Reek is back in Winterfell, serving the Boltons, the new Wardens of the North. When he sees Sansa arriving at Winterfell, he avoids her. When Myranda leads Sansa to Reek, he tells her that she shouldn’t be there with him. He is terrified of what Ramsay will do to him but Ramsay forgives him. However, Ramsay wouldn’t give up a chance to mentally and emotionally torture Reek, so he makes Reek apologize to Sansa for murdering Bran and Rickon. He also suggests that Reek is to walk Sansa down the aisle at their wedding. At the wedding, Sansa refuses to allow Reek to hold her arm. Reek still walks her through the Godswood and gives her away. After the wedding, Ramsay orders Reek to stay in the room and watch him rape Sansa. Later, Reek takes Sansa her food, who tries to remind him that he is Theon Greyjoy who betrayed her family. She also tells him that he can redeem himself by lighting a candle in the broken tower to signal Brienne and Podrick to come rescue her. On his way back, he seems to contemplate it but decides to tell Ramsay of Sansa’s plan instead, sparing her from more pain to come.
When he brings her food again, Sansa confronts Reek about why he told Ramsay about her plans. He tries to explain that he did it to protect her because every time Theon tried to escape, Ramsay found him and punished him. He also tells her that he deserves what happened to him for killing “those boy”. After Sansa demands to know why he should be alive but her brothers dead, he breaks down and tells her that Bran and Rickon are alive. After Sansa breaks out of her room and lights the candle in the tower, she is confronted by Reek and Myranda, who has a bow pointed at Sansa. Sansa is ready to die but Myranda says she will just maim her. Reek is not willing to let Sansa suffer so he pushes Myranda off the catwalk to her death. Theon then grabs Sansa and they run. Knowing they will have to face Ramsay’s anger when he finds Myranda’s body, they have no choice but to jump from the parapet to the snow below.
Stannis is still at the Wall, trying to rebuild his army – by demanding Mance bend the knee and swear his wildling army to Stannis. When Mance refuses, Stannis has him burned alive. He also offers to legitimize Jon as a Stark and the Lord of Winterfell if he bends the knee and swears loyalty to Stannis, which Jon refuses twice. After Jon is chosen as the Lord Commander of the Night’s Watch, Stannis watches Jon as he trains with the new recruits and, in conversation with his wife, Selyse, alludes that he doesn’t think Jon is actually Ned’s son. Selyse also laments not having given Stannis a son. Later, his daughter, Shireen, comes to visit him and asks him if he’s ashamed of her. They have a sweet father-daughter moment, where he tells her that when people told him to send her away to Valyria because of her greyscale, he ignored them and instead, sent for anyone who could treat her, which saved her life – all because she is his daughter.
Stannis’ army marches on Winterfell but he lends his fleet of ships to Jon so he can rescue wildlings from Hardhome. Oh and he’s taking Selyse and Shireen with him, because war is where they will be safer. But they have a real tough go because the weather is terrible. The horses start dying and some of the sellswords abandon them but Stannis will not listen to Davos’ advise of turning back to Castle Black – victory or defeat, they will march on Winterfell. Melisandre has a plan: they need a King’s blood sacrifice to get luck back on their side. She’s talking about sacrificing Shireen, which shocks and angers Stannis. Later, Ramsay Bolton and his men steal into Stannis’ camp and set fires, which results in the loss of men, horses, and nearly all of the food. Facing this enormous setback, Stannis agrees to Melisandre’s suggestion of sacrificing Shireen, his own goddamn daughter who he had a sweet moment with earlier, talking about the lengths he went to in order to save her life. THAT SAME GODDAMN DAUGHTER. SWEET SHIREEN. FUCKING STANNIS. He knows Davos will try to prevent Shireen’s death (because Davos is a decent human being, unlike Stannis), so he sends Davos to the Night’s Watch to get more food. They tie Shireen to the stake and the pyre is lit, as Shireen begs and pleads for her life. Stannis is unmoved but Selyse has a change of heart and tries to run to her, only to be restrained by Baratheon soldiers.
Apparently, the blood sacrifice worked because the weather is way better the next morning. But the morning also brings news of Selyse’s death – she wasn’t able to live with what they had done so she hung herself. Melisandre has also fled but Stannis is still determined to march on Winterfell, with half of his forces and none of the sellswords. His forces meet the Bolton forces in an open field but his army stands no chance against the Bolton army. Stannis himself is injured, and after taking out a couple more Bolton soldiers, he props up against a tree. This is where Brienne finds him, who asks him if he used blood magic to kill Renly and he admits as much. Brienne asks him for his final words, but he just tells her to do her duty and she brings her sword down on him.
