Game of Thrones (season 5)

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Game of Thrones
Season 5
Region 1 DVD artwork
Country of originUnited States
No. of episodes10
Original networkHBO
Original releaseApril 12 (2015-04-12) –
June 14, 2015 (2015-06-14)
Season chronology
← Previous
Season 4
Next →
Season 6
List of episodes

The fifth season of the fantasy drama television series Game of Thrones premiered on HBO on April 12, and concluded on June 14, 2015.[1] It was broadcast on Sunday at 9:00 pm in the United States, consisting of 10 episodes, each running approximately 50–60 minutes. The season primarily adapts the storylines from A Feast for Crows and A Dance with Dragons, the fourth and fifth novels in George R. R. Martin's A Song of Ice and Fire series, though it also uses the remaining elements from the third novel, A Storm of Swords, as well as the upcoming sixth novel The Winds of Winter.[2][3][4] It also contains original content not found in Martin's novels.[5] The series is adapted for television by David Benioff and D. B. Weiss.

Like previous seasons in Game of Thrones, the fifth season continues storylines primarily set within the fictional land of Westeros, while a few storylines are set in another continent, Essos. After the murders of King Joffrey and his grandfather Tywin Lannister, Cersei Lannister’s young, indecisive son, Tommen, rules Westeros as king. Tyrion flees to Essos, where he meets Daenerys Targaryen, who struggles to rule Slavers' Bay and regain control over her growing dragons. The Lannister family encounters new enemies, including a religious cult that Cersei foolishly empowers; they arrest her and Queen Margaery; Cersei confesses some sins and is released after a walk of atonement. Jon Snow becomes Lord Commander of the Night's Watch and serves under Stannis Baratheon, who pursues his claim to the Iron Throne by marching on the rebuilt Winterfell. Littlefinger has left Sansa Stark at Winterfell; she marries Ramsay Bolton, who rapes and imprisons her. Stannis is defeated and killed, while Sansa makes an escape with Theon. After Jon loses Night's Watchmen trying to rescue thousands of Wildlings from the White Walkers, several of his men mutiny and kill him. In Braavos, Arya Stark receives training as an assassin but disobeys her trainers, who blind her. Jaime retrieves princess Myrcella from Dorne, but she is murdered.

HBO ordered the fifth season on April 8, 2014, together with the sixth season, which began filming in July 2014.[6] The season was filmed primarily in Ireland, Northern Ireland, Croatia and Spain.

Game of Thrones features a large ensemble cast, including Peter Dinklage, Nikolaj Coster-Waldau, Lena Headey, Emilia Clarke and Kit Harington. The season introduced a number of new cast members, including Jonathan Pryce and Alexander Siddig.

Critics praised the show's production values and cast, giving specific accolades for Dinklage's portrayal of Tyrion Lannister. Viewership yet again rose compared to the previous season. This season set a Guinness World Record for winning the highest number of Emmy Awards for a series in a single season and year, winning 12 out of 24 nominations, including Outstanding Drama Series.[7][8]


