Game of Thrones, Season 5, Television

Season 5, Episode 10: Mother’s Mercy

In war, death is arbitrary and knows no bounds; the likable die as easily as the unlikable. Though a fantasy, Game of Thrones often draws better historical parallels than true historical fiction; it is raw, real, and complex, just like true times of war. Too often in fiction, protagonists are protected from any real harm even in times of chaos and danger. The risk to them is minimal, the stakes relatively low. One of the greatest conceits of Game of Thrones was established in the first season with Ned Stark’s surprising death: Valar Morghulis, “all men must die,” even your favorites.

In “Mother’s Mercy,” the Season 5 finale, the death toll soars, with many major characters offered up to the God of Death. Ironically, there is no peace or mercy of the Mother in this episode—not for anyone. Viewers were left reeling when the credits rolled on this season as one beloved character’s blood stained the snow, but there may be more to some of these deaths than meets the eye.

We open on a beautiful shot of Melisandre and melting icicles, indicating that her prophecy came true: when Stannis made a sacrifice of royal blood by offering up his own daughter, the Lord of Light melted the snows that socked in his men. “Unless there’s a thaw, we cannot march forward,” Davos told him in the last episode. Melisandre delivers on this promise and the troops ready to march on Winterfell.

However, Stannis receives bad news twice over. First, he learns of the further mutiny of his troops. Almost half of his men deserted, many of them taking off with all of the remaining horses, which shows how much you can trust mercenaries in a time of war.tumblr_nq088svdrd1tja9y3o1_250

Melisandre looks particularly distressed to receive this news (the actress, Carice von Houten, posted a screenshot of this moment on Instagram with a simple caption: “Shit”). We’ve rarely, if ever, seen her so disappointed. In that brief moment, Melisandre’s face says it all: she’s misread the prophecies. The images that she has seen do not indicate a victory for Stannis, but a defeat for the Boltons (“The Lord has shown me Bolton banners burning,” she says). It could be anyone razing the Bolton-held Winterfell. Shortly after, Stannis receives word that Melisandre was seen riding out of camp, and later she appears crestfallen at Castle Black. The Lord of Light may not have been false, but she failed to read his messages correctly.

Another soldier comes to inform Stannis of a more personal disaster. After last week’s emotional scene (and amazing performance by actress Tara Fitzgerald), Queen Selyse hanged herself in the nearby woods out of grief over her daughter. There was none of the Mother’s Mercy for Shireen or Selyse. Despite all of these signs, Stannis continues his march on Winterfell content in the belief that he is preordained for victory and greatness.

He arrives outside of Winterfell without cavalry, but with a bunch of cold and haggard soldiers expecting a siege. Almost immediately, they are met on the field of battle by a huge force of mounted knights. Stannis bravely leads his pathetic forces against the Boltons, but they easily and instantly flank his men. The carnage is total and devastating.


Within Winterfell, a hooded Sansa uses the tool she stole several episodes ago not as a weapon after all, but as a lock pick. In the commotion leading up to Stannis’s attack, Sansa is able to slip out unnoticed. She is finally able to make it to the Broken Tower to light the candle she was told would summon her unnamed friends.

Frustratingly, Brienne misses the signal by a mere second after what must have been weeks of staring. She leaves her post in order to chase after Stannis whose image was borne in the shadow that killed her king, Renly Baratheon. As a former Kingsguard to Renly, she swore an oath to protect him. It’s taken her years, but finally she is able to get justice for her beloved former king. She finds Stannis, a lone survivor among a sea of dead bodies, and proclaims his sentence of death. Broken and wounded, realizing he is not the prophesied prince after all, Stannis tells Brienne to do her “duty.” The camera cuts just as she swings her blade, aptly named “Oathkeeper.”


Sansa witnesses the rout from her tower and realizes that Littlefinger’s bet on Stannis was woefully misinformed. (“He has a larger army, he is the finest military commander in Westeros. A betting man would put his money on Stannis… Stannis takes Winterfell, rescues you from the most despised family in the North, grateful for your late father’s courageous support of his claim, he names you Wardeness of the North.”) At the time they discussed the plan in the crypts of Winterfell, Sansa was skeptical. “And what if you’re wrong?” she asked him. “You will take this Bolton boy, Ramsay, and make him yours,” Littlefinger instructed.

largeUnfortunately, Littlefinger also did not bet on Ramsay being a psychopath, unable to be outmaneuvered with affection or sex. Sansa, realizing she has run out of options, makes a plan for escape, but runs into Myranda and Reek who are to “escort her back to her chambers.” Sansa faces Myranda and her bow, accepting her fate. “If I’m going to die, let it happen while there’s still some of me left.” Ramsay’s lover threatens to maim a piece of her in typical Bolton fashion, as punishment for straying; Sansa cannot be killed, she says, because she needs to produce an heir. Sansa does not flinch, not even when an arrow is loosed over her shoulder, and is shocked to see Theon emerge from the cowering Reek, tossing Myranda over the edge of the ramparts.

