I really don’t know how to begin this recap of the season 5 finale of Game of Thrones. I’m so incredibly disillusioned, angry, confused and sad. There was a lot of action in this episode, a ton of cliffhangers and one final scene that is so massively confusing that I can’t begin to process it.
The 15 Best Deaths from Season 5>>
Did that person really just die? Seriously? This episode did include a few major deaths, but the last one is so out-of-the-blue and hard to accept that it’s all anyone will talk about, and that comes after an episode in which Arya brutally killed someone and Cersei was full frontal nude.
For the Watch
I’m going to recap in reverse order to get to the big stuff first. At Castle Black, Samwell wants to go to Oldtown to become a maester (and to get himself, Gilly and the baby out of danger). Jon agrees and Sam is gone.
Now let’s skip to the very end of the episode. Olly, Jon’s ward, claims there’s a wildling who has information about Jon’s uncle, Benjen Stark, being alive. Jon rushes outside, but he sees a grave. Then Alliser Thorne stabs him “for the Watch,” because most of the members of the Night Watch don’t think Jon’s decision to bring in the wildlings was a good idea. A number of other brothers also stab Jon until Olly comes up at the end and gives Jon Snow one last stab.
4 Ways to Undo Jon Snow’s Death>>
The season ends with Jon Snow lying on the ground, bleeding and presumably dead. But seriously, is Jon Snow dead? As in, really, truly dead? It’s unfathomable that Game of Thrones would do that, but I said the same thing about Ned and Robb. The only potential saving grace is that Melisandre returned to Castle Black after fleeing Stannis Baratheon’s camp, so perhaps she can use some dark magic to save him.
The War at Winterfell
Speaking of Stannis, sacrificing his daughter seemed to work out because the snow has melted and he can now proceed to Winterfell. However, that’s the ONLY good news. Half of his army has deserted (because who can trust a man that kills his own daughter?) and his wife, Selyse, has hanged herself in a tree. Also, Melisandre ran away (back to Castle Black), most likely because she knew Stannis wouldn’t be happy.
Still, Stannis goes to Winterfell for a war. And a war is what he gets as the Bolton army meets him on the battlefield, two massive armies going against each other. The show skips most of the fighting and we get to the end, where Stannis is barely alive. He lays down next to a tree when Brienne of Tarth shows up. She’s vowed to kill him for Renly and this is her chance. After a quick conversation, Brienne lifts Oathkeeper and though the camera cuts away, it’s safe to assume she killed Stannis.
Yes, Stannis Baratheon is dead too. I don’t know how I feel about this. Sacrificing his daughter was kind of pointless since Stannis lost anyway, but maybe that’s the point. Like Abraham and Isaac, Stannis was only being tested to see if he would kill his offspring, but he wasn’t supposed to actually do it. And losing everything is his punishment for making that choice.
Anyway, back at Winterfell, Sansa puts a candle in the tower and tries to escape, but Ramsay’s psycho girlfriend catches her. She wants to shoot Sansa with an arrow, but just as she’s about to do it, Theon pushes her off the wall to her death. Theon then tries to help Sansa escape by…jumping off the wall? It’s not really clear if they were jumping to their deaths or going to run away, but I like to assume that Theon and Sansa are now free and will hopefully bump into Brienne and Podrick.
Cersei’s Walk of Shame
In King’s Landing, Cersei confesses to the High Sparrow, but only about sleeping with Lancel. She still claims her kids were fathered by Robert. Her punishment is a “walk of atonement.” She’s stripped naked, her hair is cut off and she must walk through the streets back to the castle while the nun rings a bell and shouts “Shame!”
It’s an incredibly brutal, painful and raw scene as Lena Headey is completely nude and the people quickly start shouting “Whore” and “Bitch” while throwing food and rocks at her. The scene goes on forever which is either exploitation or necessary to convey the torment Cersei feels.
When she reaches the castle, Qyburn covers her up and introduces her to the newest member of the Kingsguard, a giant, mountain of a man who does not speak. It’s obviously the Mountain, who Qyburn has been keeping alive using dark magic in his lab, and Qyburn promises that this new soldier won’t speak until he kills everyone responsible for Cersei’s current situation. The High Sparrow had better prepare to die.
Arya Gets Revenge
Arya has learned to take other faces and she’s posing as one of the young prostitutes hired by Meryn Trant. He beats her, but she says nothing. Then she changes her face to become Arya Stark once again. Arya then stabs out both of his eyes and gags him while getting her revenge. She says this is for Syrio Forel, her fencing instructor who Trant killed way back in season 1. Arya then kills Trant for good and it’s a seriously bloody, disgusting, brutal scene.
Arya goes back to the House of Black and White where Jaqen H’ghar is disappointed that she killed the wrong person because she was supposed to abandon her old vendettas. As punishment, Jaqen says someone must die to atone for Arya killing the wrong man and he drinks some poison. However, it’s not really Jaqen as Arya removes the dead man’s face multiple times until she gets to her own face. At that point, Arya goes blind. The rules of the Many-Faced God are confusing.
Jaime Goes Home
Jaime, Bronn, Myrcella and Trystane get on a ship to go back to King’s Landing. Jaime has a heart-to-heart with Myrcella where he tries to come clean about being her dad, not her uncle, but she already knows and she’s fine with it. It’s sweet…until Myrcella starts coughing up blood. It seems that goodbye kiss Ellaria Sand gave Myrcella included some poisoned lipstick. We don’t know what happens, but I assume she’s dead too.
Who Will Rule Meereen?
Tyrion, Jorah, Daario, Grey Worm and Missandei meet in Dany’s throne room to decide what to do without their queen. It’s decided that Daario and Jorah will track her down while Tyrion, Grey Worm and Missandi will stay behind to rule over Meereen. That’s an odd group, but it’s also one of the few prospects for season 6 that has me excited.
Even better, Varys has arrived at Meereen and reconnects with Tyrion to help advise him on secretly ruling the city. Is it weird that I’m hoping for a Tyrion-Missandei-Grey Worm love triangle in season 6?
Finally, Drogon has flown Dany far away and he just wants to rest instead of flying her back to Meereen. Dany goes out to explore and stumbles upon hundreds and hundreds of wild men riding horses. They look like Dothraki warriors, so it seems Dany is right back where she started.
The fifth season of Game of Thrones was a hard one for viewers and while moments like Sansa’s rape and Shireen’s death alienated some viewers, there were also plenty of highlights (the Battle of Hardhome was epic). The finale, however, is just plain infuriating.
Is Jon Snow really dead? Is Myrcella dead? What happened to Sansa and Theon? Was the death of Stannis kind of sudden and a bit of a letdown? Seeing as how the show has caught up with (and even surpassed) the books, it’s impossible to tell where anything is going. And if Jon Snow really is dead, what’s the point of anything?
(Image courtesy of HBO)