“Game of Thrones”, Where We Stand & What’s to Come from the Season 5 Finale

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Game of Thrones season 5 finale
Photo: HBO

Is everyone still done with “Game of Thrones“? had the Internet up in arms are two of the best episodes of this show I’ve seen in some time.

Now I don’t remember each and every episode the way many of you do. I don’t remember the names of each episodes and I’ll admit there are even characters I recognize more for what they represent rather than who they even are. However, in last week’s appropriately titled episode “Hardhome” we’ve seen developments involving key characters with awesome narrative weight to them.

Cersei (Lena Headey) is chilling in a cell, sipping water from puddles. Sansa (Sophie Turner) is still under the thumb of Ramsay (Iwan Rheon) and yet still tosses out a little sass and we can feel her fighting for every inch. Seeing her nose-to-nose with Theon (Alfie Allen) was an awesome sight and a gut-wrenching scene. Let’s not forget, Theon isn’t exactly a great guy, he may be nothing when compared to the evil that is Ramsay, but I’m not about to cheer for him. Oh, and you just know Brienne (Gwendoline Christie) is just waiting in the wings to do some serious damage.

Meanwhile, the coming together of Tyrion (Peter Dinklage) and Daenerys (Emilia Clarke) brings together the series’ best character with a character whose storyline had gotten incredibly stale. However, now Dany couldn’t be much more interesting. We see the scheming, plotting, vindictive Dany of old and with Tyrion there to push things in a different direction every now and again is all the more fascinating.

I couldn’t care less about what’s going on with Jaime (Nikolaj Coster-Waldau) and Bronn (Jerome Flynn) right now. Littlefinger (Aidan Gillen) is doing his thing and we’ll wait, Arya (Maisie Williams) is a waiting game as well and man, Sam (John Bradley) and Gilly (Hannah Murray) could be written out of the show for all I care, though the Wall is bringing some interesting developments.

First Stannis (Stephen Dillane) is on his way to Winterfell but will he ever get there? Winter is coming, yes, but hell, after last night’s episode it’s damn near time to say it’s here. How awesome was that final battle, particularly with how they left it?

I love the idea of the coming together of the Wildlings and the Night’s Watch. It’s a political movement between what may be the two least political factions on the show and yet, there really isn’t much of a coming together as the White Walkers and their scourge of the undead lay waste to Hardhome and, to be honest, I’m not sure how Jon (Kit Harington), Tormund (Kristofer Hivju) and a select few managed to survive. That said, how awesome was it to see Jon’s sword — named Longclaw and made of Valyrian steel — cut through that unsuspecting fella after it didn’t shatter into a million pieces? We typically know heroes on most shows aren’t going to die and while “Game of Thrones” does have a knack for killing people off, Jon’s survival here was expected, but it also brought us a new piece of information. That, my friends, is storytelling.

Oh, and that battle? How does a show go from having that awful fight scene in Dorn to this epic battle, worthy of any feature film? Either way, this was one to remember.

As for this new information regarding Valyrian steel, it tells us a couple things, if only based on what we know of Valyrian steel and with whom the rare metal currently resides as the Valyrians are no more. We know Ned Stark’s sword, Ice, was melted down into two smaller swords, Brienne (the soon-to-become guardian of Winterfell?) has one, Oathkeeper, and Joffrey was given then other, which has now been passed down to Tommen (Dean-Charles Chapman). The House of Tarly has another, which definitely speaks to the season six speculation and arrival of Randyll Tarly, father of Samwell Tarly. The House Corbray, whose only introduction has been that of Vance Corbray (Richard Doubleday) sitting on the tribunal investigating the death of Lysa Arryn, has Lady Forlorn. And finally, Littlefinger’s dagger, which was used in an attempt to assassinate Bran in the first season, where is it now?

The value of this steel is now much greater, what kind of role will those that sheath it have in the episodes to come?

Finally, a shout out to Diana Rigg as Olenna Tyrell. The writers, and I have to assume the audience at this point, love her as she gets a lot of quality things to say.

As for the writing, there were a lot of people down on the show a couple weeks ago, upset at what they called “lazy writing” based on one scene. This, to me is the problem with being so goddamned reactionary. Becoming incensed with a television show that not only has four hours of programming left in the current season, but at least two more seasons and twenty more hours of story to tell. Just calm the fuck down! Behaving like a child that has just had his/her pacifier ripped from your lips isn’t going to make things better.

Now, if the show continued to frustrate you, ever satisfying you in terms of storyline, continuing to take the easy road, then maybe you’d have a case. But look at the list of names I rattled off above. One different move with one of those characters causes a ripple effect throughout the entire series. Sometimes the easier decision has to be made for the sake of the rest of the show.

As for what you can expect from the final two episodes of this fifth season, here are the plotlines for each, but if you’re attempting to avoid spoilers you my not want to read them. Both episodes were written by David Benioff and D.B. Weiss and directed by David Nutter who last directed the final two episodes of season three, “The Rains of Castamere” and “Mhysa”.

“The Dance of Dragons” (SUNDAY, JUNE 7)

Stannis (Stephen Dillane) confronts a troubling decision. Jon (Kit Harington) returns to The Wall. Mace (Roger Ashton-Griffiths) visits the Iron Bank. Arya (Maisie Williams) encounters someone from her past. Dany (Emilia Clarke) reluctantly oversees a traditional celebration of athleticism.

“Mother’s Mercy” (SUNDAY, JUNE 14)

Stannis marches. Dany is surrounded by strangers. Cersei (Lena Headey) seeks forgiveness. Jon is challenged.

I’m sure those that have read the books will have plenty of theories as to what’s to come, though it seems we’re getting quite close to a point in this show where everyone is in the dark and perhaps by the midway point of season six we will all be waiting for the next episode with little to no idea what’s to happen next. Personally I am incredibly curious as to what kind of cliffhanger this fifth season is going to leave us with as the final moments of “Hardhome” has clearly proven all the politicking going on elsewhere in Westeros may all be for naught.