Looking back on the rather poor quality of this season, it shouldn’t be as surprising as it is. Season Four of Game of Thrones wasn’t amazing either; it certainly wasn’t bad, but it lacked the quality of the previous seasons. Season Four may have dropped in quality but it still blew audiences away with Tyrion’s trial (Peter Dinklage’s best performance on the show by far), the heartbreaking battle between Oberyn Martell and The Mountain that left viewers shocked and disoriented, Tywin getting his just desserts from Tyrion and of course, the television masterpiece that was The Watches on The Wall, an hour of breathtaking action and exhilarating performances. Everything bad about Season Four can be forgiven for those things, but Season Five has yet to do anything brilliant. Poor efforts every week, and whilst last week wasn’t bad, it certainly wasn’t great. Hardhome is the first episode this season to truly knock it out of the park, but does it make up for the rest of the season?
Who does deserve an Emmy however is Lena Headey, who is once again killing it as Tyrion’s twisted sister Cersei. Her power has slowly seeped through her fingers this season, with Margaery becoming Queen and getting a grasp on her only son, and even employing the Faith Militant to arrest Margaery didn’t solve things because she was arrested too. Now she’s locked up in a dingy cell, in her dirty rags, sipping water off the floor because she has too much pride. Headey’s portrayal of a falling star, a once powerful ruler slowly descending into a broken woman has been utterly mesmerising, and hands down the best thing about this season. But her storyline begs the question; where is Jaime’s storyline going to go? Cersei is locked up for committing incest with her cousin (Who no doubt ratted out Jaime as well), and if he returns to King’s Landing, he’ll be done for the same thing. Next week’s episode sees him a tricky situation with Prince Doran, so it could be that he stays in Dorne, or maybe goes elsewhere, or perhaps returns to save his sister (Or maybe he doesn’t come back at all, but let’s not imagine that possibility...). Jaime’s relationship with Cersei is based on honour, not lust (Apart from when he raped her, but that was just rape for the sake of rape) and it’s hard to imagine that he could ever not try to help her. It’s a tricky situation indeed.
It was definitely a terrific ending, but has it redeemed the season? Not quite. The slow pace and gratuitous nature of the earlier episodes still remains an annoyance that drags the show down, but luckily, we could be in for an epic end of season. Episode nine is usually the episode in which something big or shocking happens, and yet, from the trailer, it’s extremely hard to tell which bit that will be. Only two episodes left this year, please let this season end on a high.