I don’t know about you, but I can’t believe there is only one more episode before we are left with a very large Game of Thrones shaped hole in our lives. Things are happening quickly now, leading up to who knows what, but if they stay true to their style, it will be something dramatic and surprising.
Disclaimer: this post contains spoilers for the penultimate episode of Game of Thrones, The Bells, so if you haven’t seen it yet, then go away and come back later!!
The latest episode helped to close off some more story arcs with some great throwbacks to earlier seasons and long-gone, much loved characters. However, despite being the penultimate episode, it still gave us a lot to think about and a fair few questions going in to the finale.
Hell Hath No Fury Like A Woman Scorned
Dany’s descent into madness is one that is being debated within the GoT fandom, but for me the show has been leading us there from the very first season, which is probably why I’ve never really liked the character much. In this episode, she full on plunges into madness, taking Grey Worm with her.
Admittedly, she has not received the warmest of welcomes this side of the Narrow Sea, she’s discovered the man she loves (if she is actually capable of love) has the rightful claim to the throne she craves, lost almost all of her most trusted advisors and two of her dragons. So, I suppose, you can forgive her anger to an extent but burning down a city full of innocents, a city that had surrendered I might add, really does take the piss. And Grey Worm’s actions, at what I believe to be a signal from Dany, just goes to show that she always intended to burn the city to the ground. Ironically, despite trying to distance herself from her father’s legacy as ‘The Mad King’, she ultimately ends up carrying out her father’s last words, “Burn them all”, and was even helped by him, to a certain extent, as the little explosions of wildfire were probably from the many secret caches that he had placed throughout the city during his reign.
P.S, This may have all been avoided had her nephew not refused her sexual advances. Dammit Jon, why are you so honourable!!
Money Vs Honour
The Golden Company proved to be all but useless in Cersei’s fight against Daenerys. However, they did offer a great throwback to the season six episode, Battle of the Bastards. With the city walls breached behind him, and (considering the events of The Long Night) a surprisingly large army of Dothraki bearing down on him, the leader of the Golden Company could have done a Jon Snow and met the onslaught with defiance but instead he turned and fled. It just goes to show that your reason for fighting is just as important as your skills.
He’s A Puppy, Really
I have always loved the relationships between The Hound and both the Stark girls. Having closed off the Hound/Sansa relationship so nicely last week, it was Arya’s turn this week. I assumed that the Hound would be fatally injured in the fight against his brother (more on that later) and Arya would kill him out of mercy, as a throwback to season four where she just left him for dead instead of ending his suffering. As good as I think that would have been, I did really like the way they went with it. Back in the city where she lost her father, she said goodbye and thank you to the man who, essentially, became a father figure and helped shape the woman she’s become..
For a very brief moment, the Hound also reignited my hope for Gendarya living happily ever after, until Daenerys burnt King’s Landing to ash, and my dreams along with it. I think Arya has added a new Queen to her kill list, but I think she will now have a lot of competition for that honour.
The highly anticipated fight between the Clegane brothers finally took place this week and I have to say, I found it to be a little lacklustre, although it did a great job of showing that Gregor Clegane is still in that zombified brain somewhere. Don’t get me wrong, it was a good fight but I think the anticipation and expectation ruined it for me a little bit. I still prefer the brief fight they had way back in season one.
Given that his fear of fire made him desert the Battle of the Blackwater and freeze up during the Battle for the Dawn, the fact that Sandor Clegane literally threw himself, and his brother, to a fiery death just goes to show that his hatred of his brother greatly outweighs his fear. Such a perfect way to close off his character arc, and further cement his place as my favourite character.
Born Together, Die Together
If there is one thing that Game of Thrones does particularly well, it is f**k with your emotions. There are so many redemption arcs and falls from grace that it’s an almost certainty that there are characters that you once despised, whom you now admire and vice versa. And believe it or not, they sort of managed to do it again with the Lannister twins.
My faith in Jaime had been raised up so much that I believed he was heading to King’s Landing to kill Cersei, for the greater good. I also could not imagine myself feeling sorry for Cersei, but in a very rare show of vulnerability, there I was, happy that she would die with someone that truly loves her, despite all her flaws. Don’t get me wrong though, I do think that Cersei deserved a much harsher death, something truly poetic. On this occasion, Game of Thrones missed the mark.
I also think it’s important to note that Jaime was only managed to get to King’s Landing because Tyrion helped him escape from Dany’s camp, returning the favour for when he helped Tyrion escape his death sentence for Joffrey’s murder. Not only did this offer us an emotional farewell between the two brothers but it has all but guaranteed Tyrion’s death, for defying his Queen.
I love all these little nods to earlier events, and the opening scene with Varys offered us another one. His letters detailing the truth about Jon’s heritage and rightful claim to the throne is very reminiscent of Ned Stark writing about Joffrey’s bastard status and, therefore, his lack of claim to the Iron Throne. I think this parallel perfectly symbolises Varys’ claim that he is loyal to the realm and will support the person that he believes is best to rule the kingdoms. As with Ned Stark, Varys’ honour was his undoing and he lost his life because of it.
It will really interesting to see who, and how, he sent those letters out and what consequences become of it. With Tyrion telling Dany about Varys, did he also sign a death warrant for Sansa too? Given the already tense and frosty relationship between the two, I think Sansa will be right after Tyrion on Dany’s revenge list.
Last of the
Given all the focus and talk of great Houses over the past eight seasons, and amidst all the carnage of the last few episodes, it is easy to miss that a lot of these great Houses are now extinct, or as good as. Let’s recap…
House Frey – wiped out by Arya in revenge for the Red Wedding.
House Tyrell – The vast majority of the Tyrell family were wiped out when Cersei blew up the Sept of Baelor with wildfire. The only surviving member, Olenna, was poisoned by Jaime when the Lannister’s captured Highgarden.
House Martell – Who can forget Oberyn’s rather gruesome death at the hands of the pre-zombie Mountain. The Prince of Dorne was killed by Ellaria Sand for a lack of action against Oberyn’s death. And Prince Tristane was killed by the Sand Snakes for, well just because I think.
House Mormont – Both Lyanna and Ser Jorah died in the fight against the Night King during the Battle for the Dawn.
House Tully – After helping the Lannisters and the Freys capture Riverrun, Edmure was put back in chains. It is unclear whether he is still alive at this point but considering Cersei offered Riverrun to Bronn, I think it’s safe to say that the Tully’s have all but gone.
House Clegane – Following the death of both Sandor and Gregor Clegane this week, their house is now extinct.
House Baratheon – Thanks to Daenerys’ legitimisation of Gendry, the previously extinct House Baratheon has now been revived, with a very, very slim possibility of sitting on the Iron Throne once again.
House Greyjoy – Following the death of Theon and apparent death of Euron, only Yara remains. Even if she marries, she will take her husband’s name, as would her children. Either way, House Greyjoy will die with her.
House Lannister – One of the largest, richest and proudest Houses of the whole series has but one surviving member left, Tyrion. However, as I have said previously, he does not look to have much longer left in this world. Although, should he somehow survive, it will be poetic that the Lannister name will continue on with the Imp.
House Stark – Given the rate that the Starks were being killed off within the first few seasons, it is pretty impressive that there are so many left. However, unless Bran fathers children (highly unlikely, and maybe not even possible..?!?), those that remain truly are the Last of the Starks.
There is a small part of me that feels that, dependant on the events of next week, Jon will choose the Stark side of his heritage and will be legitimised by whoever ends up on the Iron Throne….. Sansa maybe. If this happens, then the Stark name will live on through his children.
Have you seen this episode yet? What did you think, I would love to hear your thoughts.