Season Five just finished. Overall, it was good. It didn’t quite reach the heights of Season Four, but that was to be expected. Overall, it wandered a lot and didn’t really get very far. I’m told that this is also true of the books (although we are now well past the books). Hopefully, Season 6 will start pushing us toward a conclusion.
It just ended as I write this so if you haven’t watched it yet, spoilers ahoy!:
A few random thoughts.
The Dorne part was easily the weakest part of the season. I guess the finale helps it set up the War of Two Kings going back to the being the War of Three Kings. The thing is, the “shocking death” in episode 10 didn’t shock me at all. The minute Ellaria kissed her, I knew what was going to happen. And every second of the talk between Jaime and Myrcella persuaded me more.
The Stannis thread has finally come to a close in the worst way possible. After last week’s awfulness, I was almost glad to see the conclusion of his campaign in the North. And it was nice to see something finally go right for Brienne (sort of).
I’ve said, from the time she walked on screen, that Melisandre was the scariest character in the show. Joffrey was a vicious brat. Ramsey is a vile idiot. Roose Bolton is a traitor and a monster. But Melisandre is a fanatic and always has been. She will do anything and she will persuade others to do anything. The horror she persuades Stannis to commit in Episode 9 wasn’t that much of a surprise.
So — major spoiler here — the big question is this: is Jon Snow dead? Will he stay dead? There are hints that he won’t and the return of Melisandre to the Wall indicates she may try to revive or heal him. But even if that happens, what then? He can’t take command of the Watch again. My speculation — and this is just speculation — is that she saves Jon and the Watch is effectively destroyed. He hides out among the wildlings and the Wall is left undefended.
It tells you something about the series that one of the best parts of the season was two characters talking. The meeting between Tyrion and Daenerys was worth the wait. Tyrion and Varys are going to have their hands full dealing with Slavers Bay. But I think they can hold the fort long enough for Dany to return, probably with another army in tow, her dragons with her and ready to return to Westeros.
I knew Cersei would be a terrible Queen but I didn’t know how bad. I almost felt bad for her during her walk of shame (almost). I suspect next season will see a bloody purge of the citadel followed by renewed war on three fronts — Dorne, the Iron Islands and the North.
I’ve said this on Twitter and I’m starting to mean it: there’s a part of me that’s actually starting to pull for the White Walkers. One of the best characters may be dead. Others are bogged down in Essos. One of my favorites did something horribly vile and is now dead. If this keeps up, there’s going to be no one left to cheer for.
I know Arya is everyone’s favorite character, but her plot didn’t really do much for me.
GRRM has been moving his chess pieces around for two books and an entire season. But I think I can see the shape of what’s to come. Feel free to tell me I’m full of it.
I think we are basically seeing the total collapse of Westeros. The entire plot has moved to prevent anyone from gaining an upper hand or uniting the realm. And now that the Watch have betrayed their Commander, I don’t think they are long for this world. I think we are going to see the White Walkers get through the wall and start sweeping down, driving wildlings, Boltons and Greyjoys before them. I think Dany’s vision of a ruined keep in Season Two is going to happen for real.
What happens after that? Maybe Jon, Dany, Tyrion and the others will drive the Walkers back. But I don’t think we’re headed toward a complete victory. I think we’re headed toward something different. Where, exactly, I don’t know. But it’s nice not to know.