In advance of “Mother’s Mercy,” the fifth season Game of Thrones finale, HBO released a few photos for us to speculate over. Following a long, anticipative wait, winter finally arrived with mixed results and earned both glory and disdain — somehow this last episode snuck up on us while we alternately argued and cheered. But ,just how much can be crammed into a season finale? I’m more than a little worried how things’ll end up; the desire for vengeance (looking at you, Ramsay, Stannis, Melisandre…) is great, and I fear wasted moments at Dorne will take away from forward movement in Braavos or Winterfell. But as Daniel Faraday would say, whatever happens, happens, so let’s have a look at the promo pictures and see what we can come up with. For the sake of non-book readers, I’ll white out any real spoilerish information.
***Spoiler Warning: Spoilers for this season, through “The Dance of Dragons,” Ahead.
1. Re-Hooded Sansa.
What it could mean: Re-Hooded Sansa of course evokes Red Riding Hood — the naive and frightened little girl alone in the woods (love that cape!) — but our elder Stark heroine has been learning how to steel herself against the world’s cruelties. That tentative, possibly surprised or shocked look on her face could mean Sansa sees Stannis’ army approaching, or she could be steadying herself as Ramsay walks toward her. But there’s a slight air of hope about her expression, so if it’s not a rescuing force, or Littlefinger’s return, could it be ***Book Spoiler ahead, swipe to see: Lady Stoneheart? Sure, it’s unlikely, but not impossible.
2. Contrite Cersei.
What it could mean: Or should I say, Semi-Contrite Cersei? She’s got the look of a woman who knows she’s expected to be acting a certain way, but a teensy bit of defiance — just this side of an eye roll — is slipping through. Who’s she looking at, listening to, irritated by? Either the Septa or High Sparrow, but more likely Qyburn’s come back for one final effort at convincing Cersei she’s got no choice but to confess. Book Spoiler ahead, swipe to see: This, of course, is the prelude to her walk of shame.
3. Sam and Jon. (*insert loud sigh here*)
What it could mean: Oh look, Sam and Jon are having another boring conversation! It must be intermission; time to pee, get a snack and fill up your alcoholic beverage glass. Probably Sam is informing Jon about Olly’s (and others’) concerns, so the slow-on-the-uptake viewers will remember what’s going on when… Book Spoiler ahead, swipe to see: Jon is stabbed by his own men.
Child Murderers! Stannis and Melisandre.
What it could mean: Uh, yeah…they’re both still alive. Melisandre is consoling that mothereffer. What we hope it means: Davos is on his way, mothereffers! Either way, Melisandre is giving Stannis a pep talk before he heads out, assuring him he did what he had to in order to secure victory, and fulfill his destiny.
5. Jaqen H’ghar.
What it could mean: He’s looking at Arya. He’s looking at Waif. He’s looking at someone else. What it probably means: He’s looking at Arya in her newface mask, right before she’s sent out the first time as someone else. Could it be she confessed about Trant and he’s helping her, or is she still working on her thin man mission? It could also be Jaqen is looking at Waif, and telling her to follow Arya to find out what the hell is distracting a girl. Holy shit, I really hope Waif doesn’t end up Trant’s next victim, but what would be really cool is if she played next victim, so Arry could stick Needle (callback to that hide in the rocks!) in that mothereffer.
6. The Boys Left Behind.
What it could mean: After the stadium massacre, somehow Jorah, Tyrion and Daario managed to get out of that nasty pit and back to Dany’s palace. They called for a dragon (Drogon), but as yet Daenerys hasn’t arrived home. They look really bummed; perhaps another of Tyrion’s witticisms fell upon thankless ears.
7. Cersei Confesses to the High Sparrow.
What it could mean: Um, Cersei confesses to the High Sparrow. I guess the question could be, what exactly — how much — does she actually confess to? Book Spoilers ahead, swipe to see: In A Dance of Dragons, Cersei admits to sleeping with Lancel and a few Kettleblacks. I’m actually wondering if on the show, Benioff and Weiss will twist it up and have her confess about Jaime and the kids right before her penance walk. They seem to be going for the shocks this season.
(Photos courtesty HBO)
“Mother’s Mercy” is directed by David Nutter, and written by David Benioff and Dan Weiss.