FULL SPOILERS BELOW: YOU HAVE BEEN WARNED.
Goodbye, old friend.
And with that Varys was gone. It’s a shame that it took until his last moments for me to truly realize how fond I was of this character. For much of the first few seasons he existed merely as a schemer, and at that he even took a backseat to Littlefinger on most occasions. But it is in his final episode that his true self becomes evident. He just wants what is best for the people. He was, after all, a man of the people himself, albeit one who had risen to a height most never dream of. It would be hard to say that I will miss him, as there is only one episode left, but I think instead I will regret that I misread him the whole time, and never appreciated him for who he truly was.
Speaking of characters revealing their true selves, this episode gave us Daenerys as a villain, which is something she has been building towards since Season 1. Her descent into the madness that consumed most of her forefathers is on full display here, and it is clear now that there is no turning back. It is mentioned in this episode that when a Targaryen is born, the gods flip a coin. Dany was always destined to be this way, just as much as Jon was destined to be the opposite. They are the only Targaryens left, and they are two sides of the coin, and they always have been. From the very beginning, Dany has shown an affinity for violence and for taking what she believes is hers, while Jon is never willing to put himself before others, and is always ready to make the sacrifices necessary for the greater good.
"For Arya, the episode is reminiscent of the Omaha Beach scene in Saving Private Ryan - violent, hopeless and filled with mayhem and utter destruction."
Poor Tyrion and Arya. Both are forced to watch the Siege of King’s Landing from different, yet equally upsetting vantage points. Tyrion knows what’s happening behind the walls, and Arya is witnessing it firsthand. Tyrion has spent much of his time as Daenerys’ advisor trying to convince her of the more diplomatic ways that she can take the throne. Dany references the many times he has failed her in this episode, but ultimately it is his inability to quell the dragon inside her that is his greatest failure of all. It will be interesting to see what his next (and possibly last) move is next week. For Arya, the episode is reminiscent of the Omaha Beach scene in Saving Private Ryan - violent, hopeless and filled with mayhem and utter destruction. Her final goodbye to The Hound is a particularly touching moment, but I do wonder why they never had that conversation on the long trek from Winterfell to King’s Landing. Seems like they would have had ample time for him to tell her to get lost. But then again, she’s the only person in the world who he might actually love, so maybe he just enjoyed her company.
Finally thoughts: Cleganebowl did not disappoint. That was one of the most beautifully shot fight scenes I have ever seen. The juxtaposition of the brothers fighting each other on a fiery staircase to nowhere with the sky set ablaze with dragon fire in the background should be one of the most iconic shots from the show once all is said and done. Cercei and Jaime dying together also has a nice finality to it. They’re twins, so they came into the world together and they get to leave it together. They were both incredibly unsympathetic characters, and yet it is still somehow sad to see them go. I feel like next week is going to have a Jon vs. Grey Worm scene, and I did not know that I wanted that so badly. Ultimately they both feel like they are soldiers fighting for someone else, but now they are on opposite sides of the morality of the situation. Should be interesting. I’m not sure where Arya is headed, but I feel like she still has a major role to play in the way things shake out.
Happy Mother’s Day.