Game Of Thrones Season 5 Finale: “Breaking Down The Big Shocking Deaths”

Game Of Thrones Season 5 Episode 10 Stannis Dies

Game Of Thrones Season 5 Episode 10: “Mother’s Mercy” Review (Spoilers)

It’s been said before that no one is safe on Game Of Thrones. Season 5 finale entitled “Mother’s Mercy” lived up to that adage. In what is arguably one of the most shocking deaths to date, we say farewell to another major character that’s been on the show from the very beginning.

This finale is filled to the brim with death. Let’s begin with Stannis. Burning Shireen alive at the stake was supposed to help Stannis fulfill his destiny. It turned out to be the beginning of his end. Because of Shireen’s horrible death, Selyse took her own life and the sellswords which comprised half of Stannis’ army fled with the horses. Whether or not the sacrifice to the Lord of Light led to the winter thaw is in question but it ultimately cleared the path to their slaughter.

If you look back further though, the real root cause of Stannis’ demise is in his fanaticism. He had chances to go back to the Wall and make different decisions. He’s supposedly this great military commander yet his blind belief overrode rational, strategic thinking and in making ethical choices. Instead he marched towards his death leaving a trail of bodies in his wake.

Game Of Thrones tends to avoid contrivances such as instant karma and the kind of vengeance you’d expect. However in this case, it’s a satisfying end to Stannis’ story. His final words, “Go on do your duty” captured his character perfectly. Dying at the hands of Brienne bring things full circle from the time Stannis had his brother Renly assassinated. As much as the Boltons destroyed his army and Brienne delivered the death blow, Stannis was unknowingly the architect of his own end.

The Red Priestess and Stannis put all their eggs into one basket because they believed he was the savior as the prophecies foretold. Stannis’ death raises another question. If this prophecy can be believed, which is a question in itself, then who fits the bill as the savior? Well, not Jon Snow.

Game Of Thrones Season 5 Episode 10 Jon Snow Dies

Killing Stannis in the first half hour meant that the finale still had some big moments to come.  The final sequence of events at the Wall was done brilliantly. It was a gut punch. I don’t think Jon Snow’s death has truly sunk in yet for me.  I mean, even though I knew his death was coming, I always had it in the back of my mind that he wouldn’t be dead for long. It is a fantasy show after all and he wouldn’t be the first character to be resurrected. Heck, even the Mountain is still alive. However, according to interviews, the show runners are confirming Jon is really dead. Actor Kit Harrington has also said he won’t be returning next season, he’s already cut his hair. 

The final shot of Jon dead with the blood flowing out is haunting. It’s the kind of image that’ll burn into our minds, leaving a lasting impression in what is an especially dark season even by Game Of Thrones standards. With Ned and Robb dead, our hopes were put onto Jon even though he wasn’t a Stark by name. He was the prototypical stoic hero, a rarity on this show. The young man and Lord Commander that was supposed to be the best chance Westeros has in fending off the White Walkers. Now he’s gone and the show has one less character we can truly root for.

Jon’s story line this season has been the strongest it’s ever been. Arguably the best story line of all this season. He’s had to make some hard decisions. Decisions that I could not find fault with. He’s had to deal with the bigger picture in the White Walker threat, but it’s the smaller threats, the very people he’s trying to save, which were left to fester like a cancer. Alliser Thorne did recognize Jon’s action were for the greater good, but also believed it could get them all killed. He wasn’t exactly wrong, it did kill Jon. However, part of Jon’s downfall was that he didn’t clearly communicate and convince the Night’s Watch of why he made the choices that he did. He mainly confided and explained things to Sam but Sam was already on his side. 

The finale covered a lot of ground but didn’t feel rushed. I wished the finale was an extended bonus sized episode because I loved it and wanted more. These are my initial thoughts to this great season finale. I’ll be adding more reactions to Sansa, Arya, Cersei and Dorne story lines at a later date in this same post. Until then, I would like thank everyone who has viewed, liked, linked and/or commented on these recaps.  This is the first time I’ve managed to do a post on every Game Of Thrones episode in a season. It’s fun interacting with fellow fans and I totally appreciate your thoughtful comments all season long. Valar morghulis.

What are your reactions to Stannis’ and Jon Snow’s death? Which story line are you most excited about for next season?

About Sidekick Reviews

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Posted on June 15, 2015, in Game of Thrones, Television and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 29 Comments.

