Five years ago on Father’s Day Tyrion Lannister killed his father, Tywin Lannister, on Father’s Day. As we sat down to watch the penultimate episode of Game of Thrones season eight, I couldn’t help but wonder, could this be it for one, or both, of the two most famous mothers on this show — Daenerys Targaryen or Cersei Lannister?
Game of Thrones reaction: wow. https://t.co/pD16ZWtnKk
— Clay Travis (@ClayTravis) May 13, 2019
1. We open with Varys writing messages for his sparrows about Jon Snow being the true heir to the Iron Throne.
Now the knowledge that once resided only in Sam and Bran’s minds has spread throughout the kingdom — Jon Snow is the rightful heir to the iron throne.
Sansa got her wish — by telling Tyrion, who then told Varys, Daenerys’s legitimacy has been fully questioned throughout the kingdom.
How long until Varys’s treason is uncovered?
2. Jon Snow arrives at Dragon Stone.
And there is one question looming over everything: is Daenerys the mad queen?
Remember, every time a Targaryen is born is a coin flip, crazy or not.
Varys says, “I still don’t know how her coin has landed, but I’m quite certain about yours.”
“I don’t want it, I never have,” Jon Snow replies.
“You will rule wisely and well while she..” Snow cuts off Varys, “She… is my queen.”
3. Tyrion tells Daenerys that Varys has betrayed her.
But Daenerys blames Jon Snow for telling Sansa to begin with, which set all the betrayals in motion.
And who does she blame most of all?
“She (Sansa) trusted you to spread secrets that could destroy your own queen and you did not let her down,” says Daenerys.
4. Tyrion confesses that he turned Varys in as Varys prepares to receive his punishment.
“Goodbye, old friend,” says Varys to Tyrion, just before he’s burned to death.
5. Jon and Daenerys meet by the fire hearth inside Dragon Stone.
“I don’t have love here, I only have fear,” says Daenerys, in a line which will echo throughout the episode.
“I love you, you will always be my queen,” says Jon Snow.
“Is that all I am to you, your queen?” asks Daenerys as she attempts to kiss him.
But Jon pulls away.
The relationship appears to be over.
Daenerys has no love left in Westeros.
Now all she has is fear.
6. Tyrion argues for mercy for King’s Landing residents.
Telling Daenerys that if the bell tower chimes it will signal the battle is over and the city has fallen.
Tyrion is trying to protect the innocent in the city and save them from unnecessary bloodshed.
“Next time you fail me, will be the last time you fail me,” Daenerys ominously says to Tyrion, after informing him that Jaime has been captured attempting to return to King’s Landing and join Cersei.
7. Arya and The Hound arrive at the city gates and are confronted by guards.
“I’m Arya Stark. I’m here to kill Queen Cersei.”
8. Tyrion tries to convince Jaime to sneak Cersei out of the city as he frees him from captivity.
“Ring the bells and open the gates,” Tyrion says.
Jaime points out that Daenerys will kill him for this.
“Tens of thousands of innocent lives, one not particularly innocent dwarf. Seems like a fair trade,” says Tyrion.
“You were the only one who didn’t treat me like a monster. You were all I had,” Tyrion says as he bids Jaime goodbye.
Still, despite all the evidence to the contrary, Tyrion still believes Cersei is capable of making the right decision.
9. Finally, a day battle!
We can all see what’s going on!
Daenerys attacks in the broad daylight and wipes out the entire Greyjoy fleet. (Somehow the fleet couldn’t miss her dragons a week ago and now they can’t hit her at all or barely get a shot off at the dragon from the castle walls? This is wild.)
Daenerys’s use of the dragons has been truly pathetic from a strategic perspective, but somehow Euron’s fleet didn’t consider she might attack from behind and as a result the battle is effectively over.
The fleet is wiped out and shortly thereafter so are all the dragon killing launchers on the castle walls.