No. in
TitleDirected byWritten byOriginal air date [9]U.S. viewers
411"The Wars to Come"Michael SlovisDavid Benioff & D. B. WeissApril 12, 2015 (2015-04-12)8.00[10]
In a flashback, a witch foretells a teenage Cersei that she will one day be a queen until a younger and more beautiful queen usurps her. The witch also predicts Cersei will have three children and her king husband will have twenty. In the present, Tywin is buried, and Lancel Lannister returns, now a devoted convert of a fanatical religious cult called the "Sparrows". In Pentos on Essos, a despondent Tyrion accompanies Varys to Meereen to meet Daenerys, who Varys believes may be worthy of the Iron Throne. In Meereen, the insurgent "Sons of the Harpy" murder an Unsullied. Daenerys angrily resists restoring old local traditions, including reopening the fighting pits. Missandei asks Grey Worm about why some Unsullied visit brothels. Daenerys visits her two confined dragons, who act aggressively toward her. In the Vale, Littlefinger puts Robin in House Royce's care when he and Sansa depart. At the Wall, Stannis Baratheon seeks to recruit the Wildlings in his war against Roose Bolton, offering citizenship and land as a reward. Jon is unable to persuade Mance Rayder to "bend the knee" to Stannis. As Mance is burned alive, Jon ends his agony with an arrow to the heart.
422"The House of Black and White"Michael SlovisDavid Benioff & D. B. WeissApril 19, 2015 (2015-04-19)6.81[11]
Arya arrives in Braavos and is accepted into the "House of Black and White" by Jaqen H'ghar, who calls himself and his colleagues, "no one". Jaime recruits Bronn to travel to Dorne with him to retrieve Jaime's niece/daughter Myrcella, who is now betrothed to Trystane Martell, Prince Doran's son. Podrick recognises Littlefinger and Sansa in a tavern; Brienne offers Sansa her protection but is rebuffed. Littlefinger insists Brienne come with them, but she refuses and escapes with Podrick, then secretly follows Sansa. Stannis offers Jon legitimacy and lordship of Winterfell if he leaves the Night's Watch and supports him, but Jon keeps his vow to the Night's Watch; Samwell nominates Jon as Lord Commander against Alliser Thorne; Maester Aemon casts his ballot for Jon, breaking a tie vote. Daenerys incites a riot by executing a former slave who murdered a Sons of the Harpy prisoner prior to his trial. Drogon reappears, but soon leaves.
433"High Sparrow"Mark MylodDavid Benioff & D. B. WeissApril 26, 2015 (2015-04-26)6.71[12]
Margaery, newly wed to King Tommen Baratheon, manipulates him to consider sending Cersei to Casterly Rock to eliminate her interference. Littlefinger takes Sansa to Winterfell to cement an alliance with Roose Bolton through marriage to his son, Ramsay and Sansa without the Lannisters knowledge. Sansa's unconsummated marriage with Tyrion is considered void. Brienne trains Podrick in swordsmanship. To conform to the House of Black and White, Arya tosses her personal effects into the harbor, but hides Needle in a pile of rocks. At Castle Black, Jon names Thorne First Ranger. When Slynt disobeys Jon's orders, Jon executes him. Lancel discovers the High Septon in a brothel, and he is forced to walk the streets nude as punishment. The High Septon protests to Cersei, who imprisons him. She meets with the High Sparrow, approving the Sparrows' actions. Tyrion and Varys arrive in Volantis. Soon after, Tyrion is abducted by Jorah, intending to give him "to the queen".
444"Sons of the Harpy"Mark MylodDave HillMay 3, 2015 (2015-05-03)6.82[13]
Cersei authorizes arming the Sparrows as the Faith Militant, who then arrest Loras Tyrell for homosexuality. Queen Margaery is enraged, but Tommen proves too weak to countermand them. Melisandre attempts to seduce Jon as a means to convince him to accompany Stannis to Winterfell. In Winterfell, before Littlefinger heads to King's Landing, he dispels Sansa's misgivings about marrying Ramsay, promising that Stannis will defeat the Boltons and rescue her, and even if not, she can manipulate Ramsay. Bronn and Jaime secretly land in Dorne to retrieve Myrcella; hearing this, Ellaria and her Sand Snakes plot to avenge Oberyn's death by abducting Myrcella. Jorah intends to redeem himself to Daenerys by presenting Tyrion as a prisoner. In Meereen, Loraq again appeals to Daenerys to reopen the fighting pits, a local tradition; the Sons of the Harpy ambush an Unsullied patrol inside the citadel, critically wounding Grey Worm and killing Ser Barristan Selmy.
455"Kill the Boy"Jeremy PodeswaBryan CogmanMay 10, 2015 (2015-05-10)6.56[14]
Brienne and Podrick arrive at an inn near Winterfell and smuggle a message to Sansa, offering her help if it is needed. Sansa discovers Theon is at Winterfell, and Ramsay forces him to apologize to her for supposedly killing her younger brothers. At the Wall, Tormund Giantsbane agrees to an alliance with the Night's Watch in return for the Wildlings to settle south of the Wall. Jon and Tormund travel to Hardhome to persuade the Wildlings. Stannis's army leaves for Winterfell, taking his family and Melisandre with them. In Meereen, as Grey Worm recuperates, he and Misandei develop romantic feelings. Daenerys feeds one Meereen nobleman to her dragons, Viserion and Rhaegal, and imprisons the others. She later agrees to reopen the fighting pits and weds Loraq to facilitate peace. At sea, Tyrion and Jorah sail through Valyria, seeing Drogon flying overhead. They are attacked by stone men and escape, but Jorah is infected with greyscale.
466"Unbowed, Unbent, Unbroken"Jeremy PodeswaBryan CogmanMay 17, 2015 (2015-05-17)6.24[15]
H'ghar takes Arya to a chamber filled with the faces of dead people. Jaime and Bronn reach the Water Gardens and find Myrcella with Trystane. The Sand Snakes attack them but Dornish guards arrive and arrest everyone. Jorah and Tyrion are captured by pirates. They narrowly escape slavery when Tyrion manages to talk their way to the fighting pits of Meereen. Littlefinger informs Cersei that Roose Bolton intends to marry Sansa to Ramsay. He offers to lead the knights of the Vale to Winterfell to defeat whichever weakened side wins the conflict between Roose and Stannis. If successful, Littlefinger will be named Warden of the North. Olenna Tyrell arrives in King's Landing and warns Cersei that imprisoning Loras has jeopardized their alliance. At Loras' inquest, Loras and Margaery both deny his homosexuality. The male prostitute, Olyvar, contradicts their testimony and Margaery is arrested for lying to the gods. Tommen is uncertain and ineffective. At Winterfell, Sansa weds Ramsay. On their wedding night, Ramsay rapes her in front of Theon.
477"The Gift"Miguel SapochnikDavid Benioff & D. B. WeissMay 24, 2015 (2015-05-24)5.40[16]
Jon leaves for Hardhome with Tormund and some rangers. Maester Aemon dies shortly after. Gilly is attacked by two Watchmen. Samwell intervenes and is overpowered until Ghost threatens them. Samwell and Gilly consummate their relationship. Sansa begs Theon to help her escape Winterfell, but instead he informs Ramsay, who then flays Brienne's informant inside Winterfell. At his army camp, Stannis refuses Melisandre's request to sacrifice Shireen to gain the Lord of Light's favor. Jorah and Tyrion are sold to slaver, Qaggaz, and are taken to Daznak's fighting pit. Daenerys and her consort, Loraq, inspect the pit in preparation for the upcoming games. Jorah defeats the other fighters, reveals his identity and Tyrion appears as his "gift" to her. In Dorne, while in the dungeon, Tyene Sand gives Bronn the antidote to a poison called "The Long Farewell" that she has infected him with. Prince Doran allows Jaime to take Myrcella and her fiancé, Prince Trystane, to King's Landing. The High Sparrow denies Olenna's demand that Loras and Margaery be released. The High Sparrow then arrests Cersei for her previous affair with her cousin Lancel.
488"Hardhome"Miguel SapochnikDavid Benioff & D. B. WeissMay 31, 2015 (2015-05-31)7.01[17]
Cersei's uncle, Kevan Lannister, is appointed as the Hand of the King. Cersei refuses to confess her crimes. H'ghar tasks Arya to study a marine insurance vendor who defrauds beneficiaries. Disguised as a shellfish peddler, she is to first learn about the insurer and then poison him. Theon tells Sansa that he faked killing Brandon and Rickon. Ramsay asks Roose for twenty men to attack Stannis's camp. In Meereen, Tyrion convinces Daenerys to spare Jorah's life; she does but exiles him again. Jorah returns to Yezzan and asks to fight in the pits. Daenerys accepts Tyrion into her council. Arriving in Hardhome, Jon and Tormund recruit five thousand Wildlings but an army of wights attacks them. Jon kills a White Walker with Longclaw, his Valyrian steel sword. As he, Tormund, and the other survivors escape by sea, they witness the Night King reanimating the dead Wildlings.
499"The Dance of Dragons"David NutterDavid Benioff & D. B. WeissJune 7, 2015 (2015-06-07)7.14[18]
Ramsay leads a covert attack on Stannis' camp, destroying siege equipment, food stores, and killing many horses. After dispatching Davos to Castle Black to request more supplies, Stannis, with Selyse's approval, allows Melisandre to sacrifice Shireen, burning her alive at the stake, believing it will help win the war. Jon and the other survivors return to the Wall, allowing the Wildlings to pass South. In Dorne, Prince Doran has permitted Jaime and Bronn to return to King's Landing with Myrcella, provided Trystane accompanies them and serves on the small council in Oberyn's stead. Doran also pardons Ellaria and her daughters. Arya aborts her first assassination assignment after spotting Trant accompanying Mace Tyrell, the Master of Coin, who has arrived in Braavos to negotiate with the Iron Bank. In Meereen, combat at Daznak's fighting pit resume. Daenerys is stunned that Jorah is among the fighters. His victory is interrupted when the Sons of the Harpy launch a surprise attack. Loraq is killed while Jorah saves Daenerys. The Harpies quickly swarm Daenerys and her supporters, forcing them and Jorah to retreat into the pit. Drogon suddenly arrives, burning many Sons of the Harpy; Daenerys mounts Drogon and commands him to fly away.
5010"Mother's Mercy"David NutterDavid Benioff & D. B. WeissJune 14, 2015 (2015-06-14)8.11[19]
Selyse, now distraught over Shireen's death, hangs herself, while half of Stannis' forces desert and Melisandre flees to Castle Black. The Boltons easily defeat Stannis' depleted army. Brienne finds Stannis on the battlefield and executes him for Renly Baratheon's murder. Theon kills Myranda after she catches him and Sansa attempting to escape Winterfell. The duo leap from the outer wall together. Cersei confesses her former relationship with Lancel and must atone by parading the streets naked, pelted with garbage, spit, and feces by jeering crowds. Upon reaching the Red Keep, Qyburn introduces her to the newest Kingsguard member who is completely loyal. Jaime, Myrcella, Bronn, and Trystane set sail from Dorne, but Myrcella has been poisoned by Ellaria Sand and soon dies. Arya is punished, losing her sight, for violating the Faceless Men rules after killing Trant for personal revenge. Varys arrives in Meereen to govern the city with Tyrion, Grey Worm, and Missandei, while Daario and Jorah search for Daenerys, who has been captured by a Dothraki horde. Samwell, Gilly, and Little Sam leave Castle Black for Oldtown where Samwell will train as a Maester. Mutineers, including Alliser Thorne and Jon's steward, Olly, fatally stab Jon, leaving his body in the courtyard.


