‘Game of Thrones’ Gave ‘The Dance of Dragons’ the Show’s Most Horrible Death Yet
Last week’s Game of Thrones unleashed plenty of frozen horrors at “Hardhome,” but the pendulum swung from ice to fire for “The Dance of Dragons.” Not only did fire reign at Daenerys’ predictably disastrous and tournament, but so too did flames bring us the series most gruesome, difficult scene to date. Our full review!
You’re warned of all the spoilers from tonight’s “The Dance of Dragons” from here on out, and while we’ll get to the big climactic scenes at the fighting pits, the most horrible prediction of the season came to pass. Pour one out for Shireen Baratheon, y’all, as a stealth attack from Ramsay decimated Stannis’ and his army’s supplies, forcing him to consider Melisandre’s terrible blessing at the cost of his daughter’s life. Davos knew something was amiss when Stannis dispatched him to Castle Black for more supplies, suspiciously insisting his family remain at camp, but nothing could have prepared us for the difficult scene ahead.
Following yet another tender father-daughter scene, one which saw Shireen adamant about doing anything in her power to help daddy, determination turned to horror as Shireen saw her father’s men marching her to a pyre. Shireen screamed and begged for her parents as anyone would, let alone a child, unmoved by Melisandre’s praise of the sacrifice. Eventually, even Selyse Baratheon couldn’t take the sight of her daughter burned at the stake, desperately racing to undo the act, though a steely Stannis had his men hold her back while taking in his daughter’s shrill screams.
If ever the sexual violence becomes even more gratuitous, we can always look back on that time Game of Thrones burned a screaming child at the stake.
In slightly less horrible developments from the week, Daenerys reluctantly oversaw the opening of Mereen’s Great Games in the fighting pits, unamused by all the needless violence, but barely concealing a smirk as Daario and Hizdahr argued over the fighters, and Daenerys’ attention. The smile quickly faded as Dany noticed Jorah next in line for the fights, hoping to please his queen one last time. Tyrion observed Dany’s discomfort at Jorah’s many moments of peril, pointing out that the Queen could stop the games at any moment (Hizdahr insisted otherwise), before Jorah finally emerged victorious, to the chagrin of the crowd.
The moment quickly turned when Jorah hurled a spear past Daenerys’ head, hitting a Son of the Harpy square in the chest, before the royal party quickly observed gold masks filling up the stadium. In all the chaos, Hizdahr took several blades to the chest (so much for theories of him leading the rebellion), while Tyrion managed to save Missandei, and Daenerys even accepted Jorah’s help to consolidate their position in the arena center.
For a moment, all seemed lost as the Sons surrounded the group, and Dany nearly prepared for the end, until Drogon miraculously swooped in, laying flame to any in his path. The great beast seemed to acknowledge his former mother for a moment, before sustaining several spears, and continuing his rampage. Uncertain how to proceed, Daenerys managed to mount Drogon, and with a single whisper, the two flew clear of the stadium, leaving a stunned Tyrion, Jorah, Daario and Missandei behind. Someone should probably check on them.
So, what other fiery fun was there to be had this week? Well, Jon Snow and the surviving Wildlings made it back to Castle Black, though Aliser Thorne seemed to entertain the idea of keeping the gate shut, and dooming his Lord Commander. Upon their reluctant entry, Jon Snow lamented that he’d still managed to fail the Free Folk, to which Aliser suggested that his good heart would soon get them all killed. Oh, and Olyver still looks pretty shady.
Elsewhere, Jaime managed to turn the failure of his Dorne infiltration into a positive, as Prince Doran agreed to continue supporting Tommen, even sending Myrcella back to Kings’ Landing with her betrothed Trystane, who himself would serve on the Small Council. Even Bronn got to go free, owing to Trystane’s mercy, though not without an elbow to the face from Areo Hotah as retribution. Ellaria Sand however, continually vocalized her disdain for the Lannisters, to the point that Doran forced her back in line by bending the knee. The Sand Snakes didn’t take it too well.
Meanwhile in Braavos, Arya found herself distracted from poisoning the thin man by the arrival of Ser Meryn Trant and Mace Tyrell, following the entourage as they met with Tycho Nestoris. Arya even followed Trant into a brothel, looking for a chance to kill the man on her list, but Trant’s demand for younger and younger girls kept people cycling through his presence. As you can probably imagine, finally getting Trant alone may require some disturbing tactics for the littlest Lady Stark.
Certainly not as exciting an hour as last, but a fitting setup for whatever direction the finale next week takes, moving farther and farther past the bounds of George R.R. Martin’s books. Season 5 may yet go down as one of the most difficult to endure years yet, if the horror of Shireen’s sacrifice is any indicator, while the arrival of Drogon offered some much needed spectacle for an hour that seemed largely to set up the season’s end, rather than bring any specific plot points to a head.
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