The penultimate episode of this show brought the end of the road for a few characters. However, if you were not satisfied with the carnage from the Battle of Winterfell, let’s remember House Targaryen’s words: “Fire and blood.”
On a different note, I’m surprised that we haven’t had any change in the credits. In the aftermath of this episode, I hope they include the destruction when we see the map next week.
1.The first scenes are our goodbye to Varys. We see him maneuvering one of his little birds to stay abreast of Daenerys’ disposition. While he does this, it is clear that he has committed to betraying Daenerys as he is writing letters in an effort to let others know of Jon’s better claim to the throne.
We see him on the beach discussing the matter with a very reluctant Jon. Tyrion sees the exchange and is compelled to bring the matter to Dany.
Varys is later in his room when he hears the unmistakable sound of soldiers outside his door. Even before the door opens, he knows what is coming.
Tyrion confesses to Varys that it was he who brought the accusation to Dany. Varys does express to Tyrion that he hopes that he is wrong about Daenerys. Dany passes judgement and a moment later, Lord Varys, with his true allegiance to the realm and its people, is killed by dragon fire. It’s interesting to remember that the first time we see the beaches of Dragonstone, Stannis and the Red Priestess are executing the unfaithful with fire, back in the first episode of season 2.
2. We return to Dany’s chambers. She imparts Missandei’s only possession, her slave collar, to Grey Worm. Grey Worm wants nothing to do with this harsh memory of Missandei’s slave life and immediately hurls the thing into the fire.
Jon enters the room for a private word. Dany immediately launches into how Sansa could not keep Jon’s secret, and she is just as responsible for killing Varys as she is. She continues to accuse that this is a very calculated move on Sansa’s part. When people hear of Jon’s claim, because he has great love among the people of Westeros, the people will begin to support Jon’s claim. She laments that she has not known great love in Westeros, not like Jon has. She has only known fear. Jon insists that he loves her. She kisses him, but Jon is clearly now bothered by the nature of their relationship. In response to this, Dany threatens, “let it be fear.”
Daenerys is in a pretty tough spot here. Her next immediate rival (not counting Cersei) is the man she loves. And Jon is having a lot of trouble reciprocating, making her feel even more alone. So if he is no longer serving in the role of lover, he is now only an obstacle for what she wants – The Iron Throne.
3. Back in the throne room, Tyrion is still pleading the case for a more peaceful effort to take the throne. He cites the thousands of citizens in King’s Landing that will suffer from a violent siege of the city. Dany points out that Cersei is using their sense of mercy against them, but Dany argues that removing Cersei as quickly as possible will be the greatest mercy that they can provide. Making one last effort, Tyrion points out that if the city surrenders, they will ring the bells. Tyrion pleads that if that should happen that they will call off the attack. Dany seems to relent and nods her agreement.
As Tyrion moves to exit, Dany points out that Jaime has been captured. She considers this another failure on Tyrion’s part, and she will not tolerate another.
4. Tyrion enters the camp to rescue Jaime. I do like to reminisce, and this show is providing many opportunities as we have been coming full circle quite a bit (It is the last season). Even Tyrion notes that he has been hoping to return the favor for the many times that his brother has saved him.
Before Tyrion gets past the guards, we do learn that he needs to work on his Old Valyrian. I guess he doesn’t know everything.
Seeing Jaime and Tyrion together is one of the best parts of the show. Their fraternal relationship plays out very well, and I’d love to think that the actors have a pretty great relationship too. This discussion though is much more somber as I think both know that this will likely be the last time they see each other. Hearing Jaime recount that Cersei considered him the stupidest Lannister is welcome comic relief.
Way back in season 1, Tyrion emphasizes “You know how much I love my family.” What may be surprising is that I’m certain he includes Cersei in this statement. And now that we are in season 8, and he knows that certain doom only awaits Cersei, he begs Jaime not only to go to Cersei (which he knows he cannot stop him from doing), but to get her out of King’s Landing and to a new life in Essos.
As they part ways, Tyrion lets Jaime know how important he was in his life, how he would not have survived without Jaime, as everyone else treated him like a monster. This admission is especially poignant as despite this cruel treatment, Tyrion did love his father and his sister and sought their acceptance for so long. I doubt we will get to it, but there are rumors and theories that assert that Tyrion is no son of Tywin.
5. Cut to the Iron Fleet and King’s Landing as Cersei’s forces and the citizens prepare for the battle. The Golden Company is in formation outside the gates across from Daenerys’ Dothraki, Unsullied, and Jon’s northern forces. Cersei observes from her balcony, a look of smug confidence on her face.
There is a wind in the air, which causes Euron to look to the sky. Sure enough, Daenerys, riding Drogon enters the battle. The Iron Fleet does not last long, and Euron is in the water within minutes. The Scorpions on the battlements are the next to go. There must be dozens lining the castle wall. It will not take long before they are all gone.
At the other end of King’s Landing, the Golden Company awaits the first move. That move comes from Drogon who demolishes the castle wall behind them. That initial blast sends the Golden Company into disarray. What’s left of the GC is bowled over by the charge of Team Daenerys.
6. Qyburn enters to provide Cersei a grim report from the battle. With each negative detail, Cersei responds with sunshine, roses, and a clear lack of understanding as to what Drogon is doing to the city.
