Game of Thrones Memory Lane 509: The Dance of Dragons

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Two days left until the premiere of Game of Thrones season 6! We’re being flooded with new season photos and clips, and our Memory Lane is almost at its end. For the second-to-last chapter of our look back at episodes past, we welcome back SirSquinty!  -Sue the Fury

Really? I’ve been given the incredibly daunting task of revisiting the jam-packed penultimate Game of Thrones season 5 episode? Guys, this is a really hard one to take – so much happens! Is there anyone out there to help me? Bueller? Bueller??? Not only is this episode so full of iconic moments, but it also follows a universally praised episode (“Hardhome“), and precedes a never-ending water cooler of an episode (“Mother’s Mercy”).

Before “The Dance of Dragons” aired, people had three thoughts on their mind:

1. For the first time in 5 seasons, an episode title is as close to a book title as ever. It must be a special one. This episode is sure to be full of awesome moments. I can’t wait to see what amazements/tragedies await!

2. Episode 9! This one is always big! It must be a special one. This episode is sure to be full of awesome moments. I can’t wait to see what amazements/tragedies await!

3. Episode 8 was “Hardhome.” How could episode 9 possibly top that? This episode is sure to be full of awesome moments. I can’t wait to see what amazements/tragedies await!

As you can see, there were three very large expectations most fans had going into it.

mel

The episode opens with Ramsay and his “twenty good men” wreaking havoc on Camp Stannis. While Ramsay himself doesn’t appear in this episode, the damage has been dealt. It’s this devastation that drives Stannis over the edge, allowing him to cave to Melisandre’s suggestion that burning Shireen is the only way forward. He orders Davos north to the Wall to “get more supplies,” which really seems like Stannis is getting Davos out of the way so the Onion Knight won’t try to stop Stannis from burning Shireen.

Davos and Shireen’s final scene together is so powerful, and one of my favorites of the season. As per usual, the acting stands above all else, and Liam Cunningham and Kerry Ingram bring their A-game, further adding to the dynamic. What’s particularly noteworthy is that they talk about the story, “The Dance of the Dragons,” which does two things:

1. It refers to the episode’s title.

2. It lets people think that this is the only reason for the episode’s title, so hopefully their guard is down at the end of the episode, when Drogon comes roaring on to the screen.

DS

The strength of the Davos/Shireen chemistry only makes the burning of Shireen even sadder. Davos was basically the father she never had, and has clearly raised and taught her as much as she has taught him. So long as Davos continues bettering his reading ability, a part of Shireen will always live on. Go read your letters, Onion Knight.

And then…well…we all know what happens. Kerry Ingram (Shireen) goes the way of the furnace and gets the honor of the most gut-wrenching singular death in Game of Thrones history. No, we don’t have the character attachment to her the way we have with our dearly departed Stark family members, but the way this episode built towards its brutal conclusion, and had elevated her character in recent episodes, we the viewing audience were collectively sucker punched and barely found room to breathe going into the final episode. But wait- Shireen being burned wasn’t the end of the episode?! It’s weird how in retrospect many people have likely come to remember it being at the end because the scene is such a natural cliffhanger button, but no, there was more story to tell.

Stan

As the episode careens over to Meereen and the fighting pits, director David Nutter (of “The Rains of Castamere” directorial fame) knows that the audience is going to need a moment to take everything in, and so the transition into the Essos storyline ebbs slowly. It leaves us on a lasting shot of Stannis as he faces what he did. Then the sound of embers crackling and snow falling turn into the roar and applause of the crowd.

The camera cuts to an outside shot of the fighting pit’s arena, then slowly but surely carries itself upwards and into the battle. A good director understands that unlike the ending of Star Wars: Episode 1 (sorry, George Lucas), scenes with different emotional beats need breathing room.

One of my favorite parts of this whole sequence remains from when I first watched it: Iain Glen does his own stunts! But also one of my least favorite parts remains: when Jorah is knocked down and about to be killed by one pit fighter, he is saved by another pit fighter. I found that a cop-out. It would have been way more interesting for Jorah to fight his way back up. This is a minor quibble, as I had forgotten about it, but when re-watching this episode, it all came back to me.

pit

And then come the Sons of the Harpy to turn Game of Thrones into full-on horror. Chaos, madness, and death ensue as Hizdahr zo Loraq is GOT’s latest casualty, a mere 11 minutes after Shireen was taken from us (I counted). But there’s no time to grieve a character whose allegiance we barely trusted – there are the lives of characters we care about at stake here! And then, just when all hope appears lost, the 12 days spent filming the sequences at Daznak’s Pit prove they were worth it, as Drogon comes roaring in to save the day.

And that ends that! After putting an end to the white male hero narrative, Daenerys the Unburnt rides off into the sunset on Drogon’s back. Leaving all our other characters behind watching her fly away in bewilderment.

mem


Quick Hits:

The episode checks in on Jon and the Night’s Watch, still reeling from the recent massacre at Hardhome. Very little happens here, but tensions between Alliser Thorne and Jon hit an all-time high, as Alliser almost won’t open the gate for the survivors. Olly also gives Jon (yet another) death stare. Clearly, it’s set-up for the finale where we all know what happens.

AryaWay down in Dorne, Jaime and Bronn are about to be sent home to King’s Landing, but first Bronn receives some elbow-face from Areo Hotah. He might need some soup after all.

Meanwhile, Arya is a mere street trader when she notices a familiar face on the docks…a familiar face who just happens to be on her kill list. And then many GOT fans proceeded to roll their eyes when they found out that Ser Meryn Trant had been turned into a pedophile rapist to give us (more?) motivation to hate him. Cool. I guess 3 episodes between sexual assault victims is a step further than other TV shows, so there’s that.


