The_Sons_of_the_Harpy_06

I felt like my wishes had finally been granted the second I saw Dorne on the map at the start of the latest  “Game of Thrones” episode. The episode title, “Sons of the Harpy,” however, had me worrying it was going to be Daenerys-driven, with Dorne serving as a quick stop on an episode full of watching Mereen fall to ruin.

I was pleasantly surprised.

Daenerys appeared near the end of the episode, and quite a large portion of it was spent establishing Dorne. Jaime Lannister and Bronn have finally arrived, and it’s the first time they’ve appeared onscreen in awhile. It’s obvious their presence in the land of the Martells is going to cause more trouble than expected, as Ellaria Sand and the late Oberyn Martell’s daughters plot their revenge. It looks like things are shaping up into a race between Jaime and Ellaria to gain control of Myrcella Lannister. I’m intrigued to see how this plot works out on the show, because events unfolded quite differently. (Ellaria and Jaime weren’t involved, for one thing.) Ultimately, I’m just glad the highly anticipated location and characters are starting to appear for more than two minutes.

Other notable events of the episode occurred in King’s Landing, the Wall, and Winterfell.

In King’s Landing, the Tyrells are still vying for power, and Cersei Lannister scored two major blows to the family. Mace Tyrell has been sent off to Braavos along with Ser Meryn Trant, so I’m not entirely sure he’s going to get there in one piece. Second, now that she has armed the followers of the High Sparrow and made them the Faith Militant, Cersei has managed to remove Ser Loras Tyrell from the picture. The loss of her brother is a huge blow to Margaery Tyrell, seeing as he is one of her most trusted allies. There’s certainly going to be some kind of retaliation, and the arming of the Faith doesn’t bode well for Cersei, either. After all, the Faith Militant claim to not care how powerful enemies of the Faith are, and Cersei isn’t exactly pious.

Meanwhile, up at the Wall, Jon Snow is settling into his duties as Lord Commander of the Night’s Watch. But to me, the most significant moment at the Wall this episode was a father-daughter talk between Stannis Baratheon and his only child and heir, Shireen. This scene was absolutely touching and the performances by Stephen Dillane and Kerry Ingram were beautifully done. Though the words “I love you” were never said, it’s obvious the two love one another. It was a humanizing moment for Stannis, one he sorely needs, because he’s often portrayed as an emotionless, justice-dispensing machine.

And in Winterfell, it seems as though Petyr Baelish has shown his hand. Or has he? It’s impossible to tell, but it seems as though his new game plan is to get on Stannis’s good side. If Stannis retakes Winterfell and names Sansa Stark Wardeness of the North, it’s possible she can speak up on Baelish’s behalf and get him a pardon. Though, knowing Stannis, this probably wouldn’t mean much in the long run. And, furthermore, Baelish’s (seemingly apparent) gamble depends on Sansa’s trusting him. Personally, I hope she finds out the role he’s had in the deaths of her family members and ends him along with the Boltons.

Overall, this season is really settling into a rhythm now. Every episode has some surprises, of course, but it feels like the characters (for the most part) are where they need to be in order to carry out their roles this season.  With all the pieces lined up on the chess board, I sense some serious action to come. There are a lot of power players this season, and it’s only a matter of time before they go after one another directly, especially since next week’s episode marks the halfway point for the season.