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REVIEW: Game of Thrones 5×09 “The Dance of Dragons”

Well, a horse on fire is never a good start to anyone’s day and Camp Stannis seems to be continuing their grim time up north. I get it guys, it’s pretty crap up there.

But I’m not sure that justifies burning your daughter at the stake (yes, I’m jumping right in to that one). In fact, I’m pretty sure that there is nothing that justifies burning your daughter at the stake. I can’t stress how much I hate this. And I don’t just mean that I hate the incident – horrible, brutal things continually occur on Game of Thrones, I know. I hate that Stannis did this. Stannis who until now has been flawed, has been easily led by Melisandre, has been downright pig-headed, but has never been an evil, sick murderer. What kind of psycho-parent would do that? (I’m judging his wife, Selyse, just as harshly but she already seemed pretty psychotic. If anything I was surprised she even tried to stop the burning.) I can’t believe that Stannis would actually do this (even Cersei wouldn’t do this)! I can’t believe that Stannis is someone we’re presumably supposed to be rooting for. Now I couldn’t care less if his whole army dies up there in the snow. To be honest, I think this was a pretty rotten story-telling decision and I’m not particularly impressed by them carefully sticking in scenes before to remind us just how nice and sweet and smart Shireen is. It’s painfully heavy-handed writing, and I expect Game of Thrones to be a bit more clever than that.got92

Anyway. I’m going to take some deep breaths and try to continue writing… Ok. Apart from that insanity, a few other things did happen. We caught up with Arya and her oyster-selling adventures. Unfortunately for her chances of ever making it as a Faceless Men, she wanders off-mission the second she notices the arrival of Ser Meryn Trant. Arya is not good at this Faceless Man stuff – she doesn’t want it enough, she just wants to do whatever she wants as soon as it occurs to her. She follows Trant to a brothel where, as if he wasn’t disgusting enough, he reveals himself to be a paedophile. Game of Thrones really isn’t afraid to make its characters sickening pieces of shit, is it? At this point I was hoping fervently that Arya would stab Trant in the face, sadly she did not. Instead she returned to Jaquen H’ghar who seemed to be pretending he didn’t know exactly where she’d been (come on Arya, he knows everything. You’re not fooling him.)


Elsewhere in the world, Ellaria Sand is slightly getting on my wick. I get that she’s upset at Westeros in general, so am I (and I too will never really get over the death of Oberyn), but all she does is moan and snipe at people! Thankfully, later in the episode, she admits that she understands Myrcella is not at fault for Oberyn’s demise and even says that Jaime might not be either! Ellaria does actually receive my quote of the week award for: ‘It’s always changing, who we’re supposed to love and who we’re not. The only thing that stays the same is that we want who we want.’ True words, sister.

In more Martell/Dornish news, Doran continues to be an intelligent, reasonable person. It’s good to see a disabled character in a positive, powerful role. And I’m glad Jaime remembered Bronn! It’ll be interesting to see them all back in Westeros, with added Prince Trystane, but I’m sad that there wasn’t more going on in Dorne. I had high hopes for this storyline.

Up at the Wall, Alliser Thorne had the face of someone who was not going to let Jon Snow through the gates. I was genuinely worried for a minute there. Once inside, Sam was the only voice of positivity while Jon grumped around. It’s awful that so many died, but Sam’s not wrong: Jon made a vital difference to every Wildling left alive! Jon also seems to have failed to explain what happened during the battle – I hope he does, I reckon the rest of the Nights Watch need to know what’s going down.

And last, but so very not least, Daenerys. It all started like an average day in Meereen, a bit of fighting to the death, snarky companions. You know the drill. Hizdhar makes the point that Daenerys’ killing is not necessarily any better than that seen in the fighting pits when it all comes down to it but she doesn’t seem impressed. Tyrion drily remarks that his father would have probably liked Hizdhar… and then it all changes. Ser Jorah has made it to the pit. And, much as Daenerys would have let him die, she seemed pretty happy moments later when he saved her from one of the Sons of the Harpy. I thought that moment was really well done; it did seem like Jorah had just gone mad and chucked a spear at Daenerys, and from then on this became the most enjoyable part of the episode for me. Surrounded by hundreds of Sons, our gang of ‘heroes’ were utterly outnumbered. I bet there wasn’t a single person watching who wasn’t going ‘Dragons! Get the dragons!’ and thankfully, dragons we got. Well, one at least (though I’m hoping Daenerys decides to set the other two free after this!) Drogon appeared in all his glory and started flambeé-ing people left, right and centre. It was great to see some real dragon interaction, especially when he screamed in Dany’s face before quietening and actually allowing her to climb on his back and fly away. I feel like Daenerys is finally taking steps toward her destiny!

What’s left for next week? Was this episode as strong as last week’s or a bit of a let-down? Leave your thoughts in the comments!

Final grade: B

Extra Thoughts:

  • If I was Jaime writing that note, it would go something like ‘Have decided to stay in Dorne. Much nicer than crappy King’s Landing, weather good, people hot. Send money.’
  • What’s with all the cape dresses Daenerys? Where are you getting them all from anyway? I never see them in the shops round here.
  • Is it just me or is Daario getting better-looking? Is this Stockholm Syndrome?
  • Here is the last positive thing I will ever, ever say about Stannis Baratheon: it was sensible to butcher the dead horses for the meat.

About the author

Grace Davis