The night is dark and full of spoilers, fair friends of the Realm. Which is to say if you have yet to watch Sunday night’s episode of Game of Thrones, “The Dance of Dragons,” we highly suggest you turn away from this very informative lil recap tout de suite. Don’t say we didn’t warn ya, ya gooses.
And we’re off! Literally and figuratively, Game of Thrones is — at long last — off to the races when it comes to major story development and plotline unfolding. The penultimate episode of the fifth season gave us a lot of harrowing business and the further convergence of characters across the Narrow Sea. Which means we’re in for a real, live walloper next week in the finale.
But let’s get through the other stuff before we bring the fire. Up at Castle Black, Jon Snow has returned with a sizable amount of Wildlings — much to Alliser Thorne’s chagrin. (“You have a good heart Jon Snow, it’ll get us all killed.”) Although poor Lord Commander Snow already believed his mission a failure because of all of those he couldn’t save when the Night’s King — a.k.a. Coldemort which, A+ on that one, Internet — showed up with his icy-time bros. Not so, fair lad, not so! Though there seemed to be a heck of a lot more salty members of the Night’s Watch since he left for Hardhome, so we’re pretty worried about Lord Snow at the moment.
Down in Dorne we got more of the same from the somehow-made-boring Martells: Prince Doran agreed to give Jaime everything he wanted — Myrcella returning to King’s Landing, Bronn’s safety assured — as long as Prince Trystane held Oberyn’s Small Council seat and went with them to the Red Keep. Ilaria was super-not-keen on the idea of acquiescing all their leverage, but sure did seem intent on getting in with Jaime one way or another, what with all the ‘hey I know you to have sex with your sister but it’s cool with me’ stuff. What does she have up her sleeve? Elsewhere, the Sand Snakes continued to be held captive and basically pointless. (Seriously: remember when, in the books, the Sand Snakes were great and vengeful and interesting? I mean, they even gave Nymeria’s Small Council seat to Trystane! Sigh.)
We were, perhaps, most upset by the arrival of Ser Meryn Trant to Braavos — much to Arya’s curiosity. Throwing her plan to poison the thin man/gambler fella after seeing the arrival of Lord Tyrell, Arya followed the disgusting kingsguardian into a brothel where he proceeded to show his penchant for pedophilia! Because, you know, of course/sexual abuse is just the way of the world here. UUUUUUUGH. We wouldn’t be surprised, though, if Arya ended up trying to disguise herself as a prostitute in order to use that poison on Ser Meryn tomorrow. She’ll be his fresh one alright (I know, I’m vomiting now having written that). Oh and shoutout to Mark Gatiss — a.k.a. the Iron Bank’s Tycho Nestoris — for keeping it real ornery, as tends to be his wont.
And then came the fire. We are, of course, talking of two separate instances of burnt dreams, but will start with the most upsetting one (because we’re endeavoring to end on a high note, folks). We’re of course talking about poor Shireen Baratheon. Her father, returned to his abhorrently short-sighted, obsessed-with-perceived-rightness ways on Sunday night when he let Melissandre go through with burning poor Shireen alive. Sure, he believed it was the only way to win after Ramsay and the Bolton boys burned their food and weaponry to the ground, but just because you’re painted into a corner doesn’t mean you’re allowed to act like a goddamn animal, Stannis. It’s downright pathetic and greedy of him — Yeah, I said it! Stannis is THIRSTY for that crown — that he would not heed her words. Particularly because she basically said it best when talking about the Dance of Dragons itself: “It’s the choosing sides that made everyone so horrible.”
Oh and what the heck was that vision that had Melissandre so rattled at the beginning of the episode. Is that what got you to finally change your outfit for once, girl? (Gone was the all-red in favor of red and blue: WHAT DOES IT MEAN, HBO? TELL US TELL US TRUE.)
But let’s get to what we all want to talk about: the episode’s literal dance with a dragon. OK so really it was more of a dalliance, but still! Drogon saved the day — oh and Ser Jorah certainly helped, too. It was a bloody day at the fighting pits, but not so much for the fighters as everyone else thanks to the Sons of the Harpy. Yeah: the biggest thorn in Meereenese peace’s side are these noble maniacal menaces, hellbent on returning to their slave-loving ways, have ambushed the pits, killing any and everyone they could get their hands on.
Including Hizdahr zo Loraq (BYE FELIPE), much to LITERALLY NO ONE’s sadness. For awhile it looked as though all was lost: the Unsullied were nearly decimated, and Daario, Ser Jorah, and Tyrion could only do so much to save Dany, particularly with hundreds more Sons piling into the pits. But then, almost like magic (and/or some telepathic business Dany has going on with her dragon babies), Drogon arrived, burning all of those tricky MFers to the ground.
Because OF COURSE HE DID. Don’t you know how protective dudes are of their moms? The answer is REAL FUCKIN’ PROTECTIVE, so ya burnt Sons of the Harpy. Ya burnt! (Literally and otherwise.)
But now the only question left is: where in the world is Daenerys Targaryen? She couldn’t possibly be as hard to find as Carmen Sandiego, could she? After all, she’s riding around on the back of a goddamn dragon, which is way more conspicuous than a fedora and red coat. Stay tuned to next season (because there’s no WAY they’re going to show us now — that flying-off-to-nowhere cliffhanger was too good!) to find out.
What did you think of the episode, folks? Excited for a sure-to-be-stressful-and-crazy season finale next week? Let’s hear it in the comments.
Oh and p.s. if someone could make me one of those dragon necklaces like Dany had for Comic-Con, I would be eternally grateful/will add you to my khalasar.
Alicia Lutes is the Associate Editor of The Nerdist. Find her on the Tweet Machine @alicialutes.