Game of Thrones “Sons of the Harpy”

Game of Thrones S5E4 “Sons of the Harpy”

This episode may be called “Sons of the Harpy”, but the episode actually has two violent factions dominate the hour. The Sons of the Harpy in Meereen, along with the Faith Militant in King’s Landing both make their presences known by killing Ser Barristan Selmy and arresting Ser Loras Tyrell respectively. The interesting thing is that they came to power in exact opposite ways, the faith militant via the power of a queen and the Sons of the Harpy coming to power themselves against a queen. It’s all met with the same results though as violence terrorizes these two cities. While all of that is going on, we also have a race to Myrcella in Dorne, preparations up at Castle Black, and a parting of ways in Winterfell. Let’s jump right in.

We start things right where we left them last episode with Jorah’s kidnapping of Tyrion. Jorah travels with his prized prisoner to the nearby beach and knocks out a local fisherman and steals his boat. Tyrion spends the better part of the night and proceeding day convincing Jorah to ungag him, resorting to singing despite his muffled mouth. After much effort, Tyrion gets his way and his mouth is no longer gagged. Tyrion quickly gets to work on figuring out what’s going on and very quickly deduces that his captor is Jorah Mormont. He also figures out that they are not going to Westeros, which confuses Tyrion. Jorah confirms that they aren’t going to Cersei, but are instead going to Daenerys in Meereen. Tyrion recalls that Jorah used to spy on her and deduces that he became loyal to her, only for her to find out about his former spy job on her, she exiled him, and now he hopes that bringing her Tyrion will win her favor back. Jorah doesn’t very much like how easily Tyrion figured out all of that and smacks him across the face to get him to shut up. They’re a long way to Meereen so it’s probably in both of their best interests to get along better than they did on day one.

In Meereen itself, Dany admires her city from the top of the great pyramid, telling Ser Barristan that it looks so peaceful from the top. Barristan happily recalls his days guarding Dany’s brother Rhaegar, and how Rhaegar would go into the streets and sing to his future subjects. Dany is interested to hear more about her brother but is interrupted by Daario who informs her she has another long day of supplicants ahead of her, and as usual it’s led by Hizdahr zo Loraq. In a good mood, Dany tells Ser Barristan he can have the day off and Barristan gladly goes for a walk in the city.

The very same day, the Sons of the Harpy launch a public attack and kill a group of innocent civilians. Grey Worm and his patrol group are alerted by the noise and follow it into a plaza, where they are pointed into a building. Grey Worm is surprised to not find a chase, but rather an ambush, as the sons of harpy have been waiting for them. The Unsullied do manage to hold their own and kill a large amount of Harpy but their numbers are so many that it still ends up being a massacre, with Grey Worm the lone survivor of the group. Nearby, Ser Barristan hears the chaos and follows the noise to the ambush. Ser Barristan shows even in his older age, the legend he is by taking down seven Sons of the Harpy. It is only after taking down seven of them, that the eighth harpy manages to stab him in the gut. The Harpy goes in for the finishing slit of the throat but Grey Worm manages to kill the harpy before he does so. It’s a case of too little too late as Ser Barristan succumbs to his wounds and dies. Things aren’t looking too great for Grey Worm either, who took some mean stabbings and passes out from the induced trauma. If she wasn’t already, Dany is going to have to take the Sons of the Harpy very seriously now.

Jaime and Bronn are at sea, on their way to Dorne. The clever Bronn asks why they’re on a merchant ship and not a Lannister one and Jaime tells him this has to be a stealth mission and he’s paid off the captain to give them a rowboat once they approach Dorne. Bronn then asks why Jaime specifically is here instead of sending someone else and Jaime insists that it has to be him. Bronn deduces that Jaime is the one who let Tyrion free and he’s hoping that bringing Myrcella back will make up for it. Bronn asks Jaime to give Tyrion his regards should he ever run into him again and Jaime tells Bronn if he ever sees Tyrion again he will kill him, then give him his regards.

