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THE BELLS: GOT S08E05 – THE NIGHT QUEEN’S NOT-QUITE REVIEW

David and D.B. have finally done it: Season 8 has broken the internet, divided the people, and is threatening to tear House Wyrd apart. Can our once peaceful house recover from our vastly differing opinions?

I’m finally back after after taking some time out to mourn the death of my Night King, when Arya’s cunning switcheroo in the epic Episode 3 brought an end to one of my favourite characters. RIP Night King, Melisandre, Theon, Edd, Lyanna, Ser Jorah, Beric, Viserion, and all the Dothraki and Unsullied.

The Night King has left the Game

But I digress. The GOT fandom was still basking in the warm and fuzzies from the fireside party that was Episode 2, so it was inevitable that Episode 3 (and now also E4 and E5) would be quite divisive. What became quite clear was that the show was not pandering to the wants, needs and feelings of millions of fans. It has a story to tell. It has a story to finish. And time’s running out.

And THAT was when the shit hit the fan. First, GOT fans freaked out because the episode was too dark. I’d love to know how many of them saw the original HBO episode on TV vs dabbling in the noble art of soft piracy. I loved the fact that it was dark and confusing and scary and suffocating. I’ve never been in a war, but I have been in a (well-lit) karate match, and when you’re in the thick of things, nothing else matters than what is happening right in front of you. It’s bloody scary. Your heart rate goes through the roof. It’s confusing. All sound is drowned out. And no amount of training can prepare you for what you’re about to face. That’s how I felt watching Episode 3.

Which brings me to Episode 5 – a.k.a. that one time Dany went batshit crazy, fresh from the deaths of her beloved Ser Jorah, Missandei, Rhaegal and the majority of her carefully curated army…

I’ve been wondering how to sum up Episode 5 since seeing it (twice) on Monday night. Working in communications and on social media, I had switched all my SM platforms over to client accounts so that I’d be spared daytime spoilers. I wasn’t quite prepared for the flash flood of fandom hate when I switched back to my own accounts. I already knew that House Wyrd’s Khaleesi Fazielah was breathing fire and getting ready to burn things. But by the old gods and the new, I was unprepared for all the interweb anger!

So I decided to stay in my lane, focus on my work and wait for Ozzy Man to publish his review. As it turns out, we feel the same about the episode, so I’ll let Ozzy speak for me once again… πŸ‘‡πŸ‘‡ My favourite takeaway though – and something I have said during many a Whatsapp conversation this week – Game of Thrones is doing what it’s always done: Making us angry when it doesn’t do what we want.

Game of Thrones is doing what it's always done: Making us angry when it doesn't do what we want. Click To Tweet

Here are some of my personal notes from Episode 5:

Dany’s descent to madness: I am not surprised that Daenerys burned the city. As she and Drogon sat on that rooftop, she realised that all her dreams had come to naught. She lost those she loved. She was not loved by the people of Kings Landing. They were not happy to see her. Think about it: The only time she was the benevolent queen was when she was adored by those she freed. She killed everyone else. She’s been promising death to those who stood against her since Season 2. I am not surprised; in fact, I would have been disappointed if she had gotten off her dragon and started kissing babies.

Jaime & Cersei’s deaths: Ooh, this got people’s g-strings in a twist. The fans wanted (1) Jaime to kill Cersei, (2) Drogon to roast Cersei, (3) Cersei to win the throne, give birth to a little prince who would not be as mad as Joffrey. I couldn’t keep up. I found their deaths beautifully poetic. They came into the world together. They left the world together. They, too, dreamed of cocktails on the beach and a long life together, and it is widely accepted that theirs was probably the most normal and traditional love story on Game of Thrones. We had a chance to get another rare glimpse of Cercei’s humanity – which we last saw during the Walk of Shame – before she was literally crushed under the weight of the Red Keep and her sins.

As an aside… did anyone see those little wildfire explosions? I was actually convinced that Cersei would use her secret stash of wildfire to blow everyone up rather than surrender. In hindsight I’m glad that didn’t happen, but those green plumes were a joy to behold.

Varys: I honestly thought Varys was going to make it to the end. My theory has always been that either Varys or Littlefinger would die, but not both. That being said, I’m totally convinced that he was trying to poison Dany, and the scene with Drogon appearing from the cover of darkness was truly frightening. But man… Varys was probably the one person who actually served the realm, and I wish he’d stayed alive a little longer.

The Hound: I really liked Sandor Clegane. I loved his character arc. And everyone knows that, in the unlikely event that my darling husband dies an unexpectedly premature death, I’ll turn into a total creeper, look for Rory Mccann and go live on his boat. Sandor died a hero’s death by facing his fear of fire and dragging his zombie brother into the pits of hell. RIP Sandor – you are finally free.

I know it’s not popular opinion, but I’m loving Season 8. We knew things would be a little rushed. And, if you set your passions aside for just a moment, you’ll also realise that it’s not the showrunners’ job to make us happy, to make our fan theories come true, or to give us what we expect. It’s their job to create a compelling story, and I for one am glad they did.

I’m not saying there aren’t issues. There have been some continuity problems (coffee-cup-gate, and Jaime’s missing golden hand in that final embrace to name but two), and there are some problems one cannot deny.

But you know what… life is stressful enough. For better or for worse, I prefer to not think about these things too deeply. If you seek issues you will find them. Instead, I choose to go along for the dragon ride and enjoy the spectacle that is the show I have loved for a decade, and take great care representing in costume.

(Fortress of Solitude wrote an interesting piece on fandom outrage.)

Theory / Finale Prediction: I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again. Drogon is going to melt the Iron Throne. I do believe that Dany is going to be killed. Sansa will remain Lady of the North. I secretly hope she ends up marrying Tyrion, now the tallest Lannister around. And, yes, I hope that Arya and Gendry will become a power couple who will travel the realm as mercenaries. She deserves a good man who won’t try and turn her into a lady, and he can make her weapons.

MVP: Euron, the pirate with the guyliner. He bedded the queen. He killed a bunch of people. He had a ton of fun while doing so. I do understand that his character development wasn’t as extensive as in the books, but I do love a bad boy who doesn’t take himself too seriously.

Quote of the Episode:
Varys: I hope I deserve this. Truly, I do. <You didn’t, Varys. You definitely did not.>

1 Comment

  1. PJ Moses

    I’m loving the final season, yes it doesn’t make me happy but it does entertain and that is what it’s all about!
    These β€˜fan gangs’ remind me of how people got upset with what happened in soapies and would argue or insult with the actors like they were the characters in real life!
    Some times I want to shout at all these fans that If you want the story to follow the path you think is best then feel free to write it yourself – this should be a note on all works of fiction: in books, movies and television!
    Bring on the whisky and biltong for the series finale.. people will die and the masses will cry!

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