Season 5 Finale last night was OMFG! John Snow what happened????
Melisandre gets all smug when, in the wake of Shireen’s murder, the snow begins to melt. But things start looking a little less “Everything’s coming up roses!” when Stannis’ wife (name not worth mentioning, since she did nada to protect Shireen) hangs herself, Stannis learns more than half his men (and horses) have deserted him in the wake of the Worst Bonfire Ever, and then Melisandre abandons camp on one of the last remaining steeds.
(We can all agree now that she’s just a pyromaniac with unusually good powers of persuasion, right?) Apparently the Red Woman saw defeat in her king’s future?
As Stannis proceeds with his plan — attack Winterfell at sunrise! — he gets another “Oh, snap!” surprise, as Ramsay and his much bigger army descend on him, and leave ’em all bleeding out in the snow. Stannis is staggering, badly wounded, when Brienne of Tarth arrives, seeking vengeance for Renly’s black-magic death, and she cuts him down with about 1,000,000 times less effort than she used to fight off the Hound about a year ago. This is how Stannis’ claim to the throne ends, not with the roar of a dragon, but with a “whatever.”
* Sansaplans her mid-battle escape from Winterfell, but is sidetracked by Ramsay’s terrible strumpet, wielding a bow and arrow and threatening mutilation. Reek intervenes, knocking the enemy to her death, and the tormented siblings leap off the castle wall, into the snow and into… freedom? broken bones? hypothermia?
Only time will tell. I could’ve used a bigger win for Sansa to end the season, but hopefully she continues growing into her power — and learns the power of the sword/poison/noose in Season 6.