The first episode of Season 5 revealed that Daenerys’s struggle to control the Meereenese is far from over. One of her unsullied soldiers was slain brutally while in the arms of a woman he had presumably been seeing for some time. The killer’s face was not shown, identical horned masks conceal the identities of the many members of this rising faction.
The Sons of the Harpy
These shadowy assassins seem to target any who are affiliated with Daenerys or who may have benefited from her reforms. Seeing as the victims tend to be Daenerys’s soldiers or former slaves, it is not difficult to surmise that the Sons of the Harpy are those whose prosperity has been hindered by the Breaker of Chains: former slave owners and traders.
The Noble families of Meereen have been greatly impaired by the freeing of their slaves. And they have not concealed their hostility towards Daenerys and her regime. If they themselves are not behind the masks, they likely know who is, and hold the power to end the violence if persuaded to do so. This surge of bloodshed raises questions about what the young Targaryen may do in an effort to restore the peace, and what role Hizdahr zo Loraq will play in that effort. Whether or not he can be trusted has yet to be seen.
In the Books
The books have the Sons always attacking at night, and painting a Harpy in the victim’s blood. Dany holds no illusions on how they view her, “Somewhere beneath those roofs, the Sons of the Harpy were gathered, plotting ways to kill her and all those who loved her and put her children back in chains.” The Sons proclaim service to Daenerys as punishable by death, and that any who do so will be slain along with their families. Consequently, Daenerys has her Brazen Beasts wear masks of their own, to conceal their faces. Some are convinced that the Sons of the Harpy have a leader, whom they call the Harpy. Though Dany remains skeptical, and holds the belief that the murders are the work of many groups who have a common cause, rather than one organization who reports to a single master.
In the Show
Though we only have one episode to analyze at this point, the rule of the Sons attacking at night and painting a Harpy in blood, has already been abandoned. This is a minor and largely inconsequential change, but more significant deviations may follow. It is not clear whether the Brazen Beasts will be making an appearance onscreen. And it is probable that the show will provide a single mastermind behind the murders, though the identity of this individual remains to be seen.
With the fourth episode of Season 5 is titled The Sons of the Harpy, it is likely that Meereen will be steeped in Chaos for some time yet.
Daenerys excerpt taken from A Dance with Dragons chapter 11