Game of Thrones Season Five Review

Title: Game of Thrones Season 5
Genre: Fantasy/Drama
Starring: Peter Dinklage,
Lena Headey,
Emilia Clarke,
Kit Harington,
Sophie Turner,
No. Of Episodes: 10 Episodes
Network: USA: HBO
UK: Sky Atlantic

Another year and another season of Game of Thrones is over and done with. Season Five has been one of the most eventful in the shows history and has featured some of its best moments, and also some of its most controversial moments.

Like most of you I’ve been there every step of the way and here is my break down and thoughts on the season now it is over and done with.

Note: From this point on the article will feature constant spoilers, if you’ve yet to finish the show, go home, finish the show, then come back.

Assessing the season as a whole is a difficult task so to do that I have broken the show down into its many different plot points and given my thoughts on each.


Jon Snow and The Wall

Lets get the big one out of the way first. The end of Season Five left fans in shock- the Julius Caesar inspired murder of Jon Snow at the hands of his fellow night’s watchmen was perhaps the most devastating ending to an episode to date.

Many fans are still in denial, coming up with theories which involve Snow coming back to life, but that’s for another article (my predictions for Season Six, keep an eye out…) the fact of the matter, for the time being anyway, is that Jon Snow is dead. Now some may say that perhaps he may somehow miraculously survive but to me, he looked pretty much done for.

But did the show get it right killing off one of their most beloved characters? Prior to this season I wouldn’t have flickered an eyelid if Snow had been killed off. For me the show was taking a long time to develop the plot at the wall and despite it having some nice battle sequences, from a character point of view it never drew me in. This season however that has totally flipped on its head and Snow has arguably been the most exciting part of the show. The battle between the Wildlings and the Night’s Watch at the end of Episode 8 was one of the best moments of the season, and the show to date, and left fans wanting to see even more of the much discussed walkers.

From a logical point of view Snow’s murder didn’t make all that much sense, yes it was understandable that the Night’s Watch were angry that he had betrayed them but had he just approached them and said something along the lines of ‘seriously guys, there is a crazy army of zombies coming, I’ve seen them with my own eyes and we should probably go and kill them now whilst we know how and whilst they’re not too big’ however all Snow did was go and sit in his office brooding over the matter, effectively signing his own death sentence.

By killing Snow off however the show has reiterated what we already knew- that they are not afraid to kill off our favourite characters. The murder also opens up all kinds of doors in terms of the battle against the White Walkers. Season Six promises to be an interesting ride that’s for sure.


Daenerys Targaryen and Meereen

Daenerys, like Jon Snow has always been one of the most beloved characters on the show and her story line provided us with some of the shows most iconic moments to date. The escalating problems in Meereen have moved her story along nicely and introduced us to a side of Daenerys we hadn’t seen as of yet.

Her meeting with Tyrion give fans the moment they had been waiting for for the last 4 years. Their exchange proved witty and entertaining and the partnership of the two promises to be one of the best in the history of the show.

Her problems in Meereen have seen her going toe to toe with the Sons of Harpey, a group of fanatical masked-men hell bent on overthrowing her. Their attempted murder of her at the end of Episode 9 gave the show perhaps its most uplifting moment yet- Daenerys being saved by the dragon and flying off into the distance on him. That being said it was a bit silly that she left her friends behind in the arena, yet somehow come the next episode they were all fine.

For me though one of the more interesting parts of the season was seeing her wrestle with the power she had. The show flirted with the idea of all Targaryen’s being mad by default, that it is her destiny to end up like the Mad King. I’d like to see this develop more in the coming years- her inability to deal with situations this season saw her burn one man alive already and it’s a side to her character that has yet to be explored.

The on-going relationship between her and Jorah still remains enjoyable despite running five seasons and with him now being infected by Greyscale the show could throw a few spanners in the works.


