The Dance of Dragons was a typical Game of Thrones episode, and I say that in the best way possible. The season thus far has been relatively kind to characters we hold dear, but this second to last episode is always the exclamation point of the season.
Weâ€™ve had some shocking deaths through the run of Game of Thrones, but this one had to be one of the most emotionally meaningful ones. Yes, it was sad when Ned went in season one, and of course the Red Wedding was brutally awful, but none of the people were as innocent and shielded from the ugliness of the wars as Shireen Baratheon. Iâ€™m not entirely sure why Shireen has always been the calming effect for the show, but she always just seemed so innocent and cheery. I felt that, no matter what, she would somehow make it out and be just fine. But, as you saw in the previous episode, Stannis actually thought long and hard about what Melisandre proposed. Seemingly proving that he actually did have a heart, he refused to sacrifice her to The Lord of Light.
What a couple episodes can change for those in Westeros. Just as she has since they first met, Melisandre has Stannis completely wrapped around her finger. And with his conviction, no one is going to stand in the way of his decision, including his wife. Before Stannis sends Ser Davos up to the wall to get more supplies, Davos pleads that thereâ€™s no place for Shireen there. But, Stannis tells him to go. Davos obviously knew that Stannis would eventually allow Melisandre to get her way with The Lord of Light. Poor Shireen is burned at the stake with the troops and Stannis and his wife watching. Stannisâ€™ wife is trying to convince herself that this is the right thing to do, but as Shireen begins to burn her mother pleads for it to stop. But, itâ€™s far too late, and we lose the beacon of innocence in Game of Thrones.
Itâ€™s weird that this death had a far greater impact on me than just about any other one in the show. We didnâ€™t get many episodes that had Shireen in it, and we didnâ€™t even get to learn that much about her. But her gentle nature amongst ruthless killers was a calming factor. Itâ€™s incredibly sad to see her go, but hopefully Stannis gets whatâ€™s comin to him. After having killed two of his family members, karma should come back in a very big way.
Over in Dorne, we have a slew of pretty weird scenes. Jaime is brought in front of Prince Doran, and they talk about why Jaime came to Dorne in the first place. He explains that he just wants Myrcella to be safe and to take her back to Kingâ€™s Landing. He even mentions that it is King Tommenâ€™s orders. Prince Dorne agrees to send Myrcella back to Kingâ€™s Landing, but with a caveat of course. They must take Prince Trystane along to keep the ties strong between the families, and Trystane will take the late Prince Oberynâ€™s spot on the small council. They drink to the King, but Ellaria just pours her cup out on the floor.
For how smart many of the characters are in this show, she falls way on the other end. She has just about no power in Dorne or anywhere else but still acts like she does. Sure, she is mad about Prince Oberynâ€™s death, but does she really think she can attack a Lannister with zero repercussions? Prince Doran later forces her to confirm her allegiance by kissing his hand. She then talks about love with Jaime and mentions how his incestual relationship wouldnâ€™t be an issue if only he and Cersei were Targaryens.
The scenes were ok, but a bit weird for my liking. Itâ€™s hard to place a finger on the feeling I had with these scenes. I just feel like they lacked a bit of power compared to the rest of the scenes in this great episode.
While we lost one of the most likeable characters on the show, we at least still have Arya whom is relatively â€œsafe.â€ Arya is still peddling her, â€œoysters, clams and Cockelsâ€ Â in hopes of having a chance to poison the gambler on the docks, but things donâ€™t go quite as planned. Mace Tyrell is headed toward the Iron Bank with Meryn Trant guarding him. If you donâ€™t remember, Meryn Trant is one of the people on her list, for the killing of her first sword instructor, Syrio Forel. She decides to follow them and find that he goes into a brothel. If we needed more reason to hate him, he certainly provided the ammunition here. Surely we arenâ€™t caught off guard by a brothel in the show, but with each girl they show him he says, â€œ too old.â€ When he finally decides on a girl, she looks to be 12-14 years old. Arya and Meryn meet eyes and Meryn has the â€œI know you from somewhereâ€ look. Arya is then pushed out of the brothel and heads back to The House of Black and White. She informs Jaqen that the thin man wasnâ€™t hungry today and that she would try tomorrow.
It was such a great set of scenes here. Â Iâ€™m interested in seeing what may happen if she does go after Trant, considering the whole point of being with The Faceless Men is leaving your past behind. But, as we saw when she hid Needle, Arya is not done being a Stark. I doubt she can keep this from Jaqen for that much longer, but it will be interesting when he confronts her about Trant.
The most memorable scenes take place in Meereen where we finally have another dragon sighting. Dany has tolerated the fighting pits, and in this episode we get a Colosseum-esque showing. Itâ€™s clear, though, that she isnâ€™t sold on the idea of combatants fighting to the death. But, with much insistence from Hizdahr, the fighting pits remained open. And, as we saw a couple episodes ago, Jorah was banished after he and Tyrion made it to Meereen. But, Jorah isnâ€™t one to give up that easily and wants to win back his loyalty via the fighting pits. He does win his fight, but itâ€™s what happens next that redeems him in the eyes of Dany. Strikingly similar to both Gladiator and Troy, he hurls a spear inches past Dany, hitting one of the Sons of The Harpy in the chest. Then a melee ensues where they are drastically outnumbered by gold-masked usurpers. As they are completely surrounded, Dany closes her eyes and Drogon enters the fray. Ripping people in two with his talons and scorching them where they stand, it was nice to finally see a dragon again and see it done this well. The Sons do get shots in with spears, but then Dany triggers her inner Hiccup, hops on Drogon, and they fly out of sight.
I can’t imagine the repercussions of the Sons of The Harpy sacking Meereen and taking back the city. It was nice to see Hizdahr die, though. He is just as snakelike as Little Finger, Â so it was nice to see him offed here.
Jon Snow had a tiny scene at the wall, seemingly setting up something much larger for him during the finale next week. Jon and the surviving wildlings made it to the gate to Castle Black, and the Nightâ€™s Watch opened the gate. Although, Alliser Thorne still doesnâ€™t believe that itâ€™s the best idea to bring the wildlings to the Wall.