Bronn and Jaime (really just Bronn) row their boat to shore once the merchant ship is passing Dorne and they sleep once they’re on shore. In the morning, Bronn saves a still sleeping Jaime from a snake and decides to roast it up for breakfast. Over their serpentine meal, Bronn expresses concern that the captain Jaime bough off is going to snitch. Bronn reminds Jaime that Dornishmen despise the Lannisters and a big bag of bribery gold isn’t likely to change that. A few guards arrive shortly thereafter and Jaime and Bronn hide behind a sand dune. Much like snow, sand is unforgiving to stealth missions and the guards spot Jaime and Bronn by following their footprints in the sand. The two come out and Bronn tells the guards some fake names and that they were heading home when their ship capsized. The guards don’t buy it and ask the two to throw their weapons into the sand. For a second Bronn looks like he’s yielding to their wishes, but instead throws his dagger at one guard’s throat and starts the fight. Bronn takes the bulk of them and leaves Jaime to fight one. Jaime surprisingly holds his own with just his left hand and even uses his right hand to seal the win. Jaime uses his prosthetic hand to catch the guard’s blade and uses the moment of shock to take his own sword and send it through the guard. Bronn, having taken care of his guards already and watching Jaime, compliments him on a job well done. Bronn happily tells Jaime that with these guards Dornish horses, they’ll be at the Water Gardens in a day. Jaime tells him they’re not going anywhere until they bury the bodies because dead bodies raise suspicion. Bronn reluctantly gets to work on burying the guards.

Elsewhere in Dorne, Ellaria rides off to meet with the Sand Snakes, Tyene (Ellaria’s own daughter), Nymeria (known as “Nym”), and Obara, all three of them bastards of Oberyn. Ellaria tells them that Prince Doran will not use violence in retaliation of the Lannister’s killing of Oberyn and it will be up to them to seek vengeance. Nym shows the group a captured ship captain (the same one Jaime paid off) and reveals that he told her that Jaime Lannister has come to Dorne. Ellaria realizes that Jaime has come for Myrcella. Ellaria plans to start the war by killing Myrcella but if Jaime gets to her first, the plan is ruined. Ellaria asks the Sand Snakes if they’re with her, and they all agree to join her. The question now becomes, who gets to Myrcella first?

Up at the wall, nothing particularly plot advancing happens, but there’s still some interesting stuff. Melisandre asks Stannis if he plans to leave her away from the battle again and he assures her he won’t. Satisfied, Melisandre goes to Jon’s office and tries to seduce him. Jon is clearly tempted by Melisandre but ultimately refuses her advances. Melisandre respects Jon’s decision and walks out, not before shocking Jon by saying “You know nothing Jon Snow”. Plenty of questions from this scene. Was Melisandre trying to produce another shadow demon? How did she know about Ygritte’s go to quote? It wouldn’t be Melisandre without some mystery now would it?

We head off to Winterfell where we don’t see Ramsay, Roose, or Reek, but we do see Sansa and Littlefinger. Sansa is paying her respects to her ancestors in the crypts and Littlefinger approaches her when she arrives at the statue of her Aunt Lyanna. Sansa figures out that Littlefinger is going somewhere and Littlefinger confirms this, saying that Cersei and King’s Landing is his destination. He reveals to Sansa his grand plan here. He’s counting on Stannis attacking Winterfell and if he wins (which he finds likely), Stannis will make Sansa wardeness of the North, in gratitude for her father supporting his claim. If Stannis loses, Littlefinger feels confident that Sansa will be able to control Ramsay, saying she’s learned from the best manipulator there is. Littlefinger gives Sansa a kiss, and then departs.

In King’s Landing, Cersei continues her move to limit Tyrell power. At a small council meeting, Mace Tyrell informs the rest of the council that the Iron Bank is calling in ten percent of the crown’s debt. Mace says that the crown can’t afford to pay this debt but House Tyrell can cover it, and have the crown pay them back. Cersei doesn’t want the crown to be in even more need of House Tyrell, so she decides against that and comes up with her own plan. She informs Mace that he will go to Braavos and meet with the Iron Bank in person to work out a deal for the crown. Mace is completely oblivious to the fact that this is a ploy to get him out of here and actually thinks this is an honor. Cersei can’t get him to leave quickly enough and tells him that Ser Meryn will personally escort him. That’s one Tyrell down.

