The finale of Game of Thrones’ shaky fifth season was phenomenal from start to finish, culminating in several shock cliffhangers.
A relative bloodbath greeted fans, resulting in surprises for book readers and non-book readers alike. Who would’ve predicted so many deaths? At least book readers and non-book readers are on equal footing now.
As always, our top OMG moments are below, in no particular order.
‘For the Watch’
Jon Snow seemingly died after being stabbed repeatedly by his black brothers and the internet is in tumult. So many people are claiming that they are done with the show but they need to be reminded that Game of Thrones has done this before. So many fan favourites have perished and yet the show continues to go from strength to strength. Game of Thrones will continue to excel.
But is Jon really dead? Despite Kit Harington confirming the demise of everybody’s favourite broody bastard, rumours have persisted since the publication of A Dance with Dragons in 2011 that Jon may in fact survive.
In the novels Jon shows traits of warging, similarly to Bran’s current storyline, but the show hasn’t explored this at all, so I don’t think we’ll see Jon warg into Ghost. It wouldn’t make sense for Game of Thrones.
I personally don’t think it’s simply a coincidence that Melisandre fled for the Wall after seeing Stannis’ army flee. Her methods may be utter madness, but Melisandre’s magic quite clearly works. She is a witch with extraordinary power.
Kit Harington was probably contracted to claim that he is done with the show to keep his return secret, but I wouldn’t at all be surprised if Melisandre worked her magic to resurrect him. After all, another servant of the Lord of Light – Thoros of Myr (remember him?) – famously brought back Beric Dondarrion (remember him?) after his apparent demise. As the Greyjoys say, ‘What is dead may never die, but rise again, harder and stronger.’
I’ll be very surprised if Jon is gone. R+L=J still needs to happen, and if not, Jon’s parentage still needs explaining. Reportedly David Benioff and D. B. Weiss were only allowed to adapt A Song of Ice and Fire because they correctly guessed the identity of Jon’s mother, so clearly it is important.
The Hanging Tree
I would have liked Selyse’s grief after the burning of her daughter Shireen to have been explored in greater detail, but I guess there simply wasn’t time in the jam-packed finale. As such, Selyse’s suicide came as a punch to the gut. I wasn’t expecting it at all. Sickeningly, Selyse’s death helps in redeeming her character, because ultimately it proves that she did love Shireen.
The Death of a King
The next shock came in the form of Stannis’ death. I am gutted that we have to endure more of Ramsay next season; why couldn’t Stannis have slaughtered him? I think Stannis’ burning of Shireen was completely in line with his character, but ultimately it was worthless and a wasted opportunity.
Within the space of two episodes the Baratheon’s have gone. And I liked Stannis. Despite not seeing Brienne kill him, I think Stannis is indeed dead. With the death of his family, the desertion of his army, Davos’ grief over Shireen, and Melisandre fleeing back to the Wall, I don’t think there is much more that could be done with Stannis.
The Clash of Kings is well and truly over. At least Brienne finally managed to complete one of her oaths, even if I have lost all respect for her. I simply can’t muster myself to care for her anymore. Post-Jaime, Brienne is boring.
The Pointy End
Meryn Trant is the next to die, in perhaps the sickest way so far. He is stabbed in both eyes, hacked to pieces, and then has his throat slit as Arya proves once and for all how badass she really is.
Jaqen later says that she killed the wrong person (more on this in a moment) but I completely disagree. Meryn needed to die. His crimes exceeded those of the Thin Man, and I am glad that Arya completely tore him a new one. This was one death that the masses rejoiced at.
The Blind Girl
But Meryn’s death came at a price, because Arya apparently stole from the Many-Faced God. To appease him, Jaqen H’ghar swallows poison and died before Arya, allowing Maisie Williams to show how stunning an actress she is. Her grief is entirely believable, and it made me believe that Jaqen, somebody we know absolutely nothing about, really had died.
