Game of Thrones 5.10 – Mother’s Mercy

Hey. Can I just lay my head on your shoulder for a minute? Thanks. I’m just… no, I don’t need a drink of water, thank you. I’m just really really tired. Hmm, that’s not the right word, it’s… Fatigued? That’s it. I’m fatigued.

literally me. I am Clyde Frog.

literally me. I am Clyde Frog.

I bet you are, too. Or you should be. What are we doing, guys? What–

Screw it. Let’s do this. And for what it’s worth, I literally write these AS I WATCH, so enjoy the energy drop as you go. EDIT: I am not a book reader. I am deleting comments that mention details from the books. Don’t be that person. If you’re new, now you know: NO BOOK TALK.

Previously: STANNIS BROKE OUR HEARTS. Also, other things, but mostly that first one. Thanks, Lord of Light, if that is indeed your real name. HARUMPH.

But hmm. The ice is melting. Well fuck you very much, I guess you’re real. But guess what? Stannis isn’t so keen on celebrating, Melisandre, so keep your sexy “aww yeah, who’s a Big King?” hands to yourself, mm’kay? Also, the whole “kill your child, win the war” tactic cost Stannis half of his men to desertion. The ones with the horses. Well… great. (We all noticed Fire Crotch Mage’s hair slowly turning red again, correct? That… okay, that’s cool. MORE OF THIS, LESS BABY MURDERING. Also: WHY DOES IT DO THAT.)

Soldier: So… Um. Sir? It’s just… Well. Uh.
Stannis: Speak up! You can’t shock me!
Me: YES. YOU SHOULD HAVE DONE THIS. And who also should have? *cough* Papa.
Stannis: So… I really hate everything happening. I feel like hell, and I look like hell. I know that I should, okay? Iron throne…. Maybe not worth it? Well, I made a deal, and people should honor their–
FCM: LATER BITCHES. [sneaks out]
Stannis: –I guess there’s nowhere to go but forward. DAMMIT.

Jon tells Sam of the undead army, how it’s basically the biggest in the world, and hey: they’re already dead, so… Let’s hope they can’t climb the Wall? [tugs neckline] Sam hones in on the sword that killed the White Walker being Valyrian steel and asks the smartest question yet: SPREADSHEET OF VALYRIAN STEEL SWORDS/OWNERSHIP/LOCATIONS PLS.

jon snow samwell tarley

HEY LET’S REMEMBER THIS NICE MOMENT SHALL WE? Just guys being dudes, dudes being guys.

Great line: Jon acknowledging them being the most hated dudes at the Wall. “Long may they sneer.” Hahaha. Ha. Ahem.

Sam wants to be sent to Imperial City and attend Arcane University to level up his mage and intellect to +4 Maester, because then he’ll be of more help to Jon. Um, I think Sam isn’t getting how quickly Winter Is Coming. I assume the studies to become a Maester are arduous and the years of training long. But mostly he just doesn’t want to fail Gilly and baby Morsel. But look. Jon has to make hard decisions. Which means he rolls over instantly. COME ON, JON. But ha, Sam and Jon high five over Sam having gotten some before his quick send off.

Stannis leads his men on a march to Winterfell, so at least he follows his word, you know? The shot of Winterfell in the distance is pretty bad ass, as is the shot inside of the Boltons prepping for war. Sansa uses the confusion and her wine opener (ha, I called it) to escape, cross the yard and get to the north tower.

Pod, with a brace of coneys [What’s coneys, Precious?], sees the army approaching and runs to Brienne, who sits safely and watches for any sign of light in the tower. Sansa continues her trek there, but before she can climb the tower, she walks off, missing the light in the tower OH MY GOD ARE YOU KIDDING ME.

But just as Stannis gives the order to his men to Battle of Bulge dig in for the fight tomorrow, the Boltons are all, “HOW ABOUT WE GET RIGHT TO IT?” riding out immediately.

I do like that Sansa is all Rapunzel up in her tower, hopefully safe from all of this nonsense.

Stannis Baratheon

This man has all the makings of a King. Well, almost all.


A soldier cries out, we’ve got no chance! But Stannis, and god dammit, I still think this man is a hell of a leader—BAD DADDY in the end, but a hell of a leader—draws his sword, still in front of his men, and they all pull iron, too. It’s a freaking amazing shot of the Boltons in perfect formation, the Baratheon army in disarray, and then we can hear the sound of swords cutting bodies into two. Yeesh.

Stanis forces himself to standing, using his sword as a cane. Two Boltons come at him, and he fucking takes them both out, even after getting sliced across the leg. This man… Dammit. BRIENNE APPEARS BEFORE HIM. Tells him he knows about the murder, the blood magic, and is here to watch him die. Scratch that, she’s here to sentence him to die. Any last words?

“Do your duty.”



Cut to Ramsay taking out the last of the Baratheon army. Ahh, Ramsay’s having a great day! The birds are calling, the sun is out, and the dead cover the entire ground.

Sansa Stark Theon Greyjoy

Beautiful child… Young woman… Precious lamb. [cries]

Sansa races back to her rooms, but is caught by Myranda and Reek. Sansa says if she’s going to die, then let it be when there’s still some of her spirit left. Myranda thinks this is hilarious! Honey, no one cares about your spirit! Plus, you don’t kill things you slowly torture! Look at Reek, here! Oh, the things I’m gonna do to you….



[mournfully sings “We Both Go Down Together“]

Also, holy shit, Stannis is just dead? Sorry, still processing that one. All that build up, all of that… I mean, that’s pretty much how life works, I know, and it fits in with my lack of belief in a god, but damn. DAMN. All of that for fucking nothing. WHich, yeah, again, I know, but this is supposed to be entertainment.

In Pedophile Brothel, Trant is getting excited about whipping some babies because everything is awful and we almost went a few minutes without being reminded that everywhere in the world, little girls are hurt by men. HA. ALMOST FORGOT FOR TEN SECONDS. There are three little girls in there with him, and he has a cane that he’s beating them with AND WHY DO I NEED TO SEE THIS? Trick question because: I don’t.

I don’t, you don’t, the good people of the world don’t, WE DO NOT. We know he’s bad. It’s been well established. Oh, I can see the hateful comments I block coming now, and I want you to think about that for a moment. Think about the times you’ve been angry with ME for not wanting to watch little girls be beaten or raped. Or little boys. Or Theon. But yeah, I’m who you should be mad at. SORRY, this season I just got a bunch of shitty people saying shitty things about me, and I have no patience for it any more.

I want you to think long and hard about why you think we DO need to see this, if you’re of that particular mindset. And then I want you to feel bad about yourself. You know what they could have done? Shown the girls, shown the cane, then let us hear the sounds as it focuses on a candle flickering, or on a teddy bear or some shit as a sign of “they are young and innocent, and that’s what he delights in ruining.” And then, cut to:

Girl number three not crying out. He hits her a few times, but she just rocks with it. He gets excited. “I can see I have my work cut out for me.” The girl moves her hair, it’s the girl who drank the water in the House of Black and White, and he punches her belly, knocking her to the floor. Then she stands, TAKES OFF HER FACE TO REVEAL ARYA, who promptly blinds him in both eyes and gags him with some cloth as he screams while she stabs him over and over. WOW.

“You’re the first person on my list, you know.” He whimpers and cries as she asks if he knows who she is. She stabs him in the belly for the hell of it, pierces his spine, tells him she’s Arya Stark and he is no one, nothing, and slits his throat. HELL. YEAH. Cold as ice, Arya Stark. Until she sneaks back home to hide the face back in the wall where it belonged and this is not going to end well.

“A Girl has taken a life. The wrong life.”

BUSTED! She stole from the Many-Faced God, and now a debt is owed. Angry Co-Worker holds her as Jaqen pops the cap off a bottle of poison and NOPE. No. They… This isn’t going where I think it is? This–


Co-Worker: Why are you crying?
Arya: He was my friend!
Co-Worker: No he wasn’t. Also, WAS THIS YOUR CARD?!?! [shows that SHE IS THE ACE OF JAQEN NOT A GIRL, WHAT.]
Me: What sort of trickery is this?
Jaqen: Tricks are for WHORES. What I do are ILLUSIONS.
Arya: Wait, then whose face is this? [pulls faces off ‘Jaqen’ like it’s a multi-colored ribbon trick until she gets to HER face, because OHO she IS the one who took the poison after all? I think?]

She goes blind, panics, and I have no idea what’s really happening (although I have my theories). So, he said if you don’t become No One properly, wearing a face is basically a death sentence? Or she’s blind until she dies? IDK.

In Dorne, Mrycella kisses her future Father In Law’s cheek, and Ellaria kisses Myrcella square on the mouth for waaaay too long, and I’ve seen enough spy movies to know she has poison lipstick. Right? That has to be what’s happening here. Bronn says goodbye to the weirdly sexual Sand Snake who says, “You want a good girl, but you need the bad pussy” and bites his ear, and that wasn’t…

Honey. GIRL. Let’s talk, Camera Two. You’re coming on strong, okay? A little mystery goes a long way. Also, you just said you have bad pussy. What would have worked was “a bad girl’s pussy.” Fellas into ladies? Ladies into ladies? Back me up here. Also, you’re like, thirteen. Stop it. It’s creepy.

Jamie has a moment with his neice-daughter, and it’s very sweet. So: perfect time to ruin it!

Jaime: When a brother and sister love each other very much, they bring down a dynasty.
Myrcella: Wait. Wait a minute. Did you think I didn’t know you’re my father uncle? I’ve known for a while you’re my uncle Daddy.
Jaime: I… Huh. Okay. You mean… I get Father’s Day gifts now?! [lip wobble]
Myrcella: [bleeding out of her nose, gasping for breath, dies in her father’s arms]
Ellaria: [wipes off poisoned lipstick, takes the antidote, walks off with her viper babies]

Son of a bee sting. That little girl did NOTHING WRONG. Welp, better dead than living in this world, I suppose? SIIIIIIIIGH.

Tyrion sits with Daario and Jorah, all waiting for Dany to finish her Ultimate Dragon Experience, and can’t help but point out to both bros that they’re not really going to Get The Girl in the end, like, come on, dudes. “We always want the wrong woman.” Grey Worm staggers out with Missandei on his arm, wanting Jorah to leave, but that’s because he hasn’t been caught up by Tyrion’s nostril Valyrian. (Hahaha, that was cute.)

The plan shakes down thusly: Tyrion is shit on a horse and with a sword, but boss at running cities. Missandei and GreyWorm are the cutest couple ever and need to stay put so their love will flourish (blah blah, leader of the Unsullied, most trusted advisor of the Queen, I HEARD WHAT I HEARD), so they’ll stick it out in Meereen while Jorah and Daario continue their pissing contest as they search for Dany.

And WELL, WELL, WELL, Varys appears! He has some good advice: keep your head down and get some excellent spies. Or, well, ha, perhaps take Varys on as a Master of Whispers? Tyrion’s shoulders visibly sag in relief. Finally, intellectual equals back on our screen!

