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Game of Thrones Season 5 Episode 4 Recap: 'Sons of the Harpy'

by Photo of Jason Hernandez

First blood has been shed. A lot of it.

What happened Sunday night will stick with us forever. In a cataclysmic moment of betrayal and heartbreak, the fourth season came to a roaring close as Jon Snow secretly made his way across the Narrow Sea and murdered Daenarys in her sleep, wearing the still living head of Stannis Baratheon around his neck. Game of Thrones directors, David Benioff and D.B. Weiss, could not be contacted for further word of the future of the franchise now that they have deviated so far from the original vision.

... None of this happened, but I'm pretty sure some book readers watching 'Sons of the Harpy' are enraged just the same by one of the more prominent changes to book lore so far this season.


Game of Thrones Season 5 Episode 4 Recap: 'Sons of the Harpy'

After a glimpse on Tyrion's whereabouts, the episode skips to Jamie and Bronn arriving in Dorne by trade ship. Talking over the risks of their mission, Bronn proves to be skillfully insightful as he questions Jamie's "unclehood." He also points out that Jamie is probably performing this task without an army to make up for freeing Tyrion from his execution. As Bronn thinks fondly of the little guy, Jamie exclaims that for killing their father, he plans to exact revenge. The brothers appear to no longer be on good terms.

Soon after their arrival, the duo find themselves surrounded by Dornish guards made wary of their presence. Easily dispatching the threat - well, Bronn has an easy time of it while Jamie gets saved by his instincts and lucky gold hand placement - Bronn is left with burial duty as the handicapped Jamie watches.

At the same time, Ellaria rides to an encampment where Oberyn's daughters, the Sand Snakes, await her arrival. They have captured the captain of the trade ship Jamie and Bronn arrived on, the person who supplied the information to the guards. With news that their uncle would not agree to their revenge plan the eldest, Obara, questions how they will fight against the Lannisters. Ellaria explains that they do not need an army to start a war as they have Cersei's daughter in their city. However, they must move quickly with the now known presence of Jamie Lannister. Checking to see that she has their compliance, the other daughters Nymeria and Tyene quickly agree to the plot with Obara soon to follow.

King's Landing could be in better shape. At a meeting with the council, it is learned that the kingdom is in even greater debt to the Iron Bank of Braavos. Cersei uses this chance to send Master of Coin Tyrell away from the city as she plans to deal out her own style of justice against the lord's children. Under Cersei's order, the Faith Militant are restored to power. As a militarized faction, their first action is to rid the streets of "sinners"; their biggest targets seem to be homosexual men. Naturally, they corner Loras Tyrell and imprison him.

Unhappy with this turn of events, Margeary demands young Tommen to use his authority as king to demand that Cersei free her brother. However when confronted, Cersei simply redirects Tommen to the High Sparrow, wiping her hands of any responsibility for the actions committed. Naive and gullible, Tommen heads to the High Sparrow only to be stopped by the Faith Militant before even entering the Great Sept. As cries of "abomination" and "bastard" ring behind Tommen's ears, he backs down from the fight and returns to the castle. Margeary is clearly displeased, realizing that Tommen is not yet ready to be the powerhouse she requires him to be. She will have to take matters into her own hands.

Surveying the Night's Watch as they train, Stannis and his wife Lady Selyse analyze Jon Snow's capabilities as Lord Commander (there's also a question of his bastard status thrown). Dismayed, Selyse despairs about her inability to produce a son for Stannis; worse yet, she could only give birth to "weakness and deformity." Melisandre makes her entrance at this moment, consoling Selyse that the Lord of Light does not recognize these traits. She then questions whether Stannis plans to leave her as they prepare to march on Winterfell. Responding that he needs her, Melisandre rebuffs his puppy dog pout as she notes that he "only needs faith." Turning the question of need back on her, Melisandre quickly replies "to serve my lord" while dreamily staring at Jon's raven hair.

Cut to Jon signing papers commissioning men to the Wall. Going through the motions, Jon comes across a contract with Roose Bolton and promptly refuses to sign it. However, trustworthy Sam is there to remind him of his role as Lord Commander, which Jon reluctantly adheres to. Just as they finish up, Melisandre enters the chamber to try and convince Jon one last time to join Stannis. Unable to sway his opinion, she must think of another way to get him to see that this fight is worth breaking the Black for. 

