Sunday, June 7, 2015

Game of Thrones Dance of Dragons S5 E9 Review: Yin & Yang (Book and Show Spoilers!!)


Game of Thrones delivered a great episode in back to back weeks. Both weeks ended with heart pounding action and spectacular finishes. This week fell a little short of last week’s Hardhome episode overall. It had aspects I really enjoyed (The Freaking Ending!!), and others I downright hated (Stannis burning his daughter). Overall it was still a great episode, one of the better this season. Next week’s season finale has a ton to live up too. I know where I want them to end it on a couple of fronts. I hope they do, but not sure they will with the changes they have made this season.
Let’s start with the boring part. Dorne. What a waste. I was looking forward to seeing Dorne, and Doran Martell. Our whole time there does not seem to be going anywhere. This storyline is one which has deviated from the books. I’m not sure for the better. Jaimie is not supposed to be in Dorne, and honestly there is no reason for him to be. Though I do not know if the main story in the books would work well for the show. It would have been better for him to go out and seek Brienne. He falls out of love with Cersei in the books, the show should follow suit. In this episode everyone makes nice, and Myrcella is going to go back to King’s Landing with Jamie. Why not have this be one episode with him traveling there, asking for her back, then he is back in King’s landing by the second episode. Instead this has dragged out the entire season.  This is one storyline I will glad to be at an end. The writers of the show have done a great job of adapting the series to TV, and I have enjoyed most of their deviations. This is not one of them.
We touch briefly with Jon at the wall. I liked this follow up. They let the wildings pass, and the interaction between Jon and Alliser Thorne is perfect. It was some of the best acting in the episode, even if it was extremely brief. Everyone in the scene did a beautiful job. Tension is building at Castle black. This will make for a great season finale at the wall.  Arya also made an appearance. She stalked Meryn Trant, of the Kings guard, instead of killing her assigned target. I’m not sure I would have gone with this path for her. I think the Arya we have come to love, would kill the gambler, and then stalk Meryn. She has become this ruthless, let us see it. I get where they are going with the story, and it is still very good. I would have just made the small adjustment.
Now for the two biggest parts of the show. The first being Stannis killing his daughter. This is a MAJOR deviation from the books. Stannis is not very likable in the books, but there is a certain quality to him that you can get behind. This changes everything for me. I cannot root for him. When he faces the Bolton’s, it will be two evils fighting each other. It was a very dramatic scene, and was hard to watch. One thing about the scene, the acting was not well done, or did not ring true to me. I have been very impressed by Kerry Ingram as Shireen Baratheon. She missed the mark with her cries of terror. They did not seem believable.  I might have felt better about this scene if it was performance did not miss the mark. This is not to say this was an easy assignment for a young actress. I could not pull it off.
Then we come to the ending, and what an ending it was! The ending balances the episode. We have such an evil scene with Stannis and his daughter, to a great scene between Danny and her dragon. This was one part of the books they captured perfectly. The exact parts of the story may not be the same, but it still captures one of the best parts of the fifth book.  I was hoping and waiting for Drogon to show up. When he did, I cheered. Second time in two weeks the show has made me cheer. From start to finish this sequence was extremely well done. The fighting between the contestants was spectacular. The banter between Daenerys, Tyrion, Darrio, and Hizdahr is well done. The scene has great symmetry. They spare words, as the fighters use swords.  Then the action starts, and it is brutal. Without Drogon coming to the aide of his mother, she would not have escaped.  We then see something everyone has been waiting for. Danny riding her dragon. It was the perfect place to end this episode, and make us crave next week’s finale.

My Rating: Great Addition to the Series

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