The Night’s Cast Episode 22: “The Bells” Recap and Reactions

Caption

That’s a murderous glint in the eye if I’ve ever seen one.

A torched city, a dead queen, utter madness — there’s an AWFUL lot we could discuss about Season 8, Episode 5 of Game of Thrones on the Night’s Cast, the official podcast of Watchers on the Wall. So we will!

This week, Axey, Lady Geoffrey and Samantha discuss some of the major happenings in the penultimate episode of Season 8 (and the series!!), appropriately titled “The Bells.”

Don’t forget — The Night’s Cast is live for Season 8! You can find us livestreaming at 5 p.m. EST on the Watchers on the Wall YouTube channel until the final episode (sob) on Sunday.

The podcast is available on iTunes and SoundCloud, and you can follow us on Twitter as well. Happy listening!

41 responses

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    1. on apple podcast app the latest episode still seems to be the long night from 30th of april. why is that?

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    2. #Burnthemall

      Enjoyed the Broadstrokes

      People are whingeing about Dany arc a lot, go back to Season 1 and consider what Rheago was set to be.

      Plus everytime she has made the effort to “rule” she has been undermined by Sons of the Harpy or Sansa etc and locking the Dragons up was not good at all

      In terms of Jaimie, go back to S1E7 with the Tywin/Jaimie conversation. In particular Tywins points about “family” when everyone of the current gen was dead. Cersei being “executed” as Sansa said meant the unborn child and the future of House Lannister would be killed

      Secondly make a note about Tywin emphasising 1000 year legacy rather than “collapsing into nothing” as the Targaryens did and by S8E5 we see him mimmicking Pregnant Queen Rhaella and Prince Viserys to Dragonstone and Pentos with his Skiff plan. Only in this case he doesen’t escape

      Why? Because Dany did what Jon Connngton didn’t at Battle of Bells when he didn’t burn Stoney Sept and went door to door looking for Ned and Robert. In this case if Jaimie had escaped there may have been a Westerosi insurgency ala Sons of the Harpy

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    3. Sure there’s issues with the rushed timing and I wish we had 10 seasons and had better fleshed out Arya, Sansa, Dany arc etc

      And Military tactics, eg have Drogon fly in at night, hit and run burn each ship of Iron Fleet slowly, as they shoot Scorpion Bolts into the dark air if Drogon swooped right down to water level before circling back it would have been better than the dodging

      Golden Company outside the Walls left a bit to be desired, but like with Winterfell and White Walkers I can understand they are going for psychological impact and so we had more time dedicated to the horror of the burning City

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    4. Ghost’s Lunch,

      Well, the problem with attacking at night would be that Drogon wouldn’t see the projectiles either.

      You can’t dodge something you can’t see.

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    5. So, funny enough: last night I visited my parents because I didn’t get to see my mom for Mother’s Day. She watches the show and loves it, but she doesn’t nearly get down into the nitty gritty details that we do.

      I kid you not, her first words to me as we are eating dinner: “So, I watched Game of Thrones, and all I gotta say is GO DAENERYS. ” And I was stunned. I was like, mom, she burned all of those innocent people, and she said “I know, but she has lost so much, that bitch Cersei killed her handmaiden, that jerk pirate killed her dragon, and she lost Ser Jorah.”

      Now, I of course disagree with her, but it makes me wonder how many casual viewers of the show feel this way. We micro-analyze everything about the show with the writing, set designs, rumors, behind the scenes, etc. But for people who tune into the show each Sunday for pure entertainment and aren’t in the trenches the way we are, it really isn’t outside the realm of possibility for a good number of people to not react in horror to what Daenerys did, especially those that are pre-disposed to loving her.

      What do you guys think?

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    6. Joseph Mobile,

      To be honest, I doubt if there are many of the same opinions. If the victims were just soldiers, well, yeah, but the show really put an effort in focusing in women and young children, girls in particular, so I think most of the audience, even the casual viewers were appalled. That does not mean that quite a few felt sorry for Daenerys too, but still, the show made it really hard to root for her.

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    7. She has just lost Missandei, Rhaegal, Jorah and she feels isolated and betrayed by Jon and her inner council. It’s not out of character either, she’s burned Varys, Sam’s dad and brother. She’s also crucified the masters of Meereen, burned the Dothraki tribal leaders. She has it in her to be ruthless and that perfect storm has pushed her to tear out Kings Landing root and stem.

