Hello all and welcome back to our Game of Thrones Season 5 coverage! We continue to mix in a little bit of the book with brand new territory for the show. And it continues to be interesting to me! There are plenty of different opinions floating around the world with TV Only Viewers and Book Readers on the season. I've mentioned various times that I'm not a book purist by any means, especially when it comes to the most recent 2 books which we're covering now. I think the show runners are doing their best to be faithful to George R. R. Martin's work, while making the series as a whole still consumable for television audiences. They're certainly keeping us on our toes and I'm interested to see where they go.
I'll still keep our standard disclaimer here that I have read all of the Song of Ice and Fire books that are currently released. I will only compare to the books when it's clear that we've covered it on the show or will not be covering it. In the comments, any book spoilers/speculation should be noted as such before commenting.
With that, let's dive in!
Long story short, Dany loses one of her trusted advisors and has to gain the courage to come up with her own plans.
- RIP Ser Barristan once again. Dany called up all of the leaders of great families in Meereen, including Hizdar and brought them before her dragons to put fear into them and potentially the Sons of the Harpy. It was an awesome scene. The dragons looked amazing and totally real (if Dragons were real).
- Grey Worm survived! He was out for 3 days, but it was enough time to realize he actually does have feelings for Missendi. They had a little smooching. Not much else they can do!
- Dany ended up asking Missendi for council as Daario wants to destroy the city until they kill all the Sons of Harpy. (yep, she needs Tyrion and Jorah back!) Missendi spoke to her observations that Dany listened to her council and relied on them, but sometimes made better decisions when she took their advice and came up with her own plan.
- And that she did. She decided to reopen the fighting pits to honor the traditions of the city. She also has decided she will marry one of the leaders of great families. In other words, Hizdar and Dany will marry. And yes, this actually does happen in the books, but man was it drawn out for an entire novel and was not Dany's idea in the books (not that I recall). I'm sure we'll get some Daario jealousy in there. But, it's clearly a business transaction to her, just as we see Ramsay speaking of Sansa's marriage.
Lots of stuff going on here. Jon has a big decision to make that will divide the Night's Watch. Maester Aemon is rambling off some information. Sam is discussing longing to become a maester. Stannis prepares to march south on Winterfell.
- Sam read Maester Aemon (Targaryan) some mail from a raven discussing an update on Dany. How she refuses to leave Slaver's Bay until the dust is settled from her liberation. Aemon is ill and started sharing some truths about his feelings. About how Dany is soon going to be the only Targaryan left in the world which is a terrible thing. Cue Jon entering the room.
- Jon is looking for some advice from the dying man about a decision he needs to make. Aemon's advice was that it doesn't matter what his plan is, just to do it. "Kill the boy and become the man" and find the strength to do what needs to be done.
- Jon has a negotiation with Tormund about bringing the free folk (wildlings) through the gate for protection from the White Walkers. But, his plan is also that they would fight the threat together when the time comes. Jon talks about the Night's Watch being a shield guarding the realms of men for 8000 years and that they've been doing it wrong. The Free Folk are men too and belong under their protection. Tormund needs some convincing but eventually agrees. But not without his own demands. We find out that most of the free folk that survived Stannis's raid have taken refuge North of the Wall at Hardhome. Jon has access to Stannis's fleet and will send 10 ships with 9 of his men to bring the wildlings back to the wall. Tormund demands that Jon is one of those men and he accepts. From a book perspective, this is a little bit of a difference. Jon does send men to Hardhome to recruit the wildlings, but he isn't one of them in the books. This is a chance for a big season set piece for Jon though.
- Jon lets the people of the Night's Watch know his plan and it was met with almost universal disagreement. Sam stayed by Jon's side speaking of THE GIFT as a good place for the wilding to settle south of the Wall. Even Dolores Ed spoke out against Jon bringing up good reasons. They killed Grenn, Pyp and 50 other brothers. Jon listened to all of the complaints and then stated the willings are still better than the army of the dead heading this way.
- Ollie's family and townsfolk were killed by wildlings last season in pretty brutal fashion. He is not thrilled with Jon's turn of events either. Jon pretty much says he understands, but WINTER IS COMING! They're keeping this made up character around for a reason. Best keep an eye on him.
- Gilly and Sam have a discussion on the largest libraries of the world. Sam talks of his lifelong desire to go to Oldtown and become a maester at the citadel. But, he also said if he didn't join the Night's Watch he wouldn't have met Gilly. There's potentially a book plot at play here or they could be just acknowledging a book plot without actually doing it.
- Stannis came in and spoke to Sam about the White Walker he killed and dragon glass. We learn that they have much of this at Dragonstone They both do not understand why it works and Sam has been studying. He knows the Children of the Forest used to hunt with it. Stannis told Sam to keep reading.
- Stannis and Davos have a discussion about waiting for Jon Snow to return with the wildlings to help with their invasion. Stannis says there is no time with Winter looming. He also wasn't totally certain Jon would return. In a change from the books, Stannis is bringing Shireen, Selyse and Mellisandre with him. I actually don't remember if his family came or not, but I"m fairly certain Mellisandre stayed at the wall because of her interest in Snow. With Jon sailing to Hardhome, it probably didn't make sense to keep her there.
