Game of Thrones, S. 5, E. 10: “Mother’s Mercy”

Mouth-breather til the very end. Image source: HBO Viewer's Guide

Mouth-breather til the very end. Image source: HBO Viewer’s Guide

It’s over! As far as season finales go, I have often felt that Game of Thrones does a poor job of enticing fans back with the final episode after they’ve been gutted by previous episodes (particularly after the Red Wedding), but I know that most (like me) wail and moan over atrocities only to eagerly tune in next season. This week’s episode was riddled with reasons to hate GOT, and even so, I felt it was a little flat. Anyone else?

Congratulations, non-book readers! Book fans and TV fans alike are all basically on the same page, finally! Given that, I hope you all don’t mind if I begin speculating about theories openly, since I have as much clue as the next person as to what will happen next. Now on to the episode review! So much to discuss!

Did anyone else feel like Stannis’ (assumed) death was a bit… anti-climactic? Following one of the worst things I have watched on television, it didn’t feel like enough for him to shrug his shoulders and half-assedly ride – er, walk–  into battle. And Melisandre immediately admits defeat and runs off? What’s that about? I suppose it makes sense that he accepts defeat as his punishment for what he has done, but I feel like he should have had some more conviction in his actions or he wouldn’t have burnt his beloved daughter alive. Don’t you feel like a fanatic would work or search for any validation that their crazy cult rituals would reap some reward and at least ride into battle with bravado? It probably didn’t help that Melisandre accepted defeat as soon as she saw half of his men leave and his wife commit suicide, but I also feel like it was a tad out of character for her (I was expecting her to throw out some line about “true believers” or something).

Stannis’s fate is similar in the books, though a lot more vague. Through a lot more convoluted plots, he does end up attempting to clash with the Boltons, and his storyline ends unconfirmed, with a letter from Ramsay to Jon Snow boasting that Stannis has been killed. Here, Davos and Melisandre run to Jon Snow instead of a letter, and Brienne is the one who grants his unconfirmed fate. What do you think folks – did she exact her justice? That cutaway is mighty suspicious!

Brienne’s current book whereabouts are much different. I really think based on how much the show deviated, the writers will use some of her remaining plot in the next season (especially since we also got a Sansa cliffhanger and one of Brienne’s 8,000 oaths is to save her), so my strong feeling is that she did not kill Stannis and was interrupted before she could let her blade fall. I really want the lady to get some revenge though! Brienne has had enough bad luck.

Speaking of Brienne and Sansa – I HATE COINCIDENCES. The candle appears in the window seconds after Brienne turns away? BULL. SHIT.

And holy mother of shitty cliffhangers – Sansa and Theon JUMPED off the wall he had just shoved another girl to her death from? Yeah, that makes sense. Maybe the snow is really, really soft guys. So what’s going to happen with these two? I highly doubt that they will die in the fall. For one, Theon’s plot is one of the few that hasn’t reached current book whereabouts. For another, I know you can’t say in Game of Thrones “Look at all these main characters, there’s no way they are going to die!,” but I really think Sansa is tied up into too many other characters’ schemes for the writers to kill her off just yet. At the end of A Dance with Dragons, she’s still moseying up at the Vale with Robbin, which leads me to believe Sansa still has a lot more to show us.

Back to Theon for a moment. We haven’t heard a peep from the Greyjoys since Yara’s really crappy rescue attempt back in season four. Based on Yara’s account in that season, they’ve given up Theon for dead, but there are a lot more Greyjoys than just Yara and Theon. Does anyone think we’ll see Victarion or Aeron? Or a kingsmoot??

Arya Stark is fucking brutal. Meryn Trant gets what’s coming to him, for killing Syrio Forel. And obvs for being a pedophile and women beater, as the show clearly wanted us to know. Following scratching another name off her list, we’ve been put back on track for Arya’s training – in the books she serves the Many-Faced God as a blind girl before she’s ever given an assassination assignment. I’m still waiting to see if her training to become one of the Faceless Men will really help her shed her Stark identity, or if she will just become a more skilled killer.

Oh, Myrcella Swift, we barely knew ye. After that terribly awkward exchange between you and Jamie too! (By the way, exactly how does everyone in Westeros seem to know that Jamie and Cersei hooked up?) It’s possible that she will survive – she was gravely injured in the book whilst in Dorne – but given our knowledge of the poison, it seems unlikely. Does this mean we’ve seen the last of the Sand Snakes? Probably not, now that we’ll need to go back for revenge again. Thanks a lot, Game of Thrones.

Worst line of the series: “You want a good girl, but you need a bad pussy.”

Speaking of Lannisters, I confess that I savored Cersei’s walk of shame in the book, and was sort of looking forward to it in the show. In the books, I recall her arrogance shining through everything she did, as well as everything she endured, making her walk of shame seem very necessary to knock her down a peg. However… In the show, her walk was really horrible to watch. She definitely appeared far more penitent than I would have previously believed, and it seemed like she was treated much more harshly here. So, for once, I had sympathy for this woman.

“Shame. Shame. Shame. DING DING DING!”

It’s fascinating that minutes before Jamie was admitting fatherhood to Myrcella, while Cersei fiercely denies relations with him to the High Septon. Her confession appearsed to be incomplete, so we are still looking forward to a trial covering her full accusations.

And introducing Franken-Gregor! The new giant member of the kinsguard is all but confirmed to be Ser Gregor, healed by Qyburn. I’ve read a lot of speculation online regarding what some are calling “Cleganebowl” – a final fight (trial by combat for Cersei) between the two Clegane brothers, both of whom everyone assumes are still alive. What do you think?