Notable Quotables:

You know what? I had a whole list of good quotes, but when this quote exists, all others fall to the wayside. The ONLY quote:

“I’m the princess Shireen of House Baratheon, and I’m your daughter!”
– Princess *sniffle* Shireen *sniffle* of House *sniffle* Baratheon… *sniffle*

Deaths:   

  • Hizdahr zo Loraq
  • Princess Shireen of House Baratheon

BD

Valahd, Beautiful Death.

124 responses

Jump to (and Always Support) the Bottom

    1. Mihnea:
      This is my 3rd most favourite episode of the season.
      Very close with MM who is on 2nd place.

      Agreed. The Stan fans will cry foul though.

        Quote  Reply

    2. I’ve only watched Shireen’s death scene once. I just can’t watch it again. Rough stuff.

      I remember being surprised they killed Hizdar. I wonder if we will find out who the “Harpy” is this season.

      Q: What is the leading cause of death among Game of Thrones fans?
      A: Hype-o-thermia

        Quote  Reply

    3. Mihnea,

      Which makes it all the sadder.

      People might complain about the twenty good men and the absolute failure of an attack that was the “Battle of Winterfell.” And they’re right. But this kind of inner conflict, this tough choice that was forced upon him, it was a brilliant decision by the writers and noone will be able to convince me otherwise.

        Quote  Reply

    4. I could never watch shireen’s death again. So so sad.

      The scene of Dany riding off into the sunsent on Drogon’s back still gives me chills!

        Quote  Reply

    5. Dragonmcmx,

      I actaully loved the final march on WF.
      I thought it was among the best scenes in the season.

      The entire thing from Selyse hanging herself to Stannis dying, to me looked like a story from greek tragedies.

      I liked that we didn’t see a battle for 1 reason. It reminded me of a quote from the books.
      ”Stannis is Iron, he’ll break before he bends” and that is exactly what I saw.

        Quote  Reply

    6. Lmao, I’m loving that shade at the end there tbh.

      Also, I think the Beautiful Death for this episode is amazing!! Although, for some reason, when I scrolled down I half expected it to be Shireen that was burning in Drogon’s flames.

        Quote  Reply

    7. Mihnea,

      I’m a bit conflicted on this one. I loved the opening scene, the tone, the cinematography, everything, it was perfect. I hated when he just walked up to Winterfell. I liked Bolton’s charge, it was very well done. I hated Stannis’ final scene, although I think his choice of last words was beyond perfect. But then they cut away WHY WOULD YOU CUT AWAY ALL CLIFFHANGER STYLE, if you don’t wanna be gratuitous, show us some birds flying away, or a big shot of the battlefield, or Brienne standing there with a bloody sword, or just her reaction after the sword hits. Anything to give us a solid confirmation that he’s dead.

        Quote  Reply

    8. It was…. okay. Not as bad as a lot of hardcore book readers believe. It wasn’t great though. The final scene was great even if it was different in the book. My main issue with this episode is Stannis, and I’m not even a huge Stannis fan. Not initially, but in retrospect. As a scene it was heart wrenching, and as a stand alone episode, it’s pretty good. Give Kerry an award, those screams. Holy shit. In the context of the overall story and especially in conjunction with “Mother’s Mercy”, it makes little sense. Yes, I know Shireen could well die in tWoW, and we could see it coming from a mile away, but it still makes little sense, at least on the show anyway. I’m sure George will make sense of it, assuming it does happen.

        Quote  Reply

    9. Screenshots have been leaked from the season 6 premiere! So beware, the internet is dark and full of spoilers.. But I have to say, it’s damn shocking!

        Quote  Reply

    10. I still wish that someone anyone in that huge contingent of soldiers would have risked his own life to give Shireen the same mercy that Jon gave Mance Rayder. But that was not in the script, ah well. I will never be able to watch that again.

      But the ending was absolutely amazing. Wow! I could watch that again and again.

      FYI I heard that HBO will have all of season 5 on tomorrow. Should be interesting to watch after this Memory Lane and subsequent discussions!

        Quote  Reply

    11. Dragonmcmx,

      I’m not a fan of the cut, but it didn’t really bothered me that much.

      I liked the march. Don’t think what else he could do. He went for a siege, but the Boltons wanted a open battle. He couldn’t know this.

      My take on him there. He still thinks the sacrifice will work and he will win, perhaps he hopes so, perhaps he has to hope so, so Shireen’s sacrifice won’t be in vain.
      But the moment he sees the Boltons charging at him, he knows he lost, he knows it didn’t work.

        Quote  Reply

    12. Mihnea: But the moment he sees the Boltons charging at him, he knows he lost, he knows it didn’t work.

      And what does the one true king do? He draws his sword and marches forward. Only foward.

        Quote  Reply

    13. Yelmer,

      thanks for the warning! is it mostly on reddit or twitter? (just asking so i know to stay off there tonight, lol. tumblr is pretty good at tagging that stuff so people don’t see it accidentally)

        Quote  Reply

    14. Oh how I wished that Shireen left with Sam and Gilly to Oldtown to become the youngest Master in the Westeros history! Kerry Ingrams screams haunt this episode and the bittersweet ending with Daenerys mounting the Dragon does not alleviate the injustice. An amazing episode otherwise. My third best for the season and my second best 9 overall. Season 5 is by far my favourite followed by S3.

        Quote  Reply

    15. When I rewatched this episode recently, it was very hard to see the sacrifice of Shireen – at least the first time you approach it there was the hope that Stannis would change his mind in the nick of time. Of course the Davos/Shireen scene that precedes is is even more poignant when you know what’s coming.

      And this too:

      Stannis: Sometimes a person must choose. Sometimes… the world forces his hand. If a man knows what he is and remains true to himself, the choice is no choice at all. He must fulfill his destiny, and become who he is meant to be. However much he may hate it.

