I think we can all wholeheartedly agree that this season of Game of Thrones was the most rushed, poorly written ending to a series since Lost. It inspired rage that hearkened back to the “Don’t Stop Believin'” ending for Tony and The Sopranos. At least while George “I can’t finish a book” RR Martin was providing source material, DB and David could keep our characters and story lines on an acceptable, timely track. This season, we had a woman make a split-second decision to kill literally everyone, Jon Snow suddenly know how to ride a dragon, Varys suddenly forget how to be the sneaky bitch he was for 10 years (RIP tho), and Jamie go all the way through his character arc just to do a total 180 and end up right where he was before—banging his sister.
A few good things to come of this season include Ghost surviving, Sansa becoming the true boss bitch she is (and staying independent in her fashionable winter wardrobe), and Robin Arryn getting REALLY HOT since we last saw him. Even though the series is over, we have a LOT of questions that demand answers regarding this entire season and series, into which I have poured countless hours crying, reading Reddit theories, and arguing about predictability via Instagram. Shall we?
What Happens When Drogon Comes Back?
I have a LOT of questions pertaining to Drogon, who I incorrectly predicted would die by the end of this season. As a note, I think I felt more feelings for this dragon than any human-related plot or interaction in the last six episodes, which is saying something, and that something ain’t great. Who else had major Lion King flashbacks when Drogon gently nudged a v dead Dany to get up cause “we gotta go home, mom”? I thought I’d gotten past that as an adult, but apparently not. More importantly, once Drogon picked up his mommy and flew off, where’d he go? What happens when he comes back? Is he going to destroy a different city in the meantime? Do dragons have a grasp on death? Can they feel feelings? Additionally, why did Drogon burn the throne and not the dude who clearly JUST STABBED HIS MOM? Does he have something against swords? Thrones? Sword thrones? Maybe DB and David read him the script ahead of time? I demand a dedicated series to Drogon and his fun-filled exploits around the world.
Or does she found the flat earth movement? That honestly seems like something she’d do. I can’t even truly express how much I don’t give a sh*t about Arya’s exploits. But I do have a few questions about her entire character arc that led up to her conquistador moment. What’s going to happen to all the faces in her bag? Is she going to entertain the crew with a one-woman puppet show? F*ck if I know (or care). Additionally, where’d she get that boat? What happens when there is no land West of Westeros? Where’d she find a crew willing to sail under someone with little to no exploratory experience? Is she going to eventually go back to Winterfell to piss Sansa off? Stay tuned, I guess.
Will Jon Snow Ever Be Happy?
This poor f*cking guy has been stabbed, had to watch two girlfriends die, never had a mommy, and definitely has some deep-seated psychological issues after what he’s been through. He has a handful of friends who tend to die, and when he finally has a cause to rally behind, said cause ends up being a genocidal maniac who dabbles in incest. So, what? Now he’s going to f*ck off up north with a bunch of questionably-fashioned homeless folks, a heartbroken ginger, and his CGI good boi for the rest of forever? Justice for Jon Snow. Also, why is there even a Night’s Watch? I’m pretty sure we killed all the dead things in episode 3, made peace with the Wildlings several episodes (seasons?) ago, and have no threat looming north of the wall except for hypothermia.
When Did Dany Lose Her Sh*t?
This has been a question floating around since episode 5 when Dany decided to unleash Drogon’s fire breath on the entirety of King’s Landing. What, exactly, set Dany off course from white savior of Essos and Breaker of Chains to blathering psycho intent on burning cities, banging nephews, and becoming a more attractive medieval Hitler? I have a hard time believing that Jon refusing to make out with her was the straw that broke the Khaleesi’s back. Missandei dying, Rhaegal dying, and her nephew refusing to snuggle—all combined—make for a pretty sh*tty week, but, again, it seems like a stretch that a few sad events caused Dany to have a true mental break and lecture Jon about what’s good vs. what isn’t good.
Will Grey Worm Captain An Award-Winning Volleyball Team On Naath?
Grey Worm pissed me (and the rest of the internet) off this episode, but at least he’s out of Westeros on his way to a very odd beach retreat with the boys. Part of me is happy for him and his newfound peace in Naath, but I’m slightly incensed that this guy that helped kill innocents in King’s Landing gets a happier ending than Jon Snow. Grey Worm, I was rooting for you and Missandei, but sometimes things just don’t work out. Here’s hoping you get a stellar tan and find a great piña colada stand in Naath, though.
Is Bran’s Wheelchair The New Throne?
F*ck Bran and f*ck everyone that voted him into office. Let’s backtrack: if Bran hadn’t been climbing that f*cking tower way back in season 1, he would have been able to mind his own goddamn business and let Jamie and Cersei get their freak on in peace, erasing the need for the war of the five kings,, allowing Robert’s dudes to successfully kill Dany, and letting this whole series never consume my life only to disappoint me and let me down like everything else I’ve ever loved. I mean, Robb would still be alive with a kid and gorgeous wife! So would Joffrey, but, you know, we gotta take the good with the bad, fam. Anyway, f*ck you, Bran, and your weird staring. I hope Drogon comes back and snacks on your crunchy little legs. Speaking of Bran…
Did Bran Know Everything The Whole Time?
…and just piss everyone off with his white Walker hunts and three-eyed-raven bullsh*t and long, lingering stares? What an asshole. So you can see into the future? Why the f*ck didn’t you tell Jon to be more sneaky about killing Dany? Maybe he could have been happy for once in his life! Does that mean nothing to you? Why didn’t you stop Dany from killing millions of innocent people? Was that not on your to-do list for the week? Where do you get off, Bran? Oh, wait—you don’t. You knew that this whole thing ended up with you on the throne, and yet you continued to f*ck around with everyone’s thoughts and feelings for several seasons while we all waited for you to do SOMETHING, ANYTHING worthwhile. What was the actual point of revealing that Jon was a Targaryen? I’m glad Tyrion christened you “Bran the Broken” cause it’s not even a cool nickname and, honestly, you don’t deserve anything cool anymore.
