WARNING: Winter and spoilers are coming…well, the spoilers are at least. Beware.
It’s not easy captivating the world for 5 straight seasons of TV, but HBO’s GAME OF THRONES as done just that. And while I wasn’t as crazy about the surprisingly disjointed season 5 as I was with past seasons, it’s still damn good TV. After all a lackluster episode of GAME OF THRONES is still a bit better most of the other shows out there. I look at Season 5 as more of a chess game where all the pieces were dramatically shifted creating a bold new direction that has many characters in much different and unusual positions…that is, if they are still alive.
I suppose my biggest concern with Season 5 was how disjointed it all felt. Story arcs were all over the place with bigger characters sitting on the sidelines, smaller characters were stepping it up, and a handful of characters who either showed up all too briefly or not at all! I’m looking at you Brandon Stark and pals! It’s also worth noting what an interesting time we have come upon for this franchise based of the popular novels. As of the end of Season 5 we are officially caught up with the original source material so the horizon is looking very mysterious. And if those damn book ever come out I look forward to looking over someone’s shoulder reading saying “Umm,, that’s not how it happened originally in the show.” Time for all you snarks to get a spoonful of your own damn medicine. If you can’t tell, I never read the books. Whoops.
Alright, so a big portion of this season was dedicated to Sansa Stark continuing her journey with littlefinger back to where it all started in Winterfell. Littlefinger mysteriously disappears once Sansa is dropped off only to find out she is to be wed to the villainous (yet charming as hell) Ramsay who is gaining a lot of power in his new stronghold. The cherry on top, Theon (AKA Reek) is at Ramsay’s side as his little sipping boy. Seeing how Sansa still blames Reek for the death of her family members (he didn’t do it!) we get a plate full of awkward moments and drama! And yes, there is that controversial rape scene that had the internet in an uproar. It was all off screen and while unfortunate didn’t really tell us anything new about Ramsay being a twisted character. If anything, they just nailed home a point we already knew. See what I did there…
We also spend quite a bit of time with Tyrion and Jorah the explorer which creates in my opinion the most fun character dynamics Season 5 had on offer. Tyrion is on the run from the Lannister clan after killing his daddy on the toilet and the supposed love of his life while Jorah is an outcast reeking approval from the woman he secretly loves Daenerys “I was naked amongst dragons and fire” Targaryen. It’s a cool dynamic that works and that damn Jorah will go through hell just to say hi to the damn lady. Creates some fun moments that really has you rooting for the guy. And his banter with Tyrion is priceless.
And of course we get some quality time with Jon Snow as he still struggles with being the new kid at school. He is (was) one of the last remaining hero figures on the show and his demise was unfortunate but creates a refreshing new direction for the show. His episodes guarding and leading the Nights Watch at the wall are hugely epic and serve as the highlight of the season. As Snow tries to recruit the remaining Wildlings (and a Giant!) at the “Massacre of Hardhome” was one of the most epic moments in series history. Glad to see Jon be a hero one last time at least. And we got arguably the best look at the White Walkers yet truly showing the power they process. It’s scary as shit and they are a true threat that will likely wipe out half (if not all) of the world we know and love. Great stuff!
While Bran and friends are MIA along with (for the most part) Margaery, Loras, Tommen, Brienne, Pod, and Littlefinger we do get to revisit Arya Stark as she unveils the House of Black and White with her shapeshifting mentor Jagen. While I don’t quite understand the mysteries of this house completely, it is truly captivating stuff adding a fun fantasy element to the show that is somewhat lacking overall in this season. Ok, there are a few scenes with dragons too BIG deal! It’s just we were on a role with Bran’s three-eyes raven, skeleton warriors, and a man living inside a tree at the end of Season 4 and I wanted more of that blast dammit!
Then just as you thought Ramsay’s sexipades were bad, Cersei got the shortest stick possible (besides death) redefining “walk of shame”. To be fair, her character is a pretty horrible character who needed a stern talking to. When a stern talk doesn’t do the trick, I guess walking the length of your city barefoot and naked whilst getting spit and having wet cabbage thrown at you will just have to do. A bit much for my tastes, but she had in coming and it will be interesting to see if this teaches her a lesson or add more fuel to her “I hate everyone and everything” fire.
And lastly, we visit Dorne, a land where all the rejects from Kevin Sorbo’s HERCULES set up shop and act all evil and whatnot. We join Jaime and his bud Bronn on a quest to save Jaime’s daughter from a seeming life of luxury only for her to be poisoned on her way out. Great job guys…great job. You saved her only to get her killed. Men…
So yeah, even though GAME OF THRONES Season 5 was a bit disjointed with its characters and overall story, I have to admit that I loved the ride nonetheless and it’s still much better than most the TV shows out there. I was a bit disappointed in the more traditional “save all the best shockers for the end” approach in a show that prides itself on being non-traditional, but that is just a minor nitpick in the grand scheme of things. Season 5 does present a lot of character power shifting that has me excited for what’s to come, not to mention Season 6 being uncharted territory for book readers and HBO watcher alike. At the end of the day Season 5 provided a few great character moments, some intriguing power shifting, a dash of insane fantasy elements, and a set up for what will hopefully be a grand new season as we enter uncharted territory for the franchise.
Final Score: 8 out of 10