Sons of the Harpy

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"Sons of the Harpy"
Game of Thrones episode
Game of Thrones-S05-E04 Barristan Selmy.png
The final shot of the episode, showing the collapsed Ser Barristan Selmy, wounded Unsullied leader Grey Worm and dead Sons of the Harpy
Episode no.Season 5
Episode 4
Directed byMark Mylod
Written byDave Hill
Featured musicRamin Djawadi
Cinematography byAnette Haellmigk
Editing byTim Porter
Original air dateMay 3, 2015 (2015-05-03)
Running time50 minutes
Guest appearance(s)
Episode chronology
← Previous
"High Sparrow"
Next →
"Kill the Boy"
Game of Thrones (season 5)
List of Game of Thrones episodes

"Sons of the Harpy" is the fourth episode of the fifth season of HBO's fantasy television series Game of Thrones, and the 44th overall. The episode was written by Dave Hill, and directed by Mark Mylod.[1] It aired on May 3, 2015.[2] Prior to airing, this episode was leaked online along with the first three episodes of the season.[3]

The episode received a nomination for a Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Cinematography for a Single-Camera Series at the 67th Primetime Creative Arts Emmy Awards.[4]

Plot[edit]

In King's Landing[edit]

Mace Tyrell informs the other members of the small council that the Iron Bank of Braavos has called in 10% of their debt, and that they can afford to pay only half the amount. Cersei tells Mace that he will be sent to Braavos, along with Ser Meryn Trant, to negotiate a deal. She then leaves to meet with the High Sparrow, authorizing the revival of the Faith Militant, an armed force in service to the faith of the seven, causing an attack on one of Petyr Baelish's brothels, and the arrest of Ser Loras Tyrell because of his homosexuality. News of his arrest reaches Margaery, who asks Tommen to order his release. Tommen first appeals to his mother for Loras's release, but she tells him that he must speak with the High Sparrow. He tries to speak with the High Sparrow, but the Faith Militant prevent him from disturbing his prayers, prompting one of the Kingsguard to inform Tommen that they will kill the Faith Militant if he orders them to do so. Tommen is visibly unnerved at the prospect of shedding blood on the steps of the Sept of Baelor despite his desire to please Margaery. When some street urchins start yelling insults at him about his incestuous parentage, Tommen quickly realizes they are outnumbered and tactfully orders his Kingsguard not to attack the Faith Militant, saying they will find another way to free Loras. Frustrated with Tommen's inaction, Margaery leaves to inform her grandmother Olenna of the situation.

At the Wall[edit]

After assisting in training his men, Jon signs several letters to be sent to northern lords, including Roose Bolton, pleading that they send men and supplies to help defend the Wall, which is extremely undermanned with only 50 Night's Watch men remaining at Castle Black. Jon is reluctant to plead to the Boltons for aid, but must respect the Night's Watch's neutrality. Melisandre arrives to ask Jon to join Stannis in taking Winterfell from the Boltons, but he again declines. She attempts to seduce him, but he is able to resist her advances, telling Melisandre that he still loves Ygritte. Before leaving, she says "You know nothing, Jon Snow", mimicking Ygritte. Elsewhere in Castle Black, Stannis tells his daughter, Shireen, the story of how she became afflicted with greyscale, and how he did everything in his power to cure her.

At Winterfell[edit]

In the crypts, Sansa lights candles for her deceased family members. Petyr arrives, and tells her about her aunt, Lyanna, and how Robert's Rebellion started when Rhaegar Targaryen allegedly kidnapped her. He informs Sansa that he is leaving Winterfell to return to King's Landing, at Cersei's request. Petyr also tells Sansa that Stannis and his army are at Castle Black, and suggests that they will soon take Winterfell from the Boltons, whom they outnumber. As they believe that all of her siblings are dead, Petyr believes that Stannis will appoint Sansa as Wardeness of the North. Sansa asks him what if Stannis does not overthrow the Boltons, and Littlefinger states that in that case she will learn to control Ramsay Bolton.

In Dorne[edit]

Jaime and Bronn arrive in Dorne, with the intention of rescuing Myrcella Baratheon. Bronn wonders why Jaime is so adamant about personally participating in the rescue, and Jaime implies that he seeks redemption for indirectly causing his father Tywin's death and claims that he will personally kill his brother Tyrion if he ever sees him again. Shortly after landing, they are discovered by four Dornish guards, who recognise the duo as being from King's Landing. Jaime and Bronn are forced to kill the guards after being ordered to disarm. In doing so, Jaime learns how to use his metal hand to his advantage.

Elsewhere, Ellaria Sand meets with Oberyn's three bastard daughters: Obara, Nymeria, and Ellaria's daughter Tyene, collectively known as the Sand Snakes. Through a captured ship captain, they have learned that Jaime has come to Dorne, and Ellaria deduces that he intends to take Myrcella back to King's Landing. She asks them to join her in starting a war with the Lannisters, and they agree.

On the Summer Sea[edit]

At night, Jorah Mormont attacks a fisherman and steals his boat. He takes the captive Tyrion and sets sail. In the morning, Tyrion deduces Jorah's identity, and learns that he is being taken to Daenerys, not his sister Cersei. When Tyrion presses Jorah about his motives for bringing him to Daenerys, Jorah knocks him out.