Elsewhere in the world, the unlikely trio of Jorah, Daario and Tyrion debate how to hold Meereen together in the absence of Queen Daenerys. It’s a strange world when Daario Naharis is the most reasonable man in the room. I hated seeing Varys come back – not because I hate his character, but because that reunion was just very, very silly. I much preferred the theory that he was running political puppet shows back in King’s Landing after his disappearance. We’ll see if he returns to KL to act out any of his cunning manipulations.

Daenerys is now lost in the wilderness, carried there by a dragon she neglected to train. It doesn’t make much sense that she would wander away from him without a way to call Drogon back, but she did, and in doing so got herself caught up in a khalasar of Dothraki! Good thing she knows the lingo, right? I love how they just sneaked up on her in that wide open field. Startled her so much she dropped her ring! Not so much – I’m guessing she pulled a Pippin (“Not idly do the leaves of Lorien fall,” amirite?). Dothraki are known for being brutal, merciless rapists and pillagers. Khal Drogo’s reputation certainly won’t save her – he was scorned for falling off his horse and not dying in battle. Again, she’s another one of those I can’t see the show killing off just yet (or ever), but I wonder if she’ll escape unscathed. At least maybe in the show we’ll avoid seeing her dysentery.

Finally, let’s talk about Jon Snow. I still don’t understand why he only seems to tell Sam about the army of White Walkers and wights – don’t you think that would have helped his circumstances a bit? And also… did everyone forget that Stannis lives on Dragonstone, where there is an abundance of dragonglass?

By the way, I like how Sam basically thinks his vows are throwaway.

“They’ll bloody try to make me swear off the poon!”

Jon’s death seemed…well, it didn’t exactly move me. Not the way it has legions of fans raging and quitting the show (though I am sympathetic – it was a rough season). His death has been alluded to several times, most blatantly with that chat between Olly and Sam in episode eight (you know, the one where Sam basically tells Olly it’s OK to kill Jon if he believes he has the right reasons). I’ve had my money on the stabbing being the final scene of the season for a long time – after all, the exact scene closes A Dance With Dragons. By the way, I loved how they used Benjen – who is also the center of hugely popular fan theories – to lure Jon out.

Jon’s death is also unconfirmed, but seems a bit more final here than in the books. I half expected see his eyes light up as he was bleeding out (based on suspicion of all the Stark children being wargs), but he seemed pretty dead. However, the timing of Melisandre arriving at the Wall shortly before the mutiny is TOTALLY suspect. Recall that Thoros of Myr, another priest of R’hllor, is able to raise people from the dead, and let’s readjust our theories, shall we? (All along, I was thinking that Jon Snow would just prove to be tougher than stabbing or something, rather than raised from the dead. I suppose this makes more sense). Do you think Davos will get involved at the Wall? He’s also got a teensy bit of book plot left, but it makes more sense for him to act out now that he can hate Stannis with all his poor broken heart.

Anyway… Where’s Ghost?

Let it out – what did you think of season five? Any hopes for season six?

P.S. Maybe Ramsay is just misunderstood:


  1. I have a lot of thoughts on Season 5, and I’ll be blogging about it (and the previous seasons) for the next 9 months or so, when I can take a break and watch season 6.

    I suspect Stannis is dead, and there’s a lot of different reasons being talked about, why the death blow was not shown. My main reason for believing him dead: I have no idea why Brienne would spare him, or defer his death until later. Opinions can vary, but I was kind of happy that the morning after Stannis burned Shireen, *everything* fizzled out for him. So much fizzle, even Melisandre’s faulty magic-8 ball told her that Stannis was doomed.

    Like you (and so many others) I assume her returning to the Wall will be important in keeping Jon Snow on the show.

    Myrcella’s fate is more up in the air (for me at least) since I’d imagine Trystane would have a ton of antidotes on him.

    Prince Doran: Ellaria Sand will be at the docks this morning. Do you have all of your antidotes in case she tries something?
    Trystane: Yes Father. Your little boy also has clean underwear and packed a toothbrush.
    Prince Doran: My little boy is now a wise man! And your tone suggests a wise ass! Watch it, you.

    Cersei’s walk of shame certainly did its job in expressing the humbling trauma Cersei experienced. I was expecting more opinion pieces angry at HBO for having such a long period of time devoted to taunting a naked woman, but I don’t think I saw any. Maybe everyone got it. Or no one cares what happens to Cersei? I felt sorrow for her, more so than I did from the books.

    Liked by 1 person

    • That’s an excellent thought that Trystane might have an antidote. Wasn’t Myrcella in poor health at the end of ADWD? That would match up quite nicely with her being almost-fatally ill on the show. I hope that it means more Prince Doran and less deep V-necks from Trystane. And zero Sand Snakes.

      I also was a bit shocked that there wasn’t more backlash about Cersei, but perhaps everyone is exhausted from analyzing all the other violence against women this season. Or perhaps they thought her walk made more sense than the rest?

      I am having a hard time believing that they would not show what would have otherwise been a very satisfying death blow. We all want Brienne to serve justice, and everyone is now on the hate Stannis bandwagon. Why the theatric cut away? I feel like her blow was blocked or interrupted. Or even she hacked a tree instead and thought “Hey, maybe I’ll bring him along to my pay Jamie, who I used to hate but am now BFFs with.” And she and Stannis will become unlikely allies and go up against Melisandre. Kidding.

      Can’t wait to read your thoughts on the season!

      Liked by 1 person

      • You’re right about Myrcella, her face was flashed by the Dornish rogue, Darkstar (he was trying to kill her) so she’s disfigured but alive.

        Thanks! I look forward to your comments, my first article of the post season reporting will be tomorrow (I’ll be advertising it on Wednesday via Twitter/Facebook for Westeros Wednesday) but it’ll be available. The first ones won’t be that controversial…

        Liked by 1 person

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