Category Archives: Game of Thrones

The Winds of Winter Review

The Winds of Winter by David Benioff and D.B. Weiss

Well – if you thought Battle of the Bastards was the best episode we’ve had so far – I think it may have been surpassed rather sooner than we’d have expected. True, there’s no mass battle scenes here (hell – not really a physical fight in the entire episode) – but there’s plenty of murders, shock deaths and plot movements the whole seasons been building towards. This is easily the best finale Game of Thrones has given in 6 seasons – surpassing the excellent Mhysa and The Children with ease.

A quick word to the shows composer, Ramin Djawadi, who knocks it out of the park this week. The shows soundtrack’s always been good, but he kicks it up a gear this week with some great pieces (just brought the S6 SOUNDTRACK and it’s fucking amazing) which are simply beautiful. Also excelling is director Miguel Saponchik, who proves he isn’t just outstanding at battle scenes (take the shot of Jon and Sansa on the walls of Winterfell, or the breathtaking final shot of Daenerys’ fleet). Anyone whose been frustrated with the generally slow pace of episodes 3-8, it WAS SO WORTH IT!!!!!

WARNING: MAJOR SPOILERS!!!! DO NOT READ BEFORE WATCHING!!!

Well 67 minutes of pure brilliance. Even the quieter scenes like Sam’s arrival at the Citadel and Jaime mocking Walder Frey were a joy. Daenerys’ farewell with Daario was poignant, as was Bran’s with Benjen, who isn’t able to cross the wall due to spells which keep undead out (guessing the wall itself will fall before the end of season 7 then?). And that’s before we get to all the deaths – eight (8!!!!!) major ones in King’s Landing alone!

There’s no real need to analyse the other moments – just listing them shows how awesome they were. The instant Pycelle bit the dust I realised this was shaping up to be massive.

Arya redeems herself from the crap Braavos plotline by murdering the Freys (another villain bites the dust – just Cersei, Euron Greyjoy and the Night’s King left now). Jon gets proclaimed King in the North as Bran’s vision basically confirms R+L=J. Cersei blows up the Great Sept with Wildfire (killing the High Sparrow, his entire militant, but also Lancel and Kevan Lannister and the Tyrells). Tommen commits suicide and Cersei is crowned queen in front of a disapproving Jaime. Sansa rejects Littlefinger. Varys forges an alliance between Dorne, a vengeful Olenna and Daenerys, who FINALLY sets sail with the unsullied, Dothraki and Greyjoys (My season predictions were mostly right this time! Huzzah!!!)

Overall: Brilliant, simply…brilliant!!!!!

Rating: 5 out of 5 (tempted to give it 6!)

I’ll make a post with my season 7 predictions soon (the season can’t come soon enough).

So season 6 is over:

RIP: Doran, Trystane, Areo, Walda Bolton, Shaddydog, The Raven, Summer, Hodor, Rickon, Wun-Wun, Lancel, Kevan and The Tyrells.

Good riddance to Roose, Balon, Olly, Ser Alliser, the Khals, the Waif, the Slavers, Smalljon Umber, Ramsay, Pycelle, the High Sparrow, Tommen and the Freys.

Wow – that was a lot of major characters to die in one season! Please can we have no more Direwolf deaths next time!! It might not have been the best season we’ve had (not close to seasons 3 or 4) but it’s ended on a real high. Bring on the White Walkers!

Season awards:

Best Moment: Knights of the Vale arrival/Daenerys kills the Khals.

Biggest Disappointment: Braavos Storyline/Blackfish dying off screen (unless he isn’t dead, then fine)

Biggest Shock: Ramsay murders Roose Bolton

Best New Character: Lyanna Mormont (Lyanna for iron throne!)

Worst New Character: Randall Tarly (someone kill this dickhead please)

Feel good moment: Arya murders Walder Frey/Sansa feeds the Hounds 🙂

Tearjerker: Hold the Door 😦

 

GoT episode 9 review: Battle of the Bastards

Battle of the Bastards by David Benioff and D.B. Weiss

WARNING: MAJOR SPOILERS!!!!!!

