WARNING: MAJOR SHOW AND BOOK SPOILERS AHEAD
Now that a little over a week has passed since Game of Thrones Season 5 ended, and we've all had an opportunity to uncurl from our fetal positions, I thought we'd take a look back at some of the more memorable moments the season had to offer. So, grab some Jack D and a box of hankies, Ladies and Gents. Here are my top 5 picks of moments that shocked us, amazed us, or made us swear off the show forever (who were we kidding).
1. The Death of Shireen
There have been many a controversial moment on Game of Thrones (Sansa's rape, anyone?), but none drew more book fan ire than Shireen Baratheon's death. A heartrending scene, it wasn't so much Shireen's death that made book fans angry as the fact that it was Stannis Baratheon himself who consented to it.
In an excerpt from the yet-to-be-released Book 6, The Winds of Winter, as Stannis prepares to fight the Boltons, he instructs his men that should he die, they are to place Shireen on the iron throne. As book fans hotly point out, TV!Stannis sacrificing his daughter is a drastic departure from the books. However, in Inside the Episode 9, executive producer David Benioff implies that this scene is very much in keeping with GRRM's plans for Book!Stannis' story arc.
Personally, this scene made sense to me from both a show perspective and a book perspective. This is a man who killed his own brother in order to be king. Making a personal sacrifice to the Lord of Light seems like a logical fatalistic step for Book!Stannis in his quest to win.
2. Massacre at Hardhome
Who wasn't breathless after this scene?? The massacre at Hardhome was by far some of the best scenes on Game of Thrones ever. A brilliant sequence that gave The Walking Dead a run for its money. Furthermore, it offered book fans some spoilerific goodness:
In the books it has been hinted that valyrian steel can kill White Walkers. However, its ability to do so has never been put to the test. On the show, the above scene serves as confirmation that it does. In addition, this confirmation, and the fact that it is Jon who wields the fatal blow, serves as one more hint of Jon's importance to the story.
3. Dany's Flight From Meereen
This was a beautiful scene, and one I have long been anxious to see play out on screen. The entire arena sequence was brilliant from start to finish. But, I was a little surprised at some of the differences between book v. show.
While Book!Dany also flies out of the arena in order to save Drogon from certain death, and does in effect abandon Meereen, she doesn't leave anyone behind in the midst of battle. I thought TV!Dany leaving Tyrion, Daario, Jorah, and Missandei during an onslaught came across as a bit awkward. Of course, Drogon had essentially eradicated many of the fighters in the pit, and the rest were in retreat, but her departure still came across as odd. This awkwardness was further punctuated by an earlier scene when Daario helps Dany flee from the royal box and she never once thinks to look back at those left behind. It is Tyrion who thinks to save Missandei. Was this just an unintentional consequence of the TV writers trying to emphasize the chaos of the moment, or was it an intentional look at a character flaw? I guess we'll see in the coming season.
4. Tyrion Meets Dany. Finally.
For book fans, Tyrion and Dany's tête-à-tête has been a long time coming. Needless to say, I was squeeing like a school girl when the show took this book plot to the next level, making this meeting of the minds a reality. And what a meeting it was. These two sparkled and sizzled on screen, and the dialogue was some of the best in Game of Thrones history.
5. The Murder of Jon Snow
Heartbreaking, wasn't it? Don't worry. Wipe your eyes and blow your nose. Mama is going to make it all better... 'cause Jon ain't dead. There is much-too-much foreshadowing and hinting at Jon's importance to the story for Jon to die at this point in the game. He might be dead, but I bet all my worldly possessions that he's not dead, dead.
I must admit that as a book fan I was a little worried when TV!Melisandre left the Wall with Stannis. From the many theories put forth by book fans as to the fate of Jon Snow, and how he will be saved, the one I subscribe to involves Melisandre. But in the season finale, when Melisandre returns to the Wall, all my hope was restored. And now many book fans and show fans are on the same page...
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So there you have it, Folks. My top 5 picks. An emotional end to an emotional season.
Be sure to join me next season (you know you want to), where we will once again gnash our teeth, shake our fists, and weep into our whiskey.