The land is starting to grow cold and the threat from beyond the wall is growing. As Jon Snow (Kit Harington) tries to rally forces to try to keep back the White Walkers Cersei (Lena Headey) deals with her new daughter-in-law Margaery (Natalie Dormer) by bringing up the High Sparrow (Jonathan Pryce)…which could have bigger problems. Arya (Maisie Williams) finds herself among the Faceless Ones but her quest for revenge could put her at odds with them. Daenerys (Emilia Clarke) tries to maintain control of her empire, and Tyrion (Peter Dinklage) is on the run after killing his father.
Game of Thrones—Season 5 aired on HBO from April 12, 2015 to June 14, 2015. The season received mixed reviews from critics and won Primetime Emmys for Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Drama Series (Dinklage), Outstanding Directing for a Drama Series (“Mother’s Mercy”), Outstanding Writing for a Drama Series (“Mother’s Mercy”), Outstanding Sound Mixing for a One Hour Comedy or Drama Series (“Hardhome”), Outstanding Casting for a Drama Series, Outstanding Single-Camera Picture Editing for a Drama Series (“The Dance of Dragons”), Outstanding Production Design for a One Hour Narrative Contemporary or Fantasy Program (“High Sparrow”, “Unbowed, Unbent, Unbroken”, “Hardbone”), Outstanding Sound Editing for a Series (“Hardhome”), Outstanding Special Visual Effects (“The Dance of Dragons”), Outstanding Stunt Coordination for a Drama Series, and Outstanding Non-Prosthetic Makeup for a Single-Camera Series (“Mother’s Mercy”), and Outstanding Drama Series with nominations for Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Drama Series (Headey and Clarke), Outstanding Directing for a Drama Series (“Unbowed, Unbent, Unbroken”), Outstanding Guest Actress in a Drama Series (Diana Rigg), Outstanding Single-Camera Picture Editing for a Drama Series (“Hardhome”), Outstanding Prosthetic Makeup for a Series, Limited Series, Movie or Special (“Hardhome”), Outstanding Costumes for a Period/Fantasy Series (“The Dance of Dragons”), Outstanding Cinematography for a Single-Camera Series (“Sons of the Harpy”, “Unbowed, Unbent, Unbroken”, “Hardhome”, “The Dance of Dragons”), and Outstanding Hairstyling for a Single-Camera Series (“Mother’s Mercy”). With a backlog on the books by George R.R. Martin, the season shows some diversion from the literary source.
I love Game of Thrones and generally eat up every episode. Despite this, Game of Thrones—Season 5 proved to be a bit challenging. With a slow start and a storyline that felt more like filler for the next season, Game of Thrones continues to be good, but this is a weaker season.
The season is a very slow burn. Normally, it feels like so much happens in ten episodes of Game of Thrones. Every episode is loaded with shocking events. This season doesn’t feel like much happens for the first six episodes or so. The last three episodes kicked it up, but I wish that the action and shocking events had been spread out a bit more.
While season 4 was year of the women (aka “All Men Must Die”), Game of Thrones—Season 5 is a little rough on the women. There was some controversy about the brutalization and rape of Sansa Stark at the hands of Ramsey. Some called it gratuitous, but it didn’t seem gratuitous since it propelled the story and her character forward (it is also probably ironic that many that cried foul didn’t object to the castration of Reek by the same character the season before).
The cast continues to excel, but this also provides a bit of a problem for the season. Season 4 left viewers with a giant cliffhanger involving Bran’s path, but this season bypasses Bran’s story. Jon’s story is compelling but some of the side stories like Brienne and Podrick sitting around outside of Winterfell and Jaime’s mission just aren’t up the level of what you’d expect from the characters…though I was happy to see Whale Rider vet Keisha Castle-Hughes as one of the Sand-Snakes.
The series continues to look top notch. From the details on the dragons to the sets and scenery, Game of Thrones does seem to cut any corners. I also like the design on the White Walkers and make them kind of unique which is difficult due to prevalence of zombies in TV and film now.