Now that was what we’d been waiting for! A pulsating hour of epic battle scenes, tense standoffs and Jon Snow, Daenerys and (Sansa!) being utterly awesome.

Like Hardhome, this wasn’t a one-topic hour, but had an almost equally epic excursion to Meereen into the bargain. Seeing all three of Dany’s dragons in action at once bringing fiery death to the Masters on the ships was a great tease of what we might expect when she finally gets to Westeros, but she wasn’t the only great thing in the Meereen segments. Daenerys and Tyrion’s conversation with Theon and Yara was a nice touch (anyone else notice the chemistry/mutual respect between Daenerys and Yara as they bonded over their desire to be the first ruling Queen in their houses history? that could be an alliance to be reckoned with!) suggesting a showdown with Euron can’t be far away. Greyworm slitting two cowardly masters throats was bloody brilliant as well.

But onto the main course of the episode, and boy did director Miguel Sapochnik cook up a storm. The battle/character shots were framed in a picturesque way that Zack Snyder would have applauded, whether tracking shots of arrow volleys, Jon facing down charging cavalry or Jon’s army being enveloped by a semicircle of spearmen. Fortunately, unlike Batman vs Superman, the scripting was at ease with the direction. The scene where Ramsay and Jon first come face to face was suitably tense, while the conversations between Jon and Sansa, Jon and Melisandre and odd couple Tormund and Davos were excellent.

Back to the battle scenes, the chaos of a battle was better depicted than ever before as the director focused in on Jon in the centre of the battlefield, dodging cavalry, arrows and cutting his way through a lot of Bolton troops. This was up there with in the top two battles I’ve ever seen on TV (equalling Spartacus’ epic finale and beating quite a lot of ones from film) and was capped off by Ramsay finally getting his comeuppance (one death was never going to be enough after everything he’s done, but that was about as satisfying as we could have hoped for!)

The only issue with the entire episode was that everything unfolded a bit predictably – Rickon’s survival was always unlikely (although the director did a great job of making us think he might just make it – though why the foolish kid didn’t zigzag and make himself a harder target is beyond me), while Wun-Wun was more expendable as a character than the likes of Tormund or Davos and wasn’t a surprising casualty. Littlefinger’s men riding to the rescue was also predicted back after episode 7. But who cares? We got to see Ramsay beaten to a pulp by Jon and then ripped apart by his own hounds while Sansa watched in a poetic justice sequence that was reminiscent of the Jokers ‘how loyal a hungry dog really is’ speech from The Dark Knight. And the fans have been waiting for that to happen for a long, long time. Hope Theon gets to hear about it – I sense his smile at the news would be worth seeing!

Overall it may have been a predictable hour, but it was such an enjoyable and well done one that I’m not going to fault it. And I haven’t cheered that much since the Purple Wedding as another one of the series worst/greatest villains bites the dust (Joffrey, Tywin, Roose, Ser Alliser and now Ramsay – only Walder Frey and the Night’s King are left…)

Rating 5 out of 5!

Next Week: The season finale is here, Bran is back, Jamie celebrates with the Freys and Cersei’s trial arrives in what promises to be a fiery end to the High Sparrow’s plotline…

Game of Thrones: Episodes 2-8 review

Warning: MAJOR Spoilers!

Episode 2: Home by Dave Hill

Now that was more like it! Two major deaths and a long awaited return made for a great second episode. Dave Hill wrote last years ‘Sons of the Harpy’ which contained both telling character moments and a shock non-book death scene (Selmy) and he delivered on both again here. The violent comedy continued from week 1 (though not quite at the level of a spear through Trystane’s head) first with the Mountain smashing someone’s head into wall in King’s Landing (for mocking Cersei’s walk of shame) and then Wun-Wun hurling a foolhardy Night’s Watch soldier into Castle Black’s Wall. But these were only a warm up for the two major violent shocks in the episode.

