Spoilers abound: We’ll be talking about Season 5 of GoT in it’s entirety, so there are spoilers through the season finale. Since Season 5 completely catches us up with the books, we’ll also be talking about fan theories and Book 6 previews.
The final episode of Game of Thrones Season 5 aired on Sunday, which is pivotal for one major reason outside of all the crazy things that happened in the episode: We’re officially out of source material. I know most of the television series fans don’t really pay attention to what is going on with the books, so let me help you navigate the world, figure out where the status of everything is, and provide some insight into what we might see in the next book and next season.
Let’s start by addressing some of our pawns and what they did and where they ended up this season:
– Jon Snow, Knower of No-Thing
What a season for Snow! I think his character development was a little bit understated, perhaps because so many other dramatic things were happening in other various plots on the show. He never really had the opportunity as Commander of the Knight’s Watch to just take things as they came or find the cruise control setting- he’s had to make perilous, polarizing decisions frantically all season. He’s also one of the few characters who can really see the forest for the trees. Winter is coming, guys, and it doesn’t matter if you’re a wildling or a lord or a fucking squirrel, you are going to die if the White Walkers have their way.
Unfortunately for our beloved Jon, there aren’t very many people who share his view. Stannis is kinda busy with his plans for domination of the North and doesn’t really share Jonny-boy’s concern for you know, certain death at the hands of crazy zombie monsters. Whatevs. Even more unfortunately, his posse turned on him during the finale and he got stabbed. A lot.
So, big question. Is Jon Snow alive? Answer: we do not know. His death is left ambiguous in the books. Doesn’t seem very likely, but you have to ask yourself if we actually saw him DIE on the screen. Furthermore, is death a certain, immutable state in this show? There are some good arguments either way. Obviously, the dead GENERALLY do not come back to life, but there have been instances where people were put into situations where they should have died, like Danerys surviving a night in Drogo’s burning funeral pyre, and that one gang Arya ran into a few seasons back that worshiped the Lord of Light and death was not certain.
Side question: how do I always end up reviewing the shows where people are in these weird Schrodinger’s Cat scenarios? Can nobody die for real on shows I review?!
For The North: Sansa, Boltons, and Stannis the Mannis
This was a very confusing plot for readers of the book. You see, in the book Sansa does not go to the North at this point in time. No North travel, no marriage to Ramsey, do not pass Go or collect $200. In the book, the Boltons hatch a plan to produce a fake Arya Stark, figuring that nobody knows where the real one is anyway and what she looks like. Fake Arya marries Ramsay and he’s able to elevate his title to Warden of the North by marrying the only visible Stark heir (since Sansa is also MIA at this point.) Sansa is off with Littlefinger doing completely different things, which we won’t go into in case the show decides to go into it next season.
So, Sansa going to the North and marrying Ramsay and all that was kind of surprising. I wasn’t such a fan of the plot, honestly. I just feel like the show tries too hard to maximize shock value with everything Ramsay does, so it gets boring fast. And Theon/Reek added nothing to the plot here. At the end of the finale, Theon and Sansa appear to escape the castle,and we are left with a very literal cliffhanger.
At the end of the season, Stannis and his army do indeed march on the North. And get squashed. And Stannis might have died. Rumoredly the actor playing Stannis will not be returning to the show. However, in a Winds of Winter preview chapter, we learn that Stannis was well aware in advance that the battle might not go so smoothly, so maybe he has some kind of trick up his sleeve, or maybe the Lord of Light is his bff and lets him survive or come back to life. Personally, I don’t number him among the dead just yet.
Mother of Dragons
In the books, Danerys’ “conqueror of lands” plotline has had a lot of other exciting stuff to contend with, since she just kind of parks it in Meereen for a few books. However, in the show I had a much deeper appreciation for her story. She is learning, hands-on, how to govern people and is growing up a lot in the process. Also it’s pretty rad that Tyrion joined her and thank heavens that little man hasn’t died yet, because he’s far and away my favorite character on the show. Does she have a shot at the Iron Throne? We’ll just have to see, but I think she might! If she can find her way back home, that is.
The Dorne Conspiracy
Okay, who is this bitch and why do we care again?
