20 May, 2019

Season Eight, Episode Six "The Iron Throne"

Tyrion, Jon and Davos wander through the burned shell of King's Landing.  Winter has fully arrived, but fires still burn amid piles of masonry and corpses.  Once again we see the little girl entwined in the arms of her mother, immolated while clutching faithfully to her carved wooden pony.  Tyrion takes his leave of Jon and Davos, and turns down Jon's offer of sending men with him.  He is in search of his brother and sister...and he finds them.  He sees Jaime's golden hand sticking out from a pile of rubble, and he tearfully pulls the stones away from their broken bodies.

Meanwhile, Jon and Davos come across Grey Worm carrying out the execution of prisoners of war.  They are not happy about it, and try to intervene, but Davos wisely understands that they can either let it happen, or die alongside the Lannister troops.  He suggests they go speak to the queen.  As they walk away, Grey Worm is slitting throats.

Outside the keep, a somewhat cleaned up Arya walks along the periphery of celebrating Dothraki and stoic Unsullied.  She spots Jon walking somewhat dispiritedly toward the steps leading up to where Drogon and Daeny land.  As he arrives at the top of the steps, Daeny walks out to address the troops.

She begins by thanking the Dothraki for killing her enemies.  She continues by naming Grey Worm the commander of all her armies.  As Tyrion arrives, she describes the Unsullied as liberators, and indicates that she intends to liberate all the world and "break the wheel" – the wheel that repeats itself endlessly, with tyrants oppressing men, women and children.

Tyrion has had enough.  He walks up next to Daeny.  She glances over at him, and accuses him of treason in the freeing of Jaime.  He agrees that he freed his brother, and rebukes her for the slaughter of the city.  He throws the badge of his office down the steps.  Daeny has him arrested.  As Tyrion walks by in the company of his captors, he stares at Jon.  Daeny also walks by Jon, and as Jon watches her walk away, Arya appears at his side.

Jon is surprised to see Arya, and also happy that she's alive.  He asks her what happened to her, and she replies that she intended to kill Cersei, but "your queen" got there first.  "She's everyone's queen now", Jon replies.  "Try telling Sansa" Arya retorts.  She warns Jon that, as someone with a better claim to the throne than Daeny, he'll be a threat to Daenerys.  "And I know a killer when I see one", she says.

Jon visits Tyrion in his makeshift prison.  Tyrion expresses regret at betraying Varys.  He most certainly does NOT regret betraying Daeny, now that he's seen who she really is.  Jon agrees that he can't justify what happened to the people of King's Landing, but he thinks things will settle down now that the war is over.

Tyrion points out that what she said to her troops didn't sound like someone who was done fighting.  He lists what has happened to those who opposed Daeny.  "Our queen's nature is fire and blood", he says.  Jon protests, but Tyrion won't let him off the hook.  He points out that she murdered the slavers of Astapor, but they were evil.  She crucified nobles of Meereen, but they were evil.  She burned the Dothraki Khals, but they were evil.  And all of this has created a ruler that is okay with killing hundreds and thousands of people because she is in the right.  Jon is reeling, and Tyrion doesn't let up.  He tells Jon that he believed in Daeny with all his heart, and that love is more powerful than reason.  And Jon's love for Daeny is keeping him from seeing what she is.

"Love is the death of duty" Jon replies, and explains that Maester Aemon expressed that to Jon at the Wall.  "Sometimes, duty is the death of love" counters Tyrion.  He tells Jon that he, Jon, is the shield that guards the realms of men, and that he has always tried to do the right thing and protect people.  "Who is the greatest threat to the people now?" he asks.  And in an echo of Arya's warning, he asks Jon who is more of a threat to her than Jon, the rightful heir to the throne?  Jon figuratively shrugs his shoulders, and says that would be Daeny's choice.  But as Jon leaves, Tyrion points out that Jon's sisters will likely resist Daeny's rule...and how will that end up for them?

Jon goes to see Daeny.  As he approaches, Drogon blocks his way, but lets him pass after sniffing him.  Daeny is in the throne room, which is largely open to the sky.  Snow falls upon the throne, in just the way the visions at the House of the Undying showed her.  She seems enthralled by the throne.  (When she reached out to touch the throne, I somewhat expected her to cut a finger, as the throne allegedly does to those unworthy to sit upon it).  She is in good spirits, repeating to Jon the stories of the throne that she heard when she was a little girl.  Jon is not in good spirits.  He complains to her about the executing of prisoners, the burning of children.  She blames Cersei.  Jon asks for mercy when it comes to Tyrion, but Daeny denies him.  Jon asks for mercy, but Daeny's idea of mercy involves killing a whole bunch of people first.  She tells him that she's going to make the world good, and when he asks how she knows it will be good, she replies that she knows what is good.  I'm sure Jon is thinking that a lot of folks in King's Landing might take issue with that.  And when he asks – what about all the other people who think they know what is good?  Daeny replies that those people don't get to choose.

Daeny invites Jon to build the new world with her.  Jon tells her that she is his queen, and will always be his queen.  He kisses her, and slips a knife in between her ribs.  She dies in his arms.  It must have been something she said.

As Jon weeps over her corpse, Drogon senses that something is wrong with Mama.  He lands in the throne room, and Jon prepares to die.  Drogon nudges her body, trying to get her to wake up.  When she doesn't, Drogon cries out in anguish, and lets loose with a blast of fire...but not at Jon.  Drogon melts the throne to slag, picks up Daeny's body, and flies off.

Many weeks pass.  Tyrion is brought out of his cell, and marched to the Dragonpit by Grey Worm.  There, he is presented to a semi-circle of the Who's Who of Who's Left in Westeros.  There is Sansa, Arya and Bran of House Stark; Sam of House Tarly; Robin of House Arryn; Edmure of House