First up was one of the last loose ends from the books – Balon Greyjoy plunging to his death in a storm at Pyke. In the books it was unclear whether it was simple bad luck, Melisandre’s blood ritual, or murder. The show has no such ambiguity, as Theon’s uncle Euron is introduced by throwing his brother to his death. The scene was very well constructed and served as an  adequate reintroduction to the Greyjoys. But the major shock came as Ramsay responded to the potential threat of a baby brother (and trueborn heir to Roose) being born by murdering first his own father (arguably the shock of the season so far) and then setting the dogs on Walda and his newborn brother (thankfully offscreen – #redbabyshower). And all this before Jon’s resurrection – definitely the episode of the season so far (though episode 9 looks set to trump that).

Rating: 5 out of 5!

Episode 3: Oathbreaker

A filler episode on Game of Thrones is still better than some key episodes on other shows, but some filler is always necessary and after the massive shifts in ‘Home’ its no surprise this episode was mainly concerned with the fallout and moving people into place for future plot developments. It wasn’t bad by any means and at least we got to see those fuckers in the Night’s Watch get their comeuppance, but apart from the shock return of Rickon Stark and Osha being handed over to Ramsay there was nothing particularly memorable in this instalment. Oh, except the first half of the Tower of Joy sequence! My that was some epic swordplay there – though I wish they hadn’t stopped just at the point we all wanted to see. Saving it for next season or this finale I guess? Hopefully the latter, but overall this was a good episode but a forgettable one.

Rating: 4 out of 5

Episode 4: Book of the Stranger

Well we’d be waiting for a kickass Daenerys scene since series 3 (her storyline has been enjoyable, but not nearly as epic as we knew it could be) and this episode finally delivered. Daenerys turning the tables on the Khals was suitably badass and her takeover of the Dothraki a nice parallel with how her story started in season 1. Sansa and Jon’s reunion was possibly the most touching scene the show’s given us and Tormund’s reaction to Brienne might just be the funniest thing in the series. Everything else was essentially more character based rather than moving the plot forward but the ending drags it above the status of a simple filler episode.

Rating: 4.5 out of 5

Episode 5: The Door

The biggest tearjerker since the Red Wedding and the biggest shock since Stannis burnt his daughter alive. Hold the Door was an awesomely clever yet devastating twist coupled with a breaking White Walker attack which mounted up the casualties: the Three-Eyed Raven, Summer, Hodor 😦  as well as the incredibly cool moments of the children of the forest fire-bombing wights and Meera killing a White Walker (R+L=J+M anyone?) We also got the revelation that the Children of the Forest CREATED the White Walkers to save them during a war with the first men – something i’m sure will have caught the attention of book readers. The rest of the episode was decent, the other highlight being the kingsmoot (even if it was one Greyjoy brother short, the casting for Aeron and Euron was on point and gave Theon and Yara some great moments into the bargain) but ultimately it’s the ending that people will be talking about for a long time afterwards. (GRRM said he revealed three major twists from the future books to the showrunners – 1 was Stannis’ daughter, 2 was Hodor’s origin and the third is apparently at the very end – I’m both excited and utterly terrified over who it will involve)

Rating: 4.5 out of 5

Episode 6: Blood of my Blood

Another obvious filler episode, as very little happened to advance the main plot and ended on a entirely superfluous (if awesome) Daenerys scene. The confrontation between the High Sparrow and Lannister/Tyrell forces rather fizzled out and while I accept this may be down to what’s going to happen in the books, it really wasn’t a satisfying payoff for the arc (hopefully that will come in the last 2 episodes). Regardless, it had some important moments such as the return of Benjen Stark (horse combat has never looked so cool) and amusing ones such as Walder Frey berating his collection of halfwit sons for losing Riverrun to the Blackfish (Catelyn Stark’s uncle who escaped the Red Wedding). Sam and Gilly’s scenes were heartwarming, unlike Sam’s bastard of a father, and the moment where Sam stole his family sword and finally rebelled against him felt like a proper character development scene. Overall, another filler episode, but another good one.

