Created by: David Benioff, D.B. Weiss
Cast: Sean Bean, Mark Addy, Lena Heady, Emilia Clarke, Peter Dinklage, Nikolaj Coster-Waldau, Michelle Fairley, Iain Glen, Harry Lloyd, Jason Momoa, Kit Harrington, Aiden Gillen, Alfie Allen, Kate Dickie
Synopsis: Stark is still the King’s Hand despite his attempted resignation. In the king’s absence, Stark makes a few heavy-handed decisions that may jeopardise the Baratheon-Lannister alliance. Tyrion makes a bid for freedom whilst still protesting his innocence. Viserys becomes increasingly unhinged at Khal Drogo’s reluctance to obey him, whilst Daenerys solidifies her position as the latter’s Khaleesi.
As with The Wolf and the Lion, this is an episode with many more dramatic elements interspersed with some thrilling action sequences, and with an episode cliffhanger moment that is nothing if not memorable. Unlike the last episode however, the Targaryen storyline is once again examined, and as such it makes me feel their absence from the last episode was even more telling. Not that their story takes a majority of the screen time this week, but Emilia Clarke once again puts in an absolutely stellar performance as the now strong Khaleesi of the Dothraki, and she remains a brilliant character to follow.
She seems this episode to take the final steps on her path of self discovery and empowerment. She embraces some of the more brutal elements of Dothraki culture, seen eating the raw heart of a horse as part of a Dothraki rite (pictured above, yes a little stomach churning). Her success increases the adoration of her new people, and if anything she shares power with Khal Drogoas opposed to being his trophy. The final step is taken as well to show once and for all that she does indeed wield more power than her brother, and this power goes beyond having a people who adore her.
Meanwhile, Tyrion is dealing with his current travails, imprisoned by Lady Arryn (Dickie) in a “Sky cell” (a cell open to a vast drop on one side), yet managing to bribe his way out of there and into a confession. In true Tyrion style he manages to admit to every brazen act in his past, yet deny involvement in the assassination of Lord Arryn, Stark’s predecessor as King’s Hand, and of the attempted assassination of Bran. He opts for a trial by combat, and is lucky to have one friend to act as champion amongst his foes. Speaking of Bran, he now has the saddle that was designed by Tyrion, and his first ride out he meets with trouble. He is eventually saved by the ward of Winterfell, Theon Greyjoy (Allen), whom has an increasingly important role in the series, both friend to the Stark’s yet also aware that they once defeated his family leading to his current subservient position.
Stark’s storyline still seems to have the greatest import, however. As listed above, his actions in Baratheon’s absence may well incite war with the Lannister, Baratheo’s own kin by marriage. This is a move clearly not in accordance with the King’s wishes, given he remains in debt to his father-in-law. Stark also may have discovered why Arryn had been so interested in Baratheon’s bastards, all black-haired children like their father, and as records of ancesttry show, a mark of all Baratheon ancestors. My suspiscions as to the pure Lannister blood in Joffrey deepen with this news.
This episode takes the season past the halfway point, and things are shaping up very nicely building towards the season finale. This is fast becoming in my opinion one of the more superior television series of recent years.
4 stars out of 5.
Game of Thrones Episode 5 preview [youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=x4_6Nqgzskw]