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    8. I have a lot of questions for people who say that every time she killed someone before The Bells, it « was justified ». Lucky none of you are in charge in real life. What she has done repeatedly is legally classified as murder, and war crimes. Or even crimes against humanity. Watching her brother horribly die without so much as batting an eyelid? Psychopathy. Killing the Tarly – prisoners of war – was a war crime. And so on. Imagine any of the Starks doing that? I don’t think so. Sansa with Ramsay is as close as it gets, and you can’t compare that to anyone that Dany killed. Her path was very clear from season 1, and if t wasn’t clear enough, season 8 has been literally yelling it at you from episode 1. Guess she’s too pretty for people to take her seriously.

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    9. Sou,

      Oh, no doubt. And that was exactly my argument to her. Whatevs, if that’s the one thing we can passionately debate, I’d say the familial relationship is strong lol

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    10. Ghost’s Lunch: And Military tactics, eg have Drogon fly in at night, hit and run burn each ship of Iron Fleet slowly, as they shoot Scorpion Bolts into the dark air if Drogon swooped right down to water level before circling back it would have been better than the dodging

      Yeah I like that, as it was, just a min. more elaboration of the attack on the Iron Fleet would have been more entertaining, I mean the out-of-sun set up almost goes by so fast one can hardly tell what is going on.

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    11. Melanie,

      It’s actually really funny you should say this.
      When season 8 was about to start I was watching a talk show that had a topic about the last season. Some war crime experts made a list of people on game of thrones who committed the most war crimes against humanity. While Ramsay Bolton was number 1, Daenerys was number 2 (though she will probably be number one now). She did like 15 crimes against humanity while people like Cersei and Joffrey only had done 3

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    12. Melanie,

      Are you serious? You are applying modern 20th century standards like the Geneva convention and modern, coddled western standards of behaviour to a brutal dog eats dog world, set in a mixture of a medieval and ancient settings and moralities.

      That just doesn’t make any sense AT ALL.

      What happened in The Bells was nothing out of the ordinary by the standards of our own history. One of history’s most revered figures, Alexander the Great, burned Thebes, one of the oldest and most cultural cities in the world at the time, to the ground. That was just a “warm up” before he really got going during conquering campaigns. That would have resulted in the death of tens of thousands.

      What Danaerys did was was raze a city. There’s a word for razing a city, because it’s happened so many times throughout history.

      I expect if she wasn’t a pretty girl and it was a man doing this like Drogo or Tywin, you’d be grudgingly accepting it, rather than assassinating her character.

      As for your comparison to the Tarly execution and the Starks not doing it – no I guess the Starks just chop off the heads of their own generals (i.e. the Carstarks).

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    13. Melanie,

      First and foremost – I do not agree with Dany burning Kings Landing. There is no excuse for that horror. I also agree that there are many signs along the way that she had the potential to do so, but those were mostly just her words. “Words are wind”. As far as her actions go, that is a different story. Not counting the lifetime of abuse at this hands, her brother had only seconds before put a sword to her pregnant belly and threatened to cut out the baby and give it to Khal Drogo. I think at that point, he was already dead to her. The Tarly’s were traitors – not POWs. They owed allegiance to the Tyrells, who had pledged to Dany and were under her protection. The Tarlys had betrayed their liege lords and fought against them – they actually just returned from sacking Highgarden. Robb killed Karstark for less. Dany still offered them a choice to bend the knee or be executed for treason and they made their choice.

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    14. If nobody has mentioned it, Dany finally got some proper figh’n duds , after going into action looking like a fashion plate.

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    15. Melanie,

      Easily see Ned doing shit like that for “the good of the realm”. When you take your 9 yr old to see you cut someone’s head off, you don’t really have a high horse to stand on. Sansa killing Ramsay and watching the hounds eat him made her crack a smile! How about that, to think a Stark has become a lot like Ramsay and LF in her machinations and style of murder. Arya has become an assassin and wiped out a whole House male population and cracked smiles right and left whenever she stabbed peeps with the pointy end! I’m still rooting for her.

      Anyway, thank goodness people can differentiate between fiction and reality and they know they CAN root for a morally not white character to be better than their worst impulses and become someone possibly worthy and just while you’d never accept someone like that in real life. Sansa and Arya fans, rejoice. You can still like them and hope they turn out better than they are in the next ep! They are not real.

      We should also give praise to the Universe that you are not in charge. It doesn’t look like you can differentiate between life and fantasy and you’d be applying fantasy to life. Seven help us all.

      EDIT: lol I see peeps already were ahead of me to point these things out. Sorry, didn’t mean to pile on but when I was writing no one responded to your Starks don’t do this stuff.

