Well, that was something. As has become a bit of a tradition, the penultimate episode of Game of Thrones was an action-packed, narratively dizzying affair that’s sure to leave fans divided.
There was so much wanton destruction and dramatic character choices, we’ve got a ton to unpack in our recap below.
Meanwhile, in Dragonstone …
Tyrion finds Daenerys to let her know that Varys is totally talking behind her back about how she’s not the rightful heir to the throne. Oh, she knows. It’s a real betrayal, not just by Varys but by Tyrion (for telling Varys) and Jon (for telling Sansa, who then told Tyrion). It’s not long before Dany calls the Spider out to the beach to be like, “Heard you were talkin’ sh*t.” Varys seems at ease — maybe he was able to get some express delivery ravens to spread the news before he was busted — and the eunuch and Tyrion share a tender farewell before Dany just gives him the dracarys. R.I.P., Varys.
Dany is not having a great time as of late, what with losing another dragon, most of her army, her best friend and most trusted advisors. Now, her hair’s a mess, she’s not eating (what some believe may have been poison from Varys, if you believe what’s out in the blogs … ), she can’t meet her deadlines, she always wants to go to Krispy Kreme. In short, she’s depressed.
She even tries to hook-up with her ex that’s totally bad for her (because he’s her NEPHEW!), and Jon is still not having it. She makes it clear that Varys had to die because Jon let out the secret which Sansa then used to undermine her. Sansa killed Varys just as much as Dany did. (Ok, I guess slightly less.) The message is clear: This is what happens when her rule is not respected.
Tyrion tries for what feels like the millionth time to convince Dany not to slaughter all the innocents in King’s Landing, but, come on, you know she really wants to. He gets her to begrudgingly agree (or at least not outwardly disagree) to call off her attack if the bells of surrender ring.
That piece of the puzzle sort of locked, Tyrion finds his brother imprisoned. He frees Jaime so that he can make his way into King’s Landing, ring the surrender bell and make a hasty escape with Cersei down to Essos via everyone’s favorite whore-smuggling tunnel.
Meanwhile, in Blackwater Bay …
Euron’s ships are all ready with their dragon-slaying scorpions locked and loaded until … what’s this? Dany is flying in from behind and taking out the entire fleet in quick, fiery succession? Turns out those scorpions are less effective without the element of surprise.
For good measure, Dany does a loop around and takes out all the scorpions atop the walls. Then she fries the the entire Golden Company.
Did someone stop by Staples? Because that was easy.
In all the fracas, Jaime wasn’t able to get to the bell, and instead he finds himself in a slugfest with Euron Greyjoy. It’s a hard-hitting affair that results in Jaime getting stabbed a few times in the midsection before driving his sword through Euron’s guts and giving it a good twist. Euron smiles up at the sky feeling satisfied that he just dealt Jaime the blow that will eventually kill him. R.I.P. Euron. (But not Jaime. Yet.)
Meanwhile, at Kings’ Landing …
OK, so Dany just flambéed all of Cersei’s forces; Tyrion, Jon and Grey Worm are awaiting her command. She perches on Drogon atop the wall when the bells ring out. The city is surrendering. The remaining Lannister forces throw down their swords before Jon and Grey Worm. They’ve won. It’s over.
Not so fast. Daenerys takes off, burning every single thing down around her. Buildings, soldiers, innocents, all of them. If she can’t be loved, she will be feared, and she is pulling some seriously scary stuff.
Qyburn comes to tell Cersei that the time for glowering on the balcony is over, and they should head to stronger shelter. The Greyjoy fleet is burning, the scorpions are all gone, the Golden Company really should’ve brought the elephants, etc. Even Cersei realizes it’s over.
Elsewhere in the castle, Arya and the Hound arrive in the maproom. It’s clear that this is not going to end well for the Lion Queen, so Sandor convinces Arya to let go of her vengeance. The queen will die today regardless. If Arya stays, she will die too. Arya leaves, but not before thanking the Hound and calling him “Sandor,” in a nice nod to the humanity he’s grown to display.
She bails, while Sandor meets Cersei, Qyburn and the Mountain on the shambling steps. Clegane Bowl is here!!!! Qyburn tries to intervene, but the Mountain just tosses him aside, leaving him in a big, dead heap. R.I.P., Qyburn! You were very weird, and literally everyone saw your monster destroying you coming but you!
With Qyburn gone, Cersei hilariously slinks by so the brothers can go at it. The Mountain loses his helmet, and he’s immediately 50 percent less scary. I mean, he’s still impossible to kill, which is pretty scary, but the makeup … well, let’s just say he looks like a bottom two finish after a makeover challenge on RuPaul’s Drag Race. After trying everything he can to destroy him, the Hound tackles his brother off the side of the tower and into the flames below, killing them both. R.I.P., Mountain, you were a weird zombie hulk. R.I.P., the Hound, one of the purest (and surliest) characters we’ve met in Westeros.
Cersei makes her way down to the maproom, and that’s where she meets up with her brother-lover, Jaime. They try to make a hasty escape to the tunnels as planned, but everything is blocked by rubble. Finally, Cersei breaks. She doesn’t want to die, but Jaime reminds her “Nothing else matters … Only us.” And that’s when everything collapses, the ultimate symbol of power in Westeros crushing them to death. R.I.P. Cersei and Jaime, it’s weird that I was oddly touched by your romantic farewell.
That leaves Arya racing through the streets trying to make her escape as Dany and Drogon rain down fire all over King’s Landing. It’s a brutal, stressful flight, but Arya manages to survive. She comes to, covered in ash and blood. She finds a white horse (Bran? Is that you?!), and she heads out of the city.
So now Daenerys has won, the Lannisters are wiped out (save for Tyrion), but there’s still 80 minutes left. Surely Dany must be stopped, but how? And how many more folks will meet Drogon’s flames before she meets her end? How does Sansa factor in? Who else won’t make it to the final credits?
Sound off in the comments!