(Photo Courtesy of NY Mag)
Three “television enthusiasts,” the dynamic brother-sister duo of Marci and Rusty Buehler and Zac Hirschbeck, watch Game of Thrones each Sunday night and exchange their thoughts on the show’s happenings.
Marci: I have one thing to say to you, Game of Thrones: “SHAME.” (Rings bell) “SHAME.” (Rings bell) “SHAME.” (Rings bell)…
You get the point.
One thing’s for sure: no one will ever accuse you of ending on a high note. What a bummer of a season finale. An incredibly action-packed, entertaining season finale, but a huge bummer nonetheless.
Let’s get straight into what happened last night, since pretty much NONE of our predictions came true.
The big battle at Winterfell, which I thought would be the centerpiece of last night’s episode, ended up being just the very tip of the iceberg in terms of the happenings last night. Basically, everything goes sour for Stannis as soon as the opening credits finish their triumphant weekly bellowing. Your men deserted you. Your wifey hung herself. Your mistress rode the fuck outta camp. Oh well, you must shoulder on towards Winterfell, since the Gods are on your side after you killed your daughter, right? …. Right? WRONG! There essentially wasn’t even a Battle at Winterfell, because Ramsay and his men attacked the depleted army and slayed the hell outta them. Stannis was taken out of his misery by a noble Brienne of Tarth. This was one instance where I was glad my prediction was wrong. Seeing Brienne finally avenge her man Renly’s death was very satisfying, especially after Stannis had fallen so far from our good graces last week.
Another (kind of, sort of) triumphant moment from last night’s episode was Reek finally coming to Sansa’s aid. FINALLY! REEK! You did it! What I’m wondering is – where the fuck were they jumping to? Is that a fall you can survive, or were they trust-falling to their joint deaths?
Next, Arya’s turn at revenge: in a very brutal, disgusting scene, we first see Meryn Trant whipping some girls, and then it’s revealed that Arya is wearing her first attempt at another face, tricking Trant and then stabbing him in both eyes, and a bunch of other places, before slitting his throat. For a scene that ended with a result that I essentially wanted to happen, it was incredibly hard to watch. I’m glad I got outta there without vomiting.
After Arya does her killing, she has to deal with Jaqen – who pretends to poison himself, but it turns out it was a person of many faces who killed themselves, not Jaqen. Then Arya pulls some faces off the faceless person until she sees herself and goes blind?? So weird and it don’t make no sense. I HATE THIS FUCKING STORYLINE. Moving on…
We also traveled to King’s Landing where Cersei gets fucking SHAMED, yo. I’ll let one of you boys go into more detail about this, but I will say a few things:
– That nun is annoying as hell.
– So many dirty dicks being flashed all over the place.
– Zac, your prediction was right – The Mountain lives! I guess we’ll have to wait until next season to watch him get revenge for Cersei’s walk of SHAME.
Great performance by Lena Headley in this sequence. While we know Cersei has done so many vile, selfish, and terrible things through the years, I found myself pitying her character, because how could you not?
Holy crap, so much happened last night…I haven’t even gotten to Drogon being hella tired, Dany’s imminent capture by a shit ton of men on horseback (were those Dothraki?), Tyrion and Varys’ reunion, Jorah & Daario’s quest to find the Queen, and of course… the shocking ending. RIP Jon Snow.
I have a ton to say about all of it, but I think I’ve said enough for now and I’m still sorting out my feelings… I’ll let you boys have at it.
Zac: Jon Snow better not be dead.
While there was a whole lot of other stuff that happened in last night’s episode, that’s the one sentiment that I’ll maintain moving forward until Season 6 launches next April.
Although I hesitated to actually predict his death (reluctance that came mostly out of hope that it wouldn’t actually happen), the beloved Lord Commander’s death had been not so subtly hinted at this entire season. While Snow was busy saving Wildling lives and heroically warding off White Walkers, his fellow Knight’s Watch members were casting judgment and plotting a mutiny.
