Well, so that happened. Mother’s Mercy was pretty much one cliffhanger after the other, ending a divisive season on an even more divisive note. Fans of the books knew what was coming with the likes of Arya, Cersei and Jon’s scenes all being in A Dance of Dragons, and but that’s it. This is where the series catches up with the books. There’s no more new material (apart from what Martin has mentioned to the creators, and what he’s currently written for the next book which is highly unlikely to be released before Season 2), and it’s an interesting ending that will no doubt shape the future season in a very big way, with several major deaths, all happening pretty much everywhere.
Stannis attacked Winterfell this week with his army and we unfortunately didn’t get to see a fully fledged battle, with us getting a Total War-esque long range shot of armies in motion in the background, and then cutting to the aftermath. It was kind of disappointing because I would like to have seen the battle play out before us, but I understand they’ve got plenty more things to cover in this episode and it’s already unlikely that nothing will be able to top the fight scenes in the last fifteen minutes of Hardhome this season. Watching Brienne kill Stannis was made all the more satisfying after his actions last week, and even though the camera cut away before his death it’s pretty certain that he’s been killed off for real. It’s an interesting development that again, would have left TV audiences surprised but something that book readers would have been able to see coming.
The other cutaway cliffhanger in Winterfell this week came with Theon and Sansa jumping off the edge of the building once they realised that Ramsay had won, and was coming back, and given their actions, this approach seemed like the only way to escape further torment. Are they dead? It’s likely that they couldn’t have survived a fall from that height, but maybe Game of Thrones could take the Peter Jackson approach and have the Eagles fly in at the last minute to rescue them. But it looks unlikely.
With the first half hour of Mother’s Mercy being spent in the North, we got a switch of characters and there were some more tragic moments happening elsewhere. Arya’s punishment for her unsanctioned kill left her blind, and this is again a decision that’s following the route of the books. She’s also learnt that Jaquen isn’t really her friend, and he really is nobody, which is something that Arya was never able to let go of.
We spent some brief time with Dany as well, after last week where she decided to abandon her friends and fly off into the sky with her dragon. After a dispute about who should go and who should stay, Tyrion, Grey Worm and Missandei are now the rulers (because everyone knows that the people would not accept Tyrion’s rule), and Daario and Jorah are set out to go and find Dany, which should be an interesting partnership that Game of Thrones has given us so many times over the course of the season. And we also got Varys returning as well, which was welcomed, but it also served as a reminder to what the hell happened to Littlefinger? Where did he go? Surely he’s going to have a role to play when he learns of what happened to Sansa in Season 6 though, so there’s that to look forward to.
The episode itself made the most of its extra ten minutes to feature as many characters as it possibly could. We got Cersei’s humiliating walk of shame (via Lena Headey’s body double with her head CGI’d on top) and the revelation that a zombie-fied Mountain was a member of the King’s Guard. So no doubt even though things look pretty bad for Cersei right now, she’s already ready with a Plan B. It’s actually probably a Plan Z at this point, but we’ll see what lies in store for her next season.
Even if some storylines such as Sansa’s naturally felt rushed as a result of the need to fit in every character, we still got some good scenes this week. Jon’s death at the hands of the Night’s Watch (after Sam left) was a cruel punch in the gut even though I knew it was coming. I spent the whole episode on the edge of my seat, waiting, wondering, when is this scene coming? And it’s fitting as this is the final scene in the books that they saved it to last, and bringing back a mention of Benjen Stark, the Stark who’s been missing since way back at the start of the Season 1, was something that was handled well to give the audience false hope. It’s a major shocking moment here (on the scale of every other Stark character who’s been killed off at some point), and whilst there’s the smallest of hope that Melisandre could potentially resurrect Jon Snow at some point (even though Kit Harrington has said that his character’s dead), it will be a long wait for sure until Season 6 when we may finally get our answers. Or not.
Now that that’s out of the way then, What did you think of the fifth season of Game of Thrones? What parts did you enjoy and what didn’t work out so well? I think my favourite episode of the season is Hardhome (it probably would have been even without those last fifteen minutes), but at the same time, I’m interested to see what suggestions you can come up with. Let me know in the comments below!