Episode 4: The Sons of the Harpy
In episode 4 of season 5 of Game of Thrones, we find our focus on King’s Landing. Cersei works hard to ensure a new and powerful ally in the Faith Militant, also called the Sparrows. Although the High Sparrow is clearly a dangerous man, Cersei cuts a deal with him: she will rearm the Faith Militant and allow them to act as they will throughout the capital if they imprison Ser Loras Tyrell. Cersei cannot see past her hatred of Margaery and the Tyrells to see what is good or bad for Westeros anymore. She also sends Ser Mace Tyrell on a fool’s errand to the Iron Bank of Braavos, removing more support for Margaery. Margaery convinces Tommen to approach the High Sparrow to demand Loras’s release. Tommen, a young and inexperienced ruler, is unable to secure Loras’s freedom. Margaery then flees to her grandmother, her only remaining family member at court. Meanwhile, the Faith Militant wreck the city, destroying peasants’ work, ransacking brothels, and maiming or killing supposed sinners.
In Dorne, Jaime and Bronn arrive onshore only to encounter patrol members. They are able to defeat the four men despite Jaime’s handicap. Bronn questions why Jaime is bothering to rescue Myrcella. Jaime claims that he is doing for the woman he loves, but Bronn points out that Cersei would not do the same for Jaime. We then meet the Sand Snakes for the first time. The Sand Snakes are Oberyn’s children. One of the three, Tyrene, is Ellaria’s child while the other two are born of different women. Ellaria convinces the Sand Snakes that they must take action to revenge Oberyn by kidnapping and threatening Myrcella to start a war between Dorne and Westeros. The women agree.
At Winterfell, Sansa visits her family’s crypt. Petyr comes across her in front of Lyanna’s grave. He then tells her the story of a tournament. Rheagar chose to crown Lyanna the Princess of the tournament, rather than his wife and mother of his children, Elia. Sansa responds that Rheagar’s kidnapping and raping of Lyanna was the spark to the previous war. For other speculation about this story, see this post. Petyr then reveals his plan to Sansa. She is to be married to Ramsay so that one day, with the help of Stannis, she may claim the role of Wardeness of the North. According to the capital, Sansa is the only surviving Stark. If she delivers the North to Stannis, he will free her from her marriage to the sadistic Ramsay and give her an important role in the world.
At the Wall, Jon settles into his role as Lord Commander. He and Samwell send out letters asking for men from the lords of the Kingdom, including Roose Bolton. After, Melisandre enters to convince Jon to go south with Stannis when the army marches. She shows him the ‘life’ he would be fighting for by trying to seduce him. Jon reminds her that he is still in love with Ygritte, despite her death. Melisandre goes to leave, but first says “You know nothing, Jon Snow.” Shireen approaches her father to ask if he is ashamed of her. Stannis then tells the story of her encounter with greyscale and his attempts to save her life, in an uncharacteristically emotional moment.
In the east, Jorah and Tyrion journey towards Daenerys. When Tyrion realizes that Jorah is not bringing him to Cersei, he attempts to convince Jorah they are on the same side. Jorah, however, is not impressed. In Meereen, Dany hears a story of her brother Rhaegar that places him in a different light. Ser Barristan tells her of Rhaegar’s habit of singing while in disguise in King’s Landing and tells her that Rhaegar loved singing, not killing. Daenerys is then approached by Hiazdahr zo Loraq once more to open the fighting pits. She refuses, and the Sons of Harpy take action. They begin killing Daenerys’s supporters across the city. Ser Barristan goes to aid Grey Worm and is killed by one of the Sons of the Harpy. Grey Worm collapses as well, either exhausted or mortally wounded too. Daenerys’s grasp of the city is faltering.