Does Ghost Know He’s A Good Boy?
…and is he getting enough pets up north? Even if the entire rest of the episode (and season) was a dumpster fire, the fact that Jon gave Ghost pets and snuggles made everything kind of okay. I’m willing to overlook the absolute piss writing just for the good boi moment in the gif above. Further, I’m really glad to see that this season’s entire budget went to CGI Ghost and CGI not-such-a-good-boi Drogon instead of character development. I’ll miss you both; keep it real.
Do The Unsullied Moonlight As Civil Engineers?
…cause that Hand of the King room looked like it definitely didn’t get blown to sh*t a few weeks prior. I know it takes roughly six months to address the potholes on my road, so, just saying. In the beginning of this episode, I’m 90% sure that roughly 75% of King’s Landing—especially the Red Keep—was beat to sh*t. Are we to assume that instead of getting right on building a hospital (and burn ward), the carpenters, stone masons, and civil engineers of Westeros went right the f*ck to town on the room where rulers can keep rulin’? I mean, maybe there’s literally no one left, so, ya know, no real need for a medical unit at this point. I guess I’m just kind of surprised at the level of priorities here.
Who Was Braiding Dany’s Hair After Missandei Died?
I know from rewatching this series several times that Dany’s elaborate Coachella-worthy braid crowns were the handiwork of our fav multilingual betch, Missandei (RIP). So, once The Mountain and Cersei decided to make the former citizen of Naath a head shorter, who was doing Dany’s hair? It looked pretty fetch while she stood and addressed the Dothraki and Unsullied in episode 6. More so, it looked super grool while she rode Drogon and destroyed King’s Landing in episode 5. Are we to believe that Jon’s talents include hair plaiting and accessorizing? Seems like more of a Varys thing, but whatever. Or maybe it was Pod all along! Honestly, that makes the most sense to me.
Let me know in the comments any other burning questions that the Game of Thrones writers didn’t have time to answer. Other than that, it’s been real!
Images: Giphy (10)
We made it, friends.
After ten years, eight seasons, seventy-one episodes, hundreds of deaths, and countless tears, we’ve made it to the series finale of Game of Thrones. It’s a weird feeling, one I haven’t really come to terms with yet but will undoubtedly read a thousand think pieces about over the coming days. The battle for the Iron Throne has come to a close, and we’re left to sit and analyze every single second of it until the next show comes around that dominates our collective psyche for years at a time.
I like to think I’ve researched my fair share of fan theories and Reddit threads and general hysteria around this show, and yet I was still unprepared for Bran the Broken to end up King of the Six Kingdoms. That shady, psychic bird-loving bitch knew what was coming all along, but he let them all think otherwise. I can’t help but respect it.
There will be many complaints and gripes to come over the next couple days and all of them pale in comparison to mine which is this: where the hell was Daario Naharis? The man just never thought to show up? Too busy f*cking around in his haunted Hill house to come see Dany burn the world down? I demand closure.
Anyways, let’s dive in.
The episode opens on Tyrion, Jon, and Davos walking through the ash-covered remains of King’s Landing. In case you managed to forget last week—it doesn’t look good. While none of the three of them seem especially happy with the way things played out, Tyrion is taking it the hardest. I would imagine his inner monologue at this moment is just an endless loop for Varys saying “I f*cking told you so.”
Tyrion makes his way to the Red Keep alone, denying Jon’s offer of men to accompany him. He’s searching for confirmation of his worst fears and finds it almost immediately—Jaime and Cersei dead amongst the rubble in the underground cavern they tried to escape from. The internet almost tricked me into believing that Jaime Lannister was still alive, and like a fool I fell for it.
Out on the streets, Greyworm is rounding up and executing Lannister prisoners in the “name of the one true queen.” When Jon tries to intervene, the Unsullied react in a way that makes it clear that no dissent will be tolerated, even from the Queen’s nephew/boyfriend. Jon and Davos head off to try and talk some sense into Dany, a truly lost cause.
They come across the square in front of the Sept, where the Dothraki and the Unsullied have gathered for a post-siege pep talk from their Khaleesi. She wasted literally zero time in redecorating, evident by the twenty foot Targaryen banner hanging from the blown-out walls of the Sept. Where has that been stored this entire time? When did she have it made? What poor solider had the job of carrying around the giant team flag just in case they needed to make a statement? I need answers.
Arya is amongst the Dothraki watching this scene unfold, no mystical white horse in sight. No explanation there? Cool. Also worth noting that there’s about 100% more Dothraki present than you would expect after watching them fly face first into a black wall of zombies.
Jon makes his way up the many stairs of the sept as Drogon and Dany fly over. There’s a really great shot of her walking forward while Drogon’s wings unfurl behind her, a nice visual cue for anyone who maybe hadn’t picked up on the fact that Dany is in fact the Dragon now.
After naming Greyworm Master of War, she steps forward and delivers a speech to her troops that can effectively be summed up in a single statement: we’re not done yet, mofos.
Dany: My Unsullied, you have freed the people of King’s Landing from the grip of a tyrant.
Tyrion: More like freed them from life in general, but sure.
To the obvious surprise of Jon and Tyrion, Dany announces that their battle is far from done, because there are still people to “liberate” in the rest of the world. King’s Landing was merely a starting point, and Winterfell is named as being one of the next stops. The look on Arya’s face at the mention of anyone traveling North in the name of “liberation” can be found in the dictionary next to the word “murder.”
