With the final season of Game of Thrones fast approaching, here is a quick-ish summary of all 7 seasons and 67 hours of TV’s greatest ever spectacle. This is a recap of Season 5.
Even though Season 5 ends on the same cliffhanger as in A Dance with Dragons, the latest book in the series (which was released waaaaaay back in 2011!), it marks the first time the show starts to depart from the books. So, while it makes for a wildly unpredictable season, it also remains the most depressing and my least favorite of all seasons.
There’s a power vacuum in King’s Landing following Tywin’s death, as Cersei and Margaery fight for control over Tommen, who’s caught between a rock and a hard place. In an ill-advised move hoping to undermine the Tyrells, Cersei arms the Faith Militant, a decision she comes to regret. The High Sparrow, the leader of the Faith, arrests Loras, and locks up Margaery and Cersei for good measure. Cersei is forced to confesses to her adultery charges and take a walk of atonement.
Tyrion and Varys reach Pentos, where Tyrion is kidnapped by Jorah, who hopes this might earn him a place on Dany’s friendzone again. Jorah gets infected by greyscale before the pair is captured by slavers. If you find this segment boring, try reading Tyrion’s adventures in the book as he joins a mummers group, befriends a female dwarf, sails across the high seas with a sellsword company, and mentors a guy claiming to be a Targaryen. Fortunately, we can skip all of that and get to Mereen where Tyrion meets Dany!
There is a rebellion brewing in Mereen as the Sons of Harpy murder a lot of Dany’s men, including Ser Barristan. (If it’s of any consolation, he’s still alive in the books and will probably remain so for another 50 years, judging by GRMM’s writing speed.) In a bid to placate the Mereneese, Dany agrees to open the fighting pits, which leads to Jorah introducing Dany to Tyrion. Dany and Tyrion size each other up before she agrees to take him as her advisor. Shortly afterward, the Harpies stage a coup at the fighting pits. With Dany’s entourage heavily outnumbered, Drogon swoops in and rescues Dany.
The Dornishmen are understandably not pleased about Oberyn Martell getting his eyes gouged. Cersei is worried about Myrcella, who is engaged to the Dornish crown prince, and sends Jaime and Bronn on a diplomatic mission to bring her back. The plan doesn’t work and Myrcella ends up dead, after being poisoned. Again, if you found this a pointless detour, count yourself lucky you didn’t have to read about characters such as Hotah, Doran Martell’s bodyguard, and Arianne, Doran’s daughter, who tries to seduce a Kingsguard knight to get to Myrcella.
Arya reaches Bravos and enlists herself in the House of Black and White for “Assassin 101”. When Arya kills Meryn Trant, who was the first name on her list, Jaqen a man gets annoyed and makes Arya blind.
Stannis, who had saved the Nights Watch from the wildlings at the end of last season, marches to Winterfell in an ill-advised move to attack the Bolton army. He burns his daughter alive as a sacrifice to the Lord of the Light, in one of the most controversial scenes in the show’s history. His army is easily routed by the Boltons, and Stannis dies rather tamely at the hands of Brienne, who gets revenge for Renly. Meanwhile at Winterfell, Littlefinger arranges a marriage between Sansa and Ramsay Bolton, in the show’s most devastating arc, which left me mentally scarred.
At the Wall, Jon is elected Lord Commander, after he turned down Stannis’ offer to make him Jon Stark, Lord of Winterfell. One of his first decisions is to make peace with the wildlings, which doesn’t go down well with other members of the Nights Watch. But Jon decides to accompany Tormund to Hardhome, where the defeated wildling army is camped. In an ensuing EPIC battle with the White Walkers and their zombies, Jon kills a White Walker and rescues a small group of wildlings. When he returns back to the Wall, he faces a mutiny, led by Alister Thorne, and is stabbed to death.
Here is a quick recap of how the Starks fared. Jon Snow, dead. Sansa, raped. Arya, blind.