Game of Thrones continues to rile up its fans, victimizing another innocent in “Dance of Dragons” this week. But as the episode title suggests, we finally saw the glorious return of the dragon Drogon promised in the Season 5 promotional poster, and just in the nick of time. If you haven’t seen this week’s Game of Thrones episode, spoilers follow.
While you’d think Drogon’s return would be the talk of this week’s Game of Thrones episode, it was upstaged by a much darker and sadder moment for Shireen (Kerry Ingram) fans. As predicted in the Game of Thrones spoilers for “Dance of Dragons,” Stannis Baratheon (Stephen Dillane) did the unthinkable, sacrificing his only daughter in his quest for the power to take Winterfell and the Iron Throne.
While Stannis initially rejected Melisandre’s suggestion he sacrifice “the thing he loves most” to the Lord of Light to ensure victory, he reconsidered after his camp was attacked and his scarce food supplies destroyed, stranding him between Castle Black and Winterfell. He sent Davos (Liam Cunningham) to Castle Black to get horses and food, but not before Davos visited Shireen, as he seemed to have a bad feeling about what might happen to her during his absence. As well he should have, given Shireen’s own father watched her burn alive as she screamed for mercy.
Entertainment Weekly posted an interview with showrunner Dan Weiss after the episode aired where he addressed the controversy that was inevitable after fans saw tonight’s Game of Thrones.
“Horrible things happening to people in this show, and this is one that we thought was entirely [narratively] justified. It was set-up by the predicament that Stannis was in. It will be awful to see, but it’s supposed to be awful.”
But all rationalizations aside, Game of Thrones fans immediately took to social media, expressing their shock at what one fan called “the worst Game of Thrones death yet” — and that is saying something. Some were serious, and some, not so much.
Aaron Sagers @aaronsagerso
Damn. Just heartbreaking. Damn. #GameofThrones
Catelyn Stark @StarkCatelyn
Welcome to the Nightlands, my sweet Shireen. #GameofThrones #TheDanceofDragons
Scott Fishman @smFISHMAN
This show has worse parenting than a TLC reality show. #GameofThrones #GOT
Brienne of Tarth @BeautyBrienne
I mean, when someone says ‘Is there any way I can help?’ it doesn’t mean ‘I’m totally cool with letting you set me on fire.’ #GameOfThrones
Dee F @deefalc
Just a reminder they just burned a little girl while her father showed no remorse and all u can talk about is the dragon #GameofThrones
Speaking of that dragon, even as Game of Thrones fans were weeping for Shireen, “Dance of Dragons” delivered a case of emotional whiplash as fans cheered with joy over the last scene, the one many have been waiting for since the beginning of the series.
Meereen had a wedding in the works between Daeneyrs Targaryen (Emilia Clarke) and her politically-correct fiance, Hizdahr zo Loraq (Joel Fry). But this being Game of Thrones, paradise was short-lived when the Sons of the Harpy attacked while they were watching the spectacle of the Fighting Pits. The Sons of the Harpy dispatched poor Hizdahr to the afterlife before they surrounded Dany and her closest advisers, and Jorah, who returned to Dany’s good graces in the battle. Just as things appeared hopeless for the Mother of Dragons, her most glorious “child,” Drogon, swept in and saved the day. Not only did he unleash his fiery vengeance on the Sons of the Harpy, but — brace yourself for it — Daenerys rode away on his back.
And with that, the Twitter #GameOfThrones hashtag turned from tears to triumph.
Jennifer Smith @WhosJenSmith
I’ve gone to pure pissed off, absolutely disgusted, to feeling like I was in A Neverending Story… I need a drink. #GameofThrones
Welp. I just saw Dany ride off on a dragon. Nothing will ever compare to this. I can quit watching all television now. 😖 #gameofthrones
The final scene this week on Game of Thrones was nothing short of spectacular, living up to the White Walker attack last week. But are any other Game of Thrones fans wondering… why did Dany and Drogon leave everyone else behind to fend for themselves, and how did they survive without Drogon?
[Photo courtesy of HBO]