So she gets naked and lets him grab her breasts. After the initial haze and dumbfounded look on his face, Jon snaps back to reality and states he cannot fight for her, not only because of the Night's Watch, but also because he once loved another. Not taking no for an answer, Melisandre presses on in an attempt to make a demon shadow baby but is swatted away once again. Defeated for now, Melisandre takes her leave with a final comment that Jon has had ringing in his ears for several seasons now: "You know nothing, Jon Snow."

In his own chambers, Stannis is interrupted from his thoughts by his daughter Shireen. She confesses that her mother told her she did not want to bring Shireen to the Wall and then questions if Stannis feels similarly. Reminiscing about how Shireen gained her illness and what he did to save her life, he proclaims that Shireen is his daughter and the two share a heartfelt moment.

Making her way down to the family crypt to give her respects to Aunt Lyanna, Sansa is surprised by Littlefinger's approach. Littlefinger shares the story of how the wars began with Rhaegar Targaryen's wooing of Lyanna during a competition at Harrenhal. Sansa then points out how Rhaegar captured and abused her, which only gets a silent matter-of-factly look out of Petyr before moving on to a different subject. 

Littlefinger lets Sansa know of his departure to King's Landing. This does not go over well with Sansa, who does not wish to remain alone with the Boltons. Baelish reassures her with observations that no matter what, Sansa will become future Wardeness of the North, whether that be through Stannis' victory or Ramsay's heart. With a final kiss, Littlefinger sets off to play the game.

We return to Ser Jorah Mormont and Tyrion as they sail to Meereen. Learning Jorah's motivations, Tyrion begins to laugh at the irony of his capture. More so, he begins to ridicule Jorah for attempting to win back Dany's favor by gifting her Tyrion. Tired of his mouth, Jorah knocks Tyrion unconscious for the rest of the trip.

Dany is watching over Meereen as Ser Barristan comes to tell her tales of how he and Rhaegar and would go down to the streets and sing along with the other minstrels. Putting a smile on Dany's face with the thought of a kinder Rhaegar than she was told of before, Barristan heads down to the streets once again as Dany meets with Hizdahr zo Loraq over the reopening of the pits. As Hizdahr speaks of the pits being the only thing that keeps balance in the city, the Sons of the Harpy decide to perform an ambush on Dany's Unsullied forces. As one group is ambushed in a town square, another led by Grey Worm arrives to be fooled into another ambush by the same prostitute that laid down with an Unsullied in a previous episode. 

Surrounded and outnumbered, most of the Unsullied are mercilessly killed. Hearing the bells ringing, Ser Barristan rushes to their aide. Grey Worm manages to hold his own for a time but is quickly left as the only man standing. Just as he is about to be struck down, Ser Barristan arrives. In an epic display of valor, Ser Barristan and Grey Worm fight off the remaining Sons of the Harpy. Unfortunately they still remain at a disadvantage and both Barristan and Grey Worm collapse to the ground as the episode ends.


There is a lot of information to take in with this episode, but what stands out the most is Ser Barristan's death (confirmed by next week's preview). Yet to be dead in the books, for many Barristan is probably considered one of the first influential characters to fall under Martin's warning of unpredictable deaths. His death, the Faith Militant's revival and the Sand Snakes' introduction have certainly cemented the tone for the rest of the season. This will be the bloodiest season yet. Yes, even more than the Red Wedding. Furthermore, with Lord Martell's departure to Braavos, one of Arya's targets will soon be a stone's throw away. The next few events will be exciting to witness.

But what's really captivating about this episode is the resurgence of Lyanna Stark and Rhaegar Targaryen's story. At the least, showrunners David and D.B. seem to be teasing the R+L = J fan theory with the juxtaposition of Melisandre's pursuit of Jon, Littlefinger's avoidance of Lyanna's fate, and Barristan's reminiscence of singing with Rhaegar. How this will all play out in the end is still a mystery, but it's fun to think about. If you have the time, you should definitely look up the different theories around the web. 

Comments (4)
  1. Shaun Steven's profile

    Shaun Steven

    May 7th, 2015 @9:20

    I thought this episode was decent. The series really picks back up around episode 3 and 4 though. I can't wait for episode 5 to come out! I can watch online Game of Thrones via PureVPN http://www.purevpn.com/blog/game-of-thrones-season-5-streaming/

  2. Jamesvang86 's profile


    June 1st, 2015 @8:05

    Game of Thrones Season 5 is the best season of GOT. It breaks all it's previous records of popularity. If you live outside USA and want to watch all it's episodes in HD without getting any notice from HBO then use this tutorial. http://www.vpnranks.com/watch-game-of-thrones-outside-us/

  3. Bruno Ben 's profile

    Bruno Ben

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  4. mark hascole's profile

    mark hascole

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