The sun set on Sunday night and another emotionally-charged season of Game of Thrones came to a close. As in prior years, there was significant controversy surrounding several characters and their various dramatic subplots (as well as a few bloody deaths!), but this season still stood out as one of the best. We met the Sand Snakes of Dorne, Drogon returned, and the White Walkers really showed what they are capable of. Spoilers lie ahead so beware – stop before you read on, and catch all the earlier episodes on HBO Go or HBO Now, or on demand with Xfinity or FiOS. Once you’ve seen everything up until this point, read on!
This season Daenerys settled in Meereen, though not without much protestation from her people following her banishment of slavery and the fighting pits. With the Sons of the Harpy dead set on her death, the people of Meereen unsure of her ruling, and her dragons out of control, it seemed like Dany had her work cut out for her in many of the episodes. This didn’t change until the season began winding down, when Jorah brought her Tyrion as a gift and Drogon saved her life.
After eons of uncomfortable traveling (what with being kidnapped and almost dying by the hands of the Stone Men), Tyrion finally found himself in Meereen with Jorah. In typical Tyrion fashion, he convinced Dany to allow him to stay on as her advisor, creating one of the best platonic power couples television has ever seen.
Unfortunately, their time of counsel together was cut short when the Sons of the Harpy ambushed the stadium in the fighting pits and went on a murdering rampage, including Daenerys’ husband, Hizdahr zo Loraq (RIP). Sensing his mother’s danger, Drogon came to the rescue and scorched many of the Sons. Dany took the chance to ride off on her dragon to safety, but soon after, we found her facing a new danger as an enormous khalasar surrounded her. Are they friends or foes? Considering her luck in previous seasons, it could be the forming of a fresh alliance – meaning the Mother of Dragons will have even more people under her wing at the start of Season 6.
In Braavos, Arya Stark continued to learn the ways of the Faceless Men as a vendor selling oysters, clams, and cockles. On one of the days she’s in town selling her wares, she discovers that Meryn Trant is nearby: the person at the top of her kill list. The appearance of this character and her desire for revenge served to prove that Arya simply cannot be “no one” as required by the Faceless God. After she wrongly borrows a face from the secret room to brutally murder Trant, Jaqen blinds her as a punishment. It doesn’t look like Arya will be able to cross off everyone else on her hit list any time soon.
Meanwhile, big sister, and newly-wedded, Sansa faced torture at the hands of her husband, Ramsay Bolton, in Winterfell. Despite attempts to stay strong without her family, she was constantly degraded and assaulted. Finally, she decided she’d had enough. After lighting a candle to signal for Brienne’s rescue, she encountered Myranda pointing an arrow in her face. Realizing that Sansa may never regain herself again if she were to stay with Ramsay, Theon came to the rescue, killing Myranda, then leapt off the wall with Sansa. It’s unclear whether they actually survive, as the scene cuts away after the leap of faith, but it felt good to finally see Theon as himself again, leaving Reek in the past.
Meanwhile in Dorne, Jaime and Bronn found themselves under attack from the Sand Snakes. Their mission seemed to be for naught when it was agreed that Myrcella and Trystane Martell would travel back to King’s Landing. But in one last hasty attempt to get back at the Lannisters, Ellaria Sand planted a kiss of poison upon Myrcella’s lips that ultimately killed her. Of course, this decision will likely be a determining factor in the brewing war between the Lannisters and Martells next season.
Across the sea, where Cersei awaited Myrcella’s return in King’s Landing, her reinstatement of the Faith Militant and High Sparrow resulted in the arrest of Loras and Margaery Tyrell (just as she’d hoped.) What she did not foresee was that she, too, would be thrown into prison for her sins. Throughout her time in the prison, we were finally able to see her vulnerable, and perhaps even pity her as she drank water from the dirty prison floor. When she finally confessed her sins and asked for forgiveness, she was ordered to take the Walk of Shame down the street in King’s Landing. When she finally reached the castle, naked and humiliated, we find that a new knight of the Kingsguard has taken a vow of silence. Who is this man and what role will he play in Cersei’s quest for revenge?
At the Wall is where the real threat to Westeros lies. Jon Snow, newly appointed as Lord Commander, made several hard decisions that the men of the Night’s Watch were less than enthusiastic about. When he travelled to Hardhome and recruited the wildlings, his safety took a turn for the worst once four White Walkers and their army of undead showed up. Murdering an innumerable amount of Wildings and brothers of the Watch, we saw the immense danger they present to the Game of Thrones world. Somehow, Jon made it back to the Wall with the wildlings that survived (including a particularly massive one) and was greeted with scorn and hatred. When Olly lured him outside that night, we saw the most upsetting murder of the Stark family to date. Many think he’ll make it back to life somehow … but only time will tell.
With the fifth season all wrapped up, we are left with more questions than answers. Hopefully the next season will clear things up, but knowing George R. R. Martin and the world he’s created, there’s no telling who will die next and who will ultimately win the Game of Thrones.