In over 8 seasons of Game of Thrones I can easily say I’ve fantasized about watching King’s Landing burn by dragon fire hundreds of times. Last night I got to have that dragon fire fantasy come true, but it wasn’t without a price. Last week people freaked out over how tremendously bad episode 4 was and I agreed to a point. I’ve been burdened with HOW the events are transpiring, not WHAT is transpiring. I’ve even asked myself why I’m so disappointed, if I’m being over critical? If perhaps it’s just simply impossible to live up to these expectations I’ve imagined in my head. After receiving exactly the special effects masterpiece I dreamed of I still sat shocked with how utterly underwhelmed I was.
Goodnight Our Friendly Neighborhood Spider
The show begins with an ending. Varys is all gossip girl with Tyrion who runs to Dany “Sansa style” with the information that Vary’s knows Jon is the rightful heir to the throne. Dany points out how easily Tyrion is manipulated by vagina’s and is outwitted again. Her crazy Targaryan brain follows through with Varys punishment of death by Drogon halitosis, even though all we could see was that he was sending ravens out with the information,…like our friend Dead Ned.
One of the things we’ve been seeing this season is D & D’s ability to come full circle with where the story began, Robert’s Rebellion and character development that started years and years ago in the making. That circular closure has been one of the more positive virtues of season 8, and it’s doesn’t end with Vary’s demise and dragon fire either.
We find ourselves outside of King’s Landing again with Jon’s tired ass army, no extra soldiers from Dorne, no Daario and a brigade of cutthroats, and no ships from Yara and the Iron Islands. I think to myself, hmmmmm. Tyrion is very confident they will win. Maybe last episode they did have an ace in the deck. Breaking it down there is STILL an opportunity here to maybe not overpower, but outsmart Cersei yet.
With Varys knowledge of the city tunnels, and Ser Davos the king of smugglers, Dany’s history of tricking her way into cities for sieges, and Tyrion’s knowledge of the king’s guard and tactics…it suddenly seemed plausible. The biggest problem was the OP Euron and all of Qyburn’s very impressive and super accurate scorpions that were perched around the entire city. I mean, these things are so formidable they can take down a moving, flying object on the first attempt, two shots in a row. This effectively neutralizes Drogon and angry Dany. Aside from that the Golden Company is blocking the entrance to King’s Landing looking intimidating, albeit without elephants.
In my mind this leveled the playing field even without an army of comet dragons and it would make for a great fight. But…..it didn’t. Dany swooped in with Drogon and just annihilated the entire fleet and then made waste of the cities fortifications, crushing Golden Company is 10 seconds. Let me be clear, it was a sight to behold. It made for beautiful effects, and was fueled by powerful music, and great shots of Drogon reigning dragon fire. But from the rules created just an episode before it was nonsenese. Dany conquers the city quickly, we get to enjoy watching Cersei poop her pants in denial and finally surrender the city. We know she really hates bells, so ringing them was probably a tough call for her.
Now that the city is hers Dany billows with extra uber rage and we revisit a similar situation with Tywin outside the city in Robert’s Rebellion. But, in this timeline there is a very angry mother of dragons. Dany glowers at the Red Keep for a moment. Then she just loses her brains and starts lighting up the entire city. At this point I sit back and exhale.
Now that dragon fire is reigning down on the city we get to view the Hound and Arya making their way to Cersei and the Mountain, who are finally evacuating. We follow Jaime who “just happens” to run into Euron at the super secret entrance to the dragon basement were they have a “quarrel”. Jon watches as his army follows Greyworm’s lead and starts murdering unarmed soldiers. Then ups the ante to innocent people in the streets. Then we follow a northern soldier who thinks “yay rape” in the middle of battle. This is also happening in a battle that features death from above making no concessions for it’s own army. I suppose we needed Jon to do something other than stand around and stare obtusely.
Arya and the Hound part ways in a goodbye that will last through the ages. Then we finally get Cleganebowl. The Mountain’s disposal of Qyburn was a beautiful monstrosity. The unveiling of “The Mountains” true Darth Vader face was horrifying. He even had the high ground. It was certainly the high point of the episode and a great end to one of the best character’s in the entire series.
Jaime’s fight with Euron was…..not even worth mentioning, but Jaime got stabbed a few times. Then Euron got stabbed harder and made a lame sex joke. Jaime found his way to Cersei and led her to the dungeon where “the way was shut”. Jaime wrapped his arms around his creepy murder Queen sister and the two of them left the world together just as they came into the world together. Then their world literally crumbled on top of them with Jaime’s hands still wrapped around her neck. That, was an exceptional and beautiful conclusion to both of them and another moment where D & D brought the story full circle.
We all knew once Jaime headed south that he was done for, but seeing him in chains as a captive in a Stark tent did incite a smile. The heartfelt exchange between himself and Tyrion was quite beautiful. Whether we loved Jaime or not, he and Tyrion had a real brother’s love. Till the very end Tyrion did fight for his family. Tyrion is going to pay for that love. Hopefully Drogon is super tired from all of that fire breathing in the final episode.
Not a lot of time left, but there’s still a lot of loose ends to tie up. Dany needs to be dealt with, but how? Since Jon’s main gig this season is to watch events unveil around him and brood it’s his turn to shine. He needs to end what will inevitably be a very short reign.
Or will it be Arya? Her final moment with the horse was beautiful, and all I could hear was America’s “Horse With No Name” in my head. If the horse does represent death incarnate it’s very possible we will see her as the one to take Dany down. It is also possible it could symbolize Arya being dead herself. If this was the book, I’d lean to that, but I don’t think that fits with the show.
Tyrion is going to pay for his final betrayal. The question becomes whether or not anyone will be able to stop Dany before she does make him all crispy. Will the North come down and bend the knee? What will Sansa do now that her sarcasm will be met with death? What will everyone do now that they’ve “woke the dragon”? I predict Bran will turn into a raven and sit in his wheelchair.
Watch it Again
After venting last night, dwelling a bit, sleeping on it, and coming around with it this morning it’s actually very simple. All of the side pieces, character moments, plot development are being rushed. There is no reason for this with two shortened seasons. Particularly after asking your audience to wait for a year and a half for the finale. As much as I love the epic nature of the BOW and KL last night, I’d rather have the meat, because ultimately that’s what built this dynasty. Now it feels empty without it.
If you thought this episode was great, I suppose I can understand being distracted by all the bells and whistles. Not to mention music that just OWNS you, some really wonderful moments throughout, payoffs we deserved, and the scale of the destruction. The dragon fire itself was so oppressive it was tangible. This season has been undoubtedly entertaining, but it’s lacked the passion, attention to detail and heart of the first 5-6. On a purely superficial level I’m not mad, but I am disappointed. I’m hoping they see this through proper. One last bit to end this epic tale.