Game of Thrones season five: here be dragons Photograph: HBO
Don’t keep reading unless you’ve seen through the fourth season of Game of Thrones or don’t care or want to complain about spoilers. Said spoilers follow of what’s happened on the TV show so far …
A eunuch and a dwarf go on a roadtrip to reinvent themselves. A recent ingenue plots revenge with her duplicitous mentor. An old knight gets stuck in a gladiator pit and a young king gets stuck on the Iron Throne. Game of Thrones is almost back – and the first trailer for its fifth season suggests a lot of new world to take in.
Vengeance and the first schemes of a new era seem to be the themes of the new season. Cersei Lannister – now bereaved of both her vicious son and her malicious father – and her brother-lover Jaime do not appear on the best of terms, as she opines: “There is nothing more hateful than failing to protect the one you love.”
The object of her wrath – “that monster’s out there somewhere drawing breath” – is Tyrion, the same as ever, but he’s far out of her grasp as the season begins.
More intriguing is Sansa Stark, who just helped cover up her aunt’s murder and believes her entire beloved family dead. Littlefinger tells her “there’s no justice in this world, only as we make it,” and offers her a new, simple raison d’etre: “Avenge them.”
All we get of Sansa’s little sister, who’s already hellbent on revenge and apparently just landed in the distant city of Braavos, is a shot of her lovingly caressing her sword, Needle.
Tyrion, meanwhile, tumbles out of a crate and commiserates with his new exile-in-crime, Varys, who makes it clear that they’re off to see the queen of the east and help Daenerys Targaryen with her invasion of Westeros to retake the throne. No mystery about this plotline:
Varys: “The Seven Kingdoms needs a ruler loved by millions, with a powerful army and the right family name.”
Game of Thrones season five preview: six things we need to know
Varys: “Who said anything about him?”
But it’s long overdue for the two best conspirators in the game to finally join up and head off to help the hapless queen, who’s got dragons and an army but a recent shortfall of advisers. Where her most recently banished counsel went, we have no idea, except to see he’s fighting in some kind of gladiatorial pit.
The weird new fun continues: mysterious fellows with golden masks – new enemies from the east or another Free City, perhaps – swarm into cities; somebody creepily drips blood from a finger; Cersei opens a box with a sort of bejeweled snake in it; wildlings board a boat and hit the waves; some lady whips a barrel; tropical locales abound; the Queen of Thorns enlightens someone off screen: “They’ll never even find what’s left of you.”
Evidently it will not all be new, either; familiar – maybe too familiar – tropes will help us through these adventures outside Westeros. Jon Snow, as always, shouts, “With me!” to a bunch of guys with swords, who then charge. A wildling with an axe glares. Dany makes a wildly overstated pronouncement about her own power: “I’m not going to stop the wheel. I’m going to break the wheel.”
For fans who watch not for the characters but for the production, fear not: HBO makes abundantly clear in this trailer that it will meet quotas labelled in some corporate memo as “gratuitously violent death” and “the limits of scantily clad”. Even Game of Thrones’ own special quotas, of dragons and action, will be fulfilled: we see one breathe fire, briefly, and then see a golden harpy tumble in CGI glory off the top of a pyramid, boding a new epoch under Dany’s rule of the east. It may get grim in Essos and Westeros, but it should be fun for us.
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