Just then, Ramsay returns from the battlefield. Theon grabs Sansa’s hand and leads her to the wall. He climbs up and looks back, holding out his hand to her. After only a moment’s pause, she takes it. Together they leap from the walls of their shared childhood home into the (miraculously unthawed) snow drifts below.

In Bravos, the unnecessarily-evil Ser Meryn Trant is back in the brothel looking to procure young girls. He whips three girls to needlessly emphasize Arya’s justification in wanting him dead. One of the girls, her long blonde hair hanging in her face, takes the switch without reacting (Arya has grown used to getting whipped with a switch during the “game of faces,” after all). When we finally see her, she wears the face of the sick young girl Arya euthanized in episode 6.

got-6-jpgSer Meryn punches her in the stomach, but as she rises, she removes the face of the girl and stabs him in the eyes with a dagger. “You were the first person on my list, you know, for killing Syrio Forel—remember him?” Arya is lithe and brutal in killing Ser Meryn, a truly awful pedophile who delivered selected testimony at Tyrion’s trial, beat and publicly undressed Sansa before the court, and hit her on Joffrey’s command. There is no mercy for “Ser Meryn fucking Trant.”

“Do you know who I am?” she asks, stabbing him repeatedly. This is a moment Arya has been waiting for. Her quest for vengeance has defined who she has become. She is further than ever from becoming No One. “You know who I am. I’m Arya Stark. Do you know who you are? You’re no one. You’re nothing.” Calmly, she slices his throat.


When she returns to the House of Black and White, she places the face of the young girl back in the Hall of Faces. Unfortunately, she is caught by Jaqen H’ghar and her fellow apprentice in one of the eeriest scenes of the series. They accuse her of stealing a life from the Many Faced God and claim that a “debt is owed.” Jaqen uncorks a small vile like the one Arya was supposed to use to poison the Thin Man at the docks as Arya herself is held in place by the other young girl. She struggles as Jaqen says, “Only death can pay for life.” Instead of giving Arya the poison, he takes it himself and dies on the spot.

eo7i618-imgurArya immediately grieves over his body, wailing at him, “Don’t die!” as if calling out to all of the friends and family she has lost over the years. She has been unable to cry out for her father, her mother, her brother, or her other lost siblings, as well as the numerous friends and mentors that have died; she pours her grief onto Jaqen, but is mocked by the young girl. “Why are you crying?” she asks. “He was my friend!” Arya replies, only then to suddenly hear Jaqen’s voice behind her. “No he wasn’t, didn’t you listen to him? He was No One.”

Stunned, Arya pulls off layer after layer of faces on the dead body. “The faces are for No One. You are still someone. And to someone, the faces are as good as poison.” Arya is stunned to see that the final face on the dead body is her own. As she stares at herself, she yells out, “I can’t see!” Her eyes glaze over and turn white, and she is blind. The Many Faced God is unmerciful.


In Dorne, Jaime, Trystane, Myrcella, and Bronn say farewell to their Martell hosts. Ellaria Sand, wearing darker lipstick this time, kisses Myrcella full on the lips and asks for her forgiveness. Myrcella is taken aback, but everyone sails off peacefully.

tumblr_npzj4dQ3Uk1s95j2so1_500On the ship, Jaime and Myrcella share a touching moment (which almost always means someone is about to die—see: Stannis and Shireen). Jaime tries to tell her that he is her father, but before he can get it out, she admits that “a part of her always knew” and she’s glad Jaime is her father. Just as the nice moment really settles in, and her heart rate surely elevated, she begins to bleed violently from the nose—like the poisoned Bronn in prison a few episodes ago.

The camera cuts tellingly to a shot of Ellaria looking out at the ship, a stream of blood falling from her own nose. She wipes her lipstick off and takes the antidote from the necklace she and her daughter wear around their necks. There is no mercy from this mother who would kill another person’s innocent daughter out of revenge for the death of her lover (who, by the way, died voluntarily fighting in a trial by combat). She lied to Doran Martell about giving up on her quest for vengeance against the Lannisters; he is unlikely to be willing to give her a third chance.

