Game of Thrones Season 5, Episode 5 recap
This week we get to see the one thing I’ve been wanting to see since Daenerys’s dragons started eating people, which is Daenerys’s dragons eating people. In retaliation for the ambush by the Sons of the Harpy that killed Barristan Selmy and seriously wounded Grey Worm, Daenerys rounds up the heads of the rich families in Meereen and then she feeds one of them to Viserion and Rhaegal. (I’d like to propose a Game of Thrones spin-off called Dragon Justice, a People’s Court style show in which the loser in the court case is feed to the dragons. Daario Naharis can be the bailiff, and Missandei is the judge.) The way the dragons emerge from complete blackness is hella cool. This episode has some really great camerawork courtesy director Jeremy Podeswa and cinematographer Gregory Middleton. The final scene on the beach with Tyrion and Jorah is amazingly framed from start to finish.
Daenerys takes steps to stabilize Meereen, starting with Dragon Justice, and ending with her decision to re-open the fighting pits, but only so long as everyone in the city remains free. Also, she’s going to marry that one dude that speaks for the Wise Masters, except for the part where I don’t believe this at all. Thrones echoes Middle Ages history, so Daenerys is either Elizabeth I, and will never marry (again), or she’s Eleanor of Aquitaine and her second husband will be a conqueror. Either way, I bet one of her dragons eats its potential step-father.
The final scenes of the episode loop back to the dragons as Drogon appears flying overhead and Tyrion sees his first dragon. Peter Dinklage totally sells it, going for a perfect mix of awe, disbelief, and a dash of fear. They knew Daenerys had dragons in Westeros, but they laughed them off. Seeing Drogon as big as he is, though, clearly gets to Tyrion. Jorah takes them into the ruins of Valeria and they get attacked by some Stone Men, which results in Jorah getting Greyscale. No one cares because everyone hates Jorah. (Lainey: please let Jorah Mormont die soon. He’s a perv and I hate him.) My only thought was, “Ugh, just don’t get your plague cooties on Tyrion.” Also, now they’re walking to Meereen, which I take to mean that Tyrion and Daenerys won’t be meeting this season.
Flipping channels to the Wall, Stannis Baratheon is moving south for Winterfell, and Jon Snow pledges to meet up later after he’s recruited the remaining Wildlings to the fight. Of course a bunch of the Night’s Watchmen are mad at him, but what else is new? They’re always mad at Jon Snow. Still, Eamon Targaryen’s creepy speech about becoming a man has hints of the fun side of Jon Snow. When he actually does stuff he’s tolerable, and Eamon is like, “Go do more stuff, everyone likes that.” So Jon is setting out to do some stuff.
Down at Winterfell, the Boltons are getting ready for Stannis’s inevitable siege, as well as Ramsay and Sansa’s wedding. It seems like everyone in the North that isn’t a named character on this show is a hag—Winterfell is populated entirely by hags and crones. The chamber-hag once again reminds Sansa that not everyone is down with the Boltons, and Ramsay’s psycho girlfriend reveals Reek to Sansa. The dinner scene in which Ramsay forces Reek to apologize for killing “Bran and Rickon” is a masterful bit of doublespeak as the Red Wedding hangs over the table. Ramsay even has the balls to say “with the rest of your family gone” like the guy who’s responsible for that isn’t sitting directly across from Sansa. It’s an incredible scene and Sansa gets visible joy from seeing Ramsay put in his place by Roose. I don’t think their marriage is going to make it, you guys.
But the best scene—aside from the dragon stuff—is the one featuring Brienne of Tarth. Gwendoline Christie is electric, reaffirming her duty to Catelyn Stark, and by extension, Sansa. Brienne is what I want Jon Snow to be—principled, but cunning. It’s not entirely clear—deliberately, no doubt—but Brienne tells a man-crone in town that she needs to get a message into Winterfell for Sansa, and then the chamber-hag gives Sansa instructions on how to signal for help. It would seem that while Jon Snow is rounding up Wildlings and Stannis Baratheon is marching south, Brienne is putting together a rebellion from the inside. She may well bring down the Boltons before Stannis or Jon Snow show up. The only way Brienne could get any cooler is if she got a dragon or two of her own.
Next Week: The Girl returns.