Rating: 4 out of 5

Episode 7: The Broken Man

Another slow-burner of an episode but it was a great character piece and some terrific guest acting from Ian McShane raise it above the level of a simple filler episode. The Hound’s return was welcome and the scenes between him and the Septon were excellent. Lyanna Mormont is the latest in a long line of excellent child-actors the show has employed and her scenes were an undoubted highlight. Arya’s stabbing was shocking but if they really wanted us to be concerned they should have made it the last scene – her death would have been too important for anything else. The scene between Theon and Yara felt like a turning point for him and also fleshed out his sister’s character somewhat, thanks to her touching desire to help restore her brother’s personality (by effectly telling him to move on and man up to get revenge) and the revelation that she’s a lesbian (the first on the show if I’m correct) which while being one of the more curious changes from the books seems to suit her character (who we’ve seen so little of so far). Elsewhere, the Blackfish’s return reminded me what a good character he was (kind of a gruff Tully version of Barristan Selmy) and the scene between him and Jaime was suitably tense. And Bronn’s back – YAY! Not everything worked (the stuff in King’s Landing is still too drawn out and slow-paced to be interesting – though seeing Olenna verbally beat down Cersei was amusing) but overall it was a good episode that went some way to reconciling the show’s narrative with that of the books.

Rating: 4.5 out of 5

Episode 8: No One

The third quiet episode in a row led to some reviewers and fans getting frustrated, but this episode had plenty going for it in my opinion. The scene with Tyrion, Missandei and Grey Worm was both sweet and amusing, and led up to the revelation that the slavers have come back to take Meereen by force with their navy (setting up the battle of Slaver’s bay that the end of the fifth book was busy setting up). The Hound’s quest for vengeance varied from awesome fight scenes to hilariously mocking dying men and then coming face to face with old rivals Thoros of Myr and Beric Dondarrion (no stoneheart yet then?) and set his character up for an intriguing journey northwards (presumably to help the Brotherhood fight the white walkers?). The Waif-Arya terminator style chase scene was awesome, even if it was a little disappointing not to see the resolution (though I understand why they did it that way). The only real disappoint was not seeing the Blackfish’s last stand (maybe he isn’t dead?) but as for the way the siege played out it was a nice adaption of what happens in the books and gave Jaime and Brienne some of their best material since season 3 and 4.

Rating: 4.5 out of 5

Overall the season so far has had some epic scenes but they’ve been far more spread out, despite the usual collection of shock/violent deaths its been mainly a character piece. Not that that’s a bad thing, but this is game of thrones and I think everyone’s ready for another kick-ass battle scene – and the way the last two episodes are shaping up, we may just get two for the price of one. And we can all be glad Arya’s finally leaving Braavos behind! (I haven’t been that relieved since they killed off half the Dornish cast!)

Next: Jon and Ramsay face off outside Winterfell as the North decides it’s fate in ‘The Battle of the Bastards’…

Game of Thrones: The Red Woman Review

The world’s most popular (or at least most pirated) TV show is back.

Season 5 alienated quite a few people (TV fans and Book Readers alike) but wasn’t as bad as some people thought. I’d give all the episodes from that season 4/5 or more, and episode 8 Hardhome was a knockout hit (and possibly the best episode so far?). But overall it wasn’t as good as seasons 3 or 4 had been. Then again, season 5 was based off two of the weakest books in the series, A Feast for Crows and Dance of Dragons Part 1 (though neither were bad – just not as good than the others), so it was unsurprising. Regardless, season 6 had some questions to answer, and now the TV show has overtaken the books, we had no idea what the answers would be.

For some of them at least, we do now.

WARNING: MAJOR SPOILERS!

Game of Thrones Premieres are normally among the weakest episodes in the season. This one was no different, but was nevertheless better than most of the other premiere episodes. It was mainly focused with tying up the cliffhangers from last season’s finale, and while it moved through these at a breathless pace, it felt like a lot of setup as well as payoff. The direction and music were as good as ever, so I’ll focus on the plot.

Much of the episode was devoted to Sansa and Theon’s escape from Winterfell and Brienne’s rescue of them (finally!) and events at Castle Black. Jon Snow IS dead. And we still don’t know if he’ll stay that way. Edd, Davos, Melisandre and a few loyal men of the watch all took Jon’s death badly, while Alliser Thorne and the other mutineers set about winning over the others. After freeing Ghost, Davos sends Edd to get help from Tormund and the Wildlings who owe Jon their lives and everything looks to be set for a major showdown between the two sides in the next episode.

