Hello everyone and welcome to our final installment of Game of Thrones recapping for season 5! And WOW, can you believe what just went down in that episode? Thrilling from start to finish. A mix of plots that have yet to happen in the books and what definitely happened. We have now chronologically reached the point where the TV Show has caught up to where A Dance With Dragons (book 5) ends. There are some plot lines that haven't been covered yet that seem like they may still happen next year, but for the most part we are in uncharted territory! One has to assume George R. R. Martin is almost finished with The Winds of Winter, but he has long since stopped updating fans on when he thinks he'll release a book due to not making those deadlines in the past. Most betting fans would bet he'll release it RIGHT BEFORE season 6 airs to optimize sales. We shall see.
But, this season certainly was a rollercoaster ride of emotions and it ended on a pretty shocking note (even if it was heavily foreshadowed throughout the season). A couple of us book readers have been debating how the scene would go down and where exactly it would end all season long (feel free to go back and read those spoiler discussions in all of the comments. We'll talk a little more in this recap about the implications and what book fans have theorized about.
A minor note on Spoiler Warnings. I usually freely discuss anything that has been covered in the books and try to avoid spoiling anything yet to come. Now, that we're caught up we're in a huge grey area of what may or may not be a spoiler! I will still use caution on discussing things that might still happen in the show. Let's do this!
EW Links (There's lots of them)
- Producers/GRRM discuss if character is really gone. (book vs. show)
- Actor saying "I'm Not Coming Back"
- Lena Headey discusses the Walk of Shame
Things finally came to a head at Winterfell. But things took a major left turn last week with the "future book spoiling" killing of Shireen. It pretty much signaled the downfall of Stannis. Half of his army (the mounted ones) abandoned camp in the middle of the night, Selyse hung herself due to burning their child at the stake, and Melissandre realized she failed and this man truly was not the chosen one from the Lord of Light and quickly left camp. Stannis marched forward anyway with a plan to siege Winterfell at dawn. But, the Boltons were prepared in massive forces and slaughtered the remaining Baratheon army.
- Nice far away CGI in this episode implying the scale of the battle. And nice job tying in the Sansa, Brienne and Stannis plot. (Was Brienne really just looking out that window all season?)
- Book difference: This battle has yet to take place in the books. The battle was put on hold due to the massive blizzard that hit (And a reminder, Shireen is still alive for now in the books). I guess we're meant to thing Shireen's sacrifice thawed the winter storm? Obviously, that makes no sense since he lost!
- Brienne abandoned her post finding out Stannis was nearby. She waited until the end of battle to put him out of his misery. He admitted to using black magic to kill Renly Baratheon (whom Brienne still referred to as the rightful heir). Brienne sentenced Stannis to die and he accepted. The funny thing is, the producers discuss in the interviews above the old TV trick "if you don't see someone dying, then they're not dead." They discussed how they argued over the frame to end the Ned Stark beheading scene to confirm he actually was beheaded. So then WHY OH WHY not show Stannis getting killed and cut to Ramsay stabbing someone else? It certainly seems like he was going to be killed. His story seems to be over in the television show having been defeated. I think even the official site confirms him as dead. I'm sure we'll see an exit interview later today if he is. But RIP Stannis. Actually don't, you did some terrible stuff man!
- Meanwhile Ramsay was being Ramsay and ruthlessly murdering surrendering soldiers and talking about abusing his wife some more (well...implying).
- And Sansa was looking for a means to escape. She finally lit that candle at the exact moment Brienne stopped looking. That thing she gabbed a few weeks ago that we thought she'd stab Ramsay with was to unlock the Broken Tower.
- Things came to an exciting conclusion with Myranda catching Sansa and having her in her bow and arrow crosshairs. She spoke to Ramsay's plans to dismember/disfigure Sansa retaining her useful parts for childbearing, but then not so much after. Reek finally snapped out of it and threw Myranda off the ledge to her death. YAY THEON, you're back! There was nowhere else to go, so they totally Thelma and Louise'd it off the walls of Winterfell into the snow. This was exactly Theon's arc in the book. He saved Jeyne Poole (i.e. Fake Arya who married Ramsay) and they escaped by jumping off the wall. It was the last thing we saw of Theon in the books too. (There have been released chapters of Winds of Winter, but the Theon related one I have yet to read) But, anyone that has watched Frozen, knows that if there's at least 50 feet of fresh powder at the bottom of a large fall, you'll be perfectly okay! I'm sure Theon and Sansa are just fine. Maybe a few bruises. But once again, we didn't see them perish!
Game of Thrones marketing team must've realized they've been spoiling things with the "Previously On" so they got tricky with this one! 2 characters we haven't seen since season 1 were featured in the clips and neither of them made a return appearance. But, both of their names were mentioned in the episode. The first one was Syrrio Forel, Arya's sword fighting trainer (From Braavos) who was allegedly killed by Meryn Trant. We had a nice setup last week of Meryn liking younger girls. This week he stepped up his game to beating younger girls. But one girl didn't scream. I kind of suspected it might be our Arya wearing a different face!
