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MizasterJ

My in depth analysis & opinion

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The following is my in depth review of Game of Thrones Season 5 Episode 1. It focuses on character motivations and psychology.

Comments are highly appreciated.

......Show Spoiler Warning.....

We kick things off with a mysterious scene of characters we've never seen before. Book readers however will soon come to ascertain that this is the infamous Maggy the Frog prophecy. So this is the 1st season to utilize flashbacks ( long overdue in my opinion), and this scene reveals itself to be from Cersei past immediately connecting with Cersei presently. This is not how you do a flashback sequence effectively. There have been tons of ways to imply a flashback scene yet the director of this chose to utilize absolutely none of them. frown emoticon


Never the less the scene tells the story pretty well even though Maggy comes off as much less creepy and disturbing as in the book; with HBO glamouring her more like a hot mess rather than an old shrew. Comparatively,I actually like the portrayal of 11 year old Cersei. However the scene fails to live up to its full potential by neglecting to establish what is probably the most important point of the scene: The prophecy of Cersei's death. It is my hope that they return to this scene to deliver the full prophecy thus hinting at the direction of Cersei's arc, but I doubt they will. Instead HBO seems to be focusing on the "younger more beautiful" prophecy.

In King's Landing

Following up with present day Cersei in the next scene, its important to point out that Margery is seen by Cersei only a few seconds later. This scene is dealing with the death of Tywin, for which Cersei blames Jaime and Tyrion. Jaime seems to have very mixed feelings about his father's murder despite Cersei trying to guilt him. Cersei's habit of blaming everything on Tyrion becomes more apparent as well as her growing resentment towards Jaime. When Cersei chastises Jaime for taking action without concern of consequence could she be subconsciously referring to herself? When she kisses her father in front of Jaime I cant help wonder if it is just to spite him, with her pretending to have loved him more than Jaime did.

Interesting to note that Pycelle blames Varys for the death, which no one else seems to even notice Varys has disappeared. Pycelle always seems to pass blame onto Varys as with the Jon Arryn poisoning. Could this be hinting at why Varys is referred to as "the Spider" and the threat his character poses to Pycelle? (book readers should know what I'm getting at) No matter how many times Cersei shuns Pycelle, he is always eager to kiss her royal ass, you'd think he would jump ship by now.

This scene is quite revealing of Cersei's mentality in that she is always worried about losing power. It is her primary concern, even when someone close to her dies. When Joff died,she froze up and then immediately sought revenge, perhaps as a means of displaying her power to her enemies.Further evidence of this is when Loras is pouring out his sympathy to her (whether honest or not) she is only focused on Marg manipulating her son. Seems like all she knows is bullying and paranoia.When confronted by Lancel Cersei disregards his warnings or advice. So again it seems like whenever real threats present themselves Cersei is clueless & hastily dismissive. Cersei fails to see how the consequences of her actions effect her future, could this lead to her downfall? We should keep Lancel's advice to her in mind "I found peace...you can too." and that you can choose mercy or justice. Could Lancel's new stance be reflective of what is in store for Cersei if she continues to ignore her sins?

Loras, seems to be oddly complacent with his position. He still believes he is to marry Cersei and there's nothing to be done about it, but Marg may have a plan in mind. Marg is very aware that it is now "game on " between her and Cersei, but how will Marg include Loras in her plan and besides using Tommen, what will that be?

In Pentos

I like the hole through the box view that they give us in the next scene; teasing us with ideas of where we might be and what Tyrion has been going through. Great cinematic choices in this scene. Tyrion's new beard is quite suiting for his cranky old man routine. Immediately Varys goes into politics, and immediately Tyrion goes for the booze. Varys reveals a subplot from Season 1 where Arya spotted him conversing with Illyrio about a possible Dothraki invasion of westeros.
Varys reveals the nature of that was to put the Targaryeans ( which was Viserys & Daenerys) on the throne.
If you will recall Illyrio was the man housing Dany & her brother in episode 1, so this plan has been in motion since just before the beginning of the series. Varys is no doubt tyring to follow up on the brief conversation he had with Tyrion regarding Danerys in Season 2, but Tyrion will need a lot of convincing. Varys believes that Tyrion not only could be a wonderful political advisor but has the rare trait of compassion necessary for the job. However, we may be dealing with a completely new and horrid Tyrion at this point. Tyrion is at least willing to humor Varys, at least for now.

Tyrion's method of operation when it comes to dealing with emotional pain is to take it out on himself and pretend that he no longer has any sympathy, Varys is willing to help him overcome this. So it seems Tyrion's impression on Varys is 1 of the few things that has ended up saving his life, and its such a good impression that Varys is willing to risk his own life, but how far will they get? Mereen is quite a trip, and Dany has many other concerns.