  1. How do you feel about Jon’s death? It was left a little ambiguous in the book as to whether he is really dead/will be resurrected but like you’ve noted, the producers have said with some finality that’s it for him. There are some compelling fan theories that get thrown out the windows with his death and I have to say it’s left me feeling a little disappointed…

    • After Jon’s death one of the first things I thought about are the fan theories. They are really compelling and GRRM hasn’t denied them. He put the clues in the books. But it sounds like the show is going in a different direction if we are to believe the producers.

  2. I think there’s a possibility we’re being punked by Harrington and the showrunners. As someone pointed out on Twitter last night, Katee Sackoff claimed Starbuck was really dead, and then she wasn’t.

    Also, Melisandre showing up just beforehand seems to indicate that there’s still a chance Jon will live on–in some form–again.

    We shall see . . .

    • That would be really deceptive haha. Yeah it could be a fake out. It’ll be hard to keep it a secret once filming resumes, assuming it’s the same actor.

      When Melisandre returned to the Wall, I thought okay here we go … now I’m not sure what to think.

  3. The fact that John Snow’s dead body is the photo on your post has just spoiled the episode for me. So please change it so other people don’t get spoilers either.

    • Did you really get spoiled by viewing this post?? Or does it show in the reader? Man, that’s unfortunate. Thanks for checking out this post before any other recaps.

      • Meaning I got spoiled by the post. I went to read a few articles on the reader and John Snow was the main picture on your post so I couldn’t avoid it. Just want to make sure you know before anyone else sees it by accident.

        • Okay, I’ve updated it. It’s strange though because the reader is supposed to show the first image of the post as the main picture. I guess wordpress has it’s glitches. Thanks for letting me know.

  4. Stannis’ death was brilliant. I loved how resigned he was to it all. When the Boltons charged him, he knew what was happening, so just saw it through. It was why he was my favourite ‘King’ character – he didn’t want to do any of the things he did; it was just his duty. It was why I ultimately forgive him for Shireen, because it was just another horrible thing he had to do for the realm. And the meeting between him and Brienne was great. They are both bound to duty and more alike than Brienne wishes to know about.

    Cersei, my other favourite character, better get some revenge sent her way. Tommen is utterly useless, so now she is back in power, I want to see her torch the High Septon to the ground. She is a nasty piece of work, yes, but the last four episodes have been far too brutal to her.

    But, as for Jon Snow… maybe I am still reeling from it, but I am very disappointed in the writers. It seemed shocking, just because GOT is meant to be shocking. Yes, you’re right, his arc was incredible this episode, but now it has just been cut short.

    • That’s an aspect of Stannis’ decision that I’m not sure came across clearly to everyone. He believed he was destined to defeat the darkness and be the savior. He thought sacrificing his child would be for the greater good of the realm. Still, it’s very extreme and horrific if you ask me.

      Yeah, Cersei is a nasty piece of work. My guess is that the High Sparrow and that not-so silent sister are going to feel her wrath. They should run out of King’s Landing asap.

      Jon Snow’s death is a bitter pill to swallow. I’ve had a few years to take it in yet but it was handled a little differently in the books. The version on the show really hits home and if the producers stick to their guns I can see why some fans are disappointed.

  5. I will NEVER get over Jon Snow’s death! I don’t think he’ll come back, multiple stab wounds and I presume they’ll burn his body so that’s that then. 😦
    I have vented my feelings here

  6. Hello there friend! Great write up as always, and man what a finale. I got so much satisfaction from this episode, but obviously a lot of that stuff came from the parts of teh story you’ve left out and will probably mention in the later post so I’ll focus on the two main deaths addressed in this post.

    So Stannis, fuck me. I had a feeling this would happen. All the signs were pointing to his demise from the beginning or at least after her left the Wall. With the cold weather, low number of soldiers in his army and the Boltons being familiar and conditioned in this territory, I knew that Stannis wasn’t goping to make it out of this one alive. The Lord of Light, I don’t think I’ve ever believed in his/its abilities, Melisandre has always hyped him/it up but there’s not been anything to suggest that he/it existed or that he’d/it’d pull off some kind of miracle for Stannis. I knew that killing his daughter wouldn’t do him any favours in the long run, foolish man. So with his daughter killed, his wife hanged, part of his army deserted and the rest of his men slaughtered by the Boltons, Stannis is left in a pretty shit way before meeting his end at the hands of Brienne (which by the way was awesome!). In conclusion Stannis, I had hope for him when he started to have a heart, but then the guy done goofed, went back to his old ways and marched straight into the den of hell.

