Note: this assumes you have seen every episode of Game of Thrones, through Episode One of Season Five. I do not assume that you have read the books, but this does contain spoilers for one plot point in Book Five, A Dance with Dragons.
It is possible that we saw, in the season premiere, the first death of a major character in HBO’s Game of Thrones who is not yet dead in the books. That man? Mance Rayder, the King of the Wildlings, Wildest Man of them All, burned at the stake.
Mance Rayder also appears to be burned at the stake in the books… until it turns out that he was actually secretly alive and a different guy was disguised as him. As the Wiki of Ice and Fire states: “In actuality the man killed is Rattleshirt, who is glamored by Melisandre‘s magic to appear like Mance. Meanwhile, the actual Mance is glamored by a ruby worn at his wrist to appear as Rattleshirt.”
How bad is that? It’s a good example of one of the moments when these books go from “character-driven fantastic realism” to “another goddam fantasy book.” And, if it turns out to be the same thing in the show as in the books, it means that the intense, dramatic, emotionally-moving scene was basically just a magic show, where Jon Snow and Sam Tarwell are the audience.
This is why, despite that I hate the idea of Mance Rayder being dead, I far prefer a dignified death-by-fire-and-arrow scene to “Surprise! He was alive because of magic, and now we are going to send him on a murder mission to a castle.”
Aside from that? The episode was lots of one-on-one dramatic dialogue scenes. Lots of build-up. Plus a pretty cool opening flashback scene that also sort of had an unfortunate Pirates of the Caribbean vibe. That’s all. I’m not going to recap more, because other blogs do that and I don’t want this to become a site dedicated to reminding you of what you just watched.
And yeah, I still hope Daenerys dies.
Funny that a post about this character would be on a site about Bale since …. sometime during last season of GoT, I felt that the actor reminded me of Bale with some of his facial expressions.
I realize this is some time later, however, I should mention a likely fan theory (you know them tin foil hat folk and their spot on accuracy for theory e.g. L+R=J). Said theory is that Mance is Rhaegar and if this is the case, then I very much so would love to see Mance survive the fire ‘n arrow scene. Despite the emotional point in which Jon Snow, Our Lord and Savior, mercy killed him, I would love to see father and son reunitied. Furthermore, the Three Dragons prophecy would require,well, three dragons i.e. Targaryens. Hence, we need Dany, Jon, and Rhaegar who is possibly masquerading as Mance, for this prophecy. Just my “one year later” thoughts. 😛 Cheers mates!