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    16. Aurelius,

      Dude, I absolutely wouldn’t accept it if it was a man, thanks. And I don’t think either Drogo or Tywin were good people, so kind of missing the point. Do you think Alexander the Great or Napoleon were goodies? I think you’re confusing going down in history as a conqueror, and being a good person. People are not upset because Daenerys has conquered KL, but because she murdered tens of thousands of people after they surrendered. Of course we judge her, and everyone on the show, by modern standards, these are our internalised moral standards.

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    17. WHAT SO MANY PEOPLE HERE ARE FORGETTING IS THAT::

      -IF YOU THINK THIS HAS A HAPPY ENDING, YOU HAVEN’T BEEN PAYING ATTENTION….

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    18. The main problem for me not the story, but the rushing of season 8 which makes Daenerys’ extreme flipping too sudden. In retrospect I really don’t understand why they didn’t add 2-3 more episodes to season 7 and ended it with the death of the Night King. Then they would have season 8 with up to 5 full episodes in which to make her descend into madness, more gradually, and with more development of the other characters. Maybe the big battle budgets made this impossible, but adding those few episodes would have helped the series a lot.

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    19. TormundsWoman,

      You see Ned Stark burning KL to the ground after people surrendered? I guess I shouldn’t need to answer anything else in your (very aggressive) message after that. As SerKnight pointed out, war crime experts listed people on game of thrones who committed the most war crimes, and while Ramsay Bolton came first, Daenerys was number 2. So I guess my moral understanding of who is a mass murderer is correct. I don’t think Arya should become the ruler of the 7 kingdoms either, and her ark has been dark, but she clearly wouldn’t burn tens of thousands alive for no reason, or crucify people by the hundreds. Neither would Sansa, and certainly neither would Ned.

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    20. I’ve decided to simply reinterpret S8 as the Song of Ice and Fire itself. It’s not supposed to be an accurate representation of the events that lead to the burning of King’s Landing, but the oral history retold in our head. Bad tactics, poor leadership, compressed time — it didn’t happen that way, it’s just that the fidelity is lost in the retelling of a story three hundred years later.

      (I actually thought E5 worked pretty well, but I am building up some other narratives in my head to get us to that point)

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    21. Joseph Mobile,

      Wow, I think you just made a HUGE point. I wonder how many other people feel that way. I mean, I could understand the sudden break, because contrary to popular belief about a slow, downward spiral it doesn’t happen like that. One day it’s the straw that breaks the camels back. But I didn’t enjoy it and you mix genetics into all that she has been through and unless she LITERALLY melts that damn throne I can’t forgive what she has done (and even then not totally).

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    22. Joseph Mobile,

      My wife saw it coming. never read the books doesn’t re watch the show over and over again when i do it. she usually leaves the room on the second re watch since we re watch the episode leading into the next episode every Sunday. she turned to me the moment the bells rang and started burning kings landing and just says i knew she was going to do that.

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    23. Ulfie:
      WHAT SO MANY PEOPLE HERE ARE FORGETTINGIS THAT::

      -IF YOU THINK THIS HAS AN ENDING, YOU HAVEN’T BEEN PAYING ATTENTION….

      I fixed that for all you book wankers. 😉

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    24. Melanie,

      My comment was aggressive. I agree. But how do you call your lead off?

      I have a lot of questions for people who say that every time she killed someone before The Bells, it « was justified ». Lucky none of you are in charge in real life.

      You just said none of Dany’s supporters until the Bells should have rooted for her for years because none of her actions “was justified”. Which is an opinion I’m ok with even though I don’t agree with, it’s reflective on the show and the character but then you went and added that these real people cannot be trusted with any leadership charges based on their liking a fantasy character and seeing any of her previous actions as justified.

      That type of judgement is offensive. And it goes beyond Dany, which is what I wanted to point out. If you liked Ned and accepted him lopping off the head of the crow deserter do you suppose all of his fans root for the death penalty in real life? If you like Arya do you suppose fans approve of assassination and mass murder for revenge in real life?

      I think it’s hard to make the case Ned wouldn’t have done anything like mass killing for the greater good (it doesn’t have to be 1 million, it can be 20). We have not seen Ned in that ruler candidate position. But we have seen him taking a side that sacked King’s Landing before. Andwe have NOT seen him pushing for Tywin Lannister being judged and his House pushed aside (if not punished) for that mass murders of the regular folk. In fact Tywin was allowed to have his son in KG and married his daughter with Ned’s best friend. We have seen him judge Jaime when with a single stroke that dude did what he and Bobby set out to do.

