Game of Thrones- Season 5 Episode 9
The Dance of Dragons
This episode of Game of Thrones was intense, thrilling and included one of the most tragic deaths in the show’s run. The execution of Shireen proves that Stannis has such a hunger for the throne and he is even willing to sacrifice his own daughter to get it. I was expecting this episode to focus a bit more on Jon Snow and the post-battle situation; we find Allister Thorne opens Castle Black to the Wildlings, which looks like is potentially opening the door for trouble as well. Ser Meryn Trant arrives in Bravos and is being stalked by a rather un-sly Arya, getting caught by him is certainly not an option for her. Things are much more amicable in Dorne as Jamie and Bronne are freed and Prince Doran praises King Tommen in a toast, whether or not he is sincere and genuinely wants to avoid war we can’t tell and probably won’t know until next season. Like last week we ended with an extremely well done battle scene, this time in the fighting pits of Meereen where Drogon saves the day against the vicious Sons of the Harpy.
I have to say this is the first episode of Game of Thrones this season where I have to put serious questions to the show’s writers. I usually make a point of not comparing to the books as my reviews are purely for viewers of the show, but this is the biggest misjudged digression to date. However, this is not to say that made this a bad episode. The death of Princess Shireen was woeful. Just a few episodes ago he proclaimed his love for his daughter in a heart warming speech “You are the Princess Shireen of House Baratheon and you are my daughter.” We were seeing a real human and decent side to him in recent weeks but this decision for him to sacrifice his own daughter to the Lord of Light has decimated his character beyond repair. He had always been someone I’d consider as unlikeable but fundamentally a good person. Now he can be tagged a villain after a deed that even Ramsay or Cerci would consider too far.
At Castle Black the Crows are clearly not happy with the arrival of the remainder of the Wildling army. They are now supposed to be allies and I think the Wildlings now realise they need help to defeat the Whitewalkers after last week’s epic battle. Unfortunately the Nights Watch haven’t had such a wake up call yet and I think until they do there will definitely be problems for many of the Crows in accepting them. It was a big decision by Allister Thorne for him to open the gates as I’m sure had he decided to refuse entry to the Wildlings, he would have had plenty of support. This indicates to me the respect Jon now has with pretty much all members of the Nights Watch, including Ser Allister who at one time was Jon’s biggest critic.
In Braavos Arya becomes distracted in her mission to poison the Thin Man after she spots Ser Meryn Trant- one of the men on the original draft of Arya’s death wish list. If Arya is to kill him she better act hastily because at one point they look at each across a room, and there is a subtle hint that the show might be trying to convey a look of recognition from Trent. If the penny drops and he realises who she is, Arya will be in very big trouble.
We see the release of Jamie and Bronn thanks to the Prince of Dorne. Ellaria clearly is war mongering here much to the frustration of the Prince. He is seemingly a pacifist who wants to do anything required to avoid war, even if it puts him temporarily in a weaker position. This is perhaps how he wants to be perceived as he hates the Lannisters every bit as much as the Sand Snakes, and possibly is waiting for the right time to strike. He will be aware that a massive war is likely to be on its way and he doesn’t want to put all of his eggs in one basket and wants time to weigh the situation. If he waits until the Lannisters have war on more than one front, his chances of victory will greatly increase. There could be nothing in this at all and maybe he genuinely wants to avoid war for the sake of his people. However, this isn’t really in line with the mentality of Game of Thrones and I think it likely it’s a matter of time until the Dornish turn aggressive.
The final scene pans out as more of a slaughter until Drogon shows up to save the day. The Sons of the Harpy are a constant thorn in the side of Deanerys and cause her a great deal of stress every few episodes. Jorah Mormont has managed to wriggle his way back into her good graces, although still no further mention of the greyscale disease slowly eating its way through his body. We find one of her dragons showing up to eat and barbeque a few bad guys and proceed to carry Deanerys to safety. Great effects, great music and little to no dialogue in the last 10 minutes as it just wasn’t necessary. We hear in earlier seasons that her ancestors would ride on the back of a dragon when heading into battle. It’s looking like the end of this episode is very much telling us that she and her dragons are now mature enough to take on something bigger. Next stop Westeros?
Game of Thrones is almost over for another season and the momentum has been building much more rapidly over the past couple of weeks. The sacrifice of Shereen being a rare lapse in judgement on the writer’s part.
Stannis has now been demonised but I do think this will strengthen Stannis’ position in his charge to Winterfell. Unfortunately Millesandre has proven to be right more often than not.
The relationship between the Crows and the Wildlings has never been anything less than unadulterated hatred for centuries, perhaps Jon Snow is trying to be too much of a visionary in trying to get them to fight together. Regardless of the fact that this decision would mutually benefit both parties.
Deanerys’ development looks to be nearing its maturity. With experience in ruling, obedient dragons and a massive army, she now looks ready to head for Kings Landing and shake up Westeros.