In the penultimate episode of Game of Thrones’ final season, Aaron Rodgers makes a negligible impact and everything burns.
The Iron Fleet.
The Mountain and The Hound.
[I wonder if anyone who didn’t burn might still actually be alive, even if they appear lost.]
And maybe our hopes and dreams for just about anything we believe about the people who may or may not lead the people who are left in the ashes.
While last week’s episode seemed to trend heavily toward a mad Queen Cersei versus a mad Queen Daenerys with everyone in the middle dying, “The Bells” episode took that idea, lit it on fire, blew it up, and spread it like napalm over everyone. While Cersei uses the civilian inhabitants of King’s Landing as a buffer (unsuccessfully), or as hostages to stop the onslaught of Dany, Dany is more than willing to sacrifice everything to get to Cersei. Which of these women is depicted as more evil?
Cersei has had an early lead (most of the seasons), but yikes, Dany shouldn’t be trending as a “noble kid’s name” anymore, and my condolences to those previously named. It’s rather sad that what appeared to be a story arc about a woman who was discarded, rose to power, freed slaves, and seemed noble has now been dropped in equivalence to Cersei who’d murder anyone to get power. The Grey Worm’s breaking the laws of conventional warfare involving surrender proves that Dany’s leadership is … messed up.
The carnage was magnificent in its brutality, but the nobility of one (or is it two?) of the characters still shines – still leaves me with the most surprising of un-Game of Thrones-like ideals: hope.
Jon Snow is the leader who doesn’t want the titles, doesn’t want the drama, can’t kiss a woman he’s not supposed to kiss, who tries to stop a war and even defends the defenseless like… Arya Stark is the orphan-turned-assassin-turned-white knight who takes the Hound’s advice, because she knows death isn’t her endgame, who cares about a stranger named Nora. She sees something in the Hound that is too far gone even as he goes all Sun Tzu on her and turns her back from revenge. What pain is too much? How do we acknowledge our anger in a healthy way? Does the “winner” of this game of thrones prove to be the one who best handles, in a most healthy way, their pain and anger?
Is it even possible after all of this that we can go back and see the arc in the first ever season’s first ever episode, when Ned Stark tells Jon it’s Ned’s job as the leader to kill the deserter Will?
Maybe Arya isn’t the one who will end mad Dany’s fiery reign. Maybe Jon has to clean up this mess even if Arya is the rider from Revelation (6:8): “I looked, and there before me was a pale horse! Its rider was named Death, and Hades was following close behind him. They were given power over a fourth of the earth to kill by sword, famine and plague, and by the wild beasts of the earth.” Either way, it certainly looks like the Stark family (adoptive or not) are going to survive this – with Sansa/Tyrion as an outside look at power couple?
The whole GoT world is aflame, and Death and Hades are riding rampant. But it ain’t over til it’s over…