Game Of Thrones Season 5 Premiere Q&A: Cersei’s Flashback and The Sons of the Harpy Explained

Game Of Thrones 501 The Wars To Come

 Game Of Thrones Season 5, Episode 1 “The Wars To Come”

After a very long wait, Game Of Thrones is back with a brand new season of murderous scheming, prophecies unfolding and dragons raging.  This post is open for full spoiler discussions on the premiere. To get the conversation going, we’ll breakdown several key plot points as well give a brief overview of the episode. Share your own thoughts on the premiere and feel free to ask any questions in the comments below. 

For the Question & Answer segment, we’ll give our thoughts on the meaning behind Cersei’s flashback, explain the Sons of The Harpy, and share our predication on which characters who are still alive in the books might be killed off this season. If you don’t want to know who’s alive in the books you can skip over the last question in Q&A.

• What Is The Meaning Behind Cersei’s Flashback?

game-thrones-cersei-flashback

Up until now, the show runners have followed their rule of thumb: No flashbacks. Of all the characters to get the first ever flashback on the show, Cersei is an interesting choice. With Tywin out of the picture and Tommen too young to act as King, Cersei is left to rule King’s Landing. This will be a season long arc of Cersei running the small council and maneuvering against Margaery. Cersei’s childhood flashback sets up her motivation as to why she’ll be making certain choices as the season moves forward.

Adapted from a chapter in Feast of Crows, the three questions that young Cersei asks are basically the same as in the book. Question #1: “I’ve been promised to the prince, when will we marry?“. The prince she refers to is Rhaegar Targaryen, the eldest brother of Daenerys and Viserys. Rhaegar ended up marrying Princess Elia Martell, Oberyn’s sister.

The answer to Question #2 if she’ll be queen is a little mysterious: “Aye yes, … until there comes another, younger and more beautiful, to cast you down and take all that you hold dear.” The female character on the show at this point who fits this description and could supplant Cersei as queen is Margaery Tyrell.  Or possibly Daenerys down the line. More importantly though, the prophecy of her being cast down is undoubtedly putting her on edge and she’s going to do whatever it takes to hold on to her fading power since she will no longer be queen regent once Margaery marries Tommen.  

Question #3 is pretty straight forward. The king’s 20 children refer to Robert’s bastard offspring and her 3 children are with Jamie as the father. Maggy the witch alludes to Cersei outliving each of her children.

If you would like to avoid comparisons to Cersei’s prophecy scene in the book, you might want to skip this paragraph. One of the two biggest differences from the book is that young Cersei’s friend also had her fortune told: that she would die that very night. It is later revealed that young Cersei pushed her friend down into a well. The other difference is a prophecy on how Cersei will die and by whom.

• Who Are The Sons Of The Harpy?

Game Of Thrones Season 5 Episode 1

One of the season premiere’s most visually stunning scene is the toppling of the Harpy statue above the great pyramid. Dany ordered the statue to be taken down as it’s an old symbol of the slave culture in that part of the world. Dany takes residence near the top of the pyramid while the pits down below is where she’s keeping two of her dragons. The symbol of the harpy is a women’s face and torso with wings and a scorpion tail. The harpy’s face is used as the mask for The Sons Of The Harpy.

The Sons Of The Harpy are likely comprised of former slave masters and people working for Meereense noblemen. They are the new threat to Dany’s rule by opposing her occupation of Meereen. They use brutal methods to kill and mutilate the bodies of anyone who is a part of Dany’s forces or allies. Their leader is a mysterious figure going by the name “The Harpy”.  As a side effect of the Harpy’s actions, Dany may have to compromise or rethink the way she rules a foreign city and a culture which has long-standing traditions like the fighting pits.

• Who Do You Predict Could Die This Season?

Game of Thrones mance rayder and jon snow

Maynce Rayder is a man of strong convictions. Having him die by because he refused to give up his values is a suitable end for his character. If there’s a tragedy it’s that Ciarian Hinds was great as Rayder but wasn’t used as much as he could have been.

Speaking of deaths, George R.R. Martin revealed that the show runners will be killing off characters this season who are still alive in the books. Since the show is veering from the books more and more, both readers and television viewers are in the same boat in that it’s unpredictable as to who might die.

Brienne is a beloved character but on this show that won’t necessarily stop the producers from killing her off. It really depends on what story lines beyond this season the show has in store for Brienne. The adventures of Pod and Brienne are one of the stronger pairings; providing both comedic relief and some great action sequences. It’s possible that Brienne’s mission to find and protect Sansa Stark (Arya already turned her down) will evolve or tie into a bigger end game story line. For these reasons, it’ll be surprising to lose Brienne or Pod at this point.

A more likely possibility is Ser Barristan Selmy. With Tyrion seemingly on a trajectory that will see him as Dany’s newest advisor, Selmy is more expendable than ever. For Cersei and Margaery’s scheming to carry weight there should be a major consequence or something that forces them to put all their cards on the table. Killing off Ser Loras Tyrell as a sacrificial pawn could help push that story line forward even if his character might have a different fate in the books.

 Brief Overview

“The Wars To Come” is a solid opener to the season. One the main focuses is the aftermath of Tywin’s death, in particular setting up the current political and religious landscape in his absence that will play an important factor this season. The premiere also does a good job at dangling potentially great story lines in front us including Stannis’ promise to take back Winterfell and put Bolton’s head on a pike. Please make that happen!

If there’s a fault to previous seasons is that the story line at the Wall felt like it was stalling at times. However the Wall’s storyline is shaping up to be the most interesting in recent years. Having Melisandre and company at the Wall makes for intriguing possibilities and provides more characters for Jon to interact with. There’s also the upcoming issue of electing a new Lord Commander of the Wall. Many major characters were featured except for Arya. If you want a sneak preview of her story line next episode take a look at our Game Of Thrones Season 5 Preview.

Which story lines and characters are you most interested in this season? Who do you think will die next? What are your thoughts on the season premiere?

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