (after kindly waiting for him to finish pissing), he tells him that he is going to deliver Tyrion to “The Queen.” One would assume that Mormont is talking about Daenerys, but there’s the looming chance that word of Tywin’s murder has reached the Free Cities, and with it, Tyrion’s bounty. However, getting back to King’s Landing with an infamous dwarf and no means of transportation seems unlikely. Look for Jorah to head for Meereen. I’m calling it right now: Mormont versus Varys in Trial by Combat.

Hodor Hodors (Best Quotes)

“You’re as stubborn as your father, and as honorable.” – Stannis

“Cunt.” – Arya

“It’s even better luck to suck a dwarf’s cock.” – Tyrion

Who won the Game of Thrones this episode?

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Jon Fucking Stark wins again. I don’t care whether or not Stannis signed the paperwork; Jon Snow is as much a Stark as anybody can be. He took the high road by offering the position of First Ranger to Alliser Thorne, and showed a strong backbone by FINALLY giving that asshole Janos Slynt some cold hard justice. Democracy is a bitch, huh? THERE WAS SO MUCH KARMA HERE. Come to think of it, he could have just killed Slynt and won. Slynt was commander in the King’s Guard when he betrayed Ned Stark and turned on him. He ripped a baby from his mother’s arms and murdered it, causing Tyrion to send him packing for Castle Black (another odd Tyrion-Jon connection). I’ve been waiting 3-1/2 seasons to watch this asshole die.

Jon may have denounced himself from the realm of men, but he’s a Stark, through and through. The way he told Stannis that “Winter is Coming” had me throwing imaginary popcorn at the screen. You go, Jon! Most importantly, though, Jon believes in his father’s mantra: “The man who passes the sentence should swing the sword. If you would take a man’s life, you owe it to him to look into his eyes and hear his final words. And if you cannot bear to do that, then perhaps the man does not deserve to die.” That is the most noble shit I’ve ever heard in my LIFE.

Let’s have some real talk, shall we? Last week’s “The House of Black and White” showed Daenerys messing shit up in a big way by executing one of her closest followers. It began with Dany giving an order, the follower deciding this was a poor choice, and refusing the command. The follower was brought out into public and executed, even after pleas of “mercy.” Personal feelings about the men in question aside, how did this differ from Jon Snow’s situation tonight? What makes Jon Snow’s leadership so much better than Daenerys’? Both have honor in their choices as leaders, and both made identical choices due to insubordination, but Jon Snow, as reluctant of a leader as he is, knows why he is the leader. Daenerys, the same woman that stormed the city of Meereen and nailed the slavers to posts, is now unsure of herself, and refusing to use the very strength that put her in the pyramid (which, let’s face it, is a little hypocritical). If Tyrion is ever able to talk her off that pedestal, she might remember where she came from.


Hush Comics gives “High Sparrow” an A- for giving us years of karma in the making, and for grazing the surface of one of the new players in the game of thrones, the High Sparrows. Each story is taking a new and exciting turn that we can’t get enough of.

All media credited to HBO

Game of Thrones Review “The House of Black and White” S5E2

For an episode titled “The House of Black and White,” the issues brought up during the show were anything but. Jon Snow, Daenerys, Shireen, Doran, and Brienne all have very difficult decisions to make – all of which have merit on either side. The Season 5 premiere bulldozed any expectations I had for Game of Thrones and has gotten stronger thanks to this episode. We’re introduced to Dorn, even if just for a bit, and Braavos – which reminds me a lot of Assassin’s Creed‘s Italy. There was a lot to capture this episode, so let’s get to it:

Pros

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Boy, I tell ya, nothing cuts quite like Valyrian steel. Seeing Brienne smash that guy’s sword before driving her own into his neck made me glad Jaime outfitted her with Oathkeeper, even if it is a lame oath to keep.

I quite enjoyed the awkwardness that the situation between Jaime and Cersei has created. If this were an after-school special, it would finally be delving into the pitfalls of incest. Jaime cannot claim his children (because of the whole bastard king thing), nor can he really just sit back and let them be threatened with the intricate Viper-necklace thingy. What’s a man with one hand to do?

Prince Doran is an interesting character. He has the moral standards of Oberyn, but the looks of Stannis. He refuses to move from his post, and whether that is a symbol of his stance on the matter or that nasty case of gout (mentioned by Tywin in S4E2, “The Lion and the Rose.”), we do not know. As much as I wanted to be on Ellaria Sand’s side, I turned to Team Doran when he said, “We do not mutilate little girls for vengeance.” Ellaria is not to be ignored, though. With the Sand Snakes on her side, I’m curious is her fury turns into a full-on rebellion against Doran.

Ser Kevan takes shit from no one. I’m sure Cersei will find a way to take her uncle’s head for giving her the business, but it was great to see the way he recognized her B/S and immediately was like, “Hell no. I got shit to do, woman. Tell the king to hit me up, because I’m outtie.” It’s nice to see somebody not named Tyrion or Margaery stand up to the Queen Mother.

