Welcome to the end of an era, and the start of something likely less stable.
Review (with Spoilers)
After so many beloved characters dying this season, it makes even the series changing one which comes in the finale something which you hunch your shoulders at. But, with us getting in touch with most of the major forces of the show, you can see that one death means a dramatic shift in what is to come. Otherwise, most of the episode seems like any other, which is making me think that television shows are foregoing cliffhangers and big time season finales. Which I’m not sure if that is a good thing or bad thing.
Topic 1: It Is Over Just Before It Begun – Jon Snow, Stannis, and Daenerys
Just as you think Jon Snow is to be the hero who kept Mance Rayder and those of the north from crossing the wall, in comes Stannis Baratheon. With Melisandre’s prediction coming true, Stannis finds himself becoming the savior of the north as his men march through Mance’s camp and massacre quite a bit of Mance’s allies. Even with this defeat though, Mance refuses to kneel. After all, you don’t becoming King of the North, the one who united of all those varying factions, without staring death in the face a few times. But, luckily for Mance, Jon Snow announces his relation to Ned Stark and Stannis seeks his council on what to do with Mance. And since Mance truly seems to be a man who simply wants to lead his followers past the walls and into safety, and treated Jon rather kindly, he asks Mance to be spared, something Stannis seems willing to do for now. Also, such a gift is given to Tormund as well.
As for Daenerys, she learns a revolution can’t be done in one false swoop. For while freeing the slaves has made the younger generation grateful, it has left the old vulnerable. For while she seems to have created some sort of safety net for the newly free, the youth run control and exploit these safe havens. Showing that while she maybe queen, governing is certainly not one of her talents. Still, her sole issue isn’t just trying to figure out how to handle these new slaves lack of employment, which is given the band aid of letting former slaves make yearlong contracts, but there is also the issue of her dragons. As we have seen, the mother of dragons has no control over her babies. They are wild and untamed, visibly independent of her will, and now not only killing livestock, but also people. And with Daenerys being shows the corpse of a three year old girl killed by her dragons, she decides it is better to seal them than let them be free. But, she only finds two of her dragons, with perhaps the most fearsome left to menace her kingdom.
Topic 2: All is Revealed – Bron & Cersei
Bron has finally reached the place of his dreams, but like with all dreams which come to reality for characters on this show, a sacrifice is required. For Bron, this means losing Jojen to these odd skeletal creatures. But, in return for his sacrifice he meets what are known as “The Children,” which are nymph like creatures that look inspired by Jim Henson’s work in the 1980s. Most importantly however, he meets their leader who seems to have grand plans for Bron. Which, sadly, aren’t detailed past him perhaps getting wings.
Leading us to speak on Cersei. Once again, Cersei begs her father Tywin to not force her into marrying Loras. But, as always, the patriarchal structure of the Game of Thrones world makes her attempts to assert herself seem to be in vain. So, in order to fight back, she decides to threaten Tommen’s life, as well as her own, in order to keep herself from having to marry Loras. Though perhaps she presents no bigger threat to Tywin than revealing her relations with Jamie. Yes, you heard it, she admits to incest and this leaves Tywin utterly speechless. Though considering how blonde Robert’s would-be kids are, he has to have known, never mind the rumors. Either way, with this confession Cersei decides to cast her cares to the wind and openly have sex with Jamie and have their relationship be almost public.
Topic 3: In Memoriam – Arya & Tyrion
After Arya just missing Sansa, she finds herself found by Brienne. Something which is a bit unsettling for Brienne’s look screams Lannister lackey. So, being that The Hound is protective of Arya, he faces off with Brienne who goes Xenon Warrior Princess on him and wins. However, during this fight she loses sight of Arya, who is in hiding. Then, when Arya comes out to see The Hound, who clearly is going to die after the beating he took, he asks for mercy. But Arya doesn’t grant this to him, she even doesn’t kill him when The Hound mentions how he should have raped Sansa when he had the chance. All Arya does is steal his coins and then buys her way onto a ship bound for Braavos.
Leaving us with Tyrion. The night before his execution Jamie frees him, but rather than run as quickly as his legs could allow, he lingers. What he finds first is Shae, seemingly in his father’s bed, and they fight and when you think they may make up and make love, what happens is he strangles her to death. Then he grabs a crossbow and confronts Tywin. There is banter back and forth, nothing too friendly, and when Tyrion gets sick of his father underestimating and insulting him, two arrows are shot into Tywin and he dies. Leading Tyrion to strangely go to Lord Varys to hide him, which he does, and the season ends with Tyrion off to hide in exile as the bell tolls to announce the death of Tywin.
Things To Note
- I found it interesting despite the almost Stockholm syndrome Arya seemed to be developing for The Hound things ended as they did.
- Considering Mance has allies which are giants, among other mythical creatures, I wonder if his followers/ allies may attempt to rescue him from Stannis, or will they continue to the wall without him?
- I am also wondering, with Tywin dead can Cersei perhaps become hand to the king? Or is that something exclusively a man can be? Perhaps showing I really need to read the books…