      There’s more but this comment with take epic proportions.

      I do feel bad I sounded aggressive. But your comment was so demeaning towards a portion of the fans and I suppose I overreacted.

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    25. The “her path was clear from season 1” refrain is really wearisome, ill-pitched, badly played as well as being really silly and, most notably, untrue. It should be stopped immediately, as “I cannot bear bad music!” LOL

      Dany is a major character in the story. Unless there is something really illuminating and clever yet to be revealed in the finale, her point of view chapters will simply have served as window dressing, whereas we were led to believe they were more. Her story will possess no point other than that of trying to entertain us. This seemingly clumsy use of “theater of the absurd” is what so many fans are upset about. Such writing amounts to gratuitous and crappy storytelling. I am not amused.

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    26. Jack Hamm,

      And I’m sure many are tired of the “Dany would never have done that” and “the writers should have made her decent clearer” remix.

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    27. Ghost's Lunch,

      Interestingly, I never interpreted Rhaego as the one who would become “the stallion who mounts the world.” I think Mirri Maaz Duur, in killing Rhaego, actually helped fulfill that prophecy by initiating the blood magic that would give birth to dragons and the real “stallion who mounts the world”: Drogon.

      – – – –

      Thank you Samantha, Lady G, and Axey for this great Night’s Cast episode! Very interesting insights, especially Axey concluding that Jaime returns to Cersei not as a lover but as a brother, which I didn’t really consider before. HOWEVER, I do think it’s heavily foreshadowed in ASOIAF that he will return to Cersei and die with her (whether or not he becomes the Valonqar). In each of their POVs there is usually some variation of “we entered this world together, we will leave it together.” I don’t think what happened to show!Jaime is character regression at all, nor is it ruining his “redemption” arc. As I wrote before, I don’t think Jaime was ever asking for redemption because if he had to do it all over again, he would. Whereas someone like Theon was incredibly regretful and was looking for redemption. Jaime’s own journey to becoming a better man shouldn’t be equated with his falling out of love with Cersei. Honor took him North, but Love brought him back – the opposite of Jon Snow when he was contemplating leaving the Night’s Watch (love made him leave, but honor brought him back). Now, in hindsight, Jaime’s and Cersei’s love was the most consistent love story in GoT, as incestuous as it was. 😂

      Also, thank you Axey for #BellGate. What surprise me at that moment was that Dany did decide to kill the civilians. I did expect her to ignore the bells, but I thought she was going to fly directly to the Red Keep and destroy it (where there would of course still be civilian casualties in the surrounding area). And I have to agree, while we did see Dany’s “dark side” in small moments throughout the series, this was within the backdrop of villains that the audience would also dislike (slavers) and there wasn’t enough time to develop her villainy until only these last two seasons. I think of Anakin Skywalker’s descent to the Dark Side but we had three films to see that happen (Yes, I’m a prequel fan, don’t @ me), and it was wonderfully tragic. I still can’t bring myself to walk Revenge of the Sith very often haha. Also, I still wouldn’t call her “Mad”, definitely villainous, but not mad in the way Aerys was, which is actually scary. Aerys was not completely lucid and was quite insane and paranoid, whereas Dany made the conscious decision to become ruthless and kill civilians in her quest for power. She made her descent to villainy but will we see her descent to true madness in the finale?

      Lastly, regarding Arya- I do think there’s more to her surviving than just being a POV we the viewers can follow to see the destruction of King’s Landing. I know that’s what is mentioned in the feauturette, but there was something oddly fantastical about her surviving all that than mere “plot armor.” She didn’t burn when others were charred or everything was ash, and there was a horse waiting for her to take her out of the city. Not sure what this signifies but I am intrigued. Perhaps Samantha, you are right: she dealt with Ice (the Night King) does she have to also deal with fire, or is that too much?

      And of course I don’t expect that the Iron Throne will exist by the end of the series. If Varys’s scrolls did make it out to people in power and there is a push for Jon to rule, I expect he will not take on this role after experiencing #BellGate and perhaps he will be the one to destroy the IT (if Dany hasn’t done so already).

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    28. Joseph Mobile:
      So, funny enough: last night I visited my parents because I didn’t get to see my mom for Mother’s Day.She watches the show and loves it, but she doesn’t nearly get down into the nitty gritty details that we do.

