Game Of Thrones Episode 5.10 “Mother’s Mercy” (Season Finale)
Directed by David Nutter
Written by David Benioff & D.B. Weiss
Starring Emilia Clarke, Peter Dinklage, Nikolaj Coster-Waldau, Lena Headey, Aidan Gillen, Kit Harington, Natalie Dormer, Sophie Turner, Dean-Charles Chapman, Jonathan Pryce HBO
Air date: Sunday, June 14, 2015, 9pm
Spoilers ahead for Season 5 of Game Of Thrones, and a recap of Episodes 5.9 and 5.10.
Remember back in Episode 8 when shit got real when the White Walkers showed up at the Wildling camp, killed tons of people, and then rose them from the dead to be a part of their undead army? Ok, well, that was shit getting real on a supernatural level. On last week’s Game Of Thrones, Episode 5.9 “The Dance Of Dragons,” it got real on an emotional level. “King” Stannis finally agreed to let Melisandre sacrifice his only child — his lovable, sweet daughter Shireen — to the Lord of Light so he’d have the means to continue on to Winterfell so he can defeat Roose Bolton. We had to watch in horror as poor young Shireen realized her fate and called out to her parents for help as she burned at the stake, but her cries fell on deaf ears. Over in Meereen, Daenerys once again came under attack by the Sons of the Harpy, who infiltrated the stands at the Daznak’s Pit, slaughtering the spectators and taking aim at their new ruler. Dany and her council barely escaped with the lives thanks to the return of Drogon, the large of Dany’s dragon’s who’s been out flying free for a long time now as his siblings stay chained beneath the The Great Pyramid.
Those were the two big stories from last week, but we also saw Jaime in Dorne getting a pardon, with Prince Doran agreeing to let him take Myrcella back to King’s Landing, along with her betroth betrothed Prince Trystane. At the Wall, Jon Snow returned with the Wildlings and much to everyone’s surprise, they actually let them all in. In Braavos, Arya hit the docks as her alias Lanna, where she was to assassinate the Thin Man; instead, she spots Meryn Trant, one of the names on her “list” and follows him instead.
This week’s episode is the Season 5 Finale, so going in, we all know that something is going to go down — and in fact, many things do.
Game Of Thrones Episode 5.10 “Mother’s Mercy” opens with the snow melting around Stannis’ camp, with the red witch Melisandre claiming that the Lord Of Light has come through for them and that she sees Roose Bolton’s defeat. It seems that Stannis’ grave sacrifice to the god has worked. Except, wait, it hasn’t! His captain says that half the men deserted in the middle of the night. Even worse, Stannis’ wife Selyse has hanged herself, assumingly greatly distraught over the death of her daughter. Stannis is then told that Melisandre was just then seen riding out of camp. That’s right, she’s making a quick getaway after leading Stannis to this point, and with him losing so much. There was no reason for Stannis to pursue the Kingship; he was a Lord on his own and this war has done nothing but slowly destroy him.
But go forward he must. Stannis commands his army to march on to Winterfell to face the Boltons. For some reason, the self-proclaimed king of Westeros truly thought he was about to lay siege to the former Stark abode, even though two nights before 20 Bolton men (led by Ramsay) infiltrated Stannis’ camp, burning their stores and slaying their horses. The Boltons know you’re coming, Stannis! And they are ready for you. When Stannis’ troops arrive to Winterfell, the Bolton forces are waiting for him, outnumbering him. Stannis seems to know he’s already defeated, but he unsheathes his sword and fights like the soldier he is.
As the battle in the North wages outside the walls of Winterfell, inside, Sansa makes use of that corkscrew thing she stole a few episodes ago and breaks out of her room. She set on making it to the top of the broken tower so she can light the candle in the window to signal for help. Nearby, Podric, who had seen Stannis’ troops approaching, warns Brienne, who is still watching for Sansa’s signal. At first it seems that since there’s a battle coming, perhaps she will move in to save Sansa with or without a signal. But as it turns out, she goes to find Stannis himself — of course, the second she stops watching the tower, we see the candle lit in the distance. Oh please go back and see it!!!!
But nope, Brienne finds Stannis in the woods amongst his dead and dying soldiers, still fighting off his attackers. But he is beaten. Brienne reveals her identity — she was a member of the Kingsguard for his brother Renly, who he conspired to kill. She accused Stannis of murdering his brother Renly with blood magic and he admits to it. She then sentences him to die for his crime. He has no last words and tells her to do her duty. She swings her sword, presumably killing Stannis (but we don’t see it on camera). This might be end of the Baratheon bloodline, now that Stannis and his family are dead, as are all of King Robert’s bastards were killed, although Gendry — King Robert’s eldest bastard — was last seen alive, escaping from Stannis’ Dragonstone via rowboat (thanks to the help of Ser Davos), but his journey back to King’s Landing didn’t seem promising (he can’t swim and had never been in a rowboat).
