I’m not even sure how to begin this Game of Thrones recap for the Season 5 finale ‘Mother’s Mercy’. Just two episodes ago during the siege of ‘Hardhome’ I was willing to call that the single greatest episode in the show’s history. Now here I am writing my final Game of Thrones recap of the season and I’m pretty dang certain that ‘Mother’s Mercy’ was without question the most intense (and best) episode across all five seasons. We have sooooooo much to catch up on from last night, naming the biggest ‘Winners and Losers’ of the Season 5 Game of Thrones finale, but we also have to discuss where we think the show is heading next season, and those cliffhangers that left us all speechless. So get ready to read, a lot, and without further ado let’s jump right into the biggest winners and losers from Game of Thrones‘ ‘Mother’s Mercy’, Episode 510.
Game of Thrones Recap: Mother’s Mercy (Episode 510)
Right now some of you may be wondering to yourselves ‘What characters are left to root for?’ which is a pretty valid concern, but rest assured, by the end of reading this GoT recap you’ll see the light at the end of the tunnel. And I’d like to apologize for any minor typos in this piece, because I was writing it under stream-of-consciousness style, and I’m sure a few misspellings slipped in there.
WINNER: Brienne of Tarth.
When we last saw Stannis the Mannis we came to the conclusion that he’s no longer the man, after burning his only child at the stake. With the sacrifice of his daughter Stannis Baratheon set into motion a series of events that would lead to his death in no time at all. Thus, while Brienne ends up as the big winner in this scenario, Stannis Baratheon ranks as quite possibly the biggest loser we’ve seen in the show’s history. He murdered his own daughter, which led to his wife committing suicide, then his cavalry soldiers abandoned him, then before he had a chance to attack Winterfell he was sacked by Ramsay Bolton.
This all culminated in Brienne the Bold finally, after all these years, getting to slay Stannis as revenge for killing her one true love, Renly Baratheon (Stannis’ lil bro). Brienne of Tarth is still honor bound to serve the wishes of Catelyn Stark, and protect the Stark daughters at all cost, but at least she’s lifted the burden of Stannis. She can sleep peacefully at night now knowing that the Stannis-faced shadow monster she witnessed slay Renly was in fact black magic, and she’s not crazy for spreading that tale. That has to be THE BEST feeling in the world. Knowing that you’re not insane, and that you can finally gain some closer on a quest.
The Lady Melisandre knew went to jump ship and abandon the usurper Stannis Baratheon. She fled to Castle Black and not a moment too soon, but we’ll discuss that later.
So what does the future for Stannis’ army hold? Nothing. They are all dead. His claim to the throne was tenuous at best. With a living Targaryen in the world who has a RIGHTFUL CLAIM to the Iron Throne, Stannis has never been anything more than just another usurper. I think we were all lulled into a false sense that his code of honor was the thing Westeros needed to get back on track, but after he burned his daughter alive all that faith in Stannis was lost. Where his few remaining men will go? Who knows.
What’s next for Brienne the Bold? Well, she’s still trying to rescue Sansa Stark from that castle. She was somehow able to swoop in there after the battle and not get caught up on either side of the fighting, a plot point that seemed just a little too convenient, but nevertheless she was there and at least part of her mission is done. With Sansa on the move I suspect early next season we’ll see those two cross paths and either head for The Vale or Riverrun, the homes of Sansa’s living relatives.
There hasn’t really been a moment throughout the 5 Game of Thrones season where I’ve been actively rooting for Brienne until now. She’s been a bit of a bumbling buffoon in the past, but she’s now in the thick of the plot, and I dig that.
WINNER: Samwell Tarly and Gilly
The second pivotal scene this week involved Jon Snow recanting the ‘Hardhome’ siege to Samwell Tarly, and Samwell in turn convincing Jon that sending Sam off to the Citadel to become a maester is his true destiny. Now I don’t know about you bros but I was getting pretty uneasy during this scene. I’ve said time and again that Jon Snow’s only true ally is his direworf Ghost, and Jon’s only truly safe when Ghost is nearby. My memory’s a little foggy but I only recall seeing Ghost ONCE throughout all of Season 5 (maybe twice?). So when Sam, Jon’s only friend, was given permission by Jon to leave the castle and fulfill his maester training at the Citadel I’m sitting here thinking ‘who the hell is going to be around to keep Jon Snow alive?’
Jon has made some serious enemies throughout his years at Castle Black, but he’s almost made some close friends. Sam was the last of those friends to leave Jon Snow. This is just one part of Jon Snow’s demise, but I think the actions involving Jon Snow that we’ll get to later were set in motion before Sam decided to leave. So Samwell Tarly got out of Castle Black just in time. That, and he also just embarked on a trip with the first chick he’s ever slept with, so there will be quite a bit of fornicating in his future. Sam’s a HUGE winner here, as is Gilly.
What the future holds for Samwell Tarly on his trip to the citadel is unclear. It’s quite the long trip from Castle Black to The Citadel (where all maesters receive their training). The Citadel is located in Oldtown, which as you can see from this map is is as far South as Dorne (to the left of Dorne):
I have my suspicions that Sam and Gilly will encounter both hardship and adventure on their way South, so that’ll be interesting to watch.
WINNER: Sansa Stark
Just when Ramsay’s sidepiece was about to put a bolt in Sansa, costing her an arm or a leg (but keeping her womb intact), Theon Greyjoy shook off the ‘Reek’ shackles and acted. After immediately realizing the gravity of his actions Theon snapped to, and his path is now intertwined once again with that of Sansa Stark.
Literally NOTHING Theon can do will redeem his past actions. Theon is the one who ultimately led to the demise of the Starks, but losing the Stark boys and making everyone think they were dead, then forfeiting Winterfell over to the Bolton’s after burning the castle down. Theon then pussed out on a rescue attempt by his sister, putting his family and kinsmen in harm’s way. Theon stood idly by and watched Sansa be brutally raped on her wedding night. Through all that he did nothing, so he’s dead to me.
The show’s writers are ABSOLUTE MASTERS at taking a character you previously hated and making you fall in love with that person (see Jamie Lannister’s transition from Season 1 until present day), so I think they might attempt some serious rehabilitation of Theon’s image. IT WILL NOT WORK ON ME. I do hope that Theon can at least get Sansa to Brienne of Tarth and (tri)Podrick before Ramsay tracks them down, otherwise it’ll end with both Theon and Sansa having their skin flayed back in ways that’ll bring them to the brink of death, but won’t kill them.
What’s somewhat likely is Ramsay tracking Theon and Sansa down, Theon claiming all responsibility and saying he kidnapped Sansa, and Theon loses a leg or something like that. Sansa takes a brutal beating fro Ramsay, and we the viewers are the big losers because we’re forced to watch all of that unfold. For now though, Sansa Stark is a pretty big winner because there are at least wheels in motion that are taking her away from Ramsay.
At this point you’re probably thinking to yourself: my God this dude writes too much, and his explanations are so goddamn longwinded. And for that I apologize, and by apologize I mean ‘sorry I’m not sorry’. This is my last ‘Winners and Losers’ Game of Thrones recap for like 10 months, so I’m trying to be as thorough as possible for you bros. Love it or hate it, I will ramble on.