      I kid you not, her first words to me as we are eating dinner: “So, I watched Game of Thrones, and all I gotta say is GO DAENERYS. ”And I was stunned.I was like, mom, she burned all of those innocent people, and she said “I know, but she has lost so much, that bitch Cersei killed her handmaiden, that jerk pirate killed her dragon, and she lost Ser Jorah.”

      Now, I of course disagree with her, but it makes me wonder how many casual viewers of the show feel this way.We micro-analyze everything about the show with the writing, set designs, rumors, behind the scenes, etc.But for people who tune into the show each Sunday for pure entertainment and aren’t in the trenches the way we are, it really isn’t outside the realm of possibility for a good number of people to not react in horror to what Daenerys did, especially those that are pre-disposed to loving her.

      What do you guys think?

      Yeah there may be a point

      This was Dany the Conqueror mode, not Dany the Queen as such

      Essentially Dany did to Kings Landing what Tywin did (sacked it with Unsullied with Northerners/Vale joining in) and what Aegon did with Balerion to Harrenhall (torched everything). And her father of course, setting off the Wildfire

      This is without going into all the people blown up through Tyrions Wildfire trick

      All brutal stuff, but this is what GoT is about with Reynes of Castamere etc

      There’s a point to showing validity to everyones POV, so while everyone cheers on Ned in Season 1, Robert was somewhat right as it turns out, if Varys poison trick at end of Season 1 occurred then the hundreds of thousands of people in KL may have survived

      Then again the Night King could have done the exact same thing with Viserion and Wights – there were actually a few theories.

      From Westerosi perspective a Mad Queen with a mass army of foreign Dothraki and Unsullied isn’t much different to a Night King with a mass army of undead Wights and White Walkers which is the point erstwhile Targaryen loyalist Randyll Tarly was attempting to make

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    29. Dark Sister:
      Ghost’s Lunch,

      Interestingly, I never interpreted Rhaego as the one who would become “the stallion who mounts the world.” I think Mirri Maaz Duur, in killing Rhaego, actually helped fulfill that prophecy by initiating the blood magic that would give birth to dragons and the real “stallion who mounts the world”: Drogon.

      – – – –

      Lastly, regarding Arya- I do think there’s more to her surviving than just being a POV we the viewers can follow to see the destruction of King’s Landing. I know that’s what is mentioned in the feauturette, but there was something oddly fantastical about her surviving all that than mere “plot armor.” She didn’t burn when others were charred or everything was ash, and there was a horse waiting for her to take her out of the city. Not sure what this signifies but I am intrigued. Perhaps Samantha, you are right: she dealt with Ice (the Night King) does she have to also deal with fire, or is that too much?

      Regarding Arya, I am wondering if this is where she starts to look beyond herself and helping the common person, so it could be about turning around her perspective from “Sandor” in the Map room onwards and becoming Lady of Storms End alongside Gendry so the Horsey could be about a new life?

      Though she could just as easily follow through with her intent to “kill the Queen”?

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    30. Jack Hamm,

      I am amused. Particularly with the meltdown it has created. Dany’s story not having a point because she ended up as the most lethal of characters? The fact is that many people chose to ignore a lot of Daenerys’ troubled actions and attitudes because they were wrapped up in her story as the underdog who takes control of her own destiny, defying those who would stopped her. Mind you that she is one underdog among several in the story but with a major benefit: dragons, which aggrandized the stakes and objectives.

      But when I think of Daenerys and her journey, I could never moved past the following:

      -Her cold acceptance of Viserys death. I know who Visery was, I know he was cruel and on his way of becoming another Aerys but he wasn’t always so and regardless, he was still the only family left to her. She was not going to stop Drogo from killing him but I would have expected her for at least a plea on his behalf. Look at the Lannisters siblings, for as much as they hated each other and done worst things to each other, truth is when it came to it neither Cersei or Tyrion could ever bring him/herself to actually put an end to each other.

      -The indiscriminate crucifixion of the slave masters. Sure, an eye for an eye and all that. But let’s just say it takes practicality to a whole different level. Not a good one. She knew she was wrong too but she never allowed herself to admit it out loud. This started the idea that Daenerys executed the right people, the people that wouldn’t bend. But the truth is that with time parameters keep moving and more and more people would start falling into the “right people” pile in her eyes. She was always for the downtrodden you say? Well yes, the downtrodden did not oppose her, they gladly hail her. She was expecting the same from the small folk in Kings Landing because that is what Viserys told her would happen. They didn’t. At some point in her mind, they became opponents too, no longer innocent. The crucifixion – the one thing that always colored my view on her. Sometimes people do tell you who they actually are – and it is on you to believe them or not.

