The Bell

UPDATE: I realized the formatting was crap. I don’t know how that happened, I’m sorry for that. Must have been a nightmare to see. I wrote this all through the mobile app, so, probably that had something to do with it? Anyway, proper formatting posted below.

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Epic spoilers for Episode 5, Season 8 of Game of Thrones.

Don’t tell me none of you saw it.

I didn’t. I was expecting a big battle. Some bloodshed. I was thinking there were stashes of wildfire everywhere in the city, ready to detonate and destroy a large chunk of the united forces of the Unsullied, Dothraki, and the North.

After bringing down hellfire to the Iron Fleet and incinerating about 20,000 mercenaries, destroying the city’s scorpion defenses, and tearing down the walls, the bell finally rang, signifying their surrender. Soldiers of King’s Landing had had already thrown down their swords, yielding. But then we get a shot of Daenerys. She’s pissed. She’s really pissed. “Do you think it’s that easy?” She probably thinks and flies off, to what I assumed would be burning down the Red Keep.

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That look says it all. (Dany is so frightening at times, and when you look at Emilia Clarke, she’s so… opposite.)
Instead, she burns down the entire fucking city, killing soldiers and innocent civilians alike. Drogon kept shooting fire and it seemed Daenerys didn’t care if her own troops get hit in collateral.

Yes, she’s making an example. She’s always done things her way, since the first season. Every single enemy she has ever faced, she’s burned down to the ground. So it wasn’t unexpected that she would burn down King’s Landing as well. This scenario is strengthened when Missandei was killed, when Jorah was killed. Two of her closest friends, dead. She lost half her army fighting for complete strangers. She feels isolated and the people of the North makes it clear they don’t like her. She’s used to being surrounded by people who would die for her, worshipped her. She’s had her own journey

The thing is, I’ve always felt that Daenerys was more of a “villain’s journey,” instead one of the hero. The only reason so many people rooted so hard for her was because we followed her journey. We knew her story. Also, she did a lot of badass things backed up by the “Game of Thrones” badass theme music.

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Erase everything we knew about Daenerys. We meet her the same time she met Jon Snow. Things would be a little different. We have no idea who she is, and we might even regard her the same suspicious way as the people of Westeros. It would’ve been too easy to paint her as the series’ big bad.

“Game of Thrones” and the “A Song of Ice and Fire” books it was based on, introduces us to a wide range of characters in a world where morality is in the gray area. When the first book kicked off, we’re allowed to believe that Jaime and Cersei Lannister were the villains, but as we saw their characterizations, we at least could understand their actions. The same goes for Daenerys. Just because she’s a badass character, doesn’t mean she wasn’t the big bad all along.

Well, the Cleganebowl had finally happened. It was violent, not any less or more violent than anything shown in the past. But it is the most violent bout of the season, thus far. For sure, I was screaming my pants out, actually afraid of Ser Sandor Clegane’s ultimate fate. I was hoping he’d at least bring down the Mountain. But for a moment there, just a glimpse, it seemed like Ser Robert Strong – Zombie Gregor Clegane – might actually win this one out. Despite hating that possibility, I was willing to embrace that result. Somehow that direction would had more meaning to it, more tragic than a mere “Oh, it’s a stalemate.”

We’ve never seen Gregor, really not seen him. We only know he’s a dick. And ever since his big fight with Oberyn Martell, we saw even less of him. Unlike Sandor, we’ve spent some good years with him. He’s a dick, but he ended up being a likeable dick. Personally, there was no emotional investment. Sandor kills Gregor, yay. That’s it for the Cleganebowl. But if Gregor ended up killing Sandor, instead? There’s a lot of hurt going to reverberate in the coming weeks.

The same goes with Jaime Lannister. Something in me expected that both Jaime and Cersei will die together. It’s scattered in the books as tiny breadcrumbs. I expected Daenerys storming into the Red Keep. Cersei has Qyburn, or someone, use the scorpion they have in there against Drogon. Just for a little OMG moment. Then it fails and as Cersei escapes, she encounters Jaime, who sees the inevitability of dragon fire. “The things I do for love,” Jaime probably would had said, stabs Cersei, watches her die as the flames consume them.

But instead, for spectacle, from somewhere in the middle of King’s Landing, near the gates of the Red Keep, Jaime had teleported somewhere outside city walls and comes face-to-face with Euron. I thought I could deal with this. Jaime getting killed by Euron and the twins never having to say their farewells seemed more powerful and painfully tragic. Maybe it cheapens things. I don’t know. But if Jaime had died there on that beach, somehow to me it would had felt so much more satisfying.

In the end, I felt that author of the “A Song of Ice and Fire” George RR Martin had intentionally allowed the delay of his books, telling David Benioff and D.B. Weiss key events, allowing them to use and test it out on screen, to see fan reaction. If it’s bad, at least GRRM knows what to avoid. It’s actually brilliant.

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