The Wars To Come
The Game of Thrones Season 5 has finally started and so has the touring season in Dubrovnik! This is also one of the reasons why I haven’t been posting anything for a while, but I’ll do my best to be up to date as the show progresses and the new Dubrovnik locations are revealed.
The eagerly awaited opening episode “The Wars To Come” is behind us now, but it seems that the HBO has rewarded the broad Game of Thrones fan base with not just one, but four episodes, which have leaked before the planned schedule. I don’t know whether this was a part of an elaborate marketing plan (as HBO is known to taunt us with the stuff from the books that were not supposed to appear on TV), or just the result of an unfortunate string of events (apparently these four episodes had been given to the critics for the review and have somehow managed to find their way to the happy pirating community), but the outcome is just the same. Since I have only seen “The Wars To Come” and am planning to see the other episodes on weekly basis as they get broadcasted on Croatian HBO Original, I can only speculate, but something tells me that the focus of the Game of Thrones audience will be drawn towards the episode 5.
As I’m trying to keep this blog spoiler free, I will not get into much details for those that haven’t read the books or watched the show pass the season 4, so I’ll just provide a brief comment on each of the episodes, with an emphasis to new Dubrovnik locations (providing they show up in the episode).
The episode opens up with the first flashback in the GOT history that involves the episode from Cersei’s past, which gives an impression that the new season is going to be centered on Cersei. After the mentioned flashback is shown, the episode moves to the impressive shot of Dubrovnik’s Jesuit staircase that leads to CGI-ed Sept of Baelor which Cersei solemnly climbs to pay her final respects to her father Tywin and significantly exchanges looks with Margaery (picture courtesy of HBO/Macall B. Polay).
Jesuit staircase is not the only familiar Dubrovnik location on this episode. The episode takes us across the Narrow Sea where we follow Tyrion and Varys who escaped King’s Landing at the end of Season 4. They are now in free city of Pentos, hiding in a villa that belongs to Magister Illyrio Mopatis, Daenerys’ and Viserys’ associate whom we haven’t seen from the first season (picture courtesy of HBO/Macall B. Polay). The filming location is actually Villa Sheherezade, located just outside the Old Town of Dubrovnik near hotel Argentina (which is operated by the same company, the ALH), halfway between Old Town and derelict hotel Belvedere, which features “Trial By Combat” location from the “mind-blowing” scene in Season 4. If anyone is interested, a night at Villa Sheherezade used to cost about 3000€ per night, but they might raise the price since they had received such distinguished guests, such as Tyrion and Varys. And we all know what reputation the Lannisters have 🙂
From other Croatian filming points we had a chance to glimpse at few Split locations (such as the Diocletian’s cellars) in Meereen where Daenerys meets with the new threat to her rule, the clandestine organization the “Sons of Harpy” and experiences some resentment from her overgrown “children”, which are now in custody. The rest of the scenes from the episode involving Sansa&Littlefinger and Podrick&Brienne (whose paths accidentally crossed without anyone knowing) weren’t as notable, however the scenes on the Wall feature couple of memorable moments (Melisandre and Jon in the elevator, Stannis and Davos on top of the Wall gazing in the great unknown) as well as a sad farewell to one of the characters (as I said, no spoilers – so check out the new episode to find out who leaves us).
In a nutshell, I didn’t find “The Wars To Come” an intriguing episode as much as the GOT can actually be, but since this is just the opening of the season I agree that its purpose was to recreate the order after the chaotic finale of Season 4. After all, several important players have left the Game and this is something that needs to be done to re-establish the storyline, especially because the show and the books are now going to diverge drastically. All in all, the episode was OK and the best way to explain how I feel about it would be to compare it to non-alcoholic beer – the taste is similar, but I need something stronger to quench my thirst for the GOT 🙂