Game of Thrones Rewatch: Season Five Episode Nine “The Dance of Dragons” and Episode Ten “Mother’s Mercy”

Continuing my reposting of articles originally posted on the old site. Spoilers abound.

Episode title: The Dance of Dragons

Director: David Nutter

Written by: David Benioff & D.B. Weiss

Summary: Arya continues the mission given to her by Jaqen to poison and kill the Thin Man. However, as she is on the way to her target, she sees Mace Tyrell and Meryn Trant arrive in the harbor to negotiate payment terms with the Iron Bank. She eventually tracks Trant to a brothel, where she learns that he is sexually attracted to pubescent girls. Upon returning to Jaqen, Arya lies to him by telling him the Thin Man was not hungry and did not buy her oysters, and asks to try again the next day.


Jon and Tormund return to the Wall, accompanied by the surviving Night’s Watch and wildlings from Hardhome. They then approach the gate, where Alliser despite his disagreements with Jon, orders the gate to be opened. Jon is also aware that many of his Night’s Watch brothers are unhappy with wildlings being let past the Wall, and Alliser warns him that his compassion will get them all killed.

Ramsay and his group of 20 men are able to sneak in and sabotage Stannis’ supplies by burning them. Davos recommends they retreat back to Castle Black, but Stannis refuses to retreat, and points out that they lack the supplies to make it back regardless. He then arranges for Davos to ride back to Castle Black to request more supplies and reinforcements Stannis then allows Melisandre to burn his daughter Shireen at the stake as a sacrifice, believing that the “king’s blood” in her veins will please the red god, who will then change their fortunes. As Shireen screams for her parents, Selyse, initially supportive of Stannis’ decision, has a change of heart and attempts to stop the ceremony, but is restrained while her child is burned alive in front of Stannis’ horrified troops.

Jaime is brought before Doran Martell to explain his actions, and reveals that he was sent to rescue Myrcella due to a threatening message sent to them from Dorne. Doran negotiates a deal with Jaime. In return for Jaime’s freedom and Myrcella’s return to King’s Landing, the Lannisters must allow Trystane to accompany them as Oberyn’s replacement on the Small Council. Trystane also allows Bronn to go free under the condition that he allow Hotah to strike him in the face in revenge for being struck by Bronn earlier. After the meeting, Doran privately confronts Ellaria and presents her with an ultimatum: pledge loyalty to him or be executed. Ellaria tearfully pledges her loyalty in front of the Sand Snakes, and Doran warns her that this is the last chance he will ever give her.


Daenerys, accompanied by Tyrion, Missandei, Daario, and Hizdahr oversees the beginning of the fighting season in Daznak’s Pit. During the beginning of the second battle, one of the fighters reveals himself to be Jorah, who suddenly picks up a spear and throws it towards the royal stage, killing an assassin sneaking up on Daenerys. Immediately, the Sons of the Harpy attack the stadium, killing many guards and spectators, and stabbing Hizdahr repeatedly. They to escape, but the Sons of the Harpy seal the exits, leaving the survivors surrounded and trapped in the center of the fighting ring. Daenerys takes Missandei’s hand and closes her eyes, seemingly accepting her fate, when Drogon suddenly appears, killing many Sons of the Harpy. Daenerys climbs on to Drogon’s back, ordering him to fly, and her allies are left awe-struck as they watch her fly away.

2000My take: This was hard to watch, and rewatch. First of all: fuck you, Stannis, we were just starting to like you. I knew the worst was coming when he sent Davis away. He sent the one person he knew could either talk him out of it or somehow stage a rescue. When you dismiss your conscience, you mind is already made up. In the next episode, several of his men desert him, and these were men who watched him burn people on Dragonstone as well as Mance. Watching him kill his own daughter? Nope, we’re out. Some have compared Shireen to Iphigenia, but at least Aggamemnon had the good sense to actually win. Major props to Kerry Ingram. The moment her pleas began screams was chilling.

Up until this episode, I thought Hizdahr was the leader of the Harpys. I sometimes wonder about the money changer in Braavos and wonder if he went home and complained to his wife about the damn oyster girl who ignored him. I also wonder how you have a horse on fire without hurting the horse? Ellaria pours one out for her hommies.

