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.
I always wanted to remember Daenerys as the Mother of Dragons. The writers have turned her into the Mad Queen in a single episode. #GameofThrones
— Marissa Sarbak (@MarissaSarbak) May 13, 2019
i get that people love dany and wanted her to be the hero, but, like, she’s not? she’s been destined to go mad queen since the first book was published, the show just messed it up with the speedy timeline 🤷🏼♀️ #GameOfThrones
— pz (@paulinaa618) May 13, 2019
daenerys targaryen ? breaker of chains? who wanted to rid the world of tyrants ? stopped her army from raping ? spared innocent lives ? is now the mad queen, a tyrant and burnt an entire city & it’s people because of some bells ? sounds like trash writing to me #gameofthrones
— jenna/got spoilers (@emiliasclrks) May 13, 2019
That was the best episode this season. I'm not sure why people are complaining. Who didn't see Dany turning into the Mad Queen? It's been developed for 8 seasons and every character mentioned it for the past two episodes. #GameofThrones
— Matthew Broome (@LifeOfBroome) May 13, 2019
Ok these writers are mf genius. This is season 2 epi 10. Dany walking up to the throne in ashes. I hate it but GAH THEY WARNED US ALL ALONG pic.twitter.com/yT743mF33L
— atmchugh (@atmchugh) May 13, 2019
As many pointed out, it was particularly strange to see the Mother of Dragons get all psycho killer on Mother’s Day.
#GOT Just in time for Mother’s Day, Daenerys of the House Targaryen, the First of Her Name, The Unburnt, Queen of the Andals, Khaleesi of the Great Grass Sea, Protector of the Realm, Breaker of Chains and Mother of Dragons is now certifiably the Mad Queen! #GameofThrones
— Jeff Hoyle (@Hoopgreen) May 13, 2019
— Chase DSU (@chase_DSU) May 13, 2019
— Kenton Lanham (@KentonLanham) May 13, 2019
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.
Disclaimer: If you are still traumatized by any real world disasters, especially school shootings and especially 9/11, you might want to avoid this week's episode of #GameofThrones. It's pretty much the psychological textbook definition of "trigger."
— Jeff Harris (@nemalki) May 13, 2019
Just what I always wanted in game of thrones, 9/11 imagery
— Jenny Perton (@anijen21) May 13, 2019
— Joey (@JoeyNishawn) May 13, 2019
Ok if they wanted to drive home the “Dany is a terrorist point” I think having Arya walk around looking like she’s at ground zero on 9/11 is WAY TOO ON THE NOSE. #GameOfThrones
— Chris Colasurdo (@CColasurd) May 13, 2019
#GameofThrones writers pitch this episode. “It’s like Hiroshima but with 9/11 overtones. And everyone dies senseless deaths.”
HBO: “We love it. Do it.”
— Dulce et Decorum est (@progmilitary) May 13, 2019
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.
The horse was there randomly waiting for Arya like she just booked it on uber lol @GameOfThrones speak up
— Economy still tight (@UnoThemOnes) May 13, 2019
— julia (@_juliarivenburg) May 13, 2019
— Winterfell's daughter 🐺 (@Orions_BeIt) May 13, 2019
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.”
— rp (@Becczzz_) May 13, 2019
— 🔺SASA girl🔻 (@LiaBia_Mazing) May 13, 2019
— kayla (@kaylapernz) May 13, 2019
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.
Euron Greyjoy has to be the worst character in the entire Game of Thrones run. That guy had no depth & pretty much served no real purpose
— Pete Blackburn (@PeteBlackburn) May 13, 2019
— James S Murphy (@James_S_Murphy) May 13, 2019
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.
— shawn (@shawnhakimi) May 13, 2019
— Zach Cohen (@zcoh5) May 13, 2019
— SyneSpace (@SyneSpace) May 13, 2019
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.
— Jonah Thawne (@Jonah_Thawne) May 13, 2019
— Angela Siener (@BallawrinaGirl) May 13, 2019
— Ben Deutsch 🎬 (@BenLikesMovies) May 13, 2019
— Chris Morgan (@LMFCMO) May 13, 2019
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.
Jaime always loved Cersei. Like a sickness.
He supported her even when he knew he shouldn't.
Loved her past the point of her deserving any of it.
He was always going to protect her, to die by her side.
They came into this world together, and left it together.#GameofThrones
— a girl has no chill (@sarekins) May 13, 2019
— mother of puppies (@fryejenni) May 13, 2019
Jaime Lannister jumped into a pit with a live bear for Brienne. He lost his hand protecting Brienne. For what? So he can abandon her and die with Cersei, his sister who never deserved him? #gameofthrones
— suzannevvale (@suzannevvale) May 13, 2019
— rachel leishman (@RachelLeishman) May 13, 2019
THIS is how it ends for them?! THIS!? 8 seasons of character development. Jaime sleeping with Brienne. Cersei levels the Sept of Baelor. And THIS is how it ends for of televisions most popular characters...
I'm extremely frustrated with this episode. #GameOfThrones pic.twitter.com/9q2z991ExT
— Jesse Bickers (@jessebickers) May 13, 2019
Game of Thrones airs Sundays at 9 p.m. on HBO.
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