      Oh and on less sad notes, not forgetting this 😀

      Mace sings!
      [youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JLDuW8CFRD8&w=560&h=315%5D

        Quote  Reply

    16. The last 3 episodes of season 5 are the strongest run of episodes they’ve done so far, and in the weakest season to boot.

        Quote  Reply

    17. Dragonmcmx,

      Yeah. What happened here last year with the leaks? I wasn’t here when either the four episodes dropped or when the photos of last two episodes (mostly Shireen and Jon) were leaked, so IDK if this site shows those sorts of leaks. If they do I imagine they’ll be under a cut, so it doesn’t really matter.

        Quote  Reply

    18. Lyannaes,

      There will be no leaks posted here, on our site or in comments. We will delete any comments that link to or describe leaked episode content.

      Please do not post it. Thanks.

        Quote  Reply

    19. Lyannaes,

      If I recall correctly, there was one thread dedicated to leak discussions, but the mods were very strict on not allowing it anywhere else, Not sure about other places, but I do recall catching spoilers from time to time.

        Quote  Reply

    20. I wonder if this exchange will have application in Season 6 and beyond

      What great thing has been accomplished without killing or cruelty?

      It is easy to confuse what is with what ought to be.

      I wonder if this will be a choice one or more of our protangonists will have to make

        Quote  Reply

    21. I know D&D probably wanted Stannis’s final arc to be in this season, and these final scenes were heartbreaking and brilliantly done, but damn… If we had more episodes to space out and draw this decision and his final moments, it could’ve been even better. It felt like somewhere along the way, it went into fast forward motion, and we got his end in “sparknotes” form.

        Quote  Reply

    22. Dallas,

      I wouldn’t call it the weakest but everyone has their opinion. Season 2 is for me weakest mainly due to Jon and Daeny, but even the weakest season is better than 90% shows out there.

      I agree last three episodes were the strongest run and hopefully season will pick up where we left it off. With a strong start.

        Quote  Reply

    23. Being someone who has read all the books, I was “protected” from the shocking events as they unfolded on the show (Ned’s death, Red Wedding etc.) . But during this episode, when Shireen starts walking with the two gaurds I actaully got out of my chair and stood in front of the TV holding my head and repeating no no no NO NO NO THIS IS NOT HAPPENING … and then, it happened … I was gutted!

      As much as I hated what happened, a part of me was “happy” for lack of a better word, that the story was still able to elicit that kind of response from me. And, of course, upon re-watches, the foreshadowing for this horrible event was there all along.

      Kudos to Kerry Ingram … those screams …

        Quote  Reply

    24. Dragonmcmx,

      We only did that because an entire four episodes were leaked online. We’re not doing that for a few screencaps.

      I don’t want anyone linking to any of that here, and I don’t want any discussion of those spoilers here because I guarantee that people will not be able to successfully cover all the spoilers, as much as we try to monitor. The premiere is in TWO DAYS, people. Just be patient and stay away from the leak.

      DO NOT POST LEAKED PREMIERE INFO HERE. PERIOD.

        Quote  Reply

    25. Thanks, Sue! The anticipation build up has been so enjoyable, sharing it with everyone here. I would hate for it to get ruined with spoilers!

      And thanks again for all you do for us!
      xo

        Quote  Reply

    26. Yeah, the 20 good men plot isn’t very realistic but it highlights the impossible choice Stannis has to make. If he had chosen to sacrifice Shireen just because of the weather then I would have had an issue.
      As to whether the decision Stannis made was and “assassination” of his character, I don’t think it was, not “show Stannis” anyway. The foreshadowing had been about for seasons…
      IMO “Book Stannis” wouldn’t have made the same decision but at the end of the day, the two are different, and as a book reader Shireen’s death was probably the most surprising moment of the season for me as I had never spotted the foreshadowing! I felt like I was unsullied all over again 😂

        Quote  Reply

    27. Can I say how much I love Ian?

      Jorah is bloody fantastic in the show and that is largely thanks to him.

      The way he says ”oh glorious queen” always gets me.

        Quote  Reply

    28. Anyone think HBO GO will be alright for the premiere? I’m thinking of signing up for the free HBO NOW trial just in case GO is having problems.

        Quote  Reply

    29. I had no issues with the 20 good men thing. As much as I hate Ramsay.
      And I don’t think that Stannis burning his daughter was a character assassination either. Stannis has been burning people since season 2. Its funny I really had a WTF moment after seeing this. Since Season 2, I have been a fan of Stannis. (nothing compared to Dany or the Starks), but still. And after the burn, I said I hated him and wanted him dead. And I was like wow, he has been burning people all this time and only now do I hate him. Then when he dies in MM, I felt bad for him. So strange.

      When Drogon first comes to the rescue and Dany sees him, I had chills, and still get chills when I think about. I absolutely loved every single minute of the Daznak Pit scene. The only issue was that I was so emotional after Shireen’s murder, that I couldn’t enjoy that scene as much as I would have had I not seen Shireen’s murder first.

      And I don’t see what the issue was with showing us Meryn Trant behind closed doors. I think it was brilliant showing us those scenes because it just makes you hate him even more, and substantiaites what you see of him from Season 1. It was so easy for him to slap Sansa around and want to kill Arya when he faced her and Syrio Forrel.

      I just loved this episode.

        Quote  Reply

    30. All four of the previous Episode 9’s that Game of Thrones has produced so far rank among my personal Top 10 episodes of the show. “The Dance of Dragons” doesn’t quite make that exalted cut. But it’s close, and considering how much love I have for every episode of this wonderful show, there’s no shame in that. I still think it’s a great episode overall. The things that keep it from rising any higher in my personal rankings aren’t really issues at all – they’re deliberate choices. More specifically, they’re a function of Season 5’s unusual structure where Episode 9 oddly represents something of a lull between two titanic, series-defining hours – “Hardhome” and “Mother’s Mercy”, despite being a massive episode in its own right.

