Another season of Game of Thrones has come and gone. So, what did we learn this season?

arya stark looking at big doors

I only get twenty minutes this season? You have been added to my list.

Well, we learned David Benioff, D.B. Weiss, George R.R. Martin, and crew can really slow a season to a crawl. I realize not every episode can be non-stop action. A story should consist of peaks and valleys. The valleys being the part of the story where characters and plots are developed. The rise to the peak is where the conflict builds up and the peak should be the point where conflict is resolved and, possibly, new storylines are developed or further explored as we go back into the valley.

However, season five was one big valley. At times, it was an exercise in frustration. Whole episodes would finish with nothing be developed from the previous episode and nothing moving forward. Season five was for die-hard fans and not the casual viewer.

We also learned when one evil, villainous character is killed off there is another waiting to take its place.

Ramsay Bolton

I’m only here to torture and torment. That’s it. No more. Now go away!

Season four saw the end of Joffrey Baratheon. His murder at the beginning of the season was a long time coming. Joffrey’s usefulness as a character had come to an end. Season three saw the rise of Ramsay Bolton. When we first meet Ramsay he was busy torturing and breaking Theon Greyjoy. It was clear he enjoyed torturing people. It was also clear he would fill the void left by Joffrey.

Joffrey and Ramsay are characters cut from the same cloth. The difference between Ramsay and Joffrey is Joffrey’s cruelty served a purpose in moving the story along. Whether we liked his order to behead Ned Stark is beside the point. Ned Stark’s death had to happen because the game of thrones would not have started with him alive. There are several other examples one could list of Joffrey being a little shit, but it all served to move the story forward and help evolve the characters around him.

Ramsay’s only point being in the series, if Reek/Theon and Sansa don’t survive their season finale jump from the top of a Winterfell wall, is to torture anyone who gets in House Bolton’s way. If Sansa and Theon/Reek do survive their jump, Ramsay’s only point in being in the series is to hunt down the two of them during season six. Either way Ramsay’s only purpose in Game of Thrones is for the shock value. We don’t need another character in the series who only likes to torture, rape, and kill. The Game of Thrones creators should stay away from this well all together and never visit it again.

the tortured girl sansa stark

I whined a lot this season, but got tough near the end.

Speaking of going to the well one too many times…We also learned there wasn’t much the show creators wouldn’t do to create shock or stir up controversy.

In the episode “Unbowed, Unbent, Unbroken,” Ramsay (of course) rapes Sansa on their wedding night. After the episode, one internet writer defended the rape scene as a practice that occurred quite often in Medieval Europe. To be clear, the writer was not defending rape, but the Medieval notion of women being property. It’s true during the Medieval period, and some would argue well into the 20th century, women were viewed as property. Different cultures had different views on women, but by-and-large a husband could do pretty much whatever he wanted with his wife. The writer went on to argue the world George R.R. Martin created was based on Medieval Europe. It’s a valid argument, but we’re not talking about European History. We’re talking about the story and storytelling.

In season four, Jamie Lannister raped Cersei Lannister. At the time, show creators defended the rape as part of the story. It’s a valid point for the time in the story. However, the series went to the rape well too many times and for the wrong reason.

The Ramsay rape occurred during a long stretch of tedium in the series. It had already been demonstrated Ramsay was an evil character. A rape wasn’t needed for more proof. It was a cheap attempt to move things along in the series.

The next episode saw Stannis Baratheon burn his own child at the stake. It was a rough scene to watch, however, it did serve a purpose beyond simple shock value. Melisandre promised Stannis the king’s blood would give him victory over the Boltons and control of the North. However, it didn’t turn out that way. Baratheon lost everything. Literally.

stannis' daughter

I survived an awful disease only to get burned at the stake. What a sham!

The next episode saw Stannis Baratheon burn his own child at the stake. It was a rough scene to watch, however, it did serve a purpose beyond simple shock value. Melisandre promised Stannis the king’s blood would give him victory over the Boltons and control of the North. However, it didn’t turn out that way. Baratheon lost everything. Literally.

The death of Jon Snow was shocking only because the show creators killed off Jon Snow! We’ve seen major characters killed off in the series, but this was Jon Snow! From the very first episode non-readers, like myself, had to hear how Jon Snow was part of some three-headed dragon rider team. We had to hear Jon could be the one who saves the Seven Kingdoms from the White Walkers during the Long Night. Too bad, book fans, Snow is dead.

jon snow is dead

Jon Snow knows nothing…except betrayal.

