Written by Christian James
“Game of Thrones” has been one of HBO’s most popular shows from the first season. With an incredible story that is based on the books by George R.R. Martin, viewers were pulled in by the incredible character arcs and became obsessed with the dangers they were put through. “Game of Thrones” is widely known to be one of the few shows that isn’t afraid to kill off any character throughout the series, meaning that no one is safe. Season five has so far proven that the show’s creators, David Benioff and D.B. Weiss, who developed the show for television, have not shied away from this concept. Especially with the amount of changes they have made between the books and the show.
Season five began with a flashback by Cersi Lannister, played by Lena Headey, who visited a psychic witch who tells her that in the future she will be queen, but will eventually be replaced by a younger woman. This opening explains the troubles Cersi deals with throughout the course of the first five episodes of the fifth season. Her son, Tommen, played by Dean-Charles Chapman was given the iron thrown due to the death to his eldest brother and previous king. He then married the beautiful Margaery Tyrell, played by Natalie Dormer, who became queen. Although this sort of situation was obvious to Cersi, she’s shown that she isn’t ready to give up the power she possessed as queen and she’ll even bully Tommen into allowing her to keep that power. Tommen, being at such a young age has shown that even though he wears the gold crown, he’s not ready to be a king. He can’t stand up to his mom and is hesitant when it comes to making demands. He’s the complete opposite of his deceased older brother, Joffrey, in which he is kind-hearted and against violence. While this makes a character many may root for, it wouldn’t be surprising to see a part of his older brother come out of him and eventually make him into a monster.
Thankfully, no one in the Stark family has been killed off recently. Although, that doesn’t mean they’re out of danger. Sansa Stark, played by Sophie Turner, has been brought back to Winterfell where she will marry the son of Roose Bolton, played by Michael McElhatton, who was behind the murder of her mother, brother and unborn nephew. Sansa’s return to Winterfell is definitely a high point for the fifth season in that it’s interesting to once again be brought back to a place that viewers can remember from the beginning seasons. Such as in the fifth episode “Kill The Boy” when she stands in front of the tower that one of her brothers fell from in the very first episode of the show. Without any dialog, Sansa and the viewers were both able to think back to that exact moment. An incredibly impressive scene for the show to pull off.
Arya Stark, played by Maisie Williams, has been somewhat of a lone-wolf ever since the death of her companion last season. She traveled to the city of Braavos where she could find an old acquaintance named Jaqen, played by Tom Wlaschiham, at the Black and White House. After arriving, she confronted an old man who denied her entrance. Arya waited outside for days on end where she recited the list of people she wanted to kill over and over. Until finally, the old man came to her and his face morphed into the face of Jaqen, but he told her he was not Jaqen, but instead he was “no one” and tells her that in order to stay there, she needs to become “no one.” As she has done for the past four-and-a-half seasons, Arya has proven her bravery and loyalty to her own beliefs. In the fourth episode of this season, “Sons of Harpy,” Jaqen told her that in order to become a “no one” she would have to rid herself of everything that once made her, her, including her clothes and belongings she carried. It was nice to see that even with the dedication she gave to the process, she did not throw away the sword her father gave her in the first season.
The bastard son of the Stark Family, Jon Snow, played by Kit Harington, still stands as a watchman of the wall, where he protects the realm of men from those beyond the wall. After the battle of Castle Black, where he and the other watchmen fought off the wildlings the watchers believed Jon was fit to serve as the new lord commander, placing him in charge of leading them. After which he was approached by Stannis Baratheon, played by Stephen Dillane, who is on his way to Kings Landing to take the Iron Throne from Tommen. On his way, Stannis plans to also take Winterfell from the Bolton family. Offering Jon the position of Lord of Winterfell if he marches into battle with him, as well as legalizing his last name to Stark, officially placing him into the Stark family. Jon contemplates the idea, but ultimately tells Stannis that he swore an oath, and his place is at the wall. Though it’s the noble and typical decision by Jon, it would be great to see him be named a Stark, as well as take Winterfell and even be reunited with Sansa. There are so many reasons to hope he somehow ends up marching with Stannis, but at the same time Jon’s character is not the type to show disloyalty.
While the previous season was largely dedicated to the character build of Jon, the first part of season five has been given to Daenerys Targaryen, played by Emilia Clarke. As the mother of dragons, she has always been a fair leader, but sticks to her own beliefs. When she took the city of Meereen, she freed all of the slaves which stopped a lot of traditions throughout the city, including the fighting pits that placed two slaves in a pit to fight to the death. The city begged for the pits to be reopened to honor tradition and even allow free men to fight instead of slaves. But Daenerys, being the non-violent but fearless leader she is, refused to allow it. Shortly after, men wearing golden masks began to kill random civilians and soldiers on the city’s street. After countless efforts of Daenerys attempting to stop them, she learned that there are moments that she cannot be the nonviolent leader she wishes to be. In “Kill The Boy” Daenerys showed a lot of growth, by firstly threatening the lives of the men behind the killings and then finally allowed the fighting pits to reopen. She has always been a great leader, but she learned that sometimes she needs to give the people what they want in order to stay in power, and that helped her become an even better leader that could one day rule the seven kingdoms.
“Game of Thrones” always tends to create a fantastic build-up for the end of each season. Benioff and Weiss have shown that they’re willing to beat their characters to death, which allows for a great amount of suspense throughout the show. They’ve began to separate themselves from the books, completely changing Sansa’s storyline and also killing off a character who is still very much alive in the books. Viewers who have read them won’t even know what’s about to happen. The seasons always seem too short for such a complex show, but as always, I’m sure the second half of the season will live up to the show’s potential.