Changes from the books: Hizdahr zo Loraq isn’t killed by the Sons of the Harpy, he is currently still alive. Doran sends Nymeria Sand to serve in the Small Council in King’s Landing, not Trystane. Drogon does not appear to save Daenerys. He is drawn to the Pit by the smell of blood and fresh meat from the numerous gladiatorial battles. Arya does not see Meryn Trant in Braavos, nor does she persue him into a brothel. Instead, Arya follows Raff the Sweetling and tempts him in the Winds of Winter ‘Mercy’ chapter. Meryn Trant has not shown any attraction towards children. Tyrion is present in Daznak’s Pit in the books, except he is a dwarf riding on a dog as a show for the observers. Due to the snowstorm, Stannis relents and lets the fanatics in his army sacrifice some criminals charged with cannibalism, instead of Shireen Baratheon. However, George R.R. Martin has confirmed Shireen will be burned as a sacrifice in later books.

Nudity: Prostitutes in a brothel in Braavos

Locations on the Map: King’s Landing, Winterfell, the Wall, Braavos, Meereen, Dorne

Death Count: Shireen, burned alive. Hizdahr, stabbed by the Sons of the Harpy. Several others killed by the Sons of the Harpy, and Drogon.

Quotes: Doran Martell: You are mother to for of my nieces, girls I love very much. For their sake, I hope you live a long and happy life. Speak to me that way again and you won’t.

Tyrion Lannister: In my experience eloquent men are right. Every bit as often as imbecills.


Episode title: Mother’s Mercy

Director: David Nutter

Written by: David Benioff & D.B. Weiss

Summary: The weather conditions at Stannis’ camp drastically improve, clearing the route towards Winterfell. However, Stannis then receives news that half of his army, including all of his mercenaries, have deserted in response to Shireen’s sacrifice, and Selyse is found having hanged herself. Melisandre immediately flees to Castle Black. Despite all of these setbacks, Stannis orders his remaining troops to march forward towards Winterfell. Podrick sees Stannis’ troops and warns Brienne, who leaves to take revenge on Stannis. As Stannis prepares to lay siege on the castle, the Bolton cavalry suddenly emerges. After a quick yet fierce battle, the Boltons emerge as the victors. Stannis survives the destruction of his army, but is severely wounded after fighting several Bolton soldiers. Brienne then arrives and announces her intentions to execute Stannis for the murder of Renly. Stannis accepts his fate and tells Brienne, “Do your duty.” She swings her sword, killing him.

Meanwhile, at Winterfell, Sansa manages to escape her room using the corkscrew. She is caught by Myranda. Theon finally finds his inner strength, and throws Myranda from the castle ramparts to her death. Theon and Sansa realize they have to escape at once. They rush to the castle walls and, seeing the long drop and deep snow, grasp each other’s hands and leap.


Jaime, Bronn, and Trystane leave for King’s Landing. On the ship, Myrcella reveals that she knows Jaime is her real father and that she is glad that he is her father. However, Myrcella suddenly starts bleeding from the nose and collapses, and it is revealed that Ellaria had secretly poisoned Myrcella by kissing her with poisoned lipstick.


Arya infiltrates the brothel patronized by Ser Meryn Trant by taking one of the faces from the House of Black and White. She stabs Trant in the eyes and torso multiple times, revealing her true identity to him before cutting his throat. When she returns to the House of Black and White, Jaqen berates Arya for taking a life not meant for her to take, and that another life must be taken in order to appease the Many Faced God. Jaqen then proceeds to drink from a vial and collapses, much to Arya’s shock. However, the Waif changes her face to that of Jaqen and points out to Arya that “Jaqen” never existed, and Arya is suddenly struck blind.

gallery_ustv-game-of-thrones-s05e10-still-05With Daenerys missing after having flown away on Drogon, her followers are left unsure of what to do in her absence. Daario and Jorah decide to leave Meereen to search for Daenerys. Tyrion wishes to join them, but Daario points out that he is better suited to govern Meereen in Daenerys’ absence, assisted by Missandei and the still-recovering Grey Worm. As Tyrion watches Jorah and Daario leave, he ponders his next move when Varys suddenly appears. Varys compares Meereen’s current state to that of King’s Landing and offers use of his spy network to Tyrion. Tyrion wryly remarks that he had missed Varys. Drogon brings Daenerys back to his lair. Daenerys then wanders off on her own to try to find some food, eventually spotting a Dothraki horde advancing in the distance. As the horde comes closer, Daenerys drops a ring to the ground, before being surrounded.

