Game of Thrones ▼Season V*41*The Wars to Come*April 12*(2015)*Michael Slovis
A young Cersei Lannister and her highborn friend trudge through the woods in search of the notorious witch Maggy the Frog. Cersei demands that Maggy foretell her future. The woman tastes the girl's blood and answers her questions: Cersei will be queen, until someone younger and more beautiful replaces her; Cersei will have three children, and furthermore, "Gold will be their crowns – and gold their shrouds."
In King's Landing, Cersei arrives at the Sept of Baelor to attend her father's funeral, passing Margaery Tyrell in the receiving line. She requests a moment of privacy and joins her brother, who stands guard over Tywin's body. The twins discuss the ramifications of their father's death on the Lannister legacy. They agree that their hold on the kingdom is threatened – a predicament for which Cersei holds both her brothers responsible. "Tyrion may be a monster, but at least he killed our father on purpose," she tells Jaime. "You killed him by mistake."
Varys frees Tyrion Lannister from the crate he boarded to cross the Narrow Sea. The Spider explains they've arrived at the Pentoshi home of his friend Illyrio Mopatis, his co-conspirator to reinstate Targaryen rule during Robert Baratheon's ineffectual reign. As Varys reiterates the urgency of the cause, Tyrion helps himself to a jug of wine. "The future is s**t, just like the past," Tyrion declares – right before he vomits.
Still drinking steadily, Tyrion asks Varys why he would gamble his life and reputation to free Tyrion. "I did it for the Seven Kingdoms," Varys maintains, noting that Tyrion has a unique collection of leadership qualities. Although Tyrion will never sit on the Iron Throne, he could advise a monarch with the right family name – Daenerys Targaryen. Varys invites Tyrion to ride to Meereen with him to meet the queen.
A team of Unsullied work to pull down the golden harpy atop the Great Pyramid of Meereen. Having completed the task, a soldier named White Rat heads to a brothel where he pays a woman to simply hold him. As he relaxes, an assassin wearing a harpy mask sneaks in and slits his throat.
When she learns of White Rat's death, Queen Daenerys commands he receive a public burial and that his murderers be held accountable. The Unsullied prepare to take to the streets, and Missandei asks Grey Worm why White Rat, or any Unsullied, would visit a brothel. Grey Worm has no answer.
At Runestone, Lord Robin Arryn fails at swordplay. After receiving a mysterious scroll, Petyr Baelish and Sansa depart, leaving Robin in the care of Lord Royce. Sansa realizes they are heading west, and Littlefinger tells her they're going "to a land so far from here, even Cersei Lannister can't get her hands on you."
A defeated Brienne dismisses Pod from her service. "I'm not a knight, so you're not a squire," she barks. Pod reminds her that even if Arya refused her protection, Sansa remains at large.
Cersei, disgusted at the sight of Margaery comforting Tommen, is surprised by the appearance of her cousin and former lover, Lancel Lannister – now barefoot in robes with a shaved head. "They call themselves Sparrows," Cersei's uncle, Kevan, explains. "Bloody fanatics." Later, Lancel approaches Cersei privately. He apologizes and begs forgiveness for their affair and his role in Robert's death. When Lancel asks Cersei to turn to the Faith of the Seven, she dismisses him.
Margaery walks in on her brother Loras with his lover Olyvar. Margaery counsels discretion, but Loras maintains that everyone already knows his personal preferences – and with Tywin dead, no one can force Cersei to marry him. At that, Margaery hints that Cersei may not stay in King's Landing.
Daario Naharis and Hizdahr zo Loraq return to Meereen after completing their mission to restore order in Yunkai. Hizdahr communicates a request from the former masters there: reopen the fighting pits. Dany rejects what she calls "the tradition of human cock-fighting." In bed together that night, Daario advises Dany to consider Hizdahr’s request and open the pits. More than that, he argues, she should show her strength with her dragons. Emboldened by the conversation, Dany visits her children in the catacombs. Viserion and Rhaegal snap and spit flame; Dany flees.
In the courtyard at Castle Black, Sam briefs Gilly on the upcoming election. "If Ser Alliser is chosen as the new Lord Commander… he hates the wildlings," he says, glancing at baby Sam.
