Let it never be said that Game Of Thrones doesn’t try something new in its season finales. Topic of this week is cliff-hangers. When you have the guarantee of a next season, it’s safer to give it a try.
Hardhome probably took most of this season’s budget. The long-hyped battle of Winterfell likely proves this, as it takes places in some well-done wide shots and off-screen. Stannis hits his lowest point. Despite the show’s attempt to demonise him last week, I found myself oddly sympathetic of him. That being said, I have to question his final scene from a visual standpoint. Brienne hears of his arrival and dashes off for some much sought after vengeance (just missing Sansa’s ‘help me’ candle in the process).
I’m going to call shenanigans on what happens next. Amidst the battle, Brienne finds Stannis. Just… really? Also apparently Ramsay is totally happy with going back into Winterfell without making sure the enemy’s leader has been killed. Anyway, Brinne is the show-runner’s pet, I think. She takes the time to monologue, even given a twisted version of Ned Stark’s sentencing to the fallen Stannis. It did make me chuckle that she referred to Renly as the rightful king, when for all intents and purposes he was an upstart. Either way, Stannis doesn’t have much room for a dignified exit, and I was half expecting his last word to be ‘Whatever’.
Sansa had such potential for this season, instead the best she manages here is attempting to face death with dignity. Theon does a little better, taking partial revenge on Myranda by pushing her over the battlements (her yelp before she goes splat took away any seriousness the scene had). Then, the two escape Winterfell by jumping off the wall. Assuming they survive the massive drop with minimal injuries, how do they propose to escape Ramsay?
So Meryn Trant was probably getting his jollies in season 2 when he was beating Sansa at Joffrey’s request. At least that’s how it appears here, as he selects his girl for the evening based on how they respond to being beaten. Of course, Arya is one of the girls in disguise, and of course she knifes him. Oddly enough, I found her method rather over the top. Her choosing to monologue didn’t help matters. I ask, what happens when her mark doesn’t remember/know what she’s talking about before she delivers the coup-de-grace?
We get a surreal scene where Arya begins to understand what being no-one means as Jaqen poisons himself. Well, he already said Jaqen is dead. Arya peels off the faces until she finds her own, and then goes blind. It’s strange that Arya considered the faceless man to be her friend, or maybe its sad.
I always dread covering the Dorne sequences in these reviews. This week is no different. Tyene makes a fairly modern sounding comment about herself (I’m not repeating it a. because it’s vulgar and b. because it sounded stupid). On the plus side, when Jaime tries to tell Myrcella that he’s her father, she reveals that she already knew. The kicker? She’s apparently ok with it. Either she has tremendous coping skills, or she’s still buzzed from all that Dornish wine.
So Ellaria Sand poisoned her lips, kissed Mrycella in full view of those in attendance and then imagined that no one would make the connection? Even if this gets her the war with the Lannisters that she craves, Doran is hardly going to let this one stand. And she and her Sand-Snakes all looked so pleased with themselves afterwards as though they’d done something clever. The plan is irrational, muddled, and just downright silly.
Anyone who thought Cersei was legitimately humbled, you’re adorable. Of course she was telling the High Septon as much as she’d be able to get away with, and it paid off, sort of. Cersei is released from custody until her trial, but she has to do a walk of penance. From a filming standpoint, having an actress walk nude in the streets with people hurling abuse/insults/vegetables/misc. at her is always going to be tricky. Lena Headey is Cersei only in closeups. Otherwise it’s her head on a body double. Similar to the technique used in the faceless men sequence no doubt.
What will doubtless have people talking more is the immediate aftermath: Robert Strong appears as the newest member of the Kingsguard. Not sure why Qyburn gave him that name. Either way, seeing those eyes and hearing that rasping breathing was considerable disturbing. Cersei is certainly not cowed, and now she has a giant who has taken a vow of silence until her enemies are all killed. Bugger.
In Mereen, more buddy times are ahead as Jorah and Daario go in search of Daenerys. This leaves Tyrion and Grey Worm (a man of the people apparently) to rule in their queen’s stead. Thankfully Varys appears, so at least Tyrion will have someone to bounce off with his wit. I’m not sure if Peter Dinklage is growing tired of his role, or whether that’s just how he’s being directed. Colour me concerned.
Daenerys seems to have misinterpreted Drogon’s intent. I’m pretty sure him saving her was coincidence, as he seems content to shake her off his back and go to sleep, bless him. Either way, Dany goes for a wander and finds herself surrounded by Dothraki, you know, the horse-riders who take bed-slaves and are generally all around horrible?
Jon finally allows Sam to go to Oldtown and become a maester, something he probably should have done a while ago. While we’re there, has Jon not actually told the Night’s Watch about what happened at Hardhome? If I saw an army of undead being raised by a blue frosty man, that’d be all over Facebook. Anyway, Melisandre turns up looking fairly despondent, maybe even ashamed? Who knows, she probably just feels silly for following Stannis for the last few years and making him slowly wreck everything around him.
So let’s get to that last bit. I hate Olly. I hate everything that snot-nosed brat stands for. It’s bad enough that the other brothers (huh, rhyme) were more than happy to get knife-happy on their Lord Commander. Having the little twit deal the final blow seemed like salt on the wound. And the fact that they kept saying ‘for the Watch’, yeah, keep telling yourselves that. I hope you all get dysentery and intestinal worms. Also worth noting that Alliser isn’t there in the books, would he have joined in if he had?
So, at final count, that’s six cliff-hangers (Cersei being the exception). Ultimately, I have mixed feelings about this episode. Bits of it were done incredibly well and vice versa. The hope here would be that season six will turn everything around. That being said, now comes the long wait between seasons, longer due to all those cliffhangers. I need a drink.
Has Olly surpassed Joffrey and Ramsay as most hated character? Do you think Stannis/Myrcella/Jon are dead? Let us know what you think in the comments below…