      In contrast to previous seasons where almost every storyline (with one or two rare exceptions) was designed to hit its peak in Episode 9, the storylines outside of Meereen and the North feel relatively subdued. There’s a damn good reason for that – some storylines are obviously settling down after hitting a transcendent peak, like Jon returning to the Wall with the wildlings after “Hardhome”. Others are clearly moving pieces into place for the finale by laying the groundwork for three pivotal assassinations – Jon (Alliser and Olly’s fear and displeasure at seeing the wildlings pass through the Wall), Meryn Trant (Arya neglecting her mission to kill the Thin Man so she can track him to the Iron Bank and the brothel), and Myrcella (Jaime convincing Doran to return the Princess to King’s Landing, much to Ellaria’s anger).

      Those are all worthy and essential pieces – they just mean that the first half of the episode isn’t quite as pulse-pounding as some might be hoping for. But once the episode completes its necessary set-up, it grabbed my heart in a vice and never let go. The second half of the hour easily reaches the superlative standards of the previous Episode 9’s – and it does so in a truly masterful and stunning fashion.

      The two biggest moments of the episode – Shireen’s sacrifice, and Drogon rescuing Daenerys from the Sons of the Harpy – are as powerful as anything that the show has ever depicted, for entirely different reasons. They caused me to run the full spectrum from the darkest pit of utter devastation to the highest pinnacle of joyous exultation – all in the span of roughly 15 minutes. And it worked.

      Great art makes you feel, and God, “The Dance of Dragons” did that for me in spades. When it was over, I just collapsed back on my couch, utterly spent. I’ve seen and loved a lot of movies and TV shows, but never something that took me on a ride quite like this one. I have never been more emotionally wrung out by an episode of television in my entire life.

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    31. Thanks to all for being vigilant against these spoilers for like 58 hours. If I going into this season “blind” there is no way I want to be spoiled with 2 days to go but I still want to come here and geek out.

        Quote  Reply

    32. Tomorrow is the last memory lane. I really appreciate you made all of this work. This made the wait less painful.

        Quote  Reply

    33. Deesensfan,

      If D&D said it, then it should be this way. Let’s hope for 15. But they will probably split season 7 into A and B. No way they can do all 10-15 episodes all at once in the same quality and scope. They even said it 10 episodes is right now impossible. At least each episode should be long.

        Quote  Reply

    34. I just rewatched the pit scene and I remember being struck by the fighting archetypes :

      Water-dancer beats the Westeros knight; see what Syrio could’ve done with an actual sword? Only way to kill him is with a dirty trick, stabbing him in the back as here, or taking advantage of his wooden sword there.

      Westeros knight beats Oberyn acrobatics, both here and in Mountain/Viper fight.

      Nice little microcosm 🙂

        Quote  Reply

    35. Deesensfan,

      When I look at that story, I’d be more encouraged by the possibility that there might actually be 15 more episodes after Season 6 ends than I would be discouraged about the possibility that there might only be 10. Maybe being only two days from the premiere of Season 6 is infecting me with optimism. It would be a rare and welcome development. 😉

      But ultimately, this just seems like Benioff and Weiss are trying to create some deliberate obscurity so that people don’t take their original “13 episodes” estimate as absolute gospel. They’re deep into the writing process now – I doubt that they suddenly found three episodes worth of story that they decided they could lose at the eleventh hour. Plus or minus one or two episodes? Maybe. That seems to fall within a reasonable margin of error. Three hours is pushing it.

      This Hollywood Reporter story is a direct response to the Variety story in which the “13 episodes” figure first surfaced. But that figure surfaced first for a reason. That seems to be the baseline that Benioff and Weiss are looking at. That’s the figure I’m going to trust, at least for now. 🙂

        Quote  Reply

    36. Before the episode Stannis the Mannis, after the episode Stannis the Penis.

      But, if he don’t do that, they all would frozen there. That was a kind of ”Azor Ahai” moment for his character, but the dramaturgy is that Stannis not the promised one.

      I think he would sacrifice Shireen in the books too in that hard situation. If she and Melisandre would be with him. ”The true king sacrifice the few to save the many.” And that’s why he is the Mannis. Because he prefers duty way-way more, than love.

        Quote  Reply

    37. Shireen’s death crushed me so hard I had to stop the episode for a couple of minutes the first time I saw it. At first I hated Stannis for it, but after a while it made sense. It’s such a sad and tragic end for his story.

      On a different subject: Turning Meryn Trant into a pedophile really bothered me. Not because I like the guy or anything, but because it’s soooo unnecessary. He’s been on Arya’s death list for years for killing Syrio Forell. We saw him beat Sansa bloody countless times. We saw him testifing some bullshit against Tyrion at his trial. He often sucked up to Jeoffrey in the most disgusting ways. We all hated Meryn Trant allready in a sufficient amount. Turning him into a pedophile only provided pointless shock value that really wasn’t needed anywhere in these last episodes.

        Quote  Reply

    38. I don’t like Stannis apart from his badass lines. In fact, I have supported Renly for King over Stannis. Yet, I thought this episode and MM totally ruined Stannis. Not because he burned his daughter to “become” the “chosen one”. It was because the greatest general of Westeros walked with the remnants of his army like a clan of peasants the next episode. While I’m aware that he breaks before he bends, he still wasn’t Robert. His earlier exposition of his elder brother’s defeat at the hands of Randyll Tarly doesn’t blend with this continuity.

      The ironic situation is that if Stannis had never shown up anywhere, things would have been a lot better. Renly would have taken King’s Landing and the effects of the war would have been negligible. Or if he hadn’t shown up at CB, Mance would have taken Jon prisoner and the 100,000 Wildlings would be south of the Wall.

