Ring the Bells if you don’t want SPOILERS (spoilers below).
So you know the joke running around the internet about how this show is going to end? “And then everyone died. The end.”
That’s pretty much last night’s episode of Game of Thrones.
We begin with Varys (Conleth Hill). One of his “little birds,” an adorable working class girl, informs our dear Spider that Daenerys (Emilia Clarke) hasn’t eaten anything in days. The recent deaths of those closest to her has left Daenerys shell-shocked. I’ve never seen our dear Khaleesi like this.
When Jon (Kit Harington) arrives, it does nothing to ease Dany’s spirit. She tells Tyrion (Peter Dinklage) Jon betrayed her by telling his sisters about his Targaryen heritage.
Tyrion corrects her by saying Varys betrayed her by spreading the word about Jon’s claim to the throne across the continent.
Dany tells Tyrion she begged Jon not to tell his sisters about his heritage. From Daenerys’ point of view, it seems everyone has betrayed her — including Tyrion for telling Varys.
Daenerys orders her dragon Drogon to burn Varys alive. Melisandre (Carice Van Houten) was right. Both she and Varys died in Westeros.
Just when it seems like Dany’s thirst for vengeance has been fulfilled, she drops another bombshell: Jaime Lannister (Nikolaj Coster-Waldau) has been captured by the Unsullied. It appears Jaime was riding to King’s Landing to side with Cersei (Lena Headey). Tyrion has once again disappointed his Queen. After all, did he not tell Daenerys that Jaime could be trusted?
Daenerys is not pleased. She tells Tyrion his next mistake, will be his last mistake.
Still, in spite of all of this, Tyrion risks his neck to free Jaime. He tells Jaime to do two things. First, to ring the bells of surrender in King’s Landing. Once the bells have rung, Dany’s army will cease attacking, giving Jaime enough time to escape with Cersei. Tyrion was even kind enough to leave a boat waiting for his siblings. Tyrion and Jaime tearfully embrace while Tyrion thanks Jaime for being the only Lannister to never treat him like a monster.
I think many viewers are now asking themselves “what the hell happened to Daenerys? I used to love her!”
Ok, let’s go down the list. Daenerys allowed her brother to be killed, and is responsible for the deaths of thousands of slave owners in Essos. She burned the Tarly family alive. Face it, Dany has ALWAYS been at least a little bit psycho. We liked it when she was killing “bad guys,” but heaven forbid she kill civilians.
In order to win World War II, the Allies felt it was necessary to bomb civilians in the German city of Dresden. Dresden was not a military target. It was just bombed to kill civilians and German morale. If you take away the dragon, this week’s episode of Game of Thrones should be a wake up call for what war is really like.
Airplanes don’t exist in this universe, and so Daenerys essentially had to invent an aerial attack strategy. She was able to use flanking maneuvers and dive bombing techniques to utterly destroy Euron Greyjoy’s (Pilou Asbæk) fleet. “It was too easy, it wasn’t believable!” Oh really? You forget the idea of aerial assault is TOTALLY FOREIGN TO THIS UNIVERSE.
Daenerys and Drogon destroy the Golden Company’s forces as well as ALL of the crossbows that could have been a threat to Drogon. Once the ramparts are cleared, Drogon’s fire bursts open the walls of King’s Landing. The siege begins!
The Dothraki charge into King’s Landing on horseback, easily decimating the Lannister infantry. With Drogon’s support from the air, the battle is hopeless. The Lannisters surrender and the bell is rung.
Meanwhile Jaime defeats Euron (who miraculously survived dragonfire blowing up his ship?!) in a duel outside of King’s Landing. Jaime is mortally wounded, but he limps through the city to find Cersei and escape before its too late.
You win Dany! Congratulations! No more innocent people have to die. The bell is rung! And remember folks, Dany and her military commanders agreed to stop attacking once the bell is rung.
Wait… Dany… why are you still burning people alive… the bell is rung. Wait, no… Greyworm (Jacob Anderson), don’t kill soldiers when they’ve already surrendered! NO!!!!!
The rest of the episode is one of the most ungodly events in television history. Daenerys just keeps burning people alive. Her soldiers rape women and slit the throats of the ones who resist too aggressively. And remember folks, Daenerys and her army are the “good guys.”
Arya (Maisie Williams) and Sandor (Rory McCann) have made it to the Red Keep. They’re there to kill, until Sandor convinces Arya to leave. Wise move, as Sandor and his brother Gregor (Hafþór Júlíus Björnsson) finally face off in the long-awaited “Cleganebowl”…. only to die together. When Sandor realizes Gregor simply can’t be killed, he hurls himself and his brother out of the decimated Red Keep and the two fall to their fiery deaths.
It was strange how Gregor reacted to Sandor’s challenge. When Qyburn (Anton Lesser), a man Gregor has always obeyed, demanded Gregor not engage with Sandor, Gregor killed Qyburn! Gregor even disobeyed Cersei by refusing to stand by her side! I don’t know why Gregor hates Sandor so much. I guess we’ll never know.
Arya wanders through King’s Landing, and meets an incredibly generous mother and her adorable daughter. The mother saves Arya’s life on numerous occasions, and in a desperate attempt to repay the favor, Arya tries to help the mother and her child flee to safety. In a tragically ironic move, Arya insists the two not stay put, as staying put will seal their doom. Sadly, staying put would have been the safest move. Arya unknowingly leads the mother and her daughter to their deaths at the hands of Dany’s soldiers, and eventually Dany’s dragonfire.
In the end, Cersei and Jaime find each other, along with their exit to their boat… sealed by immovable rubble. The two tearfully embrace, while Cersei catatonically repeats “not like this, not like this.” It was hard watching Cersei say she didn’t want to die. I briefly felt bad for her, but then I remembered all of the people she’s killed. Cersei could have escaped, but she let her pride get in the way. Jaime could have stayed with Brienne (Gwendoline Christie). Sorry Jaime and Cersei, but y’all deserve each other.
We’ve got one episode left folks. Jon Snow was not pleased with all of the raping and pillaging, and he must be disgusted with Daenerys after she literally burned over a million innocent people alive.
There are some who would argue Dany made the right choice. The war is won and nobody else has to die. Can you imagine how many lives would have been lost if this war had been fought without last night’s battle? After all, let’s not forget how the pacific theater of World War II ended….
The point I’m trying to make is this: last night’s episode was meant to make viewers reflect. We should all reflect on our allegiances. Let’s face it, we all hated Cersei. When Missandei (Nathalie Emmanuel) died, many of us wanted last night’s burning. But when we finally bore witness to it, it gave us pause.
May this episode serve as an eternal reminder of what can happen when you become addicted to anger. Human beings are capable of some pretty horrific stuff. Even your beloved Khaleesi.
What did you think of last night’s episode? What would have happened if Dany had honored the surrender? Should Daenerys remain Queen, or should Jon take over? Let me know in the comments. ~ Yanis Khamsi