Game of Thrones: Roads that lead to nowhere

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Fourth episode of Game of Thrones’ fifth season begins on water. At the end of one world we have Tyrion, now a prisoner of Jorah Mormont, on his way to meet the Queen. It is interesting to notice how the notion of a queen in this case refers to a completely different person to two different characters. Tyrion still considers his sister Cersei a queen (although by marriage to Tommen, that role has now been assigned to Margaery), while Jorrah sees only Daenerys as his queen.

JAIME LANNISTER, RAPIST, KILLER AND HIS BROTHER’S HATER

At the end of another world Tyrion’s brother Jaime, in service of his queen, accompanied by Bronn, is headed to Dorne to rescue his “niece” Myrcella. On his way there, the ship he is on passes the Sapphire Isle, the home of his one true friend, Brienne of Tarth. The look on Jaime’s face pretty much says it all. However, now that his story is ruined beyond any recognition, we must ask ourselves will he ever meet his friend again, and if so, will it be in the same bleak and grim atmosphere we read about in his last known chapter of A Dance With Dragons.

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Next illogical shot shows him below the deck explaining the series plot to Bronn. Assuming the role of the clueless audience (and we are all clueless, not because the story no longer follows books but because story no longer makes any sense), Bronn starts pointing out the obvious plot holes in Jaime’s strange and illogical plan. In his insistence to understand why it was Jaime who had to be the one to rescue Myrcella (of all other people, who would have a better luck in hiding their true identity), Bronn puts two and two together, realizing it was Jaime who actually freed Tyrion and not Varys, as many falsely assumed, which is why he is on this suicide quest in the first place. To please Cersei. Thinking how Jaime keeps tabs on Tyrion he asks him to send his regards to the little f*cker to which Jaime responded with the following: – He murdered my father. If I ever see him I will split him in two. Wait. What?!

First comes first, Jaime would never, and I mean never say anything like this, especially regarding Tyrion, the only person he truly cares for in this world (a part from, perhaps Brienne. I am not mentioning Cersei because in the books, at this point in time he has already begun to form detachment from her so I don’t want to downplay that decision). And second of all, putting Tyrion’s words into Jaime’s mouth is not cool. Yes, you read it right, Jaime never said something as stupid as this. It was, in fact, Tyrion, who upon learning the deception regarding Tysha (which is why he killed Tywin in the first place) promised Jaime he’d kill him next time they cross paths. So, this is what happens when you cut the Tysha related story out, when you whitewash Tyrion by giving him the attributes of a saint, which he is not. As a consequence you get Jaime, one of the best characters of this saga, who ends up being not only a child killer (true, he pushed Bran out of the window with the intention of killing him but he did it so his own children and his sister/lover wouldn’t die instead, with their heads upon the spike. And if Bran talked about it, giving the world the actual proof, that is exactly what would happen. A choice was not an easy one, nor justifiable but it is something even Ned Stark would do. Granted he didn’t kill Theon but he made sure Balon Greyjoy is left without a living son, since two he killed in an open rebellion and the third he made his ward), a rapist of his sister (in the sept of Baelor, which, need I point out, was not how it happened) and unreasonable killer who kills for pure joy. This Jaime is not the Jaime I have come to know and love. What are they planning to do with him and why do they keep insisting in tarnishing his newly established character of, if not a good guy, then at least of an antihero, is beyond my knowledge and any logic.

THE SAND SNAKES, THE THEATRICAL DORNISH WOMEN

This episode finally introduces the characters of Oberin’s daughters, known as the Sand Snakes. To be honest, I have never belonged to those enthralled by them, even whilst reading the book, but even so, my lack of excitement has now reached its peak.

