* Spoilers ahead if you haven’t seen “Mother's Mercy.”
Oh man. I don't know where to start with the last recap of the season because . . . . So. Many. Feelings! A lot of them angry—I'm still extremely emotional right now. Episode 9 is usually the showcase episode, but we really had three crazy episodes in a row. And this one was just nonstop with the twists and . . . the deaths.
Stannis Pays for Last Week's Episode. Big Time.
Melisandre sees the ice melting and is all like, see, Stannis, it was totally worth burning your daughter alive because the way to Winterfell is clear now. She tries to go in for a hug but gets rejected. And then the bad news floodgates open: nearly half the men deserted after last week's horror because, you know, normal people realize that sacrificing your daughter so you can be King is wrong or whatever. But the bad news gods aren't finished with Stannis yet: Selyse has hanged herself. And then Stannis gets told that Melisandre was spotted riding away with one of the few remaining horses. Even after all of this, Stannis continues his march to Winterfell.
Sam Wants to Leave NOW?
At Castle Black, Jon describes the Night's King turning the dead Wildlings into White Walkers to Sam, who then hits Jon with a request to leave for the Citadel in Oldtown to train to become a maester. Sam wants to take Gilly and baby Sam with him because they're not safe at the Wall, and Sam couldn't bear losing them. Capital timing, Sam. Look, I love books, too, but Jon needs you HERE and NOW. Have you seen the murderous looks Olly has been giving Jon? Oh boy—I'm already starting with the Olly hating.
Stannis's Last Stand
What remains of Stannis's battered army finally approaches Winterfell. Inside the walls, Sansa is running around, trying to reach that broken tower to light the candle. Pod spots Stannis's banner and runs to tell Brienne, who's been watching that tower but now has a chance to avenge Renly right at her doorstep. And so she abandons her post to go beat Stannis's ass. Stannis orders a siege at sunrise but the Bolton men are already there. And, unlike his men, they're fresh for battle and highly organized. Cut to injured Stannis, surrounded by dead Baratheon men everywhere, fighting to the very end. And then Brienne shows up. Stannis doesn't deny murdering Renly with blood magic. She asks if he has any last words, and he says go on, do your duty. The last shot is of Brienne raising Oathkeeper, but unless I actually see the body, I don't assume a character is dead. So I'm not entirely convinced that Stannis is a goner yet.
A Snowy Leap of Faith
Ramsay delights in delivering killing blows to Stannis's dying men. Back at Winterfell, Myranda and Theon catch Sansa outside of her room. Myranda aims her bow at Sansa, and just as she's about to release the bowstring, Theon grabs her and she falls off the walkway. Good riddance, bitch. Theon and Sansa have a split second to make a dash for freedom because the men are returning from the battle; the two clasp hands and make a jump for it. This was my favorite moment in the episode!
Arya Goes Berserk
Meryn Trant is beating three girls for fun but one doesn't seem phased. He kicks the other two out and punches the remaining girl, and when she gets up, it's Arya! She was wearing a different face! She then stabs Trant in both eyes, and that's only the beginning of her stabbing spree. I averted my gaze from the TV for most of it and thought for a moment that she had shoved his eyeballs in his mouth. She's all like, I'm Arya Stark, bitch! before she strikes one last time. Back at the House of Black and White, Arya returns the face she borrowed. Jaqen is not pleased with what she's done; he says that she stole from the Many-Faced God and owes a debt. Jaqen drinks poison and dies as Arya screams. But then the Waif turns into Jaqen. Arya keeps removing faces from the body, finally revealing her own before going blind. Seven hells this was insane!
Why You Shouldn't Kiss People Goodbye
Jaime and the rest of his party are leaving Dorne. Prince Doran, Ellaria, and the Sand Snakes are there to see them off. Ellaria asks Myrcella for forgiveness and kisses her. Big. Mistake. On the ship, Jaime tries to tell Myrcella that he's her father, and she tells him she knows, and she's glad. Then the poison kicks in and she starts bleeding profusely from her nose before collapsing in Jaime's arms. Cut to Ellaria still standing on the dock, bleeding from the nose, watching the ship. Ah, but she has the antidote.
It's the Cleanup Crew!