Hey guys? Stannis is dead. Fucking… God dammit.

Not dead: Daenerys and Drogon, although Drogon isn’t looking too good. KITTY LIZARD BABY, NOO!! They are ENDANGERED ANIMALS. She climbs aboard his back, trying to encourage him to fly, but he’s either too wounded (we see all of his wounds) or sleepy tie-tie as he rests his schnozz on his wing/foot and takes a fiver.

Drogon dragon Daenerys Targaryen


She wanders off the beautiful grassy hillside in search of food, water, civilization, when a man on horse rides up. And a few others. Many others. Lots and lots and lots of others. She takes off her ring and drops it to the ground as a horde surrounds her. To her credit she keeps calm.

Also keeping calm is Cersei, bedraggled and beaten down in her cell, curling away as the Mean Nun comes in to tell her to confess once more. And, son of a bitch, she does. She goes to the High Sparrow and begs to be clean again, wants absolution. But first, if she confesses, she’ll get out of there, right?

High Sparrow: ….possibly.
Cersei: Fine. I’ll talk! In third grade, I cheated on my history exam. In fourth grade, I stole my uncle Max’s toupee and I glued it on my face when I was Moses in my Hebrew School play.
High Sparrow: That’s… not exactly what I meant–
Cersei: In fifth grade, I knocked my sister Edie down the stairs and I blamed it on the dog. When my dad sent me to the summer camp to keep me off my brother I switched to fucking my cousins.
High Sparrow: Good lord!
Cersie: But the worst thing I ever done – I mixed a pot of fake puke at home and then I went to this movie theater, hid the puke in my jacket, climbed up to the balcony and then, t-t-then, I made a noise like this: hua-hua-hua-huaaaaaaa – and then I dumped it over the side, all over the people in the audience. And then, this was horrible, all the people started getting sick and throwing up all over each other. I never felt so bad in my entire life.
High Sparrow: Um, so let’s get to the real sins here? Let’s talk about the Flowers in your Attic.
Cersei: I don’t know what you’re talking about because let’s just say for the sake of argument that I did boink my brother and produced three gene-creeps for heirs, that would make my son’s claim to the throne illegitimate, and I’m not going there. Because… I didn’t. Boink my brother. Over and over. Including one time over our dead son’s body. Because he wasn’t our dead son? Shit.
High Sparrow: This seems reasonable to me. We’ll have a trial, then!
Cersei: FUCKING TRIAL?? I— JFC, um, let me try this. Mother’s Mercy, may I at least see my son just for some heartening?
High Sparrow: This sounds lovely. Aww, mothers! So now let’s get to your atonement.
Cersei: …creepy priest says what?

Cut To: Cersei getting her Karen Silkwood shower from the Mean Nuns. They are not nice about it, and they’re not very good at it, either, and that’s a hell of a Merkin she’s wearing. Also, that’s fucking brave as shit to do this scene in the nude, Lena.

Mean Nun grabs a straight blade while Cersei death stares her. NOT HER HAIR, HER GLORIOUS HAIR. Oh yeah. Atone for the sin of thinking you’re pretty and using your body for sin, sister. She keeps it together while they do this, but just barely. She’s a woman who is good with a cold dish of revenge, is our Cersei. She looks beaten down and her scalp is bleeding, and the glamorous Cersei is gone. But she doesn’t care. She promised the Mean Nun she’d see her dead, and I believe she’ll do it.

She’s led in front of the city where she’s announced as a woman of falsehood and fornication. (Uh, ye who are without sin cast the first stone, come the hell on.) She has her eyes on the Red Keep, though, and I’m pretty sure it’s giving her strength. High Sparrow says she’s gonna do an Extreme Walk Of Shame, and they strip her so she has to walk down the steps and through the crowd as Mean Nun says “Shame” over and over and come the fuck on. SERIOUSLY?

First off, let’s call it a Pride Stride. Or Laid Parade. Second, GODDAMN, LENA. The crowd is parted by the Forehead Brigade as the crowd begins to join in with whore, cunt, shame, so on. But she’s keeping her eye on the backs of her “protectors” as they throw things at her, spit, and wow, people really are awful, aren’t they?

PRIDE STRIDE, Cersei Lannister shame


Okay, this is fucking brutal. People are throwing their pisspots on her, spitting on her, and she doesn’t let one tear fall, not one. She’s, dare I say, Queenly in her walk. OMG, if you weren’t rooting for her to keep it together, then you’re a liar. She falls to her knees, finally cries just a little but keeps her eyes on the castle and the Kingsguard just in the distance. Keep going, oh my god. The gates are just ahead, and then she begins to weep, safe with the red cloaks standing watch.

She enters the castle, Qyburn is there to cover her, and god damn Grand Maester Cat Piss is smirking at her, and you and your grey pud can go to hell, Cat Piss. Qyburn also shows her the newest member of the Kingsguard, ZOMBIE MOUNTAIN, who picks her up in his arms. And apparently he won’t speak until all of her enemies are dead. OHO.

If I may help you in your list?

  • Mean Nun
  • High Sparrow
  • Cat Piss
  • your nasty Uncle Kevan who wouldn’t stand up for you
  • SNAPE because I don’t know how anyone thinks he’s a hero, sorry, I know it’s the wrong fandom, but it bears repeating, Snape tortured children.
  • Uh, probably Baelish, IDK, I’m getting carried away

Hey, what’s up at the Wall? Davos is there wanting people to fight for Stannis, not knowing they’re dead already. HEY AND FIRE CROTCH MAGE, fully red now, SHOWS UP. Davos wants to know about Shireen. Welp, she’s dead, her mother’s dead and Stannis by now is most likely dead, too. Hitched your wagon to the wrong star, buddy.

Jon reads his Owls, I mean, his Ravens, and looks pretty stressed. YEAH. LIFE IS SHIT. I don’t know what anyone is fighting for! Well, maybe for this? Olly comes in, says Uncle BenJen from Season one is actually still alive, according to a Wildling and… wait a damn minute.

Olly Jon Snow The Watch


Olly hates Wildlings. Why is he talking to them? Why is he listening to them? This has trap written all over it. Especially when Lord Butt Hurt says more information, leading Jon to a sign that reads TRAITOR.

I swear to fucking god, you guys. I need to drink more, I really do.


Oh, what was that? You want me to stop watching? I know what I heard, okay?

GUYS. WHAT ARE YOU DOING. WHAT ARE YOU DOING WHAT WHAT WHAT?! He’s still standing for a moment, looking at them all in shock as they back away. Olly comes forward and no. Come on. (Jon looks pretty good for being stabbed eight times, though) but Olly grits his teeth, knuckles away a tear, and stabs him in the chest, “For the Watch.”


WHAT AM I WATCHING WHAT THE SHIT IS THIS?? No, je refuse. This isn't happening. This is a red herring. CALLING IT NOW.

WHAT AM I WATCHING WHAT THE SHIT IS THIS?? No, je refuse. This isn’t happening. This is a red herring. CALLING IT NOW.


They just–

Show? If I may? If you don’t give me anything to root for, WHY SHOULD I WATCH?? I mean this genuinely and sincerely. I know there are the weirdos who love to laugh at people being shocked and upset anytime something bad happens on screen, giggling into their bag of Funyuns to say, “What show did you think you were watching?”

I thought I was watching a show about people getting knocked down but there being a reason to fucking stand up again, that’s what I thought.

If there’s nothing to live for, why live? For a moment of sex after getting your face beaten in? For a nice chat with your daughter before she chokes on her own blood? For the realization that your broken foster brother maybe isn’t so broken as you jump to your death? For the promise of winning a war only to be destroyed soundly? To get revenge over the men who killed people you loved only to be punished for it with blindness and possibly death?

WHAT ARE WE HERE FOR? Faces of Death Part A Million? I didn’t sign up for that. I don’t know what we’re here for anymore. I don’t want to just watch torture porn. I don’t want to just watch people fail over and over with nothing good ever fucking happening.


What are we here for? Was it beautifully shot? Yes. Was it beautifully acted? Of course. Are the scenes gorgeous and the pain evident and the effects glorious and the story richly detailed? Absolutely. But what the fuck is in it for me as a viewer if I don’t want to just watch people ripped apart—literally, most of the time—and want to know why everyone isn’t just running themselves into swords? Because what the hell is there to live for in Westeros??

leave me alone to die

If you read about the Tainos—the people who lived in the Greater and Lesser Antilles where Christopher Columbus and his men landed—you learn that they were so filled with despair as Chris’s men sharpened their swords on their rib cages, raped their people, atrocity upon atrocity, that the women began drowning their babies, then drowned themselves. Two million people wiped off the earth (for the most part). Because what was the fucking point?

So… what is the fucking point? Can anyone remember anything good that happened this season? Something we can rally around? I’m struggling, I really am. I am filled with fucking despair and I’m looking for a water hole. I’m not going to stop watching, because I see shit to the end (just look at my marriage, ba-dum bum CHING!) plus I’m hoping for Sansa miraculously surviving, for Jon miraculously surviving, for Arya miraculously surviving, for Gendry to have been a one legged duck rowing in a circle this whole time. I need to pin my hopes on SOMEONE, and it sure as hell ain’t gonna be Tommen.

“Rocks fall; everyone dies” is an internet meme, not a screenwriting direction. Am I going to think differently after watching more? I don’t know, I don’t know.

Talk me down, guys. I wish it wasn’t so damn pretty to watch, I really do. :(


I mean, this is how we leave until next April? Do you even want to come back and talk with me about this show? Siiiiiigh.

WELP, HERE WE GO WITH A NEW SEASON! Make with the clicking for 6.1

Please like & share:
  • Josie Morin

    This episode made me all whyyyyyyyyyyyyyy

  • Zack

    I mean…it’s like judging Star Wars as a depressing series after only watching ANH and ESB.

    We need to stick with it. Good guys die, bad guys live. Just as often as the inverse. That’s the world.

    But I love stories of phyrric victories. They’re probably my favorite kind. And that seems to be this series’ M.O.

    Also Meryn Trant needed to be castrated and/or flayed. Needed a play date with Ramsay Snow.

    • UM. That’s faulty logic because A Brand New Hope ends positively, could have been a complete movie, and even Empire didn’t hit the levels of darkness that GoT does (and also, ended on a positive, hopeful note).

      I love pyrrhic victories, too. I would like to have them. I don’t have faith that we WILL. Like, I am at 0 faith. -0.

      • Zack

        Haha, fair enough. I am just trying to emphasize that we are 5/7ths complete and that’s –supposed– to be a narrative low point in a three act structure, where things look the worst for a happy outcome. This is the Empire Strikes Back portion of Game of Thrones. You feeling bummed, stressed and drained is probably what they want. That’s how I am, too. I’m just pretty sure the next two seasons are going to be what makes all this suffering worth it.

