Let’s Recap: Game Of Thrones Season 8, Episode 5

Screenshot from "Game of Thrones"

This week’s episode of Game of Thrones was perhaps one of the most shocking of recent TV history. Fans are fuming at the dramatic demise of their great Khalisi but we will say one thing: Game of Thrones managed to remain unpredictable.

Regardless of whether we got the episode we wanted, the show writers managed to achieve the seemingly impossible. They surprised an audience who have learned to expect the unexpected.

I am not going to waste this entire review trying to justify the credibility of Daenerys’ character. She is a young woman who has lost everything. She is used to receiving adoration and received no such praise for her sacrifices up on the North two episodes prior. Instead of being met at King’s Landing with cries of “mhysa”, she is met with surrender and terror. In a moment of fury, the Breaker of Chains learns that she is no liberator in Westeros. So she decides to be a conqueror.

There have been countless deaths over the series and in season 8 we craved the Ned Stark execution shock of season one. Instead, we got something worse. The empowering, gentle-hearted Khaleesi we have been rooting for since the very first episodes is brutally ripped away from us. Even Cersei massacring Daenerys and her army would have been better than this. In Harvey Dent Two-Face style, she misses her chance to die a hero and we mourn her harder while we watch her transform into a villain.

Visually, the episode was immaculate. The shots of the city rising up in flames and Cersei’s armies being trampled were brutally superb. There may have been a few too many shots of the helpless citizens being burned alive but hey, at least we got the glaring lighting people complained about not receiving in episode 3.

An episode highlight for most was the Clegainbowl that we’ve been waiting for since the start of the series. The Hound finally gets the chance to take revenge on his brother, who quickly abandons his queen when he sees the Hound approaching. The fight scenes were visually exciting and were spliced together with scenes of Arya being crushed by the falling city. Although the crossover between Arya and the Hound’s character arcs is interesting, Arya’s presence in the episode was overall a little disappointing. We get that she is tougher than steel but really, she should have died at least five times in that episode.

There’s a lot I haven’t talked about here but too much went down to cover everything. The last thing I will mention is the death of Jame and Cersei Lannister. For most of the episode, Lena Headey was standing on a balcony, making foolish ignorant claims along the lines of “it’s all going to be just fine” while Daenerys rains fire on the city. In the end, though, she is a helpless mother, overwhelmed by the arrival of her twin brother and lover, Jamie. Jamie might have let us down when he abandoned our hero Brienne of Tarth and don’t get me wrong, Cersei’s the actual worst, but there was still something powerful about the couple’s final moments.

Anyway, that’s about all I have time to say because I am still processing what just happened. Yes, the episode had its flaws but ultimately our anger is directed at the fact we didn’t get the impossible ending we wanted. Game of Thrones has exceeded expectations so many times that season 8 had no hope in pleasing fans. We wanted the stories of each character to wrap up satisfyingly while still receiving the shock treatment we’ve made the mistake of learning to expect from the show. Ultimately, the episode is analogous to Qyburn getting abruptly killed by his own creation. And just like The Dark Knight, we may just have to accept that season 8 is the not the final season we wanted, but the season we deserve.

Anyhow, with our expectations shattered one last time, anything can happen in the big finale. And this is the best part. All bets regarding who will take the Iron Throne are off because too much has been lost. It feels that we can be neither satisfied nor disappointed by episode 6 because we too have had everything taken away from us. The showrunners truly ripped us out, root and stem. And it’s our own doing. All that’s left now is for Brienne to ride off into the sunset with Tormund, Jon Snow to reunite with Ghost and for Arya to accept Gendry’s proposal. Nothing less than this will stop us being bitter.

Entertainment For Us Winter Rating: Who even cares?