TV Show Review

TV Review: GAME OF THRONES: Season 5, Episode 4: Sons of the Harpy [HBO]

HBO’s Game of Thrones Sons of the Harpy TV Show Review. Game of Thrones: Season 5, Episode 4: Sons of the Harpy offered fans the most eventful episode of the season. Sons of the Harpy provided an installment filled with action-packed mayhem as well as slow introspective moments. The final result is a roller coaster ride of an episode, dishing out an hour’s worth of Game of Throne’s specialized blend of the mundane mixed with the spectacular.

How much fun is it to watch Bronn (Jerome Flynn) and Jaime (Nikolaj Coster-Waldau) share the screen? Not only do their scenes together create a deluge of roguish charm, Bronn’s razor sharp intellect also slices through Jamie’s bravado and self-denial. Bronn doesn’t bother feigning ignorance regarding the nature of Jaime’s relationship to Myrcella (Nell Tiger Free). What’s more interesting is the question Bronn posed after hearing Jamie’s desire to die in Cersei’s (Lena Headey) arms. Bronn asking Jaime if Cersei would want the same thing profoundly impacted him by changing his perspective on where he fits into Cersei’s plans. Jaime’s look of concern is telling, showing us that he is beginning to understand there can be no happy ending with Cersei, a notion thematically represented in the next shot when Jaime’s boot stomped out a flame before he resumed his journey.

Jaime and Bronn’s battle on the beach was as exciting, violent, and dirty as we would expect from the dastardly duo. Despite the threat of danger, Bronn had time to unleash a clever quip, which is all we ever really want from him. Watching a reeling Jaime desperately bracing himself with his metal hand and accidentally clinching his attacker’s death-blow was a great visual. Now that the sandsnakes are aware that Jaime has arrived in Dorne, a clash seems inevitable. I’m up for watching any type of fight involving Bronn, Jaime and their dirty tactics. There’s nothing I want to see more than Nikolaj and Jerome cast in Rush Hour 4 as Jaime and Bronn.

Sons of the Harpy continues to follow Cersei’s attempts to hold the shaky house of cards that is house Lannister together. There were no obstacles in Cersei’s way when she sent the obsequious Mace Tyrell (Roger Ashton-Griffiths) away in order to shrink the small council and gain more influence. Asking Mace Tyrell to do the bidding of the crown is like asking a Kardashian to star in a crummy reality show. Poor old Mace was already on a boat to Dorne before Cersei could pour her afternoon cup of Dornish wine.

Unfortunately for Cersei, her other power play didn’t go nearly as smooth. Asking the High Sparrow (Jonathan Pryce) to institute the Faith Militant was striking a deal with the devil. Cersei’s first “boss” move was having Loras (Finn Jones) placed in a cell in order to throw Margaery (Natalie Dormer) off her game. While she briefly disrupted her enemies, the move made it clear that the Faith Militant opposes her “bastard” son’s rule. Cersei’s short term thinking created another enemy she must defend herself from and may have also set the events of Tommen’s (Dean-Charles Chapman) downfall into motion.

In an episode full of great scenes, my favorite is the moment when Margaery stormed into Tommen’s chamber, demanding that her brother Loras be set free. Margaery, realizing how daft the child is, switches to her, “I’m just a silly woman voice” and gains Tommen’s favor. Tommen should have come down with a case of whiplash after the way the two women in his life played him like a yo-yo.

It was amusing to see the rugged Stannis (Stephen Dillane), off in the distance,  gazing approvingly at Jon Snow (Kit Harington) like a dad at a little league game. Unbeknownst to Stannis, he has competition for the object of his man-crush; Melisandre (Carice van Houten) wants a piece of the north’s most eligible bastard. So far, we don’t know why Melisandre tried to entice Jon with her body, but we can be certain that she was looking for something more than a knocking of the boots. Melisandre did mention, “power casts shadows”, leaving me to wonder if there may be a shadow demon with Jon Snow’s pretty face on it arriving in the near future.

