My thoughts on “Sons of the Harpy” #GameOfThrones
Season 5 Episode 4
“Sons of the Harpy” or “Meereenese NOT!“
“You know nothing, Jon Snow.” — Melisandre
Maybe it’s because the writers are diverging more from the books than ever before, or maybe they’ve finally got a handle on how to pace this monstrous creation of Lord Maester GRRM’s, but, so far, it seems to me, this has been the best season of Thrones yet.
I realize many will disagree, but by the Old Gods and the New, this has been exciting stuff.
And I say that as a book reader.
As a writer I understand the difference between mediums and while I haven’t always agreed with their changes, I can grasp the necessity.
There were so many brilliant scenes in “Sons of the Harpy” — the whole-cloth invention of Sansa in Winterfell and that telling revelation delivered by Littlefinger in the Stark Crypt; the Red Witch’s attempted seduction of Jon Snow and her desire to put a Shadow Snow in her belly; Stannis’ heart to heart with his little princess; Tommen, the Boy King, dismissed by the Sparrows; Jaime’s getting a hand up on a Dornish swordsman; Tyrion sherlocking Jorah’s identity; and Ser Barristan Selmy’s recounting of Rhaegar the Singer…
…but it’s another scene I want to discuss concerning Ser Barristan.
In a shocking, book-divergent twist, we witnessed Ser Barristan Selmy end his Watch.
Yes, Dan and Dave killed off fan favorite Barristan the Bold. I hate to see him go, but if go he must, then at least he went out like a boss.
These are the achievements of Ser Barriston Selmy recorded in the White Book —
Ser Barristan of House Selmy. Firstborn son of Ser Lyonel Selmy of Harvest Hall. Served as a squire to Ser Manfred Swann. Named The Bold in his 10th year when he donned borrowed armor to appear as a mystery knight in the tourney of Blackhaven, where he was defeated and unmasked by Duncan, Prince of Dragonflies. Knighted in his 16th year by King Aegon V Targaryen, after performing great feats of prowess as a mystery knight in the winter tourney at King’s Landing, defeating Prince Duncan the small and Ser Duncan the Tall, Lord Commander of the Kingsguard. Slew Maelys the Monstrous, last of the Blackfyre Pretenders in single combat during the war of the Ninepenny Kings. Defeated Lormelle Long Lance and Cedrik Storm, the Bastard of Bronzegate. Named to the Kingsguard in his 23rd year, by Lord Commander Ser Gerold Hightower. Defended the passage against all challengers in the tourney of the Silver Bridge. Victor in the melee at Maidenpool. Brought King Aerys II to safety during the defiance of Duskendale despite an arrow wound in the chest. Avenged the murder of his sworn brother, Ser Gwayne Gaunt. Rescued Lady Jeyne Swann and her septa from the Kingswood Brotherhood, defeating Simon Toyne and the Smiling Knight, slaying the former. In the Oldtown tourney, defeated and unmasked the mystery knight, Blackshield revealling him to be the Bastard of Uplands. Sole champion of Lord Steffon’s tourney at Storm’s End, whereat he unhorsed Lord Robert Baratheon, Prince Oberyn Martell, Lord Leyton Hightower, Lord Jon Connington, Lord Jason Mallister, and Prince Rhaegar Targaryen. Wounded by arrow, spear and sword at the Battle of the Trident whilst fighting beside his sworn brothers and Rhaegar Prince of Dragonstone. Pardoned and named Lord Commander of the Kingsguard by Robert I Baratheon. Served in the honor guard that brought lady Cersei of House Lannister to King’s Landing to wed King Robert. Led the attack on Old Wyk during the Greyjoy rebellion. Champion of the tourney at King’s Landing, in his 57th year. Dismissed by Joffrey I Baratheon in his 61st year, for reason of advanced age.
Ser Barristan. Dead. A fate he has yet to meet in the books. In fact, when last we saw Ser Barristan he was the Hand of the Queen, Daenerys Targaryen, and ruling over Meereen in her stead after she rode off on Drogon following the opening of Daznak’s Pit.
I’ve a feeling much of Dany’s story is going to be excised and, as a result, Ser Barristan’s story, in Dan and Dave’s version, has come to a close.
At least he left a pile of corpses before being cut down.
He died as he lived — a great and noble knight, serving who he believed was the one true heir to the Iron Throne.
Where do we go from here? If next week’s preview is any indication, it looks like things are only getting better (or, if you’re Sansa, a whole lot worse):