The person most affected by Jon’s death was surprisingly Melisandre, as after her visions of Stannis’ victory and Jon at Winterfell both appear to have been false, she’s finally lost faith. This leads to the episode’s big revelation that Melisandre is actually CENTURIES old, keeping young in appearance thanks to that magical torque she always wears round her neck. (Anyone else find Melisandre’s true form REALLY unsettling? – aren’t we all glad Jon didn’t sleep with her now!!)

The highlight was probably Daenerys’ scenes as she faced off with a new Khal and his Dothraki, with the Dothraki banter and Daenerys’ putdowns earning a few smiles.

The first non-book shock came as events in Dorne finally kicked up a gear with the Sand Snakes and Ellaria making their move and assassinating Prince Doran, Areo Hotah and Trystane Martell (who hilariously got a spear through the back of his head – funniest death on the show since Arya killing Rorge in season 4?).

Everything else was just setup, whether Jaime and Cersei mourning Myrcella, Arya training with that bitch in Braavos, Tyrion talking with Varys, Margaery conversing with the High Sparrow or Jorah and Daario tracking Daenerys. None of it was bad – but hopefully the next episode will have a little less setup and a few more highlights.

Overall, it was a good episode but not a great episode, with an intriguing ending twist.

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Next Time: Bran’s back, the Greyjoys are back, Jaime comes face to face with the High Sparrow and Ser Alliser and Ser Davos tense standoff continues…

 

Game of Thrones Season 6 Predictions

It’s almost time. Here’s my predictions for season 6…

Warning: Spoilers for Seasons 1-5 and Season 6’s trailers – plus some speculation based on events in the books that haven’t happened yet…

  1. Sansa vs. Ramsay: My guess is that this season will see the Northern Lords (possibly along with Brienne, Davos and the Wildlings) rally round Sansa Stark and destroy House Bolton. The trailers show some serious shit going down, as well as Sansa looking badass and Ramsay in battle, so my guess is that Sansa’s going to take over Robb’s role as the new Stark in power – and maybe reunite with her brother Rickon as well? This is Thrones though so she could also get killed by Ramsay. One final thought – Joffrey was the shows worst (best?) villain and died in his 4th season – Ramsay has become Joffrey’s equal – and this is Ramsay’s 4th season!
  2. Cersei vs. everyone: After her walk of shame last season you can bet Cersei’s out for blood. More so after Myrcella’s death. With the High Sparrow, Tyrells and now Dorne in her crosshairs and the resurrected Mountain and a vengeful Jaime onside, chances are Cersei’s going to wreak some serious havoc. My money’s on the High Sparrow not surviving the season (along with Lancel and Loras or even Margaery getting caught in the crossfire?). Hell, the trailer shows Jaime riding through an army camp, so are the Sand Snakes about to get the war they wanted?
  3. Return of the Greyjoys: Euron “Crow’s Eye” Greyjoy, Theon’s uncle, is about to turn up (and get into some serious mischief involving his brother Balon and a bridge in a storm judging from the trailer). Theon’s sister Yara’s back as well (snogging the face off some random girl in the trailer) and it looks like the Greyjoys are ready for war. But who’s their target? The Boltons? The North? The Lannisters? Or are we following the books on a surprise visit to Meereen? Who knows, but hopefully Theon will survive. He’s suffered enough already.
  4. Daenerys finally sails for Westeros: After what looks to be major trouble with the Dothraki horde that captured her at the end of last season, my money’s on things in Meereen going tits up despite Tyrion’s efforts and an angry Dany finally sailing for Westeros sometime around the season finale. Guessing one of Jorah or Daario isn’t making it out of that rescue attempt alive either. And those dragons have gotten BIG – they’ll take some stopping now!
  5. White Walkers are Coming! The Night’s King (White Walker’s Master who had that epic staring contest with Jon after Hardhome) is coming. Judging by the amount of White Walker action in the trailer (not all of which can be Bran’s visions surely?) my guess is they’re about to break through the wall. Those Night’s Watch mutineers are fucked even if Jon Snow isn’t coming back.
  6. Jon Snow comes back: He has too. He’s far too important (ICE=Jon and FIRE=Daenerys) and why else spare Melisandre if not to bring him back? Not to mention R+L=J looks to be confirmed with shots of a certain tower, Targaryen soldiers and some ‘six companions’ shown in the trailers. That and if he doesn’t, we’ll all be royally pissed off!
  7. A lot of death: My guesses on characters that won’t survive this season? Ser Alliser and the Mutineers (between the walkers, Davos and Jon surely their numbers’ up?), Davos or Melisandre (now Stannis is gone I wouldn’t put money on both of them surviving the season), Ramsay and the Boltons (they just NEED to die!), Daario (surely someone in Essos must die before Dany finally leaves) Balon Greyjoy (long overdue) and finally Grand Maester Pycelle and Kevan Lannister (book readers know why…)
  8. Return appearances: My guess is a still-alive Hound is due back sometime soon. Maybe Syrio Forel or Benjen Stark too. Who knows – depending on where Brienne and Jaime’s storylines go (and the fact that the Freys and the Brotherhood are back) it might be time for a certain Lady with a Heart of Stone to make an appearance… fingers crossed eh book readers?