Daenerys’s remaining council members sit around in the throne room bickering about where to go and what to do next. Jorah and Daario decide to ride off to track Daenerys and Drogon, who was seen flying north.

“So, mainly you talk?” – Daario

“And drink. I’ve survived so far!” – Tyrion

Tyrion is left behind to help rule Meereen in Daenerys’s stead. The “foreign dwarf with a scarred face” will govern with Missandei (the queen’s most trusted confidante), Grey Worm (the “toughest man with no balls” Daario ever met), and a surprise newcomer: Varys.


“A grand old city, choking on violence, corruption, and deceit. Who could possibly have any experience managing such a massive, ungainly beast?” – Varys

“I did miss you.” – Tyrion


To the north, Daenerys tries and fails to coax a wounded Drogon to fly her back to Meereen. He also is unwilling to help her hunt for food, so she wanders off on her own through a lush and hilly landscape. Eventually, she is encircled by Khal Drogo look-alikes on horseback as a giant khalasar surrounds her.

Though her location was originally unknown even to her, it immediately becomes clear that she is somewhere in the Dothraki Sea (so named for its endless stretch of plains, resembling a sea of green) to the north of Meereen. She drops her ring as a “breadcrumb” before, presumably, she is captured by the Dothraki. She is hoping that someone (Daario and Jorah? Drogon is just going to let this happen?) will find the ring and track her to wherever the khalasar means to take her.

Beaten and broken, Cersei finally throws herself on Mother’s Mercy, admitting (some) of her sins to the High Sparrow. “I want to be clean again. I want absolution.” She admits to incest and adultery with her cousin, Lancel Lannister, but denies having children with her brother, Jaime. This accusation is the one that most threatens her children; ever the mama bear protecting her cubs, Cersei throws herself convincingly into a defense of her children’s legitimacy. “A lie from the lips of Stannis Baratheon. He wants the throne but his brother’s children stand in the way, so he claims they are not his brother’s.” Cersei believes that her confession is enough, but the High Sparrow says that she still must stand trial for her crimes.

“If I might beg for just one drop of the Mother’s Mercy… I haven’t seen my son—I don’t know how long it’s been. I need to see him, please.”

The High Sparrow permits her to return to the Red Keep, and Cersei is uncharacteristically moved with gratitude and humility. However, she soon learns that she will only be permitted to return after her “atonement.”


This begins an awful (and awfully long—nearly 10 minute) sequence of atonement in which Cersei is stripped naked, roughly scrubbed, and has her characteristic blonde locks hacked off by septas. She is paraded through the streets of King’s Landing like this, enduring abuse and violence the whole way from the Great Sept to the Red Keep. A septa follows her ringing a bell and chanting, “Shame, shame, shame” as the smallfolk call her a whore and a cunt and threaten her with sexual violence.


Lena Headey, in all her greatness, puts in a tour de force facial performance as Cersei walks the great distance. She suffers horrific abuse at the hands of the mob, slowly crumbling under the weight of the shame game_of_thrones40and torment. Still, she stays strong and makes it to the safety of the fortress at last. There, she breaks down at last, sobbing as she enters the gates.

The disgraced Maester Qyburn rushes to her and throws a robe around her, whispering comfortingly, “Your Grace, it’s good to have you back.” He then introduces her to the “newest member of the Kingsguard,” a nearly 8-foot tall giant (or shall I say “mountain”) of a man. Qyburn has been experimenting on The Mountain for a while now, after he was stabbed by Oberyn Martell with a poisoned spear during last season’s epic trial by combat. He suffered greatly from his wounds, but has been brought back to life with deathly, purple skin and bloodshot eyes.

MV5BMTQ1MzQ1MzYxNl5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTgwNjczMjk5NTE@._V1_SX640_SY720_This beast picks her up in his arms and carries her without speaking as Qyburn explains that the knight’s holy vow of silence will last until he has destroyed all of Cersei’s enemies and driven all evil from the land. At the very thought of it, the hard light of determination and resolve returns to Cersei’s eyes. She still needs to face trial, but she may be able to declare a trial by combat instead, naming this monstrosity as her champion.

