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A 30-something living in the foothills of the Virginia mountains; I'm saved by grace, addicted to coffee and my little sister is my best friend! I devote most of my time to exploring, reading, attending as many Nationals games as possible and documenting life here. My Prince Charming got lost somewhere along the way...but I'm trying to remain hopeful that true love exists.

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Thursday, June 18, 2015

Mother's Mercy

Well - the season finale promo promised it would be filled with gut punches as well as some moments that might cause a general weeping, wailing and gnashing of teeth...and it certainly didn't fall short on that promise. I felt like this season was an endless maze with no end in sight and given the way things ended...it looks like we are just going to keep wandering that maze. There are theories running amok on the internet and no small amount of confusion as the story has finally reached the point where it has separated completely from the books...only because it's reached the end of the published story so far.

So...before we crash off the deep end of murky theory and mystery...the season finale recap.

The North: Not Worth it After All - After last week's horrific sacrifice, Stannis is more than ready to reap the rewards that paying such a high price will surely bring - but it's not to be. Melisandre is thrilled that the snow is melting but she can't invoke quite the same level of excitement in Stannis...
Only one of these two is excited...
Stannis learns in quick succession that half his army has deserted in the night (why wouldn't they? How many people do you know that would willingly support a man who burns his child?) and they've taken all the horses. This initial blow is followed by the discovery of his wife Selyse, hanging from a tree where she committed suicide; the grief of allowing her only child to be burnt alive obviously too much. Still taking in this news, Stannis is told by one of his remaining soldiers that the Lady Melisandre was seen riding away from camp - it would appear even she can only take so much defeat.

Stannis will not let go of Winterfell though; Melisandre promised him she's seen Bolton flags burning and he's certain it's a sign that his sacrifice will bring him victory...well, that or he just realizes he's come this far and cut every tie he had, so he might as well trudge on toward his destiny. Stannis and his remaining men approach Winterfell, preparing to attack at dawn but it's not to be - Ramsay and the Bolton army are charging them as he speaks...and of course, Stannis is vastly outnumbered.

Might as well fight....
The Boltons on the left...Stannis on the right. We all know how this will end, right?
We cut from the rush toward battle to the body-strewn snow and Stannis staggering away from the carnage, obviously worse for the wear. After fighting off two Bolton lackeys, he sways and sinks to the ground against a tree...only to be approached by Brienne of Tarth. She makes known that she once served Stannis' brother, Renly and was there when Renly was murdered by a "shadow with the face of Stannis"...he confirms what we've all known, he killed his brother with blood magic. He has no last words beyond telling Brienne to do her duty. She swings her sword toward him...and we cut to Ramsay being awful...

So - did she kill him? Only time (9-10 months) will tell.

Winterfell: You Jump, I Jump - Ramsay is being awful on the battlefield and that's really the only part he plays at Winterfell this week; the show seems intent on reminding us on a weekly basis that Ramsay is one of the most awful people alive, I guess they think we've not quite figured that out yet.

Sansa has used the corkscrew we saw her pocket weeks ago to endeavor an escape from her tower room and is taking advantage of the battle outside Winterfell to make her way to the broken tower and light a candle; the way she was told to signal for help. Brienne has of course departed from her vigil of watching the tower at the exact moment Sansa lights her candle...but that's neither here nor there.
Not sorry to see her go - at all.
Sansa quickly realizes that lighting the candle has done her no good and when she sees the army returning, knows she needs to get back to her room before Ramsay realizes what she's done. As she rushes back toward her room, she is thwarted by Myranda - who I've really had enough of. Myranda taunts Sansa by telling her all the ways Ramsay will keep her alive so she can give him heirs but still torture her just enough to have fun and when it looks like Sansa is about to get an arrow to the face, Theon/Reek finally snaps out of it and give Myranda a shove...causing her to topple from the battlements onto the stone below. 

Theon and Sansa look down to see that the gates of Winterfell are opening...Ramsay and the army have returned and not only is Sansa outside her room, they've killed Ramsay's favorite female. The two quickly decide that possible death is worse than being one of Ramsay's victims for a moment longer; they step onto the battlement, take each other's hands and jump into what I sincerely hope is very deep snow.
Game of Thrones
And...away we go!
Braavos: Blinded by the Light - Arya's training in the House of Black and White seems to have paid off; she has used one of the multitude of faces from the House to pose as one of the young girls that Meryn Trant requests when he visits the brothel in Braavos. Arya will not be broken when Trant smacks her with a cane but reveals her true self and then proceeds to kill Trant in one of the most graphic ways GoT has ever shown - seriously - it was slightly psychotic and made me queasy. I know Arya has been through some stuff...but wow.

