After months of waiting, Game of Thrones is back with a vengeance and we're presented with pretty much immediate continuation of what when on when the fourth season ended.
Tyrion is out of the box; Cersei is super pissed that Tyrion has made her an orphan; Jon Snow tries to reason with a king; Sansa Stark and Lord Petyr Baelish are on a road trip; and, Daenerys is losing control over her children.
The show begins with a flashback to a curious and persuasive little Cersei and her frightened friend. They venture into the woods to a notorious witch's home and Cersei demands to know her future. The 'boring' witch wants a taste of her blood and if we didn't know it was Cersei in the first place, when the witch gives her regal predictions, we realize with whom we're dealing.
Cersei is recalling this prophesy as she arrives to attend her father's funeral. She wants the citizens to wait until she gets a personal farewell and Cersei always gets what she wants. At least she tries. Her brother, Jaime, stands by Tywin's side and damn those painted stones over his eyes make him look creepy as hell. Cersei belittles her brother for standing guard and then for freeing Tyrion since he ultimately murdered him. She makes him ponder the consequences of his actions and then adds the coup de grâce that 'daddy loved you best and your stupidity caused his death.' Something like that.
Later at the funeral, Ser Loras is kissing ass and praising Tywin to his intended, Cersei. Tywin was a force to be reckoned with, blah blah blah. Then Cersei encounters her former lover/cousin, Lancel Lannister, but he's not as pretty as he used to be. His father informs Cersei that he is a Sparrow which is a religious cult that centers on forgiveness and peace but that he'll 'grow out of it.' Parents just don't understand. Lancel soon corners her and tries to convert her and say he'll pray for Tywin's soul. Clearly he's never met Cersei even though they used to engage together in incestuous relations. Hush, little Sparrow, you're making Cersei laugh her evil laugh and it's making me uncomfortable.
Meanwhile in Dorne...or is that a birthmark? Ser Loras is in bed with his beau, brothel-manager, Oliver, and they're going over how they should visit there together since it looks so cool on Loras's bod. Until sister Margaery walks in, of course. How rude! Even ruder? She stays put and dismisses Oliver because he's delaying dinner. Margaery urges her brother to be more discrete but he assumes that since Tywin is dead, he won't have to marry Cersei. Margaery wants Cersei to marry him and move to High Garden so she's not stuck with her in King's Landing. Fair enough.
What's in the box? Stinky, drunk, bearded Tyrion! Varys has rescued and taken Tyrion to the home of his friend, Illyrio Mopatis in Pentos. He's the dude from the first season who arranged Dany and Drogo's wedding, remember? Of course! He gave her that sweet gift of three dragon's eggs and that turned out swimmingly!
Tyrion wants to know why Varys has risked everything to save him. Varys wants peace and sees Tyrion as a sort of salvation for the future of the Seven Kingdoms and the wars to come. The land needs saving and it needs a good ruler to do the job. Tyrion belittles himself saying he's not very compassionate (he killed his whore girlfriend and then his dad when he was on the toilet) and not very politically-minded. Tyrion thinks Varys wants him to rule but he really has Dany in mind, so...road trip to Meereen!
Daenerys is still trying to gain all the control in Meereen and after an unsullied named 'White Rat' is murdered whilst he gets spooned and crooned by a local whore, Dany demands the killer is found. Missandei is still realllllyyyy curious about what's going on down below with the unsullied and asks her crush, Grey Worm, why the guy was in a brothel in the first place. He denies knowing because clearly, 'cuddles' would not seem like a cool answer.
Speaking of cuddles, Daario and Dany are a thing (Danario?) and Daario has returned with some concessions from the Masters. They want Thunderdome! No, actually they want the reopening of the fighting pits because that's how good decisions are made and stuff. Dany refuses due to it being barbaric. However, later after doing the sex with Daario, he gives high praise to the pits and tells her about his formative years and how great these pits were for him. It's sweet. He also isn't afraid to tell her that she's losing control and how can she be the Mother of Dragons with one dragon missing and two chained up in the catacombs? After visiting the two fire-breathing kiddos, she realizes she really is losing control and looks terrified. She should be.
On the Road With Sansa, Petyr, Brienne and Podrick
I'm combining these two story lines because they were brief. I hope you don't mind. Sansa and Petyr look on as 13-year-old Robin Arryn learns to wield a sword and Petyr is pretty much dumping off the boy for grooming. He sucks at fighting but he's got a good name. He's handed a note and he looks all sly as usual. Then he and Sansa head West, in fact, they're heading so far away that even Cersei won't be able to touch Sansa. More to come but I'm digging Sansa's new darker hair.
Brienne and Podrick are still on the road with very little purpose at this point and Pod wants to head North. Brienne seems defeated and cuts down Pod for thinking he's a Squire since she's not a knight. Brienne is sad and stuff because she just wanted to help and deliver the Stark girls. Oh well. Buck up, little camper!
It's a big ol' party North of the Wall with Stannis and his wife and disfigured girl child, Ser Davos and the Red Priestess, Melisandre all hanging out at the castle with the brothers. Mance is now a prisoner of Stannis and Stannis wants Jon Snow to convince Mance to bend his knee to the one true king and give over the Wildlings to fight with him. They'll achieve land and freedom if they do. Easy enough. Nope.
Mance resists until the very end despite Jon Snow knowing something about reasoning. Mance meets his fate of burning to death at the hands of Melisandre but having to hear her 'choices' speech was probably more upsetting to him. As he's cooking and writhing in agony, Jon Snow puts an arrow through him to end his suffering. I'm sure Stannis won't be upset at that move at all.
So what did you think of the premiere? Lackluster? Satisfying? A good set up for an epic season?
Tune in to HBO next Sunday at 9 p.m. ET for "The House of Black and White."