Season Five, Episode Nine — “The Dance With Dragons”

Screenshot 2015-06-08 at 2.13.00 AMBy Jarrod Jones.*sighs* I’m almost positive that the final screams of Princess Shireen will be haunting my dreams for the rest of my life. Yeah, David Benioff and D.B. Weiss continue to be a pair of twisted creepazoids, prone to sitting in dark rooms figuring out ways to utterly mortify us while pretending it’s a form of high art. And this week piles on the nightmare fodder: Shireen, Princess of the House Baratheon, is dead, and in true Game of Groans fashion, she does not die well. The worst bit? Her horrific end was treated as a minor precursor to Dany’s show-stopping dance with dragons.

Yeah, Game of Thrones remains a show, and one that echoed that Geonosis rescue from Star Wars: Episode II, of all things. Except instead of a last minute coliseum save from Yoda and a shit-load of clone troopers we get Drogon, who seems to be the only living thing in Westeros that understands the vital importance of a good last-minute save. (As far as deus ex machinas go, I guess we can do far worse.) Which makes the fact that Shireen had no saviors herself all the more gut-wrenching. It’s shit like this that makes me wonder why I remain committed to covering Game of Thrones instead of hopping over to VeepVeep!

WHAT WORKED: Yeah, Daenerys Targaryen (Emilia Clarke) has condescended herself to open the fighting pits for the masses, but that doesn’t mean she has to like it. Listening to her play around with her consort (Some Guy, played by some guy) like he was some kinda uninvited guest with Daario Naharis (Michiel Huisman) and Tyrion Lannister (Peter Dinklage) acting as her stereo outputs made it all the more enjoyable. The vollying of ideologies showed how succinctly right it is to have Tyrion and Dany side by side. May their rule last longer than the impending winter.

And maybe for, like, three seconds it felt as though Ser Jorah Mormont (Iain Glen) was going to bite it in the pits, let’s cut the shit: absolutely nobody on this show dies unless they get a squishy moment of tenderness (or Carice van Houten pops her breasts) just moments before. Though our gallant knight did offer his hand to the queen instead of just taking it in haste, which only endears him to us further, and probably means that dude is completely and thoroughly fucked. (And speaking of fucked, if tonight’s siege against Dany is any indication, the Unsullied are going to get their collective rumps kicked once they reach King’s Landing. What a collection of assholes.)

WHAT DIDN’T: Well, Ramsay Bolton (Iwan Rheon) did mew to his poppa that all he needed to disrupt Stannis Baratheon’s (Stephen Dillane) stampeding army was twenty good men, and sure enough the little shit proved how effective he is at mayhem. With Stannis’ army broken with little supplies and less morale to get them to Winterfell, the skinny Baratheon sends Davos (Liam Cunningham) to Castle Black to beg for supplies. “A boy with a scroll could deliver this message,” Davos protests, and he’s totally right. That’s the first sign that something’s amiss, that Stannis has something up his ass beside Melisandre (of whom I am now thoroughly convinced is a White Walker sorceress in disguise to royally screw over Stannis, and by proxy the rest of the world… to say nothing of my Sunday evening).

So we get a heartwarming exchange between Princess Shireen (Kerry Ingram) and Davos — terrific friends who adorably bonded over Davos’ illiteracy back in Season Three — which, in this show, can only mean a certain and horrible death is right around the corner. And a show as bloodthirsty as Game of Thrones wouldn’t dare miss a beat in accomplishing precisely this, even if doing so means they have to make up even more appalling shit in order to do it.

Yeah, that’s right. Shireen isn’t burned alive in the books. And what breaks my back about this whole thing is that this awful, (purportedly) unfathomable turn of events has only made a barely likable show that much more unlikeable: the fact that not one member of Stannis Baratheon’s entire army didn’t lift a single finger to save the life of their princess means that in the battle between Baratheon and Bolton, there will be no winners. Whichever house inevitably wins the day will blight Winterfell no matter what. It took the life of a child to prove that there’s almost no one left to root for in Game of Thrones. I’m positive that it wasn’t worth it.


You have a good heart, Jon Snow. It will get us all killed.” – Alliser Thorne, continuing his inability to comprehend irony.

Don’t come back empty handed.” – Stannis, to Davos. (Was that supposed to be a joke?)

There’s always been enough death in the world for my taste, I can do without it in my leisure time.” Tyrion, vocalizing the thoughts of any sane human watching Game of Thrones.

It’s easy to confuse what is with what ought to be.” – Tyrion.

BEST MOMENT: Hmm… I guess when Dany jumped on top of Drogon was pretty cool. But the way-too effective screams of Princess Shireen are about to destroy my already erratic sleeping schedule, so forgive me if I choose not to heap too much praise on a show decidedly unworthy of it this week.

EPISODE’S MVP: Same. Dany decides to flex her pacifistic bubble and let the boys fight for her, and while Tyrion gets in some good shots (verbally and otherwise), he’s ultimately left to stand beside a queen nobody loves looking more miserable than he’s ever looked before. Jon Snow’s date with destiny is put off for another week, and Stannis has officially made the top five of worst persons in Westeros, which says quite a bit.

Screenshot 2015-06-08 at 2.12.28 AMDRAGON EGGS:

– I am going to miss that face. Princess Shireen, you deserved a better world. And a better show.

– She minces about the frigid lands north of Winterfell, and yet Melisandre’s cleavage remains so very deep, and so very exposed. With nary a shiver. How could she not be a White Walker? And she’s the only person in Westeros who does magic? Spy. White. Walker. Hashtag. Spy.

– I should have pegged a woman-beating shit like Ser Meryn Trant (Ian Beattie) for a pederast. Silly me.

– You saw it. Ellaria Sand (Indira Varma) is working on her consternated, Cersei shade-glare. But there can be only one.

– Some of you gave me shit last week for mishearing the merchant requesting “vanilla” with his oysters. (Apparently he asked for vinegar.) Well, can you blame me now? The man says “girl” like “ghoul”. And try to tell me he doesn’t.