After an episode full of action, I was hoping that Snow would escape Season 5. Unfortunately that proved not to be the case. As Olly (FUCK YOU OLLY) deceitfully led Snow outside to a circle of waiting Knight’s Watch members, Snow soon realized what was afoot. As Alliser Thorne, his fellow traitors, and Snow’s mentee (FUCK YOU OLLY) plunged their knives into their leader’s chest, the life slowly slipped away from the man that was arguably the show’s most heroic character.
Unsurprisingly, Snow’s death was met with heartbreak from the internet masses. Since the show’s debut, the curly-haired bastard has been set up to be a hero. Ultimately, and I realize that it’s wishful thinking; I don’t think Jon Snow’s story concludes here.
Grantland’s Andy Greenwald and Vanity Fair’s Joanna Robinson have both made compelling (and in Robinson’s case awesome) arguments as to why his death doesn’t make sense, and while they too might just be operating from a place of hope, I’d like to think that Snow’s apparent death isn’t permanent. So despite Kit Harrington’s assertion that he’s “not coming back” in his post-finale Entertainment Weekly interview, I think the showrunners, and George R.R. Martin are smarter than to kill off the show’s hero with roughly 20 episodes remaining.
I’m sure you’ve both done a little digging since last night’s finale as well. Do you think Jon Snow is donezo? Or will we see him return in Season 6?
As far as the rest of the episode, there was certainly no shortage of talking points.
Like you Marci, I was expecting far more time dedicated to the looming conflict at Winterfell. They had been building to a great battle, but instead the Boltons coasted to an easy ‘W’ after Stannis’ life fell apart. After burning his own daughter alive last week, I expected to be excited to see Stannis go down. However, that wasn’t the case. That’s not to say I felt a sliver of sympathy for the man who murdered his child to appease the “Lord of Light,” but to see his whole life fall apart wasn’t particularly satisfying. Seeing him come to grips with the fact that he spent the last years of his life following the nonsense that Melisandre spewed wasn’t at all enjoyable. Good on Brienne for making good on her vow to avenge Renly though.
I have to believe that Theon and Sansa survived that fall together. While seeing Theon push Miranda to her death wasn’t nearly as pleasing as a similar act directed towards Ramsay might prove, it was still nice to see Theon take his first steps toward reclaiming his life. It was also a touching moment to see Sansa and Theon take each other’s hands as they (hopefully) leapt to freedom. Hopefully Brienne will scoop them both up next season.
Before I turn things over to you Rusty, I’d also say that Cersei’s walk of atonement was an incredible scene. Lena Headley was outstanding, and despite her being one of the show’s leading villains for the first four seasons, that scene left me hoping that Cersei does manage to obtain revenge against the Sparrows. Hopefully The Mountain, who does not look well under his new King’s Guard mask, will introduce himself to that obnoxious nun and the rest of King’s Landing’s religious cult next season.
Rusty, there is so much to still talk about! I think we might need three responses each!
What did you make of the Season 5 finale?
Rusty: I liked the finale, and was happily surprised that none of our predictions ended up being right. It only goes to show you that in Game of Thrones, truly anything can happen.
I’m also surprised that Jon Snow’s death wasn’t spoiled for me! Snow’s mutinous death is the cliffhanger ending to A Dance of Dragons, which came out in 2011. Props to all of the book readers out for keeping their big mouths shut for the last four years! Does it make the sting of Jon’s death any easier? No! But, we are now in spoiler-free territory! The source material has reached its end, and now everyone is on the same playing field. It is awesome that the TV show has eclipsed the book’s narrative.
