‘Thrones’ seems to be in endgame

Carice Von Houton as Melisandre

Courtesy of HBO

Melisandre has a hot moment at the Wall in the Season 5 opener.

Daniel Maraccini, Features editor

The “Game of Thrones” season five premiere, “The Wars to Come,” more than any episode prior, feels close to the series’ end. The world that seemed only to expand during the first four seasons is now contracting, killing off some characters, promising deaths for others and joining together those once distant.

So by the Old Gods and the New, or if you’re feeling frisky by the fiery heart of R’hollor, let’s get into it.

It begins with Cersei: not terrible mother-in-law Cersei, but terrible teenager Cersei. In the flashback, she gets her thumb sucked on by a witch and given a prophecy about her future children: “Gold will be their crowns, and gold their shrouds.” So yeah, King Tommen and Myrcella will be killed, probably before the end of the season.

Please don’t act shocked when it happens, because I am telling you right now, at least eight episodes before, it will happen. The magic ladies who live in forests and suck on teenage girls’ thumbs are almost always right about these things.

In other news involving magic ladies who also happen to suck blood in oddly sexual ways from unassuming children, we have Melisandre. She’s at The Wall now, preying on Jon Snow.

“Are you a virgin?” she asks him in the second most awkward elevator ride I’ve seen on screen this year.

Poor Jon Snow, always looking so pouty in these uncomfortable situations.

But this time you can’t blame him. Not only does he have a fire priestess pawing at him, he has Stannis Baratheon telling him to get Mance Rayder (AKA the King Beyond The Wall, AKA the King No Longer the King Beyond The Wall because He Got Duped by Stannis the Mannis, and Consequently, is Now a Prisoner Inside Previously Mentioned Wall) to bend the knee.

Of course it doesn’t work. Mance, a Wildling through and through, is too stubborn and, understandably, too scared to play the coward in front of 100,000 free folk.

So Melisandre pulls a classic Melisandre: she burns him alive, or at least tries. Before it happens, Jon Snow pulls off a spine tingling act of defiance and young-person existential angst. (For the trillionth time people, Jon Snow does know something.)

This is an all-time moment for the Bastard of Winterfell, but other than that, we get typical season premiere set-up stuff: the surprisingly unfunny duo of Varys and Tyrion plotting their next move in Pentos, Dany’s continuing downward spiral into the Abyss part of the Hero’s Journey, and several departures from The Vale (finally).

Pay-offs are coming, not only those mini season pay-offs, but the big pay-offs. Two fan favorites are destined to meet very soon, big revelations feel close, and of course, winter is now not only coming, but seems to have one foot in the door.