Main cast[edit]

Guest cast[edit]

The recurring actors listed here are those who appeared in season 5. They are listed by the region in which they first appear:



The production team during a location scouting at Klis Fortress, Croatia prior to season 5.

The writing staff for the fifth season includes executive producers and showrunners David Benioff and D. B. Weiss, producer Bryan Cogman, and Dave Hill, who was promoted to staff writer this season after previously working as an assistant to Benioff and Weiss.[20] Author George R. R. Martin, who had written one episode for each of the first four seasons, did not write an episode for the fifth season as he was working to finish writing the sixth novel of the series, The Winds of Winter.[21] The directing staff for the fifth season is Michael Slovis (episodes 1 and 2), Mark Mylod (episodes 3 and 4), Jeremy Podeswa (episodes 5 and 6), Miguel Sapochnik (episodes 7 and 8), and David Nutter (episodes 9 and 10). Nutter is the only returning director with the rest being first-time Game of Thrones directors.[22]


This season features more original material than previous seasons.[23][24] The deviations from Martin's novels are in part attributable to the way the television series has covered most of the novel series' published material and in part to the directors' opinions of the actors' abilities. For example, Sansa Stark arrives at Winterfell to marry Ramsay Bolton in "High Sparrow," a plotline that had been given to a minor character in the novels.[25][26][27] In an interview, show writer David Benioff explains that Sophie Turner's development as an actress was one of the reasons that they decided to give her character more dramatic scenes, saying, "Even if [child actors] come in and do a great audition, it’s so hard to know if they’re going to quite literally grow into the parts. With Sansa and Arya in particular, their storylines have become quite dark. It was such a gamble and the fact that they’ve both become such great wonderful actresses is a bit of a miracle."[28] Bryan Cogman added that it made more sense to give the Winterfell storyline to a proven actress who was already popular with viewers than to bring in a new character.[28]

Other changes include the portrayal of Tommen as old enough to interact with Margaery and the Faith Militant as an adult, the speeding up or streamlining of several subplots, and the introduction of fewer new characters. According to Benioff and Weiss, "We felt we'd capsize the show if we put in every single character from the books."[29] Critics particularly liked the decision to have Tyrion actually meet Daenerys at the end of "The Gift," which has yet to happen as of A Dance with Dragons.[30][31] David Benioff cited the television adaptation's faster pace as part of the rationale behind this decision.[32]


The Alcázar of Seville stands in for the Water Gardens of Dorne.

