Sunday night’s Game of Thrones made a quick pivot from “The Long Night,” which was a masterclass in cinema and quickly became HBO’s highest rated episode ever, to the messy “The Bells,” which is now the worst rated episode in the show’s history. After eight seasons, we watched Cersei die by falling rocks and Dany become a villain at the turn of a dime. This is what we waited years to see? Are you kidding me?
Dany went full Mad Queen and burned King’s Landing on Sunday night, seemingly ending her reign as the Breaker of Chains and introducing the new title of the Burner of Cities. We’re not even upset she burned the city (okay, we’re a little upset). We’re upset that her character development has been so rushed that we now must endure show creators David Benioff and D.B. Weiss mansplaining her arc.
In this week’s behind the scenes video released by HBO, Weiss says, “I don’t think she decided ahead of time that she was going to do what she did. Then she sees the Red Keep, which is to her the home that her family built when they first came over to this country 300 years ago. It’s in this moment on the walls of King’s Landing where she’s looking at that symbol of everything that was taken from her, when she makes the decision to make this personal.”
Make it personal? Sorry, but are you new here? Everything is personal on Game of Thrones. We take that back. Everything is personal in life in general. Is there anything more grating than someone doing something shitty and saying, “It’s not personal”? Own the shittiness. Yes, it was personal to Dany, but everything has been personal to her. And to Jon Snow. And to Stannis Baratheon. And to Euron Greyjoy. And to Tyrion Lannister. They just happened to be men, so their decisions were their birthright, their calling, their act of humility, and not personal. Right.
Weiss continued his living example of ‘This Is Why There Should Be Women in The Writers Room,’ saying, “If circumstances had been different, I don’t think this side of Dany ever would have come out. If Cersei hadn’t betrayed her, if Cersei hadn’t executed Missandei, if Jon hadn’t told her the truth… if any of these things happened in a different way, then I don’t think we’d be seeing this side of Daenerys Targaryen.” So, if Dany’s life hadn’t happened to her, she would have acted differently. Coolcoolcoolcool.
WHAT ARE WE TALKING ABOUT HERE?
It feels like for every step forward, including Arya killing the Knight King and Dany saving mankind with her armies and her dragons, GoT takes two steps back, with Sansa finding the bright side of rape and torture and Missandei’s representation as one of the only POC’s on the show ending as a pawn in a war between white people. With Sunday night’s continued ill-fated foray into the writers doing the women dirty, including Cersei’s BS death and Dany’s light switch descent into madness, Game of Thrones is taking the years they spent building up female characters only to tear them down in the final moments. So yeah, Game of Thrones is like real life.
There’s one episode left. Do better, Game of Thrones.