Ok. I have a lot of emotions riding through me right now. I truly did enjoy the episode for the most part, but there were elements to it I deem unforgivable!
We begin with a disheveled and visibly disturbed Daenerys. She actually resembled Viserys, her eyes were sunken and hollow, her hair wispy and her overall demeanour seemingly defeated. The only thing left fuelling her is vengeance. She is left almost emotionless as she makes the decision to execute Varys. The first big kill of the night in the name of betrayal. I almost feel like this wasn’t the Tyrion we know and love , who basically sold Varys out to Daenerys. It’s left quite a bitter taste in my mouth because those two have been on quite the journey together. All the same it was emotional watching Tyrion say goodbye to his friend, and seeing Varys remove his rings knowing the fate that awaited him. He has outlived much more evil than Daenerys so it feels a shame that his character was disposed of in that way. He has however played a bigger part in (hopefully) getting letters out to the remaining great houses alerting them of Jons true heritage.
The cinematography this episode really excelled itself. The first hint of this was during Varys’s execution when Drogon emerged over Daenerys head ready to burn him to the ground.
From here, we had another emotional goodbye as Tyrion and Jaime share a moment which mirrored a past scene in which Tyrion was captured by Cersei, and in turn freed by Jaime. Peter Dinklaj and Nikolaj Coster-Waldau are such brilliant actors that to see them share a scene like this is a delight and it’s a shame we won’t see another.
There is no denying that from here we get some of the most amazing battle scenes that GOT has to offer. The initial breaking of the gates by Drogons flames was an incredible sight to behold as the golden company were abolished in a matter of seconds. I really don’t think those elephants would have made much of a difference. The imagery of the Dothraki (By the way hi? Welcome back?!) running through the streets of Kings Landing is surreal as the two worlds collide. It seems a hell of a long time since we were in the Red Waste with them when having the Dothraki in the capital seemed like a distant dream. Every time a captain of the Kings Guard ordered ‘FIRE’ at the archers, Daenerys relentlessly showered them in flames, all the while the brilliant score was manipulating our emotions as we flit from Daenerys to Jaime to Tyrion to Jon to Cersei to Arya and so forth.
Greyworm takes no prisoners as he goes on his own personal revenge mission after watching his true love be beheaded the day prior. For a moment I actually thought him and Jon were going to fight after Jon looks around in despair at Greyworms decision to fight unarmed men and civilians. This right here is a huge turning point for Jon as he takes in the innocents being burnt alive by his queen. It’s all reminiscent off The Mad King – especially as the wildfire he buried beneath the city all those years before are triggered by Drogons flames and ignited as flashes of green consume the landscape view we have of the demise of Kings Landing.
My favourite scenes of the episode all involved Sandor Clegane. What is hype may never die. We finally got to see Cleganebowl! His initial arrival alongside Arya was very cool – seeing the two of them ride side by side through the streets of Kings Landing unassuming and with their goals ahead of them. Aryas revenge mission was of course cut short as Sandor took on a fatherly conversation with her which ugh. Just so cute. ‘Sandor, Thank You.’ My heart. Their relationship comes full circle but it does however leave us to wonder what the point in Arya going at all was. She’s had her huge victory against the night king. Makes the confident journey to the capital. I expected her to come at least a bit closer to Cersei. I assumed she would take the face of a slain Jaime to kill Cersei, but no such luck. As with it all, I expected more. Are we to assume thats her faceless skills over now, put to rest forever? Or will she put her skill to use once more in the finale?
Cleganebowl was not underrated. Starting with Qyburns quick and disposable death, Cersei’s ‘I’m gonna leave you two to it’ stroll-by, the eye gauging throwback, seeing the Mountains zombified head for the first time and ‘yep that’s you that’s always been you.’ line. Even in his final moments Sandor provided a witty quip with ‘fucking die!’ – a big mood. After an interjection the fight continues and cuts between the two brothers and then Arya running to get away. Their injuries are mirrored and it’s some of the most incredible imagery of the episode. This will forever be one of my favourite GOT sequences as they cut to and from the two characters. We last saw Arya running through the streets of Kings Landing just before Neds execution so seeing her look equally as lost and afraid is not ok.