        • Well, from your hopeful lips to D&D’s ears, my friend. I really hope you’re right. (And I appreciate you trying to pull me from the Swamp of Sadness, Atreyu.) <3

          • Dunk the Lunk

            This feels like Survivor where they get to the final vote. The power has shifted and GRRM is you jury. D&D have caught up on all the story lines they were following. We are all unsullied now and waiting (hoping) for a little warmth from the Winds of Winter when it comes.

  • cdvla313

    Well…Brienne got her revenge? And is still alive? (Damnit, I just jinxed it, didn’t I?)

    And hey, Bran is still out there…somewhere…north of the wall…yeah.

    But everyone needs to stick with the show to see if anyone does miraculously survive. You can do it!

    • Ha!! OH GOD, BRIENNE!!! D: I wonder if she even felt satisfaction at having gotten to do that? =/

      I’m not quitting the show, as I said in the recap, but it’s REALLY HARD to maintain a sense of entertainment when there is none.

  • magnusk_98

    Alright, Laura, here I am to talk you down, after returning from a night shift, not having seen the episode, yet having read the books. And, no, I am not going to do a big book to show comparison, although by this point we are 99,99% equal in our up-to-date-ness on the current happenings. I think there is literally one thing which hasn’t happened from the books in the show and that is not even something major and important. Maybe two, but also not really important.

    In any case, even with the show doing things different from the books, three things seem pretty certain to me.

    1.) Arya is not dead, nor will she be permanently blinded. The show and the books have pretty much worked up to her becoming a ninja assassin and thusly her punishment will not be permanent.

    2.) Sansa ain’t dead, either, because the writers don’t want to get lynched by angry mobs, especially after episode six.

    3.) Jon… well. He’s dead. But he not necessarily needs to stay so. The writers pretty clearly have moved an important piece back towards his location in Melisandre, who after all has real magic powers, which should include the same resurrection type Thoros of Myr was able to do a few seasons back to Berric Dondarrion (and, wow, do we have a dropped plot thread, there). According to the Chekov’s Gun trope, you normally don’t have a situation like this come up and not use the real option you left yourself to resolve it to move the plot forward.

    I’ll get into some book comparison here, because there is nothing left to spoil, we are at the exact same point of knowledge here. In the books, Jon also was stabbed at the end and pretty clearly was dying, but by different people, yet for the same reasons. Contrary to the series, the books made the whole warging into animals a thing, which has not been emphasized at all in the series, so that’s the vector I think GRRM will be going in the next book. That the writers of the series moved Melisandre back to the wall is pretty much a big indicator where they probably will go next season.

    OTOH, maybe both them and GRRM are trolling us. But I doubt it. The whole zombie invasion angle is something which needs to be handled in detail and who exactly, aside from Jon, could be picking up this narrative thread? Nobody else present at the wall qualifies as a capable enough protagonist to deal with a zombie invasion, aside from maybe Brienne and she doesn’t have any pull with either the Watch or the wildlings.

    So, while I am also a bit disheartened (but had that moment of despair years ago), I remain cautiously optimistic that there will be turn-around next season. Unless, now that they have slipped the leash of GRRMs narrative, the writers make all the normal TV series mistakes you’d expect them to make. However, there were a lot of plot threads we saw coming this season, so I think Melisandre being back at the wall is something which also will come into play to get Jon back.

    • [still skipping over everything related to the books because they actually are still relevant as spoilers because we don’t have the full story]

      • Dunk the Lunk

        #ForeverUnsullied #Stickler4Life :-D

  • AndyStreet

    Well… Bronn had a nice holiday I guess? And despite continuing to be terrible at retrieving Stark daughters, Brienne managed to fulfill at least one of her oaths?

    I am pretty sure Sansa and Theon aren’t dead. And for Jon to be permanently dead at this point would be a huge, decades long act of trolling by George R R Martin given the amount of unfinished threads it would leave dangling and… er… he’s going to do it isn’t he?

    I do know how you feel – when you invest so much time and emotion into something over such an extended period of time there just has to be some kind of pay off. surely? Otherwise what’s the point? At this point I am still in. but I am starting to give serious consideration to the possibility that this is all just some epic, 22 years-and-countin-long experiment in how long readers/viewers will put up with having the rug pulled out from under them without any reward…

    • two_owls

      Not showing Stannis being killed was waaaay too suspicious. Actually, as far as GoT tropes go, “someone takes a swing at X, followed by a quick cut to another scene” = “X is still alive, because reasons”.

      A crazy theory: Stannis can earn some redemption by abandoning his people-burning ways and joining the Night’s Watch. Soon they will need all they can get to fight the White Walkers, and he’s still one hell of a soldier. And/or Davos hears about Sheereen’s death from one of deserters and promptly strangles Stannis with his bare hands.

      • Lyanna Mormont

        On the other hand, if Stannis IS dead, then Davos may never know just HOW Shireen died. Because who’s going to tell him – Melisandre? I think I’d prefer him not to have his worst fears confirmed…

    • I do think that Jon dying is a red herring, I do. A “powerful mage” just arrived right the in stab, er, nick of time, and weren’t there the Lord of Light dudes in early S2 who came back to life? There’s something to it.

      But I feel like the show hates me. It wants to point fingers at me after I fell in love with the kitten it was playing with and then made me watch Clockwork Orange style as it broke each paw before snapping its neck.

      I need the reward. I need a BIG reward. It’s been all punishment, and nothing big enough. Not even Joffrey’s death was a big enough reward. That was the obligatory pair of dress socks from Grandma under the holiday tree.

      • Christian

        It’s interesting, innit? And Melisandre was so shocked when she heard Thoros could actually bring Beric Dondarrion back from the dead…

        • Was she shocked? I don’t remember her ever knowing that even happened. Hmm. Dare I watch S2 again??

          • Christian

            Or at least baffled – it’s Episode 3×06, the one where Jon & Co. climb the wall…

          • MaxwellJames

            As I recall, she was very disturbed.

            • AndyStreet

              Here’s my take on Melisandre, especially regarding how she reacts to that scene. Melisandre is a true, devout believer, and she genuinely thought that she was doing the right thing and that Stannis was her messiah. We know magic exists independently from the Rhllor religion – we have seen those warlocks in Qarth, and the faceless men, and the medicine woman who killed Drogo in S1, amongst other things. We have seen prophecies made and at least partially come true that were in no way linked to the Lord of Light. Melisandre has also admittedly used tricks (sorry, ILLUSIONS), chemicals and powders etc to enhance her air of mysticism and ‘lead people to the Lord of Light’. Perhaps the genuine magic Mel has performed (eg the shadow baby) is part of this – she genuinely possesses magic powers or knows how to tap into them and uses this to try to bring people to her religion, but the magic doesn’t necessarily come from Rhllor. When she met Beric and Thoros, it was the first time she had ever come across a genuine, seemingly divine miracle, and it was being performed by this drunken failure of a priest who had never even truly believed, not like she had. He had prayed without any real faith, simply because his friend was dead, and Rhllor had answered him. To someone like Mel, that has to shake her absolute certainty that she is in the right and knows the will of her god. The possibility that she might not have interpreted what the Lord is saying to her is a very disturbing one for her.

      • JP

        Maybe you should try the prequel novellas between seasons. Same universe, but in a more peaceful time so things aren’t as grim. I don’t remember anything that could be considered a spoiler. Though there was one thing that better informed something that happens, but I only realized that after finishing everything and reading Song of Ice and Fire forums.

        • MaxwellJames

          I’ll endorse this! The Tales of Dunk & Egg are quite good, a little grim but considerably less so than the main novels (at least so far). Plus you would learn more about Maester Aemon’s brother, briefly mentioned in an earlier episode.

      • Lyanna Mormont

        Um… it’s always darkest before the dawn?

        Of course, it isn’t actually. Everyone who’s ever watched a sunrise knows that. But in a narrative sense, it often is darkest shortly before the end, just to add more oomph to the triumphant win at the end.

        Not that I necessarily think the end of the series is going to be triumphant, but it’ll be enough for us to count it a win and believe that there’s a future for our surviving favorites. Which means it has to get really dark first, so we’ll be terrified they WON’T survive.

  • caycos

    My plan rests on Rickon. Sansa and Theon will be just ok, and Brienne and Pod will rescue them, and they will all disappear to find Rickon. Pod will gradually restore Sansa’s ability to love and that will be beautiful. They will find wherever Rickon and Osha went, and Brienne and Osha will fall gloriously and completely in love and imagine how cool that will be. Rickon will be old enough to be at the front of a massive pack of direwolves who will GET RAMSAY. And Arya will turn up with all the ninja power and face turning, and Jon will almost certainly be saved by Melisandre (can’t see why else she’d be there) and him coming back to life will turn those stupid men in black into cowering loyal men.

    And when the white walkers and the wights show up. Bran will show them who’s who and what’s what.

    Happy ever after you’re welcome.

    (none of that is based on anything apart from my will and imagination).

    Ps. Dragons.

    • Christian

      Will there be a musical number, too?

      • caycos

        Sansa and Pod, Sound of Music styles…. “Somewhere in my tormented childhood, I must have done something gooooood”

        • Christian

          I’d buy that. I think those Red Nose Day skit had some pretty good ideas too ^^

          • Lyanna Mormont

            “Closer to hoooome…” (Billowing gauzy curtains in the background, dramatic hand reaching up into the air.)

            • Christian

              I almost fell off my chair at that one :D What a spirited lad indeed!

    • moata

      This sounds lovely. Pod and Sansa 2gether 4ever!

    • I would like for Bran to warg into a dragon, find two more Our Side wargs for the other two dragons, and they burninate the WWs.


      (I totally agree about Melisandre and Jon.)

      • Lyanna Mormont

        I would like Arya and Sansa to meet again and give each other one very big very long hug. Then Nymeria comes gambolling up at them and starts licking Arya’s face, and Sansa cries a little because she’s thinking about Lady, and Brienne watches over them both, and then at the crest of the hill we see Hodor leading a horse with Bran on its back, and there’s Ghost, and Jon, and they’re all laughing and hugging and asking what’s been happening to the others, and they’re looking at Winterfell – which has a Stark direwolf sigil flying over it again – and they start to talk about rebuilding, and then as the scene starts to fade to dark you hear one of them say “Spring is Coming.”

        The End.

  • Fluffinmyturnups


    Worst episode ever. I think the Benioff & Weiss guys have just got bored

    How many characters did they just kill off?

    To be honest Laura, youve given me a chink of light – will Melisandre resurrect Jon? Its the only hope for the show

    • Fluffinmyturnups

      okay so there seems to be some internet consenus that Jon may not be finished from the show but it was still a dreadful episode

      a lot of it seemed really hurried.

      Meryn whipping the girls was another really pointless sadism against women that for me really went over the limit. Arya’s attack on Meryn at first i thought was a dream sequence as it seemed pretty daft. And then we had some masks and then she went blind. Ho hum. Whatever.

      i didnt particularly enjoy the Cersei naked walking scene and i thought Frankenmountain seemed really silly

      The riders riding around Daenerys was pretty unsatisfying too.