Game of Thrones—Season 5 might be a little bit of a stumble, but it also feels like build up for a bigger and better Season 6. If the whole season had been like the last three episodes, this season would be completely top notch…instead, it leaves you aching for the next season and more painful deaths.
Game of Thrones—Season 5 Complete Episode Guide:
5.1 The Wars to Come Airdate: 04/12/15
Cersei (Lena Headey) mourns her father as Tyrion (Peter Dinklage) is on the run with Varys (Conleth Hill) for the murder. Loras (Finn Jones) brings up a bad realization to Margaery (Natalie Dormer) about her future due to Tywin’s death, and Margaery works on a plan for her own salvation. Sansa (Sophie Turner) remains with Lord Baelish (Aiden Gillen), and Brienne (Gwendoline Christie) questions her future as she continues to guard Podrick (Daniel Portman). Daenerys (Emilia Clarke) finds her Unsullied under attack in Meereen as she is pressured to bring back the fighting pits but realizes that her dragons Viserion and Rhaegal might be her real problem. Jon Snow (Kit Harington) learns that Stannis Bartheon (Stephen Dillane) wants him to convince Mance Rayder (Ciarán Hinds) to get the Wildlings to join him in an attempt to take back the North.
5.2 The House of Black and White Airdate: 04/19/15
Jaime (Nikolaj Coster-Waldau) sets out on a quest to rescue Myrcella from Dorne and makes an ally of Bronn (Jerome Flynn). Cersei tries to keep control of King’s Landing as some demand her son Tommen (Dean-Charles Chapman) begin his rule. A chance encounter with Sansa and Baelish in the Vale puts Brienne both closer and farther from her goal. Jon Snow finds his power in the Night’s Watch is growing and a potential honor from Stannis. Ellaria (Indira Varma) seeks vengeance for the murder of Oberyn from Prince Doran Martella (Alexander Siddig). Arya (Maisie Williams) seeks the House of Black and White in Braavos and tries to join the members of the Faceless Men. The decision to execute a member of the Sons of the Harpy could put Daenerys rule in Meereen in jeopardy.
5.3 High Sparrow Airdate: 04/26/15
Tommen’s relationship with Margaery (Natalie Dormer) heats up and Cersei finds herself displaced…leading her to an alliance with the religious leader High Sparrow (Jonathan Pryce). Jon finds his new title challenged and tries to show his strength. Arya tries to begin her training as a Faceless Man but learns that she must give up her past. Brienne reveals the reason for her alliance to Renly Baratheon and why she intends to avenge him. Roose (Michael McElhatton) and Ramsay (Iwan Rheon) fear that they could lose Winterfell if attacked and find Baelish has brought Sansa as an offering. Varys and Tyrion’s stop in Volantis leads to danger for Tyrion.
5.4 Sons of the Harpy Airdate: 05/03/15
Cersei makes a power play with High Sparrow by restoring the Faith Militant…leading to a face-off with Margaery over her brother Loras Tyrell (Finn Jones). Sansa discovers she must endure Winterfell alone if Stannis’ plans hope to succeed. Jon tries to reinforce the wall and learns that he might have to deal with Roose Bolton if he wants the men he needs while Melisandre (Carice van Houten) makes her own move for control over Jon. Tyrion is held prisoner by Jorah Mormont (Iain Glen) who reveals he hopes to use him as a bartering chip with Daenerys. Jaime and Bronn infiltrate Dorne but do not realize that Ellaria and Oberyn’s bastard children Obara (Keisha Castle-Hughes, Nymeria (Jessica Henwick), and Tyene (Rosabell Laurenti Sellers) know of his mission. An attack by the Sons of the Harpy could cost Daenerys two of her most devote followers in Grey Worm (Jacob Anderson) and Ser Barristan (Ian McElhinney).
5.5 Kill the Boy Airdate: 05/03/15
Sansa finds herself a captive in her own home and learns that Reek (Alfie Allen) is the prisoner of Ramsay. Brienne continues to try to defend Sansa and fights to find a way to gain access to her. Grey Worm finds he’s survived his battle with the Sons of the Harpy and questions if he’s failed Daenerys by allowing Ser Barristan to die while Daenerys makes a decision on how to handle the growing unrest in Meereen. Jon’s fear that the White Walkers are coming leads to the decision that may make him unpopular among the Night’s Watch. Tyrion and Jorah’s passage through Valyria could prove to be deadly when they encounter Stone Men infected with Greyscale.