In the aftermath of the battle, Ramsay Bolton is on the battlefield killing off — with pleasure — the wounded. “Let’s head back, my wife must be lonely,” he says maniacally. Back outside Winterfell, Sansa is caught returning from the tower by Ramsay’s crazy jealous and equally sadist girlfriend Myranda, who points an arrow at the Stark girl. But Sansa is not afraid. She’d rather die now than have Ramsay remove her piece by piece like he did with Theon, aka Reek, who meekly stands beside Myranda. But Myranda means to torture Sansa too, and get rid of her only after she’s given Ramsay the heirs to Winterfell that he needs. As the two young women go back and forth, Reek seems conflicted. Will he finally help Sansa and redeem himself? YES, YES HE WILL! In a total Return of the Jedi moment, Reek pushes that bytch Myranda over the wall to her death (bye, asshole!!!!). Damn, that was satisfying, although it would have been so much better had Myranda been tied to a cross and cut up like Reek was. But, no time for that — it’s time to escape! Sansa and Reek run to the end of the wall, hold hands, and jump — I’m guessing there’s water down there (let’s hope — we need this team-up for Season 6).
Damn, that was exciting. But would you believe there’s MORE?????
In Braavos, that prick Meryn Trant is back at the brothel tormenting some frightened young girls. He’s beating them with a switch, one of whom has long hair obscuring her face, but she seems resistant to the pain, unlike the others. We know who this is!!!!! It’s Arya Stark disguised, but she pulls off her face mask to reveal herself as she jumps on top of Trant, stabbing him in the eyes and chests, then stuffing a rag into his mouth so he couldn’t speak. “You were the first person on my list, you know?” she tells him, after she stabbing him several time. She reveals that she is Arya Stark. “You know who you are?,” she asks him. “You’re no one,” she says, and then she slits his throat. Afterwards, we see Arya in the Faceless Men chamber at the House Of Black and White returning the mask she stole. Her mentor Jaqen H’ghar finds her and tells her that the man was not hers to kill; she was to kill another (the Thin Man). He says that only death can pay for life. We thinks he’s about to kill her, but instead he drinks something seemingly falls down dead. Arya cries for Jaqen, but then we see him appear behind her. She starts pulling the faces off of the corpse on the ground. There are many, with the last face being her own. Her vision begins to blur and her eyes blacken and she can’t see, as she calls out to know what’s happening to her.
Back at Castle Black, Jon Snow recounts to Sam the events of Hardhome when he faced the White Walkers. There’s not enough dragonglass or Valyrian steel to defeat them (these seem to be the only items so far that can kill a White Walker). Jon also says he’s the most hated man at Castle Black because he sacrificed the lives of his Brothers to save Wildlings — even though everything he’s done was to save humanity from the coming army of undead. “Here’s to us… long may they sneer,” Jon toasts (foreshadows!) Sam asks Jon if he will send him, Gilly, and the baby to Old Town to the Citadel so he can become a Maester and he can study on what to do about the White Walkers. Jon doesn’t want him to go because he needs an advisor he can trust, but in the end, he lets him go. “I’m glad the end of the world is working out well for someone,” Jon jokes to Sam.
In Dorne, Jaime, Bronn, and Myrcella board their boat back to King’s Landing. Jaime and Myrcella finally have time alone to have a real conversation and his daughter/niece is finally not acting like a bratty teen. He tells her that she’s fortunate that she and the man she is arranged to marry are actually in love, because that’s not something that happens often. Here he tries to tell her about him and her mother and their forbidden love (“We love who we love”), but she already knows and she’s glad he’s her father. As they hug, her nose starts to bleed. She’s been poisoned! Oh no, Myrcella!!!!!! Back on the shore we see Ellaria Sand standing with Oberyn’s daughters, the Sand Snakes, and her nose is bleeding, too — she had kissed Myrcella good-bye on the lips before she embarked! Ellaria wipes the blood from her nose and poison from her lips as she consumes the antidote. She has defied Prince Doran’s orders of a truce with the Lannisters and has once again gone against her Prince — that’s treason, which means in Season 6 either she’s going to suffer OR she’s going to slaughter all the royals left in Dorne, take power, and wage war with the Lannisters, as she originally wanted.
