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There are spoilers in this review for the show and books. Duh.

Okay hold on to your hats, I’m going to be talking a lot of spoilers and speculation in this review. For the show and for the books. I felt like a second warning was necessary. I’ll admit I’ve been iffy on this season. There were several eps I flat out hated, and the only episode I really loved was when Jon and co. fought the White Walkers and Dany and Tyrion met for the first time. All of the characters are now at the end of the journey in the books, so from here on out it is entirely new and/or possibly GRRM spoilers. I don’t have a lot of faith in them that this is a good thing, since them going off book led to things I really disliked. I think I will come back for next season, but I’m on shaky ground. I just wish the book was out already. Sigh. Previously on Game of Thrones, Cersei was arrested by the High Sparrow for the things we all know she did. That’s what happens when you put a religious zealot in power. The Tyrells also are still in jail. Jaime went to Dorne to get their daughter back, and Ellaria’s viciously wanting to start war with the Lannisters. Stannis sacrificed his daughter Shireen in order to get power from the Lord of Light. Brienne’s hanging out trying to save Sansa from the Boltons, but she has a bone to pick with Stannis over Renly. Tyrion’s now hanging out with Dany, but the Harpies attacked the group at the fighter’s pit and she flew off with her dragon Drogon. Arya’s been hanging out with the Faceless Men becoming an assassin, but she can’t let go of her identity.

I’ll start with the smaller stories. Arya is delighted to get a shot at Ser Meryn Trant, who killed her sword fighting trainer back in season one, and he is also a sadistic pedophile. So at least he really had it coming. She does kill him, making certain he knows who she is first. She is confronted by Jaqen and his sidekick the Waif at the temple and they reveal they know, and then Jaqen appears to drink a poison. Horrified, she starts to cry. The Waif then changes her face to Jaqen, and said there’s a price to pay for killing under a different face when you aren’t No One. Arya loses her sight. See, the Gods have no time for vengeance, unless it’s their own. Meanwhile Shireen’s sacrifice literally means nothing; if anything it means Stannis is getting his. His men abandon him, his wife commits suicide (RIP), and the Boltons come crashing down. He almost survives but Brienne shows up and finally gets her revenge for Renly’s murder. This hasn’t happened in the book, but it seemed likely Stannis was going to die one way or the other. I’m glad Brienne got to do it. Melisandre was already out of there early on, realizing Stannis is not the Lord of Light’s chosen after all. Or just saving her own hide. Meanwhile, the Boltons slaughter Stannis’ people, leaving Sansa a chance to escape. She puts the candle in the tower but Brienne isn’t there to see it, oops. When Ramsay’s girlfriend threatens to mutilate her, Theon breaks and tosses her to her death. Then Sansa and Theon appear to jump off the side of the wall into the deep snow. It’s unknown if they survived, my guess is yes. But how are they going to escape? It’s not like they’re far away, the Boltons can find them easily if they look! A question for next season.

GoT-S5E10-CerseiCersei confesses to sleeping with Lancel, but she flat out lies that her children are Robert’s and she didn’t kill him. I don’t blame her. Confessing about Jaime would mean the end of Tommen’s rule and could even mean his death. There is nothing Cersei loves more than her children. She would have starved to death rather than hand her kid over. In penance, the High Sparrow says she has to have a walk of shame back to the palace completely naked. It’s pretty horrible and people throw things at her, she falls once, but she does make it back. In true Cersei form she manages to keep it together in public and only fall apart once safe. I was worried this scene would end up more exploitive than it was since they haven’t exactly done good things for women this season. But I think it was pretty direct and I didn’t feel like it lingered in the wrong way. Lena Headey had a double, which people were hard on her for, but she was pregnant at the time. I don’t blame her. Now she’s back and she sees that Gregor is alive again, or … basically a Frankenstein. He’ll protect her. I have no doubt she will find a way to get her vengeance eventually, but she still is going to trial for the other things she’s accused of.

Jaime gets out with his daughter Myrcella, but Ellaria kisses her beforehand. How did no one question that? Myrcella admits she knows he’s her father and he’s glad, and they have a touching moment before she of course dies from the poison. This also didn’t happen in the books, because the Dorne plot is completely different and far superior to what we see here. It’s infuriating how terrible this storyline ended up, mostly because they cut out Arianne (see, one more time I’m going to yell about it). Dorne was by far the most disappointing storyline for me this season, because I expected so much better. I know people say too often “read the books!” But in the Dorne case, it really suffered for lack of things to do on the show. In the Arianne plot, she and the Sand Snakes were actually supporting Myrcella and wanted to put her on the Iron Throne and depose Tommen, saying women should inherit like they do in Dorne. See how much better that would have been? And empowering. But nope. We get this nonsense. Also Dany wakes up, her dragon’s too hurt to bring her back, and a dothraki army surrounds her. She drops a ring, probably as a clue. Jorah and Daario are going after her, and they’re leaving Tyrion in charge of the city with Grey Worm. Varys finally shows up just in time to help them.

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And now the most controversial death! Jon Snow gets back and Sam asks to leave. I love how the show keeps sending away certain characters right before a death, a la Davos. Speaking of Davos, Melisandre shows up (that was fast riding!) and he knows now that Shireen and Stannis are gone. Where’s he going from here? It’s hard to say. Jon is betrayed by Olly and the others and stabbed to death with them saying “For the Watch.” I knew this was coming, since it was a major ending point for the last book. Now the big chatter going around is that he isn’t dead for real, and personally, that’s how I’ve always felt. This is complete speculation, but Melisandre is there for a reason. She can bring people back to life. She just had the sacrifice of royal blood power in her, so it wouldn’t be that difficult to ask the Lord of Light to bring back Jon. Several people have been brought back in this series, so it’s not unheard of. It is very unlikely to me that it’ll go any other way, but I understand that they don’t want to come out and admit that right now. They want the audience to be upset and agonized. If Kit is coming back, they will hold that information back as long as possible, or even push his storyline to later in the season to sneak it in. I will be far more shocked if he stayed dead. There’s no other reason they would have her get back just in time for Jon to die. The question is how long it will take. And also what will happen to all of them with Jon not there. Will the Wildlings all immediately get slaughtered? The Watch won’t survive that, it’ll basically all be killing each other out.

So next season will be completely new to us book readers. We can no longer be smug. I can only speculate on what I think is coming. I think Jon will come back, if not next season than the season after. Bran’s coming back so we’ll figure out what happened with the Three Eyed Raven. Jaime will eventually have to come back, maybe in time for Cersei’s trial? In the books she begged him to come save her, and he didn’t plan on it, since they were not on good terms like they are in the show. Instead he went off with Brienne who was tricking him for Lady Stoneheart, which means nothing to people who only know the show. So he’s going far different, he’ll come back for Cersei probably. Unless Brienne still does show up and need him, and he’ll have to decide between the two women. In the books it was Brienne. In the show? Hard to say. No idea where Sansa and Theon are going, and Arya will probably become  No One for real after her blind ordeal. Tyrion has his work cut out for him in Meereen, but he’s a good ruler. I am interested enough in all of these stories to continue with the next season. I just hope they have a little more focus and actually change stories for the better, not for the worse (Sansa, Dorne).

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