"Game of Thrones" is finally back (even though we needed a serious refresher course before we watched), and it was a doozy of an opener Sunday!
At Castle Black, politics are in play as the men look to choose the new Lord Commander; even after being stuck in a box at sea for months, Tyrion still has some of the best one-liners; Dany's still all about "justice" (almost to her detriment); and Jon is stuck between two kings.
In order of appearance in the Season 5 opening "The Wars to Come," we break down the most important and intriguing parts of the premiere.
Editors' note: If you haven't seen the episode and/or care about remaining spoiler-free throughout the season, DO NOT continue reading! This recap is meant for those who do not mind a little speculation with their analysis.
1. The Bolton sigil at Winterfell!
In the opener, we get our first glimpse of the Boltons' sigil, the flayed man, gracing Winterfell -- so scary and foreboding. (Also, the absence of Braavos from this opener probably should've been our first clue to No. 7.)
2. Maggy the Frog
In a flashback, we see young Cersei having her future told by a witch. This witch tells her part of what she wants to hear, that she'll marry a king, but also warns that the three children she will have won't survive. "Gold shall be their crowns and gold their shrouds." In the books there's much more to Maggy's prophecy, so perhaps this isn't the last flashback with her we'll see.
3. Unlikely duos: The Spider & the Imp; a knight and her squire
"Safely" in Pentos, Varys and Tyrion dance around the repercussions of Tywin's death and Tyrion's fate. "Are you a lord if you kill your father?" Great question, kid. We'll get back to you. More importantly (and once Tyrion was finished drinking/puking up all of Illyrio's wine), we learned just why the sneaky Spider brought the Imp across the sea.
We also have Brienne and Pod: two dueling personalities traveling the country. Sound familiar? These two have serious potential to star in our new favorite buddy comedy. That is, depending on who (or what) they encounter on their journey. In the books, we'd expect them to encounter a certain Lady Stoneheart, but with the serious lack of zombies in the show, perhaps the duo's storyline will encounter a different dark-haired beauty.
4. Robin Arryn 'fighting'
Lord Royce has taken the sickly boy in, and promises Littlefinger and Sansa he will be safe there. Only time will tell if Littlefinger even cares about Robin, or if he's just glad to be rid of the little monster. In any case, Royce is perfectly offensive when he insults Robin's "ability."
5. Drogon, Viserion & Rhaegal!
The dragons have names! And my, my how they've grown in the off-season. After Daario Naharis reminds Dany that "a dragon queen with no dragons is not a queen," she decides to check on her babies -- and even she is a little afraid of the two. If the names sound familiar, it's because they should. They're named after the three most important men in her life: Khal Drogo, her brother Viserys and her older brother Rhaegar (whom she never met).
6. The death of Mance Rayder
And the mercy of Jon Snow. So many questions here. First and foremost, was Melisandre hitting on Jon? She does have a certain...attraction to bastards.
Also, has Jon just created a powerful enemy in Stannis by not allowing the Lord of Light to take Mance by fire? Finally, in the books, we have some Melisandre trickery and Mance doesn't exactly burn, so, was that truly Mance burning?
7. No Arya!?!
We were all so excited to see Arya in her most awesome storyline yet, and to reward us, we get nothing. On a more hopeful note, perhaps this means we'll be seeing more time devoted to her...growth and transformation? Please?
Other burning questions (in no particular order)
Who is this Mossador counseling Danerys?
In the books, he's an Unsullied and Missandei's brother. On the show, we last saw him stand up and lead the slaves in revolt.
How can Jon just train Ollie like the kid didn't just kill Jon's one true love?!?
The short answer is Jon's a great guy. As he fights with Ollie, you see Jon actually care for the kid, despite the death of Ygritte. Jon's somehow able to put the good of the Night's Watch ahead of his personal feelings -- for now.
Lancel! What happened to your hair? (And what's up with that deep V?)
The Lannister cousin (son of Ser Kevan Lannister) is now a "Sparrow," and his veiled threats (warnings?) to Cersei set us up for her greatest storyline of the series. "I found peace in the light of the Seven," he tells the Queen Regent, "they watch over all of us; ready to dole out mercy...or justice. Their world is at hand." And in typical fashion, Cersei laughs him off.
Where are Littlefinger and Sansa headed?
We see the two in a carriage passing our new favorite buddy travelers, and she says they're headed West -- to where? Petyr Baelish says to "a land so far from here, even Cersei Lannister can't get her hands on you." Where do you think they're headed? Maybe we'll actually see more than one Stark in the same place at the same time this season.