PODCAST! – Around the Water Cooler – Game of Thrones – The Season 5 Recap and Discussion (MAJOR SPOILERS)

THE SPECS:

Who:  “Game of Thrones,” airs on premium cable TV, specifically on HBO, Spring Sundays at 9:00 PM.

What: “Game of Thrones” is a fantasy drama based on the series of novels entitled A Song of Ice and Fire, by George R. R. Martin, which tells the tale of the land of Westeros and the various families and factions vying for the Iron Throne, i.e. rule of all of the seven kingdoms in a world of magic, dragons, swordplay, and death (for a more detailed Synopsis, read here).

When: The season five finale aired on HBO, Sunday, June 14, 2015, at 9:00 PM.

Where: The show is set the fictional land of Westeros, a world that could be Europe, could be Middle Earth, or could be most fantasy/epic realms.  Westeros is divided into Seven Kingdoms, but rule of all kingdoms hails from the Iron Throne, in King’s Landing. The show follows key characters across most realms.

Why: A friend basically said I had to watch it and for good reason.  I gravitate toward fantasy and science fiction most frequently; fantasy is also my favorite genre to read.  I haven’t read Martin’s currently-in-progress series, which has become something of a cultural watershed not unlike the Harry Potter novels, though I plan to do so.  Anything with magic and dragons and elaborate fictional worlds is going to appeal to me, considering my favorite books of all time are The Lord of the Rings series. Thus, an obsession with Game of Thrones was born.

How – as in How Was It? – THOUGHTS

For a recap of season 4, read here.

It’s been a few months since the latest season of Game of Thrones bowed with its epic fifth season finale, but it took at least that amount of time to digest everything that occurred in what has been one of the most exciting and jam-packed seasons of the series.  Also, believe it or not, this viewer wanted to take a step back from the flurry of wild speculation that has ensued since the finale aired – after all, an event of such magnitude occurred, while normally it would not be seen as a cliffhanger on other shows and in other fictional universes, in Game of Thrones and in Westeros, there is enough uncertainty about the event that the internet has been broken about a thousand times over since the finale’s airing, as fan theories and guesses fly.

Of course, the finale was not the only episode to present some cataclysmic plot developments, as the television series has finally caught up to George R.R. Martin’s unfinished book series and, in some ways, even surpassed it, though clearly entrenched in the saga’s middle act. In fact, the thought of writing an entire recap about Game of Thrones’ fifth season proved to be too daunting a task to conceive, so, naturally, I invited a panel of the fellow GoT obsessed to sit “around the water cooler” and to chat and theorize all things season five as well as what season six might look like, now that the books won’t give us as many clues (unless rumors are true and Martin publishes the next installment before the premiere). Not surprisingly, this scholarly bunch had much to say, so this CPU! episode is a bit longer than normal; however, we cover quite a bit of territory, including speculations about Jon Snow’s parentage, Daenerys Targaryen’s dragons, and Melisandre’s much sought after savior, who is likely not Stannis Baratheon.

This podcast was recorded on August 17, 2015.  Follow us on Facebook, Twitter (@cpupodcast), or email us at couchpotatoesunitepodcast@gmail.com – or subscribe to this blog, the YouTube channel, and/or our iTunes channel to keep track of brand new episodes.  In the meantime, let us know what you think!

Questions, Impressions, and Future Considerations

Old Questions

1) How is it that Bran (Isaac Hempstead Wright) has these powers?  Who is that dead looking guy on that throne? What are these beings in this macabre cave?  And how will their story intersect with the rest?

Answer: We haven’t been given much of Bran’s story or any of these answers (other than that the throned dead guy is the human form of the many eyed raven), as the character was benched during season five, but he’s slated to reappear in season six.  Along with Hodor, which should please panelist Rob.

2) Where is Arya (Maisie Williams) going?

Answer: She was seeking Ja’qen Ha’qar, who resides in the House of Black and White across the Narrow Sea.  The House of Black and White has been erected in homage to the Many Faced God.  She had many adventures there.

3) When is Dany (Emilia Clarke) going to sail for King’s Landing?  How long is she going to remain in Slaver’s Bay?  And will she be able to find Drogon and control him?

Answer: It doesn’t look like Dany’s heading back across the sea anytime soon, since Drogon found his mama, as she was threatened by the Sons of the Harpy in Meereen.  He whisked her away to the countryside, where she found herself surrounded by a swarm of horse bound Dothraki tribesmen.  Also, while Drogon responds to his mom, she is not really “controlling” him as much as communicating with him.  Her time in Slaver’s Bay feels a bit indefinite about now.

4) Why do we care about Ramsay Snow/Bolton (Iwan Rheon), other than the fact that he completely screwed up Theon (Alfie Allen)?