Everyone who didn't hitch a ride on a dragon last week is just sitting around the pyramid, wondering what to do. Grey Worm walks in and isn't happy to see Jorah. But Daenerys's remaining allies need to band together to find their queen. Daario starts giving orders, and . . . everybody break!
Guess Who's Back?
It's Varys! Aww, Tyrion missed him.
Nap Time for Drogon
It's time to check in on Daenerys and Drogon. She tries to get him to fly her back to Meereen, but the little guy is all tuckered out from his big adventure. Daenerys walks off a little and comes face to face with a Dothraki rider. Quickly followed by a whole freaking khalasar! Where in seven hells did they all come from?
The Ultimate Walk of Shame
Cersei finally confesses to the High Septon. Well, sort of. She admits to fooling around with Lancel but vehemently denies the twincest. She still has to stand trial for the charges she denies AND has to atone by walking naked through the streets of King's Landing with that bitch-faced septa trailing behind her and saying "Shame" all the way back to the Red Keep. The common folk are brutal, hurling every insult imaginable at her and pelting her with gods know what. When at last Cersei reaches the Red Keep, covered in filth and her feet bloodied, Qyburn rushes to cover her with a cloak as Pycelle and her uncle Kevan look on stonily. Oh, and Frankengregor has joined the Kingsguard.
And Now His Watch . . . Shit, I CAN'T Say It!!!!
Davos is back at the Wall, pleading with Jon for more men, when Melisandre turns up. Jon asks about Stannis, Davos asks about Shireen, and they get zero reply to either question. Later, Jon reads some bad news then gets summoned by Olly. He tells Jon that one of the Wildlings from Hardhome claims that he knows where to find Benjen. It's a total fucking trap as Thorne and some other bastards are waiting to stab Jon "for the Watch." And that little shit Olly delivers the last blow. Fucking. Olly. Jon wasn't the one who ate your mama and papa!!!! I knew from reading A Dance with Dragons that Jon's own men were going to shank him, but this scene still made me really, really, really fucking angry, as evidenced by how many times I've used the f-word so far. Ally and I watched the episode together, and we were texting each other at midnight about how wrecked we still felt over this scene. I also still had plenty more Olly hatred to spew. I REFUSE to believe that Jon Snow is dead. REFUSE!!!!!
Final Thoughts on Season 5
This season diverged the most from the books, which makes me wonder which, if any, of the changes were a glimpse into future story arcs in the novels yet to be published. As much as I love Jaime and loved the Jaime/Bronn team-up, I found the Dorne plotline lacking. Aside from that one skirmish, the Sand Snakes weren't given a whole lot to do, and Ellaria Sand's character was altered dramatically from the books. Her rebelliousness seemed to have been borrowed from Arianne Martell, daughter of Prince Doran in the books and a character who has yet to appear in the TV series.
In the books, Ramsay marries Sansa's friend, Jeyne Poole, who is being passed off as Arya to help bolster the Bolton claim on Winterfell. With the HUGE change to this story line on the show, I'm extremely curious to know: what's going to happen to book Sansa?
Of course the Tyrion/Daenerys meeting this season was MONUMENTAL. It's still so surreal to me because readers have yet to see it take place in the books.
I really hate that Jorah got greyscale because I like his character, as portrayed by Iain Glen, a lot. This also throws a bit of a wrench into yet another book plotline because it's a different traveling companion of Tyrion's who contracts the disease, and in A Dance with Dragons, this character has a significant plan in motion that in turn could potentially affect Daenerys's bid for the Iron Throne.
Jon never went to Hardhome in the books, but we got one hell of an action sequence on the show! Just what is that Night's King up to, besides creating an army of White Walkers? See, this and all of the other unanswered questions above are the reasons why I am DESPERATE to read The Winds of Winter. Not that I'll get all the answers, of course, because things move so slowwwwwwly in the novels. But I need something, damn it, before Season 6 starts! And now the GoT recaps are ended until next year.
Peeps We Said Goodbye to This Season
RIP: Mance Rayder, Janos Slynt, Ser Barristan Selmy, Maester Aemon, Rattleshirt, Hizdahr zo Loraq, Shireen Baratheon, Selyse Baratheon, Myranda, Meryn Trant. We probably also said goodbye to: Stannis Baratheon, Myrcella Baratheon. And nope, I'm still not acknowledging what happened to Jon Snow!