‘Game of Thrones’ Finale: Inside the Most Brutal and Satisfying Moments (SPOILERS)

Spoiler warning: Do not read on unless you’ve seen the “Game of Thrones” season five finale, titled “Mother’s Mercy.”

Mother have mercy on us all, since it seems that “Game of Thrones” showrunners David Benioff and D.B. Weiss saved the most brutal and bloody episode of the season for last, with series regulars and supporting players falling victim to the Many-Faced God in equal measure.

The exec producers offered an in-depth look inside the making of the episode in their weekly behind-the-scenes video, providing a few interesting tidbits about the fates of the characters, which we’ve included below.

We kicked off the hour with Stannis Baratheon preparing to march on Winterfell, since his unforgivable sacrifice to the Lord of Light in last week’s episode (burning his daughter Shireen alive) had the desired effect — melting the snows keeping his army mired on the road. Unfortunately, said sacrifice also scared off half his fighters (who also absconded with all his horses) and drove his wife, Selyse, to hang herself, after finally developing a conscience too late to be of any use to her child.

Murdering his daughter may have been enough to thaw the road, but it apparently wasn’t enough to secure Stannis’ victory against Roose Bolton’s forces, who didn’t wait for Stannis to mount a siege against Winterfell and instead attacked his depleted army in open combat. The resulting bloodbath left Stannis alone and injured in the woods — a sitting duck when Brienne finally caught up with him, ready to dispense long overdue justice for his role in his brother Renly’s death.

“Stannis did the worst thing a person can possibly do in the world, and when he realizes it was all for nothing, I think he’s probably ready to be done at this point. In a way, Brienne showing up to kill him was almost a welcome relief,” executive producer D.B. Weiss noted in the episode’s behind-the-scenes video.

“She’s known in her heart of hearts that it was Stannis, that she saw Stannis’ face on the shadow, but no one else believed her — people thought she was complicit in the murder of Renly Baratheon, so this is a great weight off her shoulders, to finally corner him,” David Benioff agreed. “In the final moment, though, it’s not relief, because she was expecting this monster and what she finds is Stannis, who has certain monstrous qualities — he’s a man who’s willing to sacrifice his own daughter — but he also has certain very human qualities, and one of them is bravery. He’s not going to go out whimpering … He probably has a number of regrets, but he’s not going to share them with this stranger.”

The only survivor of the bloody battle was, unsurprisingly, Melisandre, who rode back to Castle Black to deliver the news by not saying anything — especially not what she incited Stannis to do to Shireen — to Jon and a devastated Ser Davos. (If he only knew…)

Back in Winterfell, Sansa finally succeeded in lighting a candle in the tallest tower to signal her need for help while Ramsay was out killing Stannis’ men, but it wasn’t a loyal northerner who came to her aid in the end — it was Theon, who finally rebelled against his master’s brainwashing and pushed Ramsay’s sadistic lover Myranda to her death. Rather than waiting around to see how Ramsay might react to that particular act of agency, the two joined hands and jumped from the wall of Winterfell to an uncertain fate.

“We’ve seen terrible things happen to Theon and we’ve seen him refuse to rebel against his master time and time again, and finally, in this moment, he does,” Benioff noted of Theon’s eleventh-hour change of heart. “I think the great original sin of his life was turning on the Starks and betraying them, and he’s regretted it ever since. And now, finally, after all this time comes a chance for a little bit of redemption.”

Concurred Weiss, “Both of them are people who have suffered so much at the hands of horrible people, but no matter how far gone they are — he’s as far gone as anybody we’ve ever seen — they can still come back and find the inner strength to keep on keeping on.”

Over in Braavos, Arya finally got the opportunity to cross another name from her kill list, disguising herself as a young prostitute to give her an opportunity to be alone with the depraved Meryn Trant. After blinding him and going on a brutally gleeful stabbing spree, she asked if he knew who she was, before coldly telling him, “I’m Arya Stark. Do you know who you are? You’re no one. You’re nothing,” before slitting his throat.

That momentary satisfaction (and it sure was satisfying) was short-lived, as her act was soon discovered by Jaqen H’ghar and the Waif, her fellow trainee in the House of Black and White. At first, it seemed as if Jaqen had sacrificed himself to balance the scales for Arya’s selfishness, as she stole a life from the Many-Faced God and “only death can pay for life.” But after Arya’s distraught reaction over potentially losing her friend further illustrated that she still wasn’t ready to give up her identity and become one of the Faceless Men, Jaqen revealed he was still alive and had been wearing The Waif’s face to teach her a valuable lesson. He coolly informed her, “The faces are for no one — you are still someone. And to someone, the faces are as good as poison” as Arya looked upon her own face on the fallen body of the person she’d thought was Jaqen, before losing her sight entirely.

“The Faceless Men don’t kill for revenge — they’re not killing out of anger, they’re killing because death is a gift and the idea is a painless death is almost like your letting people go, and that’s not Arya’s way,” Benioff said of Arya’s questionable choice. “Arya’s not dealing out death as a gift to Meryn Trant, it’s for herself.”

Weiss added, “You don’t take a face from the Hall of Faces until you’re ready. She did it for personal reasons, for ego reasons, for Arya’s reasons … She couldn’t really bring herself to throw away Arya Stark, and this was Arya Stark doing this, it wasn’t ‘no one’ doing this. And it was a violation of the rules of the House of Black and White, and she pays for it.”

Elsewhere, Daenerys finally landed in an undetermined location with a wounded and exhausted Drogon, who was in no hurry to take her back to Meereen (where, thankfully, Tyrion, Daario, Jorah and Missandei made it out of the fighting pits in one piece). In search of food, our displaced Khaleesi came across an unexpected sight — a horde of Dothraki warriors who seemingly weren’t in any rush to roll out the welcome wagon for her.

“When she sees the Dothraki she knows what that means, and her relationship with Drogo was one thing, but Drogo is gone and she knows in a way he was sort of an anomaly,” Weiss pointed out. “She drops the ring because she’s smart, that ring is the breadcrumb that’s going to point in the direction that she’s being taken, and that somebody, down the line, hopefully, who means her less harm than the Dothraki, will notice.”

