Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Winter Has Come: Mother's Mercy (Game of Thrones Season 5 Finale)

  Seven Hells.

  Just when you think it's safe to go back to Westeros, (Protip: it never is!) Game of Thrones throws a whole bunch of deaths your way. Needless to say, this review will be spoiler ridden (of course) and with lots, and I mean lots, of deaths. While there has been some complaints about the pacing of this season: too slow, Dorne story has been pointless, the Sand Snakes aren't engrossing characters, etc; I would argue that most of those faults were address and somewhat fixed (a bit rushy, but fixed) with "Mother's Mercy."

"I said second exit, Drogon!"
  Does anyone out there have a death counter? Lord of Light save us. I lost count after Stannis "The Not-So-Mannis" Baratheon attempted to march to Winterfell now that the weather conditions seemed better for his plans. Problem was that half his men deserted him (burning your daughter alive as a sacrifice tends to shit on troops' morale I'm told) and his wife,Queen Selyse, hanged herself. Melisandre, sensing the unease in Stannis' faith bailed out before he could burn her at the stake. The Bolton Army meets Baratheon in battle in the outskirts of Winterfell and completely no sells Stannis' offense. Meanwhile, we finally see Sansa Stark light that damn candle to warn Brienne of Tarth that she's in danger but to no avail. At the behest of Podrick (the lady's love Pod), Brienne leaves her post and decides to meet Stannis in battle. Stannis then gets what we assume is his comeuppance and final death when Brienne sentences him to death for the blood magic murder of Renly (whoa!) Baratheon. The camera does pan out before we see the final moments of Stannis so maybe this won't play out exactly like we think - but I think it's fair to say Stannis got his. Sansa, with the assist by Theon (finally) kill Myranda and escape Winterfell via jump to giant snow cliff. So have speculated that this is their end, but I highly doubt it. More on "fake out" endings as we go.

Pictured: Four People I Give Zero Fucks About

  We go to King's Landing where Cersei Lannister confesses to her sins of sleeping with her cousin Lancel (notably absent of any sort of repercussions for 
his "sin," just like the guy that accused The Knight of Flowers of homosexual behavior) Lannister. She denies ever having slept with her brother Jaime, and thus ending the High Sparrow's investigation on King Tommen's true parentage. Cersei must atone for her sins by doing the longest walk of shame ever (complete with Septa literally screaming "SHAME!" during said walk) from the church all the way smooth back to The Red Keep. Along the way she gets thrown: food, epithets (whore and slut, and all that fun stuff), shit (I'm assuming that's what that brown stuff was), and random objects. She even manages to walk on glass at one point and her feet are bloody all over. She's met, after having a complete breakdown, by Grand Master Pycelle, Qyburn, and the newest member of her crew, the zombified "Mountain That Blings." Seriously, the Mountain is back and he's shinier than ever, albeit kinda sorta rotting. Across Dorne we find Jaime and Bronn departing with Princess Myrcella and Prince Trystane Martell on a boat given by Prince Doran. No sooner than Jaime finds out his daughter knows he is her father she collapses and presumably dies from a poisonous kiss by Ellaria. The Dorne plot, has officially thickened.

"These are not my contacts, Jaqen!"

 Over at Braavos, Ser Meryn Trant is doing his pedophile/sadomasochist thing, which winds up being his undoing (as predicted) when Arya appears, having disguised herself as one of the girls. In the coolest death scene (where a true blue bad guy finally died) Arya gouges both his eyeballs stabs him repeatedly and eventually slits his throat. I was actually half waiting for the Mortal Kombat announced to yell "FINISH HIM!" Upon her return to the House of Black and White she's confronted by Jaqen and the Waif. Jaqen berates her for having taken a life that wasn't hers to take and for using one of the many faces. He demands that the Many Faced God now requires a life to be taken and he poison himself after teasing to poison her. The Waif then removes her face revealing Jaqen (sweeeerrrrve!!!) and he tells her that Jaqen is "No One" and that Arya must become "No One" in order to use the faces, otherwise it's poison (uh-oh...) - at which point Arya begins to become blind. It should be noted that her "blindness" reminds me a lot of the Warg eyes the Stark boys have employed before.

  Meanwhile, Team Dani muses over what to do now that Daenerys is gone. Daario and Jorah plan an expedition to find her "North," which in this case happens to be the Dothraki Sea. Tyrion is told he's useless for said expedition (basically) and that he should remain as "King" of Mereen. Grey Worm and Myranda also stay back to guide Tyrion and his wonky Valyrian. At least Varys returned, without his feelings hurt, and offered Tyrion guidance and a network of spies in Essos! Elsewhere, Dani is stuck as Drogon is too injured to fly her back. She goes to investigate where she is at, and find food and shelter, only to find out she's in the Dothraki Sea as hordes of Dothraki clans appear on horseback. She leaves her ring in the grass as the scene shifts to the North by the Wall.

"Jon, I know you ate the rest of my ham..."

  Oh, The Night's Watch, you guys. Jon Snow and Samwell Tarly discuss the events that have transpired and the loss of Maester Aemon (Targaryen), pitching that Jon lets him and Gilly (and baby) to go to Oldtown so that he may learn to become a Maester. Jon, reluctantly agrees, knowing this is probably the only way to ensure Sam remains relevant in The Night's Watch and doesn't have to witness any horrors or losses. Davos arrives and asks Jon for supplies and reinforcements to help Stannis, Jon declines. Melisandre arrives as well, which heralds the death of Shireen and Stannis. Jon is then told by Olly that there's news of his uncle Benjen Stark via a wildling. The two head to the courtyard downstairs and Jon is lead to a sign that reads "Traitor." Ser Allister Thorne, Olly and some Brothers of the Night's Watch stab him (repeatedly) as they utter "For the Watch!" The last shot is of Jon laying on the snow with a pool of blood beneath him.

  To say this was a soul crushing finale is pretty mild, maybe even timid. So many characters we have grown to love and even just like for the past five seasons met either their ends or were put in situations that are game changers. Sansa is presumably dead, as is Stannis. Cersei is at her weakest but also her angriest,and the Mountain, of all people, is back! Arya is a badass assassin, but now she's blind. Daenerys just showed the world her dragon riding skills are, essentially, the shit; but she's trapped with the Dothraki Horde. Tyrion is King, of a kingdom that is probably ready to put his head on a spike. Sam, may or may not be safe. Jon, oh Jon. Jon could be dead, but if there's ever been an argument for a main character, it's for Jon. The guy can warg, the man has beaten White Walkers, he has ascended where no Bastard could have properly ascend. Is he the Prince that was Promised? Is he the actual carrier of the Lightbringer? I only ask because Melisandre sure left Stannis in a hurry; and he was supposed to be Azor Ahai reincarnate. Or maybe, just maybe Snow is the actual chosen one, and his rebirth in Ice, will be done by Fire.

"I pray for a glimpse of Azor Ahai, and R'hllor shows me only Snow."


  SHR Rating:

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