This week’s Game of Thrones review is a group effort. J.D., Juliette, and Josie (aka Team J3) each contributed a mini-review of an episode filled with violence, death, and dragons.
I... I... Huh. That was certainly a lot of cliffhangers. I think Tyrion has brought the humor with him, because the Daenerys scene with Drogon was almost silly, that is until she was surrounded by a Dothraki horde. Of course Tyrion now being in charge of Meereen, along with Missandei, Grey Worm, and Varys is just hilarious. I can't wait to see what Tyrion does with that powder keg, because if he can get things settled before Daenerys return, she will absolutely respect him. I do wonder if Daario and Jorah will find her, or will their journey be quixotic.
Come to think of it, almost all the main women of the series had rather horrible world lessons heaped upon them. Arya was blinded by the many-faced god, but at least she got to deliver bloody vengeance against Meryn Trant whose death has been a long time coming. Cersei's march through Kings Landing was so brutal, and long. I wasn't expecting that scene to keep going like it did. Poor Sansa had to be threatened yet again, with the very same torture that was inflicted on Theon. That must've been the final straw, because Theon finally stepped up and killed Myranda. I'm guessing that Winterfell has some sort of moat, because otherwise that is not a survivable jump.
Stannis, well his end was just sad. The final Baratheon is dead, or probably dead. I'm pretty sure Brienne has killed him, but there is always the possibility that her good heart stayed her blade. It is fitting that his constant sacrifices to the red god ended up pointless, and that Melisandre was more con artist than prophet. I'm also curious about Melisandre back at Castle Black, because her presence means a potential resurrection for poor betrayed Jon. Hmmm.
This episode leaves things in a state of total uncertainty. With characters that we love stuck in very rough places. Yet it is also kind of exciting, with the army of the undead numbering in the tens of thousands, and with the players circling the Iron Throne dwindling one by one, pretty soon all that will be left is the looming giant war in the snow. I thought Jon would be a central part of it, but maybe I was wrong. Well, one thing I'm certain of; the wait for next season is going to be interminable.
Game of Thrones hasn't finished on a cliffhanger since season two, and what a cliffhanger! As a book reader, this episode wasn't as jaw-dropping for me as episode 8 (which was totally unexpected) or 9 (expected, but very well done, in my opinion better than in the book). This ending, though, was what we book readers have been waiting all season for, and it was obvious Olly was going to be one of the main culprits. But it was very well executed, and interestingly this episode was probably the closest to the books in the whole season, with the back half of the episode almost entirely made up of book material. Cersei may be awful, but her Walk of Shame was really horrifying, and I've never felt so sympathetic towards her or Qyburn. My favourite thing in the episode, though, had to be Drogon, who I think is my new favourite character. His reaction to Dany trying to ride him, as he licked his wounds and gently but firmly informed her it wasn't going to happen, reminded me so much of my cat I was grinning from ear to ear.
Ser-Not-Appearing-In-This-Episode: Margaery and Loras, Tommen, Tormund Giantsbane, Roose Bolton, Littlefinger. I miss Margaery and Loras, who haven't been seen for ages - I hope they get a decent storyline next season. Littlefinger has disappeared once again - hopefully he'll finally start to get his comeuppance when he sees what a mess his Sansa/Ramsey match has made.
Since J.D. and Juliette covered many of the key moments in this review, I thought I’d focus on a few questions that this episode raised for me:
• Stannis’s death was left ambiguous: we never saw Brienne’s sword make contact. But did you hope that was his final moment, just so his last words could be the oh-so-perfect “Go on, do your duty”?
• Did anyone think that Stannis’s army was about to have a Braveheart moment, only to be horribly disappointed that the big army wasn’t the Irish coming to save the Scottish?
• Was Sansa’s timing—lighting the help-candle just as Brienne abandoned her post—a bit too perfect?
• Do you think Arya is blind forever?
• Was the Sand Snake’s poison cued to kick in right at the most emotional moment between Myrcella and Daddy Jaime?
• How happy were you to see Varys?
• Do you like Cersei’s new haircut as much as I do?
• Do you think Jon Snow, He Who Knows Nothing, will stay dead now that Melisandre is nearby?
Reminder: The comments on these episode reviews are appropriate for newbies. If you haven't read the books, you're safe! If you have read the books and would like to talk about upcoming events, please do so here, in our Season Five book spoiler thread.
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