Answer: Well, as it turns out, he’s not only a sadistic bastard but an ambitious snot.  His dad, Roose, made him all legitimate and stuff, the Boltons marched on Winterfell and took it over, and, in this season, Littlefinger made a deal with the Boltons to produce Sansa, who would otherwise be Queen in the North (since Bran’s fate is not known), as Ramsay’s wife, to further legitimize the Bolton’s tenuous but fitful hold on this icy region.  And, as it turns out, he raped Sansa on their wedding night and made Theon/Reek watch.  It was painful and broke the internet.  So, we care about seeing this little shit get what’s coming to him.  He’s like Joffrey Junior, without the power.

5) What is Littlefinger (Aidan Gillen) going to do with Sansa (Sophie Turner)?  Is he expecting to make her the new Catelyn?

Answer: Of sorts.  He does seem to have an unhealthy fixation upon Sansa, much as he did with Catelyn.  Littlefinger dropped Sansa off in Winterfell and made a deal with the Boltons, with the secret aim of taking on whomever would lose the imminent battle, as Stannis Baratheon planned to march his army toward Winterfell and take the North from the Boltons.  He then traveled to King’s Landing at Cersei’s behest.  We haven’t heard much from him since, but Sansa was further used as a pawn in Littlefinger’s schemes.  He loves himself the most.

6) Where will Tyrion (Peter Dinklage) end up, and how will he survive? Will there be a manhunt commissioned by Cersei (Lena Headey)? How will King’s Landing be affected by the loss of Tywin Lannister?

Answer: A definite “yes” on the manhunt.  Cersei sent bounty hunters after her younger brother.  In the meantime, shortly after Tommen was crowned king, Cersei took over the King’s Small Council, attempting to rule the Iron Throne behind her meeker middle son.  Margery Tyrell, a schemer like Cersei, a widow after Joffrey’s death in season four, manipulated Tommen into requesting her hand in marriage, however, and Margery became legitimately queen.  Cersei countered by sending the zealot septon, the head of the church in King’s Landing, after Loras Tyrell, Cersei’s latest betrothed, who prefers the company of men, causing Margery to perjure herself in a kangaroo court run by the septon in an attempt to cover up his apparently offensive ways.  The problem is, Cersei’s plan backfired when the septon turned his attention on Cersei and her many sins, forcing her confession and naked walk of penance from the sept to the Red Keep in an attempt by the show to elicit sympathy for her character (listen to the podcast for the panel’s reactions).

Tyrion, on the other hand, was first captured by Varys for the purpose of saving his life as well as of escorting him away from King’s Landing and across the Narrow Sea toward Dany, who Varys believes is the true ruler of the Iron Throne and the Seven Kingdoms. Varys felt that Tyrion was smart enough and experienced enough to be Dany’s hand or adviser. Unfortunately, Tyrion’s proclivity for drink allowed him to be captured by the exiled Ser Jorah, who sought the dwarf as a bargaining chip to get himself back into Dany’s good graces.  Tyrion and Jorah had an odd coupling for a time; they sailed through Valyria, with the Stonemen affected by Greyscale, who infected Jorah.  They were captured by slavers and then introduced into the Meereen fighting pits, which Dany agreed to reopen to placate some of her new subjects. Eventually, Tyrion and Dany were able to meet in one of the best scenes of the season, which has not previously appeared in the books.  Tyrion was left in charge of Meereen by Jorah and Daario after Drogon took Dany away from her attackers at the end of the season.

7) Will Tyrion ever find Sansa again?

Answer: I don’t think he wants to or cares at this point.  He and Sansa are now on different paths.

8) Why did Stannis (Stephen Dillane) march toward the Night’s Watch first?

Answer: He planned to come at Winterfell from the North, rather than the more predictable South.  Also, Castle Black might have been a resting place for his men.

9) Is Jon Snow (Kit Harington) going to fight for Stannis?  What will he do in light of this new development?

Answer: Jon Snow, newly made Lord Commander of the Night’s Watch, elected not to go with Stannis.  He remained true to his duty as Lord Commander and, instead, advocated for alliance with the Wildlings in the face of an onslaught of White Walkers.  Yet, these attempts led to the first major battle with the White Walkers and their ever multiplying army of wights, as well as the Night’s King, a blue eyed Walker that can only be defeated by Dragon’s Fire or perhaps Valyrian steel.  His decisions also lead to what looked like his death (listen to the podcast).

10) Is the Night’s Watch something that still exists at this point?

Answer: It still exists, though it’s in something of a tatter after battles with both the Wildlings and the White Walkers.

11) Where are those pesky White Walkers?

Answer: Winter is here.  They are just north of the Wall.

12) Where did Ser Jorah (Iain Glen) go?

Answer: He was exiled and remained in Slaver’s Bay but found Tyrion and headed back for Meereen to try to re-curry favor with Dany.

13) Can Melisandre (Carice van Houten) die?  For that matter, can Cersei?

Answer: They both continue to live.  The audience weeps.

14) Where did Rickon go?!  I know he’s but a babe, but he’s lost or something.

Answer: Still a question.  He has to be like 15 about now.

