Game of Thrones – Episode 5.4 “Sons of the Harpy”


Synopsis: In the early morning light, Jorah steals a boat and loads, Tyrion, his captive on board. On another boat, Jaime and Bronn sail towards Dorne. Jaime sees the city of Tarth as they pass by and, one assumes, thinks of Brienne. Bronn questions why Jaime is the one sneaking into Dorne to rescue Myrcella. He successfully guesses that it was Jaime that set Tyrion free. He says if Jaime ever sees him again, tell him hey, but Jaime says he murdered their father and he will kill Tyrion should he ever see him again. At a small council meeting, Mace Tyrell, Master of Coin, notes that the throne is becoming increasingly more in debt to the Iron Bank. He offers to loan the money to the kingdom, but Cersei has a better idea and sends him to Braavos to renegotiate terms. She insists Meryn Trant accompanies him, which I’m sure isn’t shady in the least. Afterwards, Cersei meets with the High Sparrow, to formulate a plan to deal with a number of uprisings throughout the land. Cersei suggests they resurrect the Faith Militant, an army that works in service of the church and not the crown. She appoints the High Sparrow as leader and suggest she even know of a sinner they may be interested in. Later, men in cloaks disrupt the town, beating up sinners peddling wine, and in the brothel. Olyvar watches as his patrons are dragged out but when knives are pulled on a couple homosexuals, he hightails it out of there. Lancel, who has been branded by the Faith on his forehead and empowered, goes with his men as they take Loras. Lancel tells him he’s administering justice. Margaery busts into Tommen’s lunch and demands to know why her brother has been taken. Tommen is ignorant of the whole process, and Margaery knows that it was his mother that did this. Tommen asks his mother to free Loras, but she reminds him that she is not the one that is holding him. Tommen rides to see the High Sparrow, but he is not allowed to see them. The Faith brandish their weapons, but thinking better of bloodshed in the street, Tommen retreats. He tells his new wife, but she is disappointed in his ineffectiveness, and leaves to speak with her family.

Selyse and Stannis watch the men of the Night’s Watch as they train. Selyse apologizes for not giving Stannis a son, only a weak daughter, nodding over to Shireen. Melisandre interrupts them. She dismisses Selyse, and tells Stannis that she should be riding with him to Winterfell. He agrees. Sam is in Jon Snow’s chambers, having him sign missives to send out in search of new recruits. Melisandre interrupts here as well, asking Jon to join Stannis when they ride to Winterfell because he knows it so well. Jon says he has to remain impartial and not get involved in the wars of the realm. Melisandre sweetens the deal by opening her robe and trying to undress him, but he pushes her away. As she exits, she taunts him by throwing out a haunting “you know nothing, Jon Snow.” Shireen visits Stannis, she’s bored and decided to take this opportunity to question his love for her. He tells her the story of a doll she received (from Dorne, which may or may not mean anything), which is how she contracted greyscale, and how he was told to send her away but he searched for a cure because she was his daughter. They hug. Awww. In the crypts of Winterfell, Sansa lights a candle for her Aunt Lyanna. Baelish finds her, and tells her about when he saw Lyanna in person. He talks of a tournament where Rhaegar faced Barristan Selmy and when Rhaegar won, he gave flowers to Lyanna, despite her being promised to Robert Baratheon and he being wed to Elia Tyrell. Baelish wonders how many men died because Rhaegar chose her. Sansa adds that he also kidnapped and raped her, but Littlefinger smirks, as if he knows that’s not quite how it went down. Baelish tells Sansa that Cersei has summoned him to King’s Landing and he will be leaving. He tells her that Stannis will be attacking Winterfell and when he defeats Bolton, Sansa will be left in charge. Failing that, Sansa will have to figure out how to control Ramsay, her betrothed. Baelish plants a creepy kiss on her before saying goodbye.


Bronn and Jaime arrive on Dorne and camp out for the night. In the morning, they make their way into town when they are approached by some soldiers. Bronn takes out three of them while Jaime fights off his first victim with his new sword fighting hand. Bronn takes credit for teaching him. Elsewhere in Dorne, Ellaria meets with three of Oberyn’s bastards-Obara, Tyene, and Nymeria-the infamous Sand Snakes. They discuss starting a war with the Lannisters to avenge Oberyn’s death. Obara tells the others that she has learned about Jaime arriving on Dorne. Jorah rides with Tyrion and the imp learns that Jorah plans to take him to Daenerys. Tyrion laughs. That’s where he was going anyway. Tyrion figures out Jorah’s identity, that he was working for Varys and that he is using Tyrion to get back in Dany’s good graces. He wishes him luck, but Jorah smacks him just the same. Selmy tells Dany about working for her brother. Hizdahr Zo Loraq sees Dany and asks her to reopen the fighting puts, and that embracing that tradition might bring peace between the former slaves and former masters. In the streets of Mereen, the Sons of the Harpy take out some of the Unsullied and a group of them, led by Grey Worm, are caught in an ambush. Grey Worm is stabbed, as he fights off several of rebels. Many other Unsullied are defeated. Selmy rescues Grey Worm and takes out a number of Harpy Sons but not before collapsing in his own blood.


Comments: The Sand Snakes were probably good on paper, but in the shorthand nature of the show, were probably never given their due. Their introduction is brief and they really aren’t given any differentiating characteristics other than their choice of weapon. The show has begun to veer away from the books more dramatically. Characters, like Selmy, die well before they have any issues in the text. It’s good to keep each having their own identity, but Selmy was a badass and will be missed. His death also further isolates Dany. She’s already lost Jorah, Daario isn’t around consistently, and now Selmy is gone. With all the other upheaval in Mereen, this is certainly going to make things more difficult for her. While the show doesn’t really spend much time detailing the past, the hints about Lyanna Stark and Rhaegar Targaryen’s relationship prove to be enticing. For one, thinking of the ways those two families interacted once before is interesting given how they haven’t connected on the show at all yet. The legend of Rhaegar as a violent king is also disputed by Selmy who tells Dany that her brother loved to sing and would do it for the common folk. History is written by the winners, and from Rhaegar’s death by Robert and his father’s death during Robert’s Rebellion, the Targaryen name may have succumbed to rumor.

Tyrion: I have to ask, how exactly were you serving your queen in a whorehouse half a world away?

Shireen: I know Mother didn’t want to bring me.
Stannis: Why do you say that?
Shireen: She told me, “I don’t want to bring you.”

Melisandre: You know nothing, Jon Snow.


Foreshadowing: Dany’s got an opening for a new right-hand man as Jorah makes his way to Mereen with Tyrion. Cersei’s maneuverings with the Faith Militant are going to come back to bite her. Baelish wildly mis-prognosticates Sansa’s future. Discussions about Rhaegar and Lyanna highlight that the truth may not be well known. 

Title: The rebellious group in Mereen that takes down Selmy. It is spoken by a local whore, although technically in Mereenese(?). 

Deaths: Selmy is taken down by an army of Sons of the Harpy, a sad end for a man that survived several wars and Joffrey.

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