HBO most awaited series, Game of Thrones, just wrapped its fifth season. Finally, the series found it comfortable to deviate from the source A Song of Ice and Fire series by modifying some story line—making it concise and watchable. Does it work? Here’s my thought on it.
STORY SO FAR…
Kicking off immediately after the notorious royal deaths on the previous season, season 5 deals mostly with consequence of those deaths. King’s Landing were mourning of Tywin Lannister’s death following the death of King Joffrey Baratheon. The consequence: Tommen were crowned as the new king and betrothed to Margaery Tyrell; meanwhile, Cersei insisted on being the Queen Regent as she started to make a new alliance—which turned out being a backfire.
In the North, Jon Snow was elected the new Lord Commander of the Night’s Watch with support of Stannis Baratheon and the wildlings, but not his brothers of crows. While Roose Bolton were the new Warden of the North as he and his bastard, Ramsay, received a surprise visit by Petyr Baelish and Sansa Stark for an important setup.
Away from Westeros mainland, Dany found catastrophe while reigning in Meereen; Tyrion were somewhere in Pentos; Arya were apprenticing in Bravoos; and the Sand Snakes were introduced in Dorne. There’s a giant setup.
HOW THE SHOW GOES…
Although Season 5 wrapped the end of A Storm of Swords then patched it together along stories from A Feast for Crows and A Dance with Dragons simultaneously; mostly, Game of Thrones began to enjoy its liberty of altering the source material.
The thing is, we don’t really know whether it really altered or just postponed what should’ve come earlier. The readers of the books must’ve been grieving over Lady Stoneheart’s absence or Jon Connington’s arc; or how the series skipped some important parts of the book (Tyrion’s adventure and those who wanted to claim Dany, people) or intentionally altered some events with colder twists (Sansa’s betrothal or Stannis’ march). In the end, it doesn’t matter anymore when the show put a strong mark on its principle to be standalone and to find a new direction: ’cause the results were stunning.
When people, seemingly, believed that the show went to find new direction for the series; the show, surprisingly, took a twisting step—returning to the books’ favor right on the finale. Meaning? The sixth season will be the first season we can never foresee—without the sixth book to come and more. And… that’s the SPIRIT!
Season 5 brought us further to Westeros’ neighboring states. The most obvious one is the sandy, Iberian-esque Dorne, in which Doran Martell (Alexander Siddig) rules. Yes, Martell like Oberyn Martell. Yet, I don’t know why, Doran looks fierce—but his story is dull.
The best part of Dorne is the Sand Snakes, Oberyn’s bastard daughter, now led by his paramore, Ellaria Sand. Only 3 of the Sand Snakes made appearance in Season 5; Obara (Keisha Castle-Hughes), Tyene (Rosabell Laurenti Sellers), and Nymeria (Jessica Henwick). They’re as badass as their father; only their roles weren’t as important as I expected. Without the queenmaking quest, the Sand Snakes were only as good as fresco to the Dornish wall along with grown-up Myrcella Baratheon (Nell Tiger Free) and Trystane Martell (Toby Sebastian).
The big disappointment: no Quentyn Martell.
Back to King’s Landing, the best addition in capital is no other than High Sparrow (Jonathan Pryce), who seemingly took over the whole kingdom with his Faith militant. His best deed: justice to Cersei.
In the North, Weiss and Benioff brought us far to Hardhome, to the colony of wildlings, to one of the best Game of Thrones episode ever aired. Jon Snow found much more dire obstacles—and provided more mysteries than he had ever been before, establishing him as a protagonist we’re looking for the whole time. His finale, though, probes more questions than answers.
A great rendezvous also took place across the sea where Dany Targaryen finally met Tyrion Lannister, which made a significant impact in the book and completely different impact in the series. Being a ruler is evidently not an easy thing and Dany is definitely unprepared for this.
Fifth season of Game of Thrones found liberty in deviating the source material to make the whole series to a different level of excitement. Now, everyone’s equal—whether you’re pure from the book or you’re book-tainted, no one really knows what would happen from episode to episode.