Actions have consequences...
As she's returning the face she "borrowed", Jaqen and his sidekick appear - Arya has taken a life, but it was the wrong life and the debt must be paid. The viewer is led to believe that Arya is about to be poisioned, but Jaqen drinks from the vial and collapses...appearing to be dead...only to reveal he was never Jaqen at all. He was (and is still) no one - and that is what Arya was supposed to be learning. As she removes face after face from the lifeless body on the floor, she finally sees her on face on the body...before her sight is taken from her.

Starting all over with that training...but this time, blind.
Dorne: No End is Sight - Doran, Ellaria and the Sand Snakes join Jaime, Bronn and Myrcella on the dock to bid them a fond farewell and a safe journey back to King's Landing; Myrcella is going home and she gets to take her prince charming along - what a lucky girl! Bronn and his favorite Sand Snake exchange words (ugh...) and Ellaria gives Myrcella an awkwardly long kiss good-bye...which should have set off alarm bells for anyone with half a brain...

A family reunion cut short.
As the boat slowly moves away from Dorne, Jaime attempts to explain to his daughter that she is lucky; she has fallen in love with the man she is betrothed to, but sometimes love doesn't happen that way. He tells her that people cannot choose who they fall in love with - but she stops him and tells him she knows he's actually her Father and she loves him just the same. He pulls her close and holds her; the only of his three children he's ever been able to embrace...but just when things were looking up for Jaime...Myrcella steps back, blood beginning to drip and then pour from her nose. She collapses in Jaime's arms and they both fall to the floor.

The body count ticks ever upward...
On the docks of Dorne, Ellaria's nose also begins to bleed - but as she wipes away the lipstick she is wearing, her daughter hands her a vial and she drains every drop. The vow she swore to Oberyn was a lie and she has single handedly brought about war between the Lannisters and Martells. Probably not the best way to seek revenge...but then again, nothing about the Dorne plot line was the best, was it? And just when I thought we might leave this mess behind...I guess we'll be back in season six...

Meereen: Back Where We Started -  Tyrion has his work cut out for him trying to gain favor with Daenerys' court; Daario and Jorah decide they will set out to find Daenerys and Tyrion must stay behind and govern, alongside Missandei and Grey Worm (what...this makes NO SENSE) because the people of Meereen will listen to Grey Worm. Varys appears on the walls of the Great Pyramid...basically from out of nowhere...and promises Tyrion he'll help him build a whole new network of spies and secrets. Whatever...this whole scene(s) made no sense. Where did Varys even come from???

Two and a Half Men...hehehe
Elsewhere, Drogon may have saved Dany from Daznak's Pit but he has no intention of giving her a ride back to Meereen - he is injured, tired and just wants to take a nap. Dany tries to climb on him and he rolls her off and just as quickly rolls over to take a nap. Dany has no clue where she's at, no way of returning to Meereen and no food. She climbs down from the cliff they've sat down on to search for food and realizes Drogon took her request to go home quite literally - they are in the middle of the Dothraki Sea and in no time, she finds herself surronded by a horde of Dothraki - a khalsaar much like she once ruled alongside Khal Drogo. It remains to be seen if she'll be taken prisoner or be a Khaleesi once more but she slips off her ring and leaves it in the grass - perhaps a bread crumb for Jorah and Daario?
Game of Thrones
Drogon just wants to take a nap...

King's Landing: Walk of Shame - Cersei has finally been broken and confesses to the High Sparrow; she did sleep with her cousin Lancel...because she was afraid and alone. She vehemently denies that her children were fathered by Jaime; she tells the High Sparrow that is a lie spawned by Stannis Baratheon who wants the Iron Throne for himself and saw his brother's children were in his way. The High Sparrow accepts this and tells her for her confession, she may be allowed to return to the Red Keep to await her trail - after she's done her atonement.

