Game of Thrones Season 5, Episode 4: Barristan Selmy’s Happy, Fun, Cake-carving Hour!

The dreaded curse of reminiscing about dead Targaryens strikes again.

The Good

  • I adore Shireen. The scene with her and Stannis is almost worth the inevitable pain I’m sure is going to follow.
  • We got more stories about Rhaegar and Lyanna. It is very interesting to see how different Barristan views Rhaegar compared to Sansa’s view of him. Did Barristan’s affection for the man make him blind to his faults, or are the Northerners’ version of events wrong? Non-book readers should definitely pay attention to these backstories as well as the stories about greyscale that seem to be in vogue.
  • Sansa visiting the crypts in Winterfell and paying her respects to the dead. It almost makes me glad that there finally is a Stark back at Winterfell.
  • Jonathan Pryce nails being a religious leader who appears to be so humble and righteous that you almost forget he is a monster that leads violent fanatics.
  • Jon Snow further proving he’s a capable leader, even if Sam had to talk some pragmatism into him. They make a great team.

The Bad

  • The Sparrows’ violence is absolutely disgusting and actually worse than in the books. Also, arming them was an action Cersei didn’t take so flippantly.
  • Baelish leaving Sansa with the Boltons makes very little sense. He knows he can’t trust them; is he hoping for honor amongst creeps?
  • The Sand Snakes. The scene reads like something I could have filmed with my friends at the beach: low quality. It seemed completely out of place, with the actresses struggling to make the best of bad dialogue. They torture the sea captain who came to them and then kill him for no discernible reason other than to unsubtly declare the Sand Snakes dangerous and unstable. It bears repeating that killing Myrcella would not only be against Oberyn’s wishes, but also would result in a war they don’t know they can win. If they want revenge against royalty, a war (where the people most likely to die are solders and civilians) is not the best choice.
  • Dorne being further reduced to the land of sex and violence, and sexy violence, and violent sex.
  • The verbal attacks against Tommen Precious-Cinnamon-Roll Baratheon are a good indication that arming the faith is not going to turn out well for anybody.
  • I keep wanting someone to smack Hizdahr with the truth: his spiel about traditions healing centuries of mistrust and resentment within the city would hold a lot more clout if he weren’t talking about masters and slaves.

The Sloppy

  • Jorah the Explorer has grown meaner since we last saw him and apparently hits poor fishermen over the head instead of just giving them money he throws at them anyway.
  • Why exactly is it plausible for tits to suddenly make all men weak and incapable of acting rationally? Jon denying Melisandre should have been shown as the logical course of action, not something he had to struggle with. I mean would anyone trust their genitals around her? Honestly?
  • I understand Bronn not wanting to dig four graves, but him naively suggesting they leave the bodies out in the open goes against everything we know about his instinct for survival and general shrewdness.
  • Obara’s story about her spear is something her family would have definitely known about and she’s not old enough to repeat the same story over and over again during family gatherings. (Also they wrote out Oberyn slapping Obara’s mother which was why she was crying. That makes for quite a different story.)
  • The Unsullied and Barristan Freaking Selmy were brought to their knees by the Sons of the Harpy. If it had been suggested that some of them were ex-fighters from the Pits trying to send their own message and getting paid to do it, it would be more plausible and would give Hizdahr’s argument more meat.

This post is brought to you with help from the lovely Nikki who saved us all from the typos.