Game of Thrones continues to portray Stannis as a man who sees the world in black and white, yet the last few episodes have shown him to be a man that compromises his ideals when necessary. First, Stannis asked Jon Snow to betray his oath to The Night’s Watch and now we see him tell his daughter Shireen (Kerry Ingram) that he didn’t send her away as a child at the risk of infecting everyone around them with greyscale. The scene was as heartfelt and earnest as anything that has ever happened on Game of Thrones and it was a shining moment for Stephen Dillane. However, I’m still trying to make sense of where it fits into the show. Is the scene telling us that the rigid beliefs of Stannis can be swayed or is it another example of the series shining a sympathetic light on a harsh character?

There was a telling moment between Littlefinger (Aiden Gillen) and Sansa (Sophie Turner) as they skulked amongst the tombs beneath Winterfell. As Littlefinger told Sansa the story about her aunt Lyanna and Rhaegar Targaryen, he framed the it like a fairytale, filled with charming knights and beautiful damsels. Sansa interupted the story, pointing out how brutal the outcome was; an act that seemed to catch Littlefinger off-gaurd. Sansa has had a front row seat to the game of thrones and her statement to Littlefinger is indicative of her maturation from the once impressionable young lass with Bieber crushes on all the young knights.

The  political unrest storyline in Meereen can’t come to an end soon enough. Someone needs to strap a hyper-drive onto Jorah’s (Iain Glenn) boat and get Tyrion (Peter Dinklage) to Meereen to sort things out STAT! As long as we had to be there, I’m glad that the show shifted focus onto the streets, giving viewers a front row seat to the political unrest as it came to a head. More than any other episode this season, Sons of the Harpy was filled with bloodshed, but none of the violence hit home until it affected members of Daenery’s (Emilia Ckarke) entourage. It was hard to watch Ser Barristan (Ian McElhinney) come to the aid of a cornered and bleeding out Grey Worm (Jacob Anderson), knowing that his act of bravery would likely be his downfall. By Game of Thrones standards, it has been a while since the series unleashed a shocking death upon viewers. The demise of Selmy or Grey Worm wouldn’t count as shocking, but it would shake the audience out of their comfort zones, reminding them of the very real stakes that each scene carries in Game of Thrones deadly world.

Sons of the Harpy gave viewers a  violent, thought-provoking and funny episode in a way that only Game of Thrones can. While the current season’s sense of forward momentum stalled a bit this week, Sons of the Harpy provided more than enough enjoyable character interactions and introspective moments to quench fan’s Game of Thrones thirst.

NOTES:

There were more than a few parallels to be drawn between the Sparrow rampage and Sons of the Harpy uprising.

Does everyone with a blade attend throat slitting class 101? It was the go to move of the episode.

How creepy was Littlefinger’s mouth kiss on Sansa?

Ser Barristan’s odd’s of dying went up 1000% after sharing that sweet story about Rhaegar with Daenerys.

Props to Sam for sliding the Roose Bolton letter to the bottom of the pile. With that move, Sam proved he would score high on an emotional intelligence test.

Bronn is a character that could play the game of thrones as well as anyone. Had he come from the right bloodline, I’m sure that he would be in play for the iron throne.

How chilling was Melisandre’s, “you know nothing Jon Snow” line?

Stannis was the MVP of the episode. The way that he brought Shireen to a single tear with his, “you are my daughter” speech is the best father-child tear-jerker moment since Field of Dreams.

Tyrion used his intellect to deduce who Jorah was, what he wanted and how the queen was likely to react. In response to Tyrion’s superior intellect, Jorah punched Tyrion in the face.

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About the author

Victor Stiff

Born and raised in Toronto, Victor has spent the past decade using his love and knowledge of the city to highlight and promote significant cultural events such as TIFF, The IIIFA awards, and the Anokhi Gala. He is an avid reader of Sci-fi and Horror and constantly sits through indie film marathons in rabid anticipation of the genre’s next great film auteurs. He also contributes sci-fi and fantasy movie reviews to www.zone-six.net

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