Game of Thrones Season 5 Episode 4 “Sons of the Harpy” – Written Recap Round-Up

This week’s Game of Thrones written recap round-up brings slaughter, mayhem, and a special visit to the crypts of Winterfell in the bloody fourth episode “Sons of the Harpy.”

And don’t forget WotW’s own Sullied and Unsullied reviews!

SULLIED – BOOK READERS

Alyssa Rosenberg, Washington Post

Laura Hudson, Wired 

Myles McNutt, A.V. Club

Sean T. Collins, Rolling Stone

Charlie Jane Anders, io9

James Hibberd, Entertainment Weekly

Sarah Hughes, The Guardian

Neil Miller, Film School Rejects

James Poniewozik, Time

Elio Garcia, Westeros.org

Scott Meslow, The Week

David Crow, Den of Geek

UNSULLIED BOOK-SPOILER-FREE RECAPS

Andy Greenwald, Grantland

Laura Stone, Hey, Don’t Judge Me

Alan Sepinwall, Hitfix

Erik Adams, A.V. Club

Nina Shen Rastogi, Vulture

David Malitz, Washington Post

Libby Hill, Salon 

Stay tuned for our video recap round-up of “Sons of the Harpy!”

And let us know what you thought in the comments below!

43 responses

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    1. Unsullied reviewers seemed to love the episode whereas the sullied reviews seem more mixed.

      My personal view is that it was the weakest episode this season, but I do wonder how much of that is due to the divergences from the book starting to jar on a subconscious level, despite not being any kind of purist.

      Oh, and just to say Andy Greenwald is a superb critic / reviewer.

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    2. Ross,

      At first I loved the episode, but I definitely give credence to your suggestion that as they deviate from the written material, the show is getting weaker. The Sand Snakes dialogue was stilted and seemed forced. I think they could have done more and better with that scene and introducing them. At the same time, the Bronn dialogue was strong as was the interaction between Tyrion and Jorah.

      I just think that as there is less source material for the to work with, the worse the episodes will be…

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    3. I think I’ll stick to the Unsullied reviews, they’re mostly much more interesting and give a fresh perspective, whereas with the show changing more and more things many book reader reviews get way too nitpicky.

      On the ASOIAF reddit there’s a Dave Hill hate thread because of the last episode, it’s bizarre!

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    4. I was fine with the Sand Snakes scene, for the most part. It was just an introductory scene. However, I did feel as if some of the editing seemed a bit choppy, particularly in the action scenes (Nymeria whipping the box off the ship’s captain, and Obara tossing the spear through his head). I wish they had left in the argument between Nymeria and Tyene as Obara meditated that we saw still pictures of, especially since the episode was so short. I’m not sure why that was cut.

      Still, I am curious about these characters and hope to see more of them as they become fleshed out in future episodes.

      Overall I enjoyed this episode (although I think episode 3 is probably the best out of the first four episodes).

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    5. Doran’s Gouty Foot: as they deviate from the written material, the show is getting weaker. The Sand Snakes dialogue was stilted and seemed forced.

      But that was mostly taken from the books, unlike much of the rest of the episode.

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    6. Andy Greenwald of Grantland writes the best GoT reviews.I hope they invite him to moderate/host the upcoming GoT comic con panel.

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    7. GRRMs UK Editor tweeted that she doesn’t like the huge show divergences..

      I think some book readers are still coping w/ the loss of Barristan

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    8. Doran’s Gouty Foot:
      Ross,

      At first I loved the episode, but I definitely give credence to your suggestion that as they deviate from the written material, the show is getting weaker. The Sand Snakes dialogue was stilted and seemed forced

      That dialogue was from the books. LOL

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    9. mau: E1 – 8,0
      E4 – 6,82
      E2 – 6,81
      E3 – 6,71

      E5 – ?

      I like to think it will go up some more (from 6.82), mostly from those that have watched the first 4 episodes in advance who did not feel the urge for live viewing. Although, it is also Mother’s Day

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    10. Josh L.:
      I wish they had left in the argument between Nymeria and Tyeneas Obara meditated that we saw still pictures of, especially since the episode was so short.I’m not sure why that was cut.

      It’s possible that the scene just didn’t work or came across poorly, since it obviously wasn’t cut for time. Remember the cut Doreah-killing-Irri scene and how awful it turned out to be when finally shown (on DVD)?

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    11. Simeon,

      oh god…..
      that scene…..

      funny how both that scene and the sand snakes are a result of writers other than D&D, BC, and GRRM..

      But Dave Hill did ok for a new guy. I just felt like all the scenes followed the same pattern of a yes or no question being answered w/ a monologue…

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    12. I personally think that Dave Hill did a fantastic job with most of the episode, with his only mess-up being the Sand Snake scene. For being new to the show, he created one of the best interactions the show has ever had in Stannis and Shireen. Obviously, while the writing wasn’t up to the quality of that of the experiences writers such as D&D (who have been on point this season), GRRM and Bryan Cogman, he still did a great job for someone new just starting out. Sons of the Harpy is probably the second best episode this season so far for me.

