Game of Thrones: “The Sons of the Harpy” Season 5 Episode 4 Review

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For an episode this early in the season, “The Sons of the Harpy” was full of big moments across the board. There were no less than two massacres, which makes this an instant favorite of the season, if only because it had me screaming at the ol’ television again (it’s okay, TVs everywhere have been used to getting screamed at for 10 weeks a year since Game of Thrones premiered).

Let’s start with the massacre-turned-epic-brawl that gave the episode its title. Unrest is growing in Meereen as the murderous sons of the harpy gain numbers. As the episode was coming to a close and we cut to Daenerys making jokes with her council, it was obvious something was up. Out came the creepy gold masks, killing the unsullied from behind their backs.

But Game of Thrones wasn’t messing around for this massacre. You know that feeling you get when you watch characters that have been around for more than a few seasons, ones we root for, charge into a situation they’d escape from on every other show? This time it was Grey Worm and Ser Barristan Selmy, two noble warriors, one young, one old. Last week, Varys told Tyrion that a leader that earns the respect of priests and whores is one to watch out for. Grey Worm and Barristan are far from priests or whores, but the same point can be made. A freed slave and a man that could have swam in gold for the rest of his life fighting for the same figure. As heartbreaking as it was to watch them both eventually fall after the skirmish, it was a powerful reminder of the power of Daenerys Targaryen to unite uncommon peoples for common causes. That’s what makes the Sons of the Harpy so dangerous, they appear capable of defeating that power.

That wasn’t the only demonstration of power in the episode. I speculated in my last review that Cersei seemed genuine in her approach to Margaery (maybe her friends shouldn’t have laughed with the former queen in earshot). After her new alliance with the High Sparrow took shape, it’s clear there’s no trust between the two, and that Cersei’s title may have changed, but her reign is far from over. It’s a dark move to have King’s Landing’s own Westboro Baptist Church executing homosexuals, but Margaery was certainly rattled after her brother was taken prisoner. The new queen has never broken character in front of a Lannister before, but when she burst through the door and questioned Tommen, she expressed genuine fear. Natalie Dormer played the scene perfectly, frantic at first before collecting herself back into Margaery’s role. But the new king lacks the respect of the people, or the fear his brother instilled, to even get an audience with the High Sparrow.

Cersei’s power reaches even beyond King’s Landing, as she’s forced Littlefinger away from his place next to Sansa at Winterfell. She’s lost a lot of battles these past few years, but now she’s playing her hand, and it’s a good one.

Speaking of Winterfell, Melissandre was the latest to come and tempt Jon Snow into retaking his family’s home. Of course, she does it by undressing and spouting things about the Lord of Light. But after Jon denies her, she gives him a smirk and says, “You know nothing, Jon Snow.” It’s among Melissandre’s most unsettling moments, thanks to the rich mythology that came before it.

Also at Castle Black, we got a really lovely scene between Stannis and his daughter, who he seems to truly acknowledge as his blood for the first time. It was the rare moment where Stannis seems like he may be the right person to take the throne when everything is said and done.

Jaime Lannister appears to be trying to do the same thing with his daughter/niece. But while Stannis is detached from his child due to his own character faults, Jaime would be a part of Myrcella’s life if he could. His trip to Dorne with Bronn is personal. This pairing is of course a ton of fun to watch, especially in a fight. When attacked by four riders, Bronn takes one off his horse and quips that he should be “slow enough” for the Kingslayer to handle. Jaime manages to trap his opponent’s sword in his fake hand, allowing him to stab him right through the chest. The prettiest of the Lannister children still has some moves.

But their arrival has caught the attention of Ellaria Sand, the late Oberyn’s muse. She knows they’re going after Myrcella, and plan to race them there.

So while some conflicts were set up, others came to a head. For an early season episode, “The Sons of the Harpy” was quite eventful. The momentum the season built by bringing characters together in the first three episodes continued and even climaxed in some areas. If Thrones keeps this up, we may be looking at the series’ best season. Grade: A

 

Some Other Notes:

– You had to love the scene Tyrion and Jorah shared. Poor Jorah, everyone treats you like shit. Though Tyrion does have a point, there aren’t many ways this is going to end well for Jorah.

– Ellaria’s minions, called the Sandsnakes, are pretty badass.

– Bronn gives Jaime an annoyed look as he rows to shore alone. Without saying a word, Jaime just lifts his hand. Who knew we’d be laughing about it back when we watched it get chopped off?

– This is the last of the leaked episodes. You can resume going on Twitter.

 

By Matt Dougherty

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