Game of Thrones Season 5 Episode 4 Recap

Slightly boring episode this week since there isn’t a strong theme uniting the different narrative threads. We do get to catch up with the agenda down in Dorne—chiefly that Ellaria Sand and the super awesome kickass Sand Snakes are going to f*ck some Lannister sh*t up—but mostly it’s just table-setting for future episodes. We’re almost at the halfway point so it’s time to advance some plot lines.

To that end, Jaime and Bronn arrive in Dorne and manage to enter the region undetected after murdering a complement of Dornish guards. Jaime is figuring out how to fight one-handed, and they manage a funny little bit about the gold hand being useful for blocking attacks, at least until the sword gets stuck in it. And Bronn is reliably rude and amusing in general, but we don’t learn anything new in their scenes, except that the Dornish have beautiful Andalusian horses—plus two for the horse porn (wait, that sounds bad). Similarly, the only interesting development in Winterfell is that Littlefinger leaves and he has VASTLY underestimated Ramsay Bolton. Poor, poor Sansa. Also, Littlefinger is totally like R+L=J but Sansa’s too dumb to figure it out.

The Night’s Watch is supposed to be interesting but Jon Snow is a total stick in the mud. He’s still in love with Ygritte so he won’t bone Melisandre. That’s probably a good call because she has been known to spawn murderous shadow monsters/stick leeches all over people and so is a questionable lay, but dude, c’mon. Develop a personality beyond “loyal”. The most interesting thing Jon does is get a little twitchy about signing a letter to Roose Bolton. But the Night’s Watch needs men and food, so they need Roose’s cooperation, which means he just has to swallow that Red Wedding pill and take his medicine. There’s so much latent rage in the Stark children. I can’t wait until it explodes all over House Bolton.

Also kinds of boring are Tyrion and Jorah Mormont on a boat (not with flippy-floppies on, sadly). Their one scene establishes only that they know of each other. Yay. Likewise, the King’s Landing stuff amounts to more of Cersei and Margaery’s battle of wills. Tommen is too weak to manage either of them, let alone both of them, and for the moment Cersei has the upper hand by virtue of her alliance with the High Sparrow. They empower a fighting branch of bird-monks who imprison Loras Tyrell, which pisses off Margaery and leaves Tommen looking utterly befuddled. Poor kid, he really doesn’t see the bigger picture and is certainly doomed.

Checking in on Stannis Baratheon reveals more about Shireen’s backstory with the greyscale, and shows that Stannis isn’t quite the cold fish he seems—he really loves his daughter. I’m terrified for poor Shireen, though. She’s so sweet, I feel like Melisandre is going to end up cooking her over a fire or something. Or her own mother will push her down the stairs—Selyse Baratheon is f*cked in the head.

Down in Dorne, meanwhile, we finally meet the Sand Snakes, the daughters of Oberyn Martell. I gather there are a bunch of them in the books, but we only meet three: Obara, Nym, and Tyene. They agree to follow Ellaria’s plan for enacting revenge on Cersei, and they are also aware of Jaime’s presence in Dorne. Nothing actually happens in this scene beyond a revenge commitment ceremony, but it’s nice to see some new faces and have a new dynamic on the show. We’re five seasons into this business—we need some new people to root for because everyone else likeable is pretty much dead.

Speaking of which, RIP Barristan Selmy. I liked him! This is why I don’t get attached—all the fun ones die. Barristan was the right mix of smart, capable, principled, and cunning, and he was Daenerys’s best advisor. Without him, she’s kind of up Sh*t’s Creek, especially since the Sons of the Harpy are now in the “open rebellion” phase of their revolt. She could really use his martial experience right now. But Barristan is killed, and it looks like Grey Worm is, at the very least, grievously injured, in a fight against the Harpies. This is another blow to Daenerys’s reign—she’s not going to be able to hold onto Meereen, is she? Don’t tell me, book readers! But the foreshadowing is not in her favor.

Next Week: Drogon’s back!