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    13. I believe last week there was discussion of eliminating the difference between Sullied and Unsullied reviews because some unsullied have in fact read the books and merely keep the reviews spoiler-free.

      Please don’t do anything like this. Non-readers are important because they offer a different perspective. If a reviewer says upfront they’ve read the books, count them as such.

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    14. Eleanor:
      I believe last week there was discussion of eliminating the difference between Sullied and Unsullied reviews because some unsullied have in fact read the books and merely keep the reviews spoiler-free.

      Please don’t do anything like this. Non-readers are important because they offer a different perspective. If a reviewer says upfront they’ve read the books, count them as such.

      Yes, this! I honestly don’t care about what book readers think about the show – the only book reader review I read is James Hibberd. I get my fill of that here and on the forums. Mostly people who read the books have already made up their minds about characters and the rightness of their actions (based on future events or personal bias), whereas viewers are much more thoughtful and insightful.

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    15. Eleanor,

      I agree with this statement. I am a Sullied viewer, but I find that I far prefer reading Unsullied reviews because of their fresh approach to the show. There are few, namely Sean T. Collins of Boiled Leather, Sullied who can completely distance themselves from the source material when watching the show so I like to avoid most of those. If they do get merged, that’s fine, I’ll just probably bookmark the last recap roundup to separate the two and take them to the current update.

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    16. I wouldn’t say I’m on board the Dave hill “hate train” as it’s been called, but I definitely would put this past episode up as one of the worst in the series and my least favorite in my opinion. The Sand Snakes scene suffered because I thought the writing was atrocious and completely opposite to everything else we’ve seen in the series. It was too fast, and they dumped a tremendous amount of info on the audience for 3 characters we don’t care about and have no emotional connection to…at least yet. Perhaps they should have included an intro scene as to who they are in episode 2 when Dorne first makes it’s appearance, and then a scene like the one in episode 4 may have come off better.

      My other main problem with the episode is the massive info dump. It’s like they just woke up one day and said by the way we need to start hinting at a popular fan theory so let’s have like 3 or 4 scenes where we just outright dump info on the audience and hint at it. That seemed like a strange and random decision, again counter to the way they’ve been presenting the series in years past.

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    17. I agree as a Sullied, that reading Unsullied reviews offer a fresh perspective on the show. I have read all the books, Winds chapter but by no means offer a purist approach while watching the show. I thought the episode had a lot of strong scenes and David Hill handle himself well for a first time writer on the show. Sure the Sand snakes dialogue could have been crisper but honestly they are similar in the books and there is not much text to work with anyways.

      I wish Barriston the Bold didn’t have to perish but someone needed to, to further push Dany’s arc forward. Personally I loved all the Lyanna and Rheagar scenes. It brought into the show some of the lore of the history that truly makes this world amazing. LittleFingers scene about the Tourney at Harrenhall was terrific and if you can not appreciate it because it has taken D&D this long to introduce different theories you are missing the point.

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    18. ouch… tower of the hand RIPPED this episode apart.

      I really need to stay off these sites… Completely ruins the show for me.
      Good news is rottentomatoes has it at 100%

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    19. HelloThere,

      Meh, I don’t pay much attention to their other review guy, Miles, is it? He’s been a known show-basher with pronounced purist leanings for quite some time… misguided purist leanings at that. Of Sansa as potential wardeness, he has this to say: “Right (…) Stannis totally seems like the kind of guy who would give a woman that kind of political power.” Apparently conveniently forgetting that book!Stannis wants Shireen to succeed him as Queen of the Seven Kingdoms. But, you know, let nothing stand in the way of righteous wrath.

      EDIT: Why do you let these silly reviews ruin the show for you? If you enjoy it, you enjoy it! Don’t care about nonsense would be my honest advice.

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    20. Mr Fixit,

      Hes not exactly a purist.
      Hes just an insane nitpicker.

      Like how he ripped apart Cersei’s scenes. I thought Cersei’s rationale behind arming the faith made sense… considering Cersei is short sighted and underestimates everyone.

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    21. Dolorous Ned,

      It is bizarre, but unfortunately not surprising. I understand everyone has their favorite house, or character, or arc, or whatever, and people have every right to express discontent, or disappointment, but there are some who flip out over every little thing as though someone has kicked their puppy.

      I am in agreement with those who feel Hill did a pretty damn good job for his first episode, and the scene between Stannis and Shirren was, imo, stellar.

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    22. Mr Fixit,

      He just has a very rigid view of the characters and seems unable to accept that they might act differently than what he has in mind…
      Yea, I shouldn’t let those reviews get to me, lol.

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    23. I thought Dave Hill did a very good job. The only scene I’ve seen consistently criticized for writing was the Sand Snake scene, which was modeled more on book dialogue, and looks like jt was cut for time (no disagreement shown like in the released images). I do think that the monologue felt forced, but that’s something all the other writere have struggled with too.

