SPOILER ALERT: #GameOfThrones season 8, episode 5 recap
Well, it happened. After seven seasons of writing Daenerys Targaryen as the one true hero, the one who will save Westeros, the one who will rule the seven kingdoms with kindness and fairness, the writers have upended all of that character development and have changed the character to be the worst person alive.
If you have read my recaps since the beginning of the season, I have been hinting at how she is the actual villain in the story and even though I don't like it, nor understand it, it's a typical trope of a show that hasn't been kind to many of its female characters.
The unthinkable happened in yesterday's episode. Daenerys went into full Mad Queen and was burning everything she didn't like-literally and figuratively. After the unnecessary beheading of Missandei last week and losing Rhaegal so soon after the death of Ser Jorah and knowing the truth about Jon Snow, we all expected her to get a bit unhinged. But I personally hope that she would see reason and not turn into Cersei. Or her father, the Mad King. So Varys was right all along.
The previous episode Varys made his fears known to Tyrion about how he thinks Dany will become just like her father, King Aerys.
The episode opens with Varys documenting the true identity of Jon Snow. When Jon arrives at Dragonstone, he meets with him and informs him about how Daenerys hasn’t eaten, refuses to see anyone and is unkempt. He knows this because he has spies everywhere. He alerts Jon on what she is likely to do- burn King’s Landing and the innocent people who live there.
Of course, Jon, ever the loyal man, keeps saying: “She’s my queen” which is basically code for: “I will not betray her and I don’t want the throne.”
Sadly, Varys gets the Lannister Special- betrayal. Tyrion decided to tell Daenerys that its not Jon who has betrayed her, but Varys. Not that it changed Dany's view about Jon betraying her by telling his family about his true identity.
So Varys got the dracarys treatment and was roasted by Drogon. And there it was: fear, Dany's favourite mode of rule.
Later, Dany blames Sansa for Varys’s death, saying she also had a hand in it by telling Tyrion about Jon’s real identity. It’s fascinating how the writers have made Daenerys someone who is not accountable for her actions, thereby making her slide into madness legit. She then puts Jon to the test, by letting him know her fears. “Far more people in Westeros love you than love me. I don’t have love here. I only have fear,” she says, to which Jon, loyal as ever, responds: “I love you. You will always be my queen.”
And then she says: “Is that all I am to you? Your queen?” seducing him. They kiss, but soon Jon breaks away. Awkward.
In the throne room, discussing their strategy for their attack, Tyrion begs Dany to show mercy to the innocent people of King’s Landing and to pull back if she hears tolling bells. Not that she would listen. She’s too far gone into seeking revenge and orders a grieving Grey Worm to sack King’s Landing. It doesn’t look good for anyone.
Last episode we saw Jaime, The Hound and Arya all heading to King's Landing. Jaime gets captured by Dany's forces, and is now held in Dragonstone. The Hound and Arya make it into King's Landing. Tyrion does his best to rescue his brother, like how Jaime did in the fourth season. He's organized his passage to Pentos and with the help of Davos, he frees him.
Battle day comes and everyone has girded their loins. Cersei’s army is ordering civilians to get inside the city’s gates, while Dany’s forces also get ready. Harry Strickland and the Golden Company are ready, as are Euron Greyjoy and his fleet.
Cersei stares at the action from the Red Keep and we see just how brilliant an actress Lena Headey is- we get all her emotions from her expressions and how she twitches her eye and furrows her brow.
As the armies fight, so does Dany, coming in and setting everything ablaze. There’s blood everywhere and Grey Word is showing just why he’s the leader of the Unsullied. And then Jaime appears. The Lannister forces drop their swords. The bells start tolling. And Dany, hearing them, continues burning people.
Tyrion realises that Dany is not going to stop and Cersei backs away, looking for a solution. “We just need one shot,” she says. Qyburn tells her the weapons are all destroyed.
Jaime makes it to the boat, but is accosted by Euron who wants to be known as the person who killed the Kingslayer. They fight. Both harming each other. Jaime wins and then makes his way to Cersei.
Cersei, cowering in fear at what is happening, and the Unsullied at the door, begins crying. And as she, Qyburn and The Mountain go into hiding, they come across The Hound. Qyburn is killed by The Mountain, Cersei gets away and Cleganebowl ensues. The Hound and his brother both end up dead.
Cersei runs into Jaime and she’s relieved to see him. Then she bursts into tears, saying she doesn’t want to die. They both die anyway as the building collapses on them.
Arya? Well, she’s running away, once again aiming to survive this battle, which she does, as she rides away from King’s Landing.
Last week I wrote about how I don't think there's going to be anyone on the iron throne and that I have a feeling King's Landing will burn and it will be a lesson to many about how toxic power is and when you play the game of thrones, no one actually wins. With the final episode airing next week, I think this indeed will be the case.