Beautiful Women & Ugly Deaths

[Contains claustrophobic courtyards and SPOILERS!!]

My epic rant about the fifth season of Game of Thrones concludes with a survey of some notable hatches and dispatches…

Kerry Ingram as ‘Shireen Baratheon’ in “Game of Thrones” (S5)There were quite a few unexpected deaths in this all-too-brief run of episodes, but the most unpleasant and unwarranted has to be the sacrifice of the “princess” ‘Shireen Baratheon’ (Kerry Ingram), who was burned-at-the-stake by the Red Priestess ‘Melisandre’ (Carice van Houten), in order to improve the odds of her father’s army reaching/reclaiming Winterfell. Of course, it isn’t much of a morale booster to make your soldiers stand and watch as an innocent and adorable young girl screams her lungs out and burns to a crisp… so I was relieved to hear in the following episode that half of his army had let their feet do the talking, and deserted under cover of darkness. In theory, Melisandre’s gambit paid off, as The Lord of Light felt sufficiently flattered to thaw the frost around the camp… but come the morning, Stannis had lost his faith and turned a cold-shoulder to his flame-haired mistress… even before he learned that his wife had hanged herself in a fit of guilt/grief, after the impromptu infanticide. Consequently, Melisandre slunk off back to Castle Black to bother the “crows”, and Stannis stumbled on to an inglorious defeat at the hands of House Bolton, a mere shadow (no pun intended) of the brilliant military strategist everyone hyped him to be. D’oh!

Fun fact: Back in the day, the writers were hedging their bets about how many children Stannis would have in the show (if any), and even when they’d cast the role of Shireen, they weren’t sure how often she’d appear… so all credit to Ingram for delivering such a top-notch performance, and giving them the confidence to expand the character’s role over the years.

Nell Tiger Free as ‘Myrcella Lannister’ in “Game of Thrones” (S5)Meanwhile, one of the most achingly predictable deaths had to be the poisoning of ‘Myrcella Lannister’ (Nell Tiger Free) after a friendly kiss-of-death from ‘Ellaria Sand’ (Indira Varma). Up until that point, I wasn‘t sure if Sand’s supposed contrition was simply a survival tactic or the cover for a sneaky scheme… but when I saw her give the girl such a long parting smacker, it was pretty obvious which way the wind was blowing… and when Myrcella and her uncle-father ‘Jaime’ (Nikolaj Coster-Waldau) shared a heartfelt moment of unconditional love and happiness, her fate was sealed, because this ain’t that kinda show! Note: It’s worth remembering that a lot of the deaths we’ve “seen” over the last few seasons have actually been pretty ambiguous, with the coup de grace implied rather than confirmed… so, much like in a vampire or zombie movie, it’s probably best not to draw any definite conclusions until you’ve seen someone’s head physically removed from their shoulders, or their body cremated. That’s the only way to be sure, after all…

Rosabell Laurenti Sellers as ‘Tyene Sand’ in “Game of Thrones” (S5)Personally, I would have considered the Dorne detour a total waste of screen-time, if it weren’t for the introduction of ‘Oberyn Martell’s (Pedro Pascal) bad-ass illegitimate daughters, ‘Nymeria’ (Jessica Henwick), ‘Tyene’ (Rosabell Laurenti Sellers), and ‘Obara’ (Keisha Castle-Hughes)… aka “The Sand Snakes”. Apparently the latter actress was a big fan of the books even before they were adapted for television, and actively lobbied for the role: “When Pedro showed up, I said, ‘Who is this person?’ He was sexy and powerful and devilish. I went back to the books. I remembered the Sand Snakes. I felt I could pass as Pedro’s daughter. And then I campaigned with the series’ London casting directors. I was definitely persistent.” So kudos to her, even if she did get severely upstaged by Sellers and her saucy jail-cell striptease… one of the rare occasions where nudity was actually integral to the story, rather than just gratuitous eye-candy! Getting ‘Bronn’s (Jerome Flynn) heart-rate to rise so that the poison she’d nicked him with would work that much faster was a seriously twisted move… but she was so fun and flirty about it, not to mention kind enough to (eventually) supply him with the antidote, that I’ve no doubt she’s won herself a shedload of new fans now! Myself included, obviously.

Birgitte Hjort Sørensen as ‘Karsi’ in “Game of Thrones” (S5)My other fave new character would have to be ‘Karsi’ (Birgitte Hjort Sørensen)… who was introduced and eliminated in the space of a single, action-packed episode! It’s pretty rare for a supporting character to make such a strong impression in such a short space of time, but the script and Sørensen’s performance really came together here to make you care how she fared. Of course, she was a marked woman the moment she put her kids on a life-boat and assured them they’d all meet up again soon… but I kept hoping that was a deliberate bit of misdirection, and that she’d live to see the other side of the wall, after all. Sadly, it wasn’t meant to be. Sniffle…

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About deecrowseer

A comic book writer with an interest in feminism, philosophy, and affirmative action.
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