What’s to Come for Game of Thrones Season 5?

Written by Maria Ramos

A common criticism of any Game of Thrones season premiere is the relatively slow pacing and focus on dialogue. For a show with such complex and varied plotting, however, an episode of table setting is necessary to remind the audience of where all the principals are and what they’re doing. Sunday’s episode “The Wars to Come” (which you can easily watch (or rewatch) through platforms like Vudu, HBOgo or DirecTV, was rife with portentous dialogue and dark omens.

The season’s opening scene was a flashback, a first for the show. A witch uses blood magic to predict the future of a young Cersei Lannister, telling her that a younger, more beautiful queen will cast her out and take all she holds dear. A cut to present day Westeros and an exchange of glances outside the sep at King’s Landing tells us that Cersei clearly believes this younger queen is Margery Tyrell, fiance to her son King Tommen. In Game of Thrones, though, things are rarely as they seem. Could the younger queen in the prophecy end up being Sansa Stark? Daenerys Targaryen?

The reintroduction of Cersei’s cousin Lancel into the cast is given some import as well. He’s cropped his hair and donned a plain grey robe, joining the “Sparrows” – devout worshipers of The Seven, the dominant religion of southern Westeros. Lancel seems to have repented for his role in the murder of King Robert Baratheon, and urges her to do the same. Cersei, of course, laughs him off, but the gathering of the Sparrows in King’s Landing promises to be another source of tension for our paranoid Queen Regent.

Across the Narrow Sea in Pentos, Tyrion Lannister drinks wine non-stop while listening to Varys espouse the positive qualities of Daenerys Targaryen. Varys convinces him to ride to Meereen to meet the queen, but like most long voyages in in the show, the road is fraught with peril. To reach Meereen, Tyrion and Varys must pass through Valyria, a smoking ruin filled with pirates and deadly stone men, and afterwards need to travel through Slaver’s Bay, which is in a state of chaos after Daenerys’ rampage. Also keep in mind that Jorah Mormont, Daenerys’ recently exiled adviser, is likely still in the area, and would probably do just about anything to win back the approval of his former master.

Meanwhile, at Castle Black, the Night’s Watch lacks a Lord Commander. Samwell Tarly talks of Ser Alliser Thorne and Ser Denys Mallister as contenders for the position, but it seems impossible to think that Jon Snow, beloved by the common men and a proven battle commander, will not be considered as a candidate. Recall that during last season’s battle against Mance Rayder’s wildling force, Snow took up the command after Ser Alliser was wounded and Janos Slynt cowered in fear in a storage chamber.

Book readers know what’s probably coming for all these characters – all except the fugitive Sansa Stark, whose story line on the show has moved past that of the books. Where is Littlefinger taking her? He says they’re going west, to a place where Cersei will never find her. Likely locations include Harrenhal, a vast cursed fortress under Littlefinger’s control, the port town of White Harbor, or Oldtown, where the maesters study at The Citadel.

There are endless possibilities in a vast world where characters scheme and allegiances change at the drop of a hat. Chief among the pleasures of Game of Thrones is its unpredictable plotting in a world where no one is ever truly safe, and the fun of trying to guess what will happen next.

About the author

Maria Ramos

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