An epic episode.
I think reaction to this episode and to Season 8 generally depends on whether you have read the books or are just watching the TV series.
If you have not read the books, Season 8 is probably fantastic. But for book fans, it has been frustrating at how it is not filling in details we want such as the motivation of the Night King, the prophecy around Cersei, the Prince who was Promised etc etc. And the characters seem to have changed. Tyrion is suddenly less smart. Dany goes mad too quickly. Jaime doesn’t complete his path of redemption etc.
Maybe the final episode will redeem it, but the conclusion looks pretty obvious – Jon will need to kill the mad Queen. I hope for some twists that surprise. I suspect Arya will challenge Dany and Dany will try to kill Arya, which will force Jon to oppose her.
On the plus side the battle scenes are epic. Anyway here are the main takeaways:
- Varys writes ravens to tell people of Jon’s true parentage. He tries to convince Jon to become King
- Varys is executed by dragonfire for treason. He tells Tyrion he hopes he is wrong about Dany (he isn’t!).
- Arya and the Hound leave the camp, telling a guard who tried to stop them that she is off to kill Queen Cersei. They get into Kings Landing.
- Jaime is captured by Dany’s forces. Tyrion frees him to try and get Jaime to convince Cersei to surrender to save the population of Kings Landing
- The Iron Fleet is all loaded with ballistas to try and take down Drogon if he appears. Also the Red Keep surrounded by them.
- But an alert Drogon piloted by Dany is no sitting target. She flames the iron fleet one boat at a time.
- Dany’s army faces off against the Golden Company. A great tense scene and suddenly Drogon bursts open the keep gates from behind the Golden Company scattering them. They fall to the Dothraki and Unsullied.
- The bells of surrender sound in Kings Landing, which Dany had promised to respect. She becomes the “Mad Queen” and attacks the Red Keep directly with Drogon. Many civilians die.
- Grey Worm also leads his forces in killing surrendered soldiers. The good guys are now the bad guys.
- Euron attacks Jaime (purely out of jealousy for Cersei it seems). He wounds Jaime but is killed eventually.
- Great scene where The Hound tells Arya not to turn out like him just wanting revenge. She responds by saying “Sandor, thank you” and decides to turn back.
- The Hound kills Cersei’s guards and then faces off against The Mountain. The Mountain refuses the command of Cersei to stay by her, so he can battle the Hound.
- Qyburn killed casually by The Mountain. Again a plot thread which went nowhere about his interest in the wight (I thought he might create more undead)
- The Cleaganebowl battle is great. The Mountain can’t be killed basically (he survives an impaling gut wound and a dagger through his brain). He tries squashing the Hound’s head like he did to Oberyn, but the Hound has a tougher head. The Hound pulls his brother off into the flames with him to kill him and sacrificing himself. One of the rare great endings.
- Jaime reunites with Cersei.
- The wildfyre underneath King’s Landing starts to catch alight. Jon tries to evacuate people.
- A woman helps Arya who is getting crushed by the fleeing crowds. The woman then dies due to Dany, so I suspect Arya will be out for retribution and add a final name to her list.
- Jaime and Cersei get crushed as the keep collapses on them in the basement . I hated this ending for both of them. All his redemption is spoilt and all the prophecy around her is ignored.
- Arya survives and surveys the death and destruction. A white horse (which may have been the Golden Company’s Commander) comes up to her and the episode ends. Some people think the horse is meant to represent the biblical steed ridden by Death, so Arya will be the Angel of Death.
The 20 questions are updated below.
- Who sits on the Iron Throne at the end? Looking like Jon after he kills the Mad Queen
- Is Tyrion a third Targaryen? Or are Jaime and Cersei? Sadly the entire plot about the dragon needs three heads has gone nowhere so there is no third Targaryen it seems
- Who will kill Cersei? Tyrion or Jaime or Arya? Will her baby survive? Disappointly they ignore prophecy again and she is seemingly killed by debris from Drogon’s attack
- Who is Azor Ahai, the prince that was promised, and who will they have to kill to forge Lightbringer? This prophecy may have been ignored also but may still turn out to be Jon Snow who has to kill his lover Dany
- What impact has Bran had on the past? Did he cause the Mad King to go mad? Did he create the Night King? Seems not
- What secrets lie in the crypts under Winterfell? Its a bad place to hide
- Who will win Cleganebowl? They both die, which was sort of fitting.
- Who else will Arya kill? Will she complete her list? THE NIGHT KING! The reference to green eyes suggested Cersei but maybe it will be Dany?
- What does Varys do before he dies? He betrays Dany who burns him.
- How does Melisandre die and what does she do before then? Helps saver the day and dies of old age
- What happens to Gendry? Lord of Storms End
- Jaime and Brienne? Got together finally but then for no good reason he leaves her for Cersei.
- Will we see Nymeria in action? Ghost? Ghost fights in the battle for WInterfall and stays north. Sadly no Nymeria. Again the whole direwolf plot seems to have been abandoned.
- Which dragons, if any, survive? One left at this stage. I suspect all will die as they are too powerful to survive. Or maybe Drogon transfers to Jon. Possibly Dany orders Drogon to kill Jon and Drogon refuses?
- What happens to House Greyjoy? Theon rescued Yara and Euron is bedding Cersei. Theon died protecting Bran from the Night King. Euron dies after attacking Jaime.
- Does Sam survive? And is to be a daddy
- Which cities fall before the Night King is defeated? Basically none. He got defeated in the first real battle, which again is disappointing.
- Does Bronn get his castle? Either Riverrun or HighGarden it seems
- How does the Night King get killed? How is the undead dragon killed? Arya with her dagger
- Does Tyrion betray Dany? Looking very likely. She broke her word to stop attacking if the bells rang.
I suspect all these plot elements will turn out differently when (or if) the books finish the proper series.