Back in her anarchic kingdom, Daario and Jorah felt compelled to go off on a heroic quest to find their queen (which should make for an entertaining road trip in season six, given that they’re both in love with her and Jorah is secretly infected with greyscale), leaving Tyrion, Missandei and Grey Worm to try and maintain peace in Meereen. Thankfully, Tyrion was left in charge for all of two minutes before Varys reappeared, full of snark, wisdom and his useful network of spies, who could admittedly come in handy in the fight against the Sons of the Harpy.

Sadly (or perhaps happily, from Tyrion’s perspective), his siblings weren’t having such a good day. After a seemingly amicable departure from Dorne, Jaime, Bronn, Myrcella and Trystane set sail for King’s Landing, but not before Ellaria Sand planted a suspiciously lingering kiss goodbye on Myrcella’s lips.

Jaime sat his daughter down to give her a talk about the birds, the bees and incest — and it was just as awkward as you might imagine a talk with your uncle-father could go. Luckily, Myrcella saved him from his fumbling explanations about her true parentage by gently admitting, “I know about you and Mother. I think a part of me always knew. And I’m glad. I’m glad that you’re my father.”

The two shared a short, tender hug — before Myrcella’s nose started bleeding and she collapsed in Jaime’s arms, while back on the shores of Dorne, Ellaria delicately wiped away a drop of blood from her own nose and chugged the antidote to whatever poison was in her lipstick. Those sneaky Sands!

“The thing I love about this scene is that it could end 30 seconds before it does and it would be a really heartwarming scene, because for the first time, he’s being embraced by his child with the child knowing that she is his child,” Benioff said of the surprisingly sweet scene between Jaime and his daughter. “He biologically spawned these three kids but he’s never considered himself their father — he’s never really taken that on, and now all of a sudden this young woman is embracing him and saying she’s glad he’s her father, and he’s really moved by it in a way I don’t think he ever expected he could be. It’s as if he’s feeling the joy of fatherhood for the very first time in his life, and that lasts about ten seconds.”

“It’s a pretty terrible ending for your first father-daughter moment,” Weiss agreed. “He gets to be a father for all of five seconds before he turns into a grieving father, and is probably not going to be facing a very happy Cersei Lannister when he gets back.”

But Cersei had more pressing concerns in the finale — namely her desire to get out of jail and see Tommen. Having been cooped up in a cell for an indeterminate amount of time, she finally decided to “confess” to her sins in front of the High Sparrow — or some of them, anyway.

After admitting she’d been intimate with her cousin Lancel (but no one else, and emphatically denying any relationship with Jaime), Cersei begged the High Sparrow to let her see her son in a rare moment of vulnerability, which the religious leader surprisingly acquiesced to — as long as she atoned for her sins, publicly.

This atonement was more of a walk of shame, with Cersei roughly stripped naked, washed, and shorn of her hair before being forced to walk through the streets of King’s Landing, while the resentful populace hurled insults, vegetables and even less savory things at her. While she managed to maintain her dignity for at least part of the walk, her resistance soon started to buckle, and by the time she reached the Red Keep, she was bleeding and crying, with none of her former allies rushing to her aid except for Maester Qyburn.

Benioff noted that Cersei’s walk has completely shifted the balance of power in the city: “She’s never known what it is to be truly down and out and the High Sparrow wants her to feel that and understand it, and he wants other people to see her humbled, because that diminishes her power. It’s this woman you’ve been afraid of all your life — if you see her with her head shorn, and naked on the street, you’re not gonna be afraid of her anymore and you’re gonna lose a great deal of that respect and fear of the royals, and that’s what he wants.”

“Cersei has done some pretty terrible things to lots of people who didn’t deserve it, and she’s probably got this coming, and yet it’s still hard not to feel for her in this situation because it’s like she’s in the middle of the worst waking nightmare you could possibly imagine,” Weiss added. “As far as she’s concerned, [Qyburn’s] extremely trustworthy — in this situation where everyone is happy to cut her loose, Qyburn comes forward and in full view of all of them, gives her support and looks after her.”

“And not only that, he’s brought her a gift,” Benioff noted, of the Mountainous new member of the Kingsguard — a man who has apparently taken a vow of silence until he’s defeated all of Cersei’s enemies. “The line in the script is ‘she knows vengeance will be mine’ and when he picks her up and carries her off, you see that in Cersei’s eyes… she’s been beaten down, she’s dirty and her feet are bleeding, but she’s not beaten yet.”

The finale was certainly rough for the Lannisters, but it was even more cruel to Ned Stark’s children — especially Jon Snow.

“The problem with Jon is he’s not a cautious man — it’s the problem with him and also the reason we love him. He’s a hero, but heroes are inherently incautious,” Benioff pointed out. After reluctantly sending Sam, Gilly and little Sam off to Oldtown so that Sam could train as a Maester to replace Aemon, Jon found himself out of allies in “Mother’s Mercy,” and that decision proved deadly.

After Olly rushed in, telling Jon that a wildling had information about the whereabouts of his Uncle Benjen (who has been MIA since season one), Jon walked right into a trap set by his Night’s Watch brothers, who actually took the time to write up a “traitor” sign for him (just to twist the knife, so to speak) before taking a page from Julius Caesar and lining up to stab him one by one, “for the Watch.” Most painfully of all, the final, fatal blow was delivered by Olly, before the Crows turned their back and left Jon bleeding out in the snow.

“At the end of the day, Jon is his father’s son — he’s the person who’s honorable to a fault and does the right thing even when the right thing is extremely dangerous to him personally,” Weiss noted, observing that Jon’s decision to save the wildlings sealed his fate this season. “Olly being the one who drives in the last knife makes it all the more horrible, because on some level he’s failed this kid that he wanted very, very badly to do right by.”

