By Tara Bennett
The only thing that can compare to the long wait for the next release of George R.R. Martin’s A Song of Ice and Fire series is the next season of Game of Thrones, but thank the Seven the latest installment of HBO’s phenomenal epic drama is here. Based on Martin’s epic fantasy series, Game of Thrones premiered its fifth season last Sunday to audiences anxious to return to the world of Westeros, anxious for more shocking betrayals.
While the first episode was enough to placate the taste buds for more Game of Thrones, the start of the new season was a rather slow one. Rather than beginning with great action, we are given a sort of a status update with the majority of the main players since we last saw them. While some may have wished for more battles and bloodshed, it was interesting to see how the characters are dealing with the aftermath of season four and the choices they must now face.
And what better place to start than in the mud? A girl who dreams of becoming the queen ventures far into the depths of the mucky swampland to find a witch who has the power to foresee one’s future. We soon discover this girl to be none other than Cersei Lannister, who was given the privilege of receiving the very first flashback in the show. The witch feeds off of droplets of Cersei’s blood, and gives her a cryptic prophecy regarding Robert Baratheon’s infidelity, her own infidelity with her brother Jaime, and her future as queen when one “more younger and more beautiful” will usurp Cersei. Does the witch speak of Sansa Stark? Or of Margaery Tyrell? Or could it be the witch foretold the rise of power for a dragon queen in the east?
The prophecy cements the overall theme for this television series. Once you have the power you spent a lifetime to achieve, what do you do when someone comes to claim it for themselves? And that is what it’s all leading to isn’t it? For the moment when all the separate storylines ultimately come together, and we’re starting to see the beginnings of it in Game of Thrones, as showrunners David Benioff and D.B. Weiss have started navigating their own Westeros mythos.
Due to the inevitable fate of outpacing Martin’s final two installments, Benioff and Weiss have begun heading into uncharted territory due to the extended wait for the original source material. Fans do not have to fret too much for Martin has bestowed the show runners with the knowledge of the ultimate end game for the series. With a blueprint in hand, that vision is slowly starting its course as Jon Snow meets Melisandre, and Tyrion ventures to Meereen with Varys in order to meet Daenerys Targeryen.
It will be some time before all of the storylines converge because the main characters still must deal with what lies right before them. For Daenerys it is the stirrings of rebellion in Meereen, for Jon Snow it is defending the Wall, and for Tyrion it is simply trying to survive in the aftermath of murdering his father, Tywin Lannister. And with a sister like Cersei hell-bent on finding you and bringing you to justice, who could blame him?
The premiere may not have been terribly exciting for most people, but it was still solid in shaping the narrative of the season, and features some of the best CGI yet in the series as far as the dragons are concerned. It’s good to have a moment of calm before the storm in a show for the characters to simply catch their breath. What little bloodshed there was, was still effective in proving that a post-Joffrey Baratheon Westeros is not going to be full of sunshine and lemon cakes. Now that we know who’s alive, who’s on top and who’s on the lam, we can look forward to the rising action of the episodes to follow.