‘Game of Thrones’ Season Finale Review: Here’s How Every Character Ended ‘Mother’s Mercy’
Game of Thrones Season 5 has come to the close of its most brutal season yet, dispensing precious little “Mother’s Mercy” on any of its core characters. Major, major characters suffered the pointy end of a blade, while others met surprise ends, stripped away their sins, or made a surprise return. Find out every character’s fate by our full review!
You’re warned of all the spoilers from tonight’s Season 5 finale “Mother’s Mercy” from here on out, but suffice to say, fans of George R.R. Martin’s books will be equal parts infuriated and delighted by the many shocking turns. On the one hand, major twists like that of Jon Snow’s bloody fate arrived straight out of the books, while bleaker outlooks like Stannis’ siege of Winterfell took an unexpected turn. There’s plenty to discuss, but here’s where Season 5 left all our major characters.
Those familiar with the last Jon Snow chapter of Martin’s A Dance With Dragons weren’t entirely surprised by Jon Snow’s daggery end, though the path to get there at least proved somewhat different than the books. Jon Snow started the hour catching Sam up with his trials at Hardhome, before reluctantly granting his friend’s request to take Gilly to the Old Town citadel in hopes of becoming a new Maester, the two joking that they’d become the most hated members of the Night’s Watch.
That joke turned horribly serious after Sam’s departure however, as Jon heeded a frantic call from Olly that Wildling had news of his uncle Benjen Stark, only to be led into a trap, as fellow brothers surrounded Jon in front of a “Traitor” signpost. Starting with Aliser Thorne and ending with Olly, multiple members of the Night’s Watch stabbed Jon Snow in the gut, each espousing “For the Watch,” leaving a wide-eyed Jon Snow bleeding motionless in the … well, snow.
So, be that the end of our beloved bastard Stark? Well, there’s always the Lady Melisandre, newly returned to Castle Black after abandoning Stannis …
Who’d have thunk, burning your own daughter alive wouldn’t inspire loyalty among your men? Despite the Lord of Light seemingly heeding his promise by thawing the blizzard, Stannis’ mood was quickly soured by news that half the men had deserted the army with their horses, while his wife Selyse had hung herself in the woods. Melisandre took the news hardest of all, fleeing camp while Stannis opted to press onward to Winterfell.
Given increasingly poor luck, Stannis soon found Ramsay’s forces ready to strike outside of Winterfell, denying Stannis any time to dig trenches for the siege, and quickly decimating his army. In the aftermath, a wounded Stannis staggered through the woods just long enough to fight off two would-be assassins, only to find himself face to face with Brienne of Tarth, alerted to the siege by Pod (but more on that later).
Brienne finally got her wish, accusing Stannis of his many crimes in slaying his own brother Renly, something the would-be king freely admitted. Almost bleeding out, Stannis freely accepted his fate at the end of Oathkeeper, but to the hour’s credit, “Mother’s Mercy” cut away just before the sword reached Stannis’ neck. Breathing room for next season, perhaps?
Putting her pilfered corkscrew to good use, Sansa managed to undo the locks on her chambers, hooding up and making her way through Winterfell to light a candle atop the broken tower. Brienne tragically missed the distress signal, seconds earlier distracted by news of Stannis’ army, though Sansa continued looking for an escape from Winterfell, only to find herself at the business end of Myranda’s bow, per Reek’s alarm.
Sansa remained brave, asserting she’d rather die with some of her will kept intact, though Myranda taunted that they’d certainly keep Sansa alive for breeding purposes, if nothing else. Before the vengeful mistress could do any damage however, Theon recovered enough of his past identity to save his adopted sister, tossing Myranda off a ledge to her death.
With Ramsay on his way back to the castle however, Theon and Sansa were last seen looking over the walls of Wintefell to a snowy bank below, taking hands and leaping over into an unknown fate. Ramsay, meanwhile, escaped any major comeuppance, surviving the fight against Stannis’ army, and sadistically killing off any wounded survivors thereafter.
Arya wasted little time in again infiltrating the brothel holding Ser Meryn Trant, this time borrowing one of the temple’s many faces to slip in unnoticed. After accepting a bit of punishment, Arya finally found herself alone with the man, unmasking and quickly stabbing out Trant’s eyes, leaving him alive long enough to assert her identity, and finally slit his throat.
Things went far less smoothly upon Arya’s return to the House of Black and White however, as Jaquen and the Waif quickly confronted her for going off-mission, and stealing a death from the Many-Faced God. Jaquen prepared to slip Arya a poison, noting that only death could pay for life, only to drink it himself, and keel over on the spot.
Things only got more confusing from there, as Arya quickly discovered that “Jaquen” was only a collection of different faces however, including her own, as the Waif next assumed Jaquen’s face, and reminded Arya that they are all “no one.” Arya’s confusion didn’t end there, soon finding herself struck blind, the last we’d see of her through the hour.
Speaking of inopportune moments to go blind, a still-incarcerated Cersei finally found herself confessing to the High Sparrow, begging the “Mother’s Mercy” and forgiveness for sleeping with her cousin Lancel Lannister (still denying any affair with her brother). The High Sparrow was happy to oblige, noting Cersei would still come to trial after her “atonement,” the cost of which included stripping her entirely nude, shearing off most of her hair, and parading her through Kings’ Landing all the way to the Red Keep.
Cersei begrudgingly endured the humiliating fate, ignoring jeers and filth tossed from the crowd, finally making it all the way to the Red Keep to find Maester Pycelle, Qyburn and her uncle Kevan waiting for her. Qyburn also had the pleasure of introducing Cersei to her mountainous resurrected protector, who carried off the weeping woman after her ordeal.
All seemed squared away as Prince Doran bid Jaime, Bronn, Myrcella and Trystane farewell, Ellaria taking the opportunity to kiss Myrcella goodbye, while Bronn flirtatiously promised to visit Tyene again. Shortly into their voyage however, Jaime spoke to his “niece” of how fortunate she was for falling in love with an arranged marriage, noting that people rarely choose who they love.
Myrcella quickly picked up on the cues of her “uncle”s speech, admitting that she’d suspected him of being her father, leading the two into an overjoyed embrace. The moment quickly soured however, as Myrcella collapsed bleeding from the nose, while back at the docks, Ellaria wiped a purple substance from her lips, and drank a familiar looking antidote.
Presumably posing for their album cover on the temple steps, Tyrion reminded both Jorah and Daario that neither would make fitting paramours for the queen, though the point remains moot until Daenerys actually returned. Daario quickly stifled the bickering between the trio, recruiting Jorah for the task of finding their lost Khaleesi, while Tyrion’s talents were best served helping to keep the peace in Mereen, aided by Missandei and a recovered Grey Worm.
While Daario and Jorah set out in search of Daenerys, Tyrion surveyed the uncertainty of his new kingdom, surprisingly joined by Varys, who’d heard of Tyrion’s success through his omnipresent network of spies. Let the bromance endure through Season 6!
Stranded out in the plains with a wounded Drogon, Daenerys attempted to spirit her former pet to return her to Mereen, though the injured beast seemed only to sleep, ignoring her commands. Dany set out in search of food, not content with the charred bones Drogon had left behind, only to soon find herself surrounded by one, then a dozen, then hundreds of familiar-looking horse-lords. So that‘s what the Dothraki have been up to!
Well, what did you think? Stay tuned for more coverage of Game of Thrones Season 5’s big finale, and join us tomorrow for more coverage of Game of Thrones Season 5 and beyond!