“This is obviously a big deal, the death of Jon Snow, this is something we’ve been thinking about for a long, long time, and if Alliser kills him… it’s a bad guy killing a good guy. But when it’s Olly holding the knife, Olly’s not a bad guy, Olly’s a kid who’s seen way too much horror way too early, and he makes a decision that’s a really hard decision for him, but you understand where he’s coming from,” Benioff added. “It’s one of those great conflicts that makes us love the books and this saga: it’s ultimately not just about good versus evil, it’s about people of good intentions who come into conflict with each other because they have very different views of the world, and unfortunately, it did not work out well for Jon Snow in this case.”

That’s an understatement.

What did you think of the “Game of Thrones” season five finale? Share your reactions and predictions below.

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  1. Lee Ann says:

    I think that Melissandre will resurrect Jon Snow. In her “religion” bringing people back from the dead is possible (as witnessed in Season 3 when one of guys from The Brotherhood is killed by The Hound and he is brought back to life). Can’t wait to see what happens next…..

  2. petter says:

    Killing Stannis in this unreasonable and undignifying way ruins the series. Well done. No one fucking cares about Daenerys, no matter how much you try to shove her down our throats as the only possible king of the iron throne.

  3. MegPie says:

    If Jon Snow doesn’t return…I will never watch this show again…his eyes changed colors in the end…I am hoping he has the blood of the wolf in him or something…he was the show..fearless and honorable… All of the wrong good characters are being picked off…while the characters you’ve grown extremely bored of remain..I’ve been a Fan since the very first show..because I was a reader.. Come on folks..you are about to lose a humongous fan base..please please bring Jon Snow back..thank you

  4. Tim says:

    Great show but the worst scenes were qarth, terrible over actors, and stale dialog. Dorne, dorne seemed flat and uninspired not really fleshed out like other places, similar to qarth. But jon snows death….eh, his character always seemed like a spoiled brat and gullible and his acting was blah. Qarth, dorne and all jon snow scenes were the worst part of the series. Glad they killed him, they just need to kill fat Sam, and bring back jeeoffrey and tywine lanister, and all would be good. Two of the best actors were jeoffrey and tywine, that was the biggest upset for me.

  5. Morningstar says:

    No one has considered the only one way Jon Snow can come back – if the Watch forget to burn his body.

  6. Why is everyone here yelling at the showrunners for killing Jon Snow? I have not read a single line of the books, but 2 seconds on Google and you will find out that that is exactly what happened to Jon in the last book, A Dance With Dragons. Dave and D.B. did not kill Jon Snow, George R.R. Martin did. And the show is not like True Blood where they can keep Lafayette Reynolds alive (he died in book one of the Southern Vampire Mysteries) because he’s a fan fav and Alan Ball loved him. You die in book, you die in show. You alive in book, you die in show. This is probably why people think the showrunners killed him off, as poor Shireen was not burned alive in the books and so far she still lives in the books. But since the showrunners are aware of the complete big picture f where the books are heading, I would wager both Stannis and Shireen are toast in the next book. Sorry, was that “toast” comment poor taste? Poor Shireen. It was the only death in GoT that made me weep. It was horrible.

    From what I read, the difference in Jon dying in the books and the show was that in the books, he gets a letter from Ramsey Bolton saying he won the battle and has hostages. If Jon wants them back he is to come get them. Jon says he is going to Winterfell and the guys kill him for daring to break his vow and leave. Remember a Night’s Watch dude cannot desert his post. In the very 1st show we see Neddard Stark behead a guy for doing exactly that. In the show they are pissed at him for the whole Wildling thing and decide his loyalties are to the enemy and not the KW. So they trick him to come outside to get shanked repeatedly. Granted, they could have rat packed him at anytime, anywhere, but the whole come out for info about your missing Uncle, seeing the “Traitor” sign and having them shank him one-by-one is more poetic. And the Night’s Watch guys don’t do anything without style! Well not really, but it just looked better then them rushing into his office and stabbing him. And before anyone thinks he was stabbed for personal reasons like how Alliser Thorne loathed him. No, they did it in both show and book because they felt Jon betrayed them and let them down. Granted, they are stronger with him than they are without him, but these guys take their oaths and sense of duty pretty damn seriously!

    But ummm, I don’t buy for a second that he’s dead. In the book George R.R. Martin has his last word be “Ghost!”. Ghost is his Direwolf. You know what a direwolf is right? It’s just like a regular wolf, but more dire! The books show that Jon is like Bran and he can transfer his mind into other creatures, specifically into Ghost. The show didn’t want to give any hint that Jon had a chance to escape death, so he just bleeds out. Some say the hint is that the pooled blood looks like a direwolf silhouette, but I have to watch it again as I missed that. So, that said, it would be clear to a blind man that George R.R. Martin is not planning to kill Jon off 100% and if he is brought back to life via Melisandre’s resurrection magic in the books, he will be brought back in the show. And the show has told us that Melisandre knows how to resurrect a dead person. The theory is that in the books she will sacrifice Shireen to save Jon, but in the show some think the mojo she got from Shireen’s death is still with her and she can use that to save Jon.

    I feel G.R.R.M. still has a lot in store for Jon and that his story is not yet over. There are thoughts that Jon is the chosen one that Melisandre has been looking for and her thinking it was Stannis was a mistake. So yes, weep for Saint Shireen (I venerated her myself, she is the patron saint of makers of BBQ smokers, Olympic Torch bearers, flint manufactures and heating oil salesmen. Her feast day is June 7), but save your tears and Nerd rage over Jon’s death. I think the rumors of his death will have been greatly exaggerated. And it’s going to make supper at the Night’s Watch eating hall a wee bit awkward!

  7. If Stannis is truly dead then I don’t know if I’ll be sticking with the show. The reason I say that is the consequence his death has reveals very poor writing on the part of D.B. and Dave.

    Stannis is a brilliant military strategist. Pulling him a part to reveal his ‘humanity’ reinforces a theme which at this point is very trite and tired – that of moral ambiguity. It’s just not the subtle nuance that made me fall in love with the first three, even four, seasons.

