7:00pm PT by Aaron Couch
'Game of Thrones' Returns With Big Moves, Cruel Death
[Warning: Spoilers ahead for Sunday's episode of Game of Thrones, "The Wars to Come."]
The game is afoot.
Game of Thrones' season premiere put events in motion that has big implications for the rest of the year — and likely the rest of the series.
Here are biggest moves from Sunday's episode:
Jon Snow disrespects Stannis. Jon (Kit Harington) gives Mance Rayder (Ciaran Hinds) a merciful death by shooting him with an arrow rather than letting him burn. It's an incredibly risky move, because it's a public act of defiance against King Stannis (Stephen Dillane), who does not take such things lightly. Jon is potentially risking his life with this act.
Tyrion and Daenerys are on a collision course. Varys (Conleth Hill) reveals he and his associates have been plotting to put a Targaryen back on the throne dating back to the days of King Robert (Mark Addy). Tyrion (Peter Dinklage) agrees to seek out Daenerys (Emilia Clarke) and possibly help put her on the Iron Throne.
Varys also reveals they are hiding out at the Pentos home of Illyrio Mopatis (Roger Allam) who has not been seen since season one, when he brokered the deal for Daenerys (Emilia Clarke) to marry Khal Drogo (Jason Momoa). At their wedding, Illyrio gave Dani the three dragon eggs that eventually hatched into her beloved dragons. Also in season one, Arya (Maise Williams) overheard Varys and Illyrio plotting to have Khal Drogo's army invade Westeros. Thrones has never been skittish about reintroducing plot elements from years earlier, and this is an example of that to the extreme.
Daenerys will unleash the dragons. Can Daenerys be a dragon queen without any dragons? The answer, is no — as her lover Daario (Michiel Huisman) points out. Dani goes to where her dragons are being held and has no luck making them behave. But that can't last forever, as Clarke has called season five "a dragon season." It's only a matter of time before they are put front and center. As Daario says: "A dragon queen with no dragons? That's not a queen." The Mother of Dragons has other problems brewing, with parts of Meereen defying her rule and killing her men.
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Sansa is heading far, far away. Littlefinger's (Aidan Gillen) plan for Sansa (Sophie Turner) is getting even more complicated, as he spirits her away from The Eyrie to an unknown location. Whatever happens, Sansa is learning how to play the game from LIttlefinger, and seems to be a willing participant in his plans — but perhaps because it's her only play at this point. Remember, with Robb (Richard Madden) dead, Sansa is the key to the North — and the rightful heir to Winterfell, so she is a valuable piece in the game.
Stay tuned to The Live Feed for an interview with Harington, who teases an upcoming standoff between Jon and Stannis.
Game of Thrones airs Sundays at 9 p.m. on HBO.