It Doesn’t Matter What ‘Game of Thrones’ Does Next Week. The Show’s Beyond Redemption
There’s nothing Game of Thrones can do next week. This bleak and horrifying show is beyond redemption. This isn’t to say the show isn’t engrossing and well-made. It’s just that “The Bells” was so violent and so repellent that we must face facts about our heroes: Daenerys Stormborn Targaryen is a bloodthirsty maniac, and Jon Snow might be a righteous man, but is undeniably a schmuck.
Varys, the smartest guy in Westeros, looks Jon Snow in the eye and tells him that he must take the Iron Throne. He’s the only one the people will follow, he’s got the bloodline (not exactly a Democratic notion, but let’s not vote-shame Westerosi culture) and, most importantly, he’s got the necessary skillset. But he refuses. He loves Daenerys too much, or maybe he’s just a coward. Innocent blood will shed because of his inaction. Sure, next week he’ll finally take action, but by then it will be way too late.
Tyrion, the other smartest guy in Westeros (allegedly) rats Varys out to Daenerys. What is with everybody? What hold does she have? Well, it only takes Varys’ execution to remind us: A big-ass dragon.
Jaime, never that smart but usually clever, has his own problems. He’s still locked in love with Cersei, and Tyrion, hoping to avoid the total sack of King’s Landing, lets him escape a Dothraki prison to try and convince Cersei to “run away.” Yeah, Jaime got caught on his way into the city, and he’s tied up in a tent again. This dude is always tied up in a tent.
Then, finally, battle. Daenerys rides Drogon and, well, you gotta call her what she is: Unstoppable. After a reasonable amount of destruction (by GOT standards), Cersei’s army throws their swords down in front of Jon Snow. The bells of surrender are tolled. But Daenerys senses that Cersei is still out there (she’s right), and she leads Drogon in a systematic destruction of the entire city (which is very, very wrong.)
All that gorgeous architecture, destroyed! All those innocent people, burned! Street by street, lane by lane, Daenerys has Drogon blast King’s Landing with fire. He never runs out! He must eat an awful lot of cruciferous vegetables. Then, when Grey Worm picks up his lance to bludgeon more soldiers, there’s absolute mayhem that goes on forever. “Enough! Enough!” we shouted from the couch. War? What is it good for? I get it but, yuck, if I wanted to watch Hacksaw Ridge I would.
More death: Euron Greyjoy (who at first you think died in one of Drogon’s strafing attacks) shows up on the shore and he and Jaime fight with swords. Organs are sliced in loud ways. Jaime wins, but not without suffering some wounds. RIP Euron, you were a big jerk.
Satisfying all of Reddit was the so-called “Cleganebowl,” in which the two monstrous brothers The Hound and The Mountain duked it out, with Maester Qyburn as bloody collateral damage just for being in the wrong spot. Naturally we’re siding with The Hound (and in one shot as they size each other up you see Drogon flying overhead; it'll make a great GIF), but how can he kill someone that’s already dead? Even a sword driven into The Mountain’s skull won't slow him down. (If only The Hound had seen Justice League he'd know to shout “Martha!” With his eyes gouged out, The Hound crashes into his brother and the two them fall from the Red Keep into the flames of the city. Cleganebowl: Tie.
Arya, off on a mission to find Cersei, is witness to all the brutality in a series of Children of Men-esque shots. Kids weep as their mothers are chopped up by raping horsemen, or turned to barbecue by Daenerys’ dragon. Cersei, finally accepting that her throne is lost, agrees to try an escape with Jaime through that creepy room in the basement where they keep dragon skulls. She blubbers about how much she loves their unborn baby. Then the ceiling caves in. They’re dead. Cersei is dead. Holy shit.
And it’s a great spin on the long discussed Valonqar prophecy. It was foretold that Cersei’s younger brother would “wrap his hands about your pale white throat” and she would die. Well, even though she and Jaime are twins, he is younger. This vision had nothing to do with Tyrion after all. Jaime held her head in his hands as death crashed in on them, so, how ’bout that? It did come true.
But as neat as that was, it was still a whole lot of gross. I don’t know about you, but watching people scream in agony over for 90 minutes isn’t what I look for in a Sunday night. Why do we tune in? Isn’t life hard enough? We’ve held out hope that somehow a good leader would come to sit on the Iron Throne, bringing calm and prosperity to the Seven Kingdoms. Naturally there’d be hardship along the way, but remember the end of Lord of the Rings? Frodo may have sailed off into The West, but the rest of the Shire gets to mellow out and have all the second breakfasts they wanted.
But Game of Thrones was never Lord of the Rings. We’ve always known it, but “The Bells” reminded us in scene after scene of brutal, ash-filled choking terror.
Gallery — The Best-Dressed Characters on Game of Thrones (Back Before They Were All Dead: