The best, and worst, of times ....
This is a Game of Thrones recap I have wanted to write for a long time.
And the death of Shireen (Kerry Ingram) – which is not in the novels – is one of the most horrifying sequences in the show’s history (and something I’ve been privately obsessing over since first hearing about it).
Thrones has always excelled at giving us moments of terror and triumph, but seldom have the highs and lows ever been so extreme, or come so quickly on top of each other, than in the past few episodes. We’ve had hugs and euphoria – Dany meets Tyrion (Peter Dinklage)! Jon’s (Kit Harington) epic Hardhome battle! – and gut-punches and sadness – Ser Barristan (Ian McElhinney) dies, Sansa (Sophie Turner) is assaulted. And then tonight, in rapid succession, we witnessed the profoundly disturbing murder of an innocent child, and then saw the glory of a queen reclaiming her destiny – two scenes that could easily serve as the climax of an entire season on any other show, though it’s tough to imagine any other series pulling them off as masterfully as Thrones did here (with the help of director David Nutter, who previously helmed season 3’s Red Wedding episode).
I have a lot to say about the Shireen scene in particular. So I’m going to break my usual format and start with the scene I most want to talk about first, and then we’ll recap the rest …
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Game of Thrones airs Sundays (9 p.m. ET) on HBO.