But I want to pivot for a second away from the final scene, and go back to Dany’s story. Marci, I think those were Dothraki that we saw circling Dany on horseback. How far did Drogon fly Dany after escaping the slave pits? No wonder Drogon was giving us full puppy face – he was tuckered out! I’m not terribly concerned that Dany will be captured by all of those Dothraki if Drogon is just over the hill. I’m more concerned that we’ll have one more season of Dany away from everyone else, after we JUST hooked Tyrion up with all of the action in Meereen. As I’ve mentioned before, there will likely only be two more seasons of this show. Time to get a move on, Dany! Westeros needs rescuing, especially now that the Boltons have taken care of Stannis in the North.
Seriously though, what’s to stop Ramsay and Roose from becoming a full-on Axis of evil at this point? It’s a shame that Melisandre couldn’t birth another shadow baby to help out Stannis’ army. What is up with her magic? How come sometimes she can literally GIVE BIRTH TO A WEIRD SPECTRAL THING THAT KILLS PEOPLE, and other times a warm front moves in and melts a little bit of snow? Melisandre reminds me of a Buffalo Bills season – starts off with a few wins in the beginning, than always peters out into disappointment.
I’m also a little disappointed in the lack of Brienne screen time this season. Apparently she has spent the last nine weeks relentlessly watching that castle turret for a candle signal… Only to walk away SECONDS before said candle was lit. Talk about bad timing! Zac, I agree with your prediction that Brienne will scoop up Sansa and Theon, and they will hit the road. I am assuming Sansa and Theon jumped into a large snow bank, allowing them to escape unharmed. At least, I hope they didn’t hurt themselves; I don’t want to watch a whole season of the two of them limping around complaining! I am over seeing the two of them suffer! Time for some wins in their corner!
Before I pass this along… Marci, I know that the Arya storyline has sucked pretty hard for you. I am happy with where the FX landed to show how they trade faces. How fun would it be to pluck off a face like a scarf?!? Faces are the hottest accessory in Braavos this season. I have 20 in my closet! I don’t know why Arya was losing her eyesight at the end of that scene, but I hope she gets it back. I also hope she gets the heck out of the House of Black and White Cookies. Arya is due for a shakeup next season. She always does better with a fun buddy (see Tywin in Season 2, and the Hound in Season 4). Who will she be working off of in season 6? My bold prediction: JORAH AND DAARIO. What do you think?
Marci: Wow Rusty, comparing Melisandre to a Buffalo Bills football season? Harsh on the Bills, man. Yeah, we may have the longest-standing playoff drought in NFL history, but we’ve never burned a child to death. SHAME! (Rings bell) SHAME! (Rings bell)
I think an Arya/Jorah/Daario trio would be great fun, but I’m not sure how they’d end up coming into contact with each other – are Meereen & Dorne anywhere close to one another? SOMEBODY FIND ME A MAPMAKER SO I CAN LOOK AND FIND OUT.
I am kind of weirdly looking forward to Sansa & The Artist Formerly Known as Theon’s journey next season. Where will they go? Will they hook up with Brienne/Pod? Will anyone ever run into Arya’s baking friend Hot Pie again? That’s really the most burning question of them all.
Zac, your theory/hope that Jon Snow is not dead is interesting, and I share in the hope that you’re correct. He was such a solid character that I honestly did not think they would have the BALLS to kill him off. Apparently both George R.R Martin and Benioff & Weiss have RULL BIG BALLS! But whatever happens, I really, really hope that he doesn’t rise again as a White Walker. The thought of our man with those icy blue eyes chills me to the bone.
With all the madness of last night’s episode, it seems that we’ve forgotten to touch on another pretty significant death – Myrcella Lannister. We all KNEW that Jaime & Bronn’s visit to Dorne was going much too swimmingly – but I had no idea that the Sand Snakes would pull such a creepy move. I did wonder why head Sand Snake was giving lil’ Myrcella such a long passionate kiss. It was a touching moment with Jaime and his daughter right before she succumbed to the nose bleed poison. I do have to say that if one character had to die, I’d rather the girl than Jaime or Bronn. So, I’ll take my small GoT victories where I can get them – huzzah! I wonder if we’ll be seeing anyone from Dorne in the coming year, or if that was the last time the dancing boob women will get screen time.
