I gave this episode a 50 out of 100. This episode for me was a hot mess. Now, I understand Martin has pointed out these are grey characters with different sides of their persona’s coming out based on the circumstances at hand, which is what gives them their richness and complexity. Part of this I feel resides in knowing or having an understanding of how the characters are feeling up to that point where their change in behavior unfolds.
That being said I don’t feel I have been shown enough things that could cause Dany halfway through the episode to snap and suddenly decide to go out on a blood thirsty rampage of innocents while making her way towards Cersei.
Fine, she feels alone because Missendei is dead or because Jon broke off his romantic involvements to her. He did reswear his oath of loyalty to her. What is the logic behind destroying everyone in King’s Landing? People will fear her now. Who is going to believe she’s the breaker of chains? Who will believe this is the same person who liberated all the Slaves in Slavers Bay? Or nail 163 Slave masters to crosses as they had done to child slaves? Or more recently named a bastard to be the Lord of Storm’s End?
Drogon won this weeks Game of Thrones.
Cleghane Bowl finally realized; two brothers who’s mutual hatred for one another was created and ended by fire.
Sort of Good:
Cersei and Jaime die in each other’s arms.
Jaime’s redemption arc has proven to be a sharp change in direction for me. It wasn’t like Cersei was losing at the time he decided to go back to her and defend her. She was winning; having just killed Rhaegal and decimating Dany’s fleet. Was it love for his unborn child too? Unclear…
Dany’s destroying everyone in King’s Landing; including innocent men, women and children. Unexplainable, shocking and horrific. That left me feeling empty. I didn’t feel anything; like yeah they got what they deserved or that she’s a righteous bad ass.
I felt confused and lost by her choice half through the episode. I feel the need to clarify something that has happened again and again with this show and that is the lack of seeing *reactions* of Commoners to Nobility making decisions on their behalf in Westeros. This was done really well in Essos; not Westeros.
Before the battle in S8E5, Tyrion and Dany walk through her plan of leveling King’s Landing. Since at that point Varys has been executed, we are left with Tyrion representing the common man:
‘The people who live there, they’re not your enemies. They’re innocents, like the ones you liberated in Meereen…They’re afraid. Anyone who resists Cersei will see his family butchered. You can’t expect them to be heroes. They’re hostages. They are…In a tyrant’s grip. Whose fault is that? Mine? What does it matter whose fault it is? Thousands of children will die if the city burns. Thousands of children will die if the city burns.’
We did get reactions of commoners in Essos:
* The liberated slaves showed their adoration to Dany for freeing them from the Slave Masters; ‘Nissa Nissa!’
* Missendei was a slave who made it a point to mention she serves Dany because she was the ‘Breaker of Chains’.
We didn’t really get reactions of commoners in Westeros:
All we have really is the spokeperson for the Commoners, Varys. We never actually see the commoners reactions to any of the Nobility’s reactions except:
* The Northern nobility cheering Dany and Arya for defeating the Night King and Armies of the Undead. The toasted Dany before anyone.
* Joffrey nearly dying and pelted by manure as he walked the streets of King’s Landing in S2E6 and the commoners attacked calling him illegitimate.
Did we ever see the commoners reactions to (?):
* Cersei burning the High Sparrow and Queen Margaery in the Sept of Balor?
* Cersei taking over after Tommen committed suicide? (All we hear is that the people despise her all the way in Season 8.
I needed to be shown some commoners and their reactions to all these plot points to truly show what the people of King’s Landing felt.
All I saw was the destruction of innocents which left me feeling this is horrible and the loss left me feeling empty. I didn’t feel Dany’s actions were justified, whereas most of Dany’s war actions put the people she liberated standing behind her. I don’t think eliminating them entirely is the same thing. Dany more than anything has stated she wants to liberate people from Tyranny and all she has done is create more of this and Jon warned her about this ‘more of the same’.
Seeing commoner reactions throughout all 8 seasons would also reinforce the statement about manipulating the common man by Nobility and how they are in most cases victims of their decisions.
The victimization of commoners has always been there (Hardhomme, attacks by Wildlings, attack of the Riverlands and the North after the Red Wedding), however their voice and reactions have not.
Victimization is an action being done upon them; hearing their reactions to it matters to the story because that puts the main characters actions into better perspective.
Knowing the common people truly hated Dany and they wanted her gone for Westeros would do a better job of isolating Dany than Her just stating she feels alone. That just isn’t enough for me.
I felt they rushed to get to that beat in the story without anything that led me through her thought process so I know if she is truly mad or is being tactical with severity because she can’t see any other way.
There was nothing satisfying for me about Euron’s death at the hands of Jaime. He didn’t have enough substance to care about him.
* Will Tyrion be discovered as the freer of Jaime Lannister? Will he then be executed for betraying Dany?
* Will Jon take out Dany? I hope so given the fact they have baked in Dany’s madness resulting in the death of thousands of innocents. If he doesn’t then his whole character arc revolving around protected the realm from evil doesn’t play out.
* Will Arya take out Dany? I suppose if someone is willing to put up a large enough bounty more than one Faceless person will show up to do the job.