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    39. Personally I think they got this drastically wrong. By the time we got to the arena I was hollow inside and completely meh. One of the best bits in the books is ruined by burning beautiful Shireen just before 🙁 plus Dany was far too sheepish about it all. In the book she was bold and took charge!!! Rawr

      I’ll rewatch the series numerous times in the future and skip this one happily, and the rest of season 5 lol (except 8 & 10 ofc).

        Quote  Reply

    40. batfan,

      I think they will do the same with Ramsay. Not turn him into a pedophile, but show him doing some more really despicable things before he is finally taken down.

        Quote  Reply

    41. On a different note.

      You cannot imagine how glad I was there was no whip.

      I love Dany’s mother/child relation with Drogon much more then the one in the books.
      Seriously having her whip him and ordering him like a dog ruined that moment for me.

        Quote  Reply

    42. Loved the episode, but am I the only one who thought Drogon’s entrance could of been better? I thought it was a bit corny with him flying out of the fireball with the hero music playing. Also hearing him roaring right before his appearance pretty much let you know Dany was about to be saved.
      I think it would of been a lot more suspenseful and surprising if a harpy that was getting close to Danny just burst into flames and then Drogon lands with a thud, then start the music.
      Just my two cents.

        Quote  Reply

    43. Sullied by Knight:
      batfan,

      I think they will do the same with Ramsay.Not turn him into a pedophile, but show him doing some more really despicable things before he is finally taken down.

      Honestly I don’t think this is needed…
      For Trant ok, because before that paedophilia stuff he was pictured just as a prick.
      But Ramsay is quite despicable already.

        Quote  Reply

    44. FYI, The Hollywood Reporter have D&D on record saying after this season the show will have 10-15 episodes left.
      P.S. that is one sweet picture at the end of this article

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    45. It wasn’t the best CGI ever, seemed choppy, but I didn’t care – I never imagined one of my fav scenes of the books could be done at all and was pleased it was done well.

      I think they turned Trent into a ped because many viewers might not connect that it was him who killed Syrion, beat Sansa etc, and wanted to r3emind them why Arya wanted him dead. But yeah it might not have been nec. Maybe thats one part ofthe book they should have kept, having Arya kill a crow, then be blinded. But I was satisfied by what I saw.

      I was excited that Jaquen returned, but I really don’t like him – I miss the kindly man, and I miss the waif of the books. Perhaps the change was meant to give impetus for Arya escaping, Ah well, it is what it is. Still an amazing episode

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    46. ash,

      It would’ve been cool to have the kindly man from the books, I agree. Eating the worm and whatnot. But the show is its own entity which I’ve come to accept and grateful for

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    47. Sou,

      I hope you’re right! But my fears are for Roose, Fat Walda and baby, Osha and little Rickon! Not so much Roose…he deserves whatever he gets.

        Quote  Reply

    48. “And then many GOT fans proceeded to roll their eyes when they found out that Ser Meryn Trant had been turned into a pedophile rapist to give us (more?) motivation to hate him”

      No, this allows Arya to get close to him, and it reflects the same trait in a parallel character in the books.

        Quote  Reply

    49. Almost there guys, although i have to wait till Monday night to watch it here (although, i can almost guarantee i’ll wake up at 1.55am and rush downstairs for the simulcast here in the uk). Glad i missed the spoilers tbh, cheers Sue and team for deleting them. Quite looking forward to going into this season with only a few clues of what may happen.

      Re Stannis/Shireen…it was an awful scene to watch, because it was so well done. It had clearly been set up, on rewatching from S2 ‘you will betray all you love’ i think Mel says to him in one of his early scenes. Stannis already had family members burned (Florents?) so wasnt averse to sacrificing family. Mel insisting that Shireen travels north with them in S4. Stannis’ beautiful scene with Shireen early in s5. Selyse and her constant disappointment with Shireen. It all adds up. Genuinely surprised how so many people missed it and were so outraged.

      And those screams, man. Myself and workmates had an unplanned moment of silence the morning after it aired, when we were talking about it.

      Re Trant. Yeah…didnt the Hound say something along the lines of ‘Trant beats up little girls’ so kind of half-foreshadowed there. And after reading the sample chapter Mercy, it kind of makes sense to merge the 2. Trant in Braavos + Arya + Mercy in brothel + Hound foreshadowing + kill list = Stabby Stabby Stab Stab.

      Maces singing though, and Tychos’ little half clap when he thinks its over ahahahahahahahahaha!!!!

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    50. I never found a problem with Ramsay and his twenty men; for some reason it became something of a meme. In 1330 it took only two dozen men to infiltrate Nottingham Castle to abduct Roger Mortimer and Isabella of France — the de facto rulers of the country. Operations like these happened throughout medieval warfare, especially sabotage. Stannis had no hope on the Northerners home turf, especially when conditions were at their worst.

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    51. Long time reader of the site, just wanted to say thanks for making this horrible off season a little more bearable lol

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    52. Mihnea:
      Dragonmcmx,

      I actaully loved the final march on WF.
      I thought it was among the best scenes in the season.

      The entire thing from Selyse hanging herself to Stannis dying, to me looked like a story from greek tragedies.

      I liked that we didn’t see a battle for 1 reason. It reminded me of a quote from the books.
      ”Stannis is Iron, he’ll break before he bends” and that is exactly what I saw.

      For once we agree 100%

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    53. I just realized from re-watching this episode today that it could be my favorite in the entire series. Just perfection from start to finish. There aren’t enough superlatives for David Nutter’s direction, I’m happy he won the Emmy for 5×10 but just as easily could’ve won it for this.

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    54. Rob(b),

      Re: Mace’s singing. Then Trant going “I thought he would never shut up” then random Lannister soldier “He wasn’t bad.” hahahaha.

