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Ten Thoughts on Game of Thrones: Sons of the Harpy

Somewhat random thoughts on Season 5 Episode 4 of Game of Thrones…

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1) This week we are treated to not one but two great fight scenes – we will begin with the second one, in which Greyworm and the Unsullied are caught in an ambush by dozens of masked men from the Sons of the Harpy. The fighting looked very well done, and I enjoyed seeing the little touches, such as having the walls being stained with blood. In comes Barristan Selmy, who shows why he had such a strong reputation during the series as he hacks and slashes through a number of men. Their numbers prove to be too much for him, but Greyworm gets in the last blow.

2) Ser Barristan’s death will come as a surprise to readers of the books, where apparently he is still around, but this just serves to be another example of how the showrunners are willing to make changes from the source material. Ian McElhinney, who plays Barristan Selmy, was interviewed by Entertainment Weekly and comments about how his character ended:

He had to be seen fighting. He’s been talked about as the greatest knight that ever was, so he’s got to fight. So it’s great that he does. There’s a lovely contrast with that scene that we did today (on the balcony with Daenerys) and what happens right after. There was a nice scene last week too—where he’s advising her. They were very personal scenes, and it’s nice to have something like that. It’s a memory you’ll take with you.

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3) Some people have commented that they believe Greyworm is also dead, but I think he will survive his injuries, in part because it would be too much to have two semi-important characters to get killed off, but also because his storyline with Missandei has not yet played out.

4)  The other major fight scene involves Jaime and Bronn arriving in Dorne, and on their first day they have to go up against four Dornish guards. It offers our first glimpse about what the Kingslayer can do with only one hand, which apparently is not much. While Bronn is able to kill three of the guards, Jaime is beaten backwards and is almost defeated, but a bit of good luck saves him in the end. It might also be a sign that Jaime will find that his metal hand isn’t as useless as he keeps bemoaning.

5) We are finally introduced to Oberon’s three daughters – the Sand Snakes. After hearing about all the hype surrounding them, I was little less than impressed with this scene:

For me the three ladies came across as just one-dimensional warrior-types, but I might be rushing to judgment just based on one scene.

6) A few scenes in this episode have rekindled fan speculation about whether or not Jon Snow is really the bastard son of Ned Stark. Slate Magazine offers this video:

Meanwhile, you can also read Matthew Yglesias’ article on Vox, which goes more indepth on the subject.

7) Back in King’s Landing we see how Cersei unleashes the High Sparrow and his Sparrows on the people, including on Margaery’s brother Ser Loras Tyrell, who is thrown into a prison inside the Sept because of his homosexuality. When King Tommen, who promised to get Loras freed, goes to the Sept, he is stopped by a group of Sparrows and then meekly backs down. Everyone has been saying that Tommen would not make a good king, and this scene offers good evidence to support that.

8) George R.R. Martin offers some details about who the High Sparrow and his Sparrows are:

9) Perhaps the best scene for me was the talk Stannis gave to his daughter Shireen, after she asks ““Are you ashamed of me, father?”

He responds by explaining how she got the disease known as Greyscale and how all his advisors told Stannis to send his daughter away. Instead, he says “I called in every maester on this side of the world. Every healer, every apothecary. They stopped the disease and saved your life. Because you did not belong across the world with the bloody stonemen. You were the Princess Shireen of House Baratheon. And you are my daughter.”

10) Other great lines from Sons of Harpy: “I’ve had an exciting life. I want my death to be boring.” ~ Bronn; and “You know nothing, Jon Snow” ~ Melisandre

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