We’ve reached the end of Season Five of Game of Thrones, and what a slow and meandering journey it’s been! Looking back on the past ten episodes, doesn’t it feel like we watched too much talking and not enough stabbing? (Oh, god. It’s like Frasier all over again.) Doesn’t it also feel like the showrunners owed us a big finale after such a snoozer of a season? And isn’t it our right as consumers and viewers to demand that they deliver something major?
Well, great work, everybody. We wanted something exciting to happen and it did. Too bad it’s not the kind of excitement that most of us wanted and thanks to us, Jon Snow is DEAD. Arya is BLIND. Sansa and Theon have leapt to FATES UNKNOWN. Cersei got a HAIRCUT. This is some Many-Faced God shit, people—you can’t take a life without giving a life/you can’t have Brienne satisfyingly murder Stannis without having Jon Snow get knifed to death by his own men. J’aqen was right. There’s a price to everything.
The episode begins with the end of Stannis. Having committed the ultimate and most awful sacrifice (the murder of his own biological lizard baby) to appease the Lord of Light and win big in war, Stannis is abandoned by half his men, loses his wife to suicide, and is even deserted by Melisandre after she comes down with a bad case of I-Backed-the-Wrong-Horse-itis. Though hope seems lost, he—realizing his irreparable fuck-up—rides into battle against the Boltons with his head held high. After his troops are decimated and he’s badly injured, Brienne arrives from her hideout in the woods to avenge Renley. A swing of the Oathkeeper and Stannis is dead.
But he’s not the only one! Theon, tapping into an unknown source of courage, shoves Ramsay Bolton’s sidepiece Myranda off a roof after she threatens to shoot Sansa with an arrow as a punishment for breaking out of her cell. Bye, Myranda! Gone, but not forgotten! (Actually, I’ve had to Google her name every time she comes up and I will forget it forever as soon as this recap is finished. RIP, whatever your name is!)
Having committed a spot of murder, Sansa and Theon are like “Yo, fuck this place” and jump off the wall of Winterfell! Do they live? Do they die? Unclear! But at least they’re finally free! Unless, of course, they both break their legs in the fall. In that case, they’ll just be stuck with Ramsay forever, only now it will be even worse than before because their legs don’t work. It’s just like when a girl from my high school broke both of her ankles because the cops showed up to bust her post-prom hotel room party and she jumped out of a second-story window to avoid getting a drinking ticket. Taking a flying leap (or jumping the Stark) (kill me) doesn’t always work out for the best.
Down south in King’s Landing, Cersei, still imprisoned for crimes of incest and murder, probably wishes she had a wall to launch off. Instead, in order to get back to her son and the Red Keep, she confesses. This leads to two things. One, a gamine pixie cut that’s VERY Jean Seberg in Breathless:
And two, a humiliating naked march through town. While Cersei’s far from sympathetic at this point, the scene of her being stripped bare, brutalized, and paraded in front of the public was gut-wrenching to watch, largely because I couldn’t stop thinking about how awful that must have been for actress Lena Headey to shoot. (Filming a naked scene seems hard enough without the hundreds of extras screaming that you’re a whore and throwing things at you.) It’s a pretty profound moment for Cersei as we watch her imperiousness and pride crumble into degradation with each painful footstep. But Cersei’s always gonna Cersei, so ultimately her humiliation fades to wrath. I don’t know about you, but I’m really looking forward to her and the Mountain lighting up some sparrows in Season Six.
While we could (and probably should) talk about Arya’s current blindness and her eye-stabby revenge on Ser Meryn Trant, how stupid it was that the Sand Snakes killed Myrcella Lannister with lipstick (UGH, women!) or Daenerys’ unfortunate reunion with the Dothraki, I’m going to go ahead and skip it. Why? Because this is my recap and I think it’s high time that we talk about Jon Snow and how he just got totally Julius Caesar’d by the Night’s Watch.
“Et tu, you little motherfucker?,” his face says as Olly, along with several other of his sworn brothers, stabs him with a sword as punishment for putting the rescue of the Wildlings ahead of the brotherhood. “Et me, Donnie Starko,” Olly’s expression responds as Jon bleeds out in the snow.
So long, Jon Snow. Hope you’re off to join Ygritte in that special fuck cave in the sky. Or that you return as a white walker and rip Alliser Thorne’s head off. Or, hey, maybe that pesky fire priestess Melisandre will find some way to bring you back and you won’t end up being all that dead after all.
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Image via HBO.