I am writing this to reminisce what happened in Game of Thrones Season V a few hours before the premier of Season VI. Season V is the most controversial and the most painful Game of Thrones to date (no Tywin Lannister), and it is not due to Jon Snow’s death. No, I did not spoil it for you if a billion people know that he is dead, as far as Game of Thrones deaths go. Also, no, this is not a summary of Season V but a compilation of characters and moments in the season that made an indelible mark in my mind.
My Favorite Characters
Cersei Lannister (Lenna Headey) – With the deaths of father Tywin (Charles Dance) and son Joffrey (Jack Gleeson), the absence of twin and lover Jaime and of brother Tyrion, Cersei was truly alone for the first time in her adult life. From this point forward, she lost her father’s stereotypes shackling her to traditional roles of women. This gave her the true freedom she craved and for some part, deserved. However, this also turned her into a rudderless ship which lost whatever power it used to have, to the sea of masses in King’s Landing and beyond that hated her with passion. Cersei’s unwise decisions and eventual fall from grace would have made me lost interest in her had she not redeemed herself in her lengthy walk of atonement*.
Tyrion Lannister (Peter Dinklage) – After killing his father and his lover Shae (Sibel Kekilli), Tyrion is Cersei and Jaime’s number one enemy. Instead of rotting in a cell or his head on a spike, with the help of Varys (Conleth Hill), Tyrion escaped to Meereen to ultimately counsel his family’s number one enemy, Daenery Targaryen (Emilia Clarke). The tragedy that surrounded him did not dull Tyrion’s wit nor dampen his love for alcohol and women. With new banter, albeit unwilling, partners in Varys, Jorah Mormont (Iain Glen), Daario Naharis (Michiel Huisman) and even Darnerys, Tyrion remained one of the most interesting characters in Game of Thrones. And yes, his penis is big.
Daenerys Targaryen – It took me five seasons to warm up to her. In the previous seasons, I thought that she had men kowtowing to her due to her sexuality or fear of her dragons. Her long name and title which she used to speak every other time she met a new person she wanted to impress did not help matters. This season, with a lot of help from Tyrion and Daario, a different Daenerys bloomed into a character that is more than the sums of her body parts and her dragons. It also helped that she had her first taste of failure as a leader and struggled to keep her people in check. These made her “human” in the mold of Ned Stark and Tywin Lannister.
Jon Snow (Kit Harrington) – Jon Snow finally “killed the boy” and became a man this season (I know he became a man, sexually speaking, much earlier than this) by standing up to Stannis Baratheon (Stephen Dillane) and denying him to have to be the latter’s puppet Stark in the North and becoming a good Lord Commander of the Night’s Watch. Given these steps to maturity, his speech to the Wildlings in Hardhome and his defense of them won me over to his side.
My Favorite Moments
Light travelling with Tyrion Lannister – Tyrion travelled across the Narrow Sea in a box, with holes for air. The audience got to travel with him, from his point of view, in a manner that was both arresting and efficient.
Arya Stark’s (Maisie Williams) first sight of Braavos – Arya had better accommodations than Tyrion when she went to Braavos in a boat. Her and the audience’s first look of Braavos – the bustling port, the vendors, the passageways and the edifices – was breathtaking.
Jon Snow winning Lord Commander of the Night’s Watch – Maester Aemon cast the deciding vote for Jon Snow to win over Ser Alliser Thorne as 998th Lord Commander of the Night’s Watch.
Stannis and Shireen Baratheon’s (Kerry Ingram) father-daughter bond – Shireen’s greyscale and gender led her to think that she was not wanted by her parents. In a rare moment of paternal fervor, Stannis told his daughter that she was worth fighting form regardless of her imperfections.
Battle at Hardhome – The Battle at Hardhome was a terrifying one, like an inescapable nightmare. As the new Lord Commander of the Night’s Watch, Jon Snow and Tormund Giantsbane (Kristofer Hivju) reasoned out with the free folk to evacuate their home to avoid being slaughtered. As the folk stubbornly stood their ground, thousands of wights and White Walkers gather outside the gate, in an increasingly disturbing pace. They clawed their way inside and up the wooden walls and did not perish when stabbed, except with dragonglass or Valyrian steel. The fright is unending as dead free folk turn into wrights and when the aerial shot of the undead came to view, there must be a whole island of them.
*Cersei’s Walk of Shame/Walk of Atonement Shame – Cersei started her walk of atonement with one goal, to get back to where she belonged, in the safety of her castle. Despite the common folk throwing at her all sorts of vegetables, spit, names and profanities, Cersei did not waver. I almost smiled when Qyburn (Anton Lesser) promised to avenge her misfortune.
Tyrion Lannister and Varys – as they travel across the Narrow Sea to Meereen, Tyrion and Varys talked about drinking, whoring, politics and the former’s love-hate relationship with power. Watching them talk the shallowest and the profoundest of topics is one of the most enjoyable parts of Season V.
Jaime Lannister and Bronn (Jerome Flynn) – Their “diplomatic mission” to Dorne was the culmination of their friendship that was borne out of their scrimmages. With Tyrion out of the picture, Bronn had no one to banter with and his one-liners were sorely missed. Their excursion to Dorne turned that around. Just hearing Bronn say, “Jaime “Fucking” Lannister” was enough.
Lady Olenna Tyrell (Diana Rigg) and the High Sparrow (Jonathan Pryce) – With Tywin’s death, Lady Olenna’s barbed tongue missed its partner, but with the entrance of the High Sparrow, it found a new one. Their conversation in the sept was 50% negotiation and 50% old folks problem. It was deliciously fun.
“The future is shit. Just like the past.” – Tyrion Lannister to Varys
“The powerful have always preyed on the powerless. That is why they became powerful in the first place.” – Tyrion Lannister, dashing the Nirvana-like Westeros that Vary had in mind.
“Oh, you can smell the shit from five miles away.” – Lady Olenna Tyrell
Worst Moment – Sansa Stark’s (Sophie Turner) marital rape. Ugh. Just no.
Worst Deaths – Tie between Shireen Baratheon’s death by fire and Jon Snow’s death by a hundred stabs