A Song of Ice and Fire; that’s what the Game of Thrones books are called and the TV show offered us exactly that. Last week’s episode titled ‘Hardhome’ was about ice as the White Walkers family finally gave us a glimpse of their immense power. This week’s episode was all fire and titled The Dance of Dragons. The story was set aflame with a young and innocent princess burnt at the stake, the fire breathed by Daenerys’s most ferocious dragon and the heat of Dorne. However, lots of people aren’t happy about with tonight’s episode of the popular TV show. It isn’t a bad episode; on the contrary, it is tragic, intense and thrilling in equal measure.
It also marked one of the most baffling and disturbing departures from the book that we have seen in the show not to mention the fact that it was wholly inconsistent with one of the most moving and powerful moments of the season. This moment was when Stannis Baratheon had told Shireen, his daughter that she was the Princess Shireen of House Baratheon so he had refused to send her to Old Valyria to live with the stone men because she was suffering from greyscale. Tonight, the same words were echoed by Shireen to her father after Stannis sent Davos Seaworth away so he wouldn’t interfere.
Then, the man who wants to be king, let his daughter be tied to a pier and burnt her alive to provide Melissandre with the magic she needs for breaking through the ice and snow. Before this disaster happened, we got to see two heart-warming scenes where the brave, smart, young and kind girl tells both Stannis and Davos about ‘The Dance of Dragons’, a book she is reading, which details the destruction war can bring. Stannis chose to ignore what she said.
Now, the character of Stannis Baratheon has been twisted in a grotesque manner and rather infuriating for fans. It is one thing to use Sansa Stark instead of Jeyne Poole as it allows Sansa’s story to move forward and saves Jeyne some grief, but this is just a monstrosity. The showrunners justified it by stating that the idea came from George R.R Martin himself. However, this completely decimates Stannis’s character and makes his moving and passionate speech to his daughter absolutely meaningless. In fact, instead of making him look like a good guy who is struggling to defeat the villains, Stannis becomes a villain himself.
Moving forward, nothing much happens on the Wall as Jon returns with the wildlings. The Night’s Watch allows him to come through the gate accompanied by the wildlings, but the Crows are most definitely not happy with the way things are because they haven’t seen the army of the dead. Ser Allister Thorne tells the Commander that he may have a good heart, but that would end up killing all of them. Next, there is nothing of King’s Landing in tonight’s episode, but we do go to Braavos and Dorne.
In Braavos, Arya is on her first mission where she has to assassinate the Thin Man, but she is distracted from her quest when she sees one face; Meryn Trant. He was one of the King’s Guard of Joffrey and now serves Tommen. He was nothing less than a mad dog and had enjoyed following the cruel orders that Joffrey gave him, especially when torturing Sansa. However, Arya cannot forget that he was the one who showed up to capture her when Ned Stark was arrested. He had killed her Braavosi sword instructor Syrio Forel because of which he had been the first to enter her kill-list.
She follows Trant into a brothel where we come to know that he is a pedophile who wants to brutalize and rape young girls every night he stays. For Arya, this is a ticking time bomb as he’ll harm more girls if she doesn’t stop him. Meanwhile, Jaime and Bronn are allowed to leave and Prince Doran permits them to take Myrcella on the condition that Prince Trystane accompany them and take Oberyn’s seat on the small council. It is difficult to figure out what Prince Doran’s motives are as he his giving away his biggest bargaining chip.
Also, he warns Ellaria Sand that he will kill her if she doesn’t swear allegiance to him, which she does, but while crying. Even more strange was her visit to Jaime where she lets him know that his relationship with Cersei isn’t something that’s frowned upon in Dorne. Does everyone know about the whole incest thing? Why is Tommen still king, then? In the East, we are now taken to the great fighting pit, which is hands down the best scene of the entire episode. Jorah shows up for the fighting and manages to triumph twice.
But, instead of celebrating, he lobs a spear towards Dany and company, who duck down. For a minute we think he has decided to switch sides or is pissed off, but then we see that he actually hit his target; a Son of the Harpy. Suddenly, the whole arena is filled up with these Sons of the Harpy. It doesn’t take long for Dany and her entourage to be completely surrounded and they are standing in the middle of the area, protected by Jorah Mormont, Daario Naharis and a few of the Unsullied. But, that’s when Dany’s volatile pet decides to make an appearance.
Drogon barbecues some of the Harpys, get hits by a few spears and then flies off with our lovely queen on his back, leaving her friends a little less protected. It is one of the most exciting moments of the episode because it is Daenerys’s true acceptance of her power and birthright when she finally rides her dragon. Hopefully, it could also mark her decision to return to her homeland of Westeros where she can finally reclaim her seat and probably help in getting rid of all the White Walkers who are becoming a kind of imminent problem.