As we’ve finally arrived at the penultimate episode of Game of Thrones, to say it’s had mixed reviews would be a bit of an understatement… and whilst I am an avid fan still, a LOT of people have issues, with not only the season in its entirety, but also with this episode, and one character in particular…
Now whilst you could SEE WHAT THE FUCK WAS HAPPENING (fire lights stuff up) in this episode of The Bells in comparison with Episode 3 The Long Night, Game of Thrones, undeniably still remains an absolutely fantastic visual spectacle for its audiences, and this episode didn’t disappoint.
Yet for some, this season still feels like a distant memory from the intricate complexities of the relationships, characters, politics and even dialogues, of seasons past. Spoilers ahead, as usual you have been warned.
As fans of the show, people are inevitably invested in characters as individuals, invested in characters progression, and invested in characters reasons for fundamentally doing what it is they do. Yet, there has been a lot of discord between viewers regarding issues with these investments coming out of this season, and particularly The Bells episode, has got a lot of people fired up about Daenerys (pun intended).
“They say that every time a Targaryen is born, the gods toss a coin and the world holds its breath.”
With her braids a mess with the loss of Missandei, and the betrayal in her mind, of not only Jon telling people of his true heritage, but of Varys’s spreading the word via his little bird’s, Daenerys’s full stomp to lunacy by incinerating not only Varys (arguably an understandable move, but a prime character from all seasons gone in one blast of Drogon breath) incinerating King’s Landing and a BOAT LOAD of innocent people and children, seems to have upset a lot of people regarding 8 seasons worth of character development.
The Breaker of Chains and the savior of the lower classes, seemingly outdoes her father in the death toll this episode, whereas past choices of cruelty, have always lead the viewer to believe that there was a certain type of logic behind her motives. (Slaver’s Bay for example.)
By burning every innocent life in King’s Landing in sight, she sprints to fulfill the role of Mad Queen that some were hoping she would avoid. With Drogon off screen learning mad dodging skills unlike his unfortunate brother Rhaegal, she smites all of King’s Landing with all her ruin. But why?
With the show first introducing the character as an abused sibling to a power hungry brother, the seasons allowed her slowly, with the help of the likes of Khal Drogo, Jorah and Missandei, able to find her own voice and to come into her own. Whilst she had successes and failures, her character arc had a lot of emotional depth, with a whole heap of moral integrity to boot, and that’s why fan’s loved her.
A fair and just ruler, who, whilst still clinging to her absolute RIGHT to rule the Seven Kingdom’s, saved and spared many innocent lives, leading her to eventually gain a highly powerful army.
The question a lot of people have been asking, is what is the reason for this burn crazy rampage? As someone who risked their life, and her dragon children, as well as ALL of her warrior’s to battle the dead for the good of the people, she now turns to burn an entire city of innocent people with her only remaining dragon, to solely gain her right to rule? As well as to gain revenge for her beheaded bestie?
Whilst it is also argued that with her closest companions dead, they are no longer able to keep her inevitable madness in check, why not go straight for the Red Keep where your enemy sits? Upon arriving there, see Cersei’s plan to use her own people as human shield’s, and then burn them anyway? It would have made more sense than just killing for killing’s sake.
Power truly does corrupt absolutely then? and Targaryen’s are just gonna’ Targaryen? Why ignore the bells of surrender when you have clearly won the throne you have coveted for so long? For some fans this is not the character development that is expected from this arc over 8 entire season’s worth of development.
Some argue that there were clear time obligations that needed to be met, to tie the Mad Queen all up in a nice little package in 6 episodes, and this is the outcome we have. Whilst some viewers do however, feel that this switch to Mad Queen was Martin’s intention all along, and that “you would get it if you all paid attention to the plot of the entire books/series a bit more”, It still does all feel a bit rushed, despite the foreshadowing that viewer’s have seen. Even if it was intended that Daenerys was to become the ultimate villain, to undo the character arc of the person we know who rebukes tyranny, so so quickly, without any real build up or structure, seems a bit off.
It has felt to some fans that the show always needed her to become a monster, and that the issue for them is whilst it was always on the cards for her, the switch to madness came to fruition rather quickly this season.
With an enormous amount to wrap up in the last episode this week, and with an abundance of questions surfacing about her right to rule including possible questions from the “Smartest person in Westeros“ Tyrion and her lover / nephew, Jon, the real question’s remain – Will Daenerys actually sit on the Iron Throne?, but more importantly with the doubt surrounding her now, will she remain alive to do so?