Cape Argus

Dracarys over King’s Landing


WELL, it happened. After seven seasons of setting up Daenerys Targaryen as the one true hero, the one who would save Westeros, the one who would rule the seven kingdoms with kindness and fairness, the writers upended that character developmen­t and changed her into a mad woman.

My recaps since the beginning of the eighth season have hinted at how Daenerys is the real villain of the story and even though I don’t like it, nor understand it, it’s typical of a show that hasn’t been kind to many of its female characters.

The unthinkabl­e happened in yesterday’s episode. Daenerys went full Mad Queen and burnt everything in her sight. After the gratuitous beheading of Missandei last week and losing Rhaegal so soon after the death of Ser Jorah, and finding out the truth about Jon Snow, we all expected her to get a bit unhinged. But I hoped she would see reason and not turn into Cersei. Or her father, the Mad King.

So Varys was right all along.

In the previous episode Varys made his fears known to Tyrion, telling him how he thought Daenerys would become just like her father, King Aerys.

The latest instalment begins with Varys documentin­g the true identity of Jon Snow.

When Jon arrives at Dragonston­e, Varys informs him of how Daenerys hasn’t eaten, refuses to see anyone and is unkempt. He alerts Jon on what she is likely to do next – burn King’s Landing and the innocent people who live there.

Of course, Jon, ever loyal, keeps saying: “She’s my queen,” which is basically code for: “I will not betray her and I don’t want the throne.”

Sadly, Varys gets the Lannister Special – betrayal. Tyrion tells Daenerys it was not Jon who betrayed her, but Varys. Not that it changes Dany’s view on Jon. She still believes he betrayed her by telling his family about his identity.

So Varys gets the dracarys treatment; courtesy of Drogon. And there it is: fear – Dany’s favourite method of rule.

She then puts Jon to the test, by letting him in on her fears. “Far more people in Westeros love you than love me. I don’t have love here. I only have fear,” she says, to which Jon, loyal as ever, responds: “I love you. You will always be my queen.”

She then says: “Is that all I am to you? Your queen?” They kiss, but Jon breaks away, quickly. Awkward.

In the throne room, discussing strategy for their attack, Tyrion begs Dany to show mercy to the innocent people of King’s Landing and to pull back if she hears tolling bells.

Not that she would listen. She’s too far gone. Hungry for revenge, she orders a grieving Grey Worm to attack King’s Landing.

In last week’s episode we saw Jaime, The Hound and Arya heading to King’s Landing. Jaime is captured by Dany’s forces, and is now held at Dragonston­e. The Hound and Arya make it to King’s Landing.

Tyrion does his best to rescue his brother. He arranges passage for him to Pentos and, with the help of Davos, he frees Jaime.

Battle day arrives and everyone has girded their loins. Cersei’s army is ordering civilians to get inside the city’s gates, while Dany’s forces also prepare to fight. Harry Strickland and the Golden Company are ready, as are Euron Greyjoy and his fleet.

Cersei watches the action from the Red Keep and we see just how brilliant an actress Lena Headey is. She conveys a spectrum of emotions with the slight twitch of an eye and the furrow of her brow.

As the opposing armies fight it out, Dany and Drogon come in and sets everything alight. There’s blood everywhere and Grey Worm shows just why he’s the leader of the Unsullied.

And then Jaime appears. The Lannister forces drop their swords. The bells start tolling. And Dany, despite hearing them, continues burning people.

Tyrion realises Dany is not going to stop and Cersei looks for a solution. “We just need one shot,” she says.

Qyburn’s weapons are destroyed. Jaime makes it to the boat, but is accosted by Euron who wants to be known as the person who killed the Kingslayer. They fight, injuring each other. Jaime kills Euron and makes his way to Cersei.

As Cersei, Qyburn and The Mountain try to go into hiding, they cross paths with The Hound. Qyburn is killed by The Mountain but Cersei gets away and Cleganebow­l ensues. The Hound and his brother end up dead.

Cersei is relieved to find Jaime. She bursts into tears, saying she doesn’t want to die. They both die anyway in the bowels of the Red Keep.

Arya? She rides away on a white horse. Last week, I wrote how I didn’t think there would be anyone on the iron throne and that I had a feeling King’s Landing would burn and it would be a lesson to many about how toxic power is.

When you play the game of thrones, no one actually wins. With the final episode looming, I think this will indeed be the case.

 ??  ??

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from South Africa