Roose is in Winterfell, reminding Ramsay to lay off flaying Northern lords because they don’t have enough men to hold off an uprising by the Stark bannermen, especially since their pact with the Lannisters was made with Tywin, who is now dead. His plan to hold the North is to have Ramsay marry into a good Northern family, and what better family than Stark! He has arranged with Petyr to have Sansa marry Ramsay. Yipee. He still doesn’t really trust Petyr and questions repercussions from Cersei when she finds about the marriage but Petyr tries to assuage his doubts by saying Lannisters have lost a great deal of power as a result of Tywin’s death. Roose is also increasingly getting annoyed with Ramsay’s tactics, especially of emotionally torturing Sansa at dinner so Roose announces that he and his wife, Walda, are expecting a son. Take that, Ramsay. When Ramsay confronts Roose about his announcement, they have a touching father-son moment, wherein Roose recounts the story of how Ramsay was conceived – Roose raped the miller’s wife under the miller’s hanging body. He also tells Ramsay that he almost killed both his mother and him but didn’t when he saw Ramsay’s face and realized that he was Roose’s son after all. Ah, sweet family stories. Later, he officiates Sansa’s marriage to Ramsay.
In order to defeat Stannis, Roose proposes to wait out Stannis’ siege by staying inside the castle but Ramsay tells him to meet Stannis in the open field, and that he would need 20 good men to go sabotage Stannis’ camp. The Bolton men soundly defeat the Baratheon army, but the battle gives just enough time for Sansa and Theon to escape, which means the claim to the North also is out of the Bolton’s hands.
When Ramsay meets Sansa, he is very polite and even promises Petyr that he will not harm her, like anyone believes that. Myranda is hella jealous of Ramsay’s proposed marriage to Sansa because he had promised to marry her when he was still a bastard. When she threatens to marry someone else, Ramsay reminds her what he does with people that bore him. Later, he confronts Reek about Reek’s conversation with Sansa and reminds him to not keep secrets from him. At dinner, he toys with Sansa’s emotions by ordering Reek to apologize to her for killing Bran and Rickon, which annoys Roose into announcing that Walda is preggo with a son. This does not sit well with Ramsay, since a legitimate son of Roose means competition for Ramsay as heir to House Bolton.
After his wedding to Sansa, he rapes her and forces Reek to watch. He continues to beat and rape Sansa the next couple of days. When Reek tells Ramsay of Sansa’s plan to escape with the help of Brienne and Pod, he flays Sansa’s elderly maid who delivered Brienne’s message to Sansa. He makes Sansa look at the corpse and boasts about how he will be the next Warden of the North after his father, but Sansa reminds him that Walda is having a boy who may be Roose’s true heir, since Ramsay was legitimized by Tommen, who himself is a bastard. Ramsay counters by saying even bastards can rise like her half-brother Jon, who, unbeknownst to her, is the new Lord Commander of the Night’s Watch.
As Stannis’ army approaches Winterfell, Roose suggest waiting out the siege in the castle but Ramsay urges him to meet Stannis in the open field, and lays out his plan to sabotage the Baratheon camp. He takes 20 men, steals into the camp, sets fire to tents, and flees back to Winterfell. When Stannis still charges on Winterfell, Ramsay leads the Bolton army and massacres the Baratheon men. He is unaware that Myranda is dead and that Theon and Sansa have escaped from the castle.
Sansa is still in the Eyrie under the alias of Alayne when Petyr receives a raven and they depart, leaving Robin in the care of Lord Royce. They are traveling west even though Petyr told Lord Royce that they would be going to the Fingers – Petyr tells her that they are going somewhere she will be safe from Cersei. On their way, they stop at an inn for lunch, where Brienne and Pod also happen to stop. Upon recognizing Sansa, she declares herself for Sansa but Sansa rejects her offer of service and watches Brienne defeat Petyr’s men and escape. When they make it to Moat Cailin, Sansa finds out that they are headed to Winterfell, where she is to marry Ramsay. While initially reluctant, she is pacified by Petyr who tells her to claim this opportunity to avenge her family. When they arrive at Winterfell, they are greeted politely by the Boltons and the servant who brings Sansa to her told room also expresses joy at having a Stark back in Winterfell and tells her that “The North Remembers”.
Sansa visits the Stark family crypts, where she is found by Petyr, who tells her that he’s been called back to Kings Landing. He reminds her that if Stannis wins the North, she needs to be in Winterfell so that he can declare her the Wardeness of the North. If Stannis loses, she is betrothed to Ramsay and, since she learned manipulation from Petyr himself, needs to win control of the North and House Bolton from within. While in her room, her maid bring Sansa a message and tells her that if she’s ever in trouble, she has to to light a candle in the highest window of the Broken Tower and help will come. Later, Myranda pretends to be friendly and tries to “help” Sansa remember her home by taking her to the kennels and showing her Reek. Reek tells Sansa she shouldn’t be down there and seeing him in this state, Sansa storms away. At dinner, Ramsay torments Sansa and Reek by making Reek apologize to Sansa for killing her brothers.
