WARNING: Spoiler Alert
What follows below is a delightfully inexpert recap in preparation for tonight’s episode 2. As a bonus, here’s a very good argument as to why you probably don’t want to invite Jon Snow to your dinner party, even if he is kinda cute in that lost puppy sort of way:
After keeping people tuned in for the long months between June and April with such light fare as True Detective, Going Clear and The Jinx (which absolutely no one saw or spent hours discussing), HBO’s much loved and totally family-friendly Game of Thrones returned last week for its fifth season. If you're playing catch up, here's a quick recap of where we left our favorite (or most despised) characters last season:
Sansa Stark, now a brunette, is hiding out in the Eyrie with her annoying cousin Robin and the unflappable and possibly Most Evil of All Lord Petyr Baelish, aka Little Finger. Baelish has recently killed Sansa’s Aunt and Robin’s mother, Lysa Arryn, by pushing her out the Moon Door, just after he married her. While Sansa is adjusting to her new family situation, her younger sister, Arya, just let the Hound die a slow and painful death at the hands of Brienne of Tarth, who was accompanied by Podrick Payne. Arya dodged Brienne’s attempts to help bring her home, as Arya is now (rightly) suspicious of pretty much every human, and just purchased passage on a ship bound for Braavos, a trip made possible by the special coin she received from Jaqen H’ghar and the phrase “valar morghulis.”
Their half-brother, Jon Snow, is still up at the Wall, where he helped defend Westeros against the onslaught of Mance Rayder’s army of Wildlings, which included his special lady friend, Ygritte, who died in his arms after being shot by a child. Like you do. The Brothers of the Night’s Watch held the Wall until Stannis Baratheon and his army – thankfully without that bloodthirsty pyromaniac Melisandre - arrived to stamp out the invasion from the Free Men beyond the wall. Speaking of beyond the wall, Bran Stark, accompanied by Meera Reed and Hodor, has just made it to the Godswood of his visions, where they were saved by a Child of the Forest.
Meanwhile, in King’s Landing, Lord Varys, has helped Tyrion Lannister steal away in the dead of night in a crate on a ship bound for the Free Cities, as Tyrion has just strangled his ex-lover and shot his father, Tywin Lannister, with a crossbow while the man was on the john. (Let’s be honest, they both deserved it and it was high time Tyrion got to do some ass-kicking.)
Tyrion’s delightfully sinister sister, Cersei Lannister, is once again Queen Regent now that her oldest son Joffrey has been poisoned and her younger son, Tommen, has assumed the throne. She’s still sleeping with her twin brother, Jamie, in case you were at all concerned that had stopped. Tommen is now betrothed to Margery Tyrell, who was engaged to the long-dead Renly Baratheon and was very briefly married to King Joffrey. Girlfriend is like friggin’ Kiss of the Spiderwoman up in here. P.S., her grandmother, Lady Olenna, totes was the one who poisoned Joffrey to death, so there’s that.
Despite the numerous wounds inflicted upon The Mountain during his fight with the now very deceased Oberyn Martell, and to the great misfortune for sane and normal-size people everywhere, The Mountain appears to be Not Yet Dead thanks to the rebel Maester who seems to be rocking some Miracle Max nonsense on the most psychotic enforcer for the Lannisters.
Image courtesy of funnyjunk.com. [Billy Crystal does not appear in Game of Thrones… yet.”]
As for Theon Greyjoy, we last saw him fully embracing his role as the castrated servant to Ramsay Snow, now known as Reek. [Author’s note: forget what I said about Petyr Baelish being the most evil. Ramsay Snow runs away with that dubious distinction.] Ramsay seems to be plotting something extra sinister, as he has asked Reek to reassume his role as Theon Greyjoy, Prince of the Iron Isles, a farce that resulted in the slaughter of many Iron Born at Moat Cailin. And regardless of whatever horrible things Theon has done in teh past, we all feel more than a little sorry for him, given the fact that the poor man’s mind is now so folded inside out it’s like personality origami. We’ll have to see what becomes of the poor sod.
In Essos, the continent neighboring Westeros, we see Daenerys Targaryen resigning herself to rule Mereen as a legitimate Queen, and also locking away two of her beloved dragons after one of them flambéed a poor goatherd’s child. She’s marched her army of the Unsullied all over that godforsaken continent with the help of Ser Jorah Mormont and Ser Barriston Selmy and it took at least three conquests for her to understand you can’t stomp into a place and remove all the structures of power and law and leave it thinking everything will be copacetic. The learning curve is steep with this one… and the most murderous of her dragons is still on the loose out there somewhere, which could pose a small issue for our beloved Khaleesi.