Tyrion steps forward at this point and delivers his resignation by taking off his hand pin and tossing it down the steps in front of them. He was going to be roasted for treason anyway, but it was a nice statement. The guy is nothing if not prone to dramatics. He’s carried away by guards under Dany’s orders but manages one last look at Jon on his way out that says “fix this.”
Dany marches past Jon next, looking at him with nothing but disdain on her face. Good to know that’s where they stand. Arya appears next to Jon, really making the most out of her super assassin sleuthing skills to warn him that he’s 100% next on the list of executions now that his aunt/girlfriend knows who he really is.
Arya: I came here to kill Cersei but your queen got there first.
Jon: She’s everyone’s queen, actually.
Arya: Sansa isn’t here but she’d want me to tell you to pull your head out of your ass.
Jon heads to see Tyrion in captivity, and they have a long, tense conversation about the fact that Dany is now certifiably insane. Tyrion is 100% on team Varys, but Jon is still in total denial.
Jon: I can’t justify what just happened, but at least the war is over now.
Tyrion: Wow I suddenly understand why you got murdered the first time around.
Listening to Jon defend Dany is giving me war flashbacks to having to watch half of Twitter defend do the same thing all week. Yes—she’s been through some sh*t. No one is arguing that point. But you know who else has been through some sh*t? Literally every single person on this show. Most of Sansa’s family was murdered and she spent her entire adolescence being mentally and physically tortured, but she has yet to murder a million innocent people because of it. It’s almost like experiencing trauma isn’t a justification for inciting a bunch more trauma.
Jon: She saw her friend beheaded!
When it becomes clear that subtleties and allusion aren’t getting them anywhere, Tyrion pretty much asks Jon to murder Dany in order to save the rest of Westeros, echoing Arya’s earlier sentiment that the true heir to the Iron Throne is likely next to be killed in the new regime. But Tyrion should have known better; the only thing Jon loves more than doing the wrong thing under the guise of being honorable is risking his life in the process.
In a last-ditch attempt at swaying him, Tyrion plays the family card. Even an idiot like Jon can predict what happens when Dany flies North: Sansa refuses to bend the knee, Winterfell is reduced to rubble, no white horse arrives to save Arya this time. Jon still doesn’t waver and instead apologizes to Tyrion before storming out to find Dany. He is surprised by an ash-covered Drogon who is guarding the door to the throne room and ultimately lets Jon pass. Big mistake, bud.
At this point I truly think Jon was hellbent on following Dany at all costs. He had yet to be confronted by her madness face to face and was still under the mistaken impression that we could talk her off the ledge. But when he finds Dany in standing in front of the Iron Throne, looking truly happy for the first time in months, ranting about building a new world together, the realization slowly starts to creep in. She’s past the point of no return.
Dany: When I was a little girl I heard stories about the throne and how it was made of 1,000—
Jon: Cute anecdote, but there are dead children littering the streets.
Jon begs Dany to forgive Tyrion, to forgive everyone and maybe not take her death tour any further than King’s Landing, and it’s a testament to how much she must love him that she actually looks conflicted for a second. But then Dany starts in on her speech about how the two of them were born for this—destined to build a new world together, deciders of what is Right and what is Wrong—and Jon knows. You can actually see him realize that Tyrion was right, that Dany truly believes she is saving the world and will burn it down to see it happen. Nothing can stop her, except him.
He tells her that she is his queen, now and always, and then stabs her in the chest during their last incestuous impassioned make out. She dies quickly and Jon proceeds to weep over her body while Drogon, who has clearly sensed some mischief in the atmosphere, starts screeching and arrives at the scene of the crime. He proceeds to nudge Dany’s lifeless body like a sad puppy in a Pixar movie and then, upon realizing that his mother is dead, turns and rains fire right past Jon and onto the Iron Throne, melting it down to nothing.
I’m sorry, but I refuse to believe that Drogon understands the magnitude of this gesture. I am willing to suspend a certain amount of disbelief for this ridiculous show, but this has gone too far. You’re trying to come in at the series finale and tell me that the dragon can grasp metaphors? Did Drogon take his season-long hiatus to pick up a poli-sci degree with an emphasis on democratic power structures? Nah. Absolutely not. We all blindly accepted the fact that Arya murdered a 1,000-year-old zombie king with some cheeky knife play, but this is where I draw the line.
After singlehandedly dismantling the bourgeois, Drogon picks up Dany’s corpse and flies away with her over the ocean and into the horizon, which means there’s now a roaming, mourning, vindictive dragon on the loose. I’d be worried but he’s probably just going to post up somewhere and start his master’s thesis on Nietzsche.
Flash forward an undisclosed amount of time later, Tyrion is summoned from his cell by Greyworm, and marched outside to stand before a council of the great houses of Westeros made up of the Stark siblings, Brienne of Tarth, Davos, Sam, Gendry, Yara Greyjoy, Edmure Tully, the unnamed Prince of Dorne and a few others. This entire scene was important for a few major reasons, but first and foremost, because we got the greatest reveal in this show’s history: a suddenly hot Robyn Arryn. I’m not happy about it either, but lying about it doesn’t get us anywhere. Perhaps we should all reconsider our stance on late-adolescence breast feeding. But, I digress.
It appears that a few weeks have passed since Jon assassinated Daenerys. In that time the Unsullied have taken control of King’s Landing, and the noble families of Westeros have come together for peace negotiations. Considering the fact that Drogon literally flew into the sunset with the evidence of any crime, this means that Jon confessed to murdering his Queen/aunt/girlfriend. It’s almost impressive how obstinately dumb he remains after all this time.
The Starks demand Jon’s safe release, and Sansa has rallied an army of 1,000 Northmen outside the walls of King’s Landing who are prepared to fight if need be. The Unsullied want Jon to pay for what he did, and Yara agrees with them. Davos, ever the great mediator, offers Greyworm all of the Reach for the Unsullied to take as their own to build their house. The offer falls on deaf ears.
Tyrion has been brought forth for reasons unknown, but he suggests that only a King or Queen of Westeros can decide how to move forward, and that the families gathered should elect a new one. Edmure Tully, the most useless man in this entire show, steps forward to nominate himself before being owned by Sansa in front of all his peers. Just give her the throne already.
Sam: Hey what if we let the common people vote?
Everyone else: Poor people?? Having opinions?? What’s next, dragons grappling with complex physical metaphors??
Once it becomes clear that no one is going to make a decision, Tyrion steps forward and nominates truly the last person I expected him to: Bran. He goes on to explain that the only thing that can truly unite people after all this are stories, and that Bran has the best story of them all. Arya, who spent her entire childhood on the run and lying about her identity while training beside assassins, only to save all their lives by murdering the greatest villain Westeros has ever known, does a really good job of not choking at that statement.
Bran the Broken is potentially the worst name in a show made up almost exclusively of bad names. Like, remember that traumatic childhood event that shaped your entire life? It’s going to define you in the annals of history, you weird bird child. As if that wasn’t insulting enough, Sansa stands up and reminds everyone that Bran’s dick doesn’t even work. Like wow, maybe the kid deserves to be king after suffering all this indignity.
But Bran’s inability to produce an heir is his greatest draw, because from this moment forward the nobles of Westeros are going to start electing their leader. Can you believe that? After all this, democracy wins the Iron Throne. Somewhere in the sky, Drogon lets loose a single tear.
Tyrion: So you down or what?
Bran: Why do you think I rolled my ass all the way down here?
The council votes to make Bran king, all except for Sansa who abstains and declares that the North has dealt with enough Southern nonsense and will remain an independent state. I think the fact that Bran is king now is the only reason the rest of the houses let this fly, knowing that Sansa and Bran wouldn’t war against each other. Or the people have finally recognized that Sansa is the only person on this show who knows what she’s doing. Either way, we love it.
Bran names Tyrion his hand, who immediately attempts to refuse because the man hasn’t exactly had a successful run at it in the past.
Greyworm: Not sure if you forgot but the guy is a war criminal and needs to be punished.
Bran: His punishment will be a lifetime of trying to fix the mistakes he’s made.
Greyworm: Yeah that sounds cool but not exactly what we had in mind.
So just to summarize, Tyrion convinced someone else to assassinate the queen on his behalf, installed a half-sentient bird boy as King, is now the second most powerful man in the kingdom, and will live out a comfortable life, full of wine, without the abuse of his family constantly following him. Not sure about you guys, but I think I know who won this show.
All that’s left is to decide Jon’s fate, and it’s truly the most tragic thing to happen all episode. Tyrion visits Jon in his own captivity to tell him that council came to a compromise. After all of that—constantly risking his life to convince the world of the danger of the White Walkers, fighting countless battles and actually getting assassinated in the process, all in the name of saving Westeros—Jon is being sent back to the Night’s Watch. He will live out his days without the one thing he’s wanted his entire life: a family.
Tyrion: If it makes you feel better, no one is very happy about it.
Jon: That’s the theme of my whole life, so it checks out.
Jon is released and heads to the docks to say goodbye to his family before being shipped North. Sansa asks for his forgiveness for not being able to negotiate his freedom. Arya tells him that she’ll be leaving Westeros to sail west and discover new lands. Gendry is RIGHT THERE in his new fancy leather suits, but sure. Jon cries. Sansa cries. Arya cries. Bran does what he does best: offers up a cryptic farewell.
Jon: I’m sorry I wasn’t there when you needed me.
Bran: You were exactly where you needed to be.
Jon: …. Goodbye to you too, I guess?
The rest of the episode wraps up all of our characters while giving us a preview into life in this new Westeros. Brienne stops by the library to finish Jaime’s entry in the book of Knights. She writes his story—their story, really—and ends it very generously by not mentioning that he spent his whole life banging his sister. She’s a better scorned woman than I could ever hope to be.
Tyrion leads the first meeting of Bran’s new small council. He’s joined by Davos; Master of Ships, Sam; Archmaester, Brienne; Captain of the Kingsguard; and Bronn, Master of Coin. Bronn is also Lord of the Reach and Highgarden, which means Tyrion came through on his promise to reward him for not assassinating them. Sam arrives with A Song of Ice and Fire, the written history of the wars after King Robert’s death. I see what you all did there. The camera pans out as the new council bickers about rebuilding the city, and the priority of brothels vs. actual infrastructure. It’s a glimpse into a hopeful future, even if Bronn is somehow meant to keep them from going bankrupt.
The episode ends with parallel shots of Jon, Sansa, and Arya embarking on their new lives set to a choral reprise of the theme song. It’s beautiful and sad and poetic and the only part of the episode that truly felt like a finale.
Arya sets sail aboard a ship under the Stark banner, because apparently the only way to come down from saving humanity is a semester abroad. Here’s hoping she spends the next six months drunk on a beach.
Sansa is crowned Queen in the North, which is all the she deserves a more. Our girl fought her way back home, fought for her people, fought for independence, and now gets to live a long happy life of peace amongst the people who adore her. I love her more than anything.
Jon arrives at the wall to be greeted by none other than Tormund and Ghost, who he actually deigns to recognize this time around. The three of them turn and immediately make their way North of the wall, leading the wildlings back to their now zombie-free homes. I’m really hoping that Jon decides to completely ignore the council’s ruling and just settles down with a nice Wildling wife in the wilderness. Or with Tormund. I’m happy either way.
And that’s it. That’s the end of Game of Thrones.
