‘Game of Thrones’ Review: ‘Mother’s Mercy’

By | August 20, 2021

A season finale of epic proportions!

Melisandre’s (Carice van Houten) magic may have melted the snow, but the sacrifice of Princess Shireen (Kerry Ingram) caused a mutiny in Stannis Baratheon’s (Stephen Dillane) army. The bad news just keeps coming for Stannis, as his wife is found hanging from a tree. Melisandre abandons Stannis and rides for Castle Black. She seemed so sure that her plan would work, but she is quick to run when things go wrong. I wonder if she had a vision of their army’s demise or perhaps she just feared what Stannis might do with her if her magic fails to fulfill her promises. Stannis’ attentions seems focused elsewhere however, as he continues his march to Winterfell.

At Castle Black, Jon Snow (Kit Harington) tells Sam (John Bradley) about the horrific attack in “Hardhome.” After losing the dragon glass, they are not sure how to defend themselves from the white walker army. The discovery that the white walkers are vulnerable to Valyrian steel may prove useful, but there is not enough steel to fend off an army. Now that Maester Aemon (Peter Vaughan) has sadly passed away, Sam requests to be sent to Oldtown to become the new Measter for Castle Black, along with Gilly (Hannah Murray) and the baby.

“Game of Thrones”: Sam and Gilly Depart

Jon is hesitant, but allows them to go, in fear of what may happen to them if they stay. Once Jon discovers that things have gotten intimate between Gilly and Sam, he asks how it was possible after Sam was beaten by his fellow crows. Sam replies, “Very Carefully.” They cheers to Sam’s journey and the next day he and Gilly depart for Oldtown, leaving Jon to hope the white walkers can’t climb the wall but that’s not the only threat Jon has waiting for him.

As Stannis’ remaining army approaches Winterfell, Sansa Stark (Sophie Turner) picks the lock of her room with the corkscrew she found in “The Gift.” She makes her way through the castle to the broken tower where she can supposedly signal for help. However, while out hunting rabbits, Podrick Payne (Daniel Portman) spots Stannis’ approaching army and runs to warn Brienne of Tarth (Gwendoline Christie). It seems her moment to avenge Renly Baratheon’s murder has finally come. As Brienne and Pod set out to seek Stannis they miss Sansa’s light in the broken tower window.

As Stannis prepares for his siege, it quickly becomes obvious he cannot win. In the high tower above, Sansa watches as Roose Bolten’s (Michael McElhatton) men swarm Stannis’ small fleet. Stannis honorably holds true to his cause, but stubbornly leads his men to their deaths. Sansa flees the tower after she sees that hope for them is lost.

“Game of Thrones”: Brienne of Tarth

In the woods outside Winterfell, Stannis proves resilient as he hobbles through the trees while the corpses of his fallen men lay around him. He falls down to a tree after disposing of two of Bolton’s remaining men. Then approaches Brienne of Tarth. She draws her sword, Oathkeeper, and demands that Stannis confess. She sentences him to death and asks if he has any last word before swinging her sword. They do not actually show Stannis die, which could give hope that she may have taken him hostage instead. Unfortunately, no matter how interesting it would be to see Stannis travelling with Brienne and Podrick, I don’t think that’s going to be the case next season. Stannis’ last words were, “Go on, do your duty.”

After Ramsay Bolton (Iwan Rheon) picks off the remaining stragglers, he rides back to Winterfell. As Sansa makes her escape, she is cut off by Myranda (Charlotte Hope) and Reek/Theon (Alfie Allen). Myranda threatens Sansa with a bow, but Theon throws her from the rampart balcony. Finally, the young kraken rises again stronger and harder. “What is dead may never die.” Theon grabs Sansa by the hand and hopefully gets her out of Winterfell just before Ramsay arrives.

In Bravos, Meryn Trant (Ian Beattie) returns to the brothel, this time whipping three young girls. However, the third refuses to cry out in pain, which intrigues Trant. He sends the other two girls out. When the girls face is first revealed from behind her long hair, it is clear it is not Arya Stark (Maisie Williams). Trant punches the girl in the stomach, but when she rises from the ground, Arya takes off her disguise and stabs him in the eye. After taking his second eye, she gags him and brutally stabs him in the chest multiple times. She tells him that she put his name are her list for killing Syrio Forel. Then she cuts his throat just after telling the blind Trant that she is Arya Stark.