These could all be wrong. Who knows. But its going to be a fun 10 episodes finding out right?

Article: What’s coming on Game of Thrones Season 6?

Now everyone’s had time to digest the shock character death and the 15 other cliffhangers in Mother’s Mercy, the long wait for season 6 begins – and this time there is very little of the books left to guide us about whats coming – but we can make some educated guesses…

Warning: MAJOR Spoilers for the Season 5 finale – anyone who hasn’t watched it yet, get off your arse and do so or don’t go online for the foreseeable future – chances of it being spoiled are extremely high atm. Also some Spoilers from the books – but i won’t mention any names…

1. Cersei vs. Margaery, Round 3: The fragile alliance between the Tyrells and the Lannisters has been surely tested this season, and i doubt it’ll get any better once Mace Tyrell returns and finds his son and daughter locked up and on trial. With the High Sparrow on the verge of bringing down both families, tensions are sure to boil over – and i’m sure Margaery would happily stick a knife in Cersei’s side after this season’s machinations. Olenna Tyrell and Littlefinger are also in the mix and are sure to cause chaos, while Kevan Lannister and Pycelle will doubtless try to keep a leash on Cersei as she rivals with Margaery for control over the (apparently useless) Tommen.

Prediction: Qyburn and his Frankenstein-esque Mountain will doubtless get Cersei out of trouble with the Sparrows, while she will likely try to be more restrained in her use of power after her Walk of Punishment in the last episode. Can’t see Margaery going anywhere as she is crucial to Cersei, Tommen and Mace’s interactions but i wouldn’t put money on Loras escaping the ‘justice’ (aka homophobia) of those religious zealots. And for the book readers reading this – Book 5’s bloody epilogue will probably come into play at some point, maybe with Littlefinger assuming Varys’ role in proceedings? Yes TV viewers there is still at least one twist we haven’t warned you about… enjoy 😉

2. The Return of the Greyjoys: Having been absent since season 2 barring three brief appearances in Series 3 and 4, the Greyjoys should come back into play this season and i’d expect Theon’s sister Yara, his father, and judging by the casting rumours at least one of his uncles to make an appearance – they’re too prominent in Books 4 and 5 to vanish from the series entirely.

Prediction: If the books are followed one of Theon’s uncles is about to become very important to the upcoming struggle in Meereen, while his sister is likely to become entangled with fighting the Boltons in the North now Stannis has fallen – whether either plotline will be used is debateable, as they could move ahead of the books or come up with something new.

3. More Dorne stuff: Hopefully it’ll be a bit better handled this time around, but given Myrcella’s fate in the finale, i doubt we’ve seen the last of the Sand Snakes. Will Doran dispatch justice (or get dispatched himself?) or are Jaime and Bronn set for a mission of vengeance. The books seem to be heading towards a major confrontation between Dorne and the Tyrells – but with no Arianne Martell and no ‘false dragon’ on the show yet the showrunners might be saving Dorne’s involvement until Daenerys (finally) marches an army into Westeros.

Prediction: Jaime will kill Ellaria Sand – Tyene Sand will try and use her sex appeal to make Bronn betray Jaime. Two random guesses, but this plotline is wide open now for where the showrunners want to go with it – i just hope it improves on this seasons effort.

