Game of Thrones Season 5 Finale Recap: Basically Everyone Might Be Dead

Did this series actually just kill off the man who was arguably its biggest hero?

The Sunday, June 14, Season 5 finale of Game of Thrones ended with a horrific cliffhanger that you either, a) Never saw coming, or, b) Have been dreading all season long, depending upon whether or not you’ve read George R.R. Martin’s A Dance with Dragons. And for once, the TV crowd and the literati are all left with the same question: Did this series actually just kill off the man who was arguably its biggest hero?

We’ll all have to wait until 2016 to find out, but as the show’s fifth season concludes, it’s not looking good for Jon Snow — or anyone else, for that matter. Here’s what went down in the Game of Thrones season finale.

Stannis rides to Winterfell

Although the snow impeding his progress has melted, Stannis Baratheon (Stephen Dillane) was having a really, really bad day. Half of his army abandoned ship and deserted in the middle of the night, and his wife, Selyse (Tara Fitzgerald), committed suicide. It was almost like he did something horrifying and people didn't want to be around him anymore!

Oh, well. Whatever. Laying siege to Winterfell took precedent. Only there wasn't a siege, because as Stannis and his men stood outside the walls, Ramsay Bolton’s army came out to meet them, and… and then it was all over with no battle scene. But it must have been bad, because every last one of Stannis’s men were slaughtered, and Stannis himself collapsed in the woods, heavily wounded. But he was not alone: Brienne of Tarth (Gwendoline Christie) was there, too, to avenge the death of her beloved Renly. She confronted, Stannis confessed, and sentenced him to die. But does he? She takes a big swing with her sword, that’s for sure. But as jaded, savvy Game of Thrones fans, we’ll wait to see Stannis’ head on a spike before declaring him dead for sure.

Stannis listens to Melisandre on Game of Thrones.

Sansa escapes, times two

Meanwhile, Sansa Stark (Sophie Turner) managed to escape her room and light a beacon in the window of the broken tower.

But bad news, her savior, Brienne, was too busy killing Stannis Baratheon to see it. And worse news, she gets caught on a castle catwalk by Myranda (Charlotte Hope), who was itching to shoot Sansa full of arrows in some very uncomfortable places. But right before she launched the first one, Theon Greyjoy (Alfie Allen) suddenly found his spine, stopped Reek-ing, and hurled Myranda over the wall and into the courtyard, where she went splat. (Bye, Myranda!)

Realizing that they can’t stick around to see Ramsay’s reaction, Theon and Sansa then flung themselves over the walls of Winterfell. Bye, Theon and Sansa… until next season, that is, as we strongly suspect the giant snowdrifts cushioned their landing.

Myrcella gets a kiss of death

Myrcella Baratheon (Nell Tiger Free) was officially bound for King’s Landing again, with warmest regards from the Dornish court. She got a warm goodbye from everyone, but especially Ellaria Sand, who kissed Myrcella right on the lips. It was funny, though: Ellaria said, “I wish you all the happiness in the world,” but what she meant was, “I just poisoned you with my mouth, mwahahaha." Myrcella lived just long enough to sweetly tell Jaime Lannister (Nicolaj Coster-Waldau) that she has always known he was her Uncle Dad, when she started to bleed from the nostrils, and collapsed. And on the shore, Ellaria was bleeding, too — but unlike Myrcella, she’s got an antidote to the poison she just passed the poor princess.

Arya sees things differently

Meanwhile it was an uncomfortable scene In Braavos: Meryn Trant (Ian Beattie) was back in the brothel, beating up a bunch of little girls.
Two of them scream; one of them doesn’t. Who is she? Hint: She’s (ahem) No One we know. Other hint: It’s Arya Stark (Maisie Williams), wearing the face of a dead girl from the House of Black and White. She revealed herself, and then wasted no time crossing Meryn Trant off her list, gouging his eyes out, gagging him, stabbing him, and slitting his throat like a Quentin Tarantino heroine. There’s just one problem: This wasn’t the guy Arya was supposed to kill, and Jaqen H’ghar (Tom Wlaschiha) was not happy about it.

“A girl has stolen from the Many Faced God,” he said, producing a vial of poisonous water. “Only death can pay for life.” And then — surprise! — he drank the poison, and fell dead, to Arya’s horror. But wait: Who was behind her? It was Jaqen H’ghar… or it was No One, wearing Jaqen H’ghar’s face. (That’s how this works, right?) Arya pulled face after face from the dead body; before finally, seeing her own. And then she went blind, which seemed like an appropriate response.

Cersei seeks forgiveness for her sins.

Daenerys meets a new herd of horse lords

Last week, Daenerys Targaryen (Emilia Clarke) committed a major party foul when she rode off on a dragon and and left her friends behind in the Harpy-infested stadium. This week, Daario (Michiel Huisman) and Jorah (Iain Glen) began searching for her while Missandei (Nathalie Emmanuel), Grey Worm, and Tyrion (Peter Dinklage) stayed behind to keep Meereen under control. They also had a little help: Varys (Conleth Hill), who finally found his way to the city. We hope Daario and Jorah have decent dragon-tracking skills, because Drogon has carried Daenerys into some potentially dangerous territory. When we last see her, she’s being circled by about three hundred shouting men on horses, and they don’t look particularly friendly.

Cersei takes an afternoon stroll
If you’ve been waiting five years for Cersei Baratheon (Lena Headey) to get her comeuppance for being the biggest bey-otch in the Seven Kingdoms, congratulations: Dreams do come true. Unable to take another day of imprisonment, the Queen Mother knelt and craftily confessed to sleeping with… Lancel Lannister. And only Lancel Lannister. (The High Sparrow doesn’t look entirely convinced.)

The risk paid off: In return for her confession, Cersei was allowed to return to the castle. Ah, but how will she return? Answer: Butt naked, with her hair cut off, with mean nun ringing a bell and shouting “Shame, shame, shame” behind her, while a crowd of thousands screamed epithets and pelted her with lettuce and feces. You’ve gotta hand it to Cersei: She didn't' cry until she was inside. And Maester Qyburn had a
present waiting for her! It was a very, very large new king’s guard member who may or may not be the reanimated corpse of Gregor Clegane,
The Mountain.

No, but seriously, it’s definitely the reanimated corpse of Gregor Clegane, and we really hope he keeps that helmet on. It must be so gross
under there.

Jon Snow talks to Samwell Tarly on Game of Thrones.


And finally, we return to the Wall, where Jon Snow, (Kit Harington) a.k.a. the Lord Commander of the Night’s Watch, a.k.a. the most hated man at Castle Black, officially lost his last ally. Samwell Tarly (John Bradley-West) was off to the Citadel with Gilly and her baby, to get his Maester’s degree. But finally, good news! Olly, his steward, found a wildling who knew where Jon’s missing Uncle Benjen was!

…Yeah, just kidding. It was just a ruse to get Jon out into the yard, where his brothers in arms took turns stabbing him underneath a sign that said “traitor.”

“For the watch,” each said, as they plunged the blades in. But it was Olly who put the knife in Jon Snow’s heart, in more ways than one.
“For the watch,” he said.

And the last thing we saw before the credits rolled: Jon, staring unblinking at the sky while his blood runs black against the snow. Is Jon Snow finally out of luck, the way his father and brother were before him? Did Game of Thrones just kill its hero, again? We’ll have to wait until next year to find out, but it must be said: That was a lot of blood.


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