entertainment

Game of Thrones and the ending no one saw coming.

SPOILER ALERT: Do not read until you’ve watched the episode.

Well here we are: the end of season five.

Which is also preeeeetty much the point at which having read the books becomes irrelevant. Sure, there are a few plot lines in the books that might crop up… and there are heaps of hints in those eleven thousand plus pages that might help us predict what’s to come… but we’re pretty much all in this together now.

So let’s get in to all the gory details.

I have to say I enjoyed watching this episode immensely, largely because of what I knew was coming in that final scene. You see, I was watching the episode with a bunch of fans at our Dan and Maz Game of Thrones Finale Feast, and I could not WAIT to see everyone’s reactions.

Also I was dressed as Jon Snow and we ate a whole roast pig with an apple in it’s mouth.

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This episode began as a bloodbath. Stannis? DEAD. Myranda? DEAD. Myrcella? DEAD. Trant? DEAD, obviously. Let’s recap them all. And then… the big one.

The Battle of Winterfell was not an epic clash per se – the budget went to episode eight’s gripping white walker onslaught – but there was still plenty to get involved with in these scenes.

Does the melting ice mean that the sacrifice of Shireen was worth it? Queen Selyse obviously disagreed. Stannis, now family-less, decided to begin the siege of Winterfell. But by then it was too late – his army were outnumbered, outflanked, and outsworded. He still managed to take two men down while wounded, but it only took one woman to finish him off.

Or is he still alive? True, we never SAW him dead, but in this viewer’s humble opinion, that felt pretty final. So rest in peace, Stannis Baratheon. All your hard work to be likeable was ruined in one simple child burning. You will forever be remembered as a tool.

And meanwhile I guess Brienne has just been standing in that hotel window all series? Finally Pod, while out gathering kindling and fauna, managed to spot something to get her moving… but they missed the candle entirely! What happens next season? Brienne goes back to standing in her window, and Sansa’s candle blows out, never to be lit again?

Sansa, to her credit, managed to escape quite well with her scavenged lock pick (not a stabber, oh well) and her Harry-Potter-esque cloak of invisibility. “Oh, what’s that? A young woman who looks remarkably like the imprisoned princess, wandering about the grounds, mid battle? Oh – no – wait, she’s wearing a cloak. DISREGARD”.

Well, the escape goes well enough until she meets Myranda. What’s her deal? Never mind, Theon’s pushed her off a ledge. Which seems like a great escape move, but now Ramsay’s back. So the two of them jump off an even steeper fall. I’m going to assume they made it – snow is basically like a giant, marshmallow-y crash mat if Looney Tunes cartoons are to be believed.

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But the death train chugs ever onwards, next stop… Braavos! Of course killing Syrio, attacking Sansa, and last episode’s brothel scene weren’t enough to convince us that Meryn Trant is a nasty piece of work — the writers needed ANOTHER scene of him terrorising young girls! Honestly, guys – we don’t need this level of explanation. He’s awful. Just let Arya do her work.

And she did. I assume she was using her oyster-shucker to de-oculate and eventually de-throatulate (totally words) Trant. But it all fell apart when she tried to return her face mask… and Jaqen caught her. Or did he? And then he killed himself. Or was it the other woman? Or Arya herself? Are her eyes paying tricks on her? Well, they won’t be, because now she’s blind. Was her eye-stabbing of Meryn foreshadowing? It’s always there!

We cross to Dorne where, I don’t know about you, but the second I saw Ellaria mack on with Myrcella I knew some sort of poison-y game was afoot. There is just too much damn poison in these plot lines, and not enough subtlety. We were also treated to some final cringeful Sand Snakery, which really just made me realise how cool Bronn used to be. Finally, a tender scene between uncle-daddy and daughter. Which ends, like most tender scenes, with a death.

Bye Dorne. Good riddance.

More exciting than Dorne have been the Mereen scenes. Now it’s just the bros – the Queen’s fanboi, her new bestie, and her lover – who divide themselves up into teams. Tyrion, being the nerd, is picked last, left to stay back at the castle with the woman and the injured dude, while Jorah and Daario set off to find Dany, in what is sure to be the buddy comedy of series six!

Where *is* Dany? She’s trying to cajole her son Drogon into taking her home. NO MUM JEEZ I JUST WANT TO SIT IN MY BONES. Oh well. You’ll need to eat some time! She decides to go for a walk and wouldn’t you know it, the place is LOUSY with Dothraki! Drogo’s mates? Drogo’s enemies? We’ll find out in forty weeks!

Now let’s get to the two big scenes of the episode.

Cersei’s walk of shame was very powerful telly. Last season Lena Heady was nominated for an Emmy, and this scene far excelled what we saw then. Emotional, raw, and let’s face it – it would have been damn difficult to film. Hats off to you, Lena.

Sidebar: we got a bit of male full frontal in GoT! It only took plenty of female full frontal… but we got there! And I’m calling it now – it’s only a matter of time until we see a sitcom feature a character taking a walk of shame after a big night out, and then Septa Unella pops out with her bell chanting “SHAME”. In fact some YouTube comedy troupe is probably filming it as we speak.

It remains to be seen what is going to happen with Qyburn and his reanimated Mountain. Will Cersei have revenge on the High Sparrow? Can any form of detente between the Crown and the Faith be reached? Do the Lannisters just hightail it back to Casterly Rock and let King’s Landing become a pit of violence, shit-slinging and religious fanaticism?

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But this episode is really all about one man.

Aside from all the foreshadowing throughout the series that things were not going to end well for Jon at the wall, let’s take notice of a coming and a going that occurred earlier in the episode. First of all, Sam managed to convince Jon that he, baby, and Gilly should escape. And he also dropped in one of these:

So Sam departed, leaving Jon alone, and Melisandre arrived… more on that later.

When Olly – who I ALWAYS had suspicions about – told Jon that Benjen was back, I actually had second thoughts about whether series five would end the same as book five – with Jon Snow looking like Swiss cheese, basically. You see, Benjen – who we haven’t seen since series one – essentially holds the key to a quite important mystery. He knows the identity of Jon’s mother.

KNOWING GLANCE:

I’m going to start guesswork here, and while this isn’t technically spoilers, because the TV show has now caught up with the books, you might want to leave us here.

It wasn’t Benjen – it was a traitor’s graves and a host of daggers that met him in the dark. But let’s be rational here. Jon knows too much about the White Walkers, his ancestry is too much of a mystery (which we were all just subtly reminded of), and he’s too close to someone who practices MAGIC to be out of the story this early.

Simply put: he just can’t die.

I believe he is dead. But I – and a large chunk of the internet – also think that won’t be a permanent situation. My bet? Melisandre will reanimate him, in much the same way as how Thoros – another Red Priest – reanimated Beric Dondarrion. Remember:

Plus Qyburn managed to bring the Mountain sort of back from almost death, and he’s just a defrocked trainee Maester. And the Night’s King can reanimate people… so it’s not out of the question. And also there is another character in the books that I’VE SAID TOO MUCH ALREADY I AM SO SORRY.

So Kit Harrington’s agent? Don’t start looking for new clients too quickly. GoT fans screaming  – like they did after Ned, and the Red Wedding, and Oberyn – that they are going to quit the show? Calm your farms. And winter? Prepare to get your ass kicked, because JON SNOW is coming.

I reckon.

In forty weeks.

SEE YOU FOR SEASON SIX!

What did you think of the Game of Thrones season finale?

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