Game Of Thrones Season 5 Episode 10: “Mother’s Mercy” Review (Spoilers)
It’s been said before that no one is safe on Game Of Thrones. Season 5 finale entitled “Mother’s Mercy” lived up to that adage. In what is arguably one of the most shocking deaths to date, we say farewell to another major character that’s been on the show from the very beginning.
This finale is filled to the brim with death. Let’s begin with Stannis. Burning Shireen alive at the stake was supposed to help Stannis fulfill his destiny. It turned out to be the beginning of his end. Because of Shireen’s horrible death, Selyse took her own life and the sellswords which comprised half of Stannis’ army fled with the horses. Whether or not the sacrifice to the Lord of Light led to the winter thaw is in question but it ultimately cleared the path to their slaughter.
If you look back further though, the real root cause of Stannis’ demise is in his fanaticism. He had chances to go back to the Wall and make different decisions. He’s supposedly this great military commander yet his blind belief overrode rational, strategic thinking and in making ethical choices. Instead he marched towards his death leaving a trail of bodies in his wake.
Game Of Thrones tends to avoid contrivances such as instant karma and the kind of vengeance you’d expect. However in this case, it’s a satisfying end to Stannis’ story. His final words, “Go on do your duty” captured his character perfectly. Dying at the hands of Brienne bring things full circle from the time Stannis had his brother Renly assassinated. As much as the Boltons destroyed his army and Brienne delivered the death blow, Stannis was unknowingly the architect of his own end.
The Red Priestess and Stannis put all their eggs into one basket because they believed he was the savior as the prophecies foretold. Stannis’ death raises another question. If this prophecy can be believed, which is a question in itself, then who fits the bill as the savior? Well, not Jon Snow.
Killing Stannis in the first half hour meant that the finale still had some big moments to come. The final sequence of events at the Wall was done brilliantly. It was a gut punch. I don’t think Jon Snow’s death has truly sunk in yet for me. I mean, even though I knew his death was coming, I always had it in the back of my mind that he wouldn’t be dead for long. It is a fantasy show after all and he wouldn’t be the first character to be resurrected. Heck, even the Mountain is still alive. However, according to interviews, the show runners are confirming Jon is really dead. Actor Kit Harrington has also said he won’t be returning next season, he’s already cut his hair.
The final shot of Jon dead with the blood flowing out is haunting. It’s the kind of image that’ll burn into our minds, leaving a lasting impression in what is an especially dark season even by Game Of Thrones standards. With Ned and Robb dead, our hopes were put onto Jon even though he wasn’t a Stark by name. He was the prototypical stoic hero, a rarity on this show. The young man and Lord Commander that was supposed to be the best chance Westeros has in fending off the White Walkers. Now he’s gone and the show has one less character we can truly root for.
Jon’s story line this season has been the strongest it’s ever been. Arguably the best story line of all this season. He’s had to make some hard decisions. Decisions that I could not find fault with. He’s had to deal with the bigger picture in the White Walker threat, but it’s the smaller threats, the very people he’s trying to save, which were left to fester like a cancer. Alliser Thorne did recognize Jon’s action were for the greater good, but also believed it could get them all killed. He wasn’t exactly wrong, it did kill Jon. However, part of Jon’s downfall was that he didn’t clearly communicate and convince the Night’s Watch of why he made the choices that he did. He mainly confided and explained things to Sam but Sam was already on his side.
The finale covered a lot of ground but didn’t feel rushed. I wished the finale was an extended bonus sized episode because I loved it and wanted more. I would like thank everyone who has viewed, liked, linked and/or commented on these recaps. This is the first time I’ve managed to do a post on every Game Of Thrones episode in a season. It’s fun interacting with fellow fans and I totally appreciate your thoughtful comments all season long. Valar morghulis.
What are your reactions to Stannis’ and Jon Snow’s death? Which story line are you most excited about for next season?