Monday, June 15, 2015

Game of Thrones 5.10, "Mother's Mercy"

Yeah I broke down an hour after writing my previous post. Now I have seen it. 
Here are my full-of-spoilers for everything under the Dornish sun, unedited thoughts as I watched Game of Thrones definitely pass Martin's novels in all storylines but Sansa's and Jon's. 

I can’t withstand the pressure! I can’t visit any A Song of Ice and Fire website without risking spoilage. I’ll just have to live with it. Here goes…DA-da – da-da-DA-dum…hope I’m not going to regret it. The annoying thing is, that when I do get spoiled, I still can’t be sure I’m actually seeing something that will go down in The Winds of Winter. But maybe that’s a good thing – it will make reading the novel, if it is ever published, still a fresh experience, but tainted ever so slightly by having crossed into its timeline by TV show.
What the heck was that snake in the opening credits?! Oh, Dorne. A viper, of course. Never noticed, I guess it’s been in the opening credits all season.
Nice visual of melting icicles; Melisandre’s confidence that the Lord of Light is gifting her (for sacrificing Shireen last week) – but then Stannis learns that half his armed forces have deserted. Look on Melisandre’s face: priceless. Wait, what? Selyse hanged herself!? What about her devotion to the Red God? Melisandre rides out of camp..? Hahaha, everything bad that can happen to Stannis happens in the space of a couple of minutes. Should be enough to make any man lose a little hope, but he just decides to go to Winterfell anyway. So I guess it doesn’t matter that he lost half his force? Confusing. There should have been a discussion with his generals or whatever, to sell the idea that he can still have a chance with half his army. Sloppy writing.
Jon and Sam have a chat in the gloom of Jon’s solace (or whatever that room is). It’s a slow scene, but well-acted. Sam asks to be sent to Oldtown to become the new maester! I guess it makes sense to have Sam make this suggestions (as opposed to being Jon Snow’s order, as in the books) and now we know that Oldtown/The Citadel is, most likely, vital to the endgame. Since it’s in, I mean. Sam promises to come back…and then he leaves with Gilly and the baby. Jon looks so forlorn.
Oy, Stannis marches – no horses in sight – lovely images of flapping banners, armor…and Winterfell is in sight… wow. Amazing how fast plot can move when not being written by George RR Martin.
In the Winterfell courtyard, the Boltons seem to prepare defenses – I’m not sure, it doesn’t look as if they are entirely aware of Stannis’ presence. Sansa walks around looking sad.
Pod tells Brienne that Stannis is coming…oh no, she’s not going to kill him, is she? Now I have a feeling Stannis will die. Damn. Sansa goes into the tower to light the candle. Let’s hope Brienne sees it.
Looks like the Boltons were prepared after all; they come out to face Stannis long before he can initiate his planned siege of Winterfell. Oh my. Oh my! Oh myyyyy! Holy. No! I must stop watching this. *Continues watching* Is Stannis meeting his doom? He has that look of defeat about him.
And battle commences outside Winterfell while Sansa watches. Wow! Two seconds later, the battle is apparently over. Great. This is like season 1 all over again.
Stannis is still walking, using his sword as a crutch. He…lost?!!! Stannis attacked by two random dudes. I guess now Brienne’s going to show up. Stannis defeats the two characters. Stannis bleeds. Oh yes, here we go. Brienne meets Stannis! BRIENNE OF TARTH MEETS STANNIS BARATHEON!!!! How does she suddenly know Renly was killed by blood magic? She draws her blade…sentences him to die…she….KILLS HIM. Or at least, that’s what the show wants me to believe. I can’t believe I just witnessed this.
Ramsay walks around killing the wounded after the battle. The BOLTONS WON!!! What the hell. I really didn’t expect that. I expected and have always expected Stannis to win Winterfell. I guess it kind of makes sense that it went this way.
Sansa tries to escape (she began her escape before the battle, and now the battle is over and she’s like moved twenty feet). Myranda stops her, threatening her with losing body parts and stuff. Sansa is rescued by Theon and throws Myranda down into the courtyard to her death! The gates are opened and Ramsay returns, and excitement obviously builds because it’s now or never for freaking both of them. Over the walls they go? That’s an impossible jump, people. Holding hands and stuff. What the hell. Can’t believe I saw either.