    The episode in S04 where Jon takes to Crasters’ to avenge Mormont and prevent the mutineers from falling to the hands of the approaching wildling army was refined. This season included a lot of telling, leaving me wanting much more showing.

    When Arya became the steward for Tywin, it’s the conversations that didn’t happen driven by the prodding one’s that did that left me wanting more. It was the first time in the show for many I think that we began to see Tywin as a son, instead of just a father, a leader and a monster. I wanted for him to stay around, for him to survive so I could learn more about his father, his relationship, his inner monologue.

    And aside from Cersei forcing him to confront the fact that the very thing that secured all his strength was a lie (“The house that puts family first will always defeat the house that puts the whims and wishes of its sons and daughters first… A good man does everything in his power to better his family’s position, regardless of his own selfish desires.”), the space between characters became so broad that as a viewer all the extralinguistic enrainment of the controlled space brilliantly executed by Dave and D.B. dissapeared. And with it our most favourite characters. That’s not a fair trade. It’s not the trade any of us wanted. Killing of characters doesn’t bothering me. Killing off characters poorly, for the sake of killing, or rather, not in the service of good writing, has me wondering whether I can commit to the show with any of the passion that naturally came to me during the first four seasons.

    Roose Bolton stated out-right that Stannis was a brilliant military strategist. Tyrion, Tywin, Rob, even his own brother, feared him. And yet the pithy suicide of his wife following the murder of their daughter forces his natural faculties to retreat from him? His character what? Collapsed internally? But he didn’t show it? And we’re given no clues, no signs, no symbolism, not even any metonomy to butter us up for his sure defeat? We knew he was going to be defeated; perhaps not explicitly. Like Stannis, in his blur, I felt my vision blurred too. I wasn’t even thinking of the ensuing battle; it’s logistics. But if that was intended, I don’t know what it shows.

    So here’s the rub. Stannis, a seasoned veteran and brilliant strategist, ascends on Winterfell with a tiny army. The men who stayed with him at least knew the probability of defeat was above 50%. And they stayed anyway. These are strong, loyal, hardened men; not sellswords. And yet they march in no formation? They send no scouts ahead of them? They literally can’t salvage a single horse? No archers? They have no materials for battlements. They have no food. Stannis framed in white lowered just slightly below his men, commands for trenches dug ‘there and there’ (… writing guys… writing) to prepare for a siege? Really, they’re how fucking far from Winterfell? The plan is what? Where could they possibly have assumed more than half of their army, their cavalry, had gone? Do they imagine these sellswords just scattered individually ‘oh well, I’m done’. No one with any sense, least of all Stannis, would depart without considering the possibility their men had joined the Bolton cause. The whole campaign itself was poorly planned, but this execution undermines his entire character development. That’s essentially true of the broad consequences of these hollywood mechanics this season for most of the characters. Tyrion stumbles drunkenly into the arms of Danny. There are some clever bits that give us new information, revealing detail-in-example his resourcefulness. But that’s it. The characters are confused, and one-dimensional in season five. Perhaps that reflects a theme Dave and D.B. ran with; but they ran too fast and too far. Really missed not only their target, but the signposts along the way.

    Stannis would never advance towards an army, out of rank, away from the tree-line. You can’t double envelope a static army. They couldn’t have won that battle. But they could have put up a fight. It was just so poorly executed.

    So I return to my original comment: if Stannis is revealed dead in the sixth season, I’m probably done with the show. Here’s why: the scene of stannis in the forest is my favorite scene of the entire series. It was brilliant. The fighting was brilliant. It was accurate choreography. It was just fucking great. None of that Jorah mormont spinning his sword around to deflect a spear nonsense. It was like they animated a fencing manual. When he collapses onto the tree and lets out that growl we finally, for perhaps the first time in the series, truly see Stannis Baratheon. Not Stannis the father. Not Stannis the ginger-fucker. Not Stannis the murderer. But Stannis of House Baratheon – we are the fury. Furthermore, if he dies, after that scene, the shit writing is confirmed. As he rises from kneeling on his sword the camera pans across literally half a man crawling towards his king, pleading for mercy before he is killed by the enemy men. Stannis does not retreat, he stands his ground, and defeats the two men. He stabs one through the throat. That’s not a killing blow – not immediately anyhow. He hit the jugular, and the bleed out time is quick. But it could be argued that he didn’t, or perhaps this soldier was made of steely stock, and Brienne cuts him down. I re-watched that scene a dozen times. Stannis’ back is towards the men he just killed. Brienne likely watched the scene occur.

    The next scene finishes the previous; Brienne’s cut is completed by Ramsays cut. Ramsay didn’t manage to deliver a killing blow. As he returns to finish, the man crawling away on his stomach without the use of his legs, pulling himself by his arms, begs for mercy. Ramsay says ‘I accept your surrender’. Then he kills him. This. This is an opportunity. The only redemption the show has for me. Stannis faces Brienne. He could probably kill her. Even in his wounded state. He could at least fight. But he doesn’t. He also doesn’t surrender. He says ‘do your duty’. As he says these words a look of confusion crosses Briennes face; a look not disimmilar to epiphany.

    Her duty isn’t to kill another Baratheon. Her duty is to the Starks. Stannis offered Jon Winterfell. He called Ned an honorable man. I’m sure he felt similarly about Catelyn. In any case… The contrast between those two scenes is unique because they were directed so as to become one scene. What’s the first thing Stannis says to Brienne? ‘Bolton has women fighting for him now’. Like Ramsay, Brienne is the disappointing child; that alone isn’t enough to bring the significance required to write Stannis’ survival. But if there’s anything left of the subtle nuance in this show, there’s enough material in this juxtaposed composition to justify the survival of Stannis. If he survives, his arc survives; he does’t die as a cliche (mourning his wife and a bad mistake he loses all sense and leads all his mean to their death).

