Well, here we are again. It’s the Game of Thrones finale, and the knowledge that it’s 42 weeks until we once again return to Westeros. Sigh, is it really here already?
It’s been a funny old season. We’ve had shocks, blood, gore and dragons aplenty. We’ve had nudity, murder, rape, a little girl burned at the stake, and ice zombies. How many other shows can boast that? People have loved it, hated it, been enthralled by it. Others have abandoned it altogether.
Unfortunately, for many, this has been the weakest season so far. It’s like something didn’t feel quite right this year, and I’m struggling to put my finger on it. As it draws to a close, and we get an episode that basically sets up the next series, let’s take one last look before the long wait for its return, and deliver one last shaming. Because this episode had plenty. And I mean plenty.
Shame on you (i)
In an event that’ll light up the internet faster than the news that Homer and Marge are splitting up, or the pictures of Prince George playing with his mum – seriously, that was a front page story – Jon Snow (Kit Harington) has met his end. And at the hands of his own Brothers. I knew this was coming, as the show has pretty much caught up with the books now, but damn if it isn’t a disappointing death. In fact, I fucking hated it. I hated it in the books, and I hate it in the show. And it’s not because I don’t want to see one of my favourite characters die, it’s simply because I’m now wondering why I should give a shit anymore?
I mean, really? Who is left at the wall to care about now? When the Red Wedding happened, it was shocking, but I enjoyed it because it made you question what the fricking heck would happen next. I feel like that again now, but for all the wrong reasons.
I like Davos (Liam Cunningham), but he has no place there, and Melisandre (Carice van Houten) can be impaled on a White Walker’s sword for all I care. The story of the north’s impending doom was Jon’s story, through and through, from day one. So to off him, just when this whole White Walker malarkey was getting interesting… I’ve got nothing.
The Night’s Watch are bloody idiots, and frankly they all deserve to be turned into zombies. Saying that, on the whole, Jon wasn’t a great Lord Commander. Why in the name of the Old Gods and New didn’t he sit them all down and explain to them what happened at Hardhome? Stand up, pop in a copy of Dawn of the Dead and basically say: “Yep, that’s coming for us. We need all the help we can get. So don’t get a 12-year-old to stab me, okay?” But nope. He came back with all the Wildlings, didn’t explain himself, and played right into Alliser Thorne’s (Owen Teale) hands. It turns out Jon Snow really did know nothing.
The wall storyline was probably among the best this year, but that’s not saying much. To end a disappointing season with the shot of a dead Jon just left me with a bad taste in my mouth. I honestly have no idea what’s going to happen up there now, and I’m struggling to even care.
Shame on you (ii)
Staying in the north, my oh my was it good to see Stannis (Stephen Dillane) defeated so harshly. He listened to a religious fanatic and burned his daughter alive, in what remains one of the most horrible scenes in the show’s history. The consequence? Well, it seems even in Westeros most men aren’t keen on the idea of infanticide, so half his army deserts him. With nothing else to do, Stannis marches into an unwinnable battle, and loses. Massively. Good fricking riddance.
As if it couldn’t get any sweeter, it’s not even Ramsay (Iwan Rheon) who gets to finish him off, but Brienne (Gwendoline Christie), who still has serious beef with him for Renley’s (Gethin Anthony) murder. Yes, let’s not bother to wonder how she stayed out of sight during a massive battle, before happening across Stannis at the end of it. Plot convenience, or just lazy writing, saw to that. Let us instead appreciate how Brienne, one of the few purely good people left on the show, gets her revenge, and slaughters the child murderer in cold blood.
Or did she? We never actually saw it, so perhaps this isn’t the end for Stannis. Maybe he’ll become Ramsay’s new Reek after all. He does need a new one.
