I feel like my favourite show is finally back. And it’s epic. This episode represented everything that makes Game of Thrones such a unique and brilliant drama – when it’s not at the centre of controversy over who’s been killed or raped. It took them eight weeks, but finally, season five delivers something superb. This isn’t just the pick of the season, it’s one of the top episodes in the show’s history.
And there was me thinking the lack of Dorne action this week would disappoint, making me once again wonder if Prince Doran (Alexander Siddig) should just be cut from the show altogether. Although it did feel like I’d popped World War Z on at one stage. Seeing the White Walkers and the army of the dead in action was just… awesome. God knows how they are going to top that in episode nine, usually the most memorable in past series. For the first time this year, my faith is truly restored.
Sorry, I forgot I was supposed to make this funny. So, where was I?
Shame on you (i)
Ah, Cersei (Lena Headey). Look what happens when you take crazy, religious folk and give them weapons. You end up friendless and in a cell even Nelson Mandela would balk at. Not even her best mate Qyburn (Anton Lesser) can help. Maybe Jaime (Nikolaj Coster-Waldau) could get the blueprints for the Sept tattooed on himself and break her out. If he wasn’t wasting his time in Dorne.
But seriously, pissing off the nun who’s feeding you by saying how horribly you’re going to kill her – probably not the smartest move. Tywin (Charles Dance) once told Cersei that she was nowhere near as smart as she thought she was, and now, finally, she’s realising this. Damned if it’s not satisfying to see at least one character get some punishment for their actions on this show, which, of course, leads me to…
Shame on you (ii)
I imagine a huge amount of fans want to see Ramsay Bolton (Iwan Rheon) suffer the worst kind of punishment imaginable after the events of episode six. Maybe he could be skinned alive by Sansa (Sophie Turner), castrated by Theon (Alfie Allen), or forced to hang out with Ian McKellen and Derek Jacobi over on ITV, desperately trying to make a bad comedy funny. Alas, he’s still doing fine up in old Winterfell, desperate to march out into the snow and take on Stannis Baratheon (Stephan Dillane).
Except that snow’s rather deep. Like schools-closed-and-no-sodding-buses-running deep. So, wisely, Roose (Michael McElhatton) cautions him to stay behind the walls and let Stannis and co freeze to death. They’re perfectly stoked up and ready for a prolonged siege. Marching an army out there would tip things in Stannis’ favour – he is, after all, considered the best military mind in Westeros by Littlefinger (Aidan Gillen), and you don’t get far by disagreeing with him. So Ramsay offers to take a small group to ambush Stannis instead.
Here’s the deal, show. People are actually starting to root for Stannis now, mainly because, at the moment, he’s the only dude that stands a chance of defeating the Boltons – I’m still hoping Daenerys (Emilia Clarke) will turn up to sort this shit out eventually. So to have Ramsay, whose picture is probably on a few dartboards at the moment, kill him will leave a very bitter taste in many people’s mouths. So, for the love of the Old Gods and the New, don’t.
Shame on you (iii)
Arya’s (Maisie Williams) storyline finally got interesting this week, but it’s still a bit of a distraction from the main stuff. All we saw was her marking the guy she’s going to kill, so I guess we’ll have to wait a while to see her actually do it – a common trend this year, it seems. The Waif (Faye Marsay) seems to think Arya’s not ready for whatever she’s about to do. I say… shut the hell up. She’s ready, damn it! We’ve spent all season in this sodding place with her.
Argh. Oh well. Maybe she’ll be the one to finally kill Ramsay? Her kill list is getting smaller. It needs more names.
Shame on you (iv)
So, Tyrion (Peter Dinklage) is back to his absolute best. And, what’s more, he has a competent ruler to advise for a change, one that actually seems to listen to him and utilise his talents. I was getting a bit worried about our khaleesi there, for a second, but she and Tyrion will bring out the best in each other. Despite her intelligence and bravery, she’s still very naive when it comes to Westeros – something Tyrion will need to stamp out.
I did find it interesting that Tyrion failed to mention the one house that might actually help her – the Martells. Could it be that he doesn’t actually want to go back there? Does Meereen seem like a much nicer place for his twilight years?
And, if we’re being thorough, Dany could have more help than she realises. The Greyjoys will only help themselves – and anyway, they’ve disappeared faster than an amputated limb this year – but there’s also the Arryns, who’ll back the strongest party, what’s left of the Tullys, who’ll want severe vengeance, and anybody left in the North who doesn’t support Stannis or the Boltons. Hell, maybe even the Wildlings will fight for her? The Freys, however, can burn in dragon fire. Or get turned into ice zombies. Either or, really.
This shame, however, goes to her poor treatment, again, of Jorah Mormont (Iain Glen). She was all but ready to kill him until Tyrion stepped in. He was right to tell her to send Jorah away, but still… poor guy! I think his days are very much numbered, which is disappointing. Just as he and Tyrion were getting on so well.
Anyway, all the shames in this episode were made up for by that battle at the end. The Night King is coming, and he now has thousands more to add to his army. Dany, get back from Meereen. Stannis, get those Boltons sorted out. Jaime, get out of Dorne. And Jon (Kit Harington), start knowing something. Because shit’s about to go down. In a season or two.
Join us next week for the infamous episode nine. It has a tough act to follow, and I’ll be ready to shame it to high heaven if it doesn’t deliver. We shall see.