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As you well know, I was not impressed by the fact that Arianne Martell, Doran Martell’s daughter, who plays a significant part in the book, has been cut from the show. Consequently, I also wasn’t impressed by the other fact, that her role was assigned, or more precisely, attributed to Elaria Sand, Oberin’s lover. With this shift, Elaria has acquired, at least in my view, certain caricatured features, highly exaggerated in this episode, along with Oberin’s daughters, with maybe the most obvious example being that of Obara, who turns out to be the only one who is in fact not her daughter (what is up with that moma?!). 5

Her dramatic speech (painfully reminding the audience of what they have lost – the golden Dornish hero who is now sadly gone (sigh)), infused with theatricality far beyond than it requires, seemed so constructed, forced and over-acted that I wasn’t certain was it the bad script, bad acting, bad casting or generally bad production.

SPARROWS, RELIGIOUS FANATICS

One of the most interesting transformations on the show has come in the shape of Lancel Lannister, a boy first introduced to us as King Robert’s cupbearer, only so he would progress straight into the bed of Queen Sersei, as both her lover and her pawn.

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Here, he experiences a kind of a metamorphosis from a weak boy into a religious fanatic and a member of so-called Sparrows. In this way Lancel Lannister was given certain depth he lacked before, during his time as one-dimensional minor character. But nevertheless, he is still a pawn, and Cersei’s at that, since it was upon her orders he arrested Ser Loras Tyrell, for being gay.

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The order or the sect, cult, whatever name you want to give it, he now belongs to, the Sparrows, lead by the mysterious High Sparrow (played by the extraordinary Jonathan Pryce), looks and feels as if it was ripped of from one of the pages of Dan Brown’s novels and copy pasted in to the show, just like in the case of the Ennis house (designed by Frank Lloyd Wright in 1924), in which Daenerys Targaryen now apparently lives. Are they running out of ideas?

SONS OF THE HARPY, POLITICAL FACTION

In Meereen, the debate about whether the fighting pits should be opened or not, is still ongoing. As the representative of the remaining noble families in Meereen, Hizdar zo Loraq is still trying to persuade Daenerys that if she wants the restoration of peace and balance in this chaotic city, the best way and first step to proceed in doing so is by reopening the pits, which will serve as the common ground between the former slaves and their former masters.

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At the same time we are bearing witness to the brutal attacks in the streets of Meereen, caused by Sons of the Harpy, a political faction, whose sole purpose is undermining Daenerys’ political rule and her dominance over their city. The consequence of this brutal attack is more than shocking. Two of the main members of Daenerys’ entourage, Ser Barristan Selmy and Greyworm, are no longer with us.


SER BARRISTAN SELMY, THE LEGEND OF WESTEROS?

The death of Ser Barristan Selmy The Bold during the first and only moment this legendary knight was actually given the chance to taken on his sword and fight, has, instead of a good death (which never happens in the book), lead into an obvious proof that the creators of this show do not respect or understand the character of the story the show is based on. If we were to look back and analyze the progress of Selmy’s character – from the first moment he appeared until this moment now – we would realize there is nothing worth analyzing because the progress is nonexistent.

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The character of Ser Barristan Selmy, the legend of Westeros, artist who painted in red leaving the bloody trail through Golden Company, a man who single handedly ended Defiance of Duskendale, Jaime’s hero and role model, who even now, at this age, would be capable of carving through six men as if he was carving through cake, with his left hand, has been degraded to a position of an old man at court reduced to verbal wrestling with two brats: pretentious, pompous Daario or stubborn Daeneris. Come to think about it, he may be better off dead.

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Bonus points:

-Stannis deserves an Award for the best dad in all of Westeros! HAR HBO! Finally!

-Shireen Baratheon, has finally got her five minutes. However, what makes me worrisome is the close existence of Melisandre, who, as we know, uses the royal blood as the main ingredient for her magic rituals. And Shireen is a princess of House Baratheon after all.

-Following the aforesaid line of thought, how Jon is partly a Stark and therefore a descendant of Kings of Winter, Melisandre’s interest in him is not unusual. What is is her interest in having sex with him. If we are to analyze her actions in the given context we could assume that the reason for them is not her attraction to Jon or the veil of his blood (like in the case with Gendry from season 3, you remember, the guy who is still rowing a boat somewhere). If this is not the case then what is? I would assume her plan was to create another “smoke demon baby” now with a face of Jon Snow, who’s sole purpose would be to kill Roose Bolton, the Warden of the North thus securing Stannis’ safe passage to the South.