Sandor didn’t need to die in my opinion but him hurtling himself into his two biggest fears; fire and his brother, was a poetic enough death to commemorate his character. From here, I thought we had seen the last of Arya about ten times. I was ready to revolt. The faux deaths were particularly jarring. It was traumatic to see the kind civilian who saved her be struck down by the Dothraki and then her and her young girl burned to Smitherines reinforcing the savagery that Daenerys was committing to the innocent thousands.
I am just so god damn happy Arya got away and in a rather symbolic way. Arya and the symbolism of a White Horse could mean quite a few things. It could purely mirror the fact the little girl she tried and couldn’t save was carrying a white horse toy. It could be a flashback to Daenerys first gift from Khal Drogo which was a beautiful white steed, uniting Arya and Daenerys in some way (aka Arya to kill Dany!) It may have been Bran warging into the horse to ensure his sisters safe return from the capital. There’s also way deeper theories that the white horse signifies that Arya herself is death. She has always had a death centric arc and in the Bible it is said that death rides upon a pale horse.
‘I looked, and behold, an ashen horse; and he who sat on it had the name Death’ – Revelation 6:8-17
This could mean that Aryas only purpose now is to serve the God of death and I’m sure she will do when she gets back to Winterfell ready to ‘Kill The Queen’ as before. If one thing is for sure it’s that the most beautiful cinematography led this scene as she walks towards the horse with sun glares on screen and the bellowing flames alongside of her. Another beautiful piece of symbolism was Arya and Jon rocking the classic Ned Stark hair do.
Me: *cries forever*
Well I don’t really know where to start with Jaime and Cersei. I feel personally victimised by Weiss & Benioff. I am shocked, aghast, hurt and sourly disappointed. I loved the episode for the most part, I really did think it was excellent. Yet the death of the shows biggest villain – Cersei – being killed by falling rubble. I feel totally cheated. Not only that, but the fact I’ve poured my heart and soul into Jaimes redemption arc for him to fuck it all off and end exactly how he started in the arms of Cersei is truly pathetic and a total waste of what was amazing character development. Another huge production mistake was also made to include Jaime without his golden hand? And with two functioning real human hands? How. Does. This. Happen.
I can think of a thousand other ways Cersei could have ended. All involving a death that her evil yet brilliant character deserved. I was genuinely in a state of shock realising that Jaime was not about to kill her. I feel as betrayed as Daenerys does. I’m sorry, it’s a total sham and we all (including Nikolaj and Lena) deserved more. I’m just riding the hope that GRRM is going to write things differently in the book because I canNOT have that be my lasting memory of Jaime. You can argue that him fighting against the undead was a sign he has become a more altruistic person but if the white walkers are dead and gone never to be mentioned again then it also makes Jaimes fight against them pointless. I said it last week but so many characters arc endings are being rushed which is unsurprising when condensing a story as epic as this one into 6 episodes but it’s just such a shame. I am going to severely miss watching Lena Headey make me despise Cersei week after week. What a bloody legend.
Let’s talk about Daenerys for a second. Im not annoyed at all which way they have led her character. She has always had this in her. I’ve never doubted that for a second. Hell truly hath no fury like a woman scorned, and scorned she has been. So many fans are throwing their arms into revolt at ‘The Mad Queen’ but just look at these scenes below – all evidence of what was to come. What was totally emotive for me was Arya waking up with ash falling all around her and the internal ‘oh’ my heart made as the snow we had seen in Daenerys prophecy was in fact the ash of the burnt bodies. There’s not a lot left to do with Daenerys’ character now except death. Next week there is going to be some VERY awkward conversations. Notice how from the moment she decides to fully attack the city after the bells ring, we are no longer shown her perspective. We see only the victims perspective. I believe this to mean there is definitely no redemption in sight for her.
So tell me, were you disappointed in the episode? Did you expect more? For me, it’s really hard to commentate on a penultimate episode because so much can be decided next week, but it’s quite evident the way things are looking to go.