TV Review: “Game of Thrones” – “The Wars to Come”

Written by Jesse Gelinas April 14, 2015

TheWars to come

Hmm… Blonde hair, resting bitch face. Who could it be?

It’s been a long and arduous year waiting for “Game of Thrones: to come back. We placed our hopes and dwarfs into a box and set sail across the Narrow Sea, and now, we’ve finally reached our destination! And it is awesome, if a little bleak. We rejoin our heroes and villains as they deal with the fallout of season 4, and prepare for the wars to come.

*Full spoilers below*

“The Wars to Come” reintroduces almost all of your favourites, with the only notable exception being Arya Stark (less notable, Jorah and Theon). In Dorne, Elleria Sand mourns the death of Oberyn Martell at the hands of the Mountain, though she seems more preoccupied with vengeance. Brienne and Pod continue their search for Sansa Stark. In Kings Landing, the city “mourns” the death of Tywin Lannister, while his incestuous children plan their next move without their father. Across the Narrow Sea, Tyrion and Varys arrive safely, and present a plan to meet up with the Mother of Dragons herself. In Meereen, the Queen finds herself dealing with a murderous uprising in her adopted kingdom. And in the North, Jon Snow and Stannis debate what to do with the Wildlings and Mance Rayder.

“The freedom to make my own mistakes was all I ever wanted.”

What “The Wars To Come” does well is reintroduce the characters and plots left hanging at the end of season 4 without it feeling like mindless exposition. Everyone is brought up to speed quickly and efficiently so things can move on. Everyone falls right back into their roles and you along with them. The series’ very first flashback gives some insight into Cersei’s past, and the intense inner conflict her recent misfortunes must be bringing her. The scene is brief but creepy, and a favourite among book readers who’ve been waiting for it.

The Wars to Come

Ah, there she is all grown up.

Where the episode falters slightly is the handling of Brienne’s story. The lucky wench seems to just keep tripping over Starks without even trying. Shortly after stumbling upon Arya Stark (and impressively besting The Hound), she finds herself dining ten feet from Sansa and Littlefinger, by sheer coincidence. It feels a tad sloppy, but we let it slide because this is fantasy after all. A good chunk of the series is dedicated to a young blonde woman raising an army of thousands and cooking non-believers with dragon fire.

“If you can’t understand why I won’t enlist my people in a foreigner’s war, there’s no point explaining.”

After years of questioning his allegiance and agenda, Varys finally discloses his true mission to Tyrion once they reach Essos. Some may find it surprising to discover Varys is a Targaryen supporter, but there were clues as early as season one; it’s just never been revisited until now. The prospect of Tyrion joining Dany’s cause, even becoming an advisor is titillating to say the least. Assuming she doesn’t roast the Lannister on sight. Varys and Tyrion have great chemistry between them as always, and their road trip/buddy story should prove entertaining for however long it lasts.

the wars to come

Seven Hells, they’re dressing alike now.

The most grim business is still on the Wall, where the Nights Watch is adjusting to the current situation with Stannis annexing Castle Black, and all the Wildlings in custody. Sadly, we say goodbye to Ciaran Hinds as Mance Rayder. He is given a fitting end, sticking to his principles and dying on his feet. But it’s sad to see a great actor’s tenure come to an end. This is especially true with a character as intriguing as Mance, whose story could’ve gone on much longer. His scenes were always engaging, and he actually managed to elevate Kit Harrington’s Jon Snow to a level of almost interesting (I kid, Kit, you’re fine).

“I wish you good fortune in the wars to come.”

In the end, “the Wars to Come” is a solid revisiting to Westeros that sets the stage for the season to follow. Hopefully it’s as close as we come to a filler episode this year. With a lot of ground to cover, and many deviations from the source material promised, “Game of Thrones” season 5 should be quite interesting, and likely surprising, for watchers and readers alike.

My Rating: 8/10

Game of thrones season 5

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About Jesse Gelinas

After years attempting to escape the Matrix, Jesse has accepted his fate as a writer and Senior Editor. Now that's he finished with his film degree, it gives him something to do while waiting for the machines to get careless.

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