- What a great payoff to this season's training in the House of Black and White! She went to town on Meryn Trant and Maisie Williams' performance was incredible. She recanted his sins before finally taking him out referring to him as "no one" and admitting she is Arya Stark. I know. Why do we cheer for scenes like this but get repulsed by other scenes in the show? It's because we love Arya and we WANT her to get her revenge.
- Granted, Jaqen was not happy with Arya for killing the wrong man and that another life must be taken to offer up to the many faced god. Jaqen drinks a poison and dies. But no it's not Jaqen! It was NO ONE! Someone that was truly no one had many faces. Another man came in looking like Jaqen explained what it takes to be truly no one.
- The final face that Arya saw on the dead body was her own which was totally some Empire Strikes Back vibes from THE CAVE!
- This played out a little differently in the show than it did in the books. For starters Jaqen was somewhere else in the books, and that seemingly still could happen next season. With the way this concluded, it is very possible that the Jaqen that Arya met in Westeros was not in Braavos this entire time and truly was just a familiar face for Arya and the audience to latch onto.
- What did happen in the books, though much earlier was her blinding punishment. I believe it's how her chapters in A Feast for Crows end. She does kill the wrong man in the books too, but it wasn't Meryn Trant.
- So, we are left with a cliffhanger in her story and maybe I know a couple nuggets of what else lies ahead for her. But, not too much.
Painful to the end! I think we're meant to assume that Ellaria Sand murdered Myrcella by kissing her with poison on her lips.
- Of course, not before Myrcella reveals that she knows Jaime is her father and they share a very loving embrace. You should never feel happy for characters on this show! I will say that Myrcella is very much alive in the books though she is missing an ear from an attempt to pull her out of Dorne. And Ellaria Sand had nothing to do with any of it. But, I guess this goes further into fulfilling Cersei's prophecy. She has one child remaining.
- The Bronn/Tyene stuff was probably meant to be amusing and maybe it would've been if those Sand Snakes weren't so painful to watch!
Tyrion, Daario, Jorah, Missendi and Grey Worm meet in the Throne room and discuss next steps.
- Lots of banter, and humorous banter at that. Jorah and Tyrion were at odds. Daario and Jorah were at odds because they love the same woman. Missendi speaks of little man saving her and he says some funny stuff in Valyrian which she corrects. Grey Worm apologizes for not being able to lend a hand.
- In the end, Jorah and Daario are going to head North to find Dany. Tyrion, Grey Worm and Missendi are going to run Meereen and try to keep the city from breaking in to Civil War. NONE OF THIS is in the books. Meereen in the books is totally on the brink of War, Dany is missing. And Barristan is left in charge trying to prepare the city for battle. But it's also because Yunkai and Astaphor (the other 2 cities that Dany freed) rebelled and the masters were back in charge and were heading to Meereen for battle. There were also many other people heading towards Dany in the books (characters we just met in the later books and don't look to be revealed on the show. Just in case, I won't say who they were.). All of them were heading to Meereen for battle. GRRM has spoken about book 6 opening with the Battle of Winterfell and The Battle of Meereen to indicate how large things had escalated (and how much was NOT covered in A Dance with Dragons).
- So, maybe there is still a battle coming, but I have to guess that Benioff and Weiss want to pull the talent OUT of Meereen and back to Westeros as quickly as possible. Maybe not though, because they did honor another cliffhanging story out of the books with Dany.
- As I said last week, there was one more chapter to go with Dany and we certainly saw it. Dany couldn't get Drogon to fly. He is injured from the spears that stabbed him last week. Dany has no idea where they flew off to, but we at least know it was North of Meereen. She starts wandering around and a large group of Dothraki came and surrounded her! I mean, seriously large. Maybe it's the same Dothraki riders that Khal Drogo once commanded and they just have budget to show more of them. But, it's tough to tell if they were riding to her aid or are going to capture her. I think it may have been slightly different in the books. I thought she did mount Drogon one more time and flew TOWARDS the Dothraki hoard. Regardless, Dany will be dealing with the Dothraki next season. And if I was a betting man, that hoard would be joining the Unsullied and her new council as they travel West. If only they had a fleet to bring the armies on. Hmmm
Cersei finally atoned for "some" of her sins. She confessed to the High Septon about sleeping with Lancel, her cousin. She did not confess to birthing 3 children with her brother. She was a broken woman though and just wanted to get back to the red keep. All of this was very close to what was in the books. The Septon allowed her to return to the Keep. But he kept it a surprise of how she was going to get there.
- Cersei was stripped down, head shaved and bathed for her walk of atonement. This was one of the big moments we knew was coming this season but it was shot pretty incredibly even if it was tough to watch.
- Cersei walked down the streets getting sneered, crap thrown her, spit on, assaulted (though the Militant were pretty good at beating down said assaulters). You can tell that she was emotionally drained by the end of the walk and her feet weren't doing too well either.
