So many deaths and fiery destruction at once in this latest episode of GoT! One has to agree though, it was apocalyptically beautiful! Fans asked for the old GoT brutality, so the writers gave it to them. Finally, here was the battle fans had been longing for, but at what cost? We lost the quintessential feminist, and this was perhaps the greatest betrayal for the fans of the show.
A very pissed Dragon queen Daenerys transformed into a woman possessed and madness is unleashed. Up until now fans had only heard the the tale of how House Baratheon won over the city defeating House Targaryen and the Mad King. The horrors were never shown. Now they are. Women raped. Children butchered. Hundreds dead. Now, with this episode we have witnessed what has been spoken about for years. But, now what, from here on? Will Dany rule the seven kingdoms (now that Kings Landing is a pile of ash)? Will Jon be the one to kill her? Or, one of the key questions here, why was it necessary for The Dragon Queen to take revenge? Was slaughtering innocents the real justice here? Why make evil the virtue here?
The Bells gave us amazing cinematography, the absoluteness GoT is famous for. An out-and-out barbecue! This episode shows how Daenerys Targaryen turned into the Mad Queen (aka the female version of her infamous father, Aerys II Targaryen, and also a popular theory) with sheer pleasure of getting vengeance for what she had lost. The shot of her riding her dragon and burning up the city alone speaks volumes as horror takes over the King's Landing.
Interestingly, amidst the chaos, Episode 5 had the best visuals and the best insights into the women of the show. Cersei, knowing that she would not live to see the next sunrise yet keeping a strong smile on her face to challenge her ultimate fate, this shows courage. A frightened (with death looming over her) - Arya trying to save the citizens she was brought up hating, shows humanity. And, of course, Daenerys giving into her emotional turmoil, removing her antagonists stem and root, shows power and the fury of revenge.
Yes, we all hated that a fan favourite turned into a monster. George R.R. Martin’s A Song of Ice and Fire novels chronicle Dany's slow transformation into villainous ruler. Not-so-conveniently, the series, however, failed to capture the nuances and it all happened at once, leaving fans confused and sore. One of the finest feminist characters of the show, Daenerys Targaryen’s journey to rise above all died gradually in the hands of merciless writers. If the motive here was to turn the heroes into villains of Westeros, then that is clear, and not just in the last two sudden episodes.
Daenerys Targaryen ain't dead yet, but her eight-long-series character development is.
And, why it is a bad thing? As far as the book is concerned one will have noticed the many clues leading to Dany’s downfall, Martin laid the track from the start to end. But in the show, Daenerys was raised to be loved and adored throughout. She essentially empowers the people around her, while not being overwhelmed by her own miseries. The show makes every move clear from the start but took it all away in the span of two episodes. Her whole catch phrase of ‘breaking the wheel’ and not be a mere spoke on the wheel was truly extraordinary but ultimately she became the one to destroy an entire city just because she was once vulnerable? The people she wanted to rule not to destroy became meaningless to her overnight in her quest for power? Something doesn't quite add up here.
So, regrettably, the flamboyant Daenerys who was a symbol of feminine power and survival against all odds is now the bad guy. So many deaths of close ones reflected on her character. Watching Jon from far being adored by the Northerners led her to believe that she is still unwanted. She was jealous, friendless, paranoid, and abandoned. She snapped. And the result was Dragon crisp fries.
But why a woman? The HBO series’ poor treatment of women is a long-questioned issue for female fans. Why can't you turn a traumatic woman into stronger one? Healing from the scars? Trauma doesn't mean imbalance. Targaryens have a history of insanity in their family but she was different, we were led to believe. Daenerys becoming a soulless killing machine is difficult to accept.
Showrunner David Benioff told Entertainment Tonight, “...she's very much alone. And that's a dangerous thing for someone who's got so much power, to feel that isolated. So, at the very time when she needs guidance and those kind of close friendships the most, everyone's gone.”
“I don't think she decided ahead of time that she was going to do what she did,” he added. “And then she sees the Red Keep, which is, to her, the home that her family built when they first came over to this country 300 years ago. It's in that moment on the walls of King's Landing, when she's looking at that symbol of everything that was taken from her, when she makes the decision to make this personal.” And so she did.
Justified? We get it, she wasn’t perfect but could have been worked up better to be installed as a ruler rather than obviously becoming a lunatic.
Meanwhile, I cannot believe after all this years, I'm still rooting for the Lannisters. I enjoyed Jaime and Cersei's heartbreaking reunion, here’s the chemistry that was missing in Jon and Dany's case. Jaime dying in the arms of the woman he loves has a certain poetic justice to it, for all the crimes he committed for her. Also that they came into this world together so they needed to die together too!
In the truest essence of Game Of Thrones, the show subverted the most beloved feminist character and portrayed her insecurities as weakness. Years worth of a feminist ruler has fallen in three episodes. Daenerys Targaryen, Breaker of Chains, has come undone.
Feature Image Credit: Vogue India