This episode somehow felt inevitable, and yet came as a total shock at the same time. All signs had pointed to Dany burning down the city to get to Cersei.
Yet I never envisioned her ignoring the people’s surrender and then becoming burn-happy. She didn’t even go straight for Cersei — she took the most thorough, zigzag route covering the entire city to ensure she killed as many innocent civilians below as possible. It’s one thing to say “Oh, Dany is probably going to burn down the city”, and another to watch her burning down the city for 35 minutes.
And Arya’s actions were so futile. The beginning of the episode, she confidently declares she’s going to kill Cersei, and practically struts into the city with the Hound at her side. By the end, she’s shell-shocked, been nearly trampled to death, couldn’t save anyone, and barely escaped with her life. (I’m surprised she even escaped — she looked definitely in the path of falling stones or consumed by dragonfire at parts.) As the show has proven again and again, just because you’re one of the main characters doesn’t mean that you get to be a hero, even if you were *the* hero in a previous episode.
Why didn’t Jon retreat sooner? What’s he going to do now that he sees how ruthless Dany can be now that she’s decided what kind of Targaryen she is? Her most trusted advisers are dead, and Tyrion is on very shaky footing. And because Tyrion helped Jaime to escape, will he end up paying with his life?
Tyrion did his absolute best to prevent the carnage, but his second mistake, out of a misguided sense of loyalty to Dany, was betraying Varys to his death. His first was refusing to accept that maybe Dany’s past the tipping point of becoming mad, now that Ser Jorah, her most loyal and trusted adviser is gone, and she lost her other friend and adviser Missandei in a cruel manner to her most hated enemy, who happens to be his sister.
Him saying goodbye to Jaime was so sad. Just an episode ago, they were toasting to Jaime’s happiness with Brienne! And now he’ll never see him again.
Cersei stood in the Tower of the Red Keep for as long as she could, first confidently, then defiantly, and finally defeatedly. The show’s writers even gave her the mercy of reuniting with Jaime and dying in each other’s arms beneath the Red Keep. At that point, seeing how pitiful she was, I almost hoped she could escape with Jaime after all. But if she did, there’d have been a loose end lying around, and we couldn’t have that in the second-last episode of the series. The only thing that could have happened, and therefore did happen, was her dying, and Jaime with her.
Euron Greyjoy was the pesky last minute obstacle that came between Jaime and Cersei, and took too long to die. I was so afraid that Jaime was going to die an ignoble death there, killed by this stupid asshole. Even when dying, Euron couldn’t stop boasting about how he killed Jaime Lannister. It makes me thankful that Jaime didn’t live long enough to die of his wounds by Euron Greyjoy.
We finally get Cleganebowl, which was a lot less epic and way more frustrating than I expected. I felt the Hound’s pain when the Mountain. Just. Would. Not. Die! (Qyburn was ironically killed by the monster he made. But seriously, what DID he do to the Mountain that made him so unkillable?) It was obvious that the Hound wouldn’t be getting out of there alive — though for a moment I thought the Mountain would actually win, when he put his thumbs on the Hound’s eyes and started pressing them in his signature move. ? But it was still sad to watch the Hound plummet to his death along with the Mountain. At least Arya thanked him before they parted for the last time.
There are apparently still big plans for Arya, since she was saved by a horse that seemingly appeared out of thin air. (Did the Lord of Light send the horse?) Since Arya didn’t kill Cersei, who has green eyes, will she be killing Dany, who also has green eyes, in the finale? We’ll find out for the last time next week.