We’ve had our ups. We’ve had our downs. But through it all there’s no denying the indelible mark this show left on culture. It captivated us all, week after week, year over year, to the point that we’re now circulating unnecessary petitions about the way it’s ended. Hundreds of recaps have been written, thousands of comments have been left, and memes have truly never been stronger than during the course of Game of Thrones. For better or worse, it’s been a wild ride, and I’ve had the time of my life embarking on it with all of you.
All Time MVB: Sansa Stark
She kept her head down, suffered in silence, learned the game, stayed alive, and then came for what was rightfully hers in the end. She is the undisputed winner of this show and also my heart. Sansa Stark forever.
Until next time.
Images: Giphy (4)
I could save both you and myself a lot of time by summing this entire Game of Thrones recap up in one statement: what the actual f*ck. To anyone who complained about the lack of gratuitous violence and death in the Battle of Winterfell, this is your fault. I hope you’re happy.
To say “The Bells” was a disappointing lead up to the series finale would be an understatement. While many characters, both beloved and despised, died in last night’s episode of Game of Thrones, the most important death was the character assassination of just about everyone involved.
Daenerys? Spends seven seasons preaching about rescuing the innocent, only to torch an entire city of them even after their leaders had surrendered.
Jon? A wide-eyed idiot whose only real skill is managing to underestimate every single situation he’s ever found himself in.
Arya? Suddenly someone who runs from a fight that she’s spent the last 10 years working toward.
Cersei? Don’t even get me started. That woman has been Villain Number One since day one and she deserved a death that reflected that. Getting torched by Drogon as she stares unwaveringly into Dany’s eyes? That would have worked. Chugging a glass of wine before throwing herself off the keep à la Tommen? Fine. But cowering in the arms of her brother-lover after a failed escape attempt? An insult. Cersei Lannister deserved better.
The entirety of the siege of King’s Landing could have been communicated with a black screen and just scrolling captions that said “She’s the Mad Queen! Dany is bad! Remember how we foreshadowed this?? Also does anyone know where George went?? He’s stopped returning our calls!” It was 45 minutes of gratuitous death and gore, a purposeful move that’s meant to turn the audience against Daenerys so that her death next week will feel like vindication.
But anyway, let’s dive into this mess.
We open back in Dragonstone on Varys, who is writing a letter to an unidentified person about Jon being the true heir to the Iron Throne. He’s interrupted by a young servant girl who reports that Dany isn’t taking meals.
The next morning, Tyrion watches as Varys greets Jon on the shore. The guy doesn’t even manage ten seconds of small talk before diving right into his pitch for Aegon Targaryen, King of Westeros. Jon is not entertained, but to be fair he’s never been entertained by anything so it’s hard to tell at this point.
Jon: I don’t want the throne. Never have.
Varys: Why do people keep saying that like it matters or something?
Varys might have made an impression if he just stuck to logic, but the second he insults Dany’s sanity he loses Jon entirely. Jon drops a steely “she is my queen” before stalking off into the castle.
Tyrion goes straight to Dany and we’re going to address the elephant in the room right off the bat here by saying that our girl does not look good. In fact, she looks downright bad. Not just “I lost my dragon and best friend/hairstylist in one fell swoop” bad. We’re talking “I’ve taken to glaring at the horizon and mumbling about my enemies” bad. They might as well just have hung a plaque around her neck that read “Mad Queen.”
She knows that Jon told Sansa about his lineage, who proceeded to tell the whole world, Tyrion included, who then told Varys, who is now actively campaigning against her. It’s worth nothing that not once during this argument, or any of the ones that follow, does Dany raise her voice. Everything is just a quiet, urgent whisper, which is honestly more disarming than her trademark temper. It’s clear that Varys’ fate is sealed here, only further confirmed by the arrival of Grey Worm at his room later that night. Varys manages to finish burning his letter before he’s escorted out to the cliffs where Dany, Jon, Tyrion, and Drogon are waiting. It’s safe to say that nothing good is about to happen when you’re dragged out of your room to face a dragon in the middle of the night.
Tyrion steps forward in a truly honorable moment to tell Varys that he was the one to rat him out. Varys isn’t shocked—he’s been in the game long enough to know how this goes.
Varys: I hope I’m wrong about all this.
Varys: But I’m not.
Varys: See you all in hell, bitch.
I’m surprised Dany is allowing even the slightest showing of remorse on Tyrion’s part. Empathizing with her enemies feels like something she’d be against even on her best day, and this certainly isn’t anywhere close to that. Instead, she just sentences Varys to die, with no charges or justification to offer.
After torching Varys, Dany heads to the war room with Grey Worm, where she gives him Missandei’s only possession—the shackle she used to wear around her neck. He tosses it into the fire, clearly on Team No Mercy alongside his queen.
Jon shows up and Grey Worm makes a hasty retreat, leaving these two estranged relatives/lovers to sort out some sh*t.
Dany: Sansa basically killed Varys.
Jon: Flawed logic but sure.
Dany goes on a short tirade about the people of Westeros fearing and not loving her, before pivoting and trying to seduce Jon in a way that truly made my skin crawl. He swerves, which confirms for her that she’ll have to rule by fear from here on out, having been slighted by the last person alive who claims to love her.
Later in the throne room, Tyrion is pleading with Dany to not destroy King’s Landing and all the innocent people in it. This argument, which he’ll make many times this episode, falls on deaf ears. Dany is beyond reason and speaking like a true tyrant, claiming that she’ll be saving future generations by cleansing the city now. Tyrion makes a last ditch effort and asks that she at least call off the attack if the city surrenders. She agrees, before sending Grey Worm off to prepare the Unsullied to sail out.
Tyrion: Please tell me you aren’t going to slaughter all the innocent people in King’s Landing who have done nothing to wrong you.
As Tyrion makes his way out, clearly aware of what he’s now dealing with, Dany drops a bomb: Jaime was captured trying to make his way into King’s Landing. This is the second time that Tyrion has been wrong about his siblings’ intentions, and Daenerys makes it clear that it will also be the last time.