Filming for the fifth season began in July 2014 in Belfast[33] and ended in December 2014. Locations in Northern Ireland included Titanic Studios, Belfast[34] and the cliff edge of Binevenagh Mountain. The Winterfell sets were in the village of Moneyglass.[35]

Some of the scenes that take place in the principality of Dorne were filmed in Spain,[34] beginning in October 2014.[36] Locations explored for the production included the Alcázar of Seville and the University of Osuna.[37] On October 14, some scenes were filmed on the Roman bridge of Córdoba.[38] Benioff and Weiss said that season 5 would include flashbacks, which they had previously avoided, and that Córdoba would represent the city of Volantis.[39]

Cersei's "walk of atonement" from A Dance with Dragons was filmed in Dubrovnik, Croatia, in the Stradun street between the Dubrovnik Cathedral and the Sponza Palace[40] in early October 2014. The production reportedly employed a body double for Lena Headey for part of the scene in which Cersei appears naked.[41] Meereen scenes were once again shot in Diocletian's Palace in Split, and on Klis Fortress north of Split.

A town on the coast of the Bay of Kaštela in Croatia, the 16th century Kaštel Gomilica stood in for some parts of Braavos.[34]

A very small portion of one episode was filmed in Calgary, Alberta, Canada: the scenes featuring Jon Snow's wolf Ghost (played by animal actor Quigly) who also appears in season 6.[42]


Jonathan Pryce plays the High Sparrow.

The fifth season adds previously recurring actors Indira Varma (Ellaria Sand), Michiel Huisman (Daario Naharis), Nathalie Emmanuel (Missandei), Dean-Charles Chapman (Tommen Baratheon), Tom Wlaschiha (Jaqen H'ghar) and Michael McElhatton (Roose Bolton) to the series' main cast.[43]

In the fifth season, the region of Dorne is introduced as a location. Alexander Siddig joins the cast as Doran Martell, the ruling Prince of Dorne, and elder brother of Oberyn Martell,[44] while his son Trystane Martell is portrayed by Toby Sebastian. The role of Cersei's daughter Myrcella Baratheon, who is Doran's ward and betrothed to Trystane is played by Nell Tiger Free.[44] The role was portrayed by Aimee Richardson in the first two seasons.[44] DeObia Oparei portrays Areo Hotah, the captain of the Dornish palace guard.[44] The three eldest bastard daughters of Oberyn Martell (collectively known as the "Sand Snakes") are portrayed by Keisha Castle-Hughes (Obara Sand), Jessica Henwick (Nymeria Sand), and Rosabell Laurenti Sellers (Tyene Sand).[44]

In King's Landing, Jonathan Pryce joins the cast as the High Sparrow, the leader of the militant faithful in King's Landing,[44] while Hannah Waddingham portrays Septa Unella, one of the "Most Devout", the ruling council of the Faith of the Seven.[45] Nell Williams was cast as a young Cersei Lannister seen in flashbacks,[46] while Jodhi May was cast as Maggy the Frog, a fortune-teller.[47]

Across the Narrow Sea, Enzo Cilenti joins as Yezzan, a Yunkish nobleman and slave trader,[44] while Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje was cast as Malko, a slaver, who does not appear in the novels.[48] At Castle Black and beyond the Wall, new cast members include Michael Condron as Bowen Marsh, First Steward of the Night's Watch.[49] J. J. Murphy, who was cast as Night's Watch officer Denys Mallister, died in August 2014 shortly after filming his first scenes; his role was not recast.[50] One role that was recast for season 5 was Ross O'Hennessy as the Lord of Bones. O'Hennessy replaces Edward Dogliani who was last seen in the season 3 premiere "Valar Dohaeris".[51] Charles Dance, whose character died in the previous season, returned for one episode to portray Tywin Lannister's corpse.[52] Isaac Hempstead-Wright (Bran Stark), Kristian Nairn (Hodor) and Ellie Kendrick (Meera Reed) are absent this season because their part in the story has reached the end of A Dance with Dragons.[53][54]


The soundtrack for the season was released digitally on June 9, 2015, and on CD on July 17, 2015.[55]


Critical response[edit]

Game of Thrones (season 5): Critical reception by episode

Season 5 (2015): Percentage of positive critics' reviews tracked by the website Rotten Tomatoes[56]

The fifth season was met with mostly positive reviews, though many deemed it to be weaker than its predecessors. On Metacritic, the season (based on the first four episodes) has a score of 91 out of 100 based on 29 reviews, indicating "universal acclaim".[57] On Rotten Tomatoes, the fifth season has a 93% approval rating from 574 critics with an average rating of 8.6 out of 10. The site's critical consensus reads, "Bloody action and extreme power plays return full throttle, as Game of Thrones enjoys a new-found liberation from the world of the source material, resulting in more unexpected thrills."[56]

The Daily Telegraph stated in regards to the premiere episode, "Essentially, this was an exercise in scene setting, the chess pieces being laid out on the board."[58] New York Daily News praised the season to have "little trouble keeping its pedal to the metal" due to its "cold-blooded characters treating personnel turnover as the natural order", when other shows "are starting to run out of gas by Season 5".[59] Slant Magazine gave the season 3.5 out of 4 and stated, "There's plenty of death in the fifth season of the show, and it's understood as a cautionary symbol of power."[60] Vanity Fair called this season "rich, satisfying and fantastically put together".[61] Variety gave the season a positive review and stated, "Operating on a scale like nothing else on TV, and creatively liberated to play a long game stretching into the future, perhaps no project better distinguishes HBO's status as the leading premium player."[62] IndieWire gave the season a score of 'B+' and found the "first few episodes skew dry, concerned largely with the establishment of allegiances", but still praised them for keeping the audiences "connected to those who have managed to survive thus far in the battle for power."[63]