    It took a single grunt. A moment for that human part in all of us which our personalities, our consciousncess, supervenes on, and which nonetheless governs us, to sate itself. It would make no sense then that the previous events (death of daughter and wife, ‘betrayal’ of melisandre) somehow could have? If Brienne truly does kill him, then Dave and D.B. have drove their most complex character far, far away from their defining ‘theme’ (that circumstance and basic drives orchestrate morals) for the show.

    I could go on and on. I hope I’m right. I hope not showing Stannis death wasn’t another buzzfeed inspired baiting. Fuck, the guy walked right into a double-envelopment. Stannis would never do that shit.

  8. noname says:

    why is it that Evil always seem to win in this series ? and don’t tell me it’s the way life is ….. maybe it this a refection of the writers soul

  9. DaisyBoo says:

    I know this has been said a lot and a lot of fans are saying that those of us who say it aren’t “real” fans but if Jon Snow is really dead then I’m done. Most of the deaths I understand but he was the soul of the show – for me anyway – and with him gone but all those nasty pricks and bitches still alive??? Nahh….I think the showrunners are just ratings baiting with this one and even though they can obviously write whatever the fuck they want, there come a point when you have to have a modicum of respect for your fanbase. I mean seriously – no fans no show!!!!

  10. Rossley says:

    Lots of people are through with GoT because Jon “died”, or because there are no people left worth rooting for because everybody in this world with noble intentions dies, and it’s all gloom and doom, but they just don’t understand the word “epic”. These 5 seasons, and maybe several more, are just setup for the big payoff in the final season of huge wars. It could end in many ways, but none of you seriously think a Lannister, Ramsay Bolton, or some other psycho is going to end up running Westeros, do you?
    Dany says she wants to break the wheel. Whitewalkers can’t fly, but dragons can, and the whitewalkers and every one of the power-hungry, back-stabbing-scum families in Westeros (and their armies) could all be literally burned to death by episode 9 of the final season. Maybe the Dothraki will fight for Dany, too. Anyway, the final episode could make up for all the previous carnage:
    Jon comes back to life in season 7, and we find out he’s of much more royal blood than anyone knew, and he marries Dany. Tyrion is their advisor, and a cured Jorah Mormont is the head of the King’s Guard along with Brienne, and maybe Arya. Bran and Sansa are also part of the government that rules the entire consolidated kingdom under the Stark house, including the North after the Wall is torn down, and the entire continent where the Dothraki, Valyria, Meereen, Bravos, etc. are.

  11. Michael says:

    Anyone swearing off the next season because Jon died is getting way too caught up in these characters. This is fake. Jon is played by an actor who is not dead. All is well. Though sad, I can’t wait for next season to see what happens next!

  12. topherj12 says:

    There’s no point in continuing to watch this show now that Jon Snow is dead. Is it shock value that the show runners hope will bring people back next season? Jon Snow was the anchor. His endeavor kept the audience grounded on the much larger threat of the White Walkers while the rest of the characters obsessed over the Iron Throne. Tyrion & Dany live on, Cersei still has vengeance to seek, and Sansa possibly lives to see another day traveling with Theon. All the same, the character that kept the whole thing together is dead. His memory or his “lasting effect” doesn’t cut it for me. That’s what I did with Eddard and eventually Robb… if this whole story’s premise is to break apart the Starks, I’ve lost my interest. If it’s about dismantling honorable or heroic characters as a theme, then it’s lost its momentum in proper storytelling. I’m not so much mad, or “devastated” as a lot of people have been putting it, I’m just done. I feel I’ve wasted my time. I watched for 5 seasons tuned in to cliffhangers, watching exciting battle scenes, occasionally crying over fictitious love lost in the arms of war to ultimately be left with a pathetic “back-alley” stabbing of the catalyst character. The character of whom I placed my hope. It’d be facetious of me to keep watching next season. It’d be a joke to think my time would be spent wisely anticipating the show’s return next year. All of the entertainment has been taken out. It’s just blood, gore, and failed expectations.

  13. Cheyanne says:

    Jon was definitely my favorite character this season, and although I cried like a little baby, I don’t think I’ve been more excited to see what happens next season. If another death of a beloved character is all it takes to sway you from the show than you obviously weren’t understanding the message or watching it for the right reasons. Game of Thrones isn’t about the hero gallantly saving the day and riding off in the sunset until his next heroic endeavor. It’s been 5 seasons of the shock value which obviously keeps you coming back no matter how much you say you’ll never watch it again. If you expected every character you like to miraculously survive every hard ship and bad guy they encounter then you must be watching the show with a blindfold and ear muffs. TV shows that have the hero constantly getting out of situations that should of ended their life is unrealistic and in my opinion a bigger fantasy than GoT itself. All because they are the main character and you feel like they can’t possibly die is absolute bullshit. It’s a tough fact to face, but the good guys die just as well as the bad, which is something George and the people behind the TV show have done a FANTASTIC job at displaying. I think a lot of people have such a hard time with it because it reminds them of their own mortality, and the sad truth is, “ALL men must die.”

  14. Chalotte Kruse says:

    WHY does every good person die in the serie! Jon Snow was the best one, now there is only 2 back. Sansa and the queen of dragens..
    I do not like where this is going… I do not understand the authors… :´(
    Regrads a very sad fan. :´( :´(

  15. Ah invention is the greatness of fiction– There’s so many fantastical ways to resurrect Jon’s character. Perhaps his stabbing tests all of us, watching if we would let him go. If we the viewers choose not to, because we are now Part of Game of Thrones, too, and we can (and should) all choose to bring him back,

  16. tamwarner says:

    Jon is also a Warg in the books….most of the Stark children are Wargs in the books, including Arya, Bran, and Jon….the others he never let us know if they were fully wargs. I don’t believe Jon is dead…in the books, Melisandre and other R’olher priests can restore life. Or Jon may come back as Ghost, since he is a Warg. The tv series doesn’t really play up the wolves, and they are so important in the books. If you have read the books…you know Catelyn survived in some form.

  17. it;s time for the red bitch to shoot some lightnings and flames out of that puss in order to keep so far the best carácter alive.

