Tuesday, June 23, 2015
Game of Thrones 5x10: Mother's Mercy
Opening Credits Map
King's Landing -> Winterfell -> The Wall -> Braavos -> Meereen -> Dorne
It's no secret that Game of Thrones has a tendency to be cruel to its characters. This episode seemed to double down on this approach. All over characters are having a rough time. It was kind of the theme of this episode. Well, that and ambiguous deaths.
The snow is melting thanks to, according to Melisandre, the sacrifice of Shireen. Shockingly, however, people are uncomfortable following a leader who burns his young daughter at the stake. So Stannis is informed of numerous deserters in his ranks. IF you're going to sacrifice an innocent, young girl, maybe you shouldn't make your army watch.
Soon after, Stannis is alerted to the fact that his wife has committed suicide. (Presumably, due to the guilt over what happened to her daughter.) Then Stannis is notified that Melisandre had go see a guy about thing that's somewhere way far away from where Stannis and his doomed army is. But...the snow has melted. So Stannis has that going for him.
Stannis and his army arrives at Winterfell and prepares his men for a siege. Stannis then gets even more bad news. There won't be siege. Ramsay is bringing the battle straight to Stannis.
Stannis knows he is screwed but there's not much that can be done about that now. The two armies collide and I'm fairly sure I see some of Stannis' men running in the wrong direction. Congratulations Stannis, you murdered your daughter simply to open a path to your destruction.
In the midst of all of the warring going on, Sansa apparently found a way out of her room (with no explanation). She reaches the top of the tower and lights a candle. Of course, Brienne JUST misses seeing the light because she left her post after hearing that Stannis' army was near.
Stannis walks among his army of now corpses. I mean, he's the general, naturally he'd be the last to fall. He fends of a few Bolton soldiers but collapses due to injuries and/or exhaustion. Brienne shows up and, in the name of the late King Renly Baratheon, raises her sword to execute Stannis. Stannis has resigned himself to his fate. As Brienne swings her sword we smash cut to Ramsay picking off some of the last of Stannis' soldiers.
Sansa is trying to make her way back to her room. However, Myranda and Theon/Reek stop her. Myranda, truly one meant for Ramsay, talks about how Sansa is only good as a baby factory. So a lot of Sansa could be injured and mutilated and it would be no great loss. Myranda is about to put an arrow through one of those non-essential Sansa parts until she is instead tossed off the castle ramparts by Theon/Reek. All of Myranda's essential parts are thoroughly splattered.
Sansa tries to get back to her room but there's no time. Ramsay is already returning. So Theon/Reek and Sansa do the next logical thing. They jump off the castle walls to presumably land safely in the snow?
Meryn Trant is in the brothel whipping three young girls. So he's a sexual AND physical abuser of young girls. They're really going all in on awful quotient for him, aren't they? Anyway, one of the girls doesn't scream like Meryn wants when he whips her.
You guessed it. It's Arya in disguise. She has a knife and she knows how to use it. Before Meryn is stabbed for the billionth and final time, Arya, sounding very much like someone who isn't no one, makes it known to Meryn that she is Arya Stark.
In the House of Black and White, Arya returns the mask (or “face”) she used to disguise herself. Jaqen and that young girl catch her in the act. Jaqen is pretty pissed at Arya for taking a life that wasn't hers to take. The only penance for this is...more lives to be taken? Whatever, Many-Faced God.
Anyway, Jaqen decides it's his life that shall be sacrificed. So he drinks poison and dies. Arya is sad but the girl tells Arya that she shouldn't be sad because Jaqen was no one...and then the little girl turns into Jaqen!? Arya is not no one so her punishment for using a face when not being no one is, drumroll please, blindness!
Never forget, Arya, you're in Game of Thrones. Getting shit on is in the job description. (Perhaps that line wouldn't be as creepy if I was not referring to a girl-who-is-too-young-to-work-in-a-brothel-but-had-just-pretended-to-work-at-a-brothel.) Anyway, I hope her bout of blindness is brief...but I doubt it.
