Game of Thrones Season 5: Five Burning Questions for the Unsullied
Game of Thrones shook up its status quo like never before and stole Breaking Bad’s title of TV’s most eventful trip to the toilet in the process. It’s like someone banged the Risk board. Most of the pieces slid around, some fell off altogether, and almost all the players have new hands. The producers aren’t just playing musical armies.
Sending two of the five biggest characters across the Narrow Sea affects the story as much as any battles or weddings. Arya’s finally on her own, and Tyrion’s gone from a disgraced royal to a full-fledged fugitive. Add the movements of Team Stannis, the occupation of Team Dany, and the general dwindling of characters, and for the first time, I’m not sure what to expect from the coming season. As someone who hasn’t read the books and avoided as much news as possible, here’s what I’m most eager to find out:
Whoever was lucky enough to survive season four had a pretty good chance of scattering in the wind at the end. Arya is off to Braavos, home to Iron Banks and killer spas. Dany has exiled Jorah, finally completing the trade King’s Landing made by exiling Barristan Selmy, one of its best players. Quip machines like Lady Olenna and Bronn are apparently chilling at their respective homes, although both make welcome appearances in the season five trailer. But the biggest question mark is what happens to Tyrion now that he’s on the lam.
That Varys joins him is a shocker—he’s made himself the obvious scapegoat for Tyrion’s bloody escape—but it did hint at a possible destination: Magister Illyrio’s estate. After all, Illyrio’s two hobbies on the show to date are secretly communicating with Varys and harboring threats to King’s Landing. But apparently Varys has a better idea in mind, at least in terms of speeding things along. Tyrion and Varys are going to try to serve Dany. Whether she will accept them is another question entirely. She probably remembers the various assassination attempts these two Small Council rejects may have abetted, if not outright orchestrated.
But things move slowly in Essos, so I expect a long journey first, and short of some serious Braavosi shape-shifting, Tyrion isn’t likely to blend in, even in Essos. That said, disguise is all the rage these days, from Theon’s reprogramming as Reek to Sansa pretending to be a Baelish niece in the Vale. Perhaps Tyrion or at least Varys will try out some costumes from Varys’ theatre days. Recognizing people—like the commoner who reports Jaime in Brienne’s custody, Jorah knowing Barristan Selmy, or Brienne putting two and two together about Arya—is a decisive move in the game. As Littlefinger says, knowledge is power. Tyrion’s only off the map until the right person spots him.
How will the balance of power shift in King’s Landing?
There’s a big whooshing sound in the Small Council chamber. In quick succession the Council lost Lord Tywin, the Hand of the King; Varys, the Master of Whisperers; and Oberyn, the Master of Sex probably. The Master of Coin is wanted for regicide, among other things. Littlefinger’s off in the Vale. Jaime’s off to Dorne. That leaves Cersei, Pycelle, Mace Tyrell, and Ser Pounce to advise King Tommen. Which really just leaves Cersei. And last we saw Cersei with her brother, they were caught in the throes of passion over Cersei’s commitment to family values, that is, her intent to come out as a brother-lover. Which I assume would have some consequences for Tommen, the illegitimate king. Either someone is going to swoop in and start running things, or King’s Landing, and by extension the entire continent, is in for a hell of a reign.
With her father dead, there’s nobody to nag Cersei into marrying Loras Tyrell, but there’s also nobody pushing her to a desperate measure like marrying her brother. If she’s smart, she might sleep on the decision to come out in favor of incest. If that became public knowledge, Tommen would be exposed as an illegitimate king, making his marriage the second in what I hope is a long series of failed power couples for Margaery. Cersei’s other interest is dominating Tommen’s future therapy sessions. Assuming the twist at the upcoming royal wedding is that it all goes well, that should be enough to keep the Tyrells in line even without Cersei marrying Loras, but Cersei is likely to have her hands full with Margaery. Cersei might not be as canny, but she has a hell of a lot more weight to throw around, and the Queen Regent is a lot more likely to play dirty than the Queen.
The other question is what happens now with the Martells? Lord Tywin had just offered Dorne a seat on the council, impressing upon Oberyn how important Dorne will be when it comes time to resist the Targaryen dragons. Then a few weeks later Oberyn was killed receiving a full confession that the Lannister attack mountain raped Oberyn’s sister and killed her and her children, who would have been legitimate heirs to the Targaryen dynasty. Would anyone from Dorne even consider taking Oberyn’s seat? And does Cersei realize how much she needs Dorne? King’s Landing has a tween on the throne and a short-sighted narcissist pulling the strings. The capital has never looked more vulnerable. Which brings me to:
The map has completely changed by the end of season four. Stannis and an army of pirates are at the Wall with the Night’s Watch, all of them battle-tested. The surviving wildlings have a reasonable request: Let them south of the Wall before The Others get them! But Stannis has a reasonable justification for keeping them out: They have a history of pillaging. The Boltons have apparently dealt with most of the Greyjoy rebellion, finally solidifying their hold on the North. Littlefinger and Sansa are now pulling strings at The Vale. King’s Landing is in disarray. And Dorne has all the reason in the world to distrust the Lannisters in power, if not openly rebel.
