This week, I was reminded why I love Game of Thrones. Why despite its shortcomings, I still watch week after week.
I feel as though I’ve been waiting and waiting for that one moment—the kind that makes you sit on the edge of your seat, the kind that makes you fist pump the air because it’s so fucking awesome. The last time I felt like that was in season 3 when Daenerys Stormborn, last of House Targaryen, was a badass in “And Now His Watch Has Ended.” You remember. This week’s “The Dance of Dragons” (a nice little homage to the title of book 5), was exactly what I needed to reaffirm my following of this
ridiculous amazing show.
Major spoilers ahead. Proceed with caution.
Jaime is invited to a tense, awkward meeting with Prince Doran, Prince Trystane, Princess Myrcella, and Ellaria Sand. Doran is unhappy with Jaime for infiltrating his palace, until he realizes that the Lannisters were sent the death threat of the serpent clutching Myrcella’s necklace. He agrees to honor the wishes that the princess return home, but he has some conditions, all of them revolving around his son. Trystane will still marry the princess; in fact, he will accompany her and her uncle home, and then take Oberyn’s place on the council. Jaime gives his word that it will all come to pass, not knowing, of course, that things have changed drastically in King’s Landing during his wild goose chase.
Jon arrives at the Wall with the Wildlings, who are more like refugees after the massacre at Hardhome. For a moment, it seems as though Ser Alliser isn’t going to open the gate to let them through. He eventually does, which raises some questions. Has he finally come to respect Jon as his superior? Or is he biding his time for a better opportunity to usurp him? My money is on the latter.
On the Road from Castle Black
At Stannis’s camp, the Red Woman witnesses several tents catching on fire. Unbeknownst to the Baratheon army, it is the work of Ramsay Bolton and twenty men, meant to waylay them. They lose several men, many horses, shelter, and supplies. Desperate, Stannis sends the Onion Knight back to Winterfell to demand more horses and food. As soon as Ser Davos has left, Stannis gives the Red Woman permission to do what she suggested; use the king’s blood within Shireen as a sacrifice to the Lord of Light.
Although the merciless death of sweet Shireen, whom I had grown to love, was terrible to witness, it wasn’t actually the death itself that I found troublesome. We already know that the Red Woman will stop at nothing to get what she wants; not even innocent children will be spared. What made me uneasy was that the focus was on Stannis. The suffering of a little girl, whom he claimed to love, is used to further his plot. While Shireen is being burnt alive, the camera pans to him looking sad, not unlike the emphasis of Sansa’s rape being on Reek. Why show us that Stannis has a heart, only to throw it away? Why build up Shireen’s character and make her relatable to us if her death wasn’t even going to be meaningful? Stannis had become a favorite of mine—now, I hope he doesn’t make it past Winterfell.
The only good thing to come from this horrific moment was the sudden change of heart had by Shireen’s mother, the taciturn, unfeeling Queen Selyse. Although she tries to justify the actions of Melisandre, she realizes that she can’t let her only daughter die, and tries to save Shireen. She is restrained by soldiers, and falls to the ground in tears. This was something I would never have guessed she would do, as she has never shown any type of motherly affection, and I can only wonder what other surprises she has in store.
Across the Narrow Sea
Arya (as Lana) is on her mission to kill the thin gambler, when she sees a familiar face: Ser Meryn Trant, Cersei’s
lapdog henchman, a man whom Arya has wanted dead since season 1. Meryn has accompanied Mace Tyrell to the Iron Bank of Braavos, on Cersei’s orders. Arya quickly abandons the task given her by Jaqen and stalks Meryn to a brothel, where she realizes that he has a penchant for little girls. I have a feeling his end is imminent.
The moment that Dany has been dreading has arrived: the great fighting pit of Meereen (think Roman Colosseum) has been reopened, and she must be in attendance. Unbeknownst to her and Tyrion, Ser Jorah is again among the fighters. By the time she realizes he’s there, it is the least of her worries. The arena has been infiltrated by the Sons of the Harpy, who not only attempt to kill Dany, but begin a murder spree among the citizens. No one, be he master or slave, is spared, and Hizdahr zo Loraq is killed. Mass hysteria ensues, and Dany and her entourage are forced into the middle of the arena. Surrounded by a handful of guards, Daario, Jorah, Tyrion, and Missandei, Dany appears ready to face what appears to be her inevitable demise…
Or not. Cause guess who knew his mama was in trouble? DROGON.
In a scene that can only be rivaled by, well, other badass dragon scenes, Drogon squashes, sets fire to, and takes bites out of those Harpy sons of bitches who were trying to kill the Mother of Dragons. When they attack him with spears from afar, Dany rushes to his side to remove them. For a moment, he roars in her face, challenging her as he has in the past. Those rebellious teens, I tell ya. But this time, Dany doesn’t let him frighten her. She stands before him and lets him have his quick tantrum before reaching out to him. Following her gut Targaryen instinct, she gingerly climbs onto his back, and they fly off into the sunset.
Me: “TARGARYEN FUCK YEAH!”
Although I’ve been told that the scene in the book is much better, I’ll be honest and say that right now I don’t care. Dany has finally begun to embrace the side of her that tames dragons, that can conquer the seven kingdoms and sit upon the Iron Throne. This is the first true step toward her future, toward growing into the role of a Targaryen monarch.
What comes next?
Just one episode left, collectors. Are you ready?
Fire and Blood, my friends.
The Collected Mutineer
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