Sons of the Harpy

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"Sons of the Harpy"
Game of Thrones episode
Episode no.Season 5
Episode 4
Directed byMark Mylod
Written byDave Hill
Featured musicRamin Djawadi
Cinematography byAnette Haellmigk
Editing byTim Porter
Original air dateMay 3, 2015 (2015-05-03)
Running time50 minutes
Guest appearances
Episode chronology
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"High Sparrow"
Next →
"Kill the Boy"
Game of Thrones (season 5)
List of episodes

"Sons of the Harpy" is the fourth episode of the fifth season of HBO's fantasy television series Game of Thrones, and the 44th overall. The episode was written by Dave Hill, and directed by Mark Mylod.[1] It aired on May 3, 2015.[2] Prior to airing, this episode was leaked online along with the first three episodes of the season.[3]

The episode received a nomination for a Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Cinematography for a Single-Camera Series at the 67th Primetime Creative Arts Emmy Awards.[4] The episode was met with generally positive reviews, but received heavy criticism for the decision to kill off Ser Barristan Selmy, who in the novels is still alive and is a major supporting character.


At the Wall

Jon sends letters to various nobles requesting men for the Night's Watch, including, to his chagrin, Roose Bolton. Melisandre attempts to seduce Jon to join Stannis in taking Winterfell from the Boltons, but he declines. As she departs, Melisandre repeats Ygritte's saying and final words to Jon, “You know nothing, Jon Snow.”

Shireen asks Stannis if he is ashamed of her deformity from greyscale. Stannis recalls how she contracted greyscale and his efforts to cure her rather than exile her and reaffirms her status as his daughter.

At Winterfell

Petyr informs Sansa that he is leaving Winterfell to return to King's Landing at Cersei's request. He adds that Stannis will soon take Winterfell from the Boltons and make Sansa Wardeness of the North.

In King's Landing

Mace informs Cersei that the Iron Bank has called in 10% of their debt and that they can pay only half that amount. Cersei sends Mace to Braavos with Meryn to negotiate a deal. Mace and Meryn leave immediately, prompting Pycelle to state that the Small Council grows smaller and smaller.

Cersei authorizes the High Sparrow to revive the Faith Militant, the military of the Faith of the Seven. The Faith Militant arrest Loras because of his homosexuality. Margaery asks Tommen to order his release, but the Faith Militant prevent Tommen from disturbing the High Sparrow from prayer. Margaery informs Olenna of the situation.

In Dorne

Jaime and Bronn arrive in Dorne. Jaime tells Bronn that he will kill Tyrion for murdering Tywin if he ever sees him again.

Oberyn's bastard daughters Obara, Nymeria and Tyene, known as the Sand Snakes, learn that Jaime has infiltrated Dorne. They agree to join Ellaria in starting a war against the Lannisters by killing Myrcella.

On the Summer Sea

Jorah sets sail with his captive Tyrion, who deduces Jorah's identity and that he is being taken to Daenerys.

In Meereen

Daenerys receives Hizdahr, who repeats his request to reopen the fighting pits, noting that it can unite the masters and freedmen. Meanwhile, Grey Worm and several Unsullied are attacked by the Sons of the Harpy. Barristan arrives to assist Grey Worm and they are successful in slaying their attackers, before both collapse from their wounds.



This episode was the first to be written by staff writer Dave Hill, who previously worked as an assistant to showrunners David Benioff and D. B. Weiss and contains content from two of George R. R. Martin's novels, A Feast for Crows, The Captain of Guards, Cersei IV and Cersei VI, and A Dance with Dragons, chapters Tyrion VII with elements of Jon I, Jon II, Daenerys II and the Epilogue.[5][6]

Like the season's earlier episodes, "Sons of the Harpy" deviated from George Martin's novels in several places. Hilary Busis and Darren Francich of Entertainment Weekly continued their approval of the decision to consolidate the Sansa and Arya impostor storylines. The scene between Stannis and Shireen was written specifically for the episode.[7] Both Sarah Moran of Screen Rant and Matt Fowler of IGN agreed that interacting with a more visible and vocal Shireen gives Stannis's character some emotional depth, with Moran adding that the change "gives us insight into characters we already know."[8][9]

