Game of Thrones is often a victim of its own success as every episode is expected to shock, develop and create a spectacle. Last week’s episode was a placeholder, but this week lives up to the lofty expectations. This episode will be discussed with SPOILERS so please return once you have watched Book of The Stranger.
The episode opens with a blast of emotion often denied in the cruel world of Game of Thrones. Jon Snow and his younger half sister were reunited at the wall in an exceptionally heartfelt scene, written, performed and filmed with a stunning lightness of touch. It was a joy to have them reminisce their childhood and the often criticised Sophie Turner pulls out a convincing and moving turn.
By the end of the episode the much hoped for Stark assault on Winterfell is set in motion. If Sansa wasn’t convincing enough the cruel letter from Ramsay also confirmed the expected wildling involvement. Game of Thrones continues to add moments of humour in an often dark and serious setting. This role is often filled by the excellent Peter Dinklage as Tyrion but the approving wildling gaze of Tormund towards the looming figure of Brienne was a great moment. Meanwhile Tyrion is a joy in every scene he features as he seeks to politically gain advantage for Meereen.
The episode also marks the welcome return of Aidan Gillen as the scheming little-finger who schemes some makeshift loyalty and looks set to team up with the Starks for Winterfell. Whilst Rickon again remains unseen Osha is allowed one scene after multiple season off before once again providing further evidence for Ramsay’s brutality. There is also movement in Kings Landing as the Tyrell’s and Lannister finally begrudgingly team up to take on the fanatical High Sparrow (Jonathan Pyrce)> Despite Cersei’s despicable characteristics everyone wants her to gain revenge over the ‘humble’ high Sparrow.
So we have had development and shock and now for the spectacle that once again comes in the form of Khalessi (Emilia Clarke). Her storyline and journey can often stutter and frustrate but she steals many of the Game of Throne’s spectacles and this was the best finale of the season so far. The returning Jon Snow was widely suspected by the adoration of the Dothraki hordes after brutally burning all the Khals was a genuine shock.
Jorah and Daario are a fun and brutal double act that get a lovely gory moment as they mutilate the deceased Dothraki with a stone, but even they are awed by Khalessis’s bold move and the closing scene looks incredible.
Another five star episode for the best show on TV.