Game of Thrones “Sons of the Harpy” Review

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Posted May 5, 2015 by Chris White in Nerdy Bits

“Spoilers below”

There wasn’t a single moment of ‘Sons of the Harpy’ that felt any less spectacular than anything that has come before. Episode 4 was by far the best entry so far this season and it gave us an ending that was nothing short of electrifying—more on that in a bit.

There was some excellent acting on the show this week but none more so than that of Stephen Dillane aka Stannis Baratheon. Up until now, I’ve found the character of Stannis to be a little dull and uninteresting. Sure, he’s a king—maybe not of Westeros but a king nonetheless—and a king should be a character of great stature and appeal. Look at Robert and Joffrey for example—even Robb Stark had great presence on screen, but all Stannis has really done so far is come over as a pretender; he hasn’t shown any great potential or leadership that excites or inspires—in fact, I’ve been rather impartial whenever I see him. At some point in season five though, Stannis Baratheon’s appeal has clicked; his screen time has increased and his importance in the story has certainly come to light. He’s now planning to take the throne by recruiting an army and working with the Knight’s Watch to do so. Yes, Stannis is getting more interesting by the second and tonight, he gave such a good performance that it is sat firmly at the top of my favourite moments of season five to date. We’ve seen seldom interactions between him and his daughter. We know she had Greyscale (a disease that can turn the afflicted into stone) from her chat with Gilly earlier in the season; however, it is in ‘Sons of the Harpy’ that Stannis shows us how much he loves his daughter Shireen and no matter what his wife or anybody in the whole of the seven kingdoms say about her, he will protect her and love her with all of his heart, slaying anyone that shows cruelty towards her. “You are the Princess Shireen of House Baratheon and you are my daughter.” As these words were spoken, I felt a lump in my throat and a tear in my eye—maybe it was because I have two daughters of my own but it was impactful and moving—for once, I’m looking forward to seeing Stannis again.

Elsewhere on the wall, Melisandre wastes no time in digging her claws into Jon Snow. After a meaningful glance that she fires at Jon in last season’s final episode, we knew that she had a plan. I wasn’t expecting her to be quite so forward, quite so soon but alas, she stands in front of Jon and exposes her naked body for Jon to take pleasure in. Melisandre tells Jon she wants to show him life—no magic, just life. As she grabs his hand and places it on her breast, she offers herself to him and says “the dead don’t need lovers, only the living,” knowing full well he only recently lost the love of his life. “I know,” he replies “but I still love her.” He refuses her advances and she walks away, but not without uttering the words of his dead lover, Ygritte. She turns back to him and says “You know nothing, Jon Snow.” Eerily delivered and equally shocking. How would she know about the words Ygritte says to Jon in their most intimate moments? Melisandre is certainly someone for Jon to fear. Whether he does or not will more than likely be revealed in the future episodes and I’ll be watching with bated breath.

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WHOREHOUSE MASSACRE! We’ve seen baby hunters and Dornish princes inside the walls of Baelish’s brothel but of all the scenes we’ve watch unfold here, the invasion of the Sparrows was certainly the most shocking. They swept in and dragged off all the prostitutes, followed by the slitting of throats of all the customers. Ser Loras’ boyfriend witnessed it all—seeing two naked customers on their knees in front of two of the Sparrows about to be killed in the final moments of the scene. We found out that they were after Margaery’s brother, Ser Loras Tyrell—where they found him sparring with some soldiers. The Sparrows threw him in a cell, leaving him to await his fate (to which we aren’t aware of but I feel it may be death—it is Game of Thrones after all) and giving Margaery a real cause for concern. It all started with Cersei informing the High Sparrow about a great sinner surrounded by gold—referring to Ser Loras Tyrell. As you are aware, Ser Loras is a homosexual and in the eyes of the seven Gods and the Sparrows, it is a great sin. When Tywin was still breathing, he had planned to set Cersei up to marry Ser Loras so she is very much aware about his sexual orientation. There was no reasoning for her to do this, other than to hit back at Margaery but it seemed to work. Margaery was angry and uneasy and her poor and innocent husband, King Tommen had no idea what to do in the fallout of the arrest. I felt a great sympathy for Tommen tonight. He is being used by Margaery and Cersei to do their bidding and their blatant abuse of his youth and power was no more obvious than in tonight’s episode. He was encouraged by Cersei to go to the High Sparrow and ask for Ser Loras’ release (after Margaery told Tommen to go to his mother and ask for his release). Tommen is a naïve king with a pure heart—the polar opposite of his older brother and former king, Joffrey. As Tommen approached the High Sparrow, nobody flinched or looked twice at him. The guards wouldn’t let him pass and threatened violence, to which Tommen bowed to and went straight back to Margaery as a failed king. It isn’t his fault though—he just doesn’t have what it takes to be king and both Cersei and Margaery knows this. Bad times are coming to King’s Landing and with such a weak leader, the city will more likely implode before any invasion tries to take the throne from him.