  18. TheWatchersOnTheCouch says:

    This is starting to turn into Twin Peaks. Why kill off a character you’ve been building up since the very first episode? I understand that’s how life works, but what a silly statement considering we are dealing with dire wolves, WW, and dragons.

    Stupid idea to kill Jon Snow, and I am not interested in watching season 6. What’s the point? Just burn them all. Valar morghulis apparently means all actors must die.

  19. Stop putting spoilers in your article titles. You are better than this Variety.

  20. Ugotstobekiddingme says:

    I am a game of thrones fan big time! And have truly been disappointed this season. Outside of the battle between Jon Snow and the White Walkers this season moved a little slow for my taste! The finale; terrible!!! I agree with Mr. Frye in that if the book has any favor with the show writers Jon Snow will not be dead and neither will the show’s fan base. “It makes absolutely no sense to kill off Jon Snow-especially with the big Staredown against the whitewalker King!

  21. gmmay70 says:

    The incest-rape-at-son’s-wake scene is what ended my interest in GoT. It came across like a writer’s bet, or simply gratuitous shock content shoehorned into the story.

    So I’m glad I didn’t bother getting caught up by getting into Season 5. I can deal with a concept of not getting attached to characters, but what in turn should I care about? Certainly not a capricious plot. Why should I even care about this world? By now, I’m not rooting for the White Walkers. The Seven Kingdoms seem as though they could use a good cleansing.

    I really don’t care who takes the Iron Throne by now (one of the problems with knocking off redeeming characters), which is really a problem for a series that’s ostensibly about vying for the unifying throne. So with expendable characters, most of whom suffer from an insurmountable deficit of redeeming qualities, I say winter can’t come soon enough.

    That world needs an enema.

  22. Crystal says:

    @Alan – First I must say, book Stannis is very different from show Stannis and reading the books you get a much closer look at his personality, how he thinks and why. Everything he does is out of duty not ambition, and he is the least greedy out of all those fighting for that throne. According to the laws, Stannis IS the rightful king. Renly was not ‘murdered’, he had no claim to the throne while Stannis is alive but he decided he should be king because he had more friends and made the choice himself to go against his brother when he should have supported him. He was guilty of treason and the way he died was in many ways a mercy. Stannis is the only one who takes the title seriously, the first duty of a king is to protect the realm and when the Night’s watch asked everyone for help he was the only one who even responded. And he didn’t just send men, he showed up himself with his whole army and saved the day. Then he leaves Jon with all of his ships so he can go to Hardhome with Tormund which was pretty awesome too.
    Ok, now on to that red bitch. Selyse was the one who was the fanatic and at first Stannis wanted nothing to do with Mellisandre. It was her dark magic that caused him to go to that side, she even admits to deceiving him with the sword and visions to make him believe. He really does think he is this Azor Ahai guy and has this wild destiny, and up until now as much as doesn’t want to do some of the things he’s done he can’t argue with the results. I believe he really did love Shireen but didn’t know how to show it, and I don’t think he would have done that awful thing unless he thought that was the only way to save his army. He had come too far to let his whole army just die in the snow. I’m not ok with that choice at all and I was never so upset to see a character die in any show, but I get it. It was actually a really hard decision to keep supporting Stannis, but it’s been like 20 years lol ;)
    I totally understand anyone’s reasons for not agreeing with me, but I also think it’s not fair to just to say he is/was sick & greedy. There’s so much more depth to Stannis than that, it’s unfortunate the show didn’t do him enough justice.

  23. Robin Zanuck says:

    If John Snow is really dead I am boycotting book and TV series. They will have ruined it completely

  24. hijackthemic says:

    Most people who kill themselves don’t tie a hangman’s knot and throw it over a tree branch way taller than them.

  25. Vickie_V says:

    They could save both Jon Snow and Myrcella next season if they wanted to.
    1.Bronn is on the boat with Myrcella heading back to the capitol.
    After his brush with death in the prison cel, he may have stashed some of the antidote just in case…
    2. Melisandre always had a thing for Jon Snow, and with Stannis dead she may see Jon as her ticket to power and save him.
    THe things I want to know are: why did Daenerys throw her ring down in the field? And was Stannis wife’s hanging a suicide, or murder?

    • Myrcella still lives in the books, but in the kidnapping attempt/assassination attempted, she loses an ear and gets horribly scarred. So in the books she loses her pretty looks, but still lives. But she may meet her end in the next book. The showrunners got a complete outline of the how the book series is going to end from George R.R. Martin, just in case G.R.R.M. dies before completing the book series. So they may know that Martin plans to kill Myrcella off either before or after she gets to King’s Landing. Or she lives, but is just a minor character with little plot value, it was ok to kill her off in the show. Or yeah, Bronn saves her. I was thinking he cuts a vein and gives her blood as the antidote is probably still in his system, but just having a bottle of it works too. Also her betrothed Prince may have some on him as well. Or she’s toast. Either way I don’t think she would have much impact on the bigger picture anyways. And her death makes Cerci all that more upset and out to kill as many of her enemies as she can so perhaps a declaration of war on Dorne?. I suspect there is nobody safe in fleabottom after what they did to her during her walk of shame! If I was her I’d have every last one smote! Men, women, children, dogs, cats, young, old, feeble, weak…total genocide on those poor shites! Well if I was her, a very dangerous and spiteful woman who had her mind broken by torture and humiliation and the death of her beloved children. I certainly would not want to be that guy who flashed her and ordered her to suck it, or the woman who spit in her face!

      If I was a betting man I would bet the farm on Melisande saving Jon. She now is pretty sure he is the chosen one and not Stannis. So his dying is just part of the plan. Jon “dies” and is reborn as Azor Ahai. So we have not yet seen the last of Jon Snow.

      Danny threw her ring down as a breadcrumb for those who would come find her after she flew off. It had nothing to do with hiding her getting married again from the Dothraki. I read a thing from the showrunners who said that that’s all it was. She knew they were going to carry her off so the ring was a clue as to where she went.