      Did Brienne kill Stannis?

      Sansa and Reek leaping off big wall, yeah?

      • I think Cersei’s walk of shame was another example of the sexism of this show. She did have a point – Robert Baratheon and countless other lords, and men go around nullifying their wedding vows by whoring around, but no, it’s always the woman who gets the punishment. Even the people who were shaming her on the streets – how many of them are sinless? And that smug smirking Mean Nun – she really is going to regret the day she ever went to Cersei asking her to confess. Cersei is going to skin her alive, Bolton style – you could see that in Lena’s eyes. (Brilliant acting, by the way)

        • Christian

          I haven’t seen it yet, but was rather looking forward to see Lena Headey act in that scene. Is it really that bad, or is it just too much in the context of the sheer amount of abuse heaped upon women this season?
          From what I gathered this far, it’s at least not played for cheap nudity and titillation and The Internet seems more concerned with the bad CGI in the scene.

          • I’ll just say that I found that series of moments to be some of the best acted and most powerful emotionally on the series. It didn’t offend me, honestly, and I didn’t take it as sexist–there wasn’t anything cheap in it.

            For me it was all about Cersei, about this person who has done many terrible things in secret, is punished to expose her for those crimes/sins, and the atonement scene is unbelievably powerful. The range of emotions that flash across her face are astounding.

            • Christian

              That’s what I was hoping – wouldn’t expecting anything less from Lena Headey, too.

            • I felt it was less of her atonement (because she is not atoning) and more about the zealots and flea’s bottom getting to ridicule the proud queen. Instead of reveling in her shame, I found myself feeling sorry for her. And maybe it’s all the things that they have done to the female characters so far that this one just seemed a routine ‘which female character should we torture this episode?’

              • Christian

                Which is actually a shame – by overdoing the pointless abuse scenes, they may have provoked people into overreacting to this (in the context of the narrative) important one.

                • Yeah, if it was supposed to be about Cersei getting what was deserved to her, it would have ended right at the scene where she was lapping water off the floor. Everything after that just made us pity her, and in the context of the season, feel sorry for her.

              • But… that was the point of the scene, to feel sorry for her? But hey, you’re 100% entitled to coming away with what you do. I get that, I do.

            • Brenna Noonan

              Also, Laura, not sure if someone else in the comments mentioned this, but they used a body double for Cersei’s nude scenes, as Lena Headey has a no-nudity clause in her contract. So they CGI’d her head onto another woman’s body. It’s pretty astounding that she could still show that range of emotion given that her face and head are on a totally different body!

          • It’s awful how they are all slut-shaming her, literally

            • Christian

              I’m ok with that in the context of the Story – and I think the hipocrisy of the people doing the shaming isn’t lost on the creators.
              Will offer my thoughts on that once I’ve actually seen the episode, thanks for the clarification though!

            • Absolutely. I’m surprised I’m not more enraged, honestly. It’s a nod to Lena’s acting, I think, that I saw that as a moment of absolute strength on her part, and I came away with faith that she is going to exact revenge on those who deserve it.

              IDK, maybe I’m so burned out that I saw that scene that way. I was watching the actress, truthfully.

              • Exactly! By the end of the season, I was like – why did I ever hate Cersei? She is such a strong woman character! (Kidding, I do remember the awful things she has done, but I kinda love her now). And kudos to Lena for making me feel that way. Honestly, I am so conflicted – do I hate her anymore? I kinda want her to get her revenge – specifically on that Mean Nun. In that scene where Cersei falls down, she is smirking! She is enjoying Cersei’s pain, and that made me hurt even more.

                • It’s illustrating that there is always someone worse. ALWAYS. =/

            • Lyanna Mormont

              But that’s the point, isn’t it? To show how awful slut-shaming is, and how hypocritical, and damaging, and just plain WRONG. It wasn’t written in a way that reveled in Cersei’s shame, IMO. The nudity, for example, wasn’t sexualized, it was about raw vulnerability and Cersei’s struggle to stay on her feet no matter what they threw at her (literally and figuratively). She stumbled and bent and cracked but Did. Not. Break.

        • Lucia Scarpati

          Th show is sexist because it’s depicting sexism? I’m pretty sure neither the writers nor the director is suggesting that Cersei deserved this

          • Agreed. If anything, this is a moment that would make the staunchest Cersei haters want to give her a hug and a blanket.

            • I really did want to.

            • Lucia Scarpati

              I actually started liking Qyburn because he did just that ahah

              • HAHAHA, SAAAAAAAME. :)

              • Today is the day we actually like that creepy Dr. Frankenstein wannabe.

                *sigh* How the times have changed *shakes head*

          • It was needlessly long is what I am saying. They lingered on the slut shaming hard, and sweeped the sins of men under the rug. Lancel was a participant in said act of incest but all he gets is a tattoo on the forehead for repenting. He didn’t have to do any walk of shame?

            • Lucia Scarpati

              That’s exactly the point. She is being punished because she is a woman while lancel gets to just confess and be forgiven because he is a man (it’s also a political thing, putting in her place a woman that tried to have power like a man). It’s wrong. The showrunners know it’s wrong. George knows it’s wrong. The audience (should) know it’s wrong. I don’t see how this makes the people behind the show sexist. Are they also endorsing the zombie apocalypse because the walkers took over hardhome?

              • Christian

                I think they key point here is that the penance walk scene is really about Cersei – it’s not about the crowd, it’s not there to showcase someone else’s horribleness, like the Meryn Trant Thing, it doesn’t serve another character’s development (like some argued Sansa’s rape by Ramsay was played for Theon’s benefit), it’s actually part of her character arc.

              • At the start of the season, everyone was like – yes, karma is gonna bite Cersei in the ass this time. Forget what the books had for a second. okay? Because there have been enough changes to nullify most of the book. So, hear me out: Cersei was going to get retribution for every awful thing she did these past seasons. She was a bitch, plain and simple. And we, as viewers, would feel better about at least one character getting the pain they deserved. And that was until mid-season.

                What I saw in the context of the episode was, just like you said – you are a woman in a man’s world and we gotta put you in your place. It was more of putting a woman down, even for her own character arc, rather than a person (not a woman) getting punishment for their crimes. The audience now knows it’s wrong, what happened to her, and I don’t even know how it was in the books (I’m also Unsullied), but on the show it was just a case of another violence against women scene. See, in the context of Stannis, Cersei suddenly becomes a better person – for all her craving for power, she never harmed her children. So, you see, context matters, and D&D did a shitty job of it. It was not about a bad person being punished, it was about a woman being punished.

              • I don’t know about the showrunners, but I am definitely endorsing the zombie apocalyse on Westeros after the shitstorm of this finale.

        • magnusk_98

          If you think the walk of shame was sexist, you may go straight to pointing your finger at GRRM, not the show. This was basically a one on one translation from the book.

          • Christian

            Well, in all fairness, the showrunners do have the power to decide how and to what extent they adapt the novels, especially now they they’re about to overtake the author. Not saying they should’ve dropped it, but they can, have and will change plot points from the books, even major ones.

          • Sure, they made a point of keeping all the main female torture arcs. And what about the pedophilia thing? They went out of their way to drive that point home. It’s not just one scene. The whole season had been

            • Christian

              I’m afraid they do that on purpose – at least partially. The show always banked on its reputation as “the show where they do the stuff that you usually don’t do in a Fantasy show”. And I don’t buy for a second that they didn’t see the weekly shitstorm coming after the Cersei/Jamie thing.

        • MaxwellJames

          I’m not one to hesitate to criticize the show or books, despite my fondness for them. But I thought the walk of shame sequence was powerfully _anti-sexist_.

          As Laura points out, it makes us empathize strongly with a character who up until now has been pretty much a thorough villain, if a self-aware one, by making visible the patriarchal rules that have kept her down her entire life. And yet she’s still a complex, powerful, and dangerous figure at the end of it – not just a martyr.

    • I agree. This episode sucked, and more because it left a lot of cliffhangers. It’s like D&D knew people will be pissed by the end of the season, and so they left every main character’s life/fate hanging in the balance just so that people will tune in next year

    • I really think they’re going that way. The musical cues if anything lead to it being a red herring for Jon being dead.

      The Lord of Light resurrected that one dude in Season 2, and he told Arya he’d died and come back more times than he could count, right? (So what’s the catch with that?)

  • RSLee

    I’d like to mention that, of all the characters who’ve died this season, the only ones who actually have died in the books were Janos Slynt, Maester Aemon, and Jon. I guess Rattleshirt (the skull-wearing wildling whom Tormund beat to death over a gay joke) is also dead, but under completely different circumstances.

    At this point it’s not even GRRM’s fault. The writers of this show are actively trying to make these dark books even more miserable. And, honestly, I’m done trying to defend this increasingly mean-spirited show. I’m just going to stick to the Walking Dead for my “Any One Can Die” shocking twists, because at least that show has some semblance of good taste.

    • AndyStreet

      I don’t want to get into the books – but the source material was definitely to blame for the general grimness of this series.

      It seems that some important people have been killed off early but the narrative is definitely going the same way for ALL of those characters.

    • two_owls

      There’s still some doubt if Jon is truly dead in the books. As far as I remember none of his wounds were explicitly described as mortal, so for now he’s kind of Shrodinger’s cat, dead and alive at the same time, however a reader prefers to see it.

  • Mike Brown

    I think we’re meant to be rooting for the White Walkers at this point.

    Everyone worth caring about has been killed off. The best possible scenario is just making sure the jerks who killed the characters we loved don’t get to win either.

    Go mindless snow zombies!

    • OMG, I love everything about this. :) THANK YOU FOR GIVING ME MY FIRST SMILE SINCE WATCHING.

      • Mike Brown

        I’m happy I could help! Thank you for all your recaps! I look forward to them after every episode.

    • Lucia Scarpati

      Everyone worth caring about? Tyrion, arya, dany, sansa, jaime, cersei, davos, brienne, sam, varys, marg… you don’t care about ANY of them?
      Also, no way Jon is gone forever I refuse to believe that!

      • Mike Brown

        You’re right. I spoke from grief and anger. I may not be on board with the entire list, but there are at least a handful of people who I hope escape our new icy overlords and find a nice peaceful island to live on.

        • I for one welcome our new Icy Overlords and would like to offer up my services in their icy kitchens. I make a mean tiramisu.

          • Christian

            They only eat popsicles though.

    • Christian

      Been there, done that.

  • Raja

    I don’t blame Laura, or any of the viewers to despair at that episode, and parts of that season. The funny thing is, after reading the books, I didn’t have anywhere close to the amount of despair that seems to have set in amongst people who only watch the show. I’ve been trying to figure out why that’s the case, and I think there are a couple of reasons for that.

