Game of Thrones “The Dance of Dragons” Review

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Posted June 9, 2015 by Chris White in Nerdy Bits

*Spoilers below*

 

‘The Dance of Dragons’ was always going to feature something shocking. In every season so far, we’ve seen something utterly shocking happen (Ned’s death and the Red Wedding to name a few) in episode nine and tonight’s episode added to the exclusive club. After last week’s episode, we witnessed the greatest moment in the history of the show and whatever was going to happen in tonight’s episode was never going to top it, but it had a pretty good go. We weren’t given that many story arcs to follow this week, which seems a little odd for saying that this time next week it’ll all be over for another year. I still feel that there is a lot of ground left to cover and in the final episode, we could be given far too much to digest. Regardless, I thoroughly enjoyed ‘The Dance of Dragons,’ even if some scenes were hard to watch.

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Stannis Baratheon has been pretty unlucky as of late. His march towards Winterfell has been unsuccessful and now, Bolton’s men have sneaked into their encampment and set fire to various supplies, rendering the march obsolete. From the moment that he is informed of the attack, you can see it in his eyes that he is contemplating Melisandre’s request from a few episodes back. I believed in Stannis—I thought he was stronger and more honourable than he was in tonight’s episode. He sent Davos back to Castle Black in order to get more supplies and soldiers to aid him in his siege, but in actual fact, he was making the loyal onion disappear so he couldn’t stop or protect the innocent ‘princess.’ Before Davos departs, he goes to see Shireen and thanks her—he thanks her for ‘teaching him to be a grown up.’ It was Shireen that had taught the illiterate king’s hand to read and as she tells him the story of the Dance of Dragons, he asks her to read it to him when he returns. You’d think the whole clichéd ‘when I get back’ shtick wasn’t going to be employed by a huge show like Game of Thrones, but it was and it was pretty obvious that someone was going to die—thanks writers. It was a really sweet scene and Shireen is a really sweet girl—that’s what made the next few scenes really uncomfortable to watch.  Before Stannis leads his ‘beloved’ daughter to her death, he sits down with her and she tells him she would do anything for him. She says these words with absolutely no idea what is going through his twisted mind—she doesn’t think her own father would lead her to her death. She’s a child with an innocent mind—like all children and as he utters the words ‘forgive me,’ it becomes apparent that Shireen is being led to the slaughter, literally. Melisandre is waiting by the stake, ready to set the girl on fire and in the back of my mind, I am hoping that this doesn’t transpire. Sansa’s uncomfortable rape scene was acknowledged as the worst scene to date, but I disagree—Game of Thrones has gone one step further and allowed us to witness a poor, innocent and sweet little girl scream in agony and despair as she gets burned at the stake by the red queen, Melisandre (for saying she worships the fire, her heart is ice and she cares for nobody!). As Shireen screamed, her father didn’t seem to flinch. Surprisingly, it was her mother that tried to stop it and up until now, she has seemed to be quite distant to her. I’m sure there will be an outcry in the media because there always is when Game of Thrones pushes the boundaries. I understand that what happened was for the progression of Stannis’ story; however, for the first time I did feel like it was a little unnecessary to hear a young child scream like that. It was distressing; I kept thinking about Kerry Ingram—the girl who plays Shireen and how it must have been to act out the scene. She is only sixteen so I wouldn’t have been at all surprised if it took a toll on her. For the record, I now hate Stannis. I was starting to like the King of the North and I was really hoping that he would not listen to Melisandre, but she has her claws in him and he is showing just how much of a weak-minded, cruel and selfish man he really is. I hope he dies in Winterfell—no—I hope he dies sooner.

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Jon Snow has finally managed to return to Castle Black and he knows he has failed. As Allister watches the remnants of the wildlings and Jon’s men return, he knows something bad happened. “You have a good heart, Jon Snow. It’ll get us killed,” says Allister to Jon as they watch the wildlings march through Castle Black. It is true—many men died at Hardhome and only time will tell whether or not it was worth it, but Jon’s kind heart could put everyone’s lives in jeopardy. Thankfully, our friendly neighbourhood Sam Tarly was there to make Jon feel better. As the wildlings passed through, he reassured Jon that there are people that are grateful for his actions in Hardhome. There are only a handful of characters in Game of Thrones that I sincerely hope make it to the end of it all and Sam is definitely one of them—as is Jon Snow. Unfortunately, I’m not sure if my dreams are likely to come true.