5.6 Unbowed, Unbent, Unbroken Airdate: 05/10/15
Jaime and Bronn make their attempt to rescue Myrcella (Nell Tiger Free) but find Ellaria’s Sand Snakes could be a bigger threat. Tyrion and Jorah’s attempt to reach Meereen meets another roadblock when they encounter slavers. Arya tries to determine what the Faceless Men are doing with the bodies they clean and struggles to make the next step in her training. Baelish returns to King’s Landing to find it a very different place and passes on the events occurring in Winterfell to Cersei…for a price. Olenna Tyrell (Diana Rigg) tries to free her grandson Loras Tyrell from the Sparrows, but an inquisition by the High Sparrow could create more problems for Margaery, Loras, and Olenna. Sansa prepares to wed Ramsay and learns Ramsay’s true nature.
5.7 The Gift Airdate: 05/24/15
Jon is setting out to try to rally the Wildlings to help in the fight against the White Walkers leaving Sam in a dangerous situation while trying to protect Gilly (Hannah Murray). Stannis learns Melisandre’s vision of victory could come at a price and winter grows colder. Sansa is forced to turn to Reek for help in reaching her allies but learns that Reek could have other plans. As Jaime tries to convince Myrcella to return to King’s Landing, Bronn learns how dangerous the Sand Snakes can be. Olenna works to free Loras and Margaery by meeting with the High Sparrow, but finds her own source of revenge through Cersei’s cousin Lancel (Eugene Simon). Sold to Yezzen zo Qaggaz (Enzo Cilenti), Tyrion and Jorah reach the fighting pits and Tyrion has a meeting with Daenerys that is years in the making.
5.8 Hardhome Airdate: 05/31/15
Daenerys debates what to do with Tyrion as Joran hopes it could be his chance to return to his side. Cersei’s finds herself imprisoned by the Sparrows and learns confession might be her only salvation. Sam tries to recover from his fight and keep the people of the wall together as Jon’s rule is questioned. Arya begins working for the Faceless Men and is given a target. Reek reveals the truth about Bran and Rickon’s fate to Sansa but escaping Ramsey might be more difficult. A trip to meet with the Wildlings leads to a showdown with the White Walkers…and a true revealing of their power!
5.9 The Dance of Dragons Airdate: 06/07/15
Arya finds her mission from the Faceless Men sidelined when Mace Tyrell (Roger Ashton-Griffiths) and Meryn Trant (Ian Beattie) arrive in Braavos. Jon returns to the Wall with the Wildlings despite objects from the Night’s Watch. Jaime tries to negotiate the release of Myrcella as Doran (Alexander Siddig) deals with Ellaria and her Sand Snakes. Stannis finds his attempts to take Winterfell are failing as his men defect and decides to take a drastic decision involving his daughter Shireen (Kerry Ingram). Daenerys attends the fights, but finds herself trapped in the middle of a Sons of the Harpy trap that might be fatal.
5.10 Mother’s Mercy Airdate: 06/14/15
Stannis finds the sacrifice of Shireen has warmed the winter, but a march on Winterfell could finally mean a confrontation with Brienne over the death of Renly. Stannis’ attack leaves Sansa with another opportunity to escape if Reek doesn’t sabotage it again. Myrcella prepares to return to King’s Landing with Jaime, but Ellaria gives her a final gift. Arya’s decision to target Meryn Trant has consequences among the Faceless Men. Spirited away by Drogon, Daenerys finds a reunion she wasn’t expecting as Daario and Jorah set off to find her…leaving Tyrion and Grey Worm to rule Meereen. Cersei faces the results of confessing her sins and learns she has a new ally. Jon learns of the attack at Winterfell but also learns that his decisions among the Night’s Watch have deadly consequences.