      -Her insecurities. Dany of the many titles, it actually became a little ridiculous. I understand she was trying to survive in a cruel, male dominated world and she needed to assert herself. But Tywin was right – Any man who must say I am a king is no true king. Same applies for Dany. But she wanted to believe it so badly, she lost sight of everything else. She was once a girl who wanted to go back to the house with the red door where she was happy. Her need to acquire the throne killed that girl.

      I do not see Daenerys as evil. She is not. She is not Ramsay, Joffrey, Roose or Tywin. But of course, she is quite capable of allowing her worst instincts to take over which is 10 times more dangerous giving the fact that she has a dragon at her disposal. Is Daenerys insane? We don’t know. She certainly has the genetic pre-disposition and let her charged, brewing and unprocessed emotions (grief, wrath, fear, creeping loneliness, insecurity, hate) take hold of her. Will she have a “what have I done moment” of realization? Or will she again try to justify her actions even to herself?

      She’s quite a tragic character and a memorable one. The point of her story is that for all her good intentions, she simply was a product of her upbringing and she ultimately could not escape it. It is somewhat ironic that Dany the conqueror who always gave her opponents and option of bend or die. Herself had an option between Fire and Blood (Jon) and she chose fire, well this time the remaining flames may actually burn the unburnt.

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    31. Danny,

      Your post reminded me of a comment from Jurassic Park 3 (Yeah, I know, not the best film).

      Alan Grant: ‘Some of the worst things imaginable have been done with the best intentions.’

      I think Dany always had the best intentions but she thought only she could do it, and consequently that drove her need for the IT. In doing so, she lost perspective completely and with the grief and anger she just suffered, did just snap.

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    32. It’s funny how some people have gone from praising Daenerys for trying to stop the Dothraki raping their way through entire villages (although she begrudgingly tolerated the murder and looting if it resulted in ships for her conquest of Westeros) and exalting her great benevolence in capturing the cities of Slaver’s Bay with minimal bloodshed, to now suggesting that she’s getting an unfair rap for torching an entire city because historically cities were often sacked and razed to the ground during warfare.

      And apparently Robb Stark executing men guilty of murdering teenage prisoners of war is morally dubious now, is it? Jeez…

      Sansa’s method of executing Ramsay, a murdering, raping, torturing, baby-killing traitor, was certainly questionable. Arya murdering an entire room of people is unquestionably immoral, regardless of their crimes. And Jon has done a few questionable things in his time.

      But, as someone else pointed out, Daenerys Targaryen has been guilty of committing or planning to commit morally repugnant actions season after season, which the show has tried to convince its viewers were unacceptable.

      Dany – “For that he has my gratitude. I should be honoured to meet him.”
      Hizdahr – “You have, your grace. You crucified him”

      “Sometimes it is better to answer injustice with mercy”
      “Give him a trial at least. A fair trial. Show the citizens of Meereen that you are better than those that would depose you”
      “The Mad King gave his enemies the justice he thought they deserved. And each time it made him feel powerful. And right”
      “Perhaps the father needed to die. Not the son. Perhaps they both needed time to contemplate their mistakes in the solitude of a cold cell. We had no time to discuss the possibilities before you ended their possibilities”
      “But if you use them to melt castles and burn cities, you’re not different. You’re just more of the same.”

      Tyrion – “He would’ve burned every one of his citizens. The loyal ones and the traitors. Every man woman and child. That’s why Jaime killed him”;
      Dany – “This is entirely different”;
      Tyrion – “You’re talking about destroying cities. It’s not entirely different”.

      “Herding the Masters into pens and slaughtering them by the thousands is also treating men like beasts. For slaves you freed, brutality is all they’ve ever known. If you want them to know something else, you have to show it to them”

      Jorah – “It’s tempting to see your enemies as evil. All of them. But there’s good and evil on both sides in every war ever fought”
      Dany – “Let the priests argue over good and evil. Slavery is real. I can end it. I will end it. And I will end those behind it.”
      Jorah – “I wouldn’t be here to help you if Ned Stark had done to me what you want to do to the Masters of Yunkai.”

      And so on…

      I mean, do people think this was a recurring theme in Dany’s story, over and over again, just for the fun of it?

      I’ve heard people try to claim that it was all about learning to rule. Well, she’s the slowest learner on Planetos then (and puts even Sansa to shame), because she was still having to be coaxed out of destroying cities and slaughtering people en masse season after season after season.