Next we cut to King’s Landing where Jon, Tyrion, and the troops are all arriving for battle. Morale is low at best. They’re greeted on the shore by Davos, who Tyrion pulls aside to ask for a smuggling favor. Safe to say that one doesn’t pan out.
Arya and the Hound arrive at the camp at night, looking like they’re ready to singlehandedly take on this battle. If only that were the case.
Arya: I’m Arya Stark and I’m here to kill Cersei.
The Hound: She is the light of my life.
Tyrion sneaks into the tent where Jaime is being kept prisoner, hellbent on saving at least one person in this entire episode.
Tyrion: How did they find you?
Jaime: Turns out not a lot of men have a solid gold hand.
It becomes clear that Jaime has no intention of asking Cersei to surrender, thereby busting the theory I’ve been lecturing people about all week in which Jaime returns only to kill Cersei and then himself. Instead, Tyrion switches tactics and begs Jaime to escape with Cersei so that they can start fresh elsewhere. Not sure where the world-reviled Lannister twins could escape to, but it’s a nice thought. Against all odds, Jaime agrees and the two say goodbye for the final time. It was the closest I came to feeling anything this entire episode.
Tyrion: You were the best family I’ve ever had.
Jaime: Low bar there but I appreciate the sentiment.
At last, the day of the battle has arrived and both sides are prepping across King’s Landing. Euron is arming his many scorpions on his fleet in Blackwater Bay. John, Greyworm, Tyrion, and Davos, followed by the Northerners, the Unsullied, and the five remaining Dothraki are lined up against the Golden Company outside the walls of the city. Inside, soldiers are taking their places as the civilians race to the Red Keep for protection. The gates close before many of them can get in, Jaime included. He spends the next thirty minutes trying to find his way inside a crumbling city. Cersei looks out over King’s Landing, calm as a cucumber. God grant me the serenity of Cersei Lannister when faced with any kind of adversity.
Things kick off swiftly with Dany flying down from the clouds to torch Euron’s entire fleet of ships. The scorpions, which seemed last week to be the end of all dragons, are entirely ineffective. Drogon is out here, pirouetting across the sky, raining fire down on these giant crossbows as if it’s no big thing. Rhaegal is quaking at the bottom of the ocean.
Dany makes quick work of the bay and then turns her attention to the city itself. She blasts through the wall behind the Golden Company, effectively toppling all of them in seconds. Jon, Grey Worm, Davos, and their armies run through the gaping gates while we’re offered expansive shots of the opposing side lying screaming and burning on the ground. There’s a lot of that kind of behavior over the next forty or so minutes.
It becomes quickly apparent that Cersei does not stand a chance. Like, if Dany had rolled in with all three dragons, this episode could have been five minutes long. While she torches the Lannister army from above, the Unsullied wreak havoc below in the streets. It’s not even a contest, which seems weird considering the fact that Team Dany was looking worse for wear not ten minutes earlier.
Cersei is watching from her balcony, slowly realizing that this won’t be the cake walk she anticipated. Qyburn informs her that the scorpions have all been destroyed, that the Golden Company are charred, lifeless husks, and that everything is rapidly going to sh*t.
Dany parks Drogon on a tower just as Jon and company come face to face with the Lannister army. It’s a standoff of sorts, everyone clearly in over their heads. The Lannister forces drop their swords seconds before the bell signaling surrender rings through the city. “Wow,” I thought to myself, “thank God that was quick. Now we can spend the rest of the episode effectively setting up a plot for next week.” Just call me Jon Snow, I guess.
Up on the tower, Dany watches as the city surrenders. For one second you think things are going to be chill before she suffers a clear mental break, lets out a single sob, and then takes off in the direction of the keep.
“Oh, well, she’s just going to kill Cersei,” I thought, “this plan still checks out.” But guess what? She doesn’t do that. She doesn’t even attempt to do that. Cersei is hanging out, entirely unprotected on a very visible balcony on top of the biggest building in the city, and instead of heading for that very viable target Dany flies down to the streets and begins torching civilians and soldiers alike.
This move is clearly a shock to Jon, Davos, Tyrion, the millions of people in King’s Landing, me at home on my couch, and anyone capable of understanding logic, but you know who’s not fazed at all? Grey Worm, who takes it as a signal to keep on keeping on. He charges full force into a crowd of unarmed Lannister soldiers, and the battle is back on.
What follows is forty straight minutes of carnage. It was clearly meant to shock the audience into submission, but I actually just found myself to be bored by the over-the-top gore of it all. I had more of a visceral reaction to Tyrion outing Brienne as a virgin than I did to the people of King’s Landing being incinerated in HD. So instead of attempting to describe the mayhem, let’s just cover the important plot points that took place while the King’s Landing was being dismantled brick by brick.
Jaime & Euron
Jaime finds his way to the outlet Tyrion directed him to, down on the shores of Blackwater Bay, only to be intercepted by Euron, who immediately challenges him to a duel. This entire scene was the most unnecessary sequence of events in an episode made up solely of unnecessary sequences of events. Euron, whose character arc was already weak at best, has been reduced to a man who operates on chaos alone. He managed to survive Drogon’s attack on the water, and instead of making a break for it he just…goads Jaime Lannister into a fight? To what end?
Euron: I had sex with a queen which makes me a king so now if you kill me everyone will be like “Wow Jaime Lannister killed TWO KINGS” wouldn’t that be crazy?
Jaime: …Sir this is an Arby’s.
Jaime gets stabbed twice in the torso before managing to get a killing blow into Euron’s chest. Dark Pacey Witter, the chaotic Jack Sparrow of Winterfell, dies alone on the shores of King’s Landing. His last words are “I am the man who killed Jaime Lannister.” None of it made sense, but it’s so low on the totem pole of things to be mad about that I guess we’ll just move on.