To Braavos we go, and the ever less charismatic Ser Meryn Trant. He’s so going to get it. Come on Arya, hurry up. No need to see a grown man hit children, that’s just excess. Arya has learned to change her face! Arya stabs him in the eye – and a lot of other body parts. Good on him. “You were the first person on my list, you know.” Arya is badass! But she says she is “Arya of House Stark” and he is “no one, nothing”. That kind of sounds the wrong way around kind of?
After the deed, she goes to place the face she borrowed back in the chamber of faces. H’ghar tells her she has taken the wrong life, the waif says she’s not ready and now I guess she will be blinded. “A girl stole from the Many-Faced God”, Jaqen says, and …drinks poison and dies? What? He took his life to repay for Arya’s killing of Ser Meryn? Oh wait, it was just a face on someone else. I don’t understand, this is so esoteric. The guy who poisoned himself is not Jaqen yet speaks with his voice, and then she pulls off a lot of faces off that corpse and finds her own face too? I thought the masks belonged to dead people only? Was it a vision? It reminded me a little of Luke Skywalker’s trial on Dagobah where he found his own face in Vader’s mask. AND Arya’s blind. At least those four seconds felt like they were from the book.
Dorne next. Sunshine and brightness, for the first time really in the episode. Elsewise it has been dark, gloomy, or overcast. Jaime and Bronn leave, with his daughter – Myrcella – and Tristane Martell in a ship. Nikolaj has been so underused this season, but here, with his chat with Myrcella, he shows how good an actor he is. Love his speech about not choosing who you love. He is trying to tell her he is her father. It seems she understands. She takes his hand, saying that she knows. It’s a beautiful scene in its own way. And she’s GLAD JAIME IS HER FATHER? What the heck is THIS now? And how will this affect SER JAIME LANNISTER who suddenly has all kinds of feels for his daughter?!?!??! SHE IS BLEEDING FROM HER NOSE. SHE IS BLEEDING PEOPLE. HOLY HELL SHE HAS BEEN POISONED HASN’T SHE. And Ellaria Sand is watching! And ALSO BLEEDING FROM HER NOSE? Now I…what? What the hell? She takes the antidote. Now we know Ellaria and the three Sand Snakes poisoned Myrcella all right, but.. I don’t want Myrcella to die! I like the character, I like the actress, and … this means the Dornish plot really didn’t go anywhere at all. Jaime’s detour…oh my, all that just to write Myrcella out of the show?
Tyrion sitting in the throne room. Bored. Grey Worm still alive and none too happy with Ser Jorah’s presence. TYRION SPEAKS VALYRIAN? Oh, he’s learning it? Tyrion and Jorah quarrel. “If I ever kill you, your eyes will be wide open,” Jorah warns Tyrion. Tyrion wants to join Daario and Jorah on the quest to find Daenerys (‘expedition’, Daario calls it) – Daario says Tyrion should stay in Meereen and keep the city in check. Grey Worm wants to go, Missandei says he’s too weak. What a long-winded scene to get to the point! “The Queen trusts no one more than Missandei,” Daario says. Jorah  the Andal and Daario, then, are going out to find Dany, and Tyrion remains in Meereen with Missandei and Grey Worm. Well. Well well. Now what? Is this what we’re going to see in book six? Martin did say something about Tyrion and Dany not necessarily VARYS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! What the heck.
Tyrion and Varys are going to rule Meereen. Well, what can I say other than WHaaaaAt? Still, the two actors together – Peter and Conleth – it’s good, every line dripping with sarcasm.
Dany and Drogon somewhere in what looks like Westeros but I suppose they are in Essos. Drogon surrounded by a lot of bones. She climbs the dragon – so awkward – and backwards – but I guess she has to learn to ride him, so in that sense, okay I’m fine with this. But why is Drogon so lazy all of a sudden? “No food”, she says but it certainly looks like Drogon has eaten a farm’s worth of animals. Dany walks off. All by her lonesome. There’s just no “Essos”-feel to this location shoot. I half expect her to see Winterfell on the horizon. Why doesn’t she know where she is, anyway? Did she fall asleep during the flight?
Dothraki riders! So this is also endgame-stuff. Good (I hope). Why does she drop that ring? How could she avoid hearing them coming from a mile away? Thye are like fifty thousand riders. What a weird scene. All those Dothraki riding circles around her. Did someone order them all to “ride in circles, boys!”?
Finally, Cersei. She looks properly broken now, but that gleam in her eyes – she has a plan. She is brought to the High Sparrow to confess her sins. The way Lena Headey acts here tells me Cersei is playing a game; and when she doesn’t admit to Jaime being one of her lovers, we know she isn’t broken. Love that look on her face when the High Sparrow says that there still will be a trial – and that seems to almost break her. She begs to see her son. The High Sparrow permits her to return to the Red Keep. “The mother’s mercy,” indeed. Oh man, I almost can’t wait to see if we’ll meet Lady Stoneheart today. The episode title kind of suggests it. The High Sparrow says that she has to atone first, though – here comes the walk of shame! Is that Lena Heady standing naked there, or do they have a body stunt double? And why do I care? And is that nun a man? And why do I care?