In Mereen

Daenerys ruler-ship isnt exactly going as planned. Despite her mission in Yunkai being a success, a new enemy has arisen, calling themselves "the sons of the harpy" and murdering her army, apparently 1 at a time. Dany plans to draw them out and have her men strike them down, however she can't help worrying that her power (like Cersei's) might also be fading. She is given advice on this by Daario, telling her to reveal her dragons, but could this be yet another manipulation in the Game of Thrones? Dany is at least tempted by this as she proceeds to encounter 2 of her 3 dragons yet, to her horror the dragon have become even more uncontrollable. Does this mean she has no choice but to do the alternative of opening the fighting pits as a way of showing her strength?

I dont know why the show runners are so insistent on the subplot involving a romance between Missandei and Grey Worm, it really seems uninteresting. Perhaps they are just trying to give the actors more to do with their character. Drama drama drama.

In the Vale

I'm surprised to see Little Finger paying so close attention to Robin Arryn. I thought he just wanted to get the kid out of the way, but perhaps LF does have a plan for him. So LF and Sansa are headed West ehh? more like North. I suppose the writers didnt want to say North because that would be too much of a reveal and this is diverting from the books.
However I really dont see why they would logically go to Winterfell, I'm willing to see how it plays out, but don't like where this is headed.

Is it me or does Brienne seem a bit..IDK bitter? lol Oh Brienne take your own advice that you gave Jaime "stop whinning you sound like a woman." You should be counting your lucky stars you have Pod for as awkward and unskilled as he is, he is all the more clever than you. Also if being a knight is such a big deal to you, why didnt you ask Jaime to do it? This was by far the most wasteful scene. I'm very disappointed.This is not GRRM's Brienne!

I have no idea where this is going frown emoticon

At the Wall

Sam seems to be trying to impress Gilly with tales of his heroics, she doesnt seem impressed but rather concerned about having to leave. She feels like Sam is her only hope and Sam feels obligated to them which is symbolically what the Night's watch forbids. This situation probably won't end well. I think Sam's optimism annoys Gilly.If Sam truly knew how to impress her he would show more of a sense of determination.

Do I sense some sexual tension between Melisandre and Jon Snow? I think so. She knows he's nervous around her and it amuses her.

For some reason Stannis wanted to here Jon's reaction to his decision to take Winterfell.I feel bad for Stannis as no one gives him any satisfaction. Jon just kinda shrugs it off, and as usual Stannis has a counter argument which doesnt get them very far. Seems like they are just going in circles as the show runners cut the dialog so short and quick it might make your head spin. Stannis seemed like he just wanted to tease Jon about Winterfell as he walks away after the bit about using the Wildings as his army as if it was no consequence to Jon. Jon tries to tell Stannis that Mance won't agree but like usual Stannis doesnt seem to care as if he is used to people refusing him and things not going his way. Stannis does not have time or maybe patience for negotiations, it's either do it his way or burn.
Mance admires Stannis because he's bold, I take that 1 step further in saying that Stannis is not a push over and commands respect. Perhaps Stannis called Jon Snow because he knew Jon is 1 of the only Night's Watch that sympathize with Wildlings and might be supportive to his plan, but Jon is his nativity just steps on Stannis' toes by telling him it won't work. Jon is definitely not politically savvy ,nor the best negotiator.

Mance comes off as overly stubborn to me. I just makes no sense why he refuses to kneel, perhaps this will become clear later but I just see it as Mance being foolish. Once again the dialog goes in circles with Jon trying to convince Mance and Mance saying its not about his pride but then acting prideful. Jon's points were much more persuasive in my opinion. So Mance needlessly gets himself put to death, which ruins all his goals anyway: the Wildlings either won't be allowed south of the wall, or forced to fight for Stannis anyway, and ontop of that now seemingly have no leader. Good Job Mance. RIP. I hope everyone learns a lesson, foolishness gets you dead. Are you paying attention JON SNOW? I'm talking to you.

So was that the big death of a character that doesn't die in the books, or is their more to come? My money is on more death. Valar Morghulis.

Rating

Overall I liked this episode. I think it's quite an improvement from past season premieres which are usually slow and limited in characters. We didnt get to see Braavos, The North, or Dorne which was a bit disappointing but we cant expect everything so soon, and we got an awesome scene of dragons, scenes of action, plot development, and of corse gratuitous nudity. Strange that, a lot of characters seem to be more bitter than usual this time, and everyone was saying "perhaps". Great cinematography as usual.
acting was decent, it flowed well. A few surprises. Not a cliffhanger ending, but you cant expect that every time.
I give it a 6 / 10

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