In Meereen, Tyrion sits on the steps of Dany’s chamber with Daario and Jorah. In walks Grey Worm, who’s still injured but alive! The men want to find their Queen, but they don’t think Tyrion should come on the journey and Grey Worm is still too injured. Instead, Darios wants Tyrion, Grey Worm, and Missandei to stay behind to rule the city, while he and Jorah go search for Dany. In the distance, we hear a dragon roar. Tyrion stands at an overlook watching the two mean as they set off. From behind walks in his old ally Varys — how exactly did he get passed all those Unsullied? I mean, yes, he has spies everywhere, so it’s no surprise that he actually found Tyrion (although the dwarf was surprised!). But as far as everyone knows, Varys is Dany’s enemy. Nevertheless, Varys is back, which means Dany’s side now has a new ally and a smart, powerful one at that.
Far off somewhere, we see Dany with Drogon. She’s disheveled and covered in dirt and soot. She tries to tell the dragon to bring her back to Meereen, that her people there need her, but he throws her off his back when she climbs atop his back. Defeated, Dany walks off to look around as Drogon hopefully gets them something to eat when she hears horses approach. It’s Dothraki bloodriders, a horde of them. She slowly removes her ring and lets it fall to the ground as they surround her.
In King’s Landing, Cersei is still in her dark, dank cell. She whimpers as her septon jailor comes in. “Confess,” the septon says several times. We next see Cersei bowing before the High Sparrow asking for absolution. “Do you wish to make a confession?,” the High Sparrow asks. She confesses to sleeping with Lancel Lannister, her cousin. He asks if there were other men, and she repeatedly says no, refusing to confess to incest with her twin brother Jaime. He asks about the rumors that her children were not born of her husband. She vehemently denies it. He tells her she still has to stand trial because she hasn’t confessed to everything. She begs to see her son, and the High Sparrow says she will be free to go after her atonement. Next we see her being roughly scrubbed by the septons, who then cut off all of her long hair, slicing her skin in the process. She’s then led outside, where people of the city are waiting and watching. The High Sparrow announces her and says she’s confessed to “falsehood and fornication.” Next, she will make her naked walk of atonement. They strip her of her garb and send her walking, as the annoying septon jailor follows behind her ringing a bell saying “shame” repeatedly. After a while, the townspeople being yelling “cunt” and “whore” and other curses at her, as they pelt her with food, feces, and other items. It’s horrible to watch, but she truly had this coming to her after all the evil she’s wrought on so many people. She finally makes it to the Red Keep and once inside, the former Maester Qyburn puts a robe around her and says he will care for her. He then presents to her the “newest member of the Kingsguard” to her — it’s clearly the Mountain all covered in armor, his face obscured by a massive helm. Qyburn reveals that this soldier has taken a vow of silence (conveniently) and will not rest until of all Cersei’s enemies are taken care of. It’s obvious that Cersei has learned nothing from this experience. She is not humbled, she is not sorry for anything she’s done, and she definitely doesn’t think that karma has dealt her a hand. No, she wants her enemies dead. That will likely be the only thing that keeps her going, knowing that she will have her revenge.
And now back to Castle Black, where Ser Davos and entreating Lord Commander Jon Snow to send provisions to Stannis, not knowing that what has befallen to his King. Good thing Melissandre has a fast horse, because she’s right behind him (even though he left a day ago!). Draped in her red cloak, her face is filled with despair. Her god did not come through for her and her visions were wrong. Everything has gone wrong for her. Inside, Jon Snow sits in his office when Olly comes in with news about Benjen, his Uncle. Don’t go, Jon!!!!!!!!! But, nope, there goes Jon following the boy, who leads him outside to where a small group of Brothers await him with a sign that says “traitor.” OH NO!!!!! They all take turns stabbing him, proclaiming “For the Watch.” As Jon falls to his knees, Olly comes and stabs him, too. Et tu, Olly? Jon falls backwards into the ground, blood flowing out onto the snow as the life drains from him.
That’s how the season finale ends! Some photos from the episode had leaked a few days ago, and some of the images showed Jon Snow lying in the snow post-stabbing (which does happen in the books). But, one image looks like he had the white “warging” eyes, which led everyone to believe that this is how he “escapes” death. Book readers all assumed this treasonous stabbing of the Lord Commander meant his certain death, but author George R.R. Martin, when people have said that Jon Snow is dead, he’s said, “Oh, you think so?” That’s Martin for you. At this point, we should have no hope for our beloved characters. Everyone we love is dead.