I like that they linger on the scene where she gets her hair cut off; it is such a vital character moment. She gets to keep more of her hair than she did in the books, though.
And she gets to keep her clothes? Lots of people come to look, even so. Oh, aha. She does have to go naked through the streets. Love the shot of her seeing the Red Keep in the distance, her goal. So…nude.  I can’t imagine what it must feel like to walk naked through a whole city of spectators, but I’m sure I wouldn’t enjoy it overly much. “Shame, shame, shame,” we get it. Still, Cersei looks pretty proud where she walks, strong, even, until people begin calling her names (“Whore”), and you can see on her face how she fights to keep her mask. Did someone say “Yo, bitch”?! She is spat on, as well. Still, she is impressively strong, but as the walk just goes on and on, you can see her break more and more, what a scene people. What an actress. And still so far to the Red Keep. Man, this is a well-made scene that just begs you to feel with Cersei Lannister. Breathtaking, in its own macabre way. When she finally reaches the Keep, I feel relieved. Uncle Kevan and Qyburn await her. And Pycelle. Weird shot of Pycelle there. Qyburn is the only one to show compassion. New Kingsguard!! Ser Robert STROOONG! Wow, cool. He will not speak until all Cersei’s enemies are dead or driven from the realm. Cool.
Davos and Jon! Quarrel. The gates open…music plays…Melisandre arrives! Davos looks worried. Oh man, this episode is so full of … new stuff. Or different stuff. Melisandre comes with defeat all over her face, and now the Night’s Watch is on its own again, I guess. Against the Boltons to the south, and the Others to the north. What can save them now? Only dragons, I assume. Olly comes to pick up Jon, that someone’s arrived with news of where Benjen Stark is! Now I don’t expect to see Benjen after all. It’s STABBING TIME!!!
I’m so glad I didn’t have to see BENJEN’s return to the story! That was what I was worried about the most before watching today. It was a ruse, both to us book readers, and to Jon himself. They used Benjen to lure him out, then stab him in the guts! Nice. I liked being fooled on this one. Olly gets in a stab, as well, of course, so heavily telegraphed throughout the season. “For the Watch,” indeed. I’m also glad they stripped the scene down to its essence, removing the silliness with the giant and the silly Baratheon knights. So, now what? Jon lies there dead as fuck with blood leaking heavily – they don’t DARE end the season on that note. That’s a huge risk…
They END THE SEASON THERE. Man, I am sure the Internet is already ablaze. Surely people will stop watching now that the only truly white hero of the show is well and truly dead? What an incredibly stupid decision! I would rather spoil that he wargs into Ghost than keeping people hanging for the next year. And no Lady Stoneheart. Then I guess that part of the books just isn’t important to the end game.
All right, then. All in all, not the strongest bookending episode, but still one that had my feelings and thoughts all over the place; ending with Jon Snow dead is the riskiest thing D&D have done with the series in my opinion and might just lead to the apocalypse.
Stannis presumably dead (I don’t think he is, though – we never got to see), Theon and Sansa presumably dead (how could they survive that drop lol)…so much to take in and ponder.
It is time to hit the web and see what the rest of the world thought. It’s going to be fun. And a whole year of waiting for the next season. Fortunately, we’ll have Star Wars VII in the meantime, a couple of fantasy video games, and hopefully The Winds of Winter. What a ride this season was, in hindsight – from a slow, boring gait to full gallop to… full stop? I am really worried for the show’s success next year with no promise to the audience that Jon will survive the betrayal. Right.
So many cliffhangers this year. Come on George, get that book in our hands! I wants it now more than evers!!!

1 comment:

  1. Nearly 10 years since a feast for crows now (8 years of which he knew about the hbo series for)...for someone whose job it is to write and release have written and released just one book in a decade...I just have no words. I expected the show to spoil ADOS but for it to spoil twow as well...yikes.