DO. YOU. DIE. Are you dead? Most likely yes, if you are a character on “Game of Thrones,” or if you had a coronary after this week’s season five finale, “Mother’s Mercy,” directed by David Nutter. I died. I rose again, to write this recap. I am Throne Games.
The snow is melting at Camp Stannis, which Melisandre (Carice Van Houten) thinks is a very good sign. However, there’s a lot of other shit that’s not going awesome for Stannis (Stephen Dillane). 1. All the sellswords and horses are gone, and 2. his wife is hanging from a tree. THANKS A LOT LORD OF LIGHT. It appears that child bonfire was all for nothing. All Melisandre can do is grimace in disappointment before she promptly makes a break for it on a horse. Real nice lady, make a guy burn his daughter and then peace out. Stannis, because he is nothing if hardheaded, decides to march to Winterfell with no horses, just a bunch of tired, hungry dudes.
Podrick (Daniel Porter) spots the Stannis army and lets Brienne (Gwendoline Christie) know (also, those two are still on this show!). Though Brienne has been keeping careful watch on that dang window, she turns away to get Stannis the minute that Sansa lights the candle. This candle window plan was not good.
Stannis is still making battle plans for a siege, which is futile since they get RODE UP ON by hella Boltons. Prepare for the slaughter, gents. They don’t even bother showing the battle, thankfully. All we see is the aftermath: Stannis and one of his men, wounded and nearing death. Stannis manages to fight off two, showing a bit of that old Baratheon battle skill, but he’s gravely wounded and exhausted when Brienne shows up, ready to avenge Renly. She reads Stannis his rights, and he’s like “uh, yup, do it,” but then they cut away from her sword slashing down on him, which proves to be a theme in this episode—cutting away from the finish, so we have no idea what happens. #cliffhanger
Ramsay (Iwan Rheon) kills a guy. No surprise there.
Inside Winterfell, Sansa (Sophie Turner) uses the corkscrew she lifted to jimmy the lock on her door and escape, but for a dumb reason, she puts the thing down. She’s going to need that for shivving someone, no doubt. She’s wandering around the chaos of the fort after lighting the candle when she comes upon Myranda (Charlotte Hope), who pulls a bow and arrow on her and says a lot of creepy stuff about damaging parts of her body that Ramsay won’t need for heir producing. Theon/Reek (Alfie Allen) finally does something useful and tosses off Myranda off the wall to her death when she tries to attack Sansa. So, great, Theon did something useful, but just having Ramsay’s proxy die, and not Ramsay himself is profoundly unsatisfying and not worth what they put Sansa through this season. Why can’t the dude himself get got? Theon and Sansa jump off the fort together. Let’s hope they landed in a pile of fresh powder and this wasn’t a suicide pact.
Meryn Trant (Ian Beattie) is indulging in his gross girl-whipping fantasies in a Braavosi brothel, because, #SEXUALVIOLENCE. But there’s one of those tweens that just won’t scream the way he likes. It’s clearly Arya (Maisie Williams) playing the game of faces, and she quickly reveals herself, leaping on Trant and gouging his eyes out and stabbing him all over. She leaves him bloodied, incapacitated, but alive, so she can tell him who she is and why she’s killing him—to avenge her sword master Syrio Forel, whom he killed—thanks for that, “previously on”!
When she returns the face to the basement (and we’re pretty sure that’s the face of the girl she low key killed with poison water), she’s confronted by Jaqen (Tom Wlaschiha) and the Mean Girl, saying that she has taken “the wrong life” and that she’s not ready. Jaqen declares that a life has to be paid back for the one she took and pulls out poison. Just when we think Arya’s going to die, he drinks it himself. While she’s freaking out over his dead body, he shape shifts into the Mean Girl, and Arya starts ripping the faces off of the corpse, revealing endless faces, until she sees her own. WHAT?! Jaqen declares that she is “still someone,” not no one, and then Arya goes blind. Wut. WTF. IDK.
Mycella (Nell Tiger Free) and the Lannister crew are taking off for King’s Landing, but not without one too long, Sapphic kiss from Ellaria (Indira Varma) to Myrcella, and an ear nibble and mention of “bad pussy” from a Sand Snake to Bronn (Jerome Flynn). Thanks for that Dornish hospitality! Jaime (Nikolaj Coster-Waldau) and Myrcella have a lovely conversation below deck on the ship, where she admits that she knows he’s her UncleDaddy and she’s super happy about it. They hug and it’s great and okay, which one of them is going to die now? Well, it’s Myrcella, a victim of Ellaria’s poison lipstick. Sorry bout it, Myrcella. We’re now at four fairly major characters dead in this episode, so you know Benioff and Weiss are not here to play.
