Game of Thrones season 5 episode 9, The Dance of Dragons, TV review: Please can everyone just stop dying for five minutes

Contains spoilers throughout: Revolution has now come to Meereen

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The Independent Culture

‘What thing has ever been accomplished without killing or cruelty?’ Tell you what, Stannis (Stephen Dillane) should get Hizdahr zo Loraq (Joel Fry) to be his new adviser, he’d be much more up his street than Ser Davos (Liam Cunningham) with his man-lost-at-sea-for-nearly-a-year beard and his wood carvings and his morals. Except he can’t because Hizdahr’s dead now, like everyone else in this show. Game of Thrones has a serious life expectancy problem.

I’ll admit, the killing is getting to me. I spent the entirety of this episode assuming something deeply unpleasant was going to happen to Jaime, Bronn or, most likely, Ser Jorah and I found the whole thing profoundly depressing. The fact that they all emerged (relatively) unscathed wasn’t even something I could enjoy, as the one good heart in the whole of Westeros and Essos had been guest of honour at Stannis’ crazy winter barbecue.

Oh Shireen. As military strategies go, this one is bold (though it worked a treat for Agamemnon). Stannis hasn’t just crossed the Rubicon, he’s taken a ruddy great dump in it for good measure. This better work, Stan.


Personally, I’m with Tyrion (Peter Dinklage). "There’s been more than enough death in the world," he commented while watching gladiatorial combat return to Meereen. "‘I can do without it in my leisure time." This is basically my dad’s reason for refusing to watch Game of Thrones (or, indeed, anything) and it’s becoming an increasingly desirable option. People will no doubt brand me a silly person for saying this but if everyone in Game of Thrones could just stop dying for five minutes, that would be fab.

At least Ser Jorah (Iain Glen) survived his little trip to the coliseum, which is more than can be said for half the crowd (and Hizdahr) as the Sons of the Harpy donned their party masks and set about massacring everyone in sight. Revolution has now come to Meereen and Queen Daenerys (Emilia Clarke) might have had her reign cut short if not for the combined efforts of various men who fancy her and a massive dragon called Drogon (really? Drogon the dragon? That’s the best name you could think of?). Reopen the fighting pits, they said. It’d be fun, they said.

Elsewhere, Bronn (Jerome Flynn) and some extras from a soft-core porn version of Mad Max (or ‘the Sand Snakes’ if you prefer) were released by Doran Martell (Alexander Siddig), who also agreed to let Myrcella return to King’s Landing, where she’ll hopefully get visiting rights to see her mum. Jon Snow (Kit Harrington) returned to Castle Black, with the 1000 yard stare of a man who’s just seen an army of the dead slaughter hundreds of people.

And Arya (Maisie Williams) continues to sell oysters in the East End and be talked at by that weird guy, though at least Meryn Trant (Ian Beattie) has pitched up in Braavos, giving her something to do. Which is, mainly, kill Meryn Trant. Could you not wait until series six though, Arya? I can’t take it anymore…