The Boston Globe gave the season a positive review and stated, "The funny thing about Game of Thrones is that it's built on familiar genres and yet it appeals to those who may not be fans of those genres."[64] James Poniewozik of Time gave the season a positive review and stated, "Game of Thrones is flying, full tilt, toward a destination off the edge of our map of the known world. I can't wait to see what it finds there."[65] gave the season a positive review and stated, "In the fifth season, the story has been distilled to just the moments of pathos and characterization and gorgeous direction that make the story work."[66] Slate was concerned about the fact that the season "pulls even further away from the novels (the Sansa plot will drive some fans crazier than King Aerys)", though still thought it was "better for it".[67]

The A.V. Club gave the season a score of 'A−' and stated, "Benioff and Weiss are making the same show but with slightly different rhythms, relying more on character shading and interplay than on staging the next massacre."[68] Christopher Orr of The Atlantic found the season to be an improvement over the source material in terms of pace and focus.[69] David Wiegand of the San Francisco Chronicle gave the season 4 out of 4 and eulogized the "greater sense of urgency",[70] while The New York Times praised the "overall feeling of recharging and regeneration".[71] Mary McNamara of the Los Angeles Times gave the season a positive review and stated, "Breathtaking, heartbreaking, awe-inspiring and addictive, it remains the single most remarkable feat of television, possibly ever, increasingly admirable for its ability to grow rather than simply sustain."[72]

The only major publication to give the season a negative review was John Doyle of The Globe and Mail who stated, "A certain character says to someone who had been believed to be dangerous: "You're not terrifying, you're boring!" I'm with that character, all the way. Yes, everyone's a critic, Ms. Atwood."[73]

The sixth episode, "Unbowed, Unbent, Unbroken" was heavily criticized due to the showrunners' decision to have a well-liked character suffer a sexual assault.[74] It received a rating of 54% on Rotten Tomatoes, lower than any previous episode of the show.[75] The eighth episode, "Hardhome", received significant praise and was immediately regarded as one of the best episodes in the series.[76] According to Business Insider, "Despite the attacks, Game of Thrones remains a steady hit."[77]

Season 5 featured more significant changes from the novels. Some of the changes were more well-received than others (the sexual assault scene was heavily criticized and caused great controversy).[78] The various plotlines for the season also differed significantly in reception. The Dornish subplot received an overwhelmingly negative reception.[79] In particular, the hyped Sand Snakes were maligned by critics and fans alike, as many found them cheesy and unlikeable.[80] In contrast, Tyrion's storyline was highly praised. Many fans felt that his subplot progressed overly slowly in the novels, and his meeting with Daenerys was particularly lauded.[81]


The gross viewing figure per episode for the show, which include streaming, DVR recordings and repeat showings, averaged at 20 million this season.[82][83]

Viewership and ratings per episode of Game of Thrones
No. Title Air date Rating
DVR viewers
Total viewers
1 "The Wars to Come" April 12, 2015 4.2 8.00[10] 1.0 2.07 5.2 10.07[84]1
2 "The House of Black and White" April 19, 2015 3.6 6.81[11] 1.2 2.0 4.8 8.81[85]
3 "High Sparrow" April 26, 2015 3.5 6.71[12] 1.2 2.42 4.7 9.14[86]
4 "Sons of the Harpy" May 3, 2015 3.6 6.82[13] 0.9 1.73 4.5 8.55[87]1
5 "Kill the Boy" May 10, 2015 3.5 6.56[14] 1.5 2.79 5.0 9.35[88]
6 "Unbowed, Unbent, Unbroken" May 17, 2015 3.1 6.24[15] 1.4 2.55 4.5 8.79[89]
7 "The Gift" May 24, 2015 2.5 5.40[16] 2.0 3.47 4.5 8.87[90]
8 "Hardhome" May 31, 2015 3.4 7.01[17] 1.7 2.93 5.1 9.94[91]
9 "The Dance of Dragons" June 7, 2015 3.6 7.14[18] 1.6 2.79 5.2 9.92[92]
10 "Mother's Mercy" June 14, 2015 4.1 8.11[19] 1.3 2.31 5.4 10.43[93]

^1 Live +7 ratings were not available, so Live +3 ratings have been used instead.

Business Insider noted a significant difference in the ratings between this season and previous seasons. The typical pattern involves "Solid premiere viewings followed by a slow but steady gain of momentum through to the finale. Historically, the finale episodes of each season have beaten the premiere for total number of viewers". However, this season showed a significant decline from 8 million viewers at the premiere to 5.4 million at the seventh episode, "The Gift". Business Insider cites two likely reasons for the lower ratings: backlash over the rape scene in "Unbowed, Unbent, Unbroken", one of many deviations from the novels throughout the season that "have upset fans," and increased online streaming through HBO Now. It also acknowledged a possible effect of the first four episodes leaking online before the season premiere and the decision to air on Memorial Day weekend in the United States (a weekend that had been skipped in previous seasons). Business Insider reached out to HBO for comment, HBO responded that it is seeing an increase in overall viewer numbers this season taking into account streaming services, which are not included in Nielsen ratings.[74][94] The dip in ratings did not extend to the eighth and ninth episodes, "Hardhome," and "The Dance of Dragons", which were both seen by over 7 million viewers.[77] The season finale, "Mother's Mercy" was seen by 8.11 million people, setting a new record and making it the most watched episode of the series.[19]