    1) The books have so much more time and space that the dreadful events that occur are much more spread out; you’re not hounded with awful things occurring one after the other. I think condensing the books to 10 episodes means that it’s a barrage of deaths and very grim stuff. I don’t blame anyone for checking out from watching the show.

    2) The inner monologue of the characters really helps in giving you hope for them, you don’t get any of that in the show and I think the series really suffers from not having that. As an example, ( no, this is not a spoiler) Here’s Arya from the part where she’s about the throw needle away –

    “Needle was Robb and Bran and Rickon, her mother and her father, and even Sansa. Needle was Winterfell’s grey walls, and the laughter of it’s people. Needle was the summer snows, Old Nan’s stories, and the heart tree with it’s red leaves and scary face, the warm earthy smell of the glass gardens, the sound of the north wind rattling the shutters of her room. Needle was Jon snow’s smile. He used to mess my hair and call me ‘little sister’, she remembered and suddenly there were tears in her eyes. – Arya, A Dance With Dragons

    I think inner monologue like that, and writing like that makes you feel something much more powerfully than the show can. That’s partly because of the fact that it’s a visual medium, and also because the writing on the show is not as good as GRRM’s writing.

    I’ve rambled quite a bit here, but I’m intrigued at how the little things in GRRM’s writing, particularly the small characters and plot lines that have not made the show, help in keeping a balance between the harsh reality of the books and the instances of hope.

    • “The inner monologue of the characters really helps in giving you hope for them, you don’t get any of that in the show and I think the series really suffers from not having that.”

      Oh, thank you for this. And I think you’re spot on.

  • moata

    Okay, can I just say, totally called it on Stannis’ men bugging out post that awkward bit of firey child murder. And fair enough too.

    In reasons to be cheerful (by the way, “All my friends are dead” is a much beloved book of mine which, and this may make me a terrible person, makes me laugh like – well, no one in this episode, obviously).

    But back to the reasons.

    At the end of this season awesome characters still alive – Tyrion, Brienne, Pod, Bronn, Varys, Sam, baby Sam & Gilly, Lady Olenna, Jorah, Grey Worm, Missandei, Daario, Daenerys, probably Sansa, probably Arya.

    That’s my favourite folks, right there. And they’re still in the game. Woo hoo! I honestly expected we’d lose at least a couple of them by season’s end.

    On a related note I’ve been trying to figure out which comedy duo Varys and Tyrion remind me of the most. Too cerebral for Laurel and Hardy, Morecambe and Wise perhaps? The Two Ronnies? Peter Cook and Dudley Moore maybe?

    Just as importantly terrible characters still alive (love to hate territory) – Cersei, the Boltons, the High Sparrow, Maester Cat Piss, The Mountain (jeeeebus), Littlefinger, possibly Stannis (unconfirmed kill).

    With all those players still on the board that’s enough reason on its own to stay locked in for the next season.

    I love that this episode actually made me feel sorry for Cersei. I thought I was looking forward to seeing her get her just desserts. Turns out I’m not as vindictive as I thought. Yay, me!

    As for Jon. I was just grabbing my own face through that whole scene. I kind of wanted him to have an out of body “I’m in the romantic cave of Ygritte love” experience. But the more I think about it, the more I think Melisandre will use this opportunity to latch on to her next DIY project. Extreme Makeover: Resurrected from the Dead Edition.

    As always, so many more questions than answers, just the way I like it.

    • I said elsewhere that I’m pretty sure this episode made the staunchest Cersei hater want to give her a blanket and a cuddle. Throw an Emmy at Lena, would ya, Universe?

      Okay, if Jon had that out of body experience, I would KNOW he was dead, you know? As of now, I’m pretty sure Mel is going to resurrect him/heal him, something. They’ve been building to that all season.

  • Javi Marcos

    Laura, first of all, congratulations from a reader from Spain that has been reading your blog (well, only GOT reviews, to be honest) since 3 years. I loved you reviews. Now we are equal: we don’t know what shocks the next season will offer (many shocks this season were a surprise for me, for example:


    I just want to ask you and all the community here: is Stannis really dead? It seems so: his character was destroyed (in a huge divergence of the books, I repeat), his daughter, heir and love of his life dead, his wife dead, his army destroyed…but we didn’t see Brienne doing the blow. And in TV it usually means something.

    • Christian

      Not showing his death on screen should usually be a dead giveaway that’s he’s still alive, shouldn’t it? On the other hand, it seems a bit like the author/showrunners have started cutting off the branches. There’s likely no more than two seasons (and possibly books, too) left, and I don’t think Stannis really has a place in them. True, they could turn him around, have him take the black and pit him against the White Walkers; his ambitions are certainly done for, what with having no heir anymore. But I don’t really see a big redemption arc coming, so my money’s on dead. For now.

    • I think Stannis is dead, absolutely. I think his death was such an exhale of breath, such a final stamp on his life that had fallen so fast that he didn’t warrant a death scene. He’s been dead since agreeing to let his daughter be burned. He’s LOOKED like death.

      And in a way, it’s more shocking, because he’d been built up to be a hopeful winner of the Iron Throne, and he fell in a blink of an eye.

      • Anthony Gitto

        Personally I think that he’s been at least partially dead since the shadow baby. That’s when he started to look haggard, but you’re correct that he’s looked even worse lately. The final stroke would be sending away his conscience Davos, knowing that he would object…. when THAT’S WHAT HE KEEPS DAVOS THERE FOR.

        I’ve NEVER been a Stannis fan. I’ve always felt his daughter and Davos were the best parts of him. I hope that Davos can attach himself to someone worthy, or just go home to his wife.

        • TOTALLY AGREE about him beginning to look dead after the shadow baby. And every other bad choice has just added to it until he looked like a corpse here. And then became one.

          YEP. Davos and Shireen were the best parts of him.

          • Eddie H

            PS Just can’t get over how good of a guy Davos is, especially in the light of Westeros. He even admired Stannis for removing the ends of all his fingers on one hand, because he such a just man. I’m glad Melisandre didn’t tell him how Shireen died, because I couldn’t stand to see him that broken.

    • Eddie H

      It’s also possible that the show just passed up the books. D&D are said to have been given some clues from Martin as to where the story is going, so they presumably know more than the book readers even.

  • JP

    I think the lack of hope was a real problem of the series, and I think the moments of quiet humanity surviving under the worst conditions didn’t translate well from the book to the page. Dorne could have done that this season, but they completely threw a potentially great plotline away. I would say this has overall been a good, but mixed season. And we’re all basically in the same boat now, with a few exceptions I guess. I do find it amusing that Melisandre has gone from one of the most hated characters to the keeper of hope going into next season. I did also like the Benjen bait and switch in the previouslies so that those of us who knew Jon was going to get stabbed also felt betrayed when it happened. Anyway, if its any consolation I think the worst is over…maybe? I’m not really sure as I don’t have much to go off anymore. The show is a bit more nihilistic than the books so its hard to say. This does have me remember an “It Gets Better” video that came out after the Red Wedding where they talk about Joffrey happily…and then start listing all the depressing stuff that happens in Feast/Dance/Season 5. But I do truly believe that, with a few things I sad things I expect to happen in the future (but have no way of knowing), we are through the storm.

    • “the moments of quiet humanity surviving under the worst conditions didn’t translate well from the book to the page”

      I think you’re onto something. (I’ll have to take your word, of course). And yeah, the Benjen mention in the “Previously” was a great ruse for the viewers, totally agree.

      I have to laugh, though, as “I think the worst is over.” WHY DO YOU THINK THAT?!?! I’m genuinely asking, because there is NOTHING in this season that gives me hope. not even the thought I’m clinging to that Jon isn’t dead.

      Now, I have an imagination. I can IMAGINE all sorts of wonderful things to come. THE SHOW hasn’t given me the faith that they WILL.

      I’m sad because I want to believe you. I really, really do.

      • Christian

        At this point, a positive ending would probably be the one thing they could pull off to still surprise their Viewers, so…
        Imagine, as more and more magic returns to the world, so does the power of classic fantasy tropes.

      • JP

        Well, I’m in a precarious position of the things I hope happen when I turn the pages of Winds of Winter are now impossible within the confines of the show given some creative decisions. But, as long as I can believe that Jon will come back and that Dany will live, I can have hope for the realm as a whole. For as bad as things get for everyone, the most true to the Hero blueprint characters chug along (maybe), which tells me that in spite of everything there is hope. That will be more because of George than the show writers though, I think he’s more of a disillusioned idealist than an cynic. As long as there is life, there is hope. And if the shows continue to slide, there is always the books where you meet more of people of the realm who truly believe that this too will in time pass.

        And I have tons of rampant speculation that I have no basis in. Like, I truly want Brienne to have spread Stannis so he can join the Night’s Watch. Perhaps become the 999th Lord Commander after whatever is happening with Jon happens.

  • The only hope for the next season:
    1. Cersei getting her revenge on the Sparrow and Mean Nun. That citadel’s gonna burn to the ground, baby. Yes, I am rooting for the queen bitch – she is a badass strong character, and honestly, since most of the good ones are dead I might as well hitch my wagon to one who might survive this series.
    2. Melisandre is totes gonna resurrect Jon – come on, she did ride back there! I do believe in Laura’s theory about her hair.
    3. Little boy Starks will conquer over the White Walkers – because otherwise Bran’s absence makes no point.
    4. Other Starks (Sansa and Jon) maybe possibly alive?
    5. Daenerys has a new Dothraki army? (Please her not be taken captive by them!!)
    6. The dynamic duo of Tyrion-Varys is gonna bring down Westeros to the Khaleesi’s feet!
    7. Grey worm and Melisande become a thing!

    A girl can dream, okay? After this depressing season, I am imagining all the possible happy endings.

  • Christian

    Another thought just crossed my mind:

    Even though valyrian steel seems to be shaping up to be THE super-secret weapon against the White Walkers, it hasn’t really been set up as such over the last five years, has it? Valyrian steel weapons we are, so far, aware of:

    Oathkeeper, Brienne of Tarth, Winterfell
    Widow’s Wail, last seen with Joffrey Baratheon, King’s Landing
    Longclaw, last seen with Jon Snow, Castle Black
    one dagger, last seen with Petyr Baelish, King’s Landing (at the time)

    That’s it, isn’t it? Or have I forgotten anything? Just seems a bit odd to not have made a bigger deal out of it if it’s going to be a thing in future seasons.

    • mrspidey80

      As far as the show is concerned, yes those are all that we know of.
      There are a few more in the books but still not nearly enough to stop thousands of undead.

      • Christian

        Well, in a classical fantasy setting the number of valyrian steel swords left would probably be enough to outfit a band of heroes to take the fight to the Walkers – after all, you only need it for them. The armies can take care of the horde, while the protagonists cut of the head, so to speak.

    • I think that’s it? Yeah. Unless they unearth a tomb or something, I think that’s it.

    • Cerb

      Three Valyrian Swords, three dragons, three valyrian sword-armed dragon riders?

