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Game of Thrones Season 5 Premiere Open Thread



The Season 5 premiere finally here! Scott and I will be here tomorrow to discuss it in further depth on the podcast, but feel free to use this thread to discuss tonight’s premiere of Season 5, Episode 1, “The Wars to Come.” Do not drop spoilers from any future episodes that may have leaked online. 

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  • Mayur

    Literally the best episode yet IMHO.

    And a reminder to me as to my annoyance that somehow all the first episodes exhibit an economy of narrative that if applied to the other episodes in a season would have enabled the writers to push the narrative further along and to include some of the story lines that the book fans seem to miss.

  • You think they knew this was Appomattox anniversary weekend when they filled it with Klan and Reconstruction references? One friend on FB mentioned Stannis’ “40 acres and a mule plan.” Plus what was with the Some Like it Hot reference?

    • Robespierre

      Thought that was closer to Roman policy towards barbarians, especially when they started allowing some of the friendlier ones within the border in some sparsely populated region.

      What happens in Meereen, on the other hand…

      • I was talking about Meereen. That was blatant. I didn’t get the Stannis reference although in the context of the other piece I could take it.

  • jamesepowell

    Quotes paraphrased from memory

    Tyrion: I killed my whore girlfriend with my bare hands and shot my father.

    Varys: I didn’t say you were perfect.

    Although the plot won’t allow for it, a Tyrion & Varys road movie would be a winner.

    • Lee Rudolph

      Would the plot allow an assassin to emerge from a large cake?

    • Manny Kant

      “I killed my lover,” I believe.

  • Mayur

    The plot might do actually. It sounds to me like one of the ways in which this season is going to depart radically from the books is to have Varys go with tyrion into the East, at least for a bit. (It’s hard to reconcile that with the epilogue of ADwD but there are ways to correct for that.) I actually think it’s totally worth the change.

    • Manny Kant

      What on earth makes you think they’re going to do anything like the epilogue to ADWD on the show?

      • 4jkb4ia

        Because it was such a huge, huge plot point. OTOH the character it was likely to benefit evidently will not feature in the show. I have now to look up if Ser Kevan was on the show either.

        I assume that bspencer/those interested are aware of what the Rabid Puppies have been up to. I don’t think I conveyed to my husband adequately that Wright got 3 nominations in one category because of them. I just said “They can’t get away with this kind of behavior” and he looked indifferent.

    • joe from Lowell

      It’s a television show. The character of Varys is too good to keep buried for a couple seasons.

    • The Tyrion arc in ADWD is just so terrible I assume they’re just going to throw it out and rewrite.

      • joe from Lowell

        But the dragons are so cool, just think about that turtle!

        To be more serious, I liked that arc in the book, but most of it would make terrible television.

      • Brett

        I don’t care much for the whole “other dwarf” thing, but I like his river-boat arc. Reminds me of the “vampires on the Mississippi” novel that George RR Martin wrote before A Song of Ice and Fire, Fevre Dream.

        • wjts

          It was OK, but honestly most of what happens in Essos gives me a “But when is Daenerys gonna get to the fireworks factory?” feeling.

    • Bob Loblaw Lobs Law Bomb

      I was trying to think of things in S5E1 that were taken straight out of the books, and there wasn’t much. Young Cersei and Hizdar asking to reopen the fighting pits is about it, I think.

    • Brett

      I imagine it shortens his life expectancy a lot, though. Anyone want to take bets on how many more episodes Varys has before he gets killed? Four episodes?

      Granted, he might not die – just get separated from Tyrion and forced to sneak back into Westeros later on. But I’d wager they’ll kill him off.

      • Craigo

        Unlike Coldhands and Lady Stoneheart, I get the feeling that Varys (the only real counterweight to Littlefinger, and the only major character who sees Westeros as a place to be saved rather than a prize to be won) is a little too important thematically and structurally to kill off so soon. Even if young Griff is excised, someone needs to pave the way for Dany’s eventual return to Westeros.

      • MedicineMan

        A friend of mine is convinced that Varys is going to go with Tyrion to advise Danerys. Personally, I can’t see how that makes any sense. Danerys knows that Varys was the usurper Robert Baratheon’s spymaster, knows that he was party to at least one assassination attempt on her life, and in fact recently exiled one of her long time advisers when she found he had been an informant for Varys. I can’t imagine Danerys would be happy to see the Spider or find any reason to trust him.

  • Duvall

    It’s hard to reconcile that with the epilogue of ADwD but there are ways to correct for that.

