Game of Thrones: Season 5/ Episode 9 “The Dance of Dragons” – Recap/ Review (with Spoilers)

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Introduction

When it comes to being saved, often the first ones spoken on are the women and the children. In the world of Game of Thrones however, they usually are last. And while we have seen many a woman suffer rape and other moments in which their autonomy and dignity have been destroyed, it seems to be the children’s turn. Well, with a few exceptions.

Trigger Warning(s): Pedophilia

Review (with Spoilers) – Below

Characters & Story

Jon Snow makes it back to the wall and while it seems the former lord commander may betray him as he sees a massive amount of wildlings at the wall, instead the deal Jon Snow made is fulfilled and we watch the free folk go through the yard and toward the lands they once would raid.

As for Arya, she postpones killing the man Jaqen has sent her to kill for one of the Lannister’s top knights has come, to escort Lord Tyrell, and it seems she wants to save the poison for him. Something which surely the man faced God may not have too many qualms about for we learn the knight, whose name escapes me, is a pedophile and seemingly will be taking one girl after another as long as he is Braavos.

But while that one child may suffer, and another mentioned in the next section, it seems in Dorne no child will come to harm. For one, Myrcella is safe and sound, and Doran seemingly has no ill will over his brother’s death. In fact, he praises King Tommen to Jaime’s face to show that Dorne is still loyal to the king. Perhaps not because he means it, but because he simply doesn’t wish for war. Something which, as you would expect, Ellaria isn’t happy about since the man that she has loved has died and there is no vengeance for her. However, while Jaime is given a pass, the question becomes: what is to happen to Bronn? Well, it seems with a hit to the face, Trystane is cool with him being free. Though, in the grand scheme of things, don’t see Doran and Trystane being merciful as them being weak. After all, what Game of Thrones is primarily about is politics, and while often violence is how we see political matters resolved, there are those who still use diplomacy. Hence why Doran reminds Jaime about the importance of Trystane and Myrcella still being married, and placing Trystane on the small council. Both things which Jaime agrees are important and, by his mouth, agrees to. Though, naturally, being that Ellaria is now not only grieving, but embarrassed, she makes sure to remind Jaime that while she lives in Dorne, once tasting freedom in her love and happiness, Jaime remains in the closet when it comes to loving his own sister. An issue seemingly not a big deal in Dorne, but will be in King’s Landing. With this, she gets some sort of pleasure, though not enough to make it seem she will keep the Sand Snakes at bay [1].

Moving on, as Stannis deals with Ramsay doing a quick attack on his camp, showing how vulnerable he is, it seems Stannis is starting to fear his name will be tarnished by one embarrassment after another. So, to try to prevent an outright defeat, he sends Ser Davos to the wall to get more men for his fight. Thing is, being that Davos knows Melisandre isn’t to be trusted, nor Stannis’ ambitions, he tries to convince Stannis to let him take Shireen with him. Unfortunately though, Stannis rejects this idea for he is to sacrifice his daughter. Thus leading to one of the few moments I can recall in the series where I found myself weeping over a character. For while many a man and woman have been mutilated, killed, or brutalized, Shireen was one of the few children we have gotten to know and fall for. So, listening to her screams, and knowing she is dying the horrible death of being incinerated, it perhaps was the first time this show, which makes you so accustomed to death, reminded you that no one will ever be spared.

Thus leaving Daenerys. Now, her storyline focuses on the reopening of the fighting pits and it is a grand event. The former slaves are roaring among the masters, and the fighters kill each other one after another. However, with Jorah winning against a local champion leads to the Sons of Harpy deciding to strike and Jorah, just barely, saving Daenerys from an assassination attempt. Unfortunately for Hizdahr though, it seems while Daenerys escapes assassination, he doesn’t. I should note though, Daenerys doesn’t simply escape thanks to Tyrion, who kills someone to protect Missandei; Ser Jorah; and Daario; but by dragon. But to really top things off, the dragon doesn’t simply show up, breathe fire, and leave, but Daenerys leaves on the dragon’s back and shows how Targareyns used to ride their beasts.

Commentary

Though it is still horrible, and maybe a topic of many articles, a twisted part of me liked the idea that no one truly is safe in any part of the Game of Thrones world. For, as mentioned, women have been given the brute of the punishment since the show began. However, with two children, young ladies mind you, being the latest to suffer at the hands of the world they live in, it does lead me to question what is the lowest point the show can go?

For, don’t get me wrong, I enjoy the show not backing down from its critics, but at the same time I do wonder if we may get more woman like Brienne of Tarth to replace the women who couldn’t defend themselves, or lost in the pursuit of such. After all, the Sand Snakes remain a huge bust, and while Arya and Sansa could possibly represent some form of strength, be it through intellect, strength, or what have you, there comes a point where you wonder why in a fantasy world must the only thing which makes Essos and Westeros fantasy is dragons and magic?

My mixed feelings about the show’s brutality aside, I do wonder that with Daenerys finally seeming to tame what maybe her most ferocious dragon, does that mean she may release the other two? For while Dragon still seems wild and free, at the very least it seems still connected with her, in a mother and child way, and certainly doesn’t seem to want its mother to be hurt – even at the cost of its own life. Alongside that question though comes the idea if Meereen can ever really be taken? For, as of now, it seems Daenery’s forces continue to dwindle and, even with a dragon, she is outnumbered to the point she either needs to recruit or abandon the city. Since with the Sons of Harpy seemingly growing in number after each encounter, it is hard to believe she will last long there.

As for the rest of the storylines, honestly I’m so disappointed in Dorne that, even with being a fan of Keisha Castle-Hughes, I feel no reason to invest in what is going on there. And while the youngest Sand Snake caught my attention, and the girls continue to try to recover, with the season near its end I do feel it may be too little too late. Same thing goes for Arya too to a point. Her pursuit to become an assassin has yet to give a payoff and I don’t think it will this season.

However, with Stannis sacrificing his daughter, he may be the one person I once didn’t give a damn about who I sure as hell care about now. For while Shireen may not have been nowhere near one of my favorite characters, she, alongside Sam and Gilly, was one of my favorite sidekicks and I loved damn near every scene she shared with Stannis and Ser Davos. So if Stannis doesn’t take the north, I hope he is murdered brutally alongside Melisandre. And I hope she is especially brutalized since she put the man up to sacrifice his child for hopes of glory.

Things To Note

[1] From what it seems, Nymeria and Tyene seems to have quite a bit of issues with one another. However, being that their scene isn’t much more than a hand slap game, in which one questions the other’s speed, I can’t say the Sand Snakes have fully recovered from their terrible battle with Bronn. There is still potential though.

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