      I doubt Selyse was murdered. Or maybe…You know they say repeatedly that only death can pay for life. Maybe, and this is just wild speculation on my part, maybe she needed to kill Selyse in order to revive Jon. Maybe she had a vision where she saw Jon die and needed some blood mojo to bring him back, so she murdered Selyse as an insurance policy in case her vision was correct and Jon really did need saving. Well I guess we will just have to wait for Season 6 to get the final word on that one. If Selyse’s death is never mentioned again, it was just suicide. But maybe we will find out different.

    • Alex says:

      She throwed the ring to mark her way in case someone was going after her. Selyse killed herself

  26. Susan Hodges says:

    I must say that this show has me dismayed. With fantastic actors crammed into one show it managed to slowly kill off most efficiently each and every one of said actors. As a female that appreciates a handsome man, killing off Robb Stark and then Jon Snow is the last straw. What a waste of my time and money. Books be dammed if I like the character you have created!

  27. Stephen fry says:

    Why would they just continue to kill off the main characters. So sad this series could of been great. Terrible finale in my opinion and idk if I’ll even watch next season unless Jon snow comes back from the dead somehow.

  28. Alan says:

    Jon Snow is NOT DEAD folks!!! At the end of the most recent Song of Ice & Fire book: A Dance with Dragons, Jon’s fate is left unknown in true cliffhanger fashion!!! He is attacked Julius Caesar-style by his backstabbing fellow Night’s Watch buddies but George RR Martin never actually states outright that he dies just left for dead!!! Besides why on Earth would they kill off Jon before they finally answer 1 of the series’ most important questions: Is Jon Snow really Ned Stark’s son or as many speculate the son of Ned’s sister Lyanna & her lover Rheagar Targaryen instead meaning that if the latter is indeed true than that would make Jon half-Stark & half-Targaryen which would also make Jon ideally the single most powerful individual in all Westeros by virtue of House Targaryen’s command & power over flame & dragons as well as House Stark’s strong connection & lineage to the magical ancient original native inhabitants of Westeros both of which would endow him with several magical abilities that would allow him to survive an Ides of March scenario not to mention if he is Lyanna & Rheagar’s son than Jon has the strongest claim of any other character to The Iron Throne!!!

    There are many interesting & possible theories as hinted in the books that Jon lives to fight another day, whether Jon miraculously survives the attempt on his life or he is dead but does not remain dead for long, like for example Theory #1).If Jon really is Half-Targaryen & winds up upon a scorching funeral pyre he would ideally be resurrected & regenerated by the flames due to the Targaryen side of his bloodline, Therory #2). Just before he passes away Jon magically transports his soul into his Direwolf Ghost who acts as a vessel for his master either for good or until he’s brought back in Human physical form whether in his original body hopefully or in a new body. After all, there is mentioned in the series a prophecy of a hero who is born a man than reborn a wolf than born again as a man which may very well be Jon & Ghost!!! Therory #3). Melisandre the creepy red witch has shown great interest in Jon from day 1 & despite her being part of Team Stannis, she definitely has some as yet unknown purpose in store for Jon maybe believing Jon to be the pre-destined Azor Ahai (The Prince Reborn), a King Arthur-type figure who is reborn in fire & goes on to unite all 7 kingdoms while gaining possession of a legendary magic sword called Lightbringer to use in the fight against The White Walkers not to mention that Jon’s betrayal at the hands of the other Night’s Watchmen would be what frees him from his vows to the watch allowing him to finally set out onto the wider open world outside of The Wall & undertake a major role in the more widespread conflicts of the series just as his siblings (cousins?) already have!!! Theory #4). This one is the most farfetched post-assassination Jon Snow theory & the one I most hope is NOT true, Jon Snow reanimated as a White Walker by the White Walker king.

    Bootomline: Jon is STILL too important & vital a character to the series to kill off just yet & like I said it makes no sense whatsoever to kill off Jon Snow before we know for sure the truth regarding his birth origins!!! Also Kit Harrington, despite stating that he is not coming back for Season 6, is said to indeed be signed on to Game of Thrones for the next 2 seasons which is another indicator of hope for Jon’s future!!!

    Trust me ladies & gentlemen, we have definitely not seen the last of Jon Snow!!! He’s either still bravely clinging to life or he is dead but won’t remain dead for very long!!! He has to be the prophesied Prince Reborn & future savior of Westeros!!! Long Live House Stark :)

  29. Quicksandvictim says:

    The show really has done a terrible job with Stannis

    • Alan says:

      @Quicksandvictim, Dude he murdered his brother & sacrificed his only child which also ensured his family bloodline went extinct!!! The sick greedy jerk got what he deserved!!! That is Karma dude ;)

      • Quicksandvictim says:

        Ehh, i feel the shows translation of the character was pretty one dimensional until episode 4 season 5 (no shame to the performer, he was great) but they made him some weird zealot. the character is written as being more left brained and concerned with justice. And making logical tactile choices to win in order to save the realm even getting mixed up with Melisandre. Kind of a like a really dark version of Spock. ” I was trying to win the throne to see if the kingdom, when I should’ve been trying to save the kingdom to win the throne .”

  30. pouri ya says:

    Actually this is the first time i hope Magic come to help. I didn’t liked it with Melyssandra’s shit , and Brandon’s taking over people and animals even with Aria being faceless, but i really think it would be great to bring Jon back to life, specially with him coming back from death he would be free of his oath as a night watch i think and can leave for ruling on Winterfell and other things, though i hope all of these!!

  31. Jesse Pinkman says:

    GoT…good BYE, Game of Thrones without Jon Snow….it’s really not GOT….

    FUC. David and D.B, THE BEST CHARACTER (and Arya and Tyrion course), in the show…and you….you kill….shame on you!!!

    Bye Game of Thrones.

  32. melissa says:

    I’m very angry how can they kill of jon snow aka kit harrington this was the worse choice eva his character had so much potential now we won’t get to c that ..2 angry nd hurt …this is not the way to go no no no !!

  33. Nori says:

    This whole season has been a disappointment. The finale terrible! I’m not sure I will watch next season.

