With this week bringing the closing episode to the fifth season of the wildly popular fantasy saga, some fans may find themselves lost in what is becoming a veritable ocean of coiling plot points, eccentric character names and house sigils, and of course piss, shit, and blood as always.
Here is a simplified and easy to follow summary of where the many characters in this vast, braided tale now stand…
On The Wall Jon Snow is forced to stand down as Lord Commander of the Night’s Watch, after ingesting too much fizzy lifting drink and becoming trapped on the ceiling of his office. Serving in his stead, a re-animated Janos Slynt operates with growing support from a majority of Brothers; however it is uncovered by Samwell Tarly that he is only a puppet being manipulated by Ser Alliser Thorne, who still wants revenge for Jon’s impudence and helping the Wildlings, claiming he has put them all at risk. When storing Janos’ marionette frame and strings for the night, Samwell confronts him, at which point he is murdered by some of Alliser’s supporters using a sack of doorknobs, Gilly discovers his body and is threatened with banishment from Castle Black unless she agrees to eat his corpse whole in under 12 minutes. By unhinging her lower jaw, Gilly bravely attempts part of the challenge, but is thrown out into the cold with her baby, and most of Samwell hanging from her sagging mouth. The story closes with a sobbing Gilly trying to force Samwell’s ragged body back into her throat, while a wide shot reveals an army of white walkers descending on Castle Black from the north.
In Bravos, and the House of Black and White Tracking him to a local brothel, Arya discovers Ser Meryn Trant negotiating sex with a prepubescent girl, and vows to abandon her existing assassination mission for a chance at revenge. She disguises herself as a peasant girl to sneak into Ser Meryn’s quarters, where she stabs out his eyes, stabs him in the chest and back, and finally kills him by cutting his throat while chanting “now the bad things are happening to you, ha ha ha” and then dancing naked and rollicking in the viscera of his corpse. For disobeying her orders, she is punished by Jaqen H’ghar for “stealing from the many-faced god”, and punishes her by forcing her to go back to the brothel and kill every last person there so she gets sick of it and doesn’t go it again.
In The Vale Lord Petyr Baelish reveals some of the details of his newest scheme to young Robert, which takes 15 minutes in his precise and tiresome slanty-eyed weasel cadence.
In King’s Landing Queen Cersei continues to languish in the black dungeons, where she finally concedes to confess to the High Sparrow; she is told she must stand trial for her sins of incest, but not before her “atonement”, which requires her to have her cut short and be paraded naked through town while a man in a bowler hat accompanies her loudly intoning “excuse me, can you tell me the way to the citadel?”.
At 142 Barker Lane, Stoke’s Hill Mrs. Bradbury has just settled down for a nice cup of tea and an iced vovo.