“Game of Thrones”: Arya Stark

When she returns to the House of Black and White, The Man known as Jaqen H’ghar (Tom Wlaschiha) is not pleased with her actions. “Only death can pay for life.” He pulls out a vile of poison and hold it up to Arya, then takes it himself. He falls down dead and Arya begins to weep. When he appears again behind her, Arya learns that the Many Faced God holds many strange secrets. As she pulls off layer after layer of skin from the dead corpse, no true face is ever revealed and the person who gave their life for Arya’s choice is never truly known. The last thing Arya sees is her own face on the head of the corpse as her vision slowly fades away.

On the Shores of Dorne, Jaime Lannister (Nikolaj Coster-Waldau), his daughter Myrcella (Nell Tiger Free) and Trystane Martell (Toby Sebastian) say their goodbyes before boarding the ship to King’s Landing. Ellaria Sand (Indira Varma) gives Myrcella a big kiss, passing on the signature toxin used by the Sand Snakes.

On the boat, Jaime sits down and has a talk with Myrcella. Before he has a chance to explain, she admits that she has always known that he is her father. She says she is happy he is her father and they embrace each other lovingly. Things turn for the worse however, when the poison takes effect and her nose start to bleed. She falls into Jaime’s arms and eventually dies. Back at the dock, Ellaria wipes the poison from her lips and casts the cloth into the wind.

Tyrion Lannister (Peter Dinklage), Daario Naharis (Michiel Huisman) and Jorah Mormont (Iain Glen) gather in the great hall and decide what to do now that Daenerys (Emilia Clarke) has left the city. Grey Worm (Jacob Anderson) and Missandei (Nathalie Emmanuel) enter and the five of them decide to send Daario and Jorah out to look for the queen, while Tyrion, Grey Worm and Missandei govern the city. Later, on a balcony overlooking the city, Lord Varys The Spider (Conleth Hill) finally arrives in Meereen and just in time to help Tyrion manage the city.

“Game of Thrones”: Dany and Drogon

Elsewhere, Dany is unable to get Drogon to return her home and decides to go looking for some food or perhaps people. To her surprise, she comes across a tribe of Dothraki riders. Next season, we can expect to be introduced to a new Khal: Khal Jhaqo.

At the Royal Sept in King’s Landing, Cersei Lannister (Lena Headey) decides to confess her sins and accept the Mother’s Mercy. The Sisters strip her down and cut off her hair. Then, she is taken to the steps of the Sept, where the people of King’s Landing gather to watch and curse her.

As she walks through the crowd, the people scream and throw rotten food. One man even rubs what appears to be fecal matter on her shoulder. Bleeding and covered in spit, urine and who knows what else, she keeps her eyes on the palace. When she arrives, Qyburn (Anton Lesser) embrace’s her with a blanket and introduces her new champion, Ser Gregor Clegane, aka The Mountain (Hafþór Júlíus Björnsson).

“Game of Thrones”: Jon Snow 1

At Castle Black, Sir Davos (Liam Cunningham) pleads with Jon to send aid to Stannis. Then, Malisandre arrives in shock, unable to speak but they all know what happened. Later, as Jon reads the note telling him of Stannis’ fall, Olly (Brenock O’Conner) storms in and tells him that his uncle, Benjen Stark, is still alive and a wilding knows him.

They go to speak with the wilding but there is no one to be found but a sign saying traitor. The men of the Nights Watch make their rounds, stabbing Jon in the body starting with Thorne. Olly approaches and delivers the final blow. The blood flows out on to the snow and his body goes cold.

Now the most tragic part has come as we must wait almost an entire year for the series to return. I’m sure the fans will have quite a reaction to this finale. Is Jon Snow really dead? What about Stannis? What is in store for Daenerys and her court? I really hope to see more of the Iron Island next season, let us know what you’re looking forward to in the comments section below.

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