At the Wall, Jon Snow recounts the story of his great battle with the wights and White Walkers to Sam, the only friend he has left. They discuss the surprising power of Jon’s Valyrian steel sword and wonder how many are left in the world (which I discussed in my “Other Thoughts” on episode 8, “Hardhome”), though Jon knows there are not enough. He’s fatalistic and depressed about the enemies he holds both above and below the Wall. “The first Lord Commander in history to sacrifice the lives of sworn brothers to save the lives of wildlings. How does it feel to be friends with the most hated man in Castle Black?” he says to Sam.

Sam then asks Jon for permission to take Gilly and the baby Sam to Old Town in order to become a maester. He wants to study the trade at the Citadel in order to better support Jon and the Night’s Watch against the White Walkers. He also wants to protect Gilly from the threat of predatory men on the Wall. Jon lets his friend go with a note of sadness, as if he knew what was to come.


Later, Jon is seen arguing with Davos over sending wildling troops to aid Stannis. When Melisandre rides through the gates of Castle Black alone, the implications are immediately clear. “Stannis?” Jon wonders. Davos, coming up behind him, asks rather for Shireen. To both inquiries, Melisandre’s silence is as good an answer as any. She looks downright despondent over her failures and their cost, believing the fate of the world has slipped through her hands after all this time trying to make Stannis into the “prince that was promised” to defeat the White Walkers and drive out the long winter.

In his chambers, Jon Snow reads notes from ravens, all of which appear to be delivering bad news (“Dark wings, dark words,” as the old saying goes). Suddenly, Olly bursts in with news that a wildling has information on Jon’s long-missing uncle, the ranger Benjen Stark. The prospect of another family member and ally sends Jon forth blindly into the night. Instead of finding the wildling, he is led to a sign that reads, “Traitor.”


Instantly, Jon realizes his fate and is unable to stop it. Ser Alliser Thorne initiates the assassination with a stab to the gut, uttering, “For the Watch.” Others follow his lead, like the senators stabbing Caesar and proclaiming freedom from his tyranny. The string of men ends finally with the boy, Olly (the Brutus to Jon’s Caesar), who has been throwing shade to Jon Snow all season. He stabs him and winces, hatred and confusion all over his young face. “For the Watch,” he says.

Jon succumbs to his wounds lying alone in the snow with blood spreading out behind him. He looks skyward and dies. And now his watch has ended.


…or has it?

Other Thoughts on “Mother’s Mercy”:

Note: Before we begin, I want to emphasize that we are now in exciting and uncharted territory: tv viewers are finally caught up with book readers. We’ve been keeping Jon Snow’s death under our hats for years. Finally, at long last, we can discuss some very interesting and fun theories about the future of this series without the risk of me (a book reader) spoiling any tv viewers. Please share your thoughts about these theories in the comments and remember: these are only theories, not facts.

