With only two episodes of "Games of Thrones" final season left, Sunday's instalment was filled with betrayal, secret plots and death, but some interesting developments come to light when we take a closer look at the multiple rejections in the episode.
I've been rooting for Brienne and Jaime since season three – this week they finally get together! The scene was tastefully executed, without any unnecessary nudity to cheapen the moment. When Jaime decides to stay in Winterfell, we can almost hear the wedding bells signalling the end of that character arc, but instead he slinks off in the dead of night. I wasn’t sure Brienne was capable of crying until she begs Jaime to stay with her. He seems unaffected by her pleas as he rides off.
Watching the Kingslayer grow into someone worthy of love, only to go rogue without warning, is so shattering I nearly cried along with Brienne. I’ve always been "Team Jaime" but I must admit, Tormund would never have hurt her this way. Our lovable big-bearded wildling was only hanging around for his big woman," once she rejects him, he returns North with the rest of the Free Folk.
Things move too fast between Gendry and Arya, and his marriage proposal naturally backfires. The whole thing was laughable. Anyone who knows Arya could tell you she’s not cut out for marriage. That Gendry doesn’t know this is proof that he’s not meant for her.
Two relationships imploded this week, and there might soon be a third. Things have been rocky between Dany and Jon ever since she learned he’s the Targaryen with a better claim to the Iron Throne. She begs him to keep the information to himself, but Jon rejects this suggestion. He claims to love her, promises to serve only her but reveals the truth to Sansa and Arya the moment her back is turned. The knock-on effect this blunder will have is almost glaringly obvious. Before the end of the episode, Tyrion and Varys know the truth of his identity, as well. Now it’s only a matter of time before the entire realm finds out.
And while Sansa and Dany’s mutual dislike for each other is clear, this week Dany’s feelings cloud her judgement. When Sansa suggests they allow the troupes to rest before sailing to King’s Landing, Dany rejects this plan and it costs her a dragon as well as a fleet of ships.
After Tyrion rejects Varys notion that Jon is the true heir to the Iron Throne, he convinces Dany to offer Cersei the proverbial white flag, and despite losing one of her dragon's in Cersei's and Euron Greyjoy's ambush, Dany offers Cersei her life if she steps down and releases Missandei. Cersei, however, was unmoved by Tyrion's "you're not a monster" speech , and orders Missandei's execution. If Tyrion had died while parleying with his sister, this episode would have been unbearable.
This week we saw our protagonists reject safer options to their own detriment. Some have already tasted the regret of a bad decision, like Brienne who rejects Tormund and is hurt by Jaime, and Dany is too stubborn to accept Sansa’s plan and loses Rhaegal and Missandei. Arya also turns down a comfortable life as a lady in the pursuit of adventure and revenge. With the Hound at her side, there’s no telling the body count they could reach.
I’m not sure what Jon’s play is, but he seems to have forgotten what happened to another Stark who couldn’t keep his mouth shut (referring to Ned, of course). As for Cersei, she’s probably sealed her fate with literal fire and brimstone. If Drogon doesn’t melt the smile from her annoyingly gorgeous face, perhaps Arya will be the one wearing it in the end? I’d like to think Cersei won’t see it coming, that Jaime will be the one wielding the fatal knife. Wouldn’t it be something, to watch him push her out a window? Maybe the gods are good, and they hear our prayers.
*Ayesha Abrahams is a former high school English teacher and editor, who's currently completing a MA in Creative Writing. She's also an IOL's "Game of Thrones" panel contributor.