    To be honest, it’s hard to reconcile a lot of things with the epilogue to ADWD.

    So, uh, where’s Littlefinger going?

    • He said west, out of the reach of Cersei. What fits the bill? The Iron Islands.

    • Brett

      He’s taking her to Riverrun, whereupon she’ll presumably head northward. It sounds like they’re having Sansa actually do the whole “marry Ramsay and get rescued by Theon” thing instead of Jayne, who was never introduced in the show.

      • Craigo

        Good call. Now that Mance is gone seemingly for good, that storyline needs a lot of reworking – and Sansa is the heir to Winterfell after all.

        • Brett

          I’m not too happy about that change, to be honest. Book-Sansa is starting to show signs of political cunning, and there’s a good chance she’ll end up as the “Lady of the Vale” after turning the tables on Littlefinger. If Show-Sansa ends up married to Ramsay, she’s going to be raped and tortured until Theon saves her.

          • Craigo

            I like to think the showrunners learned their lesson from the Theon fiasco to let a sympathetic main character be abused on-screen so badly – especially Sansa, who’s already been through hell. It would be repetitive as well as exploitative, I agree.

    • MedicineMan

      My guess is North. Well, west first and then north.

      There is room for Littlefinger to cut some deals with Roose Bolton now. What agreements the Lannisters and Boltons had certainly died with Tywin – probably before – and Baelish has something Roose doubtlessly wants, legitimacy for his rule in the person of a Stark bride.

      In a meta sense, I bet the showrunners would like to have a way to show us what is happening in the North and merging the Bolton/Theon storyline with the Sansa storyline is a potentially good way of doing that.

  • Mayur


    (Actually your guess is as good as mine.)

  • Mayur

    Also I don’t know how we deal with book vs show spoilers here, but anyone have any ideas as to why the show runners might have left out the last bit of Maggy’s prophecy?

    • jamesepowell

      I was kind of curious about that too – it drives a lot of Cersei’s desire to kill Tyrion

      • joe from Lowell

        I bet we keep seeing more and more of that scene throughout the season, almost like the plane crash cleanup in Season 2 of Breaking Bad.

    • John F

      My guess is it’s because “the little brother” referred to a character who is in the books but not the show

      one stereotype about prophecy is that those given them always misinterpret them in some significant way:

      So Cersei thinks the younger more beautiful “queen” who will overthrow her and take all she holds dear is Margery Tyrell- so it can’t be her it has to be someone else.

      Cersei thinks “the younger brother” who kills her is Tyrion, so it’s not, but it is someone’s younger sibling- my guess is that it is absent from the show because that character is absent from the show- my guess in the Books it refers to the Targaryen kid (Aegon aka Young Griff) that the Mountain supposedly killed but didn’t (maybe), that character is missing and evidence that he will never be in the show is that at least one of HIS followers being a follower of Daenerys on the show instead.

      So, best guess, the Queen who will overthrow Cersei and take everything she holds dear is Daenerys, the role played in the books by the guy who claims to be Aegon is taken over/folded up into another character (possibly once again Daenerys)

      • bubba37

        It’s Jaimie, he was born a couple of minutes later than Cersei

  • Sly

    A lot of book readers are going to be disappointed by the scaled-down narrative of the season – quite a few fan-favorite characters simply don’t exist (and one has been killed so far) and their attendant plotlines scrapped – but I actually like it. AFFC/ADWD is where things begin to come off the rails, and even though I’m gonna miss portrayals of Euron and Victarion and Arianne and Young Griff and Old Griff and etc and etc, at least it means more screentime for characters that have already received excellent treatment by the series and the new characters that made the cut.

    Plus the more time the show spends in southern Spain, the better. Dorne was my favorite part of those two books.

    • ChrisS

      I have no problem with the scaled down narrative, but they could have removed a bunch of non-essential scenes from earlier seasons if they didn’t intend to follow them through (e.g., Berric Dondarrion’s reanimation festival —> Lady Stoneheart, the Ironborn, etc.).

      • MedicineMan

        I suspect they showed Dondarrion’s reanimation in part because they wanted to establish that such a thing is possible. If there is going to be even a single plot-significant resurrection later in the story they need to show this power to avoid later events looking like a real ass-pull.

        • wjts

          A Dance With Dragons spoilers ahead.

          If there is going to be even a single plot-significant resurrection later in the story they need to show this power to avoid later events looking like a real ass-pull.

          I’ve heard it suggested that it could be Jon Snow, what with the stabbing and Melisandre on hand to bring him back.