Jon Snow trains Olly until he's interrupted by Melisandre. She escorts him to see King Stannis, inquiring about his virginity along the way. Stannis greets Jon with a reminder that the Boltons hold his childhood home. When Davos Seaworth questions Jon about his decision to take Ygritte's body north of the Wall, Snow replies, "It's where she belonged." Noting his sympathies, Stannis explains his plan: he will invite the Free Folk to join his army and, after he wins the North, he’ll decree the wildlings citizens of the realm and give them land on which to settle. "I'll offer them their lives and their freedom," he tells Jon Snow, "if Mance kneels before me."
Jon approaches the King Beyond the Wall, aware Mance must pledge allegiance to Stannis or be burned alive. "I respect him," Mance admits, "but I'll never serve him." Jon argues Mance's life work will have been for naught if his people die north of the Wall, but the wildling king decides he'd rather burn than betray his principles. Even though he’s scared to die screaming, knowing that’s how his people will see and remember him forever after.
Having refused Stannis one last time, Mance is led to a stake in the Castle Black courtyard. As the wildlings and men of the Watch look on, Melisandre ignites the pyre below him. Mance begins to writhe in agony and is about to scream when an arrow flies into his heart, fired by Jon Snow as an act of mercy.
In a flashback, a young Cersei is told a sombre fortune by a witch. After Tywin's burial, Cersei chastises Jaime for freeing Tyrion and their cousin Lancel returns, now a devout religious man. In Pentos, a despondent Tyrion agrees to accompany Varys to Meereen to support Daenerys's claim. In Meereen, the insurgent "Sons of the Harpy" murder an Unsullied, and Hizdahr zo Loraq and Daario Nahaaris try to convince Daenerys to reopen the traditional fighting pits. Daenerys' locked-away dragons breathe fire at her when she comes to check on them. In the Vale, Littlefinger puts Robyn in the care of House Royce and leaves with Sansa, their caravan passing Brienne of Tarth and Podrick Payne. At the Wall, Stannis wants to enlist the Wildlings in his war against Roose Bolton. Jon Snow is unable to convince Mance Rayder to bend the knee to Stannis, who then has Mance burned alive for treason.
In a flashback, a witch tells a teenage Cersei that someone younger and more beautiful than herself will one day steal her accomplishments. In the present, Tywin is buried and Lancel returns, now a devoutly religious man and a member of the "Sparrows". In Pentos, a despondent Tyrion agrees to accompany Varys to Meereen to support Targaryen's claim on the Iron Throne. In Meereen, the insurgent "Sons of the Harpy" murder an Unsullied, forcing Daenerys to launch more restrictive measures without respecting the old traditions. Missandei gets suspicious when she realizes that the Unsullied visit brothels. Daenerys's locked-away dragons attack her when she checks on them. In the Vale, Baelish puts Arryn in the care of House Royce and leaves with Sansa. At the Wall, Stannis seeks to enlist the Wildlings in his war against Roose. Snow is unable to convince Rayder to accept Stannis's authority. The latter has Mance burned alive, though Snow shoots him with an arrow to kill him quickly.