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In Braavos, whilst Arya is doing the rounds with those damn cockles and oysters, we see a familiar face dock in the harbour. Meryn Trant, the knight of the kingsguard is in Braavos with Mace Tyrell to beg a few favours from the iron bank. In his downtime, the knight visits a brothel in search of a young girl to bed. For those that may not remember, Meryn is on Arya’s list for killing her fencing trainer, Syrio Forel. She follows him into the brothel (still selling bloody fish!) and in a split second of being in the same room, he seems to recognise her. The meeting is cut short by the brothel owner and Arya gets sent out, leaving the paedophile to do as he wants with the poor young victim of his lust. With all the training she has received from the Faceless Men, are we going to see her kill Meryn and mess up everything that she has been working towards? I think it is pretty obvious that he is going to die and I’d be happy to see it, but for Arya’s sake, I hope Jaqen is a forgiving man.

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In what were the weakest scenes in the episode, it looks as though Myrcella is leaving with Jaime and Prince Trystane, all thanks to the mercy of Prince Doran—he seems genuine in his actions. The Dornish appear to be good people on the whole even if Ellaria isn’t as understanding as the prince. After Doran told her that she needs to remain loyal to him or else he won’t forgive her ‘a third time,’ Ellaria may actually let her hate die. Maybe, her tears signify a change of heart and maybe her making amends with Jaime is genuine, but I’m not so sure. She has shown how vengeful she can be and we still have one episode to go. On the other hand, it seems as though Jaime could well be making it out of Dorne alive—even Bronn after getting his jaw smacked (which was rather funny to say the least).

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Finally, we got treated to another phenomenal battle—this time in the city of Meereen. We got to see war amongst the ice and snow in last week’s episode and tonight, it was fire that spread through the masses. Daenerys is sat in the royal stands at the first fighting pits event with her soon-to-be husband, Hizdahr, Tyrion, Daario and Missandei. After sitting uncomfortably through the first battle, she sees a familiar face awaiting the second battle to begin: Jorah Mormont. Throughout Jorah’s fight, Dany looks concerned for him and it is quite clear that she still cares for him. It was nice to see because Jorah isn’t a bad man per se, he has just made some bad decisions. As the battle draws to a close and Jorah is victorious (you thought otherwise?!), he throws his spear straight towards the royal stand and takes out a member of the Sons of the Harpy that was heading straight for Daenerys. Yes, that’s right—the Sons of the Harpy are back and they mean business. That haunting chant breaks out and hundreds of them appear in the crowds, forcing Dany and the gang into the centre of the arena. If like me you assumed Hizdahr was behind their attack, you’d be wrong—he gets butchered at the hands of the Harpy (and many viewers cheer!). The unsullied try to protect her, but it seemed very much so that they are all doomed. My heart was pounding and it looked like at least someone important was going to die. They were out of ideas and out of hope; that’s what made the arrival of Drogon all the more gleeful. I was overwhelmed with emotion when I heard the growl of Dany’s baby fly into view—Drogon was here to save the day and for the most part, he destroyed about fifty of the Sons. He isn’t invincible though—he got hurt and this was the first time we saw a vulnerability to the dragons, although they are still young—give them a few more years and they’ll be as big as houses and as tough as tanks. Dany began to tear up (as did I) as she approached her wounded baby, and in her greatest decision yet, she climbed onto his back and Drogon ascended into the sky, leaving everyone else behind. I haven’t quite decided if I liked this yet; I kind of understand why she left, but it was abrupt and unlike Daenerys. Surely she hasn’t abandoned her people, has she? I guess we’ll have to wait until next week to find out but whether or not she has made the right decision, what unfolded in Meereen gave last week’s final battle a run for its money.

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With plenty of story to get through it its final episode, I’m not 100% sure if it will deliver; saying that though, the penultimate episode was a strong one, even if it had the most uncomfortable scene yet. I’m looking forward to the finale and with just watching the promo trailer, I can safely say that war is on the horizon.


About the Author

Chris White

Rock n' Roll Nerd, Gamer, Writer, Lover and procrastinator.