The Mad Queen reigns over a death-heavy episode of 'Game of Thrones'

Daenerys Targaryen is dead ... long live the Mad Queen of Westeros. Having single-handedly brought the forces defending King’s Landing and Cersei Lannister to heel with the aid of her sole remaining dragon, Drogon, Daenerys pauses to listen to the peals of the city’s bells proclaim her victory in the so-called “Last Battle.” (It’s no accident that the title of this penultimate episode is “The Bells.”) And then, instead of overseeing a peaceful transfer of power, she proceeds to burn the whole place down to the ground. It’s a shocking act of wanton mass murder that surpasses the death toll racked up by her father, Aerys II Targaryen, aka the Mad King. It’s also the opposite outcome that her most devoted followers — Tyrion Lannister and Jon Snow—hoped would come to pass when they originally enlisted in her cause.

Jon and Tyrion aren’t the only ones disappointed by Dany’s ascension to Mad Queen-dom. Twitter was evenly split over her abrupt transformation, particularly as she’s spent the past seven seasons defending innocents instead of roasting them.

As many pointed out, it was particularly strange to see the Mother of Dragons get all psycho killer on Mother’s Day.

Even as fans debated whether Daenerys’s horrifying actions in “The Bells” were the result of careful plotting or bad writing, almost everyone agreed that the show’s use of 9/11 imagery in the final half-hour was uncomfortable to say the least.

But hey — at least Arya got a new horse out of the rubble of King’s Landing! Maybe she can ride to wherever Nymeria is hanging out.

In addition to countless soldiers and civilians, the Mad Queen was either directly or indirectly responsible for most of the major character deaths this week. Here’s a round-up of the player pieces that were swept off the board with the end of the game of thrones looming next week.


The Spider’s fiery execution was the first signal that Daenerys had crossed some kind of mental Rubicon. After learning that Varys knew the secret of Jon’s parentage and was leveraging that information to push him towards the Iron Throne, Dany sentenced her advisor to death without a moment’s hesitation. “He was absolutely true to his word the whole way through,” actor Conleth Hill told Entertainment Weekly about the circumstances behind his alter ego’s demise. “All he wanted was the right person on the throne and a fair person on the throne. ... So that makes perfect sense. And now with hindsight, I’m OK, but I really was inconsolable.”

Euron Greyjoy

He may have taken down a dragon, but Euron can’t boast to slaying a Kingslayer. The would-be king lost his fleet to Drogon and then his life to Jaime Lannister, who fought back from a seemingly mortal wound to leave Euron choking on his own blood. The only way people would have been happier with this death is if it had happened three episodes ago.


Much like the good Dr. Frankenstein, Qyburn’s downfall was due to a monster of his own creation. Upon seeing his brother, Sandor, the man who was Gregor Clegane remembered enough of his previous life to ignore the commands of his maker. With a mighty push from the Mountain, Qyburn fell down and broke his crown, and Cersei ran far, far away after.

Sandor and Gregor Clegane

When you play the game of Cleganebowl, you win or you both fall to your deaths. Rather than pick a winner between the Clegane boys, Game of Thrones showrunners David Benioff and D.B. Weiss opted for the world’s most violent tie. Then again, Sandor didn’t stand much of a chance in one-on-one combat against a re-animated Gregor. That much became clear when even stabbing the Mountain through the skull didn’t do anything to slow him down. At least the Hound managed to dodge the same fate as poor Oberyn Martell, keeping both of his eyes just long enough to tackle his brother through the Red Keep’s collapsing wall to the fire pit below, thus ushering him out of this world for a second and final time.

Jaime and Cersei Lannister

In the end, Maggy the Frog wasn’t wrong: Cersei was killed by her little brother as the witch prophesied many years ago. And, like many suspected, that brother was her younger twin, Jaime, rather than Tyrion. Heck, Jaime even wrapped his hands around Cersei’s pale white throat as Maggy said he would. But here’s what she didn’t predict: Jaime was embracing his sister/lover, not strangling her. Having led Cersei into the Red Keep’s catacombs where escape awaited in the form of a secret exit and a Tyrion-secured dinghy, Jaime discovers that the debris from Daenerys’s attack has blocked their exit. There’s no way out and no way back, as the castle continues to crumble under Drogon’s onslaught. And so, they prepare to die together, suffocated beneath the rubble of their royal dreams. It’s a poetic end, perhaps, but one that proved as divisive as Dany’s killing spree.

Game of Thrones airs Sundays at 9 p.m. on HBO.

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