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    55. Valaquen,

      Sadly, a lot of respectable stuff became memes this season from the angry little book readers who are mad that the show isn’t a 1000 hour page by page adaptation of the books.

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    56. Ser Lurk of House Turnip:
      Personally I think they got this drastically wrong. By the time we got to the arena I was hollow inside and completely meh. One of the best bits in the books is ruined by burning beautiful Shireen just before plus Dany was far too sheepish about it all. In the book she was bold and took charge!!! Rawr

      I’ll rewatch the series numerous times in the future and skip this one happily,and the rest of season 5 lol (except 8 & 10 ofc).

      That’s a bit harsh thing to say. From book reader’s perspective, what was wrong with High Sparrow, Kill the Boy, The Gift? Those were all amazing episodes in my opinion.

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    57. The Dance of Dragons is my third favorite episode from season 5, behind Mother’s Mercy. It is located near the bottom of my 10-rated episodes (rank 12), preceeded by Baelor and followed by Kissed by Fire.

      Shireen’s scene is the only scene in the enitre series, that I really found hard to rewatch. Not even RW came close to it. The screams were just disturbing…. A really powerful scene otherwise and definitely not “character assassination” as the book purists call it.

      One of my favorite changes from the books was Hizdahr’s death. A couple episodes ago, I was sure that he will be revealed as the leader but then… he died. So at the end, Hizdahr was exactly who pretended to be… a man, who valued peace above tradition.

      Side note: I really liked the fact, that Sons of the Harpy also turned on former masters, probably the ones, who started to support Daenerys. And of course, some former slaves are also the members of the order.

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    58. Lord Parramandas: Side note: I really liked the fact, that Sons of the Harpy also turned on former masters, probably the ones, who started to support Daenerys.

      This thought is what makes me think it’s still possible Hizdahr did, in fact, have something to do with the SotH. We may never know, but I’ll never be completely convinced he didn’t.

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    59. Nymeria Warrior Queen: This thought is what makes me think it’s still possible Hizdahr did, in fact, have something to do with the SotH.We may never know, but I’ll never be completely convinced he didn’t.

      He did have something with the Sons and then the order turned against him? That sounds illogical to me…

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    60. Lord Parramandas,

      I found the show first but I’m a total book wanker now. I live and breathe that shit. The show is amazing and the best thing out there, but for me, once we got passed the purple wedding things started going in odd directions. It broke that whole suspension of disbelief thingy, and now all I see is a series of confusing writing changes.

      I’m sure I’ll background watch em sometime or communally but yeah I skipped em all out on the memory lane n just read Dance chapters instead ;D I’m all about the details.

      Got high hopes for Season 6 and great fears. It’s proper exciting lol and I love it here, reading all u ppls stuffs.

      We nearly there now!!!!

        Quote  Reply

    61. Ser Lurk of House Turnip,

      Well, I read the first two books before season 1 and book 3 during it, but it was after season 1 when I really got invested into the books and paid more attention to the characters. As it concerns books 4 and 5, they were released in 2011/2012 in my country and I initially liked them. But when I started doing my yearly re-reads, I noticed that the quality of both the story and the characters has singificantly dropped. While I still consider them as solid books, I prefer season 5 over them. I think those two books would make a terrible adaptation.

      But in the last year, everything changed. The never-ending wait of book 6 and several encounters with book purists on westeros.org and the fellow GoT Wikia administrator has made me lost my love for the books. I simply cannot enjoy them anymore because every time, I remember those vile and harsh comments about the show… I simply cannot be a part of a fandom like that

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    62. Lord Parramandas,

      It could well be illogical, as it’s just a feeling I have, and feelings aren’t always logical. On my rewatch, I thought that feeling would dissipate, but it didn’t. If anything, it was strangely reinforced. There’s something about him, when he shows up “late,” saying he was just making sure everything was in order which made me feel like something wasn’t adding up. I don’t know if he changed the plan, and that upset someone who decided to off him, or what. I would think, though, some would not be happy with his marriage to Daenerys, even if it did lead to the pits being reopened. There’s also the possibility he had worn out his usefulness to the SotH, once he’d married her. None of this is anything for which I have any real evidence…like I said…it’s just a feeling.

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    63. Nymeria Warrior Queen:
      Lord Parramandas,

      It could well be illogical, as it’s just a feeling I have, and feelings aren’t always logical.On my rewatch, I thought that feeling would dissipate, but it didn’t.If anything, it was strangely reinforced.There’s something about him, when he shows up “late,” saying he was just making sure everything was in order which made me feel like something wasn’t adding up.I don’t know if he changed the plan, and that upset someone who decided to off him, or what.I would think, though, some would not be happy with his marriage to Daenerys, even if it did lead to the pits being reopened.There’s also the possibility he had worn out his usefulness to the SotH, once he’d married her. None of this is anything for which I have any real evidence…like I said…it’s just a feeling.

      Well, I always thought this line was meant to strengthen the suspicion, only to reveal the opposite. But yes… The attack on the Daznak’s Pit was more focused on former masters than Daenerys herself . So the order either wants to completely overthrow the rule of Meereen or maybe their motivation is not what it seems to be…

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    64. Lord Parramandas,

      I liked the ambiguity of it as well … without

      Shaveplate and Resnek or even the Green Grace

      as show characters to be the Harpy … it’s much harder to guess who, if any one person, is

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    65. Lord Parramandas,

      I think your interpretation of that bit certainly makes the most sense. That said, if we do get further information on who is behind the SotH, I won’t be surprised to learn Hizdahr had something to do with it. I may be entirely wrong, or it may be his involvement was only that of a pawn. I’m so unclear about almost everything having to do with them in both books and show, I can’t settle on any one idea with any certainty.

