Spoilers will fly.
We’re not quite back in solid ground after that fantastic battle from last week, but Game of Thrones 5×9: The Dance of Dragons brings more fantasy and perhaps the most horrifying of all scenes to life. It has always been the message from this show that this is not fantasy for children. Never has it been more emphatic than in this episode. Any illusions of happy ever after should have gone out the window a long time ago, but every now and then the showrunners feel we need a reminder.
At the Wall, there is a tense moment of confrontation as Jon Snow brings the surviving wildlings to the entrance. We feel Ser Alliser Thorne considers an instant of insurrection, but the door is opened and the wildlings are let in. The newly appointed First Ranger tells the newly appointed Lord Commander that he has a good heart and it will get them all killed. Jon forced his hand quite a bit with this move. The end may justify it, as he’s trying to beef up his chances against the White Walkers but he might be fighting a mutiny first from either of two camps.
Next up is Stannis’ camp close to Winterfell. It seems Ramsay Bolton got his raiding attempt clear and managed to sneak in, have his men set a bunch of things of fire. Stannis has lost provisions and raiding equipment. He still won’t go back. Instead he takes the most controversial decision of them all, he decides to allow Melisandre her sacrifice. Ser Davos is sent back to Castle Black to grab provisions and what not, but the truth is Stannis wants him out of the way. Shireen is put to the flames. Stannis has killed his own little girl. In the midst of her screaming, which has to be the most horrible sound ever made, Selyse’s motherly instincts (where have those been all this time??) suddenly kick in and she runs to the pyre but is restrained by the soldiers. This is not a strategic decision. This is an act of blind fanaticism in the face of desperation. Stannis wants to take Winterfell but he no longer feels he’s got a winning hand, so he’s leaving it all to belief.
Dorne. I really don’t care about Dorne right now, but I guess this will be important later. It seems Jaime is not going to suffer any consequence since the Prince wants to avoid a war. They agree that Myrcella will go back to King’s Landing along with his beloved, Trystane. Ellaria is defiant but finally agrees to swear loyalty upon penalty of death. The fate of Bronn is left up to Trystane who decides to grant him his life in exchange for getting hit in the face. I would’ve had more respect for Trystane if he had done it himself.
Across the Narrow Sea, Braavos gets the visit of Mace Tyrell. Mace is there to apparently embarrass both his countrymen and the Bank of Braavos at the same time. He’s recognized by Arya, who also recognizes Ser Meryn Trant. If you remember your past seasons, Ser Meryn killed Sylvio Forel (Arya’s fencing teacher). Because of this Arya is distracted from her mission and does not kill the thin man (the money lender). Arya also witnesses Ser Meryn going into a whore house where he takes the youngest one to a bed chamber. So, in case you didn’t hate Ser Meryn, you hate him now.
Finally, Daenerys and Hizdahr attend to more fighting at the Great Pit of Daznak. It’s all fun and games, as Daario Naharis constantly buts in like that annoying sports fan who needs to tell you each player’s stats while you and your date are trying to watch the game. Then Ser Jorah Mormont enters the arena and the fighting becomes personal. Although he does get hurt a few times, he still manages to come out on top (although that roll into a stab really should have gotten him killed, come on). Then he throws a spear towards the royal balcony. It’s not Dany he’s aiming at, it’s one of the Sons of the Harpy that have decided to go after the Mother of Dragons en masse.
Hell breaks loose as all exists seem to be barred and the Sons of the Harpy are coming out from every hole. Hizdahr tries to flee, if only to get killed. Even Tyrion has to pick up a blade and kill off one of the killers aiming at Missandei. The royal entourage is circled by the Sons of the Harpy and only defended by a few remaining Unsullied. Missandei takes Daenerys hand. Dany closes her eyes…
… and Drogon appears.
The dragon lands inside the arena and starts ripping appart the Sons of the Harpy while carefully avoiding Daenerys and her court. The assassins that are not ripped apart are torched down to cinders as Drogon breathes fire upon the sorry lot. The Sons of the Harpy somehow manage to land a couple of spears at the great worm. Daenerys reaches to one and wrenches it off. Drogon turns to her and roars – but does not draw fire on her. She looks at him and climbs atop his back. Like a legend of old, Daenerys Targaryen rides on Drogon’s back as he takes to the skies.
- Shireen been sacrificed to the Red God. Part of me wants Stannis to lose his battle, if only to make him realize the horror of his own actions. The other part of me wants him to win, if only to realize he lost what he most loved along the way. The one thing I can agree on is that Shireen was her own person and she was denied to exist. Stannis burned his own soul along with his daughter.
- I don’t get the scene with Ellaria and Jaime. Ellaria seems to project forgiveness towards him rather than the disdain she had for him a moment ago. Since this is totally out of character, the only logical outcome would be she’s trying to gain Jaime’s trust to later on use that against him. Otherwise, there’s not much sense here. I could skip the whole Dorne scene right now.
- I really wish Arya would think with her head here, but I’m afraid how this is going to go. In other words, Arya would have to let herself be taken to Ser Meryn in order to kill him. Let’s not get Arya killed or worse, please. Will the Faceless Men become mad at her for changing her mission? Is there a chance that this was to be her mission all along?
- Drogon is back and he means business. It’s all good as once more Daenerys seems to claim her title as Mother of Dragons once more. Where is she going though? Is Drogon taking her home or are we going somewhere else? One episode left.
That will do for now.