But the Waif (hate her) takes on Jaqen’s face, suggesting that the man whom Arya has conversed with in season five isn’t the same that helped her in season two. Jaqen has never existed – he is quite literally ‘no one’ – and yet he is Arya’s only confidante in Braavos. I hope Tom Wlaschiha returns next season.
The death of no one (another death!) results in Arya losing her sight. In A Dance with Dragons, Arya becomes the Blind Girl, and only regains her sight after learning the trait of warging. I’m interested to see how this plays out next season.
Perhaps the only glimmer of hope in this bleak finale comes from Sansa, surprisingly. Her story this season has been horrendous, but thankfully it looks as though this is finally over.
Somehow something within Reek snaps and he kills Myranda who is threatening Sansa, before they both jump over the castle walls rather than remain behind with Ramsay. Both will no doubt survive; the viewer has to remember that winter has finally come, and that the snow below the ramparts will be thick enough to aid Sansa and Theon in surviving. That’s what happens in the books, anyway.
Maybe, finally, Sansa can have some happiness. But secretly I hope she returns to Winterfell and goes all Arya on Ramsay’s ass. I’d love to see Sansa hack him to pieces.
The Poisoned Kiss
This seasons weakest storyline has concluded in yet more death (surprise, surprise), as Myrcella is poisoned by Ellaria Sand. I think we’re expected to care, but at this point I really don’t. Not even a tender moment between Myrcella and Jaime, in which they share a rather poignant father-daughter moment, can make me care about this death.
Little character development, plus extraordinary counts of fan-favourite character deaths, results in this one going under the radar. Hopefully this loss will help to humanise both Jaime and Cersei, however.
Drogon and the Dothraki
With Dany flying from Meereen, it is up to Jorah and Daario to look for her, and Tyrion to take control of the city, as I predicted. Jorah really shouldn’t have survived this season, though.
What was the point in making him contract greyscale only to drag his ultimate death out? But at least Tyrion’s rule resulted in Varys returning. I’ve missed him and his quips. Long may this partnership rein.
But Drogon is pissed, tired, and hurt, so anyonee hoping that Dany will finally fly to Westeros will have to wait for the time being. He can’t even be bothered to hunt, so Dany has to do it herself, leading to her being accosted by Dothraki swarms.
Here’s how I see this playing out. I think Dany will become a secondary Mance Rayder, and I think that she will be able to unite the Dothraki into one horde. She has proven herself at controlling many times before, and with a mighty army of Dothraki and Unsullied alike, I think Dany would have a fighting chance of securing the Iron Throne.
Which brings us finally to Cersei. This is a moment many have been waiting for – for Cersei to get her comeuppance. But for me, as a fan of Cersei, it was extremely uncomfortable to watch.
This chapter of Cersei’s penance is hard to read (even if it is George R. R. Martin’s greatest penmanship) so thankfully this transcends on screen. I didn’t cry at any of the deaths in ‘Mother’s Mercy’ (not even Jon Snow’s!) but I cried at this.
Ruined and atoned, Cersei is stripped and sheared, and forced to walk from the Sept of Baelor to the Red Keep, for everyone to see. It’s quite clear that Lena Headey’s head was photoshopped onto an extras body, but this takes nothing away from the final product. Cersei’s walk of penance is utterly heartbreaking.
Whether you like or loath Cersei, nobody deserves this. It’s a fantastically acted and directed piece of television, in which we watch Cersei’s entire walk – totalling almost ten minutes of screen time – but not once does this elongated shot feel wasted. In it we watch an empowered woman completely lose herself and this makes for powerful television.
Some will be in tumult over the nudity, but it isn’t gratuitous. The nakedness of Cersei isn’t important at all in this moment. What’s going on internally is the key aspect of this scene, and for that it excels.
Cersei is ruined, and I’ll be interested to see whether she can regain her command of the city, or whether this will result in a new character emerging. Either way, I think it’s safe to say that Cersei has many more empathisers after this scene.