For the 5th Critics' Choice Television Awards, the series was nominated for Best Drama Series.[95] For the 31st TCA Awards, the series was nominated for Program of the Year and Outstanding Achievement in Drama.[96] For the 67th Primetime Emmy Awards, the series received 24 nominations, the most of any series. It won 12 awards, including Outstanding Drama Series, Peter Dinklage for Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Drama Series, Benioff and Weiss for Outstanding Writing for a Drama Series for "Mother's Mercy", and David Nutter for Outstanding Directing for a Drama Series for "Mother's Mercy".[7] Nominations included Lena Headey and Emilia Clarke both for Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Drama Series, Diana Rigg for Outstanding Guest Actress in a Drama Series, and Jeremy Podeswa for Outstanding Directing for a Drama Series for "Unbowed, Unbent, Unbroken".[97]

Year Award Category Nominee(s) Result Ref.
2015 AFI Awards AFI TV Award Game of Thrones Won [98]
5th Critics' Choice Television Awards Best Drama Series Game of Thrones Nominated [95]
Most Bingeworthy Show Game of Thrones Nominated
31st TCA Awards Outstanding Achievement in Drama Game of Thrones Nominated [96]
Program of the Year Game of Thrones Nominated
Gold Derby TV Awards 2015 Best Drama Series Game of Thrones Won [99]
Best Drama Supporting Actor Peter Dinklage Won
Best Drama Supporting Actress Lena Headey Won
Best Drama Guest Actress Diana Rigg Won
Best Drama Episode "Hardhome" Nominated
"Mother's Mercy" Won
Ensemble of the Year The cast of Game of Thrones Won
Artios Awards Outstanding Achievement in Casting – Television Series Drama Nina Gold Won [100]
EWwy Award Best Supporting Actress, Drama Maisie Williams Nominated [101]
Sophie Turner Nominated
67th Primetime Emmy Awards Outstanding Directing for a Drama Series David Nutter for "Mother's Mercy" Won [102]
Jeremy Podeswa for "Unbowed, Unbent, Unbroken" Nominated
Outstanding Writing for a Drama Series David Benioff and D. B. Weiss for "Mother's Mercy" Won
Outstanding Drama Series Game of Thrones Won
Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Drama Series Peter Dinklage as Tyrion Lannister Won
Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Drama Series Emilia Clarke as Daenerys Targaryen Nominated
Lena Headey as Cersei Lannister Nominated
67th Primetime Creative Arts Emmy Awards Outstanding Casting for a Drama Series Nina Gold, Robert Sterne, and Carla Stronge Won [102]
Outstanding Cinematography for a Single-Camera Series Fabian Wagner for "Hardhome" Nominated
Anette Haellmigk for "Sons of the Harpy" Nominated
Rob McLachlan for "The Dance of Dragons" Nominated
Gregory Middleton for "Unbowed, Unbent, Unbroken" Nominated
Outstanding Costumes for a Fantasy Series Michele Clapton, Sheena Wichary, Nina Ayres, Alex Fordham for "The Dance of Dragons" Nominated
Outstanding Guest Actress in a Drama Series Diana Rigg as Lady Olenna Tyrell Nominated
Outstanding Hairstyling for a Single-Camera Series Kevin Alexander, Candice Banks, Rosalia Culora, Gary Machin, Laura Pollock, Nicola Mount for Mother's Mercy Nominated
Outstanding Make-up for a Single-Camera Series (Non-Prosthetic) Jane Walker and Nicola Matthews for "Mother's Mercy" Won
Outstanding Production Design for a Fantasy Program Deborah Riley, Paul Ghirardani, Rob Cameron for "High Sparrow", "Unbowed, Unbent, Unbroken", and "Hardhome" Won
Outstanding Prosthetic Makeup for a Series Jane Walker, Barrie Gower, and Sarah Gower for "Hardhome" Nominated
Outstanding Single-Camera Picture Editing for a Drama series Tim Porter for "Hardhome" Nominated
Katie Weiland for "The Dance of Dragons" Won
Outstanding Sound Editing for a Series Tim Kimmel, Paula Fairfield, Bradley C. Katona, Peter Bercovitch, David Klotz, Jeffrey Wilhoit, Dylan T. Wilhoit for "Hardhome" Won
Outstanding Sound Mixing for a Series Ronan Hill, Richard Dyer, Onnalee Blank, Mathew Waters for "Hardhome" Won
Outstanding Special Visual Effects Steve Kullback, Joe Bauer, Adam Chazen, Jabbar Raisani, Eric Carney, Stuart Brisdon, Derek Spears, James Kinnings, Matthew Rouleau for "The Dance of Dragons" Won
Outstanding Stunt Coordination for a Series Rowley Irlam Won
E! Online Best. Ever. TV. Awards Outstanding Drama Series Game of Thrones Nominated [103]
Hollywood Post Alliance Outstanding Sound Tim Kimmel, Paula Fairfield, Bradley Katona, Paul Bercovitch, Onnalee Blank, Mathew Waters for "Hardhome" Nominated [104]
Outstanding Color Grading Joe Finley for "Hardhome" Nominated
Outstanding Editing Tim Porter for "Hardhome" Nominated
Outstanding Visual Effects Joe Bauer, Steve Kullback, Derek Spears, Eric Carney, Jabbar Raisani for "The Dance of Dragons" Won
British Society of Cinematographers Best Cinematography in a Television Drama Fabian Wagner for "Hardhome" Nominated [105]
ACO/BSC/GBCT Operators TV Drama Award David Morgan, Sean Savage, Ben Wilson, David Worley for "Hardhome" Won [106]
Australian Production Design Guild Production Design for a Television Drama Deborah Riley Won [107]
20th Satellite Awards Best Supporting Actor – Series, Miniseries or Television Film Peter Dinklage Nominated [108]
Best Television Series – Genre Game of Thrones Nominated
IGN Awards Best TV Series Game of Thrones Nominated [109]
Best TV Episode "Hardhome" Won
Best TV Drama Series Game of Thrones Nominated
Best TV Villain Iwan Rheon as Ramsay Bolton Nominated
IGN People's Choice Awards Best TV Series Game of Thrones Nominated
Best TV Episode "Hardhome" Nominated
Best TV Drama Series Game of Thrones Nominated
Best TV Villain Iwan Rheon as Ramsay Bolton Nominated
2016 Guinness World Records Largest TV drama simulcast Game of Thrones Won [110]
Most viewers sharing a single torrent file simultaneously Game of Thrones Won [111]
42nd People's Choice Awards Favorite TV Show Game of Thrones Nominated [112]
Favorite Cable Sci-Fi/Fantasy TV Show Game of Thrones Nominated
