Game of Thrones: So What Happened in Season Five and What Does it Mean?

Game of Thrones has built a reputation for being shocking, and each season has continually upped the ante in terms of plot twists, controversial scenes and gut wrenching deaths. This fifth season was no exception, and we’re now at the point where the show is moving beyond George R.R. Martin’s novels and is charting its own exciting new path.

Tyrion’s arrival in Meereen resulted in an intriguing alliance between two fan favorites. The Imp’s tactical abilities will provide support for the Mother of Dragons in her quest to take the Iron Throne. With three dragons, an army of Unsullied, and one of the most capable political minds in Westeros at her disposal, Daenerys’ victory seems assured, provided she find a way to control her other two unruly children.

First, she’ll have to find her way back to Meereen, having flown off on Drogon’s back after an attack by the Sons of the Harpy at the fighting pits. The rebel group is revolting after the queen’s decree outlawing slavery upset their city’s social balance. Daenerys’ marriage to Hizdahr zo Loraq did little to quell the uprisings and did not last long as Hizdahr met his death by the hands of one of the Sons of the Harpy. This further shows their unrest and just how many of them are after the Queen’s head. If Dany is to bring any sort of peace to Meereen, she’ll need to get down in the dirt, not fly above the city on scaled wings.

Of course, the fact that Daenerys has tamed Drogon is a watershed moment for the series. We’ve heard about Aegon the Conqueror and his two sisters who rode dragons and conquered all of Westeros, uniting the Seven Kingdoms. Not only will Daenerys’ control over her children be instrumental in gaining the throne, but it seems as if dragons will be the only answer to the ever growing army of dead being raised by the White Walkers in the north.

Across the Narrow Sea in Braavos, Arya Stark chose to kill Ser Meryn for vengeance rather than complete the assassination Jaqen assigned her – a clear indicator that she wants to be a Faceless Man simply so she can clean up the rest of her kill list. Her untrained use of one of the faces at The House of Black and White has left her blind, which means she won’t be leaving Braavos anytime soon. It’s unclear whether she’ll be reunited with any of her siblings (or anyone else from Winterfell for that matter) again.

Arya’s sister Sansa, having traveled back to Winterfell to be married off to the sadistic Ramsay Bolton, desperately tried to form an alliance with Ramsay’s servant Theon, now called Reek. At first, he was very reluctant to help Sansa at all for fear of what Ramsay would do to him. That changed when he realized the possibility that Sansa may never be herself again if she were to continue living with Ramsay. In the finale, we see the two jump off a wall to their presumed deaths though in the world of Game of Thrones, nothing is definite.

In King’s Landing, Cersei’s arming of the Faith Militant backfired as she found herself imprisoned along with her rivals Margaery and Loras Tyrell. Cersei’s harrowing walk of atonement through the streets of King’s Landing toyed with audience sympathies as we felt pity for one of the show’s most reviled characters. When Cersei made it back to the castle, she was utterly humiliated and covered in dirt and grime. It also seems that a new revenge plan will be underway next season with a newly appointed silent knight.

In Dorne, Jaime and Bronn’s mission to retrieve Princess Myrcella appeared to be a success despite the intervention of the Sand Snakes. The Snakes’ de facto leader Ellaria had the last laugh, however, as a poison kiss planted on the Princess’ lips before her departure seems to have ended her life, an act of war which will lead to Dorne entering the fray. We will see to what extent the Lannisters pay their debts next season.

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Meanwhile, at Castle Black, newly appointed Lord Commander Jon Snow traveled to Hardhome to bring wildlings south of The Wall. His alliance was put to the test, as four White Walkers laid siege to Hardhome, adding scores of wights to add to their massive army of undead. Snow’s story is the most significant as it details the biggest threat looming over Westeros. However, none of the southern lords seem keen to aid him, preferring to play at politics that bring them closer to King’s Landing, and the Lord Commander’s assassination at the finale’s end spells big trouble for a now defenseless country. After his murder, many fans took to the Internet to provide detailed theories as to how he’s not actually dead: Melisandre will bring him back, his soul will somehow merge with Ghost’s body, he will resurrect as a White Walker, and so on. Although Kit Harington has formally stated he will not return for the next season, many are still holding on to hope for the following seasons.

The sixth season of Game of Thrones should be even more action packed, with Cersei’s trial, Sansa’s escape, more dragon riding, and White Walker attacks on the menu. Whatever happens, we can be sure the show will retain its power to thrill and surprise us at every turn. Until then, make sure you marathon the whole series to make sure you didn’t miss any hints or clues as to what will happen. Every single episode of the series so far is on HBO Go but if you don’t have access to that, Comcast Xfinity and Verizon FiOS have them on demand. It’ll be a grueling wait until next year but with all the directions the show could go, it should be worth it.

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