Holy crap, the wait finally paid off. Fuckboy Janos Slynt talked trash to the wrong Crow, and he was not ready for the flames of retaliation. Samwell Tarley lit this dude up like Jeff Ross for talking trash about Gilly. Line crossed. Shots fired. Tell everybody what a bitch baby Slynt turned into when things got real. I don’t believe I’ve been more gratified in a moment of karmic justice since the Purple Wedding.

How terrifying was the hissing at the end of the episode, when Daenerys decides to punish Mossador by decapitating him in front of everybody? I can’t say that it was a smart plan to begin with, and several thousand furious former slaves hissing in disapproval would seem to support that opinion. I’m surprised there wasn’t more of a retaliation for what happened. Everyone has turned away from her; even Drogon isn’t loyal to her anymore. Did we mention that Dany really sucks at ruling?

"On three, everybody HUG!"
“On three, everybody HUG!”

The constant subconscious discussion on what “doing the right thing” means. Each of the main character’s plights tackle some deep questions. The decision of whether or not to kill the Son of the Harpy, the opinion of the Wildling’s from Shireen’s POV (very Civil Right’s Movement), and Jon Snow’s sense of duty are all called into question during the episode – and it’s done in a very nonchalant way so you’re not forced to outwardly think about these daunting topics on your own.

Cons

The whole timing with Sansa/Littlefinger and Podrick/Brienne is just too convenient. I get that this is a fantasy show with dragons and giant blue zombies, but the story-telling with this encounter just seemed lazy. I don’t know whether or not this part was in the book, but the way they crossed paths in the show was pretty lame. And it wasn’t just the fact that they exchanged words, but how lame those exchanges were.

For one, Sansa lost whatever cool points she earned from bitch-slapping Robin Arryn. She is such a biz-natch, and certainly shows the grooming of Petyr Baelish as she shoos away Brienne. It’s understandable that Sansa would be weary of Brienne, who is covered in Lannister attire, and who insists on some batshit crazy Shadow murdering story; Sansa doesn’t know Brienne like we do. However, it’s just so easy to go back to hating Sansa.

Stannis may be the rightful king, but he doesn’t really have the power to relieve Jon of his post in the Night’s Watch. Luring him by giving him the Stark name is just mean. Being honored as Lord Commander of the Night’s Watch should keep him honor-bound for a while, but it might just give him the strong head to make some dumb decisions. Judging by the way he read Lady Mormont’s note, his heart is still in the North. It would be a huge leap in logic to predict that this promotion could be his downfall.

Danny Glover in action
Danny Glover in action

Cripples, Bastards and Broken Things (Odds and Ends)

Damn, that statue must have been a pain in the ass to build. Can you imagine how much work it would have taken to hoist a statue that huge to hold on each foot of land while balancing it forward/backward with a bunch of ships in the sea? A metric fuck-ton. Actually, an imperial one since that’s the unit of measurement these guys were somehow using back then.

Calling Bronn a sell-out wouldn’t be wrong. The dude made a deal with Cersei at the end of Season 4 for a maiden and a castle to not face The Mountain in Mortal Kombat – an offer you would not have to make twice to me. Bronn’s betrothed is Lollys Stokeworth, but Jaime’s offer to sweeten the deal to give him a better lady and a better castle proves that Bronn is still a tool of the system when Lollys is promised to Ser Willas Bracken  (whoever the hell that is) instead.

I swear, I thought Davos was gonna show his hand after Stannis talks about mercy to Jon Snow. That guy is just waiting in the bushes for any excuse to show people his stumpy hand.

Hodor Hodor (Best Quotes)

In the first 15 minutes, I found a quote that I will be repeating for years to come. When Arya exclaims that she has “nowhere else to go.” The Danny Glover look-alike retorts with, “You have everywhere else to go.” Besides being a dick move, it’s a pretty witty comeback – something I will use the next time

Tyrion’s continued Fukitol attitude reaches new levels of hilarity when he exclaims that “Every pile of shit on the side of every road has someone’s banner hanging from it.” I almost feel bad for Peter Dinklage because there is no way he is as interesting as in real life as his character is.

Who won the Game of Thrones this episode?

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A girl is a fucking BOSS. A girl has lost it all, and yet somehow still keeps going. She saw her father get executed, was almost reunited with her mother and brother right before their untimely execution, and was held “captive” by the Hound right up until his death. Nobody knows that she’s alive, and nobody has gone out of their way to search for her in years, either. Somehow, Arya’s cunning and persistence have led her to The House of Black and White, where she will become a faceless assassin guy just like Jaqen H’ghar. I actually got chills when she told the Braavos frat boy, “nothing’s worth anything to dead men.” What a badass. I feel like she’s got quite a bit to go on her journey, but it’s one I’m most excited for.


Hush Comics gives “The House of Black and White” an A- for moving all the stories ahead in a big way, and using subtext to bring real issues up without shouting them in our ears.

All media credited to HBO