Predestination is set to be a major theme of what looks to be a great season. (Spoiler warning).
Is everything decided for us? Can we fight fate? These are the questions last Sunday’s “Game of Thrones” season premiere posed.
From the first scene this philosophical dilemma was on full display. A young Cersei (Nell Williams) is told a number of disturbingly accurate prophecies by a witch. One of these prophecies is that she will lose everything to another woman. This scene gives fans some context as to why Cersei (Lena Headey) hates Margaery Tyrell (Natalie Dormer) so much. For that matter knowing she will lose everything she cares about is probably why she is so bitter in general. More importantly this fits in with the shows pattern of foreshadowing. Ned (Sean Bean) beheaded a man in the very first episode of the series and we know what became of him.
Tyrion seems to be depressed with this seeming predestination as well. Having escaped across the Narrow Sea after the events of last season’s finale, Varys (Conleth Hill) tells him that he has quietly been supporting Daenerys’ (Emilia Clarke) bid for the throne all along. He eventually convinces Tyrion to go with him to Meereen to aid Daenerys. Tyrion eventually agrees, but we can tell he is worn down.
“The future is shit,” he says. “Just like the past.”
All the characters are starting to show the accumulated emotional damage of the series events. At The Wall Jon Snow (Kit Harington) is asked by Stannis Baratheon (Stephen Dillane) to get Mance Rayder (Ciaran Hinds) to accept him as king and help him take The North. Of course Mance says no, and is burning at the stake when Jon mercy kills him with an arrow to chest. What’s interesting about this is how depressed Jon looks even before killing Mance. After the tragic death of Ygritte (Rose Leslie) last season who can blame him.
The actors are superb in showing this accumulated suffering. We see the horror of murdering Shay (Sibel Kekilli) in Tyrion’s eyes. Ygritte’s death is all over Jon’s face when Melisandre (Carice Van Houten) asks him if he still has his virginity. Like the actors on “The Walking Dead” they are able to expertly display the hurt keeps building up. They show how the constant death and destruction changes people. The viewer is so taken in by this that they start to get emotionally drained by the show’s deaths. This strong emotional content and consistency with the characters and plot is what makes both shows so fantastic.
In truth the episode is all set up. Daenerys’ is shown to have lost control of her dragons and is facing political crises in Meereen. Sansa (Sophie Turner) and Littlefinger (Aidan Gillen) ditch Robin Arryn (Lino Facioli) with Yohn Royce (Rupert Vansittart) and head west. Cersei and Jaime (Nikolaj Coster-Waldau) attend the funeral for Tywin (Charles Dance) in King’s Landing. Other than that not much really happens outside The Wall. That’s the thing about “Game of Thrones” though. The Characters, acting, music, and scenery are so engaging that even the set up episodes are awesome.
Melisandre’s speech before burning Mance lets us know that she thinks there is choice. Is she right? Can fate be altered? I’m definitely excited to find out.