Bronn and Jaime Lannister arrive on Dorne and are greeted by four hostile, stringent soldiers, ready to take the two of them down. The quick-thinking and sharp-tongued Bronn makes the first move and begins to attack. After Jaime lost his hand, he’s been a shadow of his former self on the battlefield but when the remaining guard lodges his sword right into the fake, golden hand of Jaime, the Kingslayer thrusts his own sword deep into his chest with ease and grace—he may not be as efficient but he’s still got the ability and his metal appendage made its uses known in the most desperate of times. As the fight ends, we get to see the Sand Snakes—all bastard daughters of the fallen Prince Oberyn—all with revenge on their mind. They captured the captain of the ship on which Bronn and Jaime arrived in and, after a monologue from Obara Martell, she launches a spear (that was given to her by Oberyn) straight into his head. It will be interesting to see how Bronn and Jaime escape the Sand Snakes because they seem like very elite, very smart and very deadly killers. Regardless of this, I was expecting more from them. After weeks of hearing good things about them and numerous photos appearing online, I thought their impact would be felt a bit more than it was. It is early days though so I’m willing to give them more of a chance.  I can’t move on from talking about Jaime without mentioning something he says to Bronn on the way to Dorne—about his little brother, Tyrion. When Bronn brings him up, Jaime says “he murdered my father. If I ever see him again, I’ll split him in two.” I for one was shocked by this. I understand his distain but I thought he cared more for his brother than he did for his father—obviously not, unless it is a lie and he would rather keep his true feelings to himself. Time will tell, I guess.

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Before I touch upon the end of the episode, there were a few other interactions that may not have been as exciting as others but were still vastly important to the season as a whole. Tyrion called Jorah out on his banishment from Meereen and Jorah’s retaliation was a swift punch to Tyrion’s face. I’m not sure whether Jorah really believes that his plan is going to work and Tyrion’s genius saw right through it. Also, Peter Baelish is heading back to King’s Landing to speak with Cersei but before he goes, he gives Sansa (and us) a brief glimpse of his plans for the north. He wants Stannis to take Winterfell from the Bolton’s, and then the throne from the Lannister’s—allowing Sansa to be Wardeness of the North. We’re still none the wiser as to what he is getting out of this; however, I’m starting to believe that he doesn’t have one. I’m starting to believe that he’s doing it for Sansa. I think he loves her and he wants to protect her. If the short but intimate kiss is anything to go by, maybe I’m right.

In the final moments of the episode, carnage spilled out onto the streets of Meereen when the dreaded Sons of the Harpy ran riot, killing members of the unsullied in a grim and fearless fashion. After a rare show of smiles for Danaerys and her protector, Ser Barristan Selmy, we witness one of the coolest—albeit grisly fights to date. Poor Greyworm is caught firmly in the middle and after the unsullied are overran by the Sons of the Harpy, death seems imminent for him. In comes Ser Barristan, one of the greatest Kingsguards ever (according to Ned’s Father) and a loyal servant to the Queen of Dragons. He slices through the traitors with ease and makes it look like a training exercise. Even though it seems pretty inevitable that he is going to die, he manages to save Greyworm and helps to kill the remaining Sons, even though they overwhelm him, Ser Barristan manages to hack and slash his way through the final few before falling to the floor and giving in to the battle wounds he suffered at their hands. Cut to black. The episode ends and I shout at the TV. A fantastic cliffhanger that left me believing that—more than ever— Game of Thrones is easily the best show on TV. Period.

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With so many plotlines coursing through the veins of the episode, it never felt rushed. Once again, Game of Thrones gives us a high calibre episode with all the elements that makes a great show great. It wasn’t perfect but it was pretty damn close.


About the Author

Chris White

Rock n' Roll Nerd, Gamer, Writer, Lover and procrastinator.