Favorite Cable Sci-Fi/Fantasy TV Actress Emilia Clarke Nominated
Shorty Awards Favorite TV Show Game of Thrones Nominated [113]
GIF of the Year Game of Thrones Come At Me Bro Nominated
Empire Awards Best TV Series Game of Thrones Nominated [115]
Art Directors Guild Awards 2015 One-Hour Single Camera Fantasy Television Series Deborah Riley for "High Sparrow", "Unbowed, Unbent, Unbroken" and "Hardhome" Won [116]
Screenwriters Choice Awards Best Television Drama Game of Thrones Won [117]
Hollywood Makeup Artist and Hair Stylist Guild Awards Best Period and/or Character Makeup – Television Jane Walker Won [118]
Best Period and/or Character Hair Styling – Television Kevin Alexander, Candice Banks Won
Webby Award Best Overall Social Presence Game of Thrones Won [119]
Location Managers Guild Awards Outstanding Locations in Period Television Robert Boake and Tate Araez Won [120]
Cinema Audio Society Awards Outstanding Achievement in Sound Mixing - Television Series – One Hour Ronan Hill, Richard Dyer, Onnalee Blank, Mathew Waters, Brett Voss for "Hardhome" Won [121]
American Cinema Editors Awards 2016 Best Edited One-Hour Series For Non-Commercial Television Katie Weiland for "The Dance of Dragons" Nominated [122]
Tim Porter for "Hardhome" Nominated
Costume Designers Guild Awards Outstanding Period/Fantasy Television Series Michele Clapton for Game of Thrones Won [123]
68th Directors Guild of America Awards Dramatic Series David Nutter for "Mother’s Mercy" Won [124]
American Society of Cinematographers Outstanding Achievement in Cinematography in Regular Series Fabian Wagner for "Hardhome" Nominated [125]
73rd Golden Globe Awards Best Television Series – Drama Game of Thrones Nominated [126]
13th Irish Film & Television Awards Best Television Drama Game of Thrones Nominated [127]
Actor in a Supporting Role – Television Liam Cunningham Nominated
MTV Millennial Awards Killer Series of the Year Game of Thrones Won [128]
21st National Television Awards Best International Show Game of Thrones Nominated [129]
Producers Guild of America Awards 2015 "Norman Felton Award for Outstanding Producer of Episodic Television, Drama" David Benioff, D. B. Weiss, Bernadette Caulfield, Frank Doelger, Carolyn Strauss, Bryan Cogman, Lisa McAtackney, Chris Newman, Greg Spence Won [130]
42nd Saturn Awards Best Fantasy Television Series Game of Thrones Nominated [131]
Best Supporting Actor on Television Kit Harington Nominated
Best Supporting Actress on Television Lena Headey Nominated
Best Performance by a Younger Actor in a Television Series Maisie Williams Nominated
Brenock O'Connor Nominated
22nd Screen Actors Guild Awards Outstanding Action Performance by a Stunt Ensemble in a Drama Series Boian Anev, Richard Bradshaw, Jonathan Cohen, Christopher Cox, Jacob Cox, Matt Crook, Rob DeGroot, Levan Doran, Clint Elvy, James Embree, Bradley Farmer, Richard Hansen, Bobby Holland-Hanton, Radoslav Ignatov, Borislav Iliev, Rowley Irlam, Erol Ismail, Milen Kaleychev, Paul Lowe, Jonathan McBride, Sian Milne, David Newton, Radoslav Parvanov, Ian Pead, Jan Petrina, Rashid Phoenix, Andy Pilgrim, Dominic Preece, Marc Redmond, Paul Shapcott, Ryan Stuart, Pablo Verdejo, Calvin Warrington-Heasman, Annabel E. Wood, Danko Yordanov, and Lewis Young Won [132]
Outstanding Performance by An Ensemble in a Drama Series Alfie Allen, Ian Beattie, John Bradley, Gwendoline Christie, Emilia Clarke, Michael Condron, Nikolaj Coster-Waldau, Ben Crompton, Liam Cunningham, Stephen Dillane, Peter Dinklage, Nathalie Emmanuel, Tara Fitzgerald, Jerome Flynn, Brian Fortune, Joel Fry, Aidan Gillen, Iain Glen, Kit Harington, Lena Headey, Michiel Huisman, Brenock O'Conner, Daniel Portman, Iwan Rheon, Owen Teale, Sophie Turner, Carice Van Houten, Maisie Williams and Tom Wlaschiha Nominated
Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Drama Series Peter Dinklage Nominated
Glamour Awards 2016 Best UK TV Actress Sophie Turner Won [133]
Golden Reel Awards Best Sound Editing in Television, Short Form: FX/Foley Tim Kimmel for "Hardhome" Won [134]
Best Sound Editing in Television, Short Form: Dialogue / ADR Tim Kimmel for "Hardhome" Won
Best Sound Editing in Television, Short Form: Music David Klotz for "Hardhome" Nominated
USC Scripter Award Best Adapted Screenplay David Benioff and D. B. Weiss for "Hardhome" Nominated [135]
Visual Effects Society Awards 2015 Outstanding Visual Effects in a Photoreal Episode Joe Bauer, Steve Kullback, Eric Carney, Derek Spears, Stuart Brisdon for "The Dance of Dragons" Won [136]
Outstanding Animated Performance in an Episode, Commercial, or Real-Time Project Florian Friedmann, Jonathan Symmonds, Sven Skoczylas, Sebastian Lauer' for "Mother's Mercy" - Wounded Drogon Nominated
James Kinnings, Michael Holzl, Joseph Hoback, Matt Derksen for "Dance of Dragons" - Drogon Arena Rescue Nominated
Outstanding Created Environment in an Episode, Commercial, or Real-Time Project Dominic Piche, Christine Leclerc, Patrice Poissant, Thomas Montminy-Brodeur for "City of Volantis" Won
Rajeev B R., Loganathan Perumal, Ramesh Shankers, Anders Ericson for "Drogon Arena" Nominated
Outstanding Effects Simulations in an Episode, Commercial, or Real-Time Project David Ramos, Antonio Lado, Piotr Weiss, Félix Bergés for "Hardhome" Won
Outstanding Compositing in a Photoreal Episode Eduardo Díaz, Guillermo Orbe, Oscar Perea, Inmaculada Nadela for "Hardhome" Won
Dan Breckwoldt, Martin Furman, Sophie Marfleet, Eric Andrusyszyn for "Drogon Arena" Nominated
Travis Nobles, Mark Spindler, Max Riess, Nadja Ding for "Drogon Lair" Nominated
Writers Guild of America Awards 2015 Episodic Drama David Benioff and D. B. Weiss for "Mother's Mercy" Nominated [137]
Television Drama Series David Benioff, Bryan Cogman, Dave Hill, D. B. Weiss Nominated
Canadian Society of Cinematographers TV series Cinematography Robert McLachlan for "The Dance of Dragons" Won [138]
TV series Cinematography Gregory Middleton for "Unbowed, Unbent, Unbroken" Nominated