Shame on you (iii)
I’m trying not to think about how massively the Dorne subplot has been messed up this year, because it actually annoys me. Prince Doran (Alexander Siddig) really could have been the new star this season, like his brother was last year. Instead, he had four scenes all series, and basically did nothing when they had the time and the opportunity to develop him fully. I kept on hoping that each episode would make him more interesting, but no such luck. Will they revisit Dorne next year? Will anyone care?
Well, it looks like the show isn’t quite done with killing children, because now poor Myrcella (Nell Tiger Free) has bitten the dust. What is it with people poisoning Lannister children? I suppose it’s better than getting her skull crushed by the Mountain.
But seriously, show. Shame on you for taking what could have been an interesting and gripping new storyline for the show and completely botching it. This is where season five has been a serious letdown. I hope to God they do better with a certain, urm, smelly character’s legendary uncles next year.
Shame on you (iv)
I’ll give the show this: I actually liked Daario (Michiel Huisman) in this episode. He showed initiative in an impossible situation, putting both Tyrion (Peter Dinklage) and Jorah (Iain Glen) in their places. He’s never shown a smidgeon of this kind of intelligence before, and he really shouldn’t be anywhere near a match for Tyrion. This was simply setting up season six, and it looks good.
There I was thinking how dull it was going to be watching Tyrion with only Grey Worm (Jacob Anderson) and Missandei (Nathalie Emmanuel) for company next year, and then Varys (Conleth Hill) turned up at the end. Thank God for Varys. Tyrion now has an intellectual equal, a man he trusts, to help him sort out a city on the brink of civil war. Count me in.
Aside from his brilliant sceneswith Daenerys (Emilia Clarke), Tyrion hasn’t been utilised half as well this year. It took far too long for him to get to Meereen; so long that I was getting bored, and any character played by Peter Dinklage should not be boring – unless they’re under-developed in an otherwise brilliant X Men movie. Can we please have more of him next year?
As for Dany, well, it seems she’s done an Eragon and flown away to some distant field. Except, unlike Eragon, she hasn’t got a clue how to get the dragon to take her back. No matter, she’s about to bump into some old friends – the Dothraki. Oh Jesus, really? How sodding long are we going to spend on this next year, then? I thought we were done with the Dothraki, but nope.
Basically, we’re going to spend at least half of season six with Jorah and Daario chasing Dany through the fields, when all we really want to see is her getting the hell back to Westeros. For fuck’s sake, show. Get the hell on with it!
Shame on you (v)
Cersei’s (Lena Headey) walk of shame must not have been easy to film, and fair play to Headey for doing that. Hands up who actually felt a tiny bit sorry for Cersei here? Anyone? Maybe I’m just a cold-hearted bastard, but I didn’t feel even a tiny bit of pity. This was a mess entirely of her own making, and now she’s reaping the rewards – having to walk through a city of people who hate her, completely in the nude. Cold.
Just when you thought things couldn’t get any creepier, it seems Qyburn’s (Anton Lesser) little project was to resurrect the Mountain, now a mute, faceless giant. Eeessh. Saying that, now Cersei is out of there, the obvious thing to do is storm the Sept and burn the lot of them out of there. Hunt down the High Sparrow (Jonathan Pryce) and hang him for all to see. Hell, enlist the help of the Tyrells if you have to. Cersei really doesn’t need to face a trial. Unless, of course, her Uncle Kevan (Ian Gelder) wants it to happen.
What a messy season. What it did right, it did superbly, but unfortunately this came too late. Tyrion spent far too much time in a sodding boat, the Dorne plot was a complete waste of time, and they killed off Jon Snow!
It felt, to me, as though this was the first season in which nothing really important happened, when everything important should be happening. This is supposed to be a seven-season show, so the fifth series should have been in full acceleration mode towards the grand finale. And it wasn’t. It was overly long, needlessly slow, and actually quite dull to watch at times.
That concludes another Game of Thrones, and another shaming. Thanks for reading! It’s been enjoyable, despite this season’s many faults. Let’s hope they do better next year.