The battle is effectively over when Daenerys blows up the gate to King’s Landing and allows her army into the city.
10. Cersei is delusional as she watches the attack take place from on high in the Red Keep.
Seeing that they are beaten, Cersei’s soldiers drop their weapons and the bell tolls.
It would appear that the city has fallen with minimal bloodshed.
11. But then Daenerys turns into the mad queen.
Believing that she doesn’t have love in Westeros, Daenerys decides to rule by fear and proceeds to burn the entire city to the ground.
In so doing she fulfills the desires of her father, the mad king, who, remember, had stocked the entire city with wild fire, to burn it all down as well.
As Daenerys rains down dire upon the city from atop her dragon all of the long stored wildfire — you could see its distinctive green tint — begins to explode and burn in the city as well.
The Mad King has birthed the Mad Queen.
12. As the city burns to the ground and the buildings collapse, Jaime, unable to enter the kingdom because they shut the gates before he can get inside, has to climb up from the beach to try and find Cersei.
But before he can do that Euron Greyjoy emerges from the surf ready to fight him.
The resulting battle is bloody, but Jaime, perhaps mortally wounded in the process, manages to stab Euron to death. Euron dies staring at the sky yelling, “I’m the man who killed Jaime Lannister.”
The only thing I would change about this battle scene is having Jaime tell Euron that he, Jaime, is actually the father of Cersei’s child, not Euron.
13. The Clegane Bowl finally arrives!
But first The Hound convinces Arya to leave because if she stays with him she will die.
“Hello big brother,” says The Hound to the The Mountain.
Qyburn demands that The Mountain stay and protect Cersei, but The Mountain picks up Qyburn and throws him, dashing his brains onto the rocks.
Cersei continues down the stairs and the the Clegane Bowl is underway.
The Mountain’s helmet finally comes off, Darth Vader style, revealing him to be more machine than man, but no matter what the The Hound does, he can’t kill The Mountain.
A battle to the death ensues between the two of them, until The Hound finally tackles The Mountain and the two brothers fall to their death in the fire far below the Red Keep.
14. Jaime finds Cersei in the collapsing palace.
I thought it was Arya for a moment — potentially having taken on Jaime’s dead face — until we saw Jaime’s blood on Cersei’s hands.
Jaime attempts to lead Cersei to safety, but the two of them are trapped in the bottom of the palace, where a rock pile has covered their escape.
“I want our baby to live,” Cersei says over and over again.
“Nothing else matters,” says Jaime as he takes her hands into his.
Then the castle collapses and buries the two of them as they stand embracing one another.
15. The episode ends on Arya, who is covering in soot, riding a white horse out of the burning city.
Will Arya now be the one to kill Queen Daenerys instead of Queen Cersei?
Does the Iron Throne even exist any more? Or has it been burned down as well?
My wife and I argue over whether it’s snow or ash falling down on King’s Landing as Arya rides out of the burning city.
Recall that snow fell on Jaime’s golden hand at the end of season seven.
Has snowfall — and winter — finally come to King’s Landing or is this soot that resembles snow?
We may have to wait for the next episode to know for sure.
Predictions for the final episode:
Daenerys will insist on riding her dragon to Winterfell to kill Sansa. This will mean, of course, that rather than uniting the seven kingdoms under her rule that Daenerys has merely created another unstable throne predicated on lies, deceit and murder. Jon Snow will finally be forced to choose between the Starks and the Targaryens and he will pick the Starks, killing Daenerys and then, overcome by grief over his decision, he will return north to live in solitude alongside Tormund and Ghost, his direwolf who hasn’t forsaken him.
Sansa and Tyrion will marry and sit on the Iron Throne together, with Arya as the head of the King’s Guards and Davos as their Hand.
In the meantime, after a season of mostly false threats to the true stars of the show, Cersei died on mother’s day, in the arms of her incestuous lover, Jaime, and their unborn child.
Happy Mother’s Day from Game of Thrones!