15) Will Brienne (Gwendoline Christie) ever find Arya again?  Or, will she make for the Vale and Sansa?  Or, will she finally acknowledge her love of Jaime (Nikolaj Coster-Waldau) and turn back toward King’s Landing?

Answer: Brienne lost Arya to the sea, but she temporarily found Sansa in the company of Littlefinger in a country tavern; however, Sansa refused to go with her, preferring to trust who she knew in Lord Baelish.  Brienne never stopped tailing Sansa, though, which led to her discovery of Stannis and the keeping of one of her oaths.  I don’t think Jaime is a thought on her brain right now.

New Questions

1) What will we find out about Bran and his exploits since last we saw him?

2) Panelist Kristen says: “What the hell is Hodor (Kristian Nairn)?”

3) Arya was blinded when she angered the Many Faced God by using one of the faces in the House of Black and White to her advantage in slaying one of the men on her revenge list.  Is this permanent blindness?  What will happen to her now?  Why did Ja’quen (Tom Wlaschiha) encourage this revenge list to begin with, only to take issue with her adherence to it now?

4) Stannis’ forces were decimated by the Boltons’.  House Baratheon appears to be teetering on the brink of being eliminated from the Game of Thrones, but for the fact that Tommen (Dean-Charles Chapman) is a Baratheon in name only.  Will Littlefinger go after the Boltons?  Will anyone unseat the Boltons?  Who?

5) Sansa and Theon/Reek “escaped” Winterfell by jumping over the guard wall to flee Ramsay’s sadism.  Did they survive the jump?  Will they get away?  Where will they go?

6) What will happen to Dany?  She dropped her wedding ring: to break with her queenliness or to leave a bread crumb for Jorah and Daario (Michael Huisman)?  Will they find her?  Will Drogon find her?  What will this new Dothraki horde do?  Do they know that she was the Khaleesi?

7) What will we see of Tyrion and Varys (Conleth Hill) in Meereen?  Will Tyrion and Dany be reunited?

8) Is Jon Snow really dead?  If so, is he coming back to life?  How?  Will he Warg into his direwolf, as Bran has been able to do, per the Starks’ traditional magical power established by the novels?  Will Melisandre resurrect him as she did Dondarrion in Season Three?

9) Who is Jon’s mother?  Is Jon, in fact, the product of Lyanna Stark and Rhaegar Targaryen? Is the Song of Ice and Fire about him?

10) Does Melisandre, who seems to have forsaken Stannis Baratheon, now believe that Jon is the Azor A’hai?  The savior of all?

11) Is the Azor A’hai the same as the Prince of Promise?  Is the Azor A’hai one person? If so, is it Jon or Dany or someone else?  Or, is it the combination of three people who can ride Dany’s dragons?  And who are those three people…? Jon? Dany? Tyrion? Anyone else?

12) With Jon Snow apparently dead, and Sam Tarly (John Bradley) heading toward the Citadel with Gilly (Hannah Murray), will we have to spend anymore time at the Night’s Watch?  Alternatively, will the Watchmen need to battle the White Walkers anew? Will the wall hold?  Will peace be kept between the Watchmen and the Wildlings who have taken refuge there?

13) How will Cersei recover from her penance?

14) What is the resurrected Mountain going to do, or how does he figure into anyone’s plans, the Lannisters included?

15) With Myrcella dying by poison on the ship back from Dorn, will Cersei and/or Jaime retaliate again Ilaria Sand (Indira Varma) or Dorn?

16) Will Tommen be able to hold his rule?

17) What happened to the Tyrells?  Are Margaery (Natalie Dormer) and Loras rotting in prison?

18) How long will the new religion have its hold on King’s Landing?  Will their evangelism spread?

19) Is Rickon and Osha returning anytime soon?

20) Is Stannis Baratheon really dead? If so, what will Brienne of Tarth do now?

21) Can we never see Dorn again, even if Prince Martell (Alexander Siddig) is played by Dr. Bashir from Star Trek: Deep Space Nine?  Panelist Jay votes yes on never seeing Dorn again.

PARTING SHOTS:

Game of Thrones remains, possibly more than ever, simply one of the most exciting programs on television right now, bolstered by the fact that, when in season, it is one of the primary water cooler shows on television today.  The fact that the show has caught up with the books is admirable in and of itself.  Though each episode metes out a fraction of story for most of the major point-of-view characters, a majority of the episodes are fraught with tension and grand spectacle, with excellent visual effects, stellar writing and pacing, and some of the most superb acting currently on the small screen.  The panelists, though they had somewhat mixed views of season five, are generally quite obsessed with the show and its current trajectory and positive about most plot developments.  They had many theories and observations but all are excited for the next season and to keep watching!  Listen to their reactions and see if you agree.

LOOKING AHEAD:

Game of Thrones was renewed for a sixth season slated to premiere in spring 2016, though it might be somewhat delayed compared to past seasons, according to the latest reports.  Until then, Game of Thrones fans, remember: you play, or you die.

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One comment

  1. kyliekeelee · November 18, 2015

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