Just when you think you’re going to sit through a casual episode and watch everything be ok for one more sitting… Game of Thrones pulls a very Thrones move. While the majority of this episode lays the groundwork for what will surely be an interesting final two episodes, it also made time to rip our hearts out… more than once.
It probably goes without saying by now, but, SPOILERS.
Danny is getting pushed to a very scary breaking point people. It’s hard to blame her, considering she’s made so many long-standing relationships and bonds just to watch it all crash and burn in front of her eyes. This episode though seems to be the straw that breaks the dragon’s back though. After losing Visceron to the Night King, her Dothraki to the undead hordes, and one of her closest friends and advisors, you would think the show would give her a break, but sadly, this shit doesn’t work that way.
This episode was the most Game of Thrones type episode we’ve seen in quite some time, especially since the show has moved past the Martin books. There was a ton of backroom politics being thrown around and schemes being discussed, it was all very classic Thrones. This makes some of our character’s choices though, all the more baffling; primarily Jon Snow and his stupid fucking honor. No one is as honorable as he wants them to be, and it yet again sews the fate of so many people who would’ve been better off living in ignorance. It sadly, also proves the Dragon Queen right, and will most likely cause the wedge to be driven even deeper between her and Jon.
It makes you wonder, for a show that thrives off teaching us that history repeats itself, why are these characters making the same mistakes? Also, why can’t everyone see past these issues to create a better Westeros for future generations?
The biggest issue to come to light is Jon being half Targaryen, half Baratheon, and having the most legitimate claim to the Iron Throne. Yes, we all know he doesn’t want it, but as Danny exclaimed, he didn’t want to be King of the North and that was thrust upon him anyways. Similar events are sure to begin now that Sansa opened her stupid mouth. She refuses to accept Danny as her new Queen and now she has the means to challenge her claim to the Throne because Jon couldn’t handle lying to his family. What’s worse, Varys now knows the truth and he has always made it painfully clear that his loyalties and love have always laid with the Realm above any would-be ruler. Sadly, this feels like the third betrayal foretold to Danny all those seasons ago.
“Three treasons will you know; once for blood, once for gold, and once for love.”
Varys’ love for the realm and the betterment of it surely places him as a solid contender for the “love betrayal”. Especially after he basically spells it out for Tyrion during their Throne room chat, his devotion to the Realm will always come before his loyalty to the Dragon Queen. In his defense, he did try to speak sense to Danny, in hopes she would start to see clearer. At least he can die saying he tried I guess. Secrets spread like a virus, and this one is sure to become a pandemic if it isn’t burned out soon.
Jon wants to believe that everyone will be as honorable as he is, but sadly that is far from the truth. It’s getting to a point now where even our most genuine heroes, characters we’ve grown to root for, are starting to bend the line of right and wrong. It could be argued that Sansa and Arya are no better than Cersei in this regard, as they’re clearly looking out for their own selfish interests over the betterment of the realm. Danny’s behavior only solidifies everyone’s weariness about her, making the Stark girl’s fears about her that much more justified. It’s a very sticky situation, one that Cersei will no doubt exploit should she learn the truth.
Yet again though, all of this stems back to Jon and his damn honor. Which as a viewer, is just frustrating. We’ve seen where honor got Ned Stark, so has Jon. We’ve seen where unwavering loyalty got Jon Snow, so did Jon. It’s to a point now, where Jon should not be this naive still. Events have happened where there should have been a lesson learned along the way to prevent this kind of annoying mistake to happen. Sansa learned, and shes still here because of it. Arya learned that, Danny, Tyrion… EVERYONE has learned what Jon Snow still apparently hasn’t and it’s mind-blowing to see him make the same mistakes after everything he’s survived.
Speaking of learning lessons and the like, don’t you think Euron would be connecting the dots, time-line wise, regarding his conveniently timed “heir” in Cersei? Don’t get me wrong, Cersei playing Euron like a fool is what she does best, but Tyrion’s little mention of it outside King’s Landing should have sent up a red flag for the guy. How would her brother, who is fighting for the other side, know of her pregnancy when he’s not stepped foot in the castle since their last awkward reunion?? Ironically enough, that’s when Tyrion realized she was with child, but it was long before Euron got a chance to have a go at the Queen. I’m sure this is one of those convenient story tropes that will get passed over for the sake of the plot but just saying, common sense is not Euron’s strong point, clearly.
Some serious hearts were broken in this episode as well. Arya and Jaime both had chances to take the less violent path and both embraced that choice, rather than the happily ever after option. Arya’s “it’s not you, it’s me” moment was fantastic though. Player’s gonna play, am I right?
The show’s intent to cut corners though is the most upsetting part of this season. We have seen time and again short cuts or convenient events taking place at convenient times, which is fine, I get that it’s a tv show, but now it just seems like everyone is rushing to the finish line. In a show that has built itself on taking seasons to set up one event, having everything happen so fast and for the sake of happening just feels out of place here. Like Rhaelgal getting shot out of the sky was gut-wrenching, and something that I’m sure we felt coming, but how it happened didn’t do him justice.
These mystical creatures that have some of the highest senses of any animal, mythic or otherwise, don’t see or smell or somehow notice a fleet of ships coming toward them? Danny just decided to play chicken with Euron’s fleet even though she could have hit them from behind with no potential harm to Drogon? Jon’s lack of goodbye to Ghost was a similar feeling. After so much emphasis being placed on these Direwolves for so long, in the book and in the show, for Jon to not even give his longtime pup a pat on the head or a “who’s a good boy” just felt brushed over. Ghost lost a fucking ear for god’s sake, the least you could’ve done was tell him to look after himself Jon!
Things are happening at a faster rate than this show is built for because everyone wants to get to the final showdown, and it sucks. This is a slow burn show, we have come to expect it from this show and lately, we’re getting the opposite. Events like this, that deal with characters we have been seeing and grown to love over the years get brief, and rapid send-offs is not a justified end to their tales. All of this makes me very wary of the series finale. If the showrunners are this ok with moving over important characters just to get to the ending, I shudder to think of the possible hot mess we could see as they try to tie up all the other loose ends over the span of roughly 3 hours.