[WARNING: THE FOLLOWING CONTAINS SPOILERS TO SEASON 8, EPISODE 5 OF "GAME OF THRONES"]
Varys was right about Dany — Tyrion was wrong.
Season 8, Episode 5 of “Game of Thrones” was a polarizing hour of television for the most talked about show on the air.
Daenerys (Emilia Clarke) went completely mad and burned King’s Landing to the ground, killing nearly everyone on the show. The breaker or chains and mother of dragons became the Queen of Carnage as one by one, her enemies fell. First up was Varys (Conleth Hill), whose entreaties to Jon Snow (Kit Harrington) to fulfill his destiny as the true heir to the Iron Throne were ignored. When Tyrion ratted him out to his queen, Dany threatened him for the umpteenth time and then had Varys brought to the beach at Dragonstone and incinerated by her remaining dragon.
The next morning she was off to burning down King’s Landing and the Red Keep. It took about 10 minutes to destroy Euron Greyjoy’s (Pilou Absaek) Iron Fleet. The sight of the shadow of the dragon passing over King’s Landing was straight from Bran’s vision in House of the Undying. Dany’s army, led by Jon and Grey Worm (Jacob Anderson), advanced with confidence and fought back Cersei’s army with ease. Tyrion enlisted Davos’s (Liam Cunningham) to smuggle Jaime (Nikolaj Coster-Waldau), who had been detained by Dany’s men, out of captivity, in exchange for rescuing him after her murdered Tywin. “Go start a new life,” Tyrion implored, sharing a warm, teary hug with his brother. Jaime gained entrance to King’s Landing and went in search of Cersei (Lena Headey) to get her out of there.
Tyrion watched in horror as Dany exacted her revenge. Homes burned. Soldiers and innocents were skewered by spears or simply burst into flame. When the dragon rested on one of the battlements, starring down at Dany’s army and Cersei’s army, the leader of Cersei’s men wisely dropped his sword. The surrender would seem to bring the fighting to an end but it just went on and on. Jon looked like he was stuck in some bad dream. He could not protect the innocent and the show, never one to play it safe, took an even darker turn as Dany, usually portrayed as a kind, powerful ruler, embraced her shadow side as the Mad Queen. Many fans will probably be furious, but at least there were no coffee cups in sight (they would have burned anyway).
Let us not forget about Arya (Maisie Williams) and the Hound (Rory McCann). After gaining entry to King’s Landing, they made straight for the Red Keep. The Hound cautioned Arya that this was her last chance to leave. The dragon was burning down the walls of the Red Keep as well. Arya wisely took his advice and began to paw her way through the terrified throng. The Hound, for his part, accessed Cersei’s inner chamber. As she was trying to escape with Qyburn and The Mountain at her side, The Hound ascended the staircase. He was more interested in fighting his brother than in killing Cersei. Their battle was insanely violent, as the Hound stabbed his brother through the rib cage, in the eye and the Mountain wreaked his own damage on the Hound. “Just f—king die,” an exhausted Hound cried out to the universe. In the end, they went out in a blaze of glory, falling out one of the open arches and into the flames below, locked in a grisly embrace.
Jaime, after killing Euron Greyjoy, and Cersei finally had a tearful reunion inside the Red Keep. He did not kill her as many fans have predicted but tried in vain to lead her to safety but the way out of the Red Keep was blocked by rubble. Jaime embraced her and said, “This is all that matters.” The walls crumble around them.
When the battle was over, a stunned Arya found a white horse, blood-stained, and rode the hell out of there. It was the season’s bloodiest and deadliest episode. Wonder how Jon feels about sitting on that Iron Throne now. Just think of Dany’s vision, way back in season 2, when she was in the Iron Throne room with the roof destroyed and the throne covered with ash.
It was shocking, and like the best of “Thrones,” unexpected. But you can’t say we weren’t warned.