Everything seems pretty amicable in Dorne. I'm sure no characters are going to be treated badly here. Jaime, Bronn, Myrcella and Trystane say their good byes and are heading back to King's Landing. Bronn and Tyene flirt with each other (which is a dynamic I still don't understand). Even Ellaria and Myrcella share an out of place, long, ominous kiss. It's probably nothing.
On this ship headed back for King's Landing Jaime sits down with Myrcella to have that discussion every parent must have with their child. The one where they tell them that the person who they believed was their father was not their father but instead they are a product of incest between the mother she's always known and person she thought was just her uncle. It's OK, though, because love is a beautiful, mysterious thing that sometimes wants brothers and sisters to bump uglies. Who are we to judge?
Myrcella is completely cool with all of it. She's happy Jaime is her uncle/father. And...that's the last thing we'll ever hear from her because her eyes start to bleed and she presumably dies in Jaime's arms. That's right, Ellaria poisoned her with a kiss. Ellaria, of course, has the antidote so she herself will survive.
It looks like war between King's Landing and Dorne is going to happen after all. Or Dorne will just give the treasonous Ellaria to King's Landing to be punished and that will be that. I guess it depends on if Cersei is still in charge or not.
Tyrion, Jorah and Daario have managed to escape the arena despite not having a flying dragon like Daenerys did. Daenerys is missing, though. Tyrion wants to go search for her. After some bickering, Jorah and Daario decide that they should be the ones to go sans Tyrion. Tyrion needs to stay behind to keep the peace politically. Luckily, Grey Worm will also stay behind because he's politically valuable since the Meereen people respect him.
With Jorah and Daario off, Tyrion wonders off wondering what he's going to do. Luckily, Varys shows up to lend a helping hand! The terrific twosome is back together!
Meanwhile, Daenerys is stuck atop a hill with her dragon Drogon. Daenerys wants to go back to Meereen but Drogon doesn't give two shits what Daenerys wants at the moment. All Drogon cares about doing is eating and sleeping. I've got a cat. I get what Daenerys is dealing with.
Daenerys is hungry so she wonders off aimlessly. What is she searching for, food? What does she hope to find? A Taco Bell? She doesn't find a Taco Bell, though. Instead, she finds a horde of horseback warriors.
A few things I've read say they're Dothraki. They look Dothraki but it's not stated and I'd hate to do something akin to calling someone whose Japanese Chinese. But, whoever they are, they surround Daenerys. Daenerys drops a piece of jewelry possibly leaving a trail of bread crumbs for Daario and Jorah to find.
Oh, you thought we were done being cruel to characters? We're just getting starting! But this time it's Cersei, whom you can only feel so sorry for.
Cersei is actually sick of being treated cruelly. So she decides to confess her crimes to the High Sparrow. Well, she only confessed SOME of her crimes. The stuff about Jaime being the father of her children and her conspiring to murder Robert Baratheon are all claimed to be lies. She only admits to stepping out on Robert with Lancel Lannister.
The High Sparrow says a trial is necessary to determine Cersei's guilt of the other crimes. But, in appreciation of Cersei's partial confession, the High Sparrow does end her imprisonment. Is there a catch, you ask? Well, have you never watched this show before?
Cersei is forced to walk naked from the Great Sept to the Red Keep. She is accosted and berated by peasants. She is pelted with things. She's cut and bleeding from head to toe. Basically, she has been broken down and exposed in literal and figurative ways she never thought would happen to her.
It's uncomfortable to watch. I can't say I'm in favor of it in the same way I'm not in favor of any cruel and unusual punishment on anyone. Also, frankly she's just being punished for her least egregious sins. Still, it's tough to say my feelings towards Cersei have truly changed. She's still odious and still deserves her comeuppance. But maybe in a less gross way? But she is the one who reinstated the Faith Militant despite being the biggest sinner in King's Landing. So she kind of has herself to blame?