  34. Sergei says:

    Wow! Snow’s killing has really upset the LGBTQ folks. Who knew he had such strong following!

  35. The Beefmaster says:

    All of you are a bunch of cry babies.

  36. LarryGold says:

    The name is “Game of Groans”.. The last show was horrible. No good guys/women win. It’s all for the bad guys/women. Is this what we deserve for loyalty? We deserve some relief. This was most unsatisfying. Not happy.

  37. Johnas says:

    fucking this, just searched “game of thrones” into google and see sentence ” GAME OF THRONES: FINALE JON SNOW IS DEAD AND STANIS DEAFEATED……” please just hide the spoiler properly

  38. John Krobar says:

    What I don’t understand is why didn’t Tommen send the army or the palace guard in to rescue his mother and wife? What was he afraid of? It’s an absolute monarchy and he can do what he wants. Or perhaps we he secretly happy about his mother’s predicament?

  39. Daniel says:

    …. you’re the idiot not wanting spoilers but go looking on the Internet for GoT articles? can’t you wait?

  40. Lucius says:

    Well, yet another season ender with a Stark family member dead (it would appear). It certainly seems as if the good either die young, are held captive, on the run, or bound in servitude in this epic. Perhaps Game of Throes in their case. Arya’s execution of the pedophile Trant was masterful, but having deceived the Many Faced God she’s now in deep shit.The Red Wedding was certainly shocking, but Jon Snow’s senseless death was just sad. 5 years we’ve watched him grow into the man he became. All for naught.

    The evil Cersei is given a pass by the High Sparrow to, one assumes, wreak vengeance upon his head. Apparently, he bought her transparently mendacious ‘confession’ and doesn’t know about her incestuous relationship and its offspring. Which seems odd.

  41. SalceA says:

    I’m sadden by the death of Jon Snow. He was one of the reasons, why I watched the show. Good conquers evil. Yet, it seems all the evil are alive when the good are all dead. what’s the point? All Evil will kill evil? Duh, dumb move.. Show is getting a bit slow and sloppy.

  42. Candice Brooks says:

    We wanted Jon Snow in the battles with the white walkers, game of thrones has been ruined. I’m absolutely gutted he has gone, why oh why did it have to be him. The series is brilliant, but I’m not sure it will be the same without him. Please let the red woman bring him back to life. We want more Jon Snow , he is our big hero. Falling in love with the queen of dragons, we need some kind of nice ending that will last. Bring him back, nobody compares to him.

    • Sergei says:

      What are you, ten? You should stick with romance novels or reruns of Friends.

      Last week “the red woman” persuaded Stannis to burn his daughter and you snowflakes hated her. Now she is to be the bastard Snow’s savior?

      You’re too emotional for this sort of programming.

      • Faceless says:

        You’re the only person on here acting ten. I read a few of your comments. You really come off as someone who doesn’t care about the characters because that’ll make you look cool and tough. Really, you just come off as douchey and a schoolyard bully. You’ll understand what that really means when you’re an adult.

        Anyway, I just came across this article from a Google search looking for insight into the finale. I’m only commenting because you deserved to be knocked down a peg.

      • pouri ya says:

        it’s not being emotional but reasonable, Jon Snow was the best and the most rightly character and def’ most charismatic one, also he was one of the good ones so with he being dead the challenge between goods and bads became terribly unbalanced. Except him who can play the hero for the good ones which we’ll accept emotionally as a hero? Brandon, a child with magic? Aria also a child with magic? or Sansa? so weak so alone! Snow was the only NORMAL and powerful and at the same time a good person. So he should be in the story either you connect to the show with your feelings/heart or your reasons/brain, otherwise the show will have a lack of character to continue.

  43. Betty says:

    I am seeing little point in watching further seasons. Jon was a character I highly liked and viewed as the only character with integrity and a voice against injustice. Killing him is (to me anyway) like killing Darryl or Rick in Walking Dead.

  44. Zakaria says:

    Seriously, this killing game is getting disgusting and foolish!
    I’m really thinking about not watching the coming season.

  45. Maria says:

    It’s too much !!! I am seriously considering not watching the next season. Killing Jon Snow was not a good decision. All the characters we are fond of are killed. So what’s the point to keep on watching it?

    • Erik says:

      then don`t watch it. I for one LOVE when they kill of my favorite characters. it keeps the show suspenseful, because it let`s you know that any encounter could be a characters last. No one is safe on the show, just how no one is safe in real life. Am i happy he`s dead, No. But it made it one of the best episodes to date

    • Because this isn’t a fairy tale.

    • tvseriesusa says:

      Maria wrote:
      > So what’s the point to keep on watching it?

      Learn more about REAL LIFE, and NOT enchanted worlds?… Jon Snow made some mistakes this season, including put himself in a position out of allies. He paid the price of his own errors. This is real Life!

  46. derek hilley says:

    The boltons are really starting to annoy me.wont somebody finish them off?

  47. Kim Wilczyk says:

    I can’t take this anymore. When are the good guys going to make some headway? I cried when Jon Snow was killed. For me, this was so out of the blue, like the Red Wedding, and I had a hard time with it. I love this show but it really puts your through the emotional roller coaster.

  48. seankal says:

    All the deaths came up as a headline when I typed Stannis’ name into Google. All spoilers should be within the text alone! Thanks a fucking lot variety

  49. Bob Devaughn says:

    “The Faceless Men don’t kill for revenge — they’re not killing out of anger, they’re killing because death is a gift and the idea is a painless death is almost like your letting people go, and that’s not Arya’s way,” Benioff said of Arya’s questionable choice. “Arya’s not dealing out death as a gift to Meryn Trant, it’s for herself.”

    … and yet …

    “A girl has many names on her lips. Joffrey, Cersei, Tywin Lannister, Ilyn Payne, The Hound. Names to offer up to the Red God. She could offer them all. One by one.”

  50. Phil says:

    How about removing the spoilers FROM THE HEADING!!! As soon as you Google GoT the second thing you see is Jon Snow Dead. Not cool!

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