Sitting around the pyramid, licking their wounds post-Harpy/Drogon debacle, Tyrion (Peter Dinklage) astutely guesses that both Daario (Michiel Huisman) and Jorah (Iain Glen) are in love with Daenerys, and lets them know that they’re terrible matches for a queen, like they didn’t know that already. Grey Worm (Jacob Anderson) finally shows his face, lot of help he was Mr. Unsullied general, thanks for showing up, bro.
While they’re setting out to find Dany, they argue if Tyrion can go with. He admits that he’s “middling” on a horse, doesn’t claim to be a great warrior, hasn’t tracked animals, but he can talk and drink and dammit he will do that. Daario, smartly, is all “ever want to be the Mayor of Meereen?” And before Tyrion knows it, he’s in charge of a foreign city, with Missandei (Nathalie Emmanuel) and Grey Worm assisting. And just because he needs the help and he’s awesome, Varys (!!!, Conleth Hall) finally finds Tyrion to offer advice like only he can. He knows a thing or two about cities choking on corruption and deceit. F YES Varys and Tyrion 4 Eva.
So Drogon brought Dany (Emilia Clarke) to like, Ireland or something? I have no idea how they got to whatever green, cliffed place they are in, when Meereen is clearly the desert. But Drogon just flew in and boy are his wings tired (so sorry). Instead of flying Dany back, he takes a quick lie down. Hungry, she goes for a walkabout, and instantly, comes upon a hostile, horsebound tribe who appear to be Dothraki. Why are the Dothraki in Ireland?? Dany drops a ring on the ground, maybe because she doesn’t want to get robbed, or maybe because she wants to leave a clue, or maybe because who knows, there’s a bunch of crazy horsemen circling around her, now’s not the time to wonder about rings.
Cersei (Lena Headey) is super over being in prison and confesses her sin to the High Sparrow (Jonathan Pryce). Yup, sin singular, she cops to doing it with Lancel but not Jaime, even though the High Sparrow totally doesn’t buy it. So all will be cool until she does her atonement, which involves getting a punky haircut and then being marched nude through the streets, while being spit on and having weird brown muck thrown at her. There’s also a nun ringing a bell, repeating “shame” over and over. Worst street fair ever. Much, much respect to Lena Headey here, a tremendous performer, always, on this show.
When she’s finished with her walk of shame, she’s let back into the castle and wrapped instantly in a cloak by Maester Qyburn (Anton Lesser) who has a present for her. It’s the Frankenknight, Zombie Mountain, although something about him seems like he needed a bit more time in the oven. Still, Qyburn declares that FrankenMountain will not speak until all of her enemies are dead, and he scoops her up.
Jon Snow (Kit Harington) gives the White Walker rundown to his BFF Sam (John Bradley), and the two figure out the thing about the powers of Valyrian steel and dragons and White Walkers. Jon’s feeling pretty down on himself, and Sam doesn’t make matters better by asking to go to Old Town to become a Maester. He makes the excellent point that he, Gilly and the baby’s life expectancy isn’t super great at the Wall. Also White Walkers suck. And there’s lots of sex to be had now that he’s had it. Welp, off they go.
Davos (Liam Cunningham) is also at Castle Black making the case for Stannis support to Jon—they really need faster ravens or email or texting up there. Melisandre shows up, sniffing out that king’s blood. She can only glower and snarl when Jon and Davos ask after Stannis and Shireen. Jon finally gets to reading his ravens when Olly calls him down for news of his long lost uncle Benjen (thanks again, “previously on” for reminding us that uncle Benjen even was a character). It’s a ruse, and the Night’s Watch Brutus Jon to ribbons, each one stabbing him, saying the words, “for the watch.” EVEN OLLY. THIS. GODDAMN. SHOW.
However, I guess it’s a good thing that there’s a Lord of Light priestess in the house? They get into a lot of reanimating, a la Thoros of Myr/Beric Dondarrion. Or if he gets tossed into the forest, maybe he can be the new White Walker king. There really are so many opportunities for Jon now, and they don’t involve the Wall, because I guess this death thing ends his vows. And now is watch is ended. We’ll have to wait a year to find out!
Leave your thoughts and theories below! Are all the Starks dead now? Are we all dead now? Are we watching next season?