So there are two theaters here. In the North, Stannis ought to have designs on sweeping southward, while the Boltons mop up the remnants of the Greyjoys. The trailer pits Stannis and the Night’s Watch against the wildlings, though. Is this another Dany-style occupation, another dreary lesson in adventurism? Meanwhile in the South, Dorne ought to be on offense against King’s Landing and The Reach. Jaime seems to be playing ambassador, maybe to arrange for Myrcella’s safety. But the Dornish do not look pleased. Might Jaime find himself a hostage once again?
The Vale isn’t at war, but it is under new management. Robin’s stepdad moved in, bumped off his mom, and evicted him. I could see anything happening to Robin: assassination, marrying Sansa, training to become a decent lord after all. Ditto Littlefinger, who could negotiate with anyone on the map or return to King’s Landing and take over the Small Council. But Sansa has a mission, at least according to the trailer. Littlefinger encourages her to get her revenge on the people that tore her family apart. I can’t even think straight about how that would play out. If it were Arya, I’d be ready for Lord Walder to wake up with a needle at his throat. But Sansa’s weapon is manipulation, and her biggest target has to be Cersei. Is it even possible for Sansa to show her face outside of The Vale in light of her flight from Joffrey’s wedding reception? Does she still have allies in the Tyrells? Is Littlefinger on her list? Suddenly the wild speculation about Sansa sitting on the throne at the end doesn’t sound so far-fetched.
This one’s easy: Yes. There was a time when I held out hope Dany might actually interact with the rest of the main characters at some point. She crossed a continent in a season and a half, I thought. Surely she’d be in the mix by season five. Alas, Dany has to learn to hold onto power before she can take it in King’s Landing. Time will tell if it’s convincing that any outfit can defeat the Unsullied on its own turf, but apparently Meereen is about to rebel against her rule. So what then? Is Dany executed? Exiled? Does Tyrion or Jorah show up in the nick of time, release the dragons, and ride off into the sunset with her? I can’t imagine Dany getting killed any time soon, but no matter what happens, it doesn’t look like she’s leaving Slaver’s Bay any time soon. She still has Daario and his Blackwater army to fall back on at Yunkai. If she can just last long enough for Tyrion and Varys to get there, she might have a shot at getting to King’s Landing finally. But after four seasons, I’ll believe Dany goes to Westeros when I see it.
How will the magic creep even further into the story?
By the time Dany’s dragon eggs hatched, I was prepared for magic to work its way back into the story. But after witnessing the birth of a well-trained shadow, watching a man shape-shift, and seeing skeletons climb out of the ground to hurl fire-bombs, I’m this close to believing everything crazy Old Nan said is true. Maybe the universe is all in the eye of a giant.
The biggest outstanding question has to do with the third leech. So far Melisandre’s prophecy has come true: Robb and Joffrey died in short succession. What’s taking Balon so long? (And would his death make Yara Queen of the Iron Islands?) There’s also the matter of The Mountain. Mad scientist Qyburn has a plan to counteract the poison in The Mountain’s veins, but, he says, “The process may change him…somewhat.” What the hell? Are we talking about a Frankenstein monster? An
Island of Dr. Moreau situation? Perhaps a Honey, I Blew Up the Kid?
And what does it mean that magic is awakening? Dany and Bran have non-transferable superpowers that seem genetic, both tracing back to the old civilizations that used to roam the continents. But in general, the showy magic we’ve seen tends to favor the zealots, usually those “serving” the Lord of Light, which sounds kind of like making a deal with the Devil.
Every now and then some character or another will chide us for caring about who sits on the Iron Throne when the real enemy lives beyond the Wall. Is that what all this comes down to, The Lord of Light and The Seven and The Drowned God and The Children and the ancient races and their heirs and all their servants? Suddenly all those boring history scenes don’t seem so boring after all.
Next: HBO President of Programming wants Game of Thrones to run past 7 seasons
Game of Thrones Season 5: Invitation to the Set (Video) 7 Comments
Yesterday, HBO released a Meet the Sand Snakes video, through the official Game of Thrones YouTube channel. Today we have an all new Game of Thrones Season 5 video, with "Invitation to …
Have you already read all the books and/or don\'t care about spoilers? You can reveal all the spoilers in the comments with the click of a link below.
A very good read! A lot of great points, some of which the Sullied are still hoping to find out. Should be a fun season for everyone!
This post is credited to “WIC Staff”. I’d like to know who this unsullied is, even if it’s just be pseudonym like Oz of Thrones.
I’m an unsullied, but I spend enough time on the internet to get spoiled on lots of stuff. I guess that makes me somewhat sullied.
I think that Jon Snow will get stabbed by the night’s watch. Tyrion & Dany will join up, and she will ride Drogon.
I don’t believe for a minute that this was written by an Unsullied. The conclusions remind me of Sullied speculation online and the analysis at http://gameofthronesandnorsemythology.blogspot.com/2013/05/ragnarok-song-of-ice-fire.html.
And Stannis will get caught in a snowstorm. Brienne finds undead cat.and theres a bunch of iron islander bullshit.that bout covers it
In the show they are called White Walkers, not The Others.
Dany storylines are good on odd-numbered seasons. So prepare to have your ass fried.
That’s a dead giveaway that the writer isn’t Unsullied. Caught red-handed.
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Winter Is Coming is your source of news, rumors, speculation, and discussion for HBO’s Game of Thrones, the television adaptation of George R. R. Martin’s A Song of Ice and Fire series.