    As for Jon Snow… Ah, Jon Snow. My boy. Poor poor boy. I feel like Amos Diggory in Harry Potter 5 when he’s seeing his dead son shouting “That’s my boy!” This is pure heartbreak. I knew his rule probably wouldn’t last too long, but I had hoped he’d last into the next season, but unfortunately that didn’t come to pass. With Sam running off with Gilly, Jon had no more friends and he was pretty much open to attack by his “brothers” of the Nights Watch. I thought that it’d be some kind of ridiculous miracle for someone to arrive at the Wall to help Jon, there was just something off about that scene from the beginning when Olly said what he did, I thought that it may have been a ploy and it was. Those Nights Watch guys, they don’t do anything by halves, they have Jon stabbed several times and then Olly just adds the coup de grace at the end (the little bastard). Jon while I never become a massive fan of his until the late side of season 3, has been consistently a person I always liked and seeing his ascension in bravery, personality and power at the Wall has been realy fun. But now he’s gone and the depression will probably kick in soon especially when the show returnsfor season 6 and he won’t be around *cries*.

    Well dude thanks for the hard work at doing reviews for season 5, it’s been hella fun and I know I wouldn’t have the power to summarize all this madness into written reviews, that’s for sure haha. But since its not properly over, I’ll just wait for your follow-up post. Can’t wait. 🙂

    • Hey buddy! Great to get your thoughts on these deaths, hopefully I can get to the other story lines at some point. A lot of people were disappointed with this finale or more specifically that another good character got the axe. This is not a feel good show that’s for sure haha. But like you said there are satisfying moments, some in the strangest places … like a brothel … well maybe not so strange. But we’ll get to Arya’s stuff later haha.

      I think Stannis was at the point of no return after killing Shireen, To use a poker term, he was all in. There was no turning back at that point. By the time he saw the Bolton army coming at him he knew it was over. Melissandre, that little …, knew the jig was up beforehand and hightailed it out of there. The Red Priestess put her money on Stannis and struck out. She was totally wrong in her prophecy and like you said puts into question the Lord of Light or least Melissandre’s interpretation of it. I don’t know how it was in the medieval times or any time, but if you think you’re god wants you to sacrifice your child, it’s probably not gonna turn out well. I think this is the first oath or vow that Brienne actually fulfilled haha, a good one to start out with. Stannis went from boring to a bit of a fascinating character, he really went out in a big spectacular mess of his undoing. Great writing.

      I’m glad you mentioned that Jon had no more friends at his side. I had that point in my original draft. Compared to Dany, she had a close circle of advisors and protectors. It saved her life last episode … of course she also had Drogon. Speaking of, where is Ghost? I think Direwolves has a close connection to their master, but since Jon was tricked into an ambush maybe Ghost didn’t sense it in time. It was brutal how everyone had their turn in gutting Jon, saving Olly for last is extra cruel. I’ve been a fan of Jon since season 1 but I don’t think they always handed his character well on the show if that makes sense. He was our focal point for the Wall storyline, I wonder what’s going to happen now? Could there be a reason Melissandre returned to the Wall … we’ll see.

      Big thanks to you too! Always fun to chat with you. I actually didn’t plan on doing recaps for each episode, I had something else in mind, but it was a good experience. To be honest, it was tough too especially handling some of the darker material and touchy subjects. Hopefully if I’m not too lazy, I’ll have some more GOT posts left in me to do within the next couple of weeks. 😀

  7. Okay. Now I’m rooting for the White Walkers. Kill all these motherfuckers… Wipe them all out.

  8. I don’t care what the showrunners or Kit say, Jon Snow will be back! With Kit playing him. I do think he dies, but he will be resurrected before too long and will be a major part of Season 6 and 7. I know the series has a rep for no one being safe, but I feel Jon and Dany are a lock to be around in the final season. I’d almost say the same for Tyrion and Arya, but I am less confident with them.

    I found it super weird that they cut away from showing Stannis die. Is that something the show has done often? Not show an important character’s actual death? I may have to look into that. It made me think he is still alive… haha. That one might be a little on the tinfoil theory side of things, but I am positive Jon will be back. Positive I say!

    I thought the finale was great for the most part. Awesome job with all the posts this year!