I don’t know, but she’s dead now so it doesn’t matter.
I jest. This is of course Myrcella Baratheon, the tiny girl that several seasons ago Cersei Lannister sent off to Dorne at such a young age. She’s all grown up now, and Jamie attempted to retrieve her from Dorne this season, although hit a few snags. One of which was her being poisoned right before she left an apparently dying/falling gravely ill on the voyage home. Let’s hope that Bronn snagged some more of that antidote before he left the dock…
This was a fairy meaningless subplot to me. Dorne isn’t in competition for the Iron Throne and the Dornish have more or less been side characters until this season. Why would I care? Also, Myrcella doesn’t die in the books, per the wikis I read, so that’s going to be kind of interesting in the future.
Back at King’s Landing…
I have to say, I enjoyed Cersei getting what was coming to her. Acting all righteous for the sake of power and assuming that judgement would certainly never be passed on the Queen Mother. Take that, Cersei!
I…don’t really know if I have much more to say here, honestly. The wiki notes (yeah, I haven’t finished reading the books ALL the way through yet) do point out that in the books, Cersei appears to become more like her deceased husband every day. She drinks in great excess, is constantly in a foul mood and accuses the servants of shrinking her clothes (not realizing the weight she is putting on from stress.)
Oysters, Clams, and Cockles
So Arya finally made it to Braavos. I was…enthralled but kind of let down by this part of the series. The House of Black and White, where Arya serves the Many-Faced God, is certainly shrouded in mystery, but since we’re seeing it through her eyes I guess we don’t really understand everything quite yet. Especially now that she doesn’t have eyes. Yeah, so, what’s up with THAT?
This seems to have played out much better in the books. Arya’s blindness is caused by a milk she drinks every night, and is actually a part of her training (unbeknownst to her.) Heightening her senses is very important in order to be a Faceless Man, and Arya is actually kind of extra special because…she may have the ability to warg into other things/people nearby. The book doesn’t really go into it all that much, but there are some strong implications about it.
Not sure if anyone else noticed this, but Hodor, Bran, and Rickon got the entire season off. I guess they’ll be back next season, but who’s interested in them at this point? My interest was waning in their plot even when they were on the show.
I have spent…more time than I’d like to admit reading about theories for A Song Of Ice and Fire. There are a lot of crazy and out-there theories, and some that make a lot of sense. I wanted to share a few, since fans of the series don’t have quite the same source material to review. I stress, these are not spoilers, because they are not confirmed. They are merely fan theories.
– R+L=J: If you have read any fan plot theories at all, you’re probably familiar with this one, because it’s the biggest theory out there. Simply put, it’s this: Jon Snow is not actually Ned Stark’s bastard child, but instead the child of Rhaegar Targaryen and Lyanna Stark. Ned found him when he and Robert went to slay the Mad King, and Ned brought the child home with him. This makes a lot of sense to me. And if Jon is actually a Targ, that means he has a better claim to the throne than pretty much anyone out there right now.
– The Earth is Round: Geography in this world always leaves me scratching my head a little bit, but I’d never given much thought to the shape of the map of the world until after reading this theory. There is a prophecy given to Daenerys by Quaithe: “To reach the west you must go east. To go forward you must go back and to touch the light you must pass beneath the shadow.” What if in order to fulfill the prophecy, Daenerys reaches Westeros by heading east instead of crossing the Narrow Sea to the west? It’s food for thought.
– The Smelly Secret of Dragonglass: Okay, yes, this one is a bit out there. There is a fan theory that Dragonglass, that special stuff that seems to kill the White Walkers dead, is actually…dragon poo? The theory details that dragons are related to firewyrms, and that both dragons and firewyrms can produce this obsidian-like material when rocks or dirt are mixed into their digestive process.
– Benjen is Daario: This is one of the funnier theories that unfortunately doesn’t translate well on TV (most unfortunately.) Benjen Stark and Daario Naharis have very similar physical descriptions in the books, except that Daario has purple hair (an element not chosen for his television character, I guess.) Some fans speculate that Benjen did not ride for the wall but instead noped his way out of Westeros, sailed the sea, dyed his hair purple and joined Danerys’ crew. Ahhh, Reddit.
Well, until next season, guys.