Game of Thrones Episode 5 — Fellowship of the Wight

by David French

Spoilers, of course.

I fully confess that I’m going to watch every second of next week’s episode – featuring Jon Snow, Jorah Mormont, and the rest of the Fellowship of the Ring, er, wight — battling it out against overwhelming odds while praying desperately for dragonfire salvation. If past battle episodes are any indication, it will be inventive, epic, incredibly shot, feature multiple gut-punches, and land itself in the pantheon of best episodes ever in the best television series ever.

But I’m going to have to try hard to forget how we got there. I don’t think I’ve seen a stranger, dumber plan in, well, ever. Sure, let’s risk the realm’s greatest warriors in a suicide mission to capture an ice zombie. Sure, that ice zombie will thaw Cersei’s frozen heart. Yep, everyone’s going to unite against the common threat.

Tyrion was a great hand, for his psychotic nephew. Since then, his best service is humanizing Dany and restraining her worst impulses. Other than that, he’s a strategic disaster and a font of dreadful ideas.

There were, of course good points in the episode. There always are. In two scenes we not only further defined Jon’s identity — as a trueborn Targaryen heir — but we’ve set the stage for immense complications going forward. Jon, not Dany, has the best claim to the Iron Throne. Jon, however, faces revolt at home not just for his lengthy absence but also for his true birth. He’s not Ned Stark’s son. He’s truly Targaryen. That has immense consequences.

This episode was pure table-setting. The battle lines between Arya and Sansa are coming into view. Jaime and Cersei’s bond was reaffirmed. Sam is coming back north with information he doesn’t yet understand. Dany (and Dany’s dragon) have bonded with Jon. And, yes, the suicide mission is fully underway. I just wish it made more sense.

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