Last week’s episode of Game of Thrones could be called epic, while this week’s episode is anything but that. “The Dance of Dragons” was shocking and another controversial episode in what has been one of the more controversial seasons. The 5th season has veered off course and only a few episodes after Sansa’s wedding night rape scene we are left with a would-be king who crosses a line that there is no coming back from.
“The Dance of Dragons” episode starts us off with one of the more intriguing story arcs for the show in that it leaves you wondering what will be her ultimate purpose? Arya once again sells oysters on the canal as she prepares for her mission to kill the corrupt businessman. To become a faceless man is to give yourself up entirely, which is something Arya struggles with daily. Her thirst for vengeance caught up with her this week as one of the men in her nightly prayers (names of people she wishes to kill) shows up in Braavos escorting Mace Tyrell on his way to meet the Iron Bank representatives. Arya ignores her primary mission in this episode and follows Meryn Trant, who is a member of the Kingsguard and from what we learn in this episode a very sick man, to a brothel. She learns of his depravity towards younger women and nearly gets caught before she heads back to the House of Black and White where she reports to Jaqen.
After spending a lot of time north of the Wall last episode, we’re only given a quick glimpse at Castle Black this week and things don’t look good for Jon Snow. Tormund and the rest of the wildlings are let through the wall after returning to Hardhome. This setting shows that many if not most of the night’s watch disagree with this action and leaves the viewers worrying about what might happen to Jon Snow, particularly with all the ominous looks he’s getting from his brothers.
In last week’s episode, Ramsay Bolton has his father and twenty men to go after the approaching army of Stannis Baratheon. This little raid cost Stannis and his men all their supplies during the coming of winter. Knowing that his men won’t survive winter without help, Stannis takes drastic action. He first sends the most honest of his councilors and the voice of reason north to ask the night’s watch for help. With that deed done Stannis then gets his own daughter to volunteer to help him unknowingly surrendering her own life. Princess Shireen (Stannis’ daughter) is led by his men to a stake where she is burned alive by Melisandre as a sacrifice to the Red God.
Next, the episode takes us south all the way to Dorne. Princess Myrcella’s failed rescue attempt has led to Dorne getting a bigger piece of the action back in King’s Landing. Jaime and Bronn’s failure allows Doran Martell to get a voice on the small council and possibly a chance at retribution. There was a lot of politicking in this part of the show that gave more depth to the happenings of Dorne and their plans for the throne.
You can’t have an episode of Game of Thrones titled “The Dance of Dragons” without actually having some dragons in the episode. The show ends back over in Essos in the city of Mereen. Daenerys agreed to finally let the fighting pits be open and this episode commenced the start of the fighting season. As Daenarys and her council watch on, it is Ser Jorah that saves the day. Sacrificing his freedom in order to see his Queen once again Jorah is forced into the fighting pits. After he wins his fight it looks like he is going to attack the Queen’s council when in fact he actually takes out an assassin from the Sons of the Harpy. Chaos quickly ensues as the Sons of the Harpy attack the stadium and block off the exits preventing Daenerys from escaping. Death looks pretty imminent for Daenerys and crew when Drogon shows up out of nowhere and with liberal use of fire kills many of the Sons of the Harpy before they turn their spears on him. The episode ends with the destructive power of a dragon and Daenerys and Drogon flying off into the sky.
In a season that has veered off course from the books, “The Dance of Dragons” takes it even further. Stannis sacrificing his daughter because she has King’s blood was dark and disturbing. A man so willing to do whatever it takes to win the throne has no qualms sacrificing his daughter to the fire in the name of the Red God. He’s crossed a line and it will be interesting to see where his character will finally end up. For those who have not read the books, Doran Martell is the ruler of Dorne and brother of former Princess Elia Martel who was murdered with her children when the Lannister’s sacked King’s Landing. He is a patient man who is underestimated both by his enemies and even his own family. It’ll be fun to watch what happens when he inserts his son into the Game of Thrones.
Game of Thrones season 5, episode 9 brings us a disturbing tale that ends the story for some and helps set up the finale and further into next season. Dragons this week, White Walkers last week, it is a wonder what next week will bring?