Or watch it control you.
“The Wars to Come,” the season five premiere of Game of Thrones, simply showed us the state of things. It set the scene for where these characters are and set them each on a journey. After watching the episode, I kept thinking about Daenerys’ dragons and her lack of control over them. She is now afraid of her own “babies.” Many of the other characters similarly have their own dragons: sources of personal power that they have lost control of. Cersei, Tyrion, Jon, and Brienne all need to regain control of something in their lives that has the power to destroy them. We’ll check in with those characters, then briefly discuss what else we learned in the premiere.
Dany continues to struggle with control over the city and existing government of Mereen. The Unsullied remove a golden statue from one of the pyramids of Mereen, where Dany will reside, but one of her Unsullied — White Rat — is murdered in a brothel by one of the Sons of the Harpy.
“Angry snakes lash out. Makes chopping off their heads that much easier.”
A liaison from the wise masters wants Dany to open up the fighting pits, but she refuses. Later, she and Daario discuss it naked. He thinks she should open the fighting pits. “As soon as they see weakness, they’ll attack. Show your strength here, now.”
His journey through the pits got him to where he is today, with her.
“You’re not the mother of Unsullied, you’re the mother of dragons.” But one of her dragons is still missing and when she visits the other two, they rage at her with fire and growling. She is afraid of her dragons.
The things that gained her her power have grown larger than she can control.
Cersei has also lost all control of the things that made her powerful (I might be stretching the metaphor really far as we continue, bear with me. I love themes). The episode starts with a flashback of her and another girl (somewhere in their teens) going into a forest to see a witch in a hut.
Cersei is just as entitled and brash as a teen as she is as an adult.
“I’ll have your two boring eyes gouged out of your head.”
The witch tells her she will be queen, that her king will cheat on her (having 20 children), and she will have three children with gold for crowns. In the present, Cersei attends her father’s funeral, blaming both Tyrion (who killed her father) and Jamie (who set Tyrion free) for his death. “At least he killed our father on purpose.”
With this extra rift between her and Jamie (they weren’t exactly on their typical “more than friendly” terms when we left them last season. And that’s an understatement), she is left alone facing the dragons that got her where she is today. (Everyone got nervous watching Jamie and Cersei chat in the hall, right? This definitely went… better… than last time.)
Her cousin, Lancel, literally places her faults in front of her as he “atones” for their relationship. Cersei’s ruthlessness has served her in the past, but with so little allies and with the political brilliance (evil brilliance that it was) behind her power lying cold on a slab, she’s lost control of this skill.
Weeks of traveling stuffed in a box (scooping his poop out of the air holes) really works for him somehow… Tyrion arrives with Varys at Essos, where Tyrion tries to get his land legs back. He immediately heads for a bottle of liquor… and immediately pukes it up… before immediately taking another swig.
Tyrion is at his lowest point yet: he’s murdered his father and his former lover, he is presumably wanted for said crime, he’s lost his title, is far away from home, and has no prospects. This, added to his status as “The Imp,” doesn’t lend him much home. But Varys has a plan. He wants peace in the realm and thinks that Tyrion is the one to do it. Tyrion’s dragon is his compassion.
It is what helped him manage to be the highest position in the land (however brief a time he was Hand of the King), it was why he loved Shae, and it was why he put up with his father for as long as he did. But after everything he’s done, he’s lost track of his compassion. He’s bitter and feels useless. Varys wants to help him gain control of those feelings again (by meeting up with Danaerys WHICH HAD ME SHOUTING FOR JOY THAT MY TWO FAVORITES WILL FINALLY MEET! You know, if they’re not killed along the way…), but Tyrion is going to have to want to take control again and not let his compassion (or all that alcohol) consume him.
Up at the Wall, Jon Snow is de facto leader of the Brothers. He’s training one of the younger recruits when Melisandre accompanies him on the most uncomfortable elevator ride ever? Definitely in the history of Westeros which probably only has that one elevator…
Christelle tweets my exact thoughts:
Melisandre has no chill and I am concerned as to what plans she has in store for Jon Snow. at the top of the wall, Jon meets Stannis Baratheon, who wants him to convince Mance Rayder (who they’ve captured) to offer Wildlings support to help overthrow Roos Bolton over at Winterfell.
Jon tries to play the neutrality card, but Stannis won’t let him, invoking revenge for Robb Stark. Jon’s dragon is his sense of honor. It is what has gotten him this far, as leader of the Brothers and what has gotten him the respect of both Stannis and Mance Rayder. However it is this sense of honor that will make this season tough for Jon. When he fails to convince Rayder to bow to Stannis and give Wildling support to his cause, Rayder is burned at the stake.
Instead of letting him suffer, Jon spears him with an arrow just as he starts to really scream.
Stannis would have probably been simply disappointed in Jon for not getting the Wildlings on board, but with this move, Jon has shown that he does not play by Stannis’ rules. With the brotherhood so small now, Jon has made an enemy when he can’t really afford one.
We don’t get to see much of Brienne in the premiere, but she fit the theme so perfectly I had to talk about her. Brienne’s dragon is also her honor, but instead of it bringing her power, it has brought her lower than the others. She’s given up all hope of honoring Lady Stark’s desire for her to find her daughters. After Arya rejected her (a duo I was SO looking forward to see go on adventures and kick butt), she’s lost her sense of purpose. She’s willing to sit in a field and sharpen her sword, but doesn’t want to go anywhere and doesn’t want any help. (Poor Podrick is just trying to help but no one appreciates it because he tends to be so bad at it. I hope he finds his niche soon. If he doesn’t die, that is.)
The suckiest bit (and the show does this A LOT) is when you see the carriage carrying Sansa and Little Finger past Brienne on the road. She was SO CLOSE! Brienne is lost with a weak dragon that doesn’t shoot out any flames. She wants someone of honor to fight for — if she doesn’t find Sansa soon, she should ride with Tyrion to Mereen to see Daenerys. That’d be a great road trip…
What else did we learn?
- Missandei and Grey Worm continue their little will they/won’t they.
I’m so scared for them to get together only because then it will mean one of them will have to die because that’s how this show works. Missandei asks Grey Worm why White Rat went to the brothel. He claims he doesn’t know, but hopefully he understood that really she was asking if he was willing to break his oath for her… Seems his answer right now is: no.
- And speaking of White Rat: That poor solider just wanted to be cradled in a bosom! She clearly has seen and done this before and despite the fact that he wanted nothing from her but some motherly affection, she still ratted (oh wait…) him out. The Unsullied have psychological issues. What are the going rates of Mereen’s therapists ??
- Lord Robin Aeryn SUCKS at fighting. Yikes.
- Margaery and Lorras are still figuring out their place in King’s Landing now that both Joffrey and Tywin are dead. Lorras is saying screw it to being in the closet, while Margaery wants more discretion from him. She’s stuck with Cersei in King’s Landing until they figure out if Lorras and Cersei are still to be married…
WHERE IS MY GIRL ARYA?!
What else did I miss?
Disclaimer: I haven’t read the books, so feel free to discuss non-future spoilery differences in the comments or correct me if I get a detail wrong.
Who else needs to get control of their dragons on the show?