Now that’s a finale. Game of Thrones finally went out with a bang rather than a sigh.
Other seasons have seen episode nine be the season highlight followed by a low-key episode ten, not season five.
Building on the events of the last episode: Daenerys’ flight from Meereen on-board Drogon, Stannis’ child-sacrifice and Cersei’s incarceration this finale really sings.
There’s a death a scene this week so there’s no time to put the kettle on.
On a morbid but hopeful note, a chilling reminder of Stannis’ action last week the snow and ice around Stannis’ camp is melting allowing him to march on Winterfell.
That’s where the good news stops for Stannis: half of his army, all of his sell swords, have deserted him (maybe because he’s a child murdering lunatic) with all of their horses and then he sees his wife Selyse has hanged herself (maybe because he’s a child murdering lunatic).
Then Melisandre deserts him.
So, the wise King Stannis decides to march on Winterfell anyway, at this point his plan is little more than a death wish (maybe because he’s a child murdering lunatic).
The promised siege never happens (thank god, can you imagine sitting through a siege next season? Yawn). Surprise surprise Ramsay stole his sell swords and horses.
Let’s just say the battle is short.
After yet another infuriation near miss between Sansa and Brienne – Sansa decides she’ll have to save herself and lights a candle in the broken tower and Brienne who has been watching the tower for weeks leaves because bloody Stannis arrives.
In the final bitter moments of Stannis’ defeat Brienne finds him and delivers justice, not before giving her speech about Renly and his loveliness.
Sansa starts returning to her cell and is accosted by the awful Myranda and the snivelling Reek.
Myranda delights once again in threatening Sansa, spelling out Sansa’s grim future one painful word after another.
As Myranda prepares to sink an arrow into some ‘useless’ part of Sansa, Reek steps up to the plate and Myranda finds herself at the bottom of a 80-foot drop onto a cobbled floor.
Reek realising that killing the only person Ramsay hasn’t maimed probably wasn’t the best idea decides that him and Sansa must make their escape just as Ramsay returns victorious to Winterfell.
Really if they’d planned it they would have made their escape during the battle while all the Boltons were distracted but this is an unplanned escape so they jump over the walls of Winterfell.
Again an 80-foot drop this time onto snow. Time will tell if there was enough fresh powder down there for them only to break one leg each.
Also considering they are both wearing black and they are (hoping to) escape over a snow-covered field who knows how far they’ll get, lets hope all Ramsay’s dogs died in the battle.
Next there’s a quick hop over to Braavos where the deplorable Meryn Trant is practicing his perversions.
Unluckily for him the girl he chooses changes her face and is none other than Arya Stark who performs one of the bloodiest death’s there has been in a while.
There’s eye gouging, repeated stabbings and a slit throat, what more could you ask for?
On her return to the House of Black and White Arya is given a dressing down, for taking the wrong life by Jaqen H’ghar, who kills himself to pay for the life that was stolen.
Jaqen H’ghar turns out to be no one and Jaqen H’ghar reappears. (No one understands either).
In a great moment Arya removes multiple faces from the body before her and sees her own face, the last thing she sees before she goes blind.
This is her punishment for using the faces before she was ready.
Arya’s story has a direction once more and will be in Maisie Williams’ safe hands.
Next off on the list to tie up some loose ends is Dorne. That really worthwhile plot line that has been Dorne…
Basically this scene in Dorne is the only worthwhile part of the whole Dorne fiasco.
Doran Martell is saying farewell to the Lannister invasion party after giving them what they want, Myrcella, and the added bonus of Trystane (Myrcella’s future husband).
Ellaria gives Myrcella a parting snog (of death).
In keeping with the theme of this week’s episode (killing as many people as we possibly can) Myrcella gets a pretty hefty nosebleed just as she accepts Jaime as her father and promptly dies in his arms.
Back on the shores of Dorne, Ellaria wipes off her poisonous lipstick and takes the antidote. The Sand Snakes and their mother exit finally having the scene they deserved.
Back in Meereen Tyrion, Jorah, Daario, Grey Worm and Missandei divvy up the jobs to save Meereen and their Queen.
Jorah and Daario set off on what must be the most awkward road trip ever and everyone else is left in charge.
Surprise! Varys is back to lend a hand and a whisper to Tyrion.
Over on a hill Daenerys is being held hostage by her own dragon. After asking him some questions: “How far did you carry me?”, “Can you take me back?” Daenerys decides that dragons probably can’t speak. Who’d have thought?
So she goes for a walk. Always wise in an unknown land.
From every available direction she is surrounded by an enormous Dothraki Khalasar. Possibly lead by one of Khal Drogo’s bloodriders.
When they discover her she drops a ring into the grass. There are a couple of theories for why she does this: is she leaving a trail? Or hiding her new marriage?
Her scene ends with the Khalasar wheeling around her in an almost reverential way. If it’s not reverential I’m sure Drogon will save the day again.
Cersei is made to atone in King’s Landing. After confessing to an affair with her cousin Lancel but denying other more sinful activities she is allowed to return to her son in the Red Keep.
But she must walk there, naked and shorn of her golden hair.
What follows is probably the only scene in which anyone will ever feel sympathy. She is paraded through the hoards of King’s Landing having all manner of fruit and faeces thrown her way.
It’s horrible to watch, something this show specialises in with the soothing notes of Rains of Castamere playing.
Finally arriving home she permits herself to break down and is bundled away by Qyburn and a mountainous new King’s Guard.
The final act of this season takes place at Castle Black.
Davos is still there pleading for Stannis until Melisandre rides in and delivers the bad news with a look. Touchingly Davos asks about Shireen and another look tells him of her death, but not it’s manner.
The climax of this episode is Jon Snow’s Julius Caesar-style execution. It’s brutal and tragic and brilliant.
Shaking up all those watching Jon-lovers. The final shot lingers as Jon bleeds out, black on the fresh snow.
His death has left many frantically Googling how to survive multiple stab wounds; maybe he will pull a Fifty Cent and recover?
More likely is the theory that Melisandre will use her special Lord of Light powers to bring him back to life and declare him the next chosen one.
Or he could just be dead.