          • MedicineMan

            That’s what I was thinking too.

            Dondarrion and his crew may be important for other reasons too. They may have a part to play in the Frey’s eventual comeuppance.

    • Halloween Jack

      Frankly, I never really liked either Euron/Victarion or the Griffs–they seem like characters that GRRM threw in specifically to complicate things, then regretted at how they added to the existing mess. Euron, in particular, who comes out of nowhere and has not only a bunch of magic but also the dragon-controlling horn and seems to take over the west coast of Westeros almost overnight, is not particularly a great character IMO. I’m really hoping that Martin takes some inspiration from the show and starts dumping some of these Jonny-come-latelies so that he can concentrate on the characters that most people care about.

  • Mayur

    Scaling down the narrative has never been the problem; it’s picking the best parts that’s the problem. S5E1 is amazing because it really does trump the impact and artistry of aFfC/ADwD in terms of setting out all the pieces and building emotional investment. I’m just hoping that S5 gets both books squeezed into a season, and for that im praying that they don’t do more episodes like s4e9.

    What *really* weirds me out is how the Prince Who Came Too Late matters for the overall story, and what has to happen for that story to be reflected in the show.

    • Sly

      I’m just hoping that S5 gets both books squeezed into a season, and for that im praying that they don’t do more episodes like s4e9.

      If anything, S5 is going to spoil a lot of material from TWOW. We had a glimpse of this with the Night’s King scene in S4, but I’m thinking there is going to be a lot more of it.

      What *really* weirds me out is how the Prince Who Came Too Late matters for the overall story, and what has to happen for that story to be reflected in the show.

      Since a lot of the cut stuff apparently deals with varying parties traveling to Meereen, “Prince Who Came Too Late” included, I imagine Meereen is going to go a lot differently than in the books, and (no spoilers) photos from the shooting confirm this. It might end in the same spot as ADWD, but its not going to get there the same circuitous way.

      • Philip

        And honestly, good! It took a lot of work, but ADWD managed to make Daenerys’ assorted plotlines boring.

        • wjts

          I started getting bored with Daenerys’ plotlines sometime around A Storm of Swords. The wacky antics of Strong Belwas and Daenerys’ endless hand-wringing over slavery are not nearly as interesting as George R.R. Martin imagines them to be.

          • Halloween Jack

            Probably why Belwas was cut from the show and they decided instead to play up Grey Worm and Missandei’s relationship.

        • Sly

          Less Quentyn Martell and more Barristan the Bold can only be described as an improvement.

          • Brett

            Quentyn’s awesome, though. Most heroic POV death* in the series so far.

            * Yes, I know he technically died a few days later.

  • Is it just me, or, politically, is Stannis a bit of an idiot? I mean, forcing someone to bow to you before accepting their help seems to be a bit a of a dense way of doing things.

    • djw

      I suppose there’s always going to be some dangers associated with letting him live, but he gave up rather too quickly, it seemed to me, on the possibility of Mance Rayder being of use to him.

    • “Stannis is an idiot” is one of the major themes of whole story. His stiff-necked insistence on his rights as king and strict adherence to his belief in the right way to do things doomed his war effort, got a lot of people killed and helped keep a petulant psychopath on the Iron Throne until he was removed by other means.


      • John F

        Wells that’s a theme in the show and books, I mean Ned being IMPOSSIBLY stupid was a major driving force in season 1… Stannis is stupid, but in a more explicable way IMHO.

        • Rob was no genius either. Come to think of it, who among the nobles in this story has any brains at all, apart from Tyrion?

          • wjts

            Tywin was no dummy. Olenna Tyrell and Doran Martel seem pretty sharp. Littlefinger’s got some brains.

          • Katya

            Well, Robb was very good at military strategy, so he wasn’t a total moron. It seems more like the Starks men’s Achilles heel was their sense of honor (in the book, Robb marries Jeyne Westerling because he feels obligated to do so after “deflowering” her). Stannis’s weakness is his insistence of his “rights.” My sense is that there are some intelligent people among the nobility (Olenna Tyrell and Doran Martell have been suggested, for example; I’d say that Asha Greyjoy has a decent head on her shoulders, Roose Bolton is pretty smart, even if he is an evil bastard) but everyone has their blind spots, and any weakness can prove fatal in the right circumstances.

    • Halloween Jack

      But that’s Stannis all the way. It’s no coincidence that, thanks to him, his Hand (Davos) is missing a few fingers.

    • Craigo

      He’s not.