“Hold on,” you say. “ Snow may not be dead,” you say. The theories of Jon’s non-death are spreading all over the internet. Well, the joke is on all them. Director David Nutter has already said Jon Snow is dead. Kit Harington has already cut his hair. Harington was under contract and not allowed to cut his hair, but a recent EW.com interview specifically mentions Harington’s hair cut.

The show creators could have Jon Snow come back as a zombie or some other Game of Thrones creature. Some internet theorists are arguing Melisandre could bring him back from the dead. She returned to Castle Black after Baratheon’s army was wiped out and we didn’t see her leave. One could argue she saw the whole murder happen and when the coast was clear she revived him.

Either way, the series creators could honestly say Jon Snow is still dead. It’s a cheap tactic, but I can honestly see them doing something like this in season six. Sorry, my faith in the Game of Thrones scribes weakens with every episode.

red witch from game of thrones

I literally serve no point anymore in the series.

Speaking of Melisandre, why did she go back to Castle Black? The only person at Castle Black she has any ties to is Davos Seaworth. To say there is no love loss between the two is an understatement. There’s also the fact women aren’t allowed at Castle Black. The rule was bent under Snow’s command, but Snow is dead. Logically, the next to take command would be Alliser Thorne. There should be no doubt Thorne would send her on her merry way. It’s what should happen, but may not happen in season six.

We also learned the show’s creators could keep the Cersei character conniving, vengeful, and petty. Cersei is the least dynamic of the characters in Game of Thrones. Jaime, Tyrion, Sansa, Arya, and Daenerys have all changed drastically from the first episode of the first season. Cersei, however, remains the same. It’s getting old and tired and it seems there is no end in sight.

cersei during walk of shame

I’m never going to change my ways.

“Mother’s Mercy” saw Cersei’s release from High Sparrow’s prison. Her release was given more time in the final episode than any other story arch. I didn’t time each segment so, I could be wrong. However, it seemed like it. Cersei’s walk of shame amongst the poor of King’s Landing seemed to go on and on. We saw her naked, we saw food thrown at her, people yelling curses at her, and we saw the bloody feet. We even got to see someone’s penis! What a treat.

The point of Cersei’s walk was made apparent in the first few minutes. There was no reason to keep it going for as long as they did. We understood High Sparrow wanted to humiliate her and he did. However, at the end of the walk she’s told the king is going to make them all pay. Of course, Cersei gives a smile in typical Cersei fashion. So, all this time was wasted because Cersei has not changed one bit. Cersei has to either have a change or be killed off in season six.

The time wasted driving the point down viewers’ throats could have been used for other characters. For example, Jamie tells Myrcella moments before she dies he is her father. No reaction, nothing to her death. We didn’t see anything about Littlefinger. What has happened to one of the most interesting characters in Game of Thrones? Perhaps we will learn in season six. Maybe we’ll even get more than five minutes dedicated to Littlefinger next season.

We stopped seeing anything to do with Margaery Tyrell when Cersei was imprisoned by High Sparrow. So, I guess we can assume the queen and her brother are still rotting away in their cells. We didn’t even get a second with Bran Stark, Hodor and crew the entire season. I know, I know, the books weren’t written so nothing could be done with them in season five. I say, “Hogwash.” There are writers on the show, George Martin being one of them, who could have continued Bran’s journey. Instead, the creators let the plot line die. It’s a shame, because it was shaping up to be one of the more interesting story arcs in the series.

lost monkey member bran stark

I’m going to chill here while they kill off my plot line.

I said it last year, but I think it needs repeating. The series needs to stop cutting up the arcs into a few minute scenes per episode. As soon as there is momentum on a character the series swings towards another character. An episode or an episode and a half may go by before we return to that specific arc. Perhaps it didn’t bother me during the first season because Game of Thrones was new, but after five seasons the technique has gotten old and frustrating. It’s time for a change.Overall,

Overall, Game of Thrones season five was underwhelming and seemed happy in its mediocrity. Next season is going to have to come in swinging to make up for this season.

B

(Yes, I forgot to mention fan favorites the Sand Snakes, because they were treated more like bikini models or sorority girls than bad ass fighting chicks. Again, maybe next season.)

lady brienne

The most pointless character in the series, but lives to see season six.

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