For her second move, Cersei reveals just how far she’s willing to take this alliance with the sparrows. Through her influence, she has already ensured that the High Sparrow has become the new High Septon and now she allows the faith militant, an armed military force that hands out the “justice” of the seven, to be legalized after a ban that lasted two centuries. The faith militant quickly gets to work dealing out their justice, attacking taverns, brothels, and even merchants who are selling idols from other religions. Their biggest attack of the day comes when they come to arrest Ser Loras Tyrell for his homosexuality. That’s two Tyrells down.

Margaery isn’t very happy when she hears that her brother has been arrested and goes to confront her husband about the issue. Tommen is completely unaware that Cersei armed the faith militant and that Loras has been arrested. Margaery uses her charm to convince Tommen to have Loras released and Tommen confronts Cersei about the issue. Cersei smugly tells her son that she didn’t arrest Loras but assures her son that since he’s the king, the High Sparrow will surely listen to him if he asks him to release Loras.

Tommen goes to do just that, and brings all of his Kingsguard. Tommen is stopped by the faith militant along the steps of the Great Sept of Baelor, and is told that the High Sparrow is praying and wishes not to be disturbed. One of Tommen’s kingsguard asks Tommen to give the order so they can clear out the faith militant. Tommen is surprised that his kingsguard would be willing to spill blood in such a holy place and realizes that the situation would get very messy as hecklers have arrived, yelling at Tommen about his real parents. Tommen pulls back his Kingsguard and insists they’ll find another method of attack. He returns to his wife who is appalled that Tommen would fold so easily. Margaery leaves Tommen behind, telling him she needs to be with her family and must send word for Olena to return to the capital. We all know Olena won’t back down from anyone so the High Sparrow best be ready, because she won’t be nearly the pushover that King Tommen is.

Other Thoughts

A man has to have a code. Jorah may be a former slave trader, but he’s no thief. He left some money to that fisherman he beat up and stole that boat from.

Brothers can sure be different people. Joffrey ordered the execution of Ned Stark at the Great Sept of Baelor while younger brother Tommen won’t even consider resorting to violence to get into the sept. If they switched places, both situations probably would have turned out better as well.

Two mentions of Rhaegar Targaryen in the episode, one in Meereen, one in Winterfell. Seems like a bit much for a guy who was dead before the series begun doesn’t it? Perhaps he’s more important than we think.

A rare not serious moment for Stannis tonight. Shireen asks her father is he’s ashamed of her and Stannis tells his daughter how he spared no expense to make sure she wouldn’t die from her greyscale, calling in medical experts from around the world. Shireen hugs Stannis and Stannis clearly isn’t good at showing affection, he didn’t know what to do with that hug. Shireen is Stannis’ daughter though and it’s clear he loves her.

That’s three mentions of greyscale this season. Surely something’s going to come of that.

I’ll give the benefit of the doubt for now, but I don’t like where the Sand Snake plot line is going. Oberyn was so upset at the Lannisters because they killed his nephew and niece who were only children, he tells Tywin and Cersei with pride that the Martells don’t hurt children. And now Ellaria is willing to kill Myrcella, who is still a child, to avenge Oberyn? Avenging someone by going against everything they believed in doesn’t seem like a good avenging.

Mace Tyrell would be the guy to throw in a dad joke at a small council meeting. I’d be lying if I said I’m not entertained by his bumbling antics so I hope we don’t leave him indefinitely like Gendry, who we are to assume has just been rowing for a season and a half now.

Jaime is going to get the credit if this mission works but he doesn’t really do much. Bronn has to row them to shore because of Jaime’s missing hand and Bronn has to dig and bury the dead bodies also because of Jaime’s missing hand. I’m starting to think Bronn had it easier working for Jaime’s brother.

Funny moment of the day has to be Sam helping Jon write letters to lords for more men up at the wall. Jon comments that he hasn’t heard of any of these people, and reaches a breaking point of sorts when he asks Sam how many men Lord Mazyn could possibly have to send to them. Sam cracks a smile and replies “more than Lord Wibberley”. With a name like Wibberley, the writers were clearly looking to get some laughs out of that scene, mission accomplished.

Violent factions dominate the show in “Sons of the Harpy” as the Tyrells are faltering and Jaime and Bronn’s Dornish quest hits a violent detour. 

Grade B+

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