- No fear though, when she arrived back at the Red Keep, her uncle Kevan Lannister, Pycelle and Qyburn were waiting for her. Qyburn introduced her to the resurrected Mountain. Ugh, they didn't say his name so I guess I can't either. It might be one of the worst names GRRM has ever come up with! Anyway, Mountain 2.0 pretty much looks like a zombie behind that mask, and is trained to take out all of Cersei's wrongdoers. Stay tuned for season 6 when she probably will take out that nun lady first!
We open up with Jon and Sam talking about what happened at Hardhome. They speak of the dragon glass not being enough to stop the white walkers. They speak of Valaryan steel and wonder how much is left in the 7 kingdoms. They speak of Jon being the most hated man in Castle Black. And then they speak of removing all of Jon's allies at the wall by sending Sam to the Citadel.
- We were pretty certain at the beginning of this season that Sam's journey to Oldtowne wasn't going to happen, but then they started hinting at it mid-season. I spoke various times of him traveling for a lot of the stories that happened this season. In the books, he brings Gilly and Mance Rayder's baby with them. But he also brings Aemon Targaryan, who dies on the voyage. They get to Oldtowne by the end of A Feast for Crows, and there was a cliffhanger there. But, my guess is they'll be fast forwarding that journey and just start his citadel training pretty early in season 6. (Which we haven't gotten to yet in the books) In the books it's also Jon's plan to send him to Oldtowne, not him giving Sam permission.
- But, it all makes sense. Sam is destined to be a maester due to his knowledge. The dude loves to read and the Citadel has the largest library in the world.
- Sam also admits to sleeping with Gilly. Jon doesn't seem to care too much about their vows at that point and glad Sam is enjoying the end of the world!
- Then things start going badly. Davos gets to the Wall and asks for Wildling help in the battle at Winterfell. Jon refuses saying it's not their battle. Then, Melissandre arrives in the quickest journey from Winterfell to Castle Black ever! It's written all over her face what happened. She doesn't have to say a word. Jon filled in the rest of the gaps by reading scrolls with the news of what happened to Stannis, his daughter, his wife, his army.
- Then Olly comes in to tell Jon of amazing news. Uncle Benjen Stark (remember him?) is alive and a wildling knows where he is! Jon is brought down to the courtyard, walks through a bunch of rangers only to find a sign that says "TRAITOR" on it. He turns around and Alliser Thorne stabs Jon in the gut saying, "For the Watch". This is followed by many Night's Watch people doing exactly the same. But then, Olly fulfilled the purpose of his TV SHOW creation, and came in with some tears and says, "For the Watch" stabbing Jon in the Heart and letting him fall to the ground to bleed out and breathe his last breaths. RIP Jon Snow. WHAAAT!?!?!?!?!?!
Yep, Jon Snow dies in the book too. It's one of the final chapters in A Dance With Dragons. And everyone was shocked. The thing is, book fans are not accepting it. And George R. R. Martin is quick to suggest he's not dead forever which aids book fans not accepting it. What we had discussed in our spoiler sections and will probably continue to discuss is that it would all come down to if Kit Harrington does an Exit Interview. Guess what? He did! He and the producers are both saying Jon Snow is dead. Kit is saying he's not coming back. He even discussed his contract that was renewed for 2 seasons and was mad that that came out. He said the news was inaccurate. Guess what? Most fans aren't buying it and calling it a complete cover-up.
Let's look at the facts. Melissandre drove at light speed to make sure she was at the wall for Jon Snow's death. We know that Stannis Baratheon is not Azor Ahai's 2nd coming. We have a TV SHOW ONLY scene where Melissandre meets Thoros of Myr (the Red Priest with the Brotherhood without Banners) who has resurrected Beric Dondarrion like 5 times or something. She was never able to bring anyone back from the dead as she suggested the Lord of Light never spoke through her. But, I believe Thoros was in a bad state the first time he brought Beric back. Depressed, drunk and desperate. Right now Melissandre is not the confident Red Priestess she's been since season 2. If she sensed something in Jon Snow (which is why she wanted to get with him earlier this season), she might think that HE is indeed Azor Ahai's 2nd coming. Perhaps Jon Snow is dead, but the prince that was promised will rise (Okay, 2 separate prophecies in the books that could be the same). Another clue is that Melissandre never left Castle Black in the books. So her being at the wall seems important in both show and book.
And there's one final clue that Jon isn't gone forever. THE THEORY! We still do not know 100% for certain who Jon's mother is. We have very strong theories and believe the parentage of Jon Snow is important. How important is it if he remains dead?
So yes, we smell a cover-up and a big one at that! Regardless, it's a shocking way to end the season. And even more shocking if his death sticks. I'm going to choose to hold out hope. But, I'm also going to hope George gets that book out before next April!
In any case, we have a whole year of discussing to do. So let's get started! Hope you enjoyed my ramblings and I'll see you next year!