  • “Kill the boy, and let the man be born,” said the late Maester Aemon in episode 5 of this season. There is a very popular fan theory that Jon Snow has not truly died. Though other major characters have died and will continue to die, Jon Snow is far too integral to the essence of the series. In book form, the series is called A Song of Ice and Fire—surely, Jon Snow is the “Ice” and Daenerys the “Fire” (and/or Jon Snow is both Ice and Fire if he is of Stark and Targaryen blood, as the popular R+L=J theory hypothesizes). How in the world can Jon Snow, who clearly dies at the end of this episode, still live? Two possible ways:
    • The show made a point of highlighting Melisandre’s return to Castle Black. Melisandre is a Red Priestess of immense power, no matter her failure to read the prophecies. We’ve already seen a Red Priest, Thoros of Myr, bring Beric Dondarrion back to life after the Hound killed him in a trial by combat. Thoros tells Arya that he has resurrected Beric a total of six times. It is reasonably within Melisandre’s powers to call on the Lord of Light: “LORD cast your light about this man, your servant. Bring him back from death and darkness. His flame has been extinguished, restore it!” After all, she has shown pointed and often bizarre interest in Jon Snow; she may decide she needs him yet.
      • Still, in Season 3, Melisandre is amazed by the fact that Thoros of Myr resurrected Beric six times. “It’s not possible,” she says. Hopefully she is able to speak to the Lord of Light in a moment of great need.
      • In this very episode, the Mountain has been brought back from the brink of death by Maester Qyburn’s “experiments” (probably using bloodmagic), so the show clearly wants you to be comfortable with the idea of resurrection. But more on that later.
    • Jon Snow also is likely able to warg into different creatures and people (you can watch a short history of this mystical ability here). This probably runs in his family, as demonstrated by Bran Stark in his ability to enter the minds of direwolves and even Hodor.
      • In Season 3, the wildling Orell was Jon’s first exposure to wargs. He learned about Orell’s ability during an episode titled “Dark Wings, Dark Words,” which may be called back in the scene just prior to Jon’s death: after all, he is reading bad news delivered by ravens (a stretch, but an interesting connection).
      • When a person’s human body dies while warging, his mind can live within that creature, as demonstrated by Orell’s own death (when he inhabited an eagle and clawed at his killer, Jon). Jon Snow may be able to warg into something or someone else—most likely his direwolf Ghost. His consciousness could reside there until his body was resurrected by Melisandre or another form was somehow available to him.
  • Remember: until you physically see a dead body on Game of Thrones, you cannot be sure that person is actually dead (and as I said above, even then there is no guarantee). That means we should not yet close the door on Stannis. I don’t know why Brienne would keep him alive, but it may have something to do with her newest vow—to protect Sansa—taking precedence, and needing Stannis to help her accomplish that. If that’s the case, Brienne would be the only truly merciful character in the whole episode (ironically titled “Mother’s Mercy”). Still, it’s most likely the case that Stannis is dead, but don’t count him out yet.
    • See: Syrio Forel, Arya’s “dancing instructor” from Season 1, who many believe is still alive since we never actually saw Ser Meryn Trant kill him, and Trant never really confirms (nor denies) killing him. Also, the Hound felt very strongly that “any boy whore with a sword could beat three Meryn Trants” and Syrio was a master sword-fighter (albeit without anything more than a wooden practice sword in the moment of his attack).
    • Speaking of which, the “Gravedigger theory” about the Hound still being alive has some traction. Of course, we never saw the Hound die, since Arya walked away and refused to put him out of his misery (despite his pleas). If interested in hearing the evidence for this theory, check out this explainer video.
  • Arya’s work as a Faceless assassin was prophesied by Melisandre during their one meeting—the same time Melisandre learned of Beric’s resurrection. “I see a darkness in you, and in that darkness eyes staring back at me—brown eyes, blue eyes, green eyes—eyes you’ll shut forever.” Interestingly enough, that last part could be read in a couple of ways (and we’ve seen the vagaries of prophecies). For one, Arya is trained to kill people (and literally puts out Ser Meryn Trant’s eyes). However, her own eyes could be the “eyes you’ll shut forever,” if she is truly and permanently blinded. If Melisandre is to be believed, it does not look promising for Arya.
  • Melisandre has predicted that the “The Long Night” is descending once more after thousands of years (correctly, it would seem). The Long Night was when winter lasted a generation and the White Walkers “sought to extinguish all light and warmth.” She says that the only hope is for a hero called the Azor Ahai, or the “prince that was promised,” to save the people from darkness. She has tried desperately to make Stannis fit this prophecy, but she’s deceived herself (until this episode). The real Azor Ahai is likely either Daenerys or Jon Snow. I highly recommend that you watched this video explaining the theory: Who is Azor Ahai?
  • The ritualistic humiliation of women has a long history in our own world, from the Middle Ages (“when a woman misbehaved sexually, her basic sexual attribute was taken away from her” in “often very public spectacles”) to more modern times, when thousands of women had their heads shaved in front of cheering crowds as punishment for associating with their Nazi occupiers. In these instances, it’s about power and control over women, as the High Sparrow and the Faith Militant exert over Cersei in her agonizing ten minute scene of atonement.
    • I don’t love Cersei, but that doesn’t put her above empathy, which she certainly deserves in this scene. Cersei is mostly awful, but she’s not purely evil. She can often be “the worst” (especially when threatening her fan-favorite brother, Tyrion), but her motives are almost always to protect the legitimacy and lives of her children, however terrible and heartless her actions may be towards others. After all, this season began with the series’s first and only flashback to show Cersei receiving a horrible prophecy of doom for her children from Maggy the Frog. She is a mother lioness fiercely protecting her pride (in both senses of that word) from harm.
    • The scene of her atonement was simply awful to watch, perhaps especially as a woman. This extreme punishment is for a relatively small sin—adultery—which Cersei asserts is exactly what her abusive husband was doing at the time, “every chance he could.” Cersei may have done a number of other far worse things, but it’s for daring to step out on her unhappy and unhealthy marriage that she endures this excruciating public degradation and abuse. Therefore, I will be glad if/when she gets sweet, sweet revenge on the religious fanatics with Ser Frankenstein Robert Strong, her new giant champion.
  • The show has made it pretty clear that this creature, Cersei’s champion, is what remains of the Mountain, Gregor Clegane, after Oberyn’s poisoned spear took him down in Tyrion’s trial by combat. Qyburn is a disgraced maester who used to work for the equally-creepy Roose Bolton. He was banished by the Citadel for practicing black magic. “The Citadel… found some of my experiments too bold.” Cersei has supported his experiments, and in return he gives her a faithful and terrifyingly strong Kingsguard to be her champion in a trial by combat. To learn more about Robert Strong, definitely check out this brand new fan theory video.
  • This will make more sense for book readers, since a whole line of Greyjoy characters have been omitted from the show, but it may still be worthwhile to check out this theory about the potential that Daario is not who he says he is. The show may have dropped another nod to this theory in Tyrion’s assertion that neither Jorah nor Daario are “fit consorts for a Queen”; if this theory holds, Daario may be worthy enough. Here’s a video explainer for this crazy theory.
  • Littlefinger got it very, very wrong this season (between his bet on Stannis and his plan to have Sansa seduce Ramsay). This man who once seemed to know everything about everyone somehow missed the fact that Ramsay’s reputation for brutality and psychosis precedes him, which means Sansa would have a hell of a time trying to manipulate him with her feminine wiles. The master puppeteer professes to keep his foes confused by his actions, manipulating many often-contradictory sides and situations so that the only person who comes out ahead is himself. If that is what he is doing here, confusing us by his ridiculously inept ploy to get Sansa to be Wardeness of the North, then mission accomplished, I guess. For more on Littlefinger’s general motives, you can watch an explainer video here.
  • The “Previously On” segment trolled us pretty hard (made all the worse by the fact that it was leaked online prior to the episode’s airing) since it mentioned Benjen Stark. Many people thought we would finally get the answer to the question of what the hell happened to Benjen, Ned Stark’s younger brother and uncle to Jon Snow. He was last seen ranging north of the Wall, but only his horse returned. Though his companions were found dead, Benjen has never been located. This has led to a number of theories about his whereabouts, but there isn’t a lot of evidence for any of them. In any case, we were trapped like Jon Snow, convinced we’d learn something about the long-lost Stark, but led into Jon Snow’s murder, instead.

