Game of Thrones (2015)

Season 5

Game of Thrones - Season 5 (2015)

Director: Michael Slovis, Mark Mylod, Jeremy Podeswa, Miguel Sapochnik, David Nutter
Starring: Peter Dinklage, Nikolaj Coster-Waldau, Lena Headey
Episodes: 10

Tyrion and Varys flee to Essos after the assassination of Tywin, Cersei works to consolidate her power in King's Landing, Danaerys struggles with an insurgency in Mereen, and the Night's Watch must elect a new Lord Commander in the wake of Mance Rayder's defeat.

When it comes to the Song of Ice and Fire books, I saw the narrative start to come apart in A Feast for Crows, so I wasn't eager to continue with A Dance with Dragons. However, I started reading it and so far have found it pretty good. (I'm still only about halfway in.) I bring this up for several reasons. First, my own wavering on the series is reflected by other fans, both of the books and of the TV series. The tide of the backlash has apparently ramped up this season, to the point where I not only have my own doubts about where things go from here but also about how many fans are actually going to return next year.

It's difficult to talk about this without going neck-deep into spoiler territory and while that might be the easier course, I'm going to stick to my policy of minimizing spoilage in these reviews. As such, I can't go into the details so much and have to paint in broad strokes. I will say that this season makes the point where the TV series definitively and irrevocably becomes its own creature. Before there had been various changes, many of them matters of simple pragmatism, but now we've got major chunks of the story hacked out and replaced by original content. Depending on your opinion of the direction of the books, this may be a good thing. Personally, I've liked the fact that the TV series has had to stitch together the scrambled chronology that follows the Battle of the Blackwater. Some of the things that were being cut were things I didn't like anyway and some of the new things were even better than the original (like the Brienne vs. Sandor brawl from the previous season finale). However, some of the plot threads from DwD that got cut I actually miss, but that's neither here nor there.

As far as the storylines go this season, the good ones were Jon Snow on the Wall, Arya in Braavos, and the machinations in King's Landing. The ones that were just okay were Sansa at Winterfell and Tyrion's winding way to Mereen. The ones I didn't like were Dorne and Dany. I turned on Dany a long time ago and she hasn't changed my opinion of her. I don't care about Slaver's Bay. It can burn. There are some controversial deaths that weren't in the books (at least not yet) which may well reach dealbreaker levels. I won't call this season a disaster by any means, but I wouldn't be surprised if a decent chunk of the fandom doesn't come back next year. I'll give it a shot, but I have my reservations. In the end, I still think this season was worth watching.

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