TV Review: Game of Thrones season five premiere – The Wars to Come

Following months of anticipation, cult TV series Game of Thrones is finally back on our screens.

The long-awaited fifth season will cover the stories and intrigue of A Feast for Crows and A Dance with Dragons, George RR Martin’s last two published A Song of Ice and Fire novels.

Episode one of the latest series, The Wars to Come, delivers a strong start to what will be an interesting season.

Directors David Benioff and Daniel Weiss skilfully manage to set up all of the forth-coming plotlines in a mere hour – whetting the appetite just enough for the next nine hours.

The first hour packs a decent punch; given the first episodes of Thrones seasons can be somewhat lacklustre.

There’s exposition by the bucket load, but enough action, read fire and blood, and exposed flesh to focus the mind.


Teases of Daenerys’ latest problems are dripped onto the screen; a slit throat and a golden mask offer a glimpse of what lies in store for the Mother of Dragons.

Speaking of dragons, two of her ‘children’ are still heart-wrenchingly entombed in the catacombs below Mehreen, while the vicious child-killing Drogon is conspicuously absent.

Drogon has featured heavily in the trailers for Season Five and their marketing campaigns (#catchdrogon) so he’s sure to return in a blaze of gore at any time.

The Lannister plot picks up seemingly days after Tywin Lannister’s untimely and undignified demise at the hands of his son Tyrion ‘The Imp’.

Thanks to Varys’ help, namely a crate, Tyrion finds himself in sunny, wine-filled Pentos across The Narrow Sea out of reach of his sister’s wrath.

His sister Cersei has bigger problems though.

The death of Tywin has created a power vacuum with no obvious successor.

Cersei and brother Jaime’s fragile power rests on Cersei keeping control of their son King Tommen.

Unfortunately for Cersei, who was revealed in the first flashback of the series to have a dark prophecy hanging over her, Margaery Tyrell is continuing to pursue the little brother (Tommen) of her murdered husband (prize-dick Joffrey).

Jon Snow is still pouting around The Wall, squinting suspiciously at everyone he encounters.

In this season it is the boring Baratheon: Stannis-The-One-True-King-Of-Westeros and his religious fanatic, demon baby mother Melisandre.

Jon attempts to reconcile the Wildlings from North of the Wall and Stannis in the hopes of restoring Winterfell to, well, who knows who would take over Winterfell at this stage even if they did take it back from the Boltons.

Uniting the two armies would also save the Wildlings by allowing them to hide behind The Wall from White Walkers.

The only thing standing in the way of this beautiful compromise is ‘King Beyond The Wall’ Mance Rayder. So no issues there then.

There’s a quick nod to Sansa Stark who is still hanging around with Little Finger and to Brienne of Tarth and not-quite-a-Squire Podrick Payne.

Notably absent is Arya Stark who was last seen heading to Braavos aboard a merchant ship.

Valar Morghulis.

The Wars to Come airs tonight on Sky Atlantic at 9pm. 

Image courtesy of Sky Atlantic via YouTube, with thanks.

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