      Although I don’t think a sword is a good weapon for fighting off the back of a dragon. Maybe dragonglass arrows or a …lance.

      • Christian

        Valyrian steel shrapnel grenades >:)

  • mrspidey80

    Congratulations, Laura (and every other Unsullied out there) for pretty much catching up with the books. With no more big twists left to spoil how are you going to handle book vs. show discussions from now on?

    • I don’t have book v show discussions in the first place, so I’ll carry on business as usual?

  • Julie Martin

    There is hope. It is just dangling over the edge of a cliff, and it is hard not to be worried given all the smashed things strewn about the cliff’s base.

    Until such a time as the books tell me otherwise, I am firmly a member of the Mel turning Jon into Jeebus camp. Even if the show comes out before the book and says Jon is for realsies dead, I refuse to believe it!

    No idea what is happening with Stannis, although if that is the end for him, perhaps it can be a lesson in what happens when people are convinced that they are Chosen by magical beings for Greatness.

    Feeling optimistic that both Arya and Sansa live, although their psychological wellbeing is another question entirely. And I am curious about the fate of their little brothers.

    What will Davos do now? He lost his son as part of his devotion to a man who has now killed his own daughter intentionally, and wheter Stsnnis is alive or not I suspect Davos is done with him. I could see him becoming an awesome LC of the Night’s Watch, some day…

    I am guessing that Dany gets captured but then quickly assumes power of that entire, massive group. Because she is Dany.

    What are the chances Cersei doesn’t have Zombie Mountain crush Jamie when he comes home with a dead daughter? Soooo many questions! Such a long way to the bottom of the cliff!

  • I think it’s safe to say the theme of this episode was consequences. For everyone, for things they were myopic about:

    – Stannis’s army deserts ecause they witnessed him burn his daughter ALIVE and he was too much a zealot to see that they would be turned off by this
    – Stannis loses the battle and his life because it is the only endgame for where he positioned himself. “and now we shall finish the game”
    – Trant dies because he was about as horrible as anyone in Westeros and never thought a little girl could hurt him
    – Arya loses her sight because she used her power for personal reasons never paying attention to the true power and what it could do to her
    – Cersi walks because of her hubris in thinking her “sins” would never catch up to her
    – Jon dies because he was so shortsighted to never think his brothers could do it. He (understandably) got too excited with the possibility of info on Benjen. He also forgot rule #1: Never go anywhere without your direwolf.

    As other commenters have mentioned, Chekhov’s gun in this episode was FCM returning to Castle Black before FTW. Why have her come back there? Davos could’ve gotten the news other ways. She is a piece in a game of chess. There’s only one reason to put a Red Priestess there. As Miracle Max said “He’s only *mostly* dead.”

  • MaxwellJames

    Oh Laura, my sympathies. As others have noted, you are basically caught up with us readers now, and hopefully there will be some comfort in that (for all of us!). Unless GRRM whips the Winds of Winter out from under his beret in the next six months or so, we will all be just as drained, traumatized, and disturbed as you are. Plus, far less smug!

    Also, a couple of mechanical observations regarding this season that I think might be helpful if not exactly hopeful:

    1) First and foremost, this season did something unusual: it jammed the vast majority of two books into ten measly episodes. As an artistic decision, I have my doubts this was the right move, though having read the books in question I can understand why they did it. But it helps explain why this season may feel particularly traumatic – it basically had double the rate of “ah, crap” events as prior seasons. Since they’re out of books now, I don’t think they can sustain that rate of shit show, at least not without really rushing towards the endgame.

    2) This might seem contrary to my previous point, the biggest problem with GoT (and ASOIF even more so) is that it is _too long_. I think there’s a lot of genuine artistic merit to not giving the audience what we want, especially in a “fantasy” series, but after 50 hours such an experience moves from daring to exhausting. But the fact that they are moving faster means it will all be over soon! OK, that’s not really hopeful at all, but it’s what I’ve been reduced to telling myself.

    But seriously – once this series is actually over, I think it’ll actually be much easier to enjoy it for what it was.

    3) I’ve seen a lot of “hot takes” here & elsewhere to the effect that the show is going downhill. I disagree: this was if anything a stunningly _typical_ season of Game of Thrones. As usual, it had one storyline that was a complete mess (Dorne), one or two that were troubled by perhaps more trauma than was strictly necessary. But the others were for the most part pretty great. Dark and depressing, sure – but that’s also typical!

    4) Others have said plenty about Jon’s (imminent) resurrection, so I have nothing to add there. But I will say that as a reader, this was the first year for me that the Night’s Watch storyline lived up to and even surpassed the books. It was the highlight of the year, and a pleasure to watch – a few mediocre scenes & traumatic ending notwithstanding. Also, Hardhome remains perhaps the best GoT episode to date – I could watch that one over and over again.

    5) Finally, thank you for another year of delightfully funny recaps. The night is dark but full of good humor. Just dropped a small donation in your tip box. Money is tight this year, but want to do my bit to keep this site going!

    • “it basically had double the rate of “ah, crap” events as prior seasons” HAHAHA!! And yes, this is so accurate!!

      And there’s no question this show is technically masterful–visually it’s just astoundingly beautiful to watch. But I feel like I’ve watched a 50 hour-director’s cut of The Cook, The Thief, His Wife & Her Lover. Gorgeous? Yes. Powerful? Absolutely. But I can’t keep watching the books get shoved down the guy’s throat and be excited I get to SEE it.

      (Please know I’m not going anywhere, I’m just weary.)

      So totally agreed on Hardhome being an amazing feat of television genius. That remains some of the best 15 minutes of television in TV history.

      “The night is dark but full of good humor.” Maxwell, you have been a delight from the beginning, and I am so, so grateful for the bit of light and hope you bring ME every week. From the bottom of my heart: thank you. <3

      • MaxwellJames

        Well I for one am delighted and relieved to be moving on to HANNIBAL at this point.

        I know, I have problems.

        • HAHAHAHAHAHA, I’m right there with you!! (On all points, lol)

          • MaxwellJames

            I just love HANNIBAL, even though I’m sure it’s doing terrible things to my brain. It is a batshit crazy show, an adaptation feat that makes GoT seem so straightforward and prosaic. TWIN PEAKS meets STRANGERS ON A TRAIN meets the video of “November Rain.”

            • HANNIBAL is a William Blake painting come to life, a Caravaggio, and makes no bones about it. I’ve always seen it as a sort of treatise on why humans seek the depraved–and we do not sympathize with the villain. We watch it to learn how to HIDE from him, how to find him in a crowd, how to identify his secrets and then avoid them.

              I am lol-ing forever at your description of what the show is. WHERE IS OUR ONE-ARMED MAN SPEAKING BACKWARDS?

        • Anthony Gitto

          Hannibal is just as crazy and negative…. This season has me all weirded out.

  • André Duchesne

    2 years ago some on this site rage quit reviewing vikings beacause Ragnar cheated on his wife……. GoT has done much worst yet no one rage quited yet

    • Why is this relevant? Are you… wanting me to rage quit? [scratches head]

      • Eddie H

        Don’t rage quit us! Some of us shameless addicts need your help to work through this!

        • I’M NOT!! That’s why I was confused, like I think this person is goading me into it? Or… shaming me for not quitting? WHO KNOWS, THEY ARE NEW TO US HERE.

  • Mike-L

    I feel the same as I did when finishing book 5 – that I will continue with this series but if they don’t pull something special out of their hat that I’m going to find it very hard to remain passionate about it. I really hoped we would see some resolution on the “For the Watch” moment, not another cliff hanger. Book readers have been hanging on that cliff for 5 years, it’s just fucking annoying…. I mean come on, how many down-notes does a series want to leave it’s fan base on? I love this show, love the books, but if Jon doesn’t pull through one way or another I’m not sure I can care much about it any more.

    PS – I said exactly the same thing last night re pod “There’s only one way to cook a brace of coneys”

    • (You get bonus points if you also clawed at your face and hissed, HE RUINED IT, THE FILTHY FAT HOBBITSES!) ;D

      I’m like you: I’m finding it hard to remain passionate. Maybe a 10 month hiatus is just what the doctor ordered? IDK, but I’m sad about it.

    • Raja

      Eh, the show and the books are very different at this point. Maybe you just had a pretty strong reaction to Jon, unlike me, but there’s plenty of ‘up notes’ as it were in the books.


  • Moriah Gemel

    Basically what I’m rooting for now is for Cersei to take out the fucking Sparrows. Like, that’s what I’m rooting for now, because she went through hell and survived it, and now I think she’s gonna be angry. And she has the power to summon armies (well, her son does) and there are only so many Sparrows flitting around dispensing their horrible version of justice. Them bitches can be taken down, and I look forward to that day.

    Also Dany isn’t dead yet! She knows the Dothraki, I bet she knows how to survive them, and I count on Daario and Jorah to find her (before Jorah dies, omg). Plus I am gonna love watching the Fantastic Four rule Mereen in Dany’s absence (fuck do I love Tyrion ruling places, especially with Varys snarking along behind him).

    So I still hold on. I know things are super dark, but I’m trying to hope for the idea that maybe things are darkest just before the dawn, sorta kinda thing? I mean, I don’t trust the showrunners so much, but I trust GRRM, and he’s got a new book coming out at some point, and maybe if there’s a little hope in there we can find a little hope for the show. He’s like…involved int he show somewhat, right? Like he gets veto power at least. I may be kidding myself. But I trust GRRM. I don’t think he’ll let the show go into full tank mode.

    I may be very deluded. We’ll see…NEXT YEAR. GUH.

    • When Tommen sees Mommy…. (I think he’s going to immediately worry that Margaery is going to look the same and THAT is what will make him act, but that’s because he’s a Boy Becoming A Man who has learned of his Special Purpose.)

      THE SPARROWS MUST BE TAKEN DOWN, YES. Fuck religious extremists, says I.

      Okay, the reminder of Varys and Tyrion running things is actually a HUGE positive, SO THANK YOU FOR THAT.

  • house threepwood

    Well,since i’m greek,greek tragedies are as bleak or even bleaker than this show,yet everyone regards them as high art.McBeth, is every bit as dark as GOT yet no one complaints about it.High drama tends not to be uplifting most of the times.Of course, there must be some sort of redemption at the end,but ,that’s a thing to find out by the end of the whole saga.What actually bothered me this season as a whole,is that the character of Ellaria Sand ,makes absolutely ZERO sense in the show.In the books ,she is the voice of reason,having witnessed the horrifying death of Oberyn,she’s fed up with violence,and wants nothing to do with it,and it’s completely as far as i’m conserned at the body count of season’s finale i’m adding Ellaria Sand’s character assassination.