Jon spends the entire siege running around the city, being shocked that Dany is doing exactly what Varys said she would do. He tries to save a few people and stop a few fights, but is ultimately useless.
Dany: * goes insane, burns King’s Landing to the ground, basically follows up on her promise to rule the people of Westeros by fear*
The Hound & Arya
Pre-Mad Queen, the Hound and Arya were strolling through King’s Landing looking like the best pair of assassins you’ve ever seen. But once the city starts crumbling around them, they lose some of their bravado. The two of them make it all the way to the Keep only for the Hound to turn around and urge Arya to escape. You expect her to laugh in his face but then, against all odds and in opposition to everything we know to be true about her, she just…does it?
The girl who killed the Night King makes it to the doorstep of Cersei, the woman she’s vowed to kill since day one, and then goes “Eh, not feeling it anymore.” At this rate, why didn’t she just stay back and marry Gendry? She could be in Winterfell, eating ice cream and watching rom coms with Brienne and Sansa, having sex with her hot, newly-noble fiancé, not having a care in the world. But sure, this route makes sense, too.
Arya thanks the Hound for I don’t know what, then high tails it out onto the streets of King’s Landing, which appear to be just as dangerous as the Keep. The Hound continues up the stairs and comes across Cersei, Qyburn, and the Mountain, making their escape. The brothers lock eyes, and it’s clear that we’re about to get the fight everyone has been asking for. Cersei commands Ser Gregor to stay by her side, and he answers by picking Qyburn up and busting his skull against a rock. Good riddance. She sneaks past them and leaves the two to battle it out.
Jaime & Cersei
In case my rant above wasn’t enough, let me drive my point home by saying that the death of the Lannister twins was the single most disappointing death scene in this entire show. Qyburn went out more heroically than these two incestuous idiots.
After leaving the Cleganes behind, Cersei comes across Jaime in the Keep. She starts sobbing upon seeing him and they stand there and hold each other for far longer than you would expect, given the fact that the ceiling could come down on them at any moment.
They make their way to the dragon dungeon Tyrion once escaped from, only to find that their route has been blocked by a pile of debris. Instead of doing, I don’t know, anything about this situation, Cersei starts sobbing about not wanting their baby to die. Jaime grabs her by the face, tells her that nothing matters but the two of them, and then they died clutching each other as the entire Keep collapses down onto them.
Their death feels like such a throwaway that I am now retroactively Team Cersei. Dying together? Check, we’re all on board for that. Dying cowering and sobbing in each other’s arms? Not my Lannisters.
What happened to Cersei, whose natural response to any danger is gulping wine and arching her eyebrow? Or Jaime, the brave and honorable knight who would rather go down fighting than surrender? Did everyone just forget the last nine years of character development? I feel like I’m taking crazy pills.
It shouldn’t be surprising by this point when I tell you that Clegane Bowl was entirely underwhelming. The Hound repeatedly stabs his giant zombie of a brother to no avail while the building collapses around them. Once it becomes clear that nothing will stop the Mountain, not even a dagger through the skull, the Hound tackles him and together they crash through what’s left of the wall and they both tumble hundreds of feet to the fiery city below. I would say it’s safe to assume both of them are dead, but it’s not safe to assume anything about this show anymore.
Arya & The Horse
Out on the streets of the city, Arya is not faring well. Despite the fact that she’s clearly won, Dany is still flying around and roasting people while toppling whole city blocks. Everything is debris and ash and fire and death and it’s honestly awful. Arya almost dies a handful of times, only to be saved by a kind woman who later dies by fire for her efforts.
Arya is knocked unconscious and wakes up covered in debris an undetermined amount of time later. While you can still hear screams in the distance, everything is quieter now. There isn’t a living soul in sight except for one immaculate, entirely unharmed white horse. I thought maybe this was a metaphor or a hallucination on Arya’s part, but It was actually just a whole-ass horse. Arya hops on and gallops away as the screen fades to black and for some reason “Old Town Road” isn’t playing in the background. Yet another disappointment to add to the list.
That’s it, folks. That’s the episode.
It seems like the only possible route now is for what’s left of Westeros (aka the Starks) to rise up against Dany. Now that she’s not even feigning sanity anymore, there’s nothing stopping Dany from riding north and torching her last standing opposer: Sansa. If we don’t get a Stark reunion followed by a Baelish-style surprise execution, I will riot.
Sansa up North, sipping a daiquiri and not being burned alive in a battle she didn’t support, carefully crafting her “I told you so” speech for Jon:
MVB: That stupid horse
Pickings were so slim this week that we’re bestowing the coveted title of Most Valuable Betch to the horse that managed to survive the melee on the streets of King’s Landing. With those kind of instincts, it’s probably smarter than Jon—someone please let the horse develop the game plan for next week.
Images: HBO; Giphy (5)
It’s no secret that the relationships in Game of Thrones are…messy. You thought dating in New York was rough? Welcome to the Seven Kingdoms, where you might accidentally fall in love with your aunt and be none the wiser. Yikes. Awkward that we all spent seasons shipping a nephew and his aunt. If only the Lords and Ladies of Westeros had a dating app like Ship, maybe they’d spend more time hooking up with their local (not blood related) hotties rather than plotting the death of everyone around them. Or like, maybe that could stop all the incest. Maybe???
But since Ship doesn’t exist in the Westeros, we’ve gone ahead and decided what the ideal Game of Thrones pairs would be for them. All of the following matches ignore current relationships on the show and operate in a blissful world where no one has died and the Battle of Winterfell didn’t devastate us beyond repair. I’m not ready to talk about it.