Thank you for another great season, dear readers! As always, I appreciate you joining me on this crazy ride and taking the time to read and share these lengthy recaps. I hope you enjoyed them. See you next year!


3 thoughts on “Season 5, Episode 10: Mother’s Mercy

  1. Jaqen says:

    Cersei deserves no sympathy. Not only did she not genuinely atone, the idea that her moral insanity is somehow mitigated because “she does it for her children” holds as much water as Drogon’s flaming nostrils.

    Her “confession” itself was false, refusing to admit to all the she had done; choosing only to confess to what could be proven and dissembling what she knew could not. Whether this is attributed to her protecting Jamie or her children is irrelevant: she continues to lie to save her skin (though not from rotten fruit it seems).

    It cannot be claimed that she acts in the interest of her children at the expense of fundamental decency because – at the very least – she is a failed parent. The youngest is craven, the middle was an irredeemable psychopath, and the eldest – an admittedly well-adjusted teenage girl – is only that way because she spent much of her developing adolescence away from her mother. It is disingenuous therefore to suggest that she is a flawed martyr for her children in whom she imbued neither wisdom nor virtue.

    If nothing else, if Cersei had lived a righteous and pious life up to this point, subjecting Margaery to the same fate she then bemoans for herself paints her inescapably as a hypocrite. Her misprizing incrimination of the Queen for conduct – while sexually indiscreet, appears seraphic compared to her own – alone merits the torment to which she justly endured.

    • All your points are definitely valid and I agree with you. My comments were simply a justification for empathizing with her- not absolving her of all her sins (as we’ve been happy to do for Jaime, because he’s shown an interest in changing… Besides the whole rape thing). On a human level, I choose to empathize with a person who is subjected to inhumane torture, regardless. I don’t usually love the “she deserves it” or “she’s asking for it” argument.

    • But, don’t mistake my empathy for her as approval of her actions. Her motives are not an excuse for her actions, but they help paint her in enough of a human light to be worth empathy in that scene. She has been and will likely continue to be inhumane towards others, especially after she finds out about Myrcella.

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