Conflicted feelings aside, Cersei does make it to Red Creep amidst her tears. Qyburn is quick to console her and cover her up. He also has a gift for her. FrankenMountain! What role the seemingly zombie-esque Mountain will play is yet to be determined.
Sam wants to go to Oldtown to train to be a Maester. Jon is reluctant to send away one of his few remaining allies in Castle Black. In the end Jon Snow does agree to let Sam go. Then the two talk about getting laid.
Later, Ser Davos desperately asks Jon Snow for men to help with Stannis' army. Melisandre shows up to inform Davos and Jon Snow what the audience already knows. It's a lost cause. Davos is understandably devastated (and unaware that Shireen's fate was decided by Melisandre, not the Boltons).
Jon is all alone in his office. Olly comes racing in with news of Benjen Stark being alive. Jon Snow is quick to follow Olly. Admiral Ackbar is nowhere to be found and, thus, cannot warn Jon Snow. Jon Snow continues to follow Olly all the way to a group of Night's Watchmen and a sign that says “Traitor.” Yup, it's a trap!
Jon Snow is stabbed many times. The final blow comes from Ollie. Jon Snow falls to the ground bleeding. He's looking kinda dead everyone...
So...is Jon Snow dead? It's tough to believe because his story isn't near complete. Then again, isn't that the point of nihilistic fiction? However, Jon Snow is the same guy who got pelted with arrows and survived. Also, Melisandre is still around. She follows the Lord of Light who has already been proven to be able to bring back people from the dead. Also, if this was his end, as a writer you need to hammer home the point that Jon Snow is for sure dead. Like, a beheading or something. This was just too ambiguous. So, it's really tough to believe Jon Snow isn't at least just mostly-dead.
I appreciate that the whole "Valyrian steel kills White Walkers" thing was figured out quickly.
The cut away from Brienne swinging her sword to Ramsay stabbing a soldier was odd. At first I thought Ramsay killed Brienne just as she was about to kill Stannis. (Oh, and it also leaves open the idea that Stannis is still alive.)
With my main character death count, where does whatever the hell happened with Jaqen fall?
Why didn't Ellaria wipe the poison off and take the antidote right when she got alone? Why wait to bleed from the nose before taking said antidote?
There seems to be a lot of getting from A to C with Tyrion, Daario and Jorah. Why did they feel the immediate need to chase after Daenerys? It turns out they're right to do so, but if I were them, I'd have assumed she would fly back to Meereen on her dragon before too long.
The Sparrows seem very puritanical, but they also seemed to tacitly endorse people exposing their breasts and penises as someone takes the walk of shame.
I think my problem with the whole Sparrow story line is it just feels like a giant roadblock in the way of giving the viewers what they really want, which is seeing the main houses of Westeros fight each other and, hopefully, fight the White Walkers. It's tough for me to foresee the Sparrows having much more of an impact than just being in the way.
My final review of the season also ended up being posted the latest. I apologize. I got super busy over the past week. But, if you're still reading my reviews, I'd like to thank you all! It'll be interesting to see where Season 6 takes us now that the writers have less and less of a road map. Well, unless George R.R. Martin publishes the next book before Season 6 production starts. Just kidding, I'm just hoping to end this season of reviews with a hardy laugh!
Jon Snow: You know that the Citadel will make you swear off women too.
Sam: Well, they'll bloody try.
Jon Snow: Sam...
Jon Snow: Sam...you just been beaten half to death. How did you...
Sam: Very carefully.
Tyrion (Speaking in Valyrian): Apologies. My Valyrian is a bit nostril.
Season 5 Totals
Boob Count: 2...or should I count young Melisandre and older Melisandre separately? Sure, why not! 4
Full Frontal Count: 2
Butt Count: 1
Coitus Count: 0
Main Character Death Count: 3 (I suppose I'll go with the )
Hodor Count: 0