Game of Thrones, season 5 episode 4, TV review: Sansa is in danger of becoming another footnote in Westeros' bloody history

Sons of the Harpy: Assorted men counsel assorted women on how best to lead

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The Independent Culture

Rhaegar Targaryen sounds like he was a jolly old cove. One minute the Prince of Dragonstone was busking for the plebs like a common-or-garden minstrel, the next he was pulling a classic Trojan manoeuvre and chuffing off with Robert Baratheon’s betrothed, starting a war in the process. It’s one way to win hearts and minds.

The late brother of Queen Daenerys (Emilia Clarke) wafted through this episode as we witnessed assorted men trying to counsel assorted women on how best to lead. Daenerys Targaryen, Cersei Lannister (Lena Headey) and Sansa Stark (Sophie Turner) all have some big decisions to make.

Personally I prefer Cersei’s decisive brutality to Daenerys’ dithering. Oh sure, Khaleesi is trying to do the right thing and all that, but there’s civil war erupting in the streets of Slaver’s Bay and the people need a lot more than just their freedom. ‘Without traditions, former masters and former slaves have nothing in common’ warned Hizdahr zo Loraq (Joel Fry). Daenerys could do worse than follow his suggestion of reopening the fighting pits. Bread and circuses, Dany.


To give Cersei her credit, she might be deeply unpleasant but she doesn’t muck about. While decimating the Small Council (it’s now extremely small), she gave her new High Septon, the pious High Sparrow (Jonathan Pryce), power to reform the Faith Militant in order to root out undesirable elements in King’s Landing. However, this is no more than a move against the Tyrell family (heirs to the crisp dynasty) for having the audacity to keep repeatedly marrying her sons. Something tells me that Mace Tyrell (Roger Ashton-Griffiths) might not make it to Braavos.

Attempting to win back the favour of these two powerful women are Jorah Mormont and Jaime Lannister (Nicolaj Coster-Waldau), both of whom are going to some lengths to do so. It’s a great relief to have Iain Glen back in the mix as the pigheadedly decent Ser Jorah and his sailing holiday with Tyrion (Peter Dinklage) could prove very entertaining indeed. Though it would have to go some to beat Jaime and Bronn’s buddy trip to Dorne, which is already a lot of fun, all quips and cocked eyebrows.

Elsewhere, Jon Snow (Kit Harrington) was doing some admin (it’s not all glamour being Lord Commander) and batting off the attentions of The Red Woman. ‘I want to show you what you’re fighting for’ said Melisandre (Carice van Houten), before getting into the nip. However, Jon’s made of tougher stuff than Gendry and he resisted temptation, causing Melisandre to tell him that ‘you know nothing, Jon Snow’, and raising the exciting prospect that she watches the show too.

And finally, the award for the creepiest Game of Thrones kiss ever goes to Sansa and Petyr ‘definitely Irish now’ Baelish (Aidan Gillen, who is definitely Irish). I had assumed that Littlefinger (what oh what is this about?) was only grooming young Sansa for power but that kiss was definitely more than paternal. Sansa needs to tread carefully to avoid joining Rhaegar as a footnote in Westeros’ bloody history.