As most people probably know, season 5 of HBO’s mega-hit show Game Of Thrones came to a bloody end on Sunday night. Infamous for it’s brutal killing of main characters, fans waited and watched in a full hour of anguish as not one, not two, not even three, no no that just isn’t enough for Game Of Thrones, Four main and a hand full of secondary characters were picked off one by one in truly horrifying George R. R. Martin style.
Despite my undying love for the fantasy epic, I am somehow, left feeling slightly disengaged after this season. Taking a walk back in GOT history we look back to previous deaths in Westeros such as the shocking demise of Ned Stark. To me this really set the precedent for the show, they presented us with a noble family oriented lord played by a fairly well known actor, and really followed him as if he would be the main protagonist, most of the plot strands in season 1 (disregarding Daeny) seemed to directly effect Ned’s character arc. So when in episode 9 he is beheaded it really does present itself as a plot twist. Similarly the complete shock of the red wedding at the end of season three and Joffrey’s demise in Season 4. All of these, perhaps had a slight sense of foreboding but for the most part were a complete surprise to those viewers who haven’t read the books. This utter shocking nature however cannot be attributed to some of the poor characters that met their end in this series.
Let’s discuss the deaths of the two young princesses in season 5 Myrcella Lannister and Shireen Baratheon. Arguably Shireen’s death was obviously coming because of Melisandre’s prophesy however the devises used to make her loss more traumatic were just slightly obvious. The little wooden stag that Ser Davos had happened to have made her just before Stannis offs her, the loving father daughter talk. The nostalgic building and sudden desire to align audiences with the character are just a little obvious that the writers have ulterior motives. Same again with Beautiful Myrcella floating around the ships cabin like Cinderella telling Jaime she knows and accepts him to be her father in this loving way, the build up of likeable, heartfelt conversation just smacks of ‘make the audience love me because Weiss and Bennioff are about to kill me off’. It’s the same effect as the relieving moment in a horror movie, you think they’ve finally saved themselves then BAM! the murderer is back. It’s an obvious filmic device to lull the viewer into a false sense of security that in Game Of Thrones’ case made some deaths slighly predictable.
This nostalgia brings me onto the words i’d hoped i would never have to type, the death of Jon Snow. That little quip about Sam and Gilly bumping uglys and having one last laugh at the table together, to me it just all added up. Plus motivated close-ups of Olly’s disapproving little face over and over again were an easy sign, why else would they emphasise a secondary character’s disapproval so much if it wasn’t in some way significant. To me this spoiled the tragedy of Jon’s death and instead of the utter, heart just fell out of my chest despair, I was left feeling if anything, indifferent and slightly smug after guessing what would happen to Jon around about episode 8.
To me the most tragic death of the episode had to be Sansa, which really is saying something as she started sesaon one as the fantasy equivalent to a Justin Bieber fan ‘but daddy Joffrey’s my boyfriend and i love him and we’re going to have beautiful whiny children’. No but seriously with Theon’s redemption, the horrible irony of Brienne buggering off to kill Stannis and that motivated close up of the two hands clutched together. Sansa’s end was both beautiful and different, just gracefully disappearing from shot.
All in all The season finale felt a little rushed towards the end, there seemed to be a brief lull in the middle few episodes and then almost too much to fit in the final episode it didn’t let us dwell long enough on what was going on. However there is no way you can say it was boring. And now with the show almost surpassing the books we must all wait and see what tv’s most epic show has in store for us with season six…Hopefully Dragons!