I’m interested to see Jaime’s return to King’s Landing and how he handles Cersei’s haircut – this will be the REAL test of their love.
I’m also kind of excited to see Bran & Company again next season… BRAN. BORING BRAN. That’s right – there’s just too much death and destruction, give me BORING ASS BRAN again. I also just realized why he’s got that name – it’s because he’s so boring. Like bran cereal.
My big hope for next season is that Arya learns how to sing & play the piano, gets some nice sunglasses, and becomes the Ray Charles of Westeros.
What are you guys looking forward to next season? Any other thoughts on last night’s madness?
Rusty: Remember when we thought it was weird during the Season 4 finale when piles of skeletons came to life and Bran hid inside of a talking tree with faeries? That all seems totally blasé and normal now. Season 5 brought us an undead king who is raising an army of 10,000 corpses to take over the world. Props to the show’s creators for treating us like a bunch of lobsters, slowly boiling us in crazy fantasy plots until everything seems like it’s the evening news. Bring on boring Bran!
Which makes me wonder… I have also been reading all of the crazy Jon Snow rumors on the web today. Maybe Kit Harington is going to take the spot on the bench Bran was holding this season and return to save the world in season 7! We can only hope. Otherwise, the ghost of Jon Snow’s butt will be haunting me right next to the ghost of Robb Stark’s butt. So many ghost butts!
I just realized that we haven’t talked about two characters in the finale that got out of dodge in the nick of time… Sam and Gilly! Good for those two crazy kids. Who knows what would have happened to them if they hadn’t set off for Library Town so Sam can become a Maester. Side note: Why didn’t Sam do this sooner? How was this sweet option not on the table before? It will be very sad to watch the scene next season when Sam is interrupted from his studies to find out that his main dude has been shanked. I wonder if he’ll cut his studies short in order to head back to the wall to straighten them all out. Another dangling plot point from the wall: The Valryian steel sword. Gotta keep track of those weapons the closer we get to the big battle against the White Walkers!
There’s another battle brewing before that… and it’s going down in King’s Landing next season. After having the worst Supercuts experience ever, AND having to endure a humiliating nakie walk through town, you KNOW Cersei will be ready to cut a bitch. She also has the Zombie Mountain on her side. I thought it was funny that the scientist said that Zombie Mountain took an oath of silence until all of Cersei’s enemies were slayed. I didn’t realize that old Mountain had the gift of gab to begin with! I just recall a lot of grunting and screaming last season – no long soliloquies or Shireen-style book reviews. I’m very excited to see how all of that plays out. We didn’t even see any of the Tyrells in the finale, so we have the whole ‘trial’ coming up too! UGH CAN’T IT JUST BE NEXT SEASON ALREADY???
Zac: I forgot about boring Bran!
After spending the entire fifth season learning the tricks of the trade from the Children of the Forest (who, after a little bit of reading, seem really fucking cool), I’m sure Bran will return to the proceedings with a storyline of actual interest. After reading about the Children of the Forest, it seems like they played a prominent role in the original war against the White Walkers. Could the last two seasons see Bran and his new friends once again take up arms against the Army of the Dead? I’d be on board.
As far as Bran’s sister, I hope Arya gets over her sudden blindness. Though it was certainly brutal and difficult to watch, her riddance of Meryn Trant was a pretty badass move. If someone is going to die that graphically, it might as well be a character like Meryn Trant. In doing so though, she blatantly disregarded her season-long training in the House of Black and White. When Jaqen H’ghar told her to leave her life as Arya Stark behind, I don’t think last night’s assassination was what he had in mind. Hopefully the loss of sight is temporary, and Arya will soon depart Braavos as a faceless assassin.
