This episode was possibly one of the most baffling, at least in regard to plot and narrative. Several simplistically idiotic story lines that played out making very little sense, and the internet hasn’t been shy in expressing their disdain for the narrative arc and twist towards the end of last weeks installment; the penultimate episode. We witness Varys writing several letters quite clearly containing the real truth of the rightful heir to the Iron Throne, disclaiming that his claim to the throne is more legitimate than his ‘Queen’ Daenerys’. Whilst this subtle coup is going on we’re shown a blank and distraught Dany who has been spiraling for the last two episode, isolating herself further and further, slowly turning into the very explosive and cruel tyrant that she had once made a pledge to destroy. Coming full circle back to the moment when in the fourth episode ‘The Last of the Starks’ Varys implores her to listen to reason and not to violently attack the entire city of King’s Landing, as Cersei has very purposely and brought thousands of innocent people into the Keep, knowing that any army that comes to defeat her will likely have to slaughter thousands of innocents before getting to her.
“These are the people that you came here to protect. I beg you, your grace, do not destroy the city you came here to save. Do not becomes what you have always struggled to defeat.”
Tyrion informs him that it was him to brought his treasonous behavior to the queen’s attention. Dany, again using violence where violence isn’t entirely necessary… why not imprison him? Perhaps pre-empting her ever-rising volatile mindset and behavior. Her escalating volatility and lack of general empathy for those who she swore to protect, and her blood thirst for revenge is entirely embodied within the execution of Varys. Whilst speaking to Tyrion, she proclaims –
Dany “Your sister knows how to use their enemies’ weaknesses against them. That’s what she thinks our weakness is, but she’s wrong. Mercy is our strength, our mercy towards future generations, who will never again be held hostage by a tyrant.”
^One of my biggest complaints about this season is simply the lazy writing that we are witness to. It would be one thing For Daenerys to turn mad having been given enough reason or tortured like Reek and then wasn’t entirely compus mentis [of a sound mind]. It was only last season that Tyrion had broached this subject with her, amongst others, reminding her that monarchies ruled by Fear are short-lived, the ones that are ruled over are always waiting and hoping for the one in power to find themselves lacking their title, or their life. But this, along with every other single thing that Daenerys stood for and believed in has been eviscerated over the last two episodes.
Tyrion “Cersei’s followers will abandon her if they know the war is lost. Give them that chance. If the city surrenders, they will ring the bells and raise the gates. Please if you hear them ringing the bells call off the attack.”
The assault begins and somehow, even though with the firing of very few spheres in the previous episode she had lost another one of her dragons, Drogon and Daenerys are somehow able to completely evade every single shot whilst also managing to destroy everyone of the catapults that surrounds the walls of Kings Landing. Oh how convenient. After the decimation of the Golden Guard and the City’s gates, along with all of their “Scorpions” (The Dragon-killing devices) The tense moment that has been awaited arrives, the ringing of the bells. What follows is possibly the least thought out and ill-considered plot twist that has been created for TV in years. Even though the entire city has surrendered itself to Daenerys and her army, she then sets out to burn the entire city to the ground. Not heading straight to Cersei to kill her or even to just burn down the actual castle in its entirety, which would have killed Cersei and also brought down the symbol of the common people’s oppression for all the centuries that had passed. But no, it’s the non-mercenary innocent men women and children that she burns alive en-masse.
Alike the episodes before it that the final series is comprised of, this was another deeply unsatisfying and disappointing hour and twenty minutes. This includes but is not limited to: Jaimie’s turn back from his entire character arc that has seen him transition into someone with honor and substance, who crawls back to his incestuous relationship.. Arya turning back after journeying the whole way to King’s Landing in order to kill Cersei only to be talked out of it remarkably quickly by the Hound. The Hound himself and his lengthily seemingly-unending battle with his brother, though that wasn’t entirely unenjoyable to watch. A far too nice and happy ending for Cersei and Jaimie who suffer the most boring and frustratingly inadequate anti-climactic death that could have been written.
Arya’s escape after letting go of her burning desire to kill Cerei leads her to have to navigate her way around King’s Landing spending the entire time getting thrown from place to place with explosions, dragon fire, buildings collapsing around her. It’s also impossible not to notice that the men that are fighting for Daenerys are also getting crushed, burnt and blown up. She’s so impressively out of control that she is slaying both sides of the soldiers, without batting an eyelid. Again, purely illogical and infantile writing. After the second time being knocked wholly unconscious by one of the many blasts and explosion she comes to, quite dazed, and is met with a scene that could have occurred at Pompeii after its volcanic eruption with people in the street burned to a crisp with their faces still struck in agony. She walks past the harrowing sight of the little girl and her mother’s charred bodies, with their arms still encircling each other. With the carving of the wooden horse standing out, a symbol of the death of the innocent on this day.
Whilst no one can argue that the stage settings, cinematography, set design, lighting and many other aesthetic tools have done nothing but continue to impress over the seasons so far, the actual script; the narrative, has left an immeasurable amount to be desired.