Deadly prophecies, unruly dragons, death in the North, and drunken Dink. What more could you possibly want out of a "Game of Thrones" season premiere?
Last night's season five opener, "The Wars to Come," was packed with everything we love to hate and hate to love about the wicked world of Ice and Fire — everything, except for one key thing.
Here's what we wanted to see last night, and some other burning questions we have about the episode:
Where in the seven hells is Arya?HBO
The final scene of "Thrones" season four centered on the young wolf's departure from Westeros, setting out for greener pastures — or freer pastures, at least, as she set sail for Braavos. But not a peep from the Arya storyline here in the season premiere. What gives?
"Game of Thrones" is a huge show, with a huge cast and a hugely complicated story to manage; there's no way to adequately serve every single character and plot line in a single episode, let alone the season premiere. Still, Arya's a fan-favorite, and the person we were left hanging on in season four. Her absence in the first hour of season five was very much felt, and the only thing holding the premiere back from a perfect grade.
Did "Game of Thrones" spoil itself?HBO
Taking a page out of the "Lost" playbook, "Thrones" began its season premiere with its first-ever flashback. In the past, young Cersei Lannister and a friend visited a future-seeing witch, and learned an ominous prophecy: She will one day be queen, but only for a time, until she's succeeded by someone "younger and more beautiful." Furthermore, she'll have three children (but not with the king), with golden hair… and golden shrouds.
A lot of what the witch foresaw has already come true. Cersei absolutely became queen, absolutely mothered three golden-haired children (while her husband fathered 20 of his own), one of whom is no longer with us. In other words, this woman's prophecies look like they're coming true, at least in part. So should we assume the rest of it is inevitable — that daughter Myrcella and son Tommen are doomed to meet the fates of their late brother? That a younger queen will emerge, perhaps Margaery? Speaking of Marg…
Is Margaery plotting Cersei's demise?HBO
The new queen-in-the-making seemingly has plans for Cersei. When brother Loras needles her about having to continue coexisting with Cersei in King's Landing, Margaery ominously offers that this is "perhaps" the case — or, "perhaps," Cersei won't be an obstacle in the way for too long. Read into that loaded word however you will, but for my money, it sounds like Margaery has deadly designs where Cersei Lannister is concerned.
Are Dany's dragons the scariest teenagers ever?HBO
Pretty much, yeah. Also the worst teens ever. Think about it: Drogon ran ... er, FLEW away from home, while the remaining two beasts are snapping and breathing fire at their mother. Not that Dany doesn't deserve some ire, if not fire; she did lock the dragons away in a big underground cavern, after all. That's one way to ground your kids.
What's Littlefinger's plan?HBO
He owns the Vale, he owns Harrenhal… what's he after next? Petyr Baelish tells Sansa Stark that they're about to go somewhere that not even Cersei Lannister can reach, which sounds like a very far away place indeed. But how far? Somewhere here in Westeros, or will he turn toward Essos, becoming the latest character on a collision course with Daenerys Targaryen?
Should we all be thanking Jon Snow right now?HBO
Not just for his amazing elevator scene with Melisandre, of course. Jon also spared us from witnessing one of the show's most gut-wrenching deaths of all time. No one wanted to see Mance Rayder burn alive, least of all Mance. Kudos to Jon for taking the initiative to put an arrow through the man's heart.
But how will the rest of the Night's Watch respond to Jon's impulsive decision? And how will Stannis Baratheon feel about being upstaged at this public execution? As much as we're patting Jon on the back this morning, don't expect all of his confederates to do the same.
(Except for Melisandre. She seems very likely to pat Jon on the back, and potentially elsewhere.)
Was that the Red Wedding of vomit scenes?HBO
Yes, yes it was. Thanks for that, Tyrion. But even bigger thanks to Varys, not just for keeping Tyrion alive, but for inviting the Imp along to meet Daenerys in Meereen. If Varys is the man responsible for finally introducing Daenerys to some characters from the main "Thrones" story, then he will truly be the biggest hero in the entire show.