  9. I feel better already knowing how confident you are! It’s integral to the central story so it’ll be hard to fathom the show not following the books despite many divergences already. I think GRRM loves writing for all those characters you’ve mentioned so I can’t see him letting them go anytime soon, especially if they are crucial to the end game. I heard the ending will be bittersweet, whatever that entails I’m not sure.

    The camera perspective was unique, I think it was from Stannis’ view looking up at Brienne swinging the sword. Usually it’s not so ambigious. The only other major character I can think of is The Hound. But I think there are clues in the books he might not be dead. That would be a great tinfoil theory about Stannis!

    Thanks so much, gotta find something new to watch now haha.

  10. I am gutted over Jon Snow. At the end of the books so far his fate was ambiguous and I fully believed he was the one character who would live – in some way or another. With Jon dead I’m not sure what I am watching for. 😢

    • If it makes you feel any better, while Jon Snow is definitely dead, it’s likely that he’ll be resurrected. There’s already rumours he’s been spotted in Belfast and his hair is not cut. We probably can’t take Kit’s interview at face value, besides Jon Snow knows nothing. 😉

  11. It took me two days to get ovet this episode. Jon’s death was wholly unexpected and I don’t know who else there is to root for if he’s really dead. I thought it was odd when Benjen was shown at the beginning, and when Ollie ran in and said there was news I shouted “don’t trust him!” I like Dany but I was wishing more that Jon would somehow rise to power. I guess we will find out if he returns in some form in the next season or the one after.
    Tyrion ruling in Dany’s absence seems like it has good potential. I guess I could always root for him to be king but I don’t see that happening. The return of Varys was fun. Tyrion is at his best when he has someone he respects around him.
    Stannis’ death seemed a bit anti-climactic. So many things were going wrong and burning Shireen was the beginning of the end. As for the red witch, could she be more obvious in her opportunistic ways. Deserting Stannis made me dislike her even more. Maybe she has work to do with Jon if the hopeful rumors are true.
    So instead of episode 9 breaking viewers hearts, the soul crushing was reserved for the 10th. Bastards.
    As always, enjoyed the recaps, reading the other comments, and your replies! Here’s to hoping Jon isn’t dead.

    • I’m glad you didn’t get spoiled by the big death. There were leaked images earlier in the day of the finale. The way it was shot and edited added to the unexpectedness. I accidentally came across a headline earlier that day that said Benjen Stark returns in the finale, but I didn’t click further. But I felt pretty gullible thinking he’d might return haha. Damn, Olly! Jon came into his own this season as a leader, would love to see him progress further assuming he comes back.

      I see Tyrion in a hand of the king or queen role. I think it’ll be interesting to see how he handles the Meereen dilemma compared to Dany. Great to see Varys is back, I actually thought he pop up somewhere else like in the books but I like that he’s back at Tyrion’s side.

      There’s speculation that because we didn’t see Stannis’ dead body there’s a possibility he’s alive. It would be interesting to see how a defeated Stannis might come back especially with the knowledge that the Lord of Light stuff wasn’t true for him. But I highly doubt that Brienne would have a last second change of heart. The look in Melissandre’s expression is this revelation that she’s been backing the wrong horse. Let’s see what she does next.

      For season 1 – 3, after the big episode 9, the major characters who survived remained safe in the finale. But these past two seasons they have offed many characters in the finale. Jon’s death is a huge gut punch and I can’t put into words the final shot of the season ending on his lifeless face.

      I always look forward to your thoughts and reactions each episode. I really like your perspective of not having read all the books. Assuming that GRRM doesn’t finish book 6 in time, we’ll both be unspoiled heading into next season! 😀

  12. “Stannis was unknowingly the architect of his own end…” Just from reading some of the recaps, I kind of figured that was the case. He sounds like an intriguing character though, but most antiheroes are.

    As for Jon Snow, wow the reaction to his death is pretty strong. I mean, I saw the gifs of him lying in a pool of blood so I knew right away it’s another BIG moment for GoT fans. Well they had to end the season w/ a big bang I suppose.

    • Stannis had some supporters and long time admirers, for me he was most interesting this season.

      Some fans were crushed when Jon Snow died. The good characters are dwindling in numbers. He was the hero of the show. Yeah it ended on a big bang, it’ll be interesting to see how the next season begins.

  13. I don’t think Stannis or Jon are dead.

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