The season was simulcast to 170 countries by HBO and its broadcast partners. In some countries, it aired the day after its first release.[139][140][141] Sky Atlantic, the network serving the United Kingdom and Ireland, aired the premiere the day after HBO, but joined the simulcast for the rest of the season.[142]


A half-hour documentary, Game of Thrones: A Day in the Life, aired on HBO on February 8, 2015. It covered one day of production of season 5 on three sets in Belfast, Dubrovnik and Osuna from the viewpoint of key crew members.[143] The first official trailer for season 5 was released on January 30, 2015,[144] and the season's second trailer was released on March 9, 2015.[145] The world premiere of the first episode of the fifth season was held at the Tower of London on March 18, 2015.[146]

Home media[edit]

The season was released on Blu-ray and DVD on March 15, 2016, in region 1 and March 14, 2016, in region 2.[147][148]

Game of Thrones: The Complete Fifth Season
Set details Special features
  • Format: AC-3, Blu-ray, DTS Surround Sound, Dubbed, NTSC, Subtitled, Widescreen
  • Language: English, French, Castilian, German
  • Subtitles: English, French, Castilian, German, Dutch, Danish, Finnish, Greek, Hebrew, Norwegian, Portuguese, Romanian, Swedish, Turkish
  • 16:9 aspect ratio
  • 5-disc set, 10 episodes
  • "New Characters and Locations": Explores the new societies, cultures and locations of Season 5.
  • "Anatomy of an Episode: Mother's Mercy": Behind the scenes of the season finale. From the early stages of the writer's room to the final visual effects.
  • "The Real History Behind Game of Thrones Parts 1 and 2": Watch historians, along with George R. R. Martin, explore the interweaving inspirations of the actual players in the era known as "The Wars of the Roses" and other historical events in this two-part series.
  • "A Day in the Life": Takes you behind-the-scenes of production in three countries, offering an inside look at the production process of Season 5.
  • Deleted Scenes: Four deleted scenes.
  • 12 audio commentaries by, among others, Benioff, Weiss, Dinklage, Headey, Harington, Coster-Waldau, Glen, Williams, Dormer, Christie and more.

Blu-ray exclusive:

  • "The Dance of Dragons": Tells the story of the Greens and the Blacks, the Targaryen civil war that led to the downfall of the dragons, featuring surprise narration from notable characters from past seasons.
  • "In-Episode Guide": In-feature resource that provides background information about on-screen characters, locations and relevant histories.
  • "Histories & Lore": Learn about the mythology of Westeros as told from the varying perspectives of the characters themselves.[147][149]
DVD release dates
Region 1 Region 2 Region 4
March 15, 2016[147] March 14, 2016[148] March 16, 2016[150]

Illegal distribution[edit]

On April 11, prior to the airing of the season's first episode, screener copies of the first four episodes were leaked to several file sharing sites.[151] According to TorrentFreak, 18 million different IP addresses downloaded the leaked episodes, totaling 32 million downloads during the first week.[152] The fifth season of Game of Thrones was the most-pirated TV series in 2015.[153]


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