Robb Stark & Margaery Tyrell
Admittedly, this started as an aesthetic pairing more than anything else. Robb and Margaery would have been the hottest couple in Westeros, full stop. But the more I think about it, the better this couple becomes. Maybe Robb’s dumb ass would have stayed alive if he had had someone as cunning and manipulative as Margaery by his side. The might of the Starks and the scheming of the Tyrell’s working together against the Lannisters? Cersei is shaking. Sure, Margaery would have frozen to death at Winterfell in those Nasty Gal cutout dresses of hers, but love comes with sacrifice.
Cersei Lannister & Oberyn Martell
Okay, hear me out. Yes, these two despise each other. Yes, there’s a lot of baggage there. Yes, Cersei indirectly murdered Oberyn and much of his family, but to be fair she’s indirectly murdered a lot of people. I think all of that could be overcome, based solely on the blatant sexual tension that existed between these two on screen. Perhaps this could have something to do with the rumors that Lena Heady and Pedro Pascal are an item in real life, but I think it goes even beyond that. They’d be the couple that fights constantly just so they can have over the top make up sex, and I, for one, would be okay with that.
Sansa Stark & Podrick Payne
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: my true dream for Sansa is that she survives all the sh*t that’s about to happen and goes on to live a long, fulfilling, single life with zero men and one hundred wolves by her side. Just the Lady of Winterfell, existing in total peace, surrounded by her pack of loyal dogs. However, if I had to pair her with anyone, it would be Sex God Podrick Payne. After years of relentless mental and physical abuse, our girl Sansa has earned a lifetime of good dick and being sung to sleep, two areas that we know Podrick can deliver in.
Yara Greyjoy & Daenerys Targaryen
The lesbian power couple that Westeros needs. Remember the raging sexual tension? The cavalier marriage proposal? The smirks? This one writes itself. I give Daenerys one more week of Jon’s brooding before she flies off to the Iron Islands to live a zombie-free life with her girlfriend.
Jaime & Literally Anyone Who Isn’t His Sister
Obviously Brienne is my first choice here, but I’m not going to be picky. Let’s do some quick math and breakdown just how many people Jaime could be sleeping with that aren’t his sister. According to a series of fan blogs and what appears to be an insane amount of research into populations and migration habits and world building, it is estimated that there are around 40 million people in Westeros. Even if there are 1 million distantly related Lannisters (there aren’t), that leaves 39 million people for Jaime to be in a relationship with. If we continue to operate under the assumption that Jaime is straight, as he’s never given us any indication otherwise, and cut that number in half, we’re down to 19.5 million. Now let’s assume that only a third of those women are viable contenders age-wise for Jaime, which brings us to about 6.5 million. Maybe only 1% of those 6.5 million are in a high enough class to land the great Ser Jaime Lannister. I get it, he’s not going to end up with a commoner. That still leaves him 65,000 options.
I ship Jaime with literally any of them over his twin sister. Unfortunately, all we can do IRL is watch Game of Thrones and hope we make it out with at least one successful relationship. But if you’re a person who would rather take a more active role in the love lives of those around you, download Ship, where you can find matches for your friends and family, and get to shipping in a nonfictional and productive way.
Images: Giphy (5)
I made the misguided decision to go camping this past weekend rather than watch the notoriously devastating pre-season finale episode of Game of Thrones and by the time I had returned to civilization/Wi-Fi, Viserion had died a horrible, icy death which basically means I’m never stepping foot outside the city again. Sorry for letting you down, my dude.
I barely had time to recover from that crippling loss before a misleading headline from Cosmopolitan gave me a near stroke: “A Game of Thrones Director Just Low-Key Confirmed That Either Sansa or Arya Will Die.” EXCUSE ME.
Should we be shocked by any more deaths in this miserable show? Absolutely not, they’re inevitable. But not for our poor Starks, who have already suffered so much. This is their season! They’re reuniting like wildfire, falling in love with their aunts and generally running shit like the badasses they all are, and now this? It was enough of a shock that I actually forced myself to click the link and further my research on a topic that I should probably be well-versed in at this point, which was when I realized I’d been duped by none other than Cosmo. Clickbait strikes again.
In an interview with HuffPost, Game of Thrones director Alan Taylor had this to say about the growing tensions in Arya and Sansa’s relationship: “I love the fact that these two come back, they’re both lethal, and I just wanted to give the impression, as much as possible, that one of them is going to die, but you’re not sure which one…. Something is coming very soon between them, and it will be violent but surprising.”
Alright everyone, now is the time to calm the fuck down. First of all, Game of Thrones plot twists are more safely guarded than matters of national security, which is not a big bragging right at this point but let’s all just pretend. If the director of the most popular show in the world (completely unsubstantiated statement, it’s fine) decided to sit down and casually confirm a character death in the week leading up to the finale, he would have lost not only his job but most likely also his life.
Second, there is a huge difference between “give the impression that one of them is going to die” and then actually killing them. In fact, that almost seems like something someone would say who is purposely trying to mislead an audience and incite terror in the days leading up to a season finale. But what do I know, I’ve just written about this show religiously for ten weeks out of the last three years.
Besides, Arya murdering Sansa or vice-versa after last week’s episode would be far too obvious a move for this show. My guess is that their rivalry is all a ploy that will lead to the ultimate “violent but surprising” moment of the finale: both of them murdering Littlefinger. Catelyn Stark’s daughters are too fucking smart to be taken down by the rat man that spent his entire life fantasizing about her, and he’s going to learn that lesson the hard way.
2017 is a fiery wasteland and the only thing that makes us all feel slightly better about it is that we’re not quite as bad as Westeros. They can’t take that from us, not yet.
Caveat: if the show runners are bold enough to kill off a Stark this Sunday, we better be rewarded with a 15-minute-long sex scene between Jon and Dany. Yeah, they’re related. I don’t give shit.