      On the note of you no longer enjoying the books, while I can certainly understand how the way some folks on the site you mentioned could turn you off to discussing the books or show with them (hell, there was one poster there who, all on their own, made me realize that was not a place I’d want to be, as they could not handle anyone stating anything contrary to what they thought, even if done so politely, without getting rude as hell in response), there are lots of people here who enjoy both the show and the books. So, I hope, over time, you’ll be able to return to the books, because there are a lot of really enjoyable parts of the books we don’t get to see on the show, and more detail behind some of what we do get to see on the show. Whatever you choose to do, I’ll just say I’m glad you’re posting here, as I enjoy reading your observations on things. 🙂

        Quote  Reply

    66. ash,

      I actually like the way “Jaq’en” returned. It isn’t him, it’s just the Kindly Man using whatever face was Jaqn’en. I like how it is established that in the House of BW they are all “no one”, but still giving in to fanservice.

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    67. Darkrobin,

      They were there in the first episode when they killed White Rat. Mossador was killed because he took retribution on the Harpy who killed White Rat.

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    68. Darkrobin,

      It will be Daario in the books and the series as well.(remember Dany betrayers from her prophecy) And she needs to leave Daario before she goes to Westeros(to Jon). Drogo was her first true love and Daario will be her disappointment. The Harpies wants to kill the Masters and anyone else who dangerous for them(unsullieds and maybe they will kill Barristan like they did in the series) Daario wants to be king beside Daenerys(in the books and the series as well), but Dany don’t/can’t marry him. He marries a Master…Daario could be king if the Masters are dead. And i think the Harpies doesn’t even know about their leader’s identity. They get the orders some secretly way from the leader.

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    69. r-hard,

      “. . . three treasons will you know . . . once for blood and once for gold and once for love . . “

      Mirri Maz Duur, Jorah, and Daario ?

        Quote  Reply

    70. Nymeria Warrior Queen,

      there are lots of people here who enjoy both the show and the books. So, I hope, over time, you’ll be able to return to the books, because there are a lot of really enjoyable parts of the books we don’t get to see on the show, and more detail behind some of what we do get to see on the show.

      What he said

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    71. Drogons entrance was badass! Loved how he was just showing off, flying through his own fire not givin a fuck.

      Wish I was a dragon.

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    72. Another epic episode and a great recap. The SFX in the final scenes with Drogon flying into the arena, toasting many of the SofH and then Dany riding off on him was incredible.

      The second half of the episode was remarkable? I believe produced in a way that viewers would experience both low and high emotions/reactions to what they saw? The low point being of course the sacrifice of Shireen which was heartbreaking and as we found out in EP 10 was all for nothing. The scene then instantly switching to the arena in Meereen and raising our spirits again. First when Jorah almost lost his life to the Braavosi water dancer, but finally beating the competition. The climax then being the arrival of Drogon saving the day and Dany flying off on him. All very cleverly paced knowing how viewers would react in that final half of the episode?

      The scenes in the first half were great also. The arrival of JS with the Wildings at the wall and to whether Allister Thorne would allow them to enter. The last meeting between Davos and Shireen and later Arya seeing a chance to erase another name from her death list when Meryn Trant arrives in Braavos.

      I always roll up laughing when a load of bad language comes out unexpectedly. This being Meryn Trant’s remark to his men on their way to the brothel –

      “I though that old shit would never stop singing. The Tyrells can rot in hell – The treasonous cunts!” Nice one 😀

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    73. The Dance of *the* Dragons.

      Where the hell did the ships from “Hardhome” go? Why are they suddenly in front of the Wall at Castle Black, which is in the *middle of the continent*, when they could have just sailed to the south side of the Wall? What the heck were the writers intending with this?

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    74. The Dragon Demands,

      Not to mention at Hardhome itself when Jon and co. get on the boat and he yells for them to go! the guy starts paddling for like 4 seconds but the rest of the time you see them just sitting there bobbing on the water.

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    75. Tywin of the Hill,

      Depends on the terrain, I guess. Or maybe the commander of the Eastwatch lost his nerves last season and sealed the tunnel. Or there were reports of wights gathering close to Eastwatch trying to cut off their escape route.

      All of which is ultimately of no importance. They decided to go to Castle Black for obvious dramatic reason of having a brief stand off with Alisser on the Wall instead of achieving the same by building the whole new set for the Eastwatch harbor and casting new characters for only one episode. Do I really need to explain this? Why are we even debating such an inconsequential thing as if it’s some huge deal that unravels everything?

        Quote  Reply

    76. Mr Fixit,

      Don’t bother.

      To show us Eastwatch they would had to builld a new set, cast new actors, more days of filming,…etc.

      They decided to go to CB to save money and have a dramatic stand-off with Allister, not some random new guy.

      As I said, they also went trough the Wall when they left for HH.

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    77. Mr Fixit:
      Tywin of the Hill,

      Do I really need to explain this? Why are we even debating such an inconsequential thing as if it’s some huge deal that unravels everything?

      Because GoT/ASOIAF brings out the people who put the “anal” into anaylsis…

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    78. Lord Parramandas,

      Lol I’d never allow an individual to ruin my enjoyment of something. I don’t do w.org, I don’t even do fb or t. I don’t like how ppl behave online and got bored of opinion tennis a looong time ago. I like reading here tho, cos it balances the book wankers and show apologists quite nicely 😛 I like podcasts and rereads. Rewatches. Dunk & Egg. The World of Ice and Fire. There’s lots to keep me entertained so I don’t ever feel tempted to subject myself to any of that shite.

      You seem cool n it’s a shame your love for the books has been affected by some aspects of the fandom. Just ignore em lol

      Predictably.. I disagree about books four and five and feel they coulda squeezed a couple of seasons out of all the stuff they cut. So much so it’s now spilling into this one. Feast, Dance, and Winds all mixed in one season. I’m not complaining cos I’m chuffed that the Siege and the Greyjoy stuffs are back in. I assumed they’d been chopped.