-The practicality of having the golden hand.

-Tyrion, the Sherlock Holmes of Westeros

-The unfolding of the stories in flashbacks, without which there wouldn’t be The Game of Thrones. The story in question is of course the Tourney of Harrenhall and Rhaegar’s, at the time, illogical choice, which later on led to war and the ousting of the Targaryens from the Iron Throne. An excellent way of telling a story without introducing new narrative models.

Best Quote (s):

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Stannis: Lord Commander of the Night’s Watch

Selyse: A bastard by some tavern slut.

Stannis: Perhaps. But that was not Ned Stark’s way. 03_game_of_thrones_504_19a

Baelish: The last two riders were Barristan Selmy and Rhaegar Targaryen. When Rhaegar won everyone cheered for their prince. I remember the girls laughing when he took of his helmet and they saw his silver hair, how handsome he was. Until he rode right past his wife, Elia Martell, and all the smiles died. I have never seen so many people quiet. He rode past his wife and he laid a crown of winter roses in Lyanna’s lap. Blue as frost. How many tens of thousands had to die because Rhaegar chose your aunt?

Sansa: Yes, he chose her. And then he kidnapped her and raped her.  

The choice in these two quotes is neither random nor a coincidence. Try looking at them as two new pieces of the puzzle, essential for understanding and therefore, creating the final image of this complex story.

7/10

Text written by: Monika Ponjavic

All images: Copyright © 2015 Home Box Office, Inc. All rights reserved.

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6 responses to “Game of Thrones: Roads that lead to nowhere

  1. While I quite agree that show’s saint Tyrion was so last season. And they are missing the whole point of the story and every scene with Jaime is more miss than hit, he is not really innocent on the child murdering part, Just four books back, he pushed Bran through a window. For Jamie fatalinsm comes in the form of love.

    BTW you forgot Cersie in Jamie’s list of loved ones.

    Killing Barriston the bold. The show seems to have given up on thematics and good old storylines for the shock value and the whole ‘Anyone can die’ bit. Killing Selmy, and that too by sons of Harpy is not only cheap but also a disservice to the best knight alive.

    Stannis is awesome. Glad everyone(*cough* HBO *cough*) caught up.

    Wasn’t Petyr 12 during the tourney of harenhall..?

    Also, did anybody else got the heebie-jeebies seeing him in the crypts. Its a stark place, not a garden.

    sorry for the long rant. I just have a lot of feelings about GOT

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    • I was debating whether to place Cersei there among his loved ones but I decided not to because in the book he has already managed to separate himself from her. As for pushing Bran out of the window…you are right I should’ve mentioned it but then I am must elaborate on it…which is what I will do now. 🙂
      The rest…yes, they have finally caught up with Stannis but not with Selmy. Unfortunately.

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      • I think its CersiexJamie is more complicated then your regular break-up. But I do agree with your reasoning. He is breaking from the co-dependency. As for Selmy, can’t help it. D&D can’t do too many things right.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Cersei and Jaime fit many of the criteria for co-dependency. And in the end this dynamic may end up biting both in the ass. Jaime, after finding out how Cersei’s actions to stave off her prophecy actually led to their demise may kill her because he recognizes that it may be necessary to cut the cord with her. Cersei will kill him because of this perceived betrayal.

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  2. And I am sure that after seeing the Red Faith try to burn Mance, I believe the stage for Jon’s rejection of Melisandre has been set. Instead of trying to kill Roose Bolton by shadowbaby, Stannis will try to retake Winterfell. But I believe that after this stage has passed successfully, I think it set another scene up; the unexpected betrayal of the Florents. As you may remember, Alester and Axell Florent were given to the flames for their actions, and it in turn alienated them.

    I wouldn’t be surprised if the Florents’s betrayal was a result of Stannis’s choice to punish them by burning two of them.

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