Arya Stark and Braavos

Arya has always been one of the show’s best characters and her fate felt very uncertain at the end of Season Four.

At the start of the season she arrived in Braavos hoping to be trained in the ways of the faceless assassins by Jagen H’ghar, whose brief appearance in Season Two still remains as one of the show’s most memorable moments.

So having these two together looked to be one of the show’s most interesting narrative threads, right? Well unfortunately Arya’s time in Braavos was, for the first nine episodes at least, rather underwhelming.

Sure at first it was cool seeing Arya trying to understand the ways of the faceless gods but it soon become a bit too cryptic for its own good and as the season carried on it soon began to drag.

Thankfully the show mixed it up a little bit in the last episode with Arya being blinded by Jagen H’ghar for killing the wrong person. No news yet on whether this is going to be permanent but it promises to at least make this season feel more relevant in Season Six.


Sansa Stark and Ramsay

The plot point that perhaps brought us the most shocking moment of the show so far was the one involving Sansa Stark and Ramsey Bolton.

For the last few seasons Ramsay has been one of the shows most detestable and twisted characters on the show. His systematic torture and ultimate castration of Theon Greyjoy was one of the show’s most horrific twists to date and this season he even managed to top this.

His rape of Sansa Stark on their wedding night was one of the most uncomfortable sequences in the history of the show and solidified Ramsay as the shows leading villain. Much has been said about the sequence, and whilst it has certainly left a bad taste in the mouth of many fans it is undeniable that it will make the inevitable murder of Ramsay even sweeter.


Cersei and King’s Landing.

Game of Thrones has added a new element to the show this season in the form of religion. The arrival of the High Sparrow and the Faith Militant has really spiced things up in King’s Landing this season and has proved one of the show’s most interesting story lines.

The much discussed walk of shame in the season’s final episode was one of the show’s most shocking moments and it was a moment that really highlighted just how powerful the show can be. Cersei has been one of the most loathed characters on the show in recent years and it seemed unlikely that there would ever be a way we could feel for her. However all that changed this season when the High Sparrow took charge of King’s Landing and decided to punish her for her crimes and sexual deviance.

The High Sparrow is now pretty much in charge of King’s Landing, with Margery also locked up and Tomin proving to be the most useless king of all time Season Six could be one of the most exciting yet for King’s Landing and the Iron Throne.


The Martells and Dorne

Oberyn Martell was one of the coolest characters in the history of the show and the his untimely death left fans wanted more. So when it was announced that we were going to visit his home land of Dorne in the fifth season fans were understandably very excited.

However like the Arya story line the events in Dorne have been badly paced and never really picked up until the final few episodes. Oberyn’s family lacked his charisma and despite some interesting discussions the plot never really thickened until the final episode. The murder of Myrcella at the hands of the sand sisters promises anything but peace in the coming season.


Stannis Baratheon

Unless you see a character die on screen, don’t presume that they’re dead. That has been what I’ve been telling myself since Season Five finished last week. Stanis has always been one of the most entertaining characters in the show and this season his deluded quest for the throne took centre stage.

Things haven’t gone too well for Stannis this season and his decision to sacrifice his own daughter Shireen was one of the shows most heartbreaking moments. The following episode saw the suicide of his wife and the defeat of his army at the hands of Ramsay Bolton’s army, following ultimately to Stannis’ presumed murder at the hands of Brienne.

The reason I hope this isn’t the end of Stannis is because one, he has a real presence to his character and is always good to watch and two, it would be a change for the show to do a redemptive story line and Stannis, in his final moments showed signs of turning things around. Seeing him react to the murder of Jon Snow could also prove innocent, plus wouldn’t it make a nice change for a character to have actually shown mercy for once?


Final Verdict

On the whole Game of Thrones Season Five really delivered. The last three episodes in particular were some of the best in the history of the show and in true Game of Thrones fashion the ending has only left fans asking for more.

Liam Hoofe@LiamHoofe.


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