      What im trying to convey (badly) is that for 3 and a half seasons we had a relatively faithful adaptation of George’s work. Now, it feels like D&Ds television show that’s been dumbed down for the masses. I’m still invested, but nowhere near as much as I was <3 I'm super excited for Season 6 unknowns because I won't have anything to compare them to ;D

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    79. Ser Lurk of House Turnip:
      Lord Parramandas,

      Lol I’d never allow an individual to ruin my enjoyment of something. I don’t do w.org, I don’t even do fb or t. I don’t like how ppl behave online and got bored of opinion tennis a looong time ago. I like reading here tho, cos it balances the book wankers and show apologists quite nicely I like podcasts and rereads. Rewatches. Dunk & Egg. The World of Ice and Fire. There’s lots to keep me entertained so I don’t ever feel tempted to subject myself to any of that shite.

      You seem cool n it’s a shame your love for the books has been affected by some aspects of the fandom. Just ignore em lol

      Predictably.. I disagree about books four and five and feel they coulda squeezed a couple of seasons out of all the stuff they cut. So much so it’s now spilling into this one. Feast, Dance, and Winds all mixed in one season. I’m not complaining cos I’m chuffed that the Siege and the Greyjoy stuffs are back in. I assumed they’d been chopped.

      What im trying to convey (badly) is that for 3 and a half seasons we had a relatively faithful adaptation of George’s work. Now, it feels like D&Ds television show that’s been dumbed down for the masses. I’m still invested, but nowhere near as much as I was <3 I’m super excited for Season 6 unknowns because I won’t have anything to compare them to ;D

      I also don’t follow westeros.org anymore. Annara Snow calling me rape apologist was the final straw. The site is on my ban list and I cannot encounter it anymore in Google. Like I said, the long wait for the books and disappointment over the last two books are reasons as well.

      But I reall cannot imagine, how books 4 and 5 could have been adapted into more than one season. One of the seasons would have had absolutely no climax at all, if they had adapted it 100%. Tyrion’s story would be a massive disappointmet for show-only fans: Two seasons traveling and still not reaching Daenerys. Basically, the last two books are all about that: really dragged build-up/traveling without any resolution. The only story that entertained me, was Theon’s and maybe a couple of Jon’s first chapters, when Stannis was still at castle Black. Entertainment s a big factor of my ratings for TV series, second only to performace and definitely more than faithfulness to the novels, especially the parts, when the novels were disappointing for me.

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    80. The fate of Shireen was one of the few scenes I actually shed a tear over during the series. Cannot wait to see how Davos reacts to the horrid news.

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    81. Great episode. The only minor gripe I have is the fact that I was in so much shock and distress at Shireens burning that I couldn’t really absorb the Daznak scene.

      I totally agree that the burning deserved to be an end of episode cliffhanger but it’s clear that wouldn’t have been feasible with the structure of S5.

      It’s interesting to note though that during the burning scene, the camera flicks between Stannis/Mel/Selyse and we don’t get to see Shireen. Now I’m not saying I wanted to- I really didn’t; those screams were enough. But it’s interesting to compare that to the outcry over the Sansa rape scene, where it was claimed by many that focussing on Theon made it less about Sansa.

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    82. Lord Parramandas,

      I regret what i said, about it being dumbed down. I just meant downscaled.

      I spent the wait for Season 5 looking forward to lots of ‘Tyrion on a boat’. I find all those bits fascinating. Lots of history and strategy. He crosses paths with both Aegon and Quentin. 2 characters both cut from the show!! Seemingly. That’s a fair few scenes right there. And a naked septa 😮 pure Thrones material.
      .
      The Greyjoy plot, could and should have been rumbling since the end of S3. The third leech ffs. Euron, Victarion, Damphair. Scenes that would have extended the overall run into Season 5.

      Meereen. The knot was untied too quickly. Yeah it might be a boring storyline in places but that’s because cos it’s realistic!

      Jon. Just remove Olly and flesh out more of the awesome characters from the wall. THEN… “For the watch” wouldn’t have felt so painfully forced.

      I can’t even bring myself to talk about Dorne. It was that bad it’s tainted the book chapters themselves.HA!!

      Lots more examples but im slightly toasted and need go bed.

      Apologies for posting crap on an episode thread ill probably never watch again!!! I shush now till the epicness tomorrow.

      Love this show so much but can’t properly mourn for Shireen until I read it in the books 🙁 🙁 it’s confusing.

      Stannis suffers a month of pain and is down to the bone and he hasn’t burnt shit. I can’t believe it D:

        Quote  Reply

    83. I can’t watch Shireen’s death again either. For me, this was absolutely the most brutal and heartwrenching death in the whole series. It made me do a full 180 on Stannis.

      Lord Parramandas: One of my favorite changes from the books was Hizdahr’s death. A couple episodes ago, I was sure that he will be revealed as the leader but then… he died. So at the end, Hizdahr was exactly who pretended to be… a man, who valued peace above tradition.

      Side note: I really liked the fact, that Sons of the Harpy also turned on former masters, probably the ones, who started to support Daenerys. And of course, some former slaves are also the members of the order.

      I agree, this was brilliant. I love what the show did with Hizdahr. I was simultaneously pleased and disappointed by him being killed off: I like that this showed him to be exactly what he seemed to be (a collaborator with reservations), but I was sad to lose his character (one of the few I think has been improved by the show compared to the book version). I often found him more sympathetic during this season than Dany, particularly during the episode where she went from nearly having him burned alive to informing him he’d be marrying her. And it was kinda sad that the other characters didn’t particularly mark or even notice his death. I wonder if it’ll come up next season or if the others will continue to act like he never existed.

        Quote  Reply

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