7. We join a mass of soldiers, led by Grey Worm, Jon and Davos. What Davos is doing at the front, I’m not sure. We still haven’t seen him swing a sword yet.
They reach a contingent of Lannister soldiers, who can tell the odds are not in their favor. They cast their swords down in surrender. As this happens, there are calls to ring the bells.
8. Drogon lands and looks menacing from a rooftop. By the way, have you been to Harry Potter World in FL?
9. The bells begin to ring. Victory is in hand… but we are not done yet. Daenerys sits atop Drogon and looks to the Red Keep. For her, there is still a price to be paid, and everyone in King’s Landing will be held accountable. Drogon begins incinerating the people. Grey Worm is seething and takes Drogon’s aggression as permission to press on. He hurls his spear at the closest Lannister, and the battle resumes. I think we can reclassify now to slaughter. The Lannister forces are being routed with little resistance. Drogon is systematically burning the city street by street. Even Jon’s northerners are indiscriminately laying waste to the civilians in their path.
10. Jaime finds the secret entrance that leads to the Red Keep, but arrives just as Euron emerges from Blackwater Bay. The two fight. Euron severely woulds Jaime before puts his sword through and ends Euron. As Euron dies, he seems thrilled and takes delight exclaiming, “I’m the man who killed Jaime Lannister!”
11. Qyburn returns to the balcony to retrieve Cersei. He reports that the Unsullied are advancing and convinces Cersei to seek safer shelter. As Cersei agrees, we look to the city burning. Green explosions appear as there are stores of Wildfire scattered through the city. This seems like it could have some significance, but it doesn’t.
Also “The Light of the Seven” begins to play. This was the music that played at the end of Season 6 as Cersei got her revenge on the Highsparrow, The Tyrells, and all those religious zealots who tortured her that season.
12. The Hound and Arya enter the castle as it is crumbling. Sandor convinces Arya to abandon her quest for revenge so she should not end up like him. She thanks him (for everything) and they part ways. Sandor continues on his path towards his brother (and Clegane Bowl!)
It doesn’t take long for Sandor to find his brother, who is with Cersei, Qyburn and the remainder of the Queen’s Guard. Sandor quickly dispatches the guard until there is just Qyburn, Cesei and Ser Gregor. Ser Gregor’s motivation to do battle with his brother supersedes everything. Even Cersei’s command to stay with her is ignored. Qyburn attempts to keep The Mountain from the fight and his skull is crushed in return. Cersei continues on her own and Sandor ignores her so we can … GET READY TO RUMBLE!!!
It would certainly be a challenge to provide a blow by blow description of this battle, but suffice it to say that Sandor inflicts wounds that should have ended the fight quickly, but we are talking about The Mountain. He was already a physical specimen before Qyburn got a hold of him. Now, he seems to feel no pain and is in this middle state of life and death. So even these severe wounds are not ending the fight. Near the end Gregor has his hands around Sandor’s head, thumbs over the eyes. It seems that we are about to get a repeat of the skull crushing that The Mountain delivered to Oberyn Martell, but Sandor finds another gear and is able to hurl both their bodies into a long drop into an inferno below. The Clegane Bowl ends in a tie.
13. Cersei is reunited with Jaime and contrary to my initial predictions, all is easily forgiven. They press their escape further into the catacombs only to find all exits are now covered in rubble. They are trapped. The walls continue to collapse around them. As Cersei weeps, Jaime embraces her explaining, “Nothing else matters.” And they exit this world as they entered it, together. I’d say this was romantic in a Romeo and Juliette kind of way, except Romeo and Juliette weren’t twins.
14. Let’s take a break and examine how dragons breathing fire works. Do they have to bring a fuel of any sort? Or is the fire simply created by the air they breathe? The question is asked because I want to know if Drogon can run out of fuel here. Or can he just keep igniting fires with no limits?
15. Since we last saw Arya, she has almost died at least 3 times. “I said, not today!” must be her line for the day. She awakes finding nothing else alive, except a white horse. Is this supposed to be the white horse ridden by the leader of the Golden Company? That horse was seemingly dead back at the beginning of this episode. But we seem to be making a deep reference to death using this pale horse. Arya rides out of King’s Landing and into the final episode.
Let’s bring out your dead:
- Lord Varys. See what gossiping gets you?
- The Golden Company. I told you to bring the elephants!
- Euron Greyjoy. You made me laugh, but good riddance.
- Both Cleganes. Most desperately wanted the Hound to best his brother, but with all the Terminator enhancements, that might have been too tall an order.
- Cersei Lannister. It took 8 seasons, but we got to see Cersei act like a human. As this show comes to a close, it is sad to see the big villain that has driven a lot of the plot take her exit, but all good things…
- Jaime Lannister. I suppose a Lannister always pays their debts. Or keeps their word and fulfills their obligations, especially if it’s your family… unless it’s your cousin.
Also, 2 questions in the Contest of Thrones were answered:
1. The Clegane Bowl ended in a tie.
2. Cersei wasn’t killed by Jaime or Arya. If you had to give credit, you can give it to Dany and Drogon.
These last 5 weeks have been enjoyable. I look forward to shutting it down with you on Sunday!
Justin Ledesma, Mower of the Great Grass Lawn