Moran also approved of the streamlined story and cast, noting that the show has "whittled down Oberyn Martell's bastard daughters from eight to three" and giving Arianne Martell's plotline to the already-established Ellaria Sand.[9] David Crow of Den of Geek expressed reservations about the scene in which Grey Worm and Barristan Selmy are wounded and left for dead, referring to it as "vainglorious and artificial," but he also said, "Bringing Bronn back into the fold was one of Game of Thrones more astute changes from the books as he offers a great counterbalance to either Lannister brother."[10] Matt Fowler of IGN, however, found the acceleration of the Faith Militant storyline jarring, "like a time-crunch collage."[8]


The episode has the introduction of new recurring cast members Keisha Castle-Hughes, Jessica Henwick and Rosabell Laurenti Sellers, who play the Sand Snakes: Obara, Nymeria and Tyene Sand.



"Sons of the Harpy" was watched by an estimated 6.82 million American viewers during its first airing, and received a 3.6 rating among adults 18–49.[11] In the United Kingdom, the episode was viewed by 2.151 million viewers, making it the highest-rated broadcast that week. It also received 0.164 million timeshift viewers.[12]

Critical reception

Rotten Tomatoes scored this episode at 100% based on 30 reviews with an average score of 8.1 out of 10, stating "An episode that benefits from the intricate plotting of the previous three, "Sons of the Harpy" balances bloody action with illuminating character interplay."[13]

David Crow of Den of Geek called this the weakest episode of the season so far but still reasonably solid.[10] Eric Kain of Forbes writes, "All told, an excellent episode filled with revelations and surprises, great action and fantastic drama. I’m excited to see the back story begin to emerge in earnest, something I’ve been wondering about for years."[14]


  1. ^ Hibberd, James (July 15, 2014). "'Game of Thrones' season 5 directors chosen". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved July 15, 2014.
  2. ^ "Shows A-Z - game of thrones on HBO". The Futon Critic. Retrieved March 23, 2015.
  3. ^ Goldman, David (April 12, 2015). "'Game of Thrones': First four episodes leaked before premiere". CNN. Retrieved April 13, 2015.
  4. ^ Haithman, Diane (September 12, 2015). "'Game of Thrones': 67th Primetime Creative Arts Emmy Awards". Deadline. Retrieved December 17, 2015.
  5. ^ "The Surprising Connection Between Game of Thrones and Monty Python". Vanity Fair. March 24, 2014. Retrieved September 7, 2014.
  6. ^ Garcia, Elio; Antonsson, Linda (May 4, 2015). "EP504: THE SONS OF THE HARPY". Retrieved May 4, 2015.
  7. ^ Busis, Hilary; Francich, Darren (May 4, 2015). "Game of Thrones TV Book Club: Did 'Sons of the Harpy' just confirm a huge fan theory?". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved May 4, 2015.
  8. ^ a b Fowler, Matt (May 3, 2015). "Game of Thrones: "Sons of the Harpy" Review". IGN. Retrieved May 4, 2015.
  9. ^ a b Moran, Sarah (May 4, 2015). "'Game of Thrones' Season 5 Episode 4: Book to Screen Spoiler Discussion". Screen Rant. Retrieved May 4, 2015.
  10. ^ a b Crow, David (May 3, 2015). "Game of Thrones: The Sons of the Harpy Review". Den of Geek. Retrieved May 4, 2015.
  11. ^ Kondolojy, Amanda (May 5, 2015). "Sunday Cable Ratings: 'Game of Thrones' Tops Night + 'Real Housewives of Atlanta', 'Silicon Valley' & More". TV by the Numbers. Archived from the original on May 6, 2015. Retrieved May 5, 2015.
  12. ^ "Top 10 Ratings (4-10 May 2015)". BARB. Retrieved April 7, 2016.
  13. ^ "Sons of the Harpy - Game of Thrones: Season 5, Episode 4". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved May 5, 2015.
  14. ^ Kain, Eric (May 3, 2015). "'Game Of Thrones' Season 5, Episode 4 Review: Sons of the Harpy". Forbes. Retrieved May 5, 2015.

External links