Flashback - We see Cersei's youthful visit to the witch who revealed her future. We get to see Tyrion's vantage point from inside his travelling crate from the boat through a city to his final destination: the palace of a friend of Varys. Tyrion grumbles about having to take the whole journey that way-- including pushing out his own poop through the breathing holes--but Varys points out, he had to throw that poop overboard, and that he is a very wanted and recognizable man. Once they arrive Tyrion begins drinking almost immediately but Varys wants to have a serious talk about the future. He waits a couple of minutes as Tyrion throws up onto the concrete and takes another swig of wine. He clearly believes that Daenerys is the next person who should sit on the Iron Throne and thinks Tyrion can help put her there. They have a series of very funny exchanges in which Varys tries to remind Tyrion that he has both a warrior's spirit and compassion in his soul and he needs to find those things again for the good of the future of Westeros. Tyrion reminds Varys that he very recently killed the love of his life with his bare hands and shot his own father with a crossbow. "I never said you were perfect," says Varys, who thinks it's time for Tyrion to stop pickling his liver and start thinking about the future. The Khaleesi has problems of her own over in Mereen, including the fact that her dragons, at least the two she still has locked up, are very grumpy indeed, and have gotten considerably larger, and not necessarily interested in listening to mom. Even though she has done some good there,there is unrest in Mereen and a member of the Unsullied is murdered in a brothel by a political uprising group. Her advisors tell her that she should bring back the fighting pits-- where slaves used to fight to the death. Dany does not want to hear this, she has freed the people and doesn't want them fighting for sport. But when Daario Naharis gets her ear-- post-coital-- he explains that they could fight as free men. He also shares his story, of how his mother was a prostitute who sold him into slavery, and he ended up in those pits. By fighting all the different men there, he became the fearsome warrior he is today. The intimately involved siblings are again grieving over a corpse. But instead of getting randy about it, Cersei is raging mad. Mostly at Jaime for letting Tyrion escape and, by proxy, helping kill Tywin who lies in front of them with those creepy eye stones over his lids. She rails that he was always Tywin's favorite and again gripes about him going into the Kings Guard. At the funeral she barely contains her rage as people try to share condolences. And she flashes back to a time when she was a teenager -- still as haughty as ever -- and she and friend went to see a witch in the woods to get Cerseis future read. The witch makes Cersei cut her finger so she can drink her blood. (Um, ew.) The witch predicted how many kids she would have and got several other things right on the nose as well. It does not look like thing bode well for Cersei. Meanwhile, her husband to be Loras Tyrell has basically given up the pretense of disguising his sexuality, taking a male lover and letting him leave his room all naked as Margaery enters and scolds him. Loras wonders what the big deal is since everybody knows anyway. He figures he probably won't have to marry Cersei now since it was Tywin's idea but that she is still stuck in King's Landing. But she is clearly doing some scheming because she says she might not be. After losing Arya Stark at the end of last season-- Brienne was busy kicking the Hound's ass-- the travel companions are at a loss as to what to do. He figures that he'll just keep traveling with her and that maybe they can find Sansa. But Brienne is beyond dispirited and the idea of spending more time with her "squire" is not cheering her up since she's not actually a knight. She grouses that all she ever wanted was a Lord she could believe in and that she herself is no leader. As the scene turns to Sansa and Littlefinger headed west, another near miss from Brienne and Sansa. And speaking of Sansa, after she and Littlefinger have wisely dropped off Robyn Arryn at a training school for boys-- where it looks like he'll have a lot of catching up to do with the regular boys-- he says it's time for them to take a trip. But she can tell in their carriage that he is not going the way that he told others they were going. Of course, Littlefinger has a new plan up his sleeve and he says they will going to a place where they will be safe. Over at the Wall, the Night's Watch is regrouping and Jon Snow is actually busy training the young boy who killed Ygritte to fight. Stannis Baratheon wants Jon to break from the Night's Watch and help him fight to take back Winterfell and beyond. Jon isn't so sure about all of that. But when Stannis asks him to try and persuade Mance Rayder to bend the knee to Stannis-- hopefully throwing the fighting forces of the free folk behind Stannis who says he will give them land and freedom south of the wall if they fight for him-- Jon sees the wisdom of this since it means death for Mance otherwise. But Mance won't budge, even though this means he will be burned alive. Jon pleads with him not to let his pride get in the way of his life and maybe the betterment of the lives of his people. He points out that Mance was able to unite incredibly disparate groups and that power could mean something in the future. He thinks Mance is making a mistake. Mance points out that he is making that mistake as a free man. When Stannis is told of his decision you can see that even though it isn't what he wanted that he admires Mance's commitment. Melisandre gets up and mumbo jumbos about fire and god and good and evil and the choices we all have to make, and then lights Mance on fire. Everyone watches, flinching as the flames lick at his body. The Wildlings cringe, Gilly buries her head in Sam's chest. Jon stalks away. As he's about to feel the worst of it, out of nowhere he gets an arrow to the heart. Jon Snow has spared him from the worst of the suffering.