      Do good rulers generally tend to see butchering people en masse and destroying cities as the solution to every problem anyway?

      The Daenerys Targaryen revisionist history campaign has begun in earnest. This has always been a part of her story and it was always a matter of time before conditions would arise where she would follow through on her threats, with disastrous consequences.

      You can argue about how successfully the show has depicted her downfall – personally, I believe there are much better ways they could’ve gone about it – but denying that this was ever part of her character is just an admission that you read her character wrong or have been deliberately ignoring the signs that the show (and GRRM) have been giving you.

      Retrospectively trashing the Starks in order to draw tenuous parallels between their actions and things that you failed to correctly interpret as red flags is pointless.

      But, hey, there’s still a possibility that the Starks are gonna have to commit some Red Wedding style atrocity in order to liberate Westeros from Dany, the morals of which we can debate if that happens.

      But as things stand, there’s really no comparison.

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    33. Joseph Mobile,

      I’m with you completely on the casual but faithful viewer.

      (Random thoughts below, most likely too long for anyone to read. I’m cool with that.)

      I watch and discuss the show with several friends and family members. Some have read the books, some have not. Some read theories, some wear tinfoil, some re-watch multiple times, some are just here for the food.

      It’s interesting to me to hear their comments week after week. My over-sixty-five years young Mom has read the books (but only once) and she watches the show on air date and is with us for the watch parties. She sits through at least one of my re-watches and watches the previous episode immediately before the new episode airs. She listens to me read comments from Watchers on the Wall, and views videos from various YouTube channels (the non-leaker channels are all we watch).

      Even so, she’s had trouble keeping up with the subtleties and nuances in the show (and books). We have a No-Fookin’-Talkin’ Policy on air dates, but during re-watches, her questions start.

      She’s had issues with character names and city names; she loses track of various character journeys and deaths. Mind you, she’s sharp and smart and has no memory problems. It’s just a LOT for many folks to take in.

      I have experienced the same thing for several years with some of my friends, as well. Mostly with those who haven’t read the books, but even with a few that have. They draw odd conclusions (incorrect locations, houses, and timelines of events, and even who killed whom and when). One example is a friend’s certainty that Davos smuggled Tyrion out of Kings Landing. Another was absolutely sure that Sansa’s Septa Mordane was also Cersei’s Septa Unella.

      Some of those folks are shocked, truly shocked, at plot twists. Some become really, really attached to characters, and are furious when that character changes loyalties, or exclaim disbelief when a character’s true nature is revealed.

      I have a feeling this happens quite a bit around the globe and where at least some of the discontent with the show’s progression or a character’s journey comes from. I also think as the show moved closer to Seasons 7 and 8, lots of people were convinced of a couple’s ‘shipping and/or had chosen a house to champion. When things didn’t work out, they are very disappointed and can’t move on.

      These watchers above are not theorists or tinfoilers – they’ve historically loved the show and considered themselves to be fans, it’s just difficult for them to keep up with all the sound-alike names and places, and to take significant notice or recall the many subtle hints and visuals since Season 1.

      I don’t think these viewers are necessarily the voices of negative critics (quiet and loud), but I do think many are discouraged. I know a few that are so disheartened they have jumped on the turnip wagons with the angry posters and are amplifying the signal along the way.

      As always, YMMV and my thoughts are worth the paper on which they are written.

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    34. Aurelius:
      Melanie,

      Are you serious? You are applying modern 20th century standards like the Geneva convention and modern, coddled western standards of behaviour to a brutal dog eats dog world, set in a mixture of a medieval and ancient settings and moralities.

      That just doesn’t make any sense AT ALL.

      What happened in The Bells was nothing out of the ordinary by the standards of our own history. One of history’s most revered figures, Alexander the Great, burned Thebes, one of the oldest and most cultural cities in the world at the time, to the ground. That was just a “warm up” before he really got going during conquering campaigns. That would have resulted in the death of tens of thousands.

      What Danaerys did was was raze a city. There’s a word for razing a city, because it’s happened so many times throughout history.

      I expect if she wasn’t a pretty girl and it was a man doing this like Drogo or Tywin, you’d be grudgingly accepting it, rather than assassinating her character.

      As for your comparison to the Tarly execution and the Starks not doing it – no I guess the Starks just chop off the heads of their own generals (i.e. the Carstarks).

