Everyone, catch your breath. Maybe a glass of water? Depending on when you. A perfectly normal response to extreme (televisual) trauma. Rest assured, non- book- readers, that the mega- stabbing of Jon Snow was the last Big Terrible Moment that the George- R.- R.- Martinized among us knew was coming.
The two predominant theories are that Melisandre will raise him with that Lord- of- Light mojo (which we know is possible thanks to Thoros of Myr. After all, the show has been hinting quite heavily in the direction of a Night. The former were genuinely unexpected events (however much sense they made in retrospect), but the latter, however shocking, haven. This finale offered an awful lot of the former and not much of the latter. Before discussing the many, many terrible things that happened this episode, let me get the small number of non- terrible things out of the way. First, Sam let Jon know that he had become unexpectedly sexually active, and that having learned to enjoy breaking his Night.
Of course, moments later his last friend at the Wall was gone, and we now know how that turned out. At Winterfell, Theon finally.
Two quibbles: First, when Sansa purloined that corkscrew a few episodes back, I assumed it was so she could go all Patricia Arquette on James Gandolfini in True Romance, except with Ramsay as the cork getting screwed. Instead, she used it to open a door? Supremely disappointing.
Second, even though it turned out well, the scene with bow- happy Myranda represented Game of Thrones at its worst. It is perhaps worth noting here that a remarkable proportion of the characters that Benioff and Weiss have invented or expanded for the show are sadists (Ramsay, Locke, Myranda, Meryn Trant) or female victims of horrific violence (Ros, Talisa). Enough. Which brings us to Meereen, where we finally had a nice moment uncluttered by imminent stabbings or threats of torture.
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Things started out a little unpromisingly, with the proposal of an awfully dubious ruling triumvirate (Grey Worm, Missandei, and Tyrion) and what looked like a truly mirthless buddy road comedy (Jorah and Daario). But then Varys appeared, and suddenly the Meereenese sun offered warmth as well as heat. A moment as full of sly joy as this one could make up for a lot of Thronesian horror. Just not as much as this episode doled out. Begin with Stannis. Just two episodes ago, he was among the most likable characters on the show, and certainly near the top of the more plausible prospects to bring peace and justice to Westeros.
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Then, last week, in a radical departure from his previously expressed beliefs, he hastily burnt his daughter to death for a red priestess who has now been revealed to be a quack. Tonight, his men abandoned him, and his wife was hanged (or hanged herself? It felt as though they were implying the latter, but given the height and the knot it seemed like an improbable suicide), and he and his shattered army were subsequently slaughtered by Boltons.
This arc might have worked. But like several plotlines this season (e. Faith Militant), it was squeezed to the point where it lost both moral weight and narrative coherence. Yes, Brienne finally got vengeance for Renly by killing his big brother. And more importantly, she once again failed her vow to Lady Catelyn to protect the Stark daughters. Sansa lit her candle and .
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Again, maybe this is an evolution that could have been pulled off over time. But this new psycho version of Arya felt utterly unearned. Good times. Regular readers of the roundtable will know that I. The whole Jaime- Bronn trip was occasioned by the idea that Ellaria Sand wanted to kill Myrcella to avenge Oberyn and foment war between Dorne and the Lannisters. And now, after an embarrassingly easy infiltration of the Water Gardens, a cellblock striptease, and the utterly absurd pardoning of a clearly unrepentant Ellaria (Prince Doran is obviously not the one tasked with getting red- wine stains out of his rugs), that. Cue the inevitable nosebleed and subsequent demise. For a moment it appeared that Ellaria might die too, giving her life for her vengeance.
But no, not even that. She and the Sand Snakes are the worst.
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