That Game of Thrones finale: Brace yourself, heartache is coming

  • Vishakha Saxena, Hindustan Times, New Delhi
  • Updated: Jun 16, 2015 00:29 IST

This piece is dark and FULL OF SPOILERS. Phew. What a season.

As season five of Game of Thrones concludes, fans around the world are struggling to understand what just happened. And nope, this time book lovers aren't exactly sitting back and recording reaction videos.

The storylines around Sansa Stark, Stannis Baratheon and (sort of) Tyrion Lannister are new to A Song of Ice and Fire readers too. There are three other things:

1) Writers of the show were pretty liberal with drifting away from books in the fifth season (especially). Some changes were welcome, some weren't.

2) Episode 10 'Mother Mercy' is full of cliff-hangers. It's almost as if the writers had so much build-up to do that episode 10 turned out to be like episode 9 of most seasons.

3) Quite a lot of moments in Mother's Mercy touched a lot of nerves. As a colleague of mine noted -- reading it and actually seeing it happen, there's a ton of difference there.

This week's episode saw the death of not one but two major characters - Stannis Baratheon and Jon Snow.

The Caesar-esque scene that played out at the Night's Watch broke a lot of hearts. As people broke down and broke their stuff, book lovers too mourned Jon Snow's death -- it didn't matter that they already knew this was going to happen.

(Photo courtesy: HBO Defined)

Everyone loved Jon Snow and Kit Harrington's work as the character was well-received throughout.

So, yet again, some fans swore off the series on Twitter while others were left shocked and confused. There are also some seriously hilarious anti-Olly memes doing the rounds.

As for Stannis, there are a lot less mourners for the now-dead hopeful king. This was the one that hit book-lovers out of nowhere. After he burnt his daughter alive in the last episode, there wasn't much love left for the character.

Through season five, ASOIF readers have been particularly unhappy with how his character played out on screen altogether. His book version had so far been a respectable man with a lot more weight to his character. Plus, he wasn't dead yet in the books and neither was Shireen.

It's interesting to note, meanwhile, that these storylines continue to mingle despite the death of their top characters Jon and Stannis -- Melisandre is back at The Wall, having abandoned the sinking Baratheon ship.

Cersei Lannister -- everyone was waiting for her to finally meet karma, and she did. By being in prison - away from her son, drinking water by licking it off the floor, spending time scratching the stone-walls of her cell, being caned by "the mother" and other things.

ASOIF fans had read all about it, her being paraded naked was inevitable. There was a lot of build-up after reports that the sequence was shot with immense scrutiny to avoid any leaks. And then it happened.

(Photo courtesy: HBO Defined)

As Lena Headey walked naked to Red Keep, with her people boo-ing her, spitting at her, calling her out for infidelity, the words written in books seemed like blur. The sequence was a powerful and heart-breaking jolt, even for the haters. "Did she really deserve that?" was the word on Twitter.

"Worst thing ever," said a stunned colleague.

Much of the impact of "Cersei" comes from Lena Headey, who has acted remarkably season after season. In a first, maybe, fans might just hope Cersei gets some truly sweet revenge this time.

Cersei's brother, lover and father of her kids Jaime Lannister had a beautiful moment with his daughter before Ellaria Sand's poison did its work. And that was possibly the highest moment of the storyline at Dorne which has been quite a dud overall.

Uneventful, sometimes even uninteresting, and in many cases not doing justice to its characters -- those were the highlights of the Dorne story.

The one moment that probably sent ripples of joy across fans was the re-appearance of Lord Varys. Tyrion Lannister is taking interim charge of Mereen and thankfully, he isn't alone. With Varys by his side, Tyrion is powerful and his stunning sense of politics might just change this game of thrones.

Another notable element here was the script, which beautifully broke the ice here and there in an otherwise grim episode. The scenes between Tyrion, Jorah and Daario had a subtle -- and maybe much needed -- sense of humour.

Actors Peter Dinklage, Iain Glen and Michiel Huisman shared a chemistry that had been missing since Arya Stark bid goodbye to The Hound.

The chemistry between Danaerys and her stubborn dragon was quite chuckle-inducing too.

(Photo courtesy: HBO Defined)

And what will that sea of dothraki men do to their former Khaleesi? 2016 will tell.

Theon Greyjoy
Yes, he's not reek anymore. Is it poetic justice that while Brienne extracted her revenge from Stannis, Sansa found herself a protector in an old friend. Ramsay's brutality may have broken him but Sansa brought Theon Greyjy back. If there's any redemption for Sansa, it's probably this.

(Photo courtesy: HBO Defined)

She has killed before, but not like this. When Arya killed Meryn Trant, she looked fierce and hungry. She looked ready. But at the House of Black and White, 'being ready' has a rather different meaning.

With Arya blind, this cliff-hanger end to season five will definitely stir a whole range of theories.

(Photo courtesy: HBO Defined)

Surprise, kids!

If the one thing this author can think of ASOIF author George RR Martin saying to the world right now, it's this. But, maybe not that nicely.

When Game of Thrones took off on TV, book lovers sat back and smirked... they were miles ahead of the 'noobs' who recently got hooked to the violent, mildly-pornigraphic series. There were mixed reactions, as there always are in case of screen adaptations, but one thing was clear -- GoT had found itself an overwhelming number of viewers.

Over the course of five years, miles became mere footsteps as Martin didn't finish writing the two remaining books -- The Winds of Winter and A Dream of Spring. While many book-lovers are angry and confused, others are welcoming the idea of being surprised in 2016. When season six begins, book lovers will be at par with those who have maintained their allegiance to the TV series.

Until then, there's space for everyone to throw in their theories because the possibilities are endless.

Valar Morghulis.

(Game of Thrones Season 5 airs every Monday on HBO Defined.)

The writer tweets as @saxenavishakha

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