In preparation of the wedding, Myranda draws a bath for Sansa and warns her to never bore Ramsay by giving her examples of what happens when he does get bored of people. Sansa tells Myranda to cut the crap and asks Myranda if she really expected Ramsay to marry her. She also tells her that she is a Stark of Winterfell and not intimidated by her stories. After she has gotten ready for the wedding, Reek comes to escort her down the Godswood but she refuses to let him take her arm, even when he pleads to do so saying Ramsay will punish him otherwise. She and Ramsay are married.
A few days after the wedding, Sansa is living as the Boltons’ prisoner. When Reek brings her food, she tries to get him to help her but he refuses, telling her that she is Ramsay’s wife and needs to do what he says or he will hurt her – he is capable of much worse than what she has experienced. When Reek tries to leave, Sansa tells him he can redeem himself by playing a candle in the Broken Tower and reminding him that he is Theon Greyjoy, the son of Balon Greyjoy. It seems like he will help her but he tells Ramsay of her plans instead, which leads to Ramsay flaying Sansa’s maid. Ramsay makes Sansa look at the corpse but on the way back, Sansa steals a corkscrew. When Reek comes to her room with her next meal, she demands to know why he betrayed him and tells him that she is okay with everything Ramsay has done to torture him. Reek sadly acknowledges that he deserved what he got for murdering “those boys”. Her murdered brothers being referred to as “those boys” enrages Sansa and she demands to know why Reek is alive while her brothers are dead. Theon admits to her that the boys he killed were not Bran and Rickon.
While the battle between the Boltons and the Baratheons is raging, Sansa attempts her escape. She picks the lock with the corkscrew she stole and lights the candle in the Broken Tower. She runs into Reek and Myranda, who threatens Sansa with a bow. Sansa says she’s ready to die but Myranda says she’s only going to maim her but leave the parts that Ramsay needs to produce his heir. Before Myranda can hurt Sansa, Theon grabs her and throws her off the battlement, to her death. Theon and Sansa jump off the castle walls and into the snow below, hoping to survive and escape the Boltons.
Remember how Arya got on that ship at the end of Season 4? Well she’s now in Braavos and makes it to the House of Black and White. She knocks on the door but is rejected from entrance by an old man even though she shows him the coin Jaqen gave her. She stays outside the House for several days, reciting the list of names of people she wants to kill but she eventually tosses the coin and wanders off. She is hunting pigeons and encounters a group of boys who want to take Needle from her. She is ready to kill them but the boys scatter when the old man from the House shows up. Arya follows him back to the House and demands to know his identity. He gives her her coin back and his face morphs into Jaqen but insists that he is not Jaqen – he is no one and she must learn to be so as well.
Inside the House, Arya cleans while people come in to drink from the temple’s well and pray. Arya tells Jaqen she wants to learn but Jaqen tells her “Valar Dohaeris” or “all men must serve” and tells her she isn’t ready because she only wants to serve herself. Later, she is attacked and beaten by the Waif, who repeatedly asks who Arya is and keeps hitting her when Arya answers “no one”. Jaqen makes the Waif stop and notices that Arya still has Needle. He tells her she can’t be no one while she is in possession of Arya Stark’s things, so Arya throws her clothing and silver in the water but hides Needle under some rocks. Later, Jaqen escorts Arya into an inner chamber where she helps the Waif strip and clean the corpses. Arya wants to know what happens to the bodies after they’re cleaned but the Waif doesn’t tell her. Arya wants to play the game of faces but the Waif tells her that she’s tried playing already but failed. She also implies that in order to pass the game of faces, Arya needs to learn how to lie convincingly. While she is asleep, Jaqen wakes her up and asks her who she is, to which she tell him how she came to join the Faceless men but tries to slip in a lie here and there but each time, Jaqen is able to tell she’s lying and hits her. Later, in the temple, a grieving father brings his sick daughter and Arya makes up a story about herself being sick and how her father brought her there, how she drank from the well, and was healed, persuading the girl to drink from the poisoned well. Having proven that she could lie, Jaqen takes her to the Hall of Faces, where all the faces had been taken from the corpses cleaned at the House. Jaqen asks her if she’s ready to give up who she is to become no one and after a few moments, he tells her she’s not ready to become no one but she’s ready to become someone else.