- Shireen discusses wanting to go to the crypt of Winterfell because the old kings and queens are buried there. It was just interesting that she mentioned that, so I figured I should call it out.
- Jon and Stannis have one last conversation. Jon promised Stannis would get his ships back. He thanked Stannis for his help and then they marched off. Mellisandre and Jon exchanged one more glance.
- Brienne and Pod are just outside of Winterfell at an inn. Brienne stays determined to keep her safe. She spoke to the innkeeper about his loyalty to the Starks. She seemed to have convinced him about her oath to protect Sansa. She was hoping to pass word to Sansa through "The North Remembers" folk that she's not alone. It's possible she succeeded, but it's tough to tell in this episode.
This episode basically reminded us of how awful Ramsay Bolton is, not that we needed much reminding!
- Ramsay and Miranda have a whole discussion about how they were going to get married when he was still a bastard. Ramsay speaks to family obligation now that he's a Bolton, but also how Miranda is still his. He also spoke of what he'd do to her if he got bored with her. So, then they have some rough sexy time.
- Sansa got a "North Remembers" message once again and was told she's not alone and to go to the broken tower. The tower seems to be where Bran was pushed out the window. When she got there though, Miranda was there trying to strike up a friendship. I couldn't tell if this was in response to Ramsay's comments or if she's just pretending to strike up the friendship. In either case she made Sansa aware that Theon Greyjoy is residing in Winterfell and sleeping with the dogs. (This was the case in the books for Theon/Reek as well) That is something Ramsay didn't want Sansa to be aware of. Theon confesses to Ramsay that Sansa saw him. The suspenseful scene/music led us to believe Ramsay would do some other unforgivable act to Theon, but he forgives him instead.
- Then came the most awkward dinner in Westerosian history. Roose, Walda, Ramsay and Sansa sat down for dinner in Winterfell. Basically it was a setting for Ramsay to show everyone how awful a person he is yet again, but for Sansa to realize it now too. He brought out Theon and forced him to confess to the murders of Bran and Rickon (which the world still believes is the case). Theon does confess, but you can tell he's conflicted with telling Sansa this lie. Granted, he still did murder 2 kids to make it appear like it was Bran and Rickon. He then went as far as to make Theon be the one to walk Sansa down the aisle at their wedding since she's the "closest to kin she has" at this point. Ouch. He also used the line "The North Remembers" which is usually in reference to the Red Wedding, which the Boltons were a root cause for. Poor Sansa.
- Then Walda gets her time to shine. First she tells Sansa that she knows it must be difficult being in a strange place. This is hysterical since it's Sansa's home (which she acknowledges). Then she goes and announces that she's pregnant with most likely a boy. This makes Ramsay uneasy. For the record, I do not recall this from the books.
- Roose was certainly unhappy with Ramsay's dinner table antics. But, he also had a scene similar to Stannis last week where he always knew Ramsay was his son and tried to put him at ease that he will always be a Bolton even if he has a true heir. Of course he also discussed how Ramsay is the product of a murder/rape situation which was pretty brutal to hear about!
- Roose knows Stannis will march south soon and Ramsay promises to help him defend The North.
Tyrion and Jorah row through Valyria. It is the ancestral home of the Targaryan family. It was an advanced culture and town that suffered a cataclysmic event known as the Doom of Valyria. We've heard reference to the language and the steel that they make (Ned Stak's sword ICE was valyrian steel which was melted down to make Oathkeeper and Joffrey's wedding present. Jon Snow's sword is valyrian steel as well)
This setting should have come as a surprise to book readers as it was never a setting in the books, as of yet, but it was pretty awesome to see.
- Tyrion/Jorah are slowly bonding over their journey. This was an opportunity for a visual and audible brain dump of Valyria. They spoke of how the DOOM still haunts it. How the flames even burned up the dragons. Jorah almost spoke in poetic verse when he talked of its history which led to Tyrion offering to clap if he could be freed of restraints.
- For the record, I double checked the wiki for Valyria. Since it was never used in the books, it's safe to read this link for background info. Just be careful clicking on any links to other wiki pages! Where are we?
- Then, Tyrion gets a first hand look at Drogon. He has flown pretty far from Meereen to be in Valyria. But it was a majestical scene and Tyrion stared in disbelief. While that encounter was NOT in the books, the encounter with the Stonemen was!
- A large struggle with the greyscale outcasts ensued. It was pretty darn creepy and I thought for a second that we were going to end on a fade to black while Tyrion was under water. We found out it was just for effect as Jorah rescued him and brought him to shore. They both declined being touched by the inflicted. They set up camp and Jorah speaks of their plans to walk until they find a fishing village for another boat, or they have an even longer walk ahead.
- What Jorah didn't reveal to Tyrion was that he certainly had been touched by a stone man and now has greyscale spreading on his arm. OH NO!!!