Cersei confesses to committing adultery with her cousin Lancel to the High Sparrow, but denies having slept with her brother or conspired to have Robert Baratheon killed. The High Sparrow decides to grant the “Mother’s Mercy” and lets Cersei return to the Red Keep, but orders that she must return to face trial for the other sins she has not confessed to, and must undergo an “atonement”. Cersei is stripped, her hair cut short, and forced to walk naked the entire way from the Great Sept of Baelor to the Red Keep. As she walks, she is harassed, jeered and pelted with garbage by the angry populace, and breaks down in tears when she finally returns to the Red Keep. She is covered up by Qyburn, who reveals to her the newest member of the Kingsguard, Robert Strong.


Jon sends Samwell to Oldtown to become a maester along with Gilly and her baby. Davos arrives on orders from Stannis shortly after to ask for supplies and Wildling reinforcements, but Jon refuses, reminding Davos that the Wildlings will never fight for Stannis. Melisandre arrives soon after; her demeanour leads Jon and Davos to realize that Stannis has been defeated and that Shireen is dead. At night, Olly tells Jon that a wildling had recently seen his uncle Benjen Stark, and takes him to speak to him. Led outside Castle Black, he only finds Ser Alliser, Bowen Marsh, Othell Yarwyck and a handful of men along with a post that reads “Traitor”. As Jon realizes that he has been betrayed, Alliser, Bowen, Othell, Olly, and the others take turns stabbing Jon, each uttering “For the Watch”. Jon falls to the ground and succumbs to his wounds. The mutineers turn and walk away, leaving Jon to die alone in the snow.


My take: Belle said that the real magic of the episode us that Sansa’s hood somehow stays up the entire time. Also, Arya has seen Kill Bill. It’s in this episode where I realize that Stannis is Macbeth. He gets deeply involved with a supernatural power which leads him to do more and more horrible things. His men leave him jn droves and his wife commits suicide until he falls in battle against someone bent on revenge. Poor Jamie. He gets a moment of happiness only to have it snatched away. The murder of Mrycella is particularly upsetting because she is one of the few people in the series who is completely innocent. Don’t you feel like walking behind someone ringing a bell calling “Shame!” And even though they used a body double, Lena Hedley’s performance in breaking down on the journey. Yeah, Jon Snow is dead, but you know he’s not staying that way.

Changes from the books: Stannis, Selyse, Myrcella, and Meryn Trant are all still alive. Jeyne does not attempt to escape on her own, the escape attempt is triggered by Mance Raider and six spearwives sent by Jon Snow and Melisandre. The escape takes place before the battle, as the escapees realise their best chance is to link up with Stannis’s army before the Bolton forces reach him. Holly, one of the spearwives, is killed when the alarm is raised, prompting Theon and Jeyne to jump off the walls to evade capture. Brienne and Podrick are still in the Riverlands when the battle at Winterfell occurs therefore it is highly unlikely that Brienne will kill Stannis. Arya is punished for killing Dareon, a brother of the Night’s Watch who deserted and who she came across while in Braavos. Myrcella does not show any awareness that the rumors that Jaime is her father are true. Cersei’s hair is shaved off completely, including all her body hair. Davos has not returned to The Wall since Stannis marched. Jon makes a speech to the Watch and the wildlings, asking for volunteers to join him to attack Winterfell, and many from both groups do so. Shortly after that, he was stabbed in the courtyard by several brothers including Bowen Marsh. The reasoning apparently that Jon is actually betraying his vows by taking sides in a political dispute rather that ideologically betraying them by allying with the wildlings. The book does not confirm if Jon is dead or not.

Nudity: Cersei walking nude through King’s Landing. A woman and a man in the crowd exposing himself to her.

Locations on the Map: King’s Landing, Winterfell, the Wall, Braavos, Meereen, Dorne

Death Count: Selyse, suicide by hanging. Myranda, thrown off a tower by Theon. Stannis, killed by Brienne. Meryn Trant, stabbed by Arya. “Jaqen,” suicide by poison. Myrcella, poisoned by Ellaria. Jon Snow, stabbed by Alliser, Bowen, Othell, Olly, and other mutineers.

Quotes: Sansa Stark: If I’m going to die, let it happen while there is still some of me left.

Alliser Thorne: For the Watch.

Septa Unella: Shame, shame, shame!