If you’re not caught up on Game of Thrones, I’m going to be spoiling some stuff for you, so please leave now if you don’t want that.
This season has had some received some major flack from audiences for all sorts of issues, and obviously I don’t agree with everyone, but I wanted to talk about a couple that I don’t like. I guess, I’ll start with the big one, the title of this article kind of hints at. Daenerys turning crazy/bad/however else we want to categorize her. I didn’t dislike this until the moment in this week’s episode when the bells are ringing, and she looks over at the Red Keep, and decides to lay waste on the people of King’s Landing.
You see, while Daenerys has never shied away from being violent to achieve her goals, there was always some sense of morality to it, and she was never casual with innocents. Up until this point, the fact that she’s burned the Iron Fleet, and the guard towers, and as much as she has destroyed, makes sense, and largely is the right thing to do, to avoid unnecessary death of innocents.
Then she stops, sitting atop the final remaining dragon, and looks down, the bells are ringing, and it is clear that she has won, and she snaps and proceeds to go further. Now, if she’d done everything and never stopped, never paused, and was just caught up in it, and therefore didn’t notice the bells, or the peace, or anything else and got carried away, this would be a more satisfying example of her going too far, and perhaps being the threat Varys died to stop (which I thought was played excellently). Also if she had that moment of pause, and then flew over and destroyed the Red Keep, I could get that too. But she pauses, looks around, sees she has won and unleashes fury on the innocent, which is out of character. It’s not getting carried away, or going too far as many of her past behavior has shown, it was her snapping, and it is out of character for her.
I also think that if it had been more along the lines of her getting carried away and going too far, even way too far, this would allow the necessary characters to say “oh we need Jon Snow to sit on the Iron Throne” without the writers betraying the character of Daenerys to justify that final play that it seems is coming.
I mentioned Varys, and I think Varys is a prime example of how the characters should be thinking about Daenerys, his last words are “I hope I’m wrong about her,” (or something similar) but he honestly believes he is not. That’s because she’s riding the edge of righteous and power-hungry, and he is forced to make a decision unsure if he’s correct, it makes his decisions more bold. Now if Jon realizes she’s a mad-Queen, and rebels against her, it will not be a bold act, but rather the obvious one for someone who will always risk his life for what’s right. It takes away the ‘risk of being wrong.’
Now, there were plenty of moments in addition to Varys’s death which I thought were well executed, I liked the final battle with the Hound and the Mountain, and I thought that Arya leaving because Cersai is dead regardless of what happens, worked really well.
But there were also moments in which it seemed like they tried to eat their cake and have it too. Jaime could have gone with Brienne (I didn’t really want to see that, but once it happened I liked it) or he could go back to Cersai, but I think having him do both really cut through both. That’s ultimately what I think the problem with this season is (it’s the worst of GoT, but it’s still pretty damn good otherwise): they want to both shit and get off the pot at the same time, and they spent years elaborately creating characters and beats, and now they’re trying to tie them all up far to quickly.
Written by Michael Cole