      Plus, it was like 3 minutes out of the whole episode. Putting this scene in context with the crypts scene, the Faith Militant, the Jaime/Bronn dialogue…I don’t see how there can be a Dave Hill “hate train.” I thought he did incredibly well.

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    24. I personally thought this was the strongest episode of the fifth season, despite the okay scene with the Sand Snakes. It had the best balance between softer moments like Stannis’ and exciting moments like the Sons of the Harpy climax. It had a great mix of everything that makes GoT such an entertaining show.

      Shameless plug: here’s my whole review, in case you’ve run out of podcasts and professional reviews to go through

      https://brendantbewley.wordpress.com/2015/05/05/review-of-game-of-thrones-season-5-episode-4-the-sons-of-the-harpy/

        Quote  Reply

    25. EW literally captured everything about Cersei perfectly
      “Cersei is a disaster as a leader, even worse than I imagined. She’s stripping her inner circle of experienced advisers. She’s empowering creeps. She’s sending away her most loyal warriors. She could have gotten her son killed by sending him into Flea Bottom. She just managed to undermine her son’s authority in public—bad enough Tommen’s so young, now he looks weak, too. And all this because of a catty power play with Horny Miss Smirk-Boobs? It’s like somebody became U.S. president, then sent Navy Seals after their high school bullies and gave nuclear weapons to PETA. Worse, really. ”
      LOL 🙂

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    26. I really missed Brian Juergens’ review on thebacklot this week. I’m sure he’d have more than a few things to say that would echo that look of horror on Olyvar’s face.

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    27. I just don’t see the point of reading Sullied reviewers. I know the differences between the books and the show, because I love and have read the books several times over. The occasional review I do read is always of the Unsullied variety. They give the view of the vast majority of the TV audience.

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    28. Wawaaa, the sullied are turning into a bunch of Debbie Downers, the episode was exhilarating, I don’t know how any GoT fan can consider Sons of the Harpy one of the series’ weekest episodes, Truman Capote’s Breakfast at Tiffany’s is a favorite book of mine and even though it varied quite a bit from the written material the screen adaptation is a great film, watch with an open heart and mind, it’s much more fun

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    29. Enjoy going to each of the reviews listed here but absolutely love watching video’s with a panel of people discussing the latest episode ie… “What the Flick” , Afterbuzz TV” and just recently, I’ve been sojourning back to WinterisComing to watch their video panel … and it’s very enjoyable.

      Is this considered a sin or betrayal for folks here? lol

      I don’t know what happened with that site, that caused this one to come into existence, only that I was one of many “sheep” that wondered where the rest of the flock was and got lead here.
      (I will also admit that I get sad when I see some posters on here glorifying about the lack of comments at WiC and their eventual demise. Can only assume some unpopular coup d’etat happened that lead to this refugee site 🙂

      ps… can anyone suggest some other video panel reviews for me?

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    30. Sue the Fury,

      Thank you for enlightening me, Sue.

      I will certainly feel less compassion towards their sites’ demise if that was how they treated people who devoted so much time in preserving the content and discussion to worthwhile topics.

      (I remember been somewhat perplexed with the amount of posts on WiC and then utterly bored when I saw posts about how to make”Westerosi” cocktails and other shit)

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    31. HelloThere:
      EW literally captured everything about Cersei perfectly
      “Cersei is a disaster as a leader, even worse than I imagined. She’s stripping her inner circle of experienced advisers. She’s empowering creeps. She’s sending away her most loyal warriors. She could have gotten her son killed by sending him into Flea Bottom. She just managed to undermine her son’s authority in public—bad enough Tommen’s so young, now he looks weak, too. And all this because of a catty power play with Horny Miss Smirk-Boobs? It’s like somebody became U.S. president, then sent Navy Seals after their high school bullies and gave nuclear weapons to PETA. Worse, really. ”
      LOL

      Actually, I think TV-Cersei’s incompetence is over-the-top. I like to read unsullied reviews, and many of them have already picked up on how

      Cersei’s scheming with the Sparrows will backfire on her

      . King’s Landing spiraling out of control was definitely a major theme in AFFC, but the specific straw that broke the camel’s back wasn’t spelled out anywhere near as clearly in the books as it is being on TV. Perhaps it is just the medium, though, as the directors are also spoon-feeding

      r + l = j

      heavily as well. Just the hints in the last episode were comparable in clarity to the biggest hints in the book, if not more so.

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    32. Feist: But that was mostly taken from the books, unlike much of the rest of the episode.

      Obara’s words were taken from the book. The context was not, and therein lay the problem.

      Tyrion’s words to Jorah were also taken straight from the book, but as the context was the same, the scene worked very well. Indeed, I thought Tyrion’s dress-down of Jorah was the highlight of the episode, and was delighted to find how closely it matched the book passage when I went and re-read it afterwards. The scene to me represented the more-or-less end of the self-pitying, overly drunk Tyrion and his reversion back to his witty form. Good riddance to the former. Combined with the end of Brienne’s Pod-hate, I am pleased with some of the character progression in the last couple weeks.

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