Her atonement consists of having her hair hacked off and being paraded through the streets of Kings Landing naked; put forth as a sinner, vulnerable, presenting herself to the people as she was first made. Cersei begins her walk with her head held high, keeping her eyes on the Red Keep - her ultimate destination...but she falters and takes her eyes off her goal. The crowd grows in number and spirit, growing more volatile with her every step - people throw food, hurl insults and waste and spit on her...all the while, the Septa walks behind her ringing a bell and intoning "Shame...Shame...Shame...". As the gates of the Red Keep come into view, Cersei breaks down in tears; she nearly breaks into a run as tears pour down her face, mingling with the waste and blood that splatter her. Lena Headey should win an Emmy for this scene alone - it was amazing.

Game of Thrones
Cersei may be bad...but this scene broke my heart...
The scene in Kings Landing ends on an important note - Qyburn's strange experiment seems to have worked; he introduces Cersei to the newest member of the Kingsguard, Ser Robert Strong. Ser Robert is a hulking mass of a being that can only be The Mountain, saved from death to serve Cersei. Qyburn tells Cersei that Ser Robert has taken a vow of silence; he will not speak until all his majesties enemies have been dealt with. He scoops Cersei up and we see that fire for vengeance burning in her eyes. I'm fairly certain that fire will rage out of control when she finds out about Myrcella...

I'd rather not have these two on my bad side...
The Wall: Say It Ain't So - The scenes at the Wall are interspersed through the episode and begin with Jon and Sam sharing a heart to heart: Sam asks to be sent to Oldtown to study at the Citadel and become a Maester. Jon will need advising in the coming wars and the Citadel has the largest library in the known world. Sam also knows that Gilly and her baby will not ever be safe at the Wall and he cannot be responsible for their deaths. Jon agrees, Sam and Gilly set out and Jon is left with no one at the Wall that he calls friend.
Just having some bro time over mulled wine...like you do....
Later, as Jon is meeting with Ser Davos and vehemently denying his request (on behalf of Stannis) for more men and supplies, Melisandre rides through the gates of Castle Black looking as defeated as a person possibly can. Davos questions her about Shireen but gets only a sullen look. He further presses about Stannis but Melisandre still has no answer but a crestfallen look. Perhaps Melisandre has realized that the man she thought to champion as the Prince that was Promised was not Stannis after all...but someone else?
All your friends are dead - but then, that's normal on this show...
After Sam's departure, Jon sits in quiet contemplation in his office...reading notes that have come to him from around the Seven Kingdoms. Olly, Jon's steward and wee protege runs into the office and announces that Jon's Uncle Benjen has returned! Benjen was First Ranger and went missing way back in season one, so naturally Jon races for the door to go outside and see family once more. Of course, it's all a trap. Olly leads Jon into the midst of Jon's sworn brothers, to stand at the foot of a sign that says "traitor" in an ungainly scrawl. Allister Thorne stabs Jon in the gut, claiming the words "For the Watch" as he does so...and several other sworn brothers follow suit. As Jon sinks to his knees, Olly approaches him, tears streaming down his face and delivers what can only be taken as the death blow - a knife through the heart. Jon sinks into the snow, eyes staring blankly into the sky. His blood flows freely, staining the pristine snow underneath Jon's lifeless frame and the frame fades to black.

Game of Thrones
Should have beheaded this guy when you had the chance...

GOT 5x10 Not Jon Snow
Et tu, Olly?
GOT 5x10 Jon Snow Bleeds
Farewell Jon Snow...

Other Notes from Westeros (and Essos)
As season 5 draws to a close, we saw no sign of any of the Tyrells - it's safe to assume Margaery and Loras are still in their cells and will be there until some point in season 6. King Tommen is hanging out in his room with Ser Pounce... Lady Olenna and Petyr Baelish were also absent; Bran has been absent the whole season...but we'll see him again next year.

The body count this episode was pretty high...let's take a look at the tally...
Stannis (maybe? Didn't see the death blow, so I'm not buying it...)
Hundreds of Baratheon & Bolton soldiers
Meryn Trant (gross - that whole scene was gross)
Jon Snow (nope - not buying this one...not even for a minute)

I don't buy that Jon is dead - there are numerous theories that support this; I won't go into detail here but I will share this link to an article that outlines my thoughts on all of it pretty concisely. Read that .

So - I guess that's all for the recaps of season 5 - it's been interesting to say the least. Until we meet again next season, I leave you with my thoughts on how this all played out...

Basically anyone who has ever read the books...or watched the show....

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