      There’s a tendency among even intelligent people to view those with very different value systems as “idiots,” because they don’t pursue the goals that we consider worth attaining – or pursue them in the same way that we would.

      In a realpolitik sense, it would be smart to wring whatever value you can from Mance. But for a noble and putative king in Westeros (or the 14th century Europe that Westeros is based on), taking a man into your service without demanding fealty is the height of stupidity, and would undo much of what Stannis is trying to accomplish. He would be sacrificing his long term goal for short-term gain: His entire kingship is based upon feudal rights, and he can’t ally with the free folk on their terms and abandon the concept of feudal service without effectively abandoning his entire argument.

      • MedicineMan

        Well said.

        While I do think — for various reasons — that Stannis would be a poor king, the man isn’t witless. There is good logic demanding submission before trusting the Wildlings enough to make a deal with them. He misjudges the nature of the Wildlings, of course, but from his standpoint what he is doing is logical, not merely prideful.

        I would also dispute that Ned Stark was any kind of idiot, for reasons that Steven Attewell has picked apart at great length.

        • Craigo

          I should have noted that the same applies to Mance. For an outsider, it may seem strange that a man dedicated to his people’s salvation would turn up his nose at a chance to do just that – and Jon, logically from his point of view, assumes that it’s out of pride.

          But really, if Mance had bent the knee, he would have lost all of the authority that he had spent a lifetime building up among the free folk, and they would have refused to see him as their leader. It would have been for nothing. By going out on his terms, he keeps them united in his memory.

          • MedicineMan

            Indeed, and even if Mance could have convinced them to pledge themselves to Stannis, he knows for certain that they would be fighting and dying primarily to service a southern king’s ambitions, not their own self interests. Good deal or not, I can fully understand why a man who has broken the vows Mance has and walked his road would chose to die over the difference.

  • serwilliam64

    I am excited about this season, and this episode did nothing to dissuade it.
    I assume people noticed the flayed man banner on Winterfell in the credits.

    Also, the photo above got me thinking…hmmm, Cersei walking up the steps to the Sept, with a crowd of dignitaries looking at her with sympathy and respect (of course, Cersei has no clue what to do with such sympathy and respect)

    • Halloween Jack

      She’ll take another walk out of that sept eventually, with a very different reception.

  • Halloween Jack

    Yeah, this was mostly a setting-up-the-pieces episode. I was a bit disappointed that we got nothing of Alexander Siddig (DS9 fan here) or Jonathan Pryce (ditto Brazil), or Arya for that matter, and I would have liked more of a clue as to where Brienne and Pod were going, but I’m intrigued by Sansa and Littlefinger’s roadtrip, and holy crap, Mance on the pyre.

    • wjts

      I may have succumbed to temptation and skipped ahead. If I have, then I might be able to say that Jonathan Pryce fans will not be disappointed by future episodes. (Also, it was kind of fun seeing him play Cardinal Wolsey and the High Sparrow in the same night.)

  • Lt. Condition

    Am I the only one who thought of the scene near the end of Last of the Mohicans where Daniel Day-Lewis shoots the British soldier being burned alive during the Mance pyre scene?

    It wasn’t precisely the same or anything but similar enough that it made me recall a movie I haven’t seen in probably a decade.

    • Craigo

      I thought of it too, and it popped up in a few recaps I saw today.

      If you’re going to borrow, you had better do it well, and that’s a damned good scene.

      • Denverite

        I watched Last of the Mohicans over the weekend. It’s aged pretty well. Part of it’s the music, part of it’s appreciating what a great actor DDL is.

    • There’s a similar scene in The Sand Pebbles. Steve McQueen kills his friend to save him from being tortured.

  • Mayur

    spoiler so read only if you haven’t read ADwD:

    Why does everyone keep talking as if Mance has been killed off differently in the show than in the books? This happened in the books too and we know how that turned out.

    • Craigo

      Neither Rattleshirt nor disguise-by-glamor is established on the show, so bringing them in now seems like an ass pull.

      It’s something that Lost would do after the writers painted themselves into a corner.

      Edit: Apparently Rattleshirt has appeared in three episodes, with about as many speaking lines, my mistake. None since the season 3 premier though, and not in this episode.

    • John F

      The actor who plays Mance says that this is it, he’s not coming back to the series… He could be lying or the role could be re-casted I suppose-

  • Mayur

    @john f: I find that the only potentially dispositive point.

    Craigo: given that the source material spelled it out in advance and that its a pretty straightforward tactic, I think audiences would treat it more favorably than a Lost-style ass pull.

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