    By the way ,don’t quit watching the show i REALLY enjoy your summaries,keep it up and sorry for my english.:)

    • Oh, I’m not quitting! I state that explicitly in the recap, so don’t worry about that! I’m just struggling to find ways to talk about this in a manner that isn’t me bawling for an hour on your shoulder. <3

      And I love dark! I love tragic! I am a HUGE fan of Chinese film, and Unhappy Endings are the norm! But there's usually a REASON, a MORAL, a PURPOSE. We care and I'm having a hard time caring about anyone. THAT upsets me. I should be devastated about Jon Snow and I'm… detatched.

      But yeah, Ellaria Sand made no sense to me all season.

      • house threepwood

        Detached huh?..interesting..But you see, i think different scenes have a different effect to different people.I, for example was(to everyone’s disapproval), not even remotely shocked by the Red Wedding!This one though ..kind of got me.Maybe it was the way it was shot ,the music, i don’t know..and this season Shireen,oh actually topped Oberyn’s death for me..even managed to squeeze a tear(a manly one mind you,but still..).But anyway ,i really don’t think Jon’s dead,so that’s something to bet for feature seasons;)

        • The Red Wedding made me so, so sad. I, um, sort of famously lost it when Oberyn died. And I think I’m just… burned out on death. They did it: I’m not shockable, or at least I wasn’t this season. Not even Shireen’s death brought out the tears. I was upset, but I didn’t actually cry, and I cry over DOG FOOD COMMERCIALS, hahahaha.

          But I’m holding out for Jon not being dead, as well.(Or being able to be resurrected?)

  • magnusk_98

    Alright, having watched the episode now, I’d like to comment in more detail. No book spoilers and comparisons (although at this point they are 99% played out in comparison to the series).

    1.) Did everybody on the non-teenager murdering side in Dorne take a stupid pill during that scene at the pier? How could they let Elaria Sand even near Myrcella? Oh, well. One of the more unnecessary deaths in the series and one of the most avoidable ones.

    2.) I am not a fan of Cersei. But of course this walk pushed every button to feel sorry for her. I am pretty damn sure that the people who are her enemies will be not feeling too good about her reaction next season. Gregorstein looks scary as hell, btw. Also, nice that they got Kevan Lannisters and Master Pycelles actors back for that one cene.

    3.) Did they seriously leave the entire sub-plot with Margaery and Loras hanging until next season?

    4.) Jon may be dead, but I think there is a firey ressurection coming (although maybe not in the same dead, see Kit Harrington interviews about his contract renewal). You simply don’t move a plot piece like red priestess Melisandre back to the location if you don’t plan on using that joker when such a situation comes up. See Chekov’s Gun, etc. For people who’d say “Who remembers the resurrection powers from a few seasons ago?”, I’d say “Who remembered Benjen Stark until this episode?”.

    5.) I’m not sure how Sansa and Theon can survive such a fall, but probably there’s a snow bank down there.

    6.) I hope they don’t do a whole thing where Dany gets enslaved for several episodes. I hope it goes like this first episode next season. Dothraki Khal: “Now you’ll be my lust slave forever! Bwahaha!”. Dany: “I don’t think so”. Drogon:

    7.) I’m pretty sure at this point that they are not making greyscale so super

    infectious that one touch will infect you. That’s more when you have reached stone man status.

    8.) On the positive side (yeah, there were a few, but not so many to turn the tide), we got Team Tyrion+Varys back and Sam and Gilly got out just right in time. Got to take your good sides where you get them!

    All in all, an intense finale with major shocks and a lot of despair. I think the writers are getting a bit predictable (as in Jon getting betrayed), but that also means that we can more or less count on plot points happening when we can see the pieces moving into place, re: Melisandre + Jon getting resurrected.

    I think that the writers are handing out too many idiot balls to have certain plot points happen (i.e. how Myrcella died) and I hope they can write the story on their own without that happening too much next season and forward.

    Laura, I want to thank you for your coverage of this season. It was a joy to read your recaps, discuss with you a bit and exchange ideas. I am looking very much forward to being just as unsullied as you are next season and discussing with you as someone who sees all of this for the first time.

    I somewhat hope that you will do a post about how you felt about this seasons plots and what your hopes are for the shows future, because I think that would be something interesting to read and so that we can still discuss a bit more. But if you don’t, then I wish you well until next year and that you have a good time until then!

    • I, too, am shocked that we didn’t get a GLIMPSE of Margaery, let alone Loras! As for the snow bank breaking their fall, there was a big ol’ thaw happening because of the Shireen murder! So… there would be a crunchy layer of ice that would hurt. If not break many many bones. IDK. That seemed… extreme.

      (I really like your idea about Arya, I have to be honest)

      Aww, I’m so glad you enjoyed the recaps!! This has been our most robust season in the comments section, so many new folks coming to play, and it’s been a DELIGHT to have people to share this with, let me just tell you. <3

      And you know, there could be some more posts as I thin of things I'm still questioning. Good idea!!

      • magnusk_98

        Well, if you decide to do one or more posts, I’ll be here to read and discuss. :)

    • Fluffinmyturnups

      Completely agree the whole Arya – Braavos thing has been really poor

      Previously Arya was MY NUMBER ONE. Maisie is a fantastic actress who i think has been failed this season. Her previous interractions with Charles Dance as Tywin and with the Hound are one of the highlights of the whole series

    • Brenna Noonan

      I have a thought about Daenerys’s fate with the Dothraki! This is not a book spoiler, though it is better explained in the books – if I recall correctly I think they only briefly touch on it in the show, if at all.

      The widows of Khals are supposed to retire to Vaes Dothrak (where Dany ate the horse heart and Drogo killed Viserys) where they become Dosh Khaleen, sacred women who rule over Vaes Dothrak. If they recognize her, it could mean they want to take her to Vaes Dothrak, which in their culture is where she would rightfully belong as Khal Drogo’s widow.

      Alternatively: a few of her Dothraki soldiers stayed with her after the Khalasar disbanded. I can’t really remember in the show what happened to them – did they die, or just disappear? I forget. BUT, maybe one of them returned to the the Dothraki and is now a Khal and he will help her! Probably wishful thinking, but nice to think about.

  • Eddie H

    I’m eternally hopeful (so I might be watching the wrong show too) but my whole take on this situation is this. Melisandre clearly is enamored with Mr. Snow and she’s fully charged on her fire magics. We all know that Stannis wasn’t actually the foretold hero coming to save the world and I’m pretty sure Melisandre knew too. I think she was using him just to get after Shireen (awful I know) because she knew burning a king baby would help her get the power she needed to jump start her Azor Ahai ( I think I spelled that right but I didn’t look it up. Oh well)
    Interesting point: when Davos saved Gendry he ultimately doomed Shireen. The red woman was going to get what she wanted no matter what.
    I’m a little skeptical about the death of Stannis though. Why at this point would they shy away from the blow being struck. Look at the way they did Ser Meryn. They showed every bit of gore as his face was carved up. Same thing with Sansa. If they were going to have her jump to her death, I think they would have gotten the full effect in and shown her and Reek broken on the ground.
    Maybe Arya becomes a blind assassin and is the deadliest girl in the world. We know she has more street cred than the Sand Snakes, because for all the hype, they only ever killed that dude that was buried to his neck (as far as we’ve seen at least.)
    I may be the worlds biggest sucker here but I’m not ready to give up. There has to be a whole lot more going on here, unless the whole ending is supposed to bring us to the point where we don’t care anymore that the White Walkers are going to wipe out the whole world because the world sucked anyways. Maybe in the end Sam saves the world (not really my favorite prospect but whatevs).
    If I’m going off the deep end than tell me but I’m not ready to give up.

    • Ugh, such a great point about Gendry living sentenced Shireen to death. UGH UGH UGH, so true!! D: I think it’s a final insult to Stannis not showing his death, personally. LIke, here’s how much of a non-important person you were in the end, you don’t even get a full death scene. My two cents.

      …ARE YOU SUGGESTING THAT ARYA STARK IS DAREDEVIL?! Because that’s pretty bad ass. :D

      If the ending is us cheering for the White Walkers, then that is the saddest commentary on humanity ever penned. And I’ve read Palahniuk AND Stephenie Meyers (on a dare).

      • Fluffinmyturnups

        Having uncertainty over the deaths of both Jon and Stannis is just dumb

        And generally having so many cliffhangers at season finale smacks of some rubbish 70s soap like Dallas or Dynasty (i am kinda old enough to vaguely remember those!)

        although i also really didnt like the finale of season 2 – thought the zombies and white walkers were over the top

        generally the showrunners are poor at their finale seasons (although 4 ended really well i think)

        • Eddie H

          Well, maybe we start next season with Brienne carrying around Stannis’ head, because the act itself wasn’t gratifying enough so she has to have a reminder that she exacted vengeance in an attempt to fill the whole in her heart.

      • Brenna Noonan

        I really hope the blindness isn’t permanent. If it is, I thought it may be a way for Jaqen to force her to surrender to the Many Faced God. Like if she insists on being Arya Stark she’ll be blinded, but if she becomes No One and is able to wear different faces then she’ll be able to see through their eyes. Or something? I don’t know. I don’t want Arya to be blind forever. That seems like it would really, ahem, handicap her storyline.

  • Michael Logan

    When Sansa and Theon jumped off the wall like Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, I started singing “Raindrops Keep Falling on My Head.” But then I’m old enough to remember “Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid.”

    • Hahaha! I was thinking “Thelma & Louise,” but then, I’m old enough to remember that one. ;)

      • JCDavis

        I remember both, but more just thought HOLY SHIT they actually jumped.

  • Julie Martin

    Oh dear, I did a bad thing. Either I am terrible at knowing how to post, or I managed to violate some sort of rule…but anywhoo I would like to say that I have witnessed people falling into all sorts of snowbanks recently, and I have high hopes for Sansa. Is it sad that I really don’t care about Theon? Sorry, don’t want him to be Sansa’s rescuer.

    And this whole Gendry/Shireen conversation has the wheels in my head a turnin! Poor Davos. He was really, really close to undone by his son’s death. If he realizes that his actions in any way created the Shireen situation….I just don’t know how he will take it. While many of us need hugs right now, I am saving mine for Davos.

    • No no, just posts with links in them go to a moderation queue to cut down on spam, that’s all! :D (It’s visible now!)

      And Theon isn’t important to me, either. BUT DAVOS!! Oh, he just backed the wrong horse, didn’t he? :(

      • Fluffinmyturnups

        I wonder – will Davos join the Night’s Watch?

        Or do we even care for that miserable bunch?

  • Lyanna Mormont

    This was so much overkill.

    Piling ALL of this together in one episode… lessened each impact. You grow numb after the first three or so shocking! moments! If they’d spread the drama out more across the season, maybe left a couple of things for early next season… But no. They did an amazing thing with Hardhome, then figured they had to top that with the infamous Episode Nine so they burned Shireen just before making Dany fly a dragon (which meant a lot of people, myself included, were unable to fully appreciate the dragon moment), and then they tried to top THAT with this episode.

