Season 5 Recaps

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The Marginalized Rise in Mother’s Mercy: Episode 10, Season 5

The name of the final Game of Thrones episode in Season 5 is “Mother’s Mercy”–  and, at least in this episode, the mother has none. In “Mother’s Mercy,” the mighty are brought down by the lowliest of people, often women or the transgendered, whom everyone has forgotten or discounted. “Mother’s Mercy” is truly an event-filled, game changer. It has strong echoes of other game-changing historical events like the assassination of Julius Caesar and Richard III’s last stand at Bosworth Field. In…

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War Machines: “The Dance with Dragons” (Episode 9 Recap)

“The Dance with Dragons” episode is the ninth episode of season 5, and the ninth episode (aka end of Act 3) is always the most climactic episode on Game of Thrones. While this year’s episode 9 did not pack the same emotional wallop as Ned’s beheading, the Red Wedding, or the Battle at Castle Black, it was equally special in its own way – notably for its wondrous, transcendent closing scene. This episode is about war machines whether they be burned siege…

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Hardhome – Recap, Part 2

One of the most thrilling revelations this season is the battle at the settlement in the “Hardhome” episode (Season 5, Episode 7). We get a preview of what the Long Night — the dark winter in which the White Walkers attack — will be like if the Night’s Watch doesn’t figure out how to stop the wights and White Walkers. Incidentally, most people in Westeros believe the Long Night is just a fairy tale. According to legend, the Long Night…

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Breaking the Wheel – Hardhome Recap (Part I)

Because “Hardhome” (Ep. 7, Season 5) is nearly twenty minutes longer than most episodes, I’m publishing this recap in two parts. (The second part is dedicated specifically to the events at the Hardhome settlement.) In this episode, we see how dark both Stark sisters have become as a result of the horrors of the War of Five Kings. Arya’s character arc has been on a dark, downward spiral for quite some time. Her nightly prayers focus on killing the people on…

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The True Gift: Recap Episode 7, Season 5

There are at least three types of “gifts” in Episode 7 (“The Gift”): actual gifts or presents, the Gift of death (to borrow the phrase from the House of Black and White), and the Gift or region of land where Jon intends to settle the Wildlings. In the “The Gift” episode, the game really begins to change for all of the would-be kings and queens. Some listen to bad advice. Some may be swayed by bad advice. Some reap the…

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Arranged Marriages: The Fall Out (Recap E6, S5)

The name of episode six, “Unbowed, Unbent, Unbroken” refers to House Martell’s words. But, it also refers to this episode’s journey for the Tyrion and Jorah, the Tyrells, Jaime and Bronn, Theon, and Sansa. In fact, most major characters have a hard time in this episode, even if they aren’t in outright danger. Given this is the end of Act 2 (in the fifth season story arc), their problems aren’t that surprising. Act 3, where the character’s biggest problems and…

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Roose’s Ruse: Recap, Kill the Boy (Episode 5, Season 5)

“Kill the Boy” is quite possibly the best season five episode so far. The adviser crisis is really becoming apparent as Daenerys falls desperately short of counselors. Yet, when Jon asks for advice, he is told to lead. Winterfell’s heir apparent, Ramsay, still struggles to live up to his father’s expectations. With Sansa’s wedding to a second psycho looming, forces start to gather to tear her apart while others emerge to protect her. Meanwhile, Jorah and Tyrion’s voyage reveals Drogon’s mysterious hiding place….

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Sons of the Harpy, Recap: Episode 4, Season 5

To use a bad medieval metaphor, Game of Thrones is truly beginning to throw down the gauntlet to its would-be rulers. Tommen, Cersei, Jon, and even Daenerys are put through their paces as rulers in the fourth episode of Season 5. Once again, the show is reminding us, “ruling is hard.” Meereen and King’s Landing are both in turmoil as two armed militant factions promise to cause serious trouble. We also meet the Sand Snakes who are on the verge…

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New Identities: “The High Sparrow” (Recap: Episode 3, Season 5)

“The High Sparrow” (Episode 3, Season 5) is all about shifting identities. Many of the characters take on new roles and shed old ones. Transformation is key in this episode. Arya continues her stay with the faceless men of Braavos. Margaery becomes a Baratheon (again) when she marries Tommen. Tommen becomes a married man. Cersei is no longer queen. Sansa agrees to marry again. Winterfell not only has a new lord in residence but its facelift is underway. Jon makes…

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Episode 2: Recap, the House of Black and White

Episode 2 of Season 5 sets up many future plots, but no one storyline dominates it. Cersei is assuming her role as “king.” Myrcella Baratheon may be in danger from Prince Oberyn’s vengeful family. Arya arrives at the House of White and Black in Braavos. Like this season’s first episode, this episode focuses on the difficulties in ruling and the problems in administering justice. While Stannis administers justice too harshly, Daenerys doesn’t have a full command of it yet. It is…

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