Legion contributor Christina Janke is filling in for Dr. Janina Scarlet this week. Follow her on Twitter @IntrotoGeek!
There are exactly two times in this week’s Game of Thrones “The Dance of Dragons” where I cried. Can you guess which scenes? Spoiler alert! There will be spoilers.
Ramsey Bolton and his “twenty good men” sneak into the Stannis’ camp during the night and set fire to many of their essential food stores, their horses (poor things!), and other things. Stannis’ army were already bent out of shape before, but now their ability to survive the march to Winterfell is a distant dream. There’s only solution: sacrifice Shireen, Stannis’ cute little daughter.
Last week, Stannis was resistant to the idea when Melisandre presented it to him. This is a daughter he loves, a daughter he cherishes. Earlier this season, we saw Stannis soften up a little when he professed just how much he loved Shireen. We knew he’s a jerk, but at that moment, he became even less so. Now he sees no more options left, he’s down to letting his men die in the cold or retreating. But if he sacrificed Shireen…the odds will go back to his favor.
Before the fateful moment, Stannis sends Ser Davos back to the Wall for a supply run — really he’s just getting him out of the way. Then he talks with Shireen, trying to convince her to help his cause. The worse thing is that Shireen doesn’t know what he’s talking about until she sees the stake and Melisandre waiting for her outside.
This was a difficult scene to sit through. Stannis and his men just watch Shireen burned alive while Stannis’ wife, Selyse, who has been cold towards her daughter ever since we’ve met her, suddenly regains her motherly instincts. Unfortunately, Selyse’s revelation is much too late.
In Braavos, Arya/Lanna is on her way to assassinate the Gambler. She’s about to approach him with her cart of oysters when she sees Ser Meryn Trant arrive with Mance Tyrell, who is on his way to the Iron Bank. Arya’s need for vengeance kicks in again despite how far she’s come in her training to become a Faceless Man. Who could blame her? She’s been nurturing her murderous intent since the end of Season One.
Arya forgoes her mission for now and follows Trant through the city. Obviously, the Faceless Men have not taught her to follow without being noticed because she’s rather conspicuous to anyone paying attention. Twice! Ser Trant notices Arya’s presence but brushed her off as mere oyster girl on her route.
Arya follows Trant to a brothel where we discover that the knight is gross pedophile. Don’t worry, we don’t see anything. This whole time, Arya chooses to study him like she has studied the Gambler. She’s getting to know him before she makes her move.
Back at the Many-Faced God’s temple, Arya lies to Jaqen H’ghar and says that the Gambler wasn’t hungry today. She’ll kill him tomorrow. It’s unclear if Jaqen believes her lie or not.
The grand scene happens in Meereen where the major league fighting pits are in full swing. Everyone is in attendance, including Ser Jorah. He gives a harrowing performance in the arena. There were a couple times we thought he was going to bite the dust. His victory didn’t last for long, though. The Sons of the Harpy emerge from within the audience and launch a full-scale attack. They kill many of the audience members, the Unsullied, and even Hizdahr zo Loraq.
Hizdahr was suspected to be the leader of the insurgency, but his brutal stabbing indicates that he may have been loyal to Daenerys this whole time. Great, now I feel like a jerk for hating him…
During the attack, Daario, Jorah, Tyrion, and some Unsullied fight their way across the stadium while simultaneously trying to protect Daeny and Missandei. They’re ultimately surrounded and outnumbered by the Sons of the Harpy before they can even escape. Daeny doesn’t see herself coming out of this alive. She grabs Missandei’s hand and tries to give herself one moment of peace before she’s killed.
Then Drogon flies in to save the day!
This scene was so satisfying. Daeny reconnects with Drogon, who always seemed to know when his mother was in pain (emotionally) or in terrible danger. When it seemed like Drogon was taking on too many spears, Daeny runs to Drogon, climbs his back, and tells him to fly. FLY!!!
Back on the ground, Daeny’s crew stop fighting long enough to watch this miraculous event unfold. Tyrion, even now, had been a skeptical about his decision for backing Daeny in taking the Iron Throne. All of his doubts disappear when Daeny rides around the stadium on the back of a dragon. “Maybe there’s something to this woman, after all,” says the expression on Tyrion’s face.
Since the book and television series started, we’ve been waiting for exactly two things: The Others (White Walkers) and dragons. Both gave us just enough so we wouldn’t forget they they’re still around, and they’re coming. Last week’s “Hardhome” brought the White Walkers and their undead army. Winter is here! Now we the Mother of Dragons ready to set her pets free! I sure hope we see the other two released next week. Drogon’s arrival was just a setback in the Harpy’s rebellion. They’ll be back, but not if Daeny unleashes all of her dragons…
Jon Snow and the surviving Wildlings have made it to Castle Black. Jon Snow is morose about his great loss last week, and things aren’t any better when he’s welcomed by a bunch of angry Crows.
In Dorne, King Doran releases Jaime and Bronn. To prevent war between the two kingdoms, he also allows Princess Myrcella and Prince Trystan to go to King’s Landing, the latter to replace Prince Oberyn as Dorne’s representative on the Small Council.
Next week is the season finale!