      Yeah Dany basically had the Unsullied to what Tywin did, they had opened the gates to the Lannister soldiers and then suddenly sacked the City. This time the Lannister Soldiers had surrendered yet the Unsullied began sacking the city with the Northerners joining in

      Whole thing is presumably set up as revenge, not just merely Missandei but presumably for what Tywin did during Roberts rebellion which involved the Mountain killing Dany sister-in-law and niece/nephew and we are seeing signs of setup in the books. Eg as I’ve said Jon Connington reflecting on Stoney Sept Battle of the Bells and if he had simply burned the whole place Robb and Ned wouldn’t have escaped

      Now Jaimie and Cersei were cut off from escaping and forming a rebellion similar to how in the show Jon and Sansa formed a Stark rebellion and in the case of the books perhaps Rickon and Bran?

      Burning the Red Keep and the city is the same as what Aegon did to Harrenhall

      Everything is consistent within the Universe set up, and it has flipped things on its head as we were all made to think “Cersei was the last boss” while it ended up being Dany

      Of course we can go back to Season 1, yay we cheer on Ned defying Robert but the brutal irony is Robert was somewhat correct in being concerned as it turns out

      Then there’s the irony that if she had followed Yara etc advice, simply burned the crap out of KL straight away Jon would have had to dealt with her

      Issues lie with what contemporary propaganda ideals people are projecting onto Dany character

      Other issues lie with the lack of Episodes and Bran flashbacks to properly set it all up like many other things, eg show Tywin sacking the City with Lannister troops, show the Battle of the Bells and Aerys lambasting Connington for not burning Stoney Sept and allowing Rob and Ned to escape or something as this is a visual medium requiring visual setups

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    35. Vanessa and Samantha are massive Dany fans so I was looking forward to this podcast. Fully respect your opinions but I disagree with two points a) if the setup was not there how come a large chunk of the fan base saw this coming? B) Dany burnt people in the past like mereneese Noble and the Tarlys who could have been dealt with much differently as Barristan and Tyrion highlighted.

      Loved Axe view on Jamie this makes a lot of sense. Disagree on the Cersei death, I believe it was great we saw her with her guard down showing weakness in her final moments.

      Regarding Sansa my guess is Dany will want to burn her and Tyrion however Jon or Arya will kill her beforehand.

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    36. Joseph Mobile:
      So, funny enough: last night I visited my parents because I didn’t get to see my mom for Mother’s Day.She watches the show and loves it, but she doesn’t nearly get down into the nitty gritty details that we do.

      I kid you not, her first words to me as we are eating dinner: “So, I watched Game of Thrones, and all I gotta say is GO DAENERYS. ”And I was stunned.I was like, mom, she burned all of those innocent people, and she said “I know, but she has lost so much, that bitch Cersei killed her handmaiden, that jerk pirate killed her dragon, and she lost Ser Jorah.”

      Now, I of course disagree with her, but it makes me wonder how many casual viewers of the show feel this way.We micro-analyze everything about the show with the writing, set designs, rumors, behind the scenes, etc.But for people who tune into the show each Sunday for pure entertainment and aren’t in the trenches the way we are, it really isn’t outside the realm of possibility for a good number of people to not react in horror to what Daenerys did, especially those that are pre-disposed to loving her.

      What do you guys think?

      I have seen a few Dany apologists on here but they’ve been the exception, most people acknowledge she has now gone too far.

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    37. I’m another one who hates the “Mad Queen Dany” twist, not because “it isn’t what I wanted to happen” but because I found it extremely unbelievable and unearned. That execution? Just no. Sudden, forced, last-minute, inorganic, fully out-of-character, all of that. Not one single past action of hers is remotely suggestive of her taking that senseless course of action in that particular situation. This was also overall probably my least favorite episode of the series–not that I’ve ever been able to have favorites because of the way most are hard to distinguish due to all the different scenes and characters going on. But yeah, for reasons explained by ever so many thousands of others and by me on my blog (because I’m sure it would hit character limits and be tl;dr anywhere else), I think I can probably single out “The Bells.” I wanted to adore this season to death, expected it to be the greatest thing ever…so the fact that D&D actually pushed me off their defense and onto the “hate train” is killing me. But their lack of scriptwriting effort is evident. Every other component, including especially some of the actors, remains top-notch, but of course can’t compensate for the overriding logic and character issues. For me it all started when the Long Night ended in the third episode. I loved so much of that one, but simultaneously expected so much more. And the “it needs more” sense has only continued; I can just imagine how much the finale will leave to be desired. I’ll try to extinguish all expectations and just go in neutral to get it over with. Maybe I can yet be pleasantly surprised despite having been appalled by what was in the leaks. But oh, these past three…><

        Quote  Reply

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