Game of Thrones has been playing a dangerous turn this season. Risking alienating fans both reader and non-alike with radical plot lines, however, season 5 may have just hit its stride.
With last week’s controversial and dark ending still looming, it may be disheartening to see that Sansa’s prospects have not improved since. As such, Ramsay is still in control, keeping her locked in her tower by day. People expecting Theon to redeem himself by helping to save her will be shocked, or perhaps not, depending on how frequently you remember that Thrones loves to subvert expectations.
Stannis’ campaign to become king may well be reaching its end. With Melisandre asking to sacrifice Shireen to the Red God, Stannis may well have finally found where the line is when it comes to his perceived right to the throne. I find it convenient that Melisandre doesn’t make mention of Balon Greyjoy’s fate when she lists the successes of her leeching of Gendry back in season 3. That said, I’m wondering if the show-runners/audience/actual Westeros might have forgotten about him too so there’s that.
We all love Sam Tarly, unfortunately he might be out of his depth. Maester Aemon might just be the first character we’ve seen to die of old age. It’s touching, and deeply saddening that his last words are to his long-gone brother, as well as a heartbreaking ‘I had a dream I’d grown old’ just before he passes. Sam has to attempt to prove his mettle against Night’s Watch brothers who try to have their way with Gilly. Were it not for Ghost’s sudden re-appearance things would have ended badly for both Sam and Gilly.
In Dorne (I wish they’d fix the opening credits and actually give place names rather than the broad brush), Jaime meets with Myrcella, with Doran Martell’s hopes that he will see she is well. Jaime tries his hand at fatherly responsibility with someone who hasn’t had the memo that he’s her parent. “You don’t know me,” she says accurately before leaving.
Elsewhere, vindication of prediction awaits. Well, of a sort. Bronn was indeed poisoned by Tyene’s blades. However, she’s willing to give him the cure (and the obligatory nude scene) at the same time. Ironically this is the least cringe-worthy of the Sand Snake scenes so far. It helps that for once they aren’t going on about how they plan to wage war for Dorne and so forth. Bronn’s finishing of ‘The Dornish Man’s Wife’ is something I hope to hear a full rendition of at some point.
Across the sea in Mereen, Jorah’s plan meets a potential set back at a slave auction. So, despite Daenerys’ proclamation that only free-men would fight in the pits, it seems there’s still money to be made. I’m not sure what Jorah’s original plan was, but he appears to have ended up where he needed to be. The fight scene is nothing spectacular, though the emphasis is more on Daenerys’ revulsion at the killing (keep in mind this was a girl who got excited when her first husband declared plans for mass slaughter and burning). Tyrion, for his part, might well be coming out ahead of things. Though Daenerys’ reaction to seeing Jorah might have bad ramifications for him too.
In King’s Landing, Tommen tries to channel his inner Joffrey but ends up looking like a wet blanket. At this point I have to express my doubts that Cersei truly cares for her children, rather that she only wishes them safe as a means of denying the outcome of the prophecy she received as a child. The shift of her irrational hatred of Sansa to Margery more-or-less proves it. We see that Margery has dispensed with the veil, and openly calls Cersei on what she’s done. Cersei tries playing it cool, but she’d have an easier time convincing furniture of her good-will than someone with two or more brain cells to rub together.
The High Sparrow is truly terrifying. He’s a believer, simple and whole. While I can’t help but feel he had a certain satisfaction in having Cersei arrested (I know I did), he would have done the same to anyone, regardless of their station. Cersei’s frantic screaming makes me recall Viserys in season one shortly before his molten coronation, unlikely to occur here, but a guy can dream. If Cersei were as smart as she thought she as, she would have had Lancel dealt with quietly after their conversation in the first episode of the season.
So, with a mere handful of episodes left and then a year to wait before the next season, has Game Of Thrones picked up the pace too late? Is season 5 saving it’s best for last? Let us know what you think in the comments below…