Raise the banners, get your weapons of mass destruction ready and swear fealty to whichever King looks nicer in his battle armour - it's time for another edition of Raven On, the world's 134,567th best Game of Thrones recap series!
Before we start, I thought I'd share this fantastic map of Westeros that I found online. Really helps me as a touchstone whenever I start getting confused about where cities, castles, waterways and other landmarks are in relation to each other.
Now, as per usual, reading beyond this point entails discovering MASSIVE SPOILERS.
Well, I had suspicions last week that Renly might be in for it, but I thought at least he might get a chance to try to prove himself in battle. Turns out he was offed faster than you can say "Watch out! It's Kate Bush's smoky demon shadow assassin spawn!" Kind of a shame, I liked Renly's growing smarminess. Oh well, at least we've still got his pretend-queen Margaery, and I daresay she'll be good for some revenge, and scheming, and awesome outfits.
For me, Episode 5 was all about elements.
It opened with wind - the element carried the assassin to Renly, before carrying Stannis' ships across to land. Renly's troops also changed with that wind - his body wasn't even cold before they'd jumped ship to support Stannis. But it could be whispers on that very wind that come back to threaten Stannis: his smuggler sailor servant Davos just couldn't keep quiet about Kate Bush's supernatural power. He's now been tasked with taking a key bay in Stannis' bid to sack King's Landing, but for how long can he stay loyal to magic he disapproves of?
Meanwhile in the Red Keep itself, the element was all fire. Sadly, it was not Joffrey being set aflame, but Tyrion's discovery that the King and Cersei have been routing his authority as Hand by commissioning pyromancers to make pot after pot of wildfire, aka "fire made form".
"Bronn, I'm going to need a new pair of pants."
Across the Narrow Sea in Qarth, Danerys is the subject of burning desire from Zaro, the member of the Thirteen who vouched for her entry into the best city that ever was or will be. Ser Jorah Mormont was also given a spooky warning by a strange woman in a gold head mask that the Khaleesi needed his help now more than ever, because her dragons are power, aka "fire made flesh".
Water presented itself in the form of Theon Greyjoy, initially mocked by the crew of his new ship the Sea Bitch, but then exposed to a more fluid method of operation by a kindly first mate.
We also had Bran's disturbing dream of a flooded Winterfell, foreshadowing the death of many of his subjects, including faithful old retainer Ser Rodrik Cassel. The knight goes off to defend one of Winterfell's loyal fortresses, Torrhen's Square, from attack - but they don't know it's Greyjoy they're going up against, not the Lannisters.
Speaking of the lions, Tywin's language to his cousin at the Harrenhal strategy table is certainly earthy. But could Arya become an ally? She's exposed her northernness, but Tywin remains unaware she's a Stark. Someone else who's very interested in Arya is "The Man", who's a little bit rapey and more than a bit completely creepy. He offers to repay his debt to Arya for saving his life in a very handy way indeed.
The Night's Watch are also on the ground. Camped on a bluff well north of the Wall, Jon Snow couldn't warm to Sam's relentless positivity - he believes the First Men were scared when they holed up on "The Fist", facing threats beyond terror. So he does what any stubborn bastard would do - volunteers to join the guerilla mission against Mance Raydar. Typical heroics. Still, he wins the award for best brooding work of the series so far.
As deep as the winter snows.
Yay! (Best Moments)
Tyrion should just be given this award in perpetuity. Torturing Lancel for information in his litter; demanding his sister take the threat of Stannis seriously; and the interaction with Bronn and the pyromancer were all brilliant. But how good was realising the people don't like him? "Demon monkey?" he says forlornly.
I also adored the two Dothraki men arguing at Zaro's garden party about how they could steal the solid gold peacock statue. By the way, how can I get a dress like Danerys' turquoise and gold robe? I feel like cosplaying may be just around the corner...
Danerys has CUTE dragons! CUTE!
And finally, Gendry got his shirt off, right at the end of the episode.
Zing! Best Line
"Our order does not deal in pigshit!" says the defensive pyromancer to Bronn. Classic.
Bronn had a number of corkers as well this episode, telling Tyrion about storing the wildfire, "This is a shit idea..."
And Tyrion to Cersei: "Schemes and plots are the same thing".
Ewww, gross (a skin-crawl moment)
I thought this was going to be blue-lipped warlock guy at the Qarth garden party replicating himself, but then Creepy Rapey Guy turned up as a guard at Harrenhal. And, you know, he's uber-creepy.
Boo, sucks (a downside)
There was no Joffrey again this week, and I was a bit sad, because I would've like to see the repercussions of his encounter with the two prostitutes last week. I know they're constructed characters, and I don't know if that scene is in the book (chances are it probably isn't), but it seemed a bit of a cop-out to just have Tyrion declare that "the king is a lost cause". We already knew Joffrey was a complete shit, why show it so emphatically if you're not going to have some sort of comeuppance? Even if it was just Tyrion's reaction of horror, or maybe him slapping Joffrey about it bit. Go on, slap Joffrey about a bit.
Oh, and UPDATE!
Doy, I completely forgot to follow through with a question I raised last week - just how much does Tyrion know about his twin siblings? That was answered in part in this episode, with Tyrion using the accusation as part of a threat to Lancel. I suspect he knows it to be true, but it probably doesn't matter. It's still his family. While he certainly doesn't give a fig for Joffrey ("the king is a lost cause"), and probably doesn't care if Cersei cops it sweet, Tyrion does have affection for his brother Jaime, and for his innocent niece and nephew Myrcella and Tommen. Now my new question is - how much does Tywin know and/or believe?