Sophie Turner - Game of Thrones - Lead

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Warning: This story includes spoilers from the Game of Thrones Season 5 finale.

Six. Six Game of Thrones characters died in the Season 5 finale, “Mother’s Mercy.” And one of those deaths marks potentially the show’s greatest character loss yet (we felt every gut stab). Oh, and Arya’s blind. Shireen is still dead. Brienne​ ​abandons Sansa (above). Cersei just totally redefined a term for walking home after a hookup. And—

There is so much more. The finale followed two extreme, full-throttle episodes, and some may have expected tonight’s to take a breather and hit the brakes. Instead, Thrones continued the same relentless pace and emotional magnitude for its finale. Taken together, the last three hours of the season are incredible in their scope, ambition, and narrative significance. While Thrones has been playing at a higher level in terms of its production values than the rest of television for years, I have a difficult time thinking of any series that—purely on a storytelling level—has had a triple-episode arc as intense as the past few weeks.

There is much to discuss. So let’s strip down and walk through the final Thrones recap of 2015 with our heads held high…