Game of Thrones: S8E5
Starring: Kit Harington, Emilia Clarke, Maisie Williams, Sophie Turner, Isaac Hempstead Wright, Peter Dinklage, Nikolaj Coster-Waldau, Lena Headey, John Bradley, Joe Dempsie, Gwendoline Christie, Rory McCann, Conleth Hill, Jacob Anderson, Pilou Asbæk, Liam Cunningham, Hafþór Júlíus Björnsson
Writers: David Benioff, George R.R. Martin
Director: Miguel Sapochnik
So, here we are … the penultimate episode of the entire Game of Thrones series. It’s all about to go down in a couple of days. We’ve had almost a week to soak in and consider the happenings of the episode, and boy, what an episode it was.
Last week, I mused that, despite Daenerys’s madness slowly becoming more obvious, perhaps it means that she’ll be able to buck the family trend and do good for once. Nope.
But, before we get to that, here’s a couple of other thoughts about the episode.
LOTS OF SPOILERS AHEAD!!
Sandor Clegane Made Me Unexpectedly Sad
I have to admit: I was more affected by The Hound going out than I thought. He’s been with us for so long, but we hardly gave him the time of day. Sure, he’s got that rough exterior, but inside is a man who cares and is loyal–as reluctant as he is to show it.
He’s always been in the shadow of his older brother–especially the whole “I’m afraid of fire because my brother burned my face off” thing. The final showdown with his brother and the conclusion of his story had a lot of poetic justice to it.
This isn’t exactly an apples-to-apples comparison, but I would love to go back and watch Game of Thrones and focus on The Hound in the same way you go back and watch Harry Potter and focus on Snape more now that you know what a sympathetic character he is.
Was I Satisfied with the Conclusion of Jaime and Cersei’s Story?
Not exactly … but at the same time, how else could it have really ended?
I’ve said many times how Jaime had an interesting story arc in that he was the back-sliding addict in recovery and you hope he makes it out. In the end, it was hard for him to let go, and it’s hard to fault the guy. Even though you kind of wanted to see him murder Cersei.
Speaking of Cersei, I know a lot of people are upset that she had a fairly easy death (I know it seems like maybe they didn’t die, but if this Instagram post by Lena Headey is any indication, it seems Jaime and Cersei are very much dead).
At the same time, think of how she died. She stood there watching over King’s Landing until the bitter end. To her, everything was about preserving the Lannister family legacy (unlike Jaime, who was happy to stay in the Kingsguard). She wanted a world in which her children would rule, but she didn’t mind watching over it in their stead.
Her final moments are spent on the under-side of that which she meant to rule over forever, if possible. Her world comes crashing down around her, both figuratively and literally. She’s there with her brother and the father of her children (still gross), and she finally realizes how mortal she is. Her dying words are basically a plea that her unborn child be saved. It was a very human and heartbreaking moment, which goes to show that even the most despicable people can find a shred of humanity within them.
Sure, it would have been cathartic to see her brutally murdered, but then how would that work with the next point I’m about to make?
Y’all are in for a lecture.
If You Haven’t Seen that Daenerys Has Always Been this Person, I Can’t Help You
Yeah, so now we talk about that turn of events.
Daenerys has lost two of her dragon children at this point. She lost one of her oldest friends when Jorah Mormont died at Winterfell. She’s learned that Jon is really the rightful heir to the Iron Throne and that he can’t keep his secret that he promised he’d keep. Because of this, she has to kill Varys and threaten Tyrion with the same.
Who can she trust at this point?
Is that not enough to convince you that this turn of hers isn’t so surprising? Let’s go back further.
Daenerys has never really had anyone around her who is truly concerned for her well-being, other than perhaps Jorah. Her brother gives her up to the Dothraki as a way to get their army. When she gets that army instead, she goes on a quest to free the people of Essos.
While on this quest, remember that she brutally murders thousands of people on her way to set these people free. This may seem noble and good, but do that many people really need to die? Does she need to leave their stinking bodies impaled on pikes as a warning to others? Daenerys felt awful that her dragons were eating sheep and maybe children, but that only lasted so long before she had enough of that politician lifestyle and opted to go back to the brutal warlord. Plus, you get the sense that she was freeing these people so they would worship and follow her rather than, you know, set them free to go live their lives.
She had no one to teach her about moderation (again, maybe Jorah, but she tended to ignore him unless she was in deep trouble), plus she has a family history of madness and ruling with fire and blood. She kind of strikes me as an Alexander the Great figure.
But again, remember how many people she murdered on her no-compromise quest for the Iron Throne. While we might cheer the death of slavers, what does that say about us? What does it say about us when we’re cheering for a violent death for Cersei? I know these are fictional characters, but maybe we should examine our need for catharsis over human decency–even for those who don’t deserve mercy.
So when the Game of Thrones writers decided to flip the script and confront us with a character who murders the guilty and the innocent, we should be asking less about Daenerys and more about ourselves.
Other Observations and Predictions
Throughout this episode, it struck me how much the cinematographers shot the hell out of this episode. There were so many beautiful scenes to look at. I loved the scene where we had Euron’s perspective of Daenerys torching his whole fleet.
And of course, there was this whole scene.
At some point, like, in the only episode that’s left in this entire series, Jon Snow is going to have to man-up. And that’s where I get into the awful territory of predictions.
I’m not convinced that torching King’s Landing is going to be enough to get Jon to confront Daenerys. Sure, he knows it was wrong, but now I wonder if he’s going to be too afraid of her to do anything. However, I think the catalyst will be Daenerys killing one of the Starks.
The two Starks that are in the crosshairs, to me, are Sansa and Arya. Sansa and Daenerys clearly hate each other. It would seem full-circle to see Sansa executed in King’s Landing for supposed rebellion … just like the execution of Ned Stark that she did nothing to prevent. I also see Arya being a likely candidate, because it almost seems like a given that Daenerys is now on spot #1 of her assassination list.
My guess is that Arya tries to kill Daenerys and fails. Daenerys publicly executes her–which is baffling seeing as she is the hero of Winterfell. This is the straw that breaks the camel’s back for Jon Snow. In the end, he sacrifices himself to kill Daenerys. I would hope for a Gladiator-esque afterlife scene where Jon and Ygritte are reunited, as cheesy as that would be.
Again, it’s Game of Thrones, so nothing is certain. If it doesn’t go how I hope, it won’t upset me, because these guys are the ones who are paid to make this whole show, and we’re lucky enough to have it.
If that last line wasn’t obvious enough, that’s aimed at you spoiled children who started a petition to re-write everything. Maybe get a job as a writer if you’re unsatisfied with the artwork of others.