In Meereen[edit]

Ser Barristan tells stories about Rhaegar Targaryen to Daenerys. Daenerys leaves to attend to Hizdahr zo Loraq, who repeats his request to reopen the fighting pits. In the streets, several members of the Sons of the Harpy attack civilians. A patrol of Unsullied, led by Grey Worm, respond to the panic, but are ambushed by more Sons of the Harpy. In the ensuing battle, a majority of the Unsullied are slaughtered and Grey Worm is injured before Ser Barristan arrives to assist him. Though Barristan slays many of the Sons of the Harpy, they start to overwhelm him and he is stabbed multiple times. Barely defeating his attackers, Grey Worm manages to save Barristan from having his throat slit and the two collapse next to each other, surrounded by dead Unsullied and Sons of the Harpy.

Production[edit]

Writing[edit]

This episode was the first to be written by staff writer Dave Hill, who previously worked as an assistant to showrunners David Benioff and D. B. Weiss and contains content from two of George R. R. Martin's novels, A Feast for Crows, Cersei IV and Cersei VI, and A Dance with Dragons, chapters Tyrion VII, Jon II, with elements of Daenerys II and the Epilogue.[5][6]

Like the season's earlier episodes, "Sons of the Harpy" deviated from George Martin's novels in several places. Hilary Busis and Darren Francich of Entertainment Weekly continued their approval of the decision to consolidate the Sansa and Arya impostor storylines. The scene between Stannis and Shireen was written specifically for the episode.[7] Both Sarah Moran of Screen Rant and Matt Fowler of IGN agreed that interacting with a more visible and vocal Shireen gives Stannis's character some emotional depth, with Moran adding that the change "gives us insight into characters we already know."[8][9]

Moran also approved of the streamlined story and cast, noting that the show has "whittled down Oberyn Martell's bastard daughters from eight to three" and giving Arianne Martell's plotline to the already-established Ellaria Sand.[9] David Crow of Den of Geek expressed reservations about the scene in which Grey Worm and Barristan Selmy are wounded and left for dead, referring to it as "vainglorious and artificial," but he also said, "Bringing Bronn back into the fold was one of Game of Thrones more astute changes from the books as he offers a great counterbalance to either Lannister brother."[10] Matt Fowler of IGN, however, found the acceleration of the Faith Militant storyline jarring, "like a time-crunch collage."[8]

Casting[edit]

The episode has the introduction of new recurring cast members Keisha Castle-Hughes, Jessica Henwick and Rosabell Laurenti Sellers, who play the Sand Snakes: Obara, Nymeria and Tyene Sand.

Reception[edit]

Ratings[edit]

"Sons of the Harpy" was watched by an estimated 6.82 million American viewers during its first airing, and received a 3.6 rating among adults 18-49.[11] In the United Kingdom, the episode was viewed by 2.151 million viewers, making it the highest-rated broadcast that week. It also received 0.164 million timeshift viewers.[12]

Critical reviews[edit]

Rotten Tomatoes scored this episode at 100% based on 30 reviews with an average score of 8.1 out of 10, stating "An episode that benefits from the intricate plotting of the previous three, "Sons of the Harpy" balances bloody action with illuminating character interplay."[13]

David Crow of Den of Geek called this the weakest episode of the season so far but still reasonably solid.[10] Eric Kain of Forbes writes, "All told, an excellent episode filled with revelations and surprises, great action and fantastic drama. I’m excited to see the back story begin to emerge in earnest, something I’ve been wondering about for years."[14]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Hibberd, James (July 15, 2014). "'Game of Thrones' season 5 directors chosen". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved July 15, 2014.
  2. ^ "Shows A-Z - game of thrones on HBO". The Futon Critic. Retrieved March 23, 2015.
  3. ^ Goldman, David (April 12, 2015). "'Game of Thrones': First four episodes leaked before premiere". CNN. Retrieved April 13, 2015.
  4. ^ Haithman, Diane (September 12, 2015). "'Game of Thrones': 67th Primetime Creative Arts Emmy Awards". Deadline. Retrieved December 17, 2015.
  5. ^ "The Surprising Connection Between Game of Thrones and Monty Python". Vanity Fair. March 24, 2014. Retrieved September 7, 2014.
  6. ^ Garcia, Elio; Antonsson, Linda (May 4, 2015). "EP504: THE SONS OF THE HARPY". Westeros.org. Retrieved May 4, 2015.
  7. ^ Busis, Hilary; Francich, Darren (May 4, 2015). "Game of Thrones TV Book Club: Did 'Sons of the Harpy' just confirm a huge fan theory?". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved May 4, 2015.
  8. ^ a b Fowler, Matt (May 3, 2015). "Game of Thrones: "Sons of the Harpy" Review". IGN. Retrieved May 4, 2015.
  9. ^ a b Moran, Sarah (May 4, 2015). "'Game of Thrones' Season 5 Episode 4: Book to Screen Spoiler Discussion". Screen Rant. Retrieved May 4, 2015.
  10. ^ a b Crow, David (May 3, 2015). "Game of Thrones: The Sons of the Harpy Review". Den of Geek. Retrieved May 4, 2015.
  11. ^ Kondolojy, Amanda (May 5, 2015). "Sunday Cable Ratings: 'Game of Thrones' Tops Night + 'Real Housewives of Atlanta', 'Silicon Valley' & More". TV by the Numbers. Retrieved May 5, 2015.
  12. ^ "Top 10 Ratings (4-10 May 2015)". BARB. Retrieved April 7, 2016.
  13. ^ "Sons of the Harpy - Game of Thrones: Season 5, Episode 4". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved May 5, 2015.
  14. ^ Kain, Eric (May 3, 2015). "'Game Of Thrones' Season 5, Episode 4 Review: Sons of the Harpy". Forbes. Retrieved May 5, 2015.

External links[edit]