Rusty, that metaphor involving Melisandre and the Bills was a low blow. Haven’t you heard that this is our year?!? Hopefully the Red Witch makes herself useful for the first time this series and resurrects Jon Snow. Also, I really don’t care about Sam and Gilly. Maybe that makes me a bad person, but is Sam not at least a little responsible for Jon’s death? I’m not saying Sam would’ve prevented the mutiny, but he knew full well how disliked the Lord Commander was at the time of his departure. Enjoy your books though Sam!
I’m not sure whether to be really nervous or really excited about Daenerys’ run-in with the Dothraki. Were they rallying around and embracing her? Or were they circling and preparing to capture her? I think it’d be a far more interesting story if it were the former. Best case scenario: the Dothraki pledge their loyalty to the Mother of Dragons, help the Queen nurse Drogon back to full health, return to Meereen to slaughter the remaining Sons of the Harpy, and rescue the other two imprisoned dragons.
Myrcella’s death was saddening, and once again you have to feel sympathy for the Lannisters. Though the terms of their hug revolved around the acceptance of incestuous love, it was nice to see Myrcella embrace Jaime as her father. Sorrowfully, Myrcella succumbing to Ellaria’s poisoning cut their sweet moment short. You have to think Prince Oberyn would be so proud of his wife and daughters if he knew that they had avenged his death by killing an innocent girl with secret poison. Prior to the start of the season I had hoped that the Dornish ladies would exact their revenge. Now, I hope Jaime promptly turns that ship around and kills Ellaria and the Sand Snakes.
In addition to seeing Jaime and Cersei get the better of the parties that have wronged them, I have three other hopes that I’d like to see come true in Season 6 and Season 7.
1. Jon Snow is Alive.
Have him come back, kill those who wronged him on the Night’s Watch (including Olly), kill the Boltons, and unite the remainder of the North against the White Walkers. I think we’ll see a showdown between the White Walker King and Snow before the show is out. That moment in Episode 8 was too awesome to be a one-off.
2. We See a Stark Reunion
Bran. Arya. Jon Snow. Sansa. Even Theon.
3. Daenerys Rises
Need I say more?
I mentioned this in our Pre-Finale Predictions, but I think this show concludes with an enormous battle of fire and ice. Daenerys versus the White Walkers. I’m not sure who will join forces with the Mother of Dragons, but that’s where I think we’re ultimately headed.
Do you guys feel the same way? And while that may be bigger-picture thinking, do you have any other hopes or predictions for Season 6?
Marci: Ohhh Zac, I’d LOVE me a Stark reunion! Other than that, it’s hard for me to really say what I hope to see next season.
As this season has exemplified, GoT is a fickle beast, and we never really know what’s around the corner.
But despite the times this season we’ve been shocked at the terrible things happening to our favorite characters, the show is never anything less then entertaining.
Though there are some things I hope to see, I’m going to do as Dany does atop Drogon – hold on tight and enjoy the ride!
Rusty: Again, all of my interest right now is seeing through whatever craziness is happening in King’s Landing. There is a friggin’ zombie man ready to crush some skulls. Zac, while I don’t see Jaime and Bronn immediately turning their ship around to Dorne, I do see a lot of T-R-O-U-B-L-E for Enrique Iglesias, or whatever the nephew’s name is. He may be going back to Dorne in pieces, as that seems to be the fashion to get a message across in Westeros.
Also, while I think the Children of the Forest is super cool, I’m worried that heavy CGI will impede that part of the story. The Dany/Drogon stuff is cool to me because they use it sparingly throughout the season. Unless their budget is as big as Jurassic World, I’m worried that we’ll lose some of the magic with too much magic…. YAKNOWHATIMEAN?
Regardless, I’m ready to go with it. Netflix is great for binge watching shows at your own pace, but it is so fun to watch Game of Thrones week to week in real time. It’s one of the few shows like this that we have left! See y’all next year.