    Part of the issue is that they’ve essentially combined two books into one season, so they have twice the number of storyline climaxes to deal with. But then they also threw in some inventions/rewrites of their own on top of that. (Hardhome, Sansa at Winterfell.) It’s more than you can reasonably absorb in 60 minutes. And the individual scenes suffer because they’re cut down in order to fit them all in. Compare the slow, character building moments we got in the beginning of the season with this frantic jumping from one storyline to the next. No character building here – except for Cersei, the Sam/Jon scene, perhaps some in Meereen – because it’s all about shock value. IMO that’s a misstep.

    Okay. Well, there’s no way Jon, Sansa and Arya are all dead – that would be narrative suicide. One of them, possibly. Jon seems most likely, and he may have a rez handy in Melisandre. (Also, where was Ghost in that scene?) Brienne still has to feel the consequences of choosing revenge on Stannis over her duty to the Stark girls, and she can’t do that unless she finds out that Sansa did light a candle and she wasn’t there to see it, so Sansa has to survive. Arya, well, she was going blind, not dying, right? Her words were “I can’t see” not “I can’t breathe” or something like that.

    Silver linings? Well, Tyrion has a new challenge, doing what he’s good at, with his trusty Varys by his side. (Okay, “trusty” may not be the ideal word.) Missandei and Grey Worm are officially recognized as Dany’s closest and most trusted advisors, and will stand for her cause. (They may well do better at it than she did, especially with Tyrion helping.) Dany is out of the Meereen quagmire and facing a new/old challenge. (Those were Dothraki riders, weren’t they? Hmmm.) Sansa is free of Ramsay. Reek has turned back into Theon. Sam, Gilly and the baby are heading to Oldtown so Sam can be a maester like he always dreamed of, and Gilly won’t live in fear of the Night’s Watch. Cersei may have bowed and bent, but she is certainly unbroken.

    • Fluffinmyturnups

      yes, you are right, too many shocks saved for last episode

      all crammed in – i really felt this ep was rushed and not directed carefully

      • Lyanna Mormont

        Somewhere in the middle, I actually started to wonder if it was all someone’s bizarre dream. I was half expecting Bobby Ewing to step out of the shower. (I think it was around the time Myrcella told Jaime how happy she was that he was her father.)

        And that’s despite knowing at least some of the beats were coming, due to being a book reader….

        • Fluffinmyturnups

          i really thought the Arya stabby stabby bit was her dreaming as it seemed so over the top and so stabby stabby

  • Tim Ward

    Game of Thrones in plot relevant nude scene shocker.

  • Lisa

    Jon is dead… And is going to be resurrected. ( not a spoiler the books end the same way as the show just did). I’m just CONVINCED. It was a red priest who resurrected that knight in the band of brotherhood and who just jet packed to the wall but a red priestess who has been side eyeing Jon. So he’s dead but not permanently so. Convinced, damnit. And he’ll be free of his night watch vow because he stuck with them to death, and fuck these guys.

    Jon is only temporarily dead. LaLalala. I won’t hear anyone saying otherwise. And Sansa+Theon totally ended in an unexpectedly huge snow bank. They did!


    • magnusk_98

      I was just discussing this with a work colleague at the shift turn-over. If Jon gets rezzed by Melisandre (c’mon, it’s just a level 5 spell, he falls under all the parameters of Raise Dead. You can do it, Mel! Use that “burning teenage royalty” power boost you… oh. :-/ ) …
      Ahem. Anyway! As I was saying, I also got the idea that if he gets rezzed, he’s out of the Nights Watch oath, allowing him to be used for other plotlines.
      I really hope the writers really use all that set-up they did. No idea who could otherwise be even left to be considered a decent protagonist for stopping a zombie invasion up north. Bjoerdkr the Baerfuckr?

  • Anand

    Hi Laura. Longtime lurker, first time commenter here. I’ve been reading (and loving) your recaps for 3 years now. Anyhow, have a hug! The night is darkest before the dawn.

    If you think of GRRM’s story in the classic 3-act structure, seasons 1-2.5 were Act 1, Seasons 2.5-5 are Act 2. This is the ebb, the low before the glorious Final Act (or so I choose to believe lalalalalala I can’t hear anyone’s comments to the contrary).

    So hang in there, and just wait for Season 6 and 7 which are going to be all happy and cheerful and everyone gets a dragon lizard kitty and Jon didn’t die and the nice Dorne ladies take up yoga and stop being so weird all the time.

    • Hi!! I’m so glad you de-lurked! :D

      I am going to cling to your beliefs here, because I neeeeeeeeed to. <3 You guys keep talking me off the ledge–I need it!

  • “we’ll see of the story outlasts our interest, won’t we?” HAHAHA! So accurate it hurts. ;)

    • Christian

      Well, it’s worth reminding yourself once in a while that you’re under no obligation to stick with the Show. These days everything is serialized, doesn’t mean we got to see everything throught – no point in giving creators license to half-ass everything after the first installment.
      I realized that when every SAW movie after the first one was shit and I kept coming back for more every year…

      • JCDavis

        Yes she is. If I have to be here so does she and she ain’t going any where because we will drag her very sad/weary arse back here and help her find a happy spot again. Right Laura? Laura? LAURA!! Okay, good – now that we have that figured out, let’s tackle world peace, shall we? *snickers*

        • Christian

          Well, there might be a moral obligation to us.

  • JCDavis

    Sorry so late to the party….as usual. But I really needed a day to step back and process, really process Sunday’s episode and the final for the year.

  • Beth

    I saw how many comments were here and there’s no way I can get through them, so forgive me if I repeat anyone. Here are things to hope for:

    1. Bran! What’s up with his tree-mage Fu Manchu friend? What sort of magic will come of thier relationship?

    2. Sansa and Theon might live… They MIGHT. I can’t see her so easily just jumping the wall in a suicide pact. Not with the expression on her face. So either she wasn’t acting well enough if she dies, or she’s trying to actually make a desperate escape.

    3. Brienne is still alive, she is still with honor, and maybe she will find Sansa as she makes her escape.

    4. Dany! While she got surrounded by Dothraki without the support of Drogo, and that could be bad… That could also turn into something good. And she left her ring behind so if Jorah my boyfriend continues following, he might see it and know where she’d been. Also, her dragon isn’t too far, wounded or no, it could take care of some M.F.-ers, you know?

    5. Arya becoming even more badass to make up for the blindness (which may be temporary once she learns to ‘see the light’ so to speak. Just guessing, I have no idea.). She’s a character that just keeps fucking adapting, no matter what, and every time she does she’s even stronger. I haven’t given up on her story, nor have I lost hope.

    6. There are still direwolves! We like those! LET ME PET OF YOU.

    7. Jon wasn’t burned, which was either really dumb on their part, or they wanted him to die slowly and then burn him later, but if he rises as an undead with some sort of special power because he’s a “snow” with blue eyes (i am making up my own mythology, I don’t care) that would be AWESOME. And what if fucking everyone that’s died rises up? Like, what if that’s what we’re heading towards as ‘winter comes’ and covers the land in snow? What if it’s magic snow!!

    8. Ginger mage still hasn’t died, and I think that’s a death we can get behind watching.

    9. Ramsey hasn’t had his comeuppance, and that’s something we are all waiting to see. I hope it hurts reeeeeally bad.

    10. Tyrion god damn Lannister is still kicking and could potentially have some major say in ruling an entire country. Take that, DAD.

    I hope that helps. :) Also? MAD respect for Cersei now. She has never looked stronger to me than she did walking down that street. I didn’t see her looking at the Red Keep as motivation, but “Holy shit, that is so far. This is going to be an eternity of pain.” But that’s probably just how I would react because I hate walking.

  • Fluffinmyturnups

    Just a little reminder of how good GoT could be and to generate some hope that it can return to these heights:

    • JCDavis

      Sorry. For my money GoT’s is still every bit as good as it always was. I am not disappointed in Season 5 or the last episode. It was brutal, I will give it that. But those things had to happen to get us to a start point next year. I won’t diss the show, I started with it and I love it and I will be there to the very end.

      It is not an easy task to render book to screen magic. The voluminous tomes that Mr. Martin writes that are over dialog and over descriptive don’t make it any easier. It is one thing to read someone getting stabbed twelve times, quite another to see the same thing. It is a whole different impact on the senses, as the Red Wedding was or the mutiny of the NW on Jon Snows poor self. The fact that people are so moved show how great these scenes are done.

      Can’t blame the television show for trying to make a great product with the source material. At least I am not going to. I also believe that when all is said and done, GoT’s is going to be known as the best television cable ever produced and will set the bar for what comes after it.

      • MaxwellJames

        While I’m probably slightly more pro-book and slightly less pro-show than you are, I basically agree. This season was as effective as any of its predecessors. And they took the slowest, most diffuse parts of Martin’s series and made them into something relentlessly fast and intense. Not perfect, & I personally would have preferred it if they spread the events of AFFC and ADWD over about 15 episodes rather than 10. But on balance I think they took the right approach with challenging material.

        • JCDavis

          Hey Maxwell James….actually I am also a book lover, but since this is a recap of the television show, I try to keep the comment centric to that. Books 1-3 had me at jump and kept me engrossed. Books 4 & 5??? Well not as much just because I got the feeling that Mr. Martin was leading the reader by the nose here and there and everywhere else with too much to continue processing.

          He could have got the same points across in 1/3 the book space that was taken. That is admittedly my very own humble opinion. Still, I wouldn’t change a thing about the books.

          I have high hopes for #6…..but have to laugh at the probability of seeing it before season 6 starts next year. Cheers mate.

          • MaxwellJames

            Well in that case, sorry if I misread you! Couldn’t agree more.

  • Jay

    PO-TAY-TOS are what WE eat!

    • Jay

      Also, I thought Mean Nun had it going on already (that curve-hugging habit? come on) and I wasn’t let down when I looked her up.

  • Miranda Prince

    Laura — I just found your site, and I really love your writing. So, *yes*, I do want to come back and talk about GoT with you in April. :-) I totally get what you’re saying, though. I definitely have issues with the relentless awfulness. (Relentless, hopeless awfulness is why I stopped watching “The Walking Dead.” It’s also the name of my new emo band.)

    I’ve been clinging to the hope that (this is not a spoiler — like Jon Snow, I know nothing) things are not quite as dire as they seem. After all, it can’t be a coincidence that a Red Priestess just swans into Castle Black right when Jon was stabbed a zillion times, can it? And I just feel like Theon and Sansa were jumping into a snowbank. I wish I could be optimistic about Myrcella, but I just can’t. And I can’t stand Cersei, but damn, that walk of shame was awful, and I have nothing but admiration for how bad-ass she was about it.

    • I’m so glad you found us! We have an AMAZING community during GoT season! And yeah, there has to be a reason a Red Priestess showed up. And Jon has been framed from the beginning as an End Player not unlike Sansa, Arya and KHALEESI. /theory

      I love Cersei, but I would never ever ever trust her or befriend her in real life. But on my TV? I LOVE HER. (love to hate?)