Her first assignment is to be a shellfish monger and watch the “Thin Man” but she gets distracted because she sees a familiar face, Meryn Trant, who is in Braavos accompanying Mace Tyrell. That night, she follows him to a brothel, where she sees Trant seek out very young girls. The next night, Trant is given 3 girls who he beats; two whimper in pain but one makes no sound. He dismisses the other two but keeps the one and continues to hit her, until she’s on the ground. She removes her face and shows that she is Arya. She stabs him in the eyes and chest. She asks him if he remembers Syrio Forel and then asks him if he knows who she is. She tells him she is Arya Stark and slits his throat. Back at the House, she puts the face she stole back on the wall but is caught by Jaqen and the Waif. She has taken a life that was not hers to kill and “only death can pay for life”. She think she’s going to be poisoned but instead, Jaqen drinks the poison and dies. While Arya is grieving over Jaqen, the Waif questions her grief and reveals herself to be Jaqen. Arya removes face after face from the dead Jaqen’s body until she sees her own face. She becomes blind as punishment for her disobedience.
Jon is tasked with convincing Mance to bend the knee to Stannis, which Mance refuses so Stannis has him burned alive but Jon puts Mance out of his misery by shooting him through the heart. Stannis tries to convince Jon to bend the knee to him by promising to legitimize him as a Stark and making him the Lord of Winterfell but its a no go. After Jon tells Samwell about Stannis’ proposition and that he’s going to refuse it, Sam puts Jon up for the position of Lord Commander of the Night’s Watch. The votes are tallied and there is a tie between Alliser Thorne and Jon but Maester Aemon breaks the tie by voting for Jon. Stannis approaches Jon with his offer again but as the new Lord Commander of the Night’s Watch, Jon is even more steadfast on his refusal. He says that even though it has always been his dream to be a Stark, his place is with the Night’s Watch. Stannis respects his decision and leaves after telling Jon of his plans to march on Winterfell. However, Davos stays and tells Jon that maybe the Night’s Watch’s pledge to be ‘the shield that guards the realms of men’ doesn’t only mean protecting from beyond the wall but also protecting the Kingdom itself from suffering.
At a meeting of the Night’s Watch, Jon names Alliser as the First Ranger and assigns Janos Slynt to man and repair Greyguard, which he refuses and openly insults Jon. Having disobeyed his Commander, Jon orders Janos to be taken outside and asks Olly to fetch Longclaw. Janos tries to takebacksies but Jon doesn’t relent, executing him with a single blow. Janos also betrayed Ned in Kings Landing, so Jon got to exact a small revenge. Later, Melisandre tries to get into Jon’s pants because she has sensed something powerful about him but he turns her down for the love he still bears for Ygritte.
Jon has to make a decision with what to do with the wildings: let them fall into the hands of the White Walkers or help them escape and settle south of the Wall. The Night’s Watch Brothers are not into helping the wildlings at all but Maester Aemon tells him to do what he thinks is best – “Kill the boy, and let the man be born”. He asks Tormund to go to Hardhome, the wildling fishing village, and negotiate with them. Tormund agrees but only if Jon goes with so that the wildlings don’t think its a trap. Jon borrows ships from Stannis for the trip to Hardhome. He leaves Castle Black in the hands of Thorne and Sam gives him a bag of dragonglass, just in case.
At Hardhome, they meet Rattleshirt, who is a real dick to Jon so Tormund kills him. They then go in a hut to speak with the wildling leaders: Jon tells him he will share the dragonglass with them and allow them to settle in the south, if they help him against the coming war with the White Walkers. Most of the wildlings agree to leave with them but some decide to stay. While they are preparing to leave, they are attacked by an army of wights, during which battle, Jon discovers that White Walkers can also be killed by Valyrian Steel. Jon and Edd get to the ships and the wights don’t pursue them in water. The Night’s King stares at Jon while raising the newly dead to join his army.
Back at Castle Black, his relationship with the rest of the Night’s Watch is strained. Sam asks to leave to go to Oldtown with Gilly and the baby so that he can train to be a maester. Jon reluctantly agrees and sees Sam off. Davos returns from Stannis’ camp to ask for supplies and men but Jon refuses, pointing out the Night’s Watch’s neutrality. Their argument is broken up by the arrival of Melisandre, who confirms the deaths of Stannis and Shireen. Later that night, Olly comes to Jon, telling him that one of new wildlings knows the whereabouts of Benjen, Jon’s uncle. Elated, Jon hurries downstairs but instead of a wildling, he finds a sign marked “Traitor”. Thorne is the first to stab Jon while uttering “for the Watch”, followed by several other Brothers, including Olly. I hate that fucking kid. Jon collapses and dies from his wounds, as his blood stains the ice and snow around him.
See ya next week for the Season 6, Episode 1 recap!!