4. Resurrections aplenty: We all want Jon Snow to still be alive. He’s gone – but chances are he’ll be back – theories range from him ‘warging’ like Bran into Ghost or someone else at the wall, to being brought back by Melisandre (the way Thoros of Myr brought back Beric Dondarrion in Season 3) or even being resurrected as a Wight by the White Walkers (i half expected his eyes to turn blue in the final shot of episode 10). Given there isn’t a point of view character left at the wall (i’d doubt they’d use Edd or Tormund) and the R+L=J theory, and the fact that the books are known as a song of Ice and Fire (which fans take to mean Jon and Daenerys) it’d be a major surprise if he didn’t return. As for what the showrunners and Kit Harington have said about him not coming back – remember what Steven Moffat has taught us time and again from Doctor Who: showrunners lie!

But Jon isn’t the only character due a resurrection: most Book fans are still waiting for a certain Lady Stoneheart to make an appearance (and if the showrunners have merely changed up the order of events in the books, she may well do). Plus – and i won’t go into depth on this because it would be a major spoiler – another character who has died in the past season comes back from the dead in the books… And even past all this – there are three characters who have supposedly died off-screen. NEVER trust off-screen deaths! Are Syrio Forel (season 1), The Hound (Season 4) or Stannis (Season 5) really dead? I wouldn’t put money on at least one of them coming back soon…

Prediction: Jon will return – and personally i doubt Syrio Forel or the Hound are dead either – they’re sure to come back into Arya’s story sometime. As for the others? No clue – but it’d be nice to be surprised…

Game of Thrones Finale: Mother’s Mercy

The Mother is merciful – the Game of Thrones showrunners are not as they deliver the most blood soaked finale yet. From the first scene to the last, characters both major and minor meet their end – and there are plenty of twists from the books and from the show itself.

Warning: MAJOR SPOILERS!!!!

In most seasons episode 9 had been the moment of truth, but season 4’s final three episodes were all equal, and in season 5 episodes 8 and 10 have been the best of the season. Think back to other episode 10’s – who died in previous finales? Khal Drogo, Quorin Halfhand, Tywin and Shae – some major players but never more than one or two per finale. Mother’s Mercy changes all this – it was the bloodiest finale i’ve seen since Spartacus ended, and it follows the 5th book in ending on several cliffhangers (i hope TV viewers don’t moan about this too much, book readers have waiting since 2011 for resolutions that haven’t come yet!). David’s Nutter’s direction gave it all a sense of awe and the showrunners delivered on one of book 5’s greatest moments – personally i think they’ve done a remarkable job this season (adapting two books which were definitely weaker than the first three and were far too long) – i haven’t been so relieved by an adaptation’s quality since Order of the Phoenix (my least favourite HP book) was made into a film which was both a massive improvement on the book and more surprisingly one of the best films in the Harry Potter series. But now time for the episode itself:

First off the moment everyone had been hoping for after last week’s episode – Arya murdering Meryn Trant in the most brutal way possible, after stabbing him repeatedly with her dagger and letting him bleed out while she gloated about getting rid of the first man on her ‘list’, before eventually slitting his throat. Jaqen doesn’t take this well however, claiming a life is owed to the many-faced god and committing suicide in front of Arya (a moment i did not see coming!) before Arya is unexpectedly struck blind as punishment (given the books story i doubt this is permanent, but it’s likely leading to a traumatic sixth season for Arya). The other Stark sister also has her problems, after attempting to alert Brienne and be rescued, Sansa is confronted by Myranda, Ramsay’s lover, who torments Sansa with the knowledge of what he will do to her. Sansa is unexpectedly saved by Theon/Reek, who knocks Myranda off the walls to her death, before leaping with Sansa off the battlements into the snow below to escape (do they survive? we’ll have to wait and see!).

Where’s Ramsay in all this? The battle with Stannis that’s where. Stannis has a rude awakening as his actions in the last episode come back to haunt him – while the Lord of Light has melted the snows, his sellswords have abandoned him and his wife, overcome with grief after Shireen’s death, has hung herself. Spurning Melisandre, Stannis takes whats left of his men and marches to Winterfell – only to be confronted by Bolton’s cavalry which outnumbers his infantry. The battle isn’t shown (presumably because all the money went on the Hardhome sequence!) but its clear Stannis is fighting a lost cause – and he gets a fitting (and surprising) exit though, as Brienne confronts him in the battle’s aftermath and reveals her loyalty to Renly – Stannis admits his murder and tells Brienne to ‘do her duty’ in a nod to the defining feature of Stannis’ character – duty above all else before Brienne kills him (offscreen though – this always makes me suspicious). Ramsay survives for another season (though Joffrey died in his fourth season and Ramsay’s next season is his fourth on the show – let’s hope there is a pattern here!).

The Dorne storyline finally gets some payoff as well – with Myrcella revealing to Jaime she knows about him and Cersei and even accepts it because she wants them to be happy – a touching moment between father and daughter (which given this is Game of Thrones should set alarm bells ringing!). Predictably this doesn’t last as it is revealed that Myrcella has been poisoned by Ellaria (with a poisoned farewell kiss no less!) who clearly faked her submission to Doran the previous week. Bronn and Tyene Sand also keep flirting – those two should so be a couple next season – though these events make that unlikely. Things are also up in the air in Meereen, with Tyrion taking control of the city while Jorah and Daario go to hunt for the missing Daenerys and Drogon. The sparring between Jorah, Tyrion, Grey Worm and Daario was amusing, and Varys unexpected return and conversation with Tyrion was a joy to watch. Daenerys situation isn’t so rosy however, as the wounded Drogon refused to carry her back to Meereen and then failed to appear when she was captured by a Dothraki army. Notice the number of cliffhangers here?

But now the big two moments from the episode: first, Cersei’s walk of punishment after she confesses her incest with Lancel (though denying that with Jaime, there will be a trial next season apparently). The high sparrow allows her to go back to Tommen and her uncle Kevan if she walks naked through the streets of king’s landing, after her head is shaved brutally by the Septas and her clothing torn from her. Cersei at first bears it stoically as all eyes turn on her and the crowd throw insults and various unpleasant items at her, but Lena Headey’s acting is spot on as Cersei breaks down mid-march among the taunts from the people. Is she broken for good? Who knows, but it is unlikely she’ll be that unscathed. Qyburn however has a consolation for her: he has finally resurrected the Mountain as a kind of silent Frankenstein’s monster, who will doubtless be a useful weapon for Cersei next season as she tries to wrestle power back from the Tyrrells and the Sparrows.

And finally: the ending at the wall. After sending Sam away to the citadel, to learn how to become a maester and hence better help the Night’s Watch, Jon and Davos are stunned when a broken looking Melisandre returns, bearing the news of Stannis and his family’s demise. Before Jon can work out what this means he gets betrayed by Alliser Thorne (Stannis’ warning not to keep your enemies close anyone?) and his steward Olly, who stab him along with other members of the Night’s Watch who feel betrayed by his decision to save the wildlings. Jon is only the third main character (out of Arya, Daenerys, Tyrion etc.) after Ned Stark and Robb to be killed off and making it the last scene of the season maximises it’s impact. Stark men really should stop making honourable decisions – it always blinds them to whats around them and gets them killed! Is he really dead? It looked pretty fatal, but i think Melisandre might just be his salvation (why else let her survive the battle?) As a book reader, i knew this was coming, but this is the last time that will happen now the show has caught up, and it was still traumatising nevertheless!

So, just to sum up, the cliffhangers include Brienne’s possible dispatching of Stannis, Sansa and Theon’s leap, Arya’s blindness, Myrcella’s death, The Mountain’s resurrection, Daenerys’ capture and Jon Snow’s apparent demise. It’s gonna be a hell of an opening episode in season 6 to resolve all of those!

Overall the best finale the show has delivered thus far and the second best episode of the season after Hardhome, its a great episode with an immense sting in its tail.

Rating: 5 out of 5!

Next Season: Who the f*** knows, i’ve run out of book knowledge to go on. More deaths, nudity and shock plot twists – and that’s exactly why we all love this show!