Who Still Cares Who Sits on the Iron Throne, or is the Bigger Question ‘Who Kills Dany?’
Warning contains spoilers
Usually, I give my own view on the latest Game of Thrones episode, but this week, given that it was one of the most divisive episodes ever, I felt it was as futile as Jon Snow trying to stop his men fighting.
Ultimately, we’ve got to realise that there is no right opinion on Game of Thrones, instead, we should probably start to appreciate that everyone watches it subjectively, and there isn’t a right or wrong reaction. Morality seems to be of little consequence when it comes to choosing who to support and what we will forgive in Game of Thrones – and while Dany fans are backing a genocidal maniac, she’s not the only ‘loveable’ character who has committed war crimes.
Fandoms are always rife with people wanting to prove each other wrong by applying the most abstract theories to the plot, or simply just using their own pretension to show that they have a much more informed and intellectual take on the show. There are plenty of apologists popping their head up wanting to make excuses for the screenwriters David Benioff and D.B. Weiss, but of course, fans will get angry when they have turned Daenerys into a psychopath. Making Cersei the lesser of the two evils left a lot of people massively conflicted – since season 1 we’ve seen her as the breaker of chains and the one to break the wheel. Were we expected to blindly follow her as she decides to obliterate King’s Landing?
Dany isn’t the only character whose storylines have taken a nosedive this season; Game of Thrones has always been a show which lets strong females lead the way, but this season has been in the habit of breaking them. No, I still haven’t got over what they did to Brienne of Tarth in episode 4. Even Arya Stark has lost all of her Ninja skills after it was decided that she was needed to give us a perspective of the horrors of war. Even though plenty will argue with what I’ve written there, I couldn’t be more objective about it.
Before season 8 began, pretty much everyone had a team that they wanted to get behind. Now, so many people have given up caring who sits on the Iron Throne, or who will live or die, and I really can’t blame them. House Lannister is all but obliterated with only Tyrion Lannister remaining, then when it comes to House Stark, it could be Sansa’s, Jon’s, or Arya’s ass that ends up on the throne. There’s even a theory that Bran could sit on the Iron Throne. There may be riots if that happens.
After the Night King was defeated, plenty of people were bitter about Cersei being the ultimate threat to the Seven Kingdoms, but now we see that isn’t the case – it’s Dany. A lot of people have made the assumption that Dany will be killed, but who can say for sure that will happen?
Varys had the first go of trying to kill Dany, there were incredibly subtle hints that he unsuccessfully tried to poison her after his little bird reported that she wasn’t eating, and Varys told her they would try again next supper. So, who will be the second person to step up to the plate and try and bump off Westeros’s most unstable tyrant?
Will Arya Use One of Her Faces to Kill Dany?
Now that Cersei Lannister is dead, we know the green eyes which Arya will close don’t belong to her. Dany also has green eyes, so killing Dany would allow Arya to fulfill Melisandre’s prophecy for her – but don’t forget, Melisandre hasn’t always been right. Although her prophesising abilities have got infinitely sharper once she got over her crush with Stannis Baratheon.
The white horse which Arya finds at the end of the episode has a lot of people wondering if that means Arya has become death. It may be a stretch to assume that the writers were making a reference to the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse and she’s now riding the white horse representing death. Simpler theories are that Arya is as alive as Benjen Stark and she met a ghost horse. Or, some people have dared to be hopeful and theorised that Bran warged into the horse and allowed her to escape King’s Landing. Or maybe this is just another instance of the fans thinking about the plot much more than the writers themselves. “Don’t worry, the fans will find a way to make it sound clever”.
But if Arya is to use a face to get close to Dany, who will she use? Bear in mind that she can only wear faces of the dead. Dany knows everyone she has ever known and loved is dead – aside from Jon Snow. Whether or not she still loves Jon Snow in some capacity is another thing entirely.
Whatever the white horse symbolised; we know that Arya is definitely the type to have a shit list. Of all the characters still left alive, no one witnessed as much horror as Arya in King’s Landing. She was right in the thick of it, so, it would come as no surprise if she decided to add one more name to her list before she’s done.
Will Jon Commit Parricide?
Jon Snow will definitely be wishing that he was still in that cave with Ygritte at this point. Looking back on his relationship with Ygritte is a perfect way to see how strained the dynamic between him and Dany is. It’s no surprise that he was repulsed by the prospect of kissing her after she had just executed Varys, even though he wasn’t strong enough to go up against her, he may just have to find enough conviction to end her life. This may lead to Azor Ahai finally being revealed; we’ll know about it if he gets a flaming sword after stabbing her – unless the screenwriters have completely forgotten this prophecy too!
Relying on prophecy may not be the best idea considering the Valonqar prophecy didn’t come true with Cersei. In the books it was prophesised that Tyrion would be the one to kill Cersei, instead, the screenwriters decided to give Jaime and Cersei the most underwhelming death we’ve seen for any of the main characters. You can play around with all the clever metaphors of Cersei’s empire crumbling all you like, there’s no getting around the fact that was a shocking way to tie up the ending for two of the main characters.
Jon may not want the Iron Throne – just as he has never wanted any of his positions of power. Yet, now, he may be forced to take it anyway after bumping off the fiercest contender for the Iron Throne. This would result in him finding himself once again in a position of power which he can’t refuse. It happened when he became the Lord Commander of the Night’s Watch, it happened when he became King of the North, and it may very well happen again.
One main incentive for Jon to attempt to kill Dany is the fact that Sansa, Arya, and Bran will never be safe if Dany lives. He may need to pretend he’s had a change of heart and fuck her to appease her, before sneakily stabbing her, as he is the only one with the potential to get close enough to her. If she found out about Jaime escaping, Tyrion will either be toast or imprisoned, he’ll have no chance in talking her out of anything now.
That would be one way to win around the people of King’s Landing, but even if Jon could get Dany’s head on a spike, what about Drogon? In season 8, the screenwriters have been very keen to show us that dragons have emotions. They mourned the death of Jorah Mormont, and that’s not forgetting the hideously cheesy and creepy shot of them watching Jon and Dany kissing, so, Drogon definitely isn’t stupid. If his mother dies, he’s going to know about it, and don’t put it past him to take it all very seriously!
Wildcard Dany Deaths
When it comes to the writer’s ability to subvert expectations in Game of Thrones, it’s quite hit and miss. With most people are betting on Arya or Jon killing Dany there are also a fair few of other possible outcomes – including one in which she rules as Queen of the Ashes.
Bronn is still swaggering around with the crossbow, isn’t he? He may save Tyrion to make sure that he gets paid.
Dany is heartbroken, but so is Brienne, it could be a battle between two women scorned – especially if Dany comes after Sansa.
Bran might warg into Drogon and use Drogon to kill Dany – he’s been pretty useless so far, and fans have wanted someone to warg a dragon since forever! I wouldn’t rule it out.
The Finale Trailer
We knew that the trailer for episode 6 wouldn’t show us all too much, but what it did show us was kind of infuriating. The Unsullied seem to have multiplied by a rather significant amount. Someone in the production team really should have been charged with the responsibility of making a kill count for the Unsullied.
Their numbers were highly depleted after the battle with the White Walker army – and don’t you think it’s slightly coincidental that you saw none of the Dothraki or unsullied were being burnt alive when Jon was so close to the dragon fire? I can understand main characters having incredibly thick plot armour, but for all of those Unsullied to make it out alive too, seems slightly unfeasible.
The only faces we really get to see in the trailer are the faces of Tyrion who looks up at the red keep with abject grief. You can just about make out Jon and Davos following Tyrion. Take what you will of Tyrion being the one in front with Jon following. Then we see Arya looking at the Dothraki, but her face is not one of spite, anger or contempt, its pure bemusement tinged with horror.
It leads us to the anticipation of how Dany will address her soldiers, how will she justify not calling off the attack when she knew that the Lannister army had surrendered? Furthermore, how is she ever going to explain burning half of Kings Landing instead of just flying off to the Red Keep and scorching Cersei alive? She’s got plenty of explaining to do – but not to her army, especially not the Dothraki. They kill as if it is a sport. A Dothraki wedding without at least three deaths is considered a dull affair. But if Dany gets hurt or killed, they won’t seek vengeance, the Dothraki abandon any leader with the inability to ride a horse. In this case, it will probably mean that they will abandon her if she can no longer ride Drogon. Perhaps Yara Greyjoy will pop up with her ships and help to get them home, she has to make an appearance, right? Although with Jon and Dany no longer in partnership, it is hard to say who she will remain loyal to. The Iron Borne have always been fairly partial to a bit of ransacking but scorching a city may be enough to make Yara think twice.
But our questions will be answered soon enough. Episode 6 will run for the exact same duration as episode 5 at 79 minutes long. Then, there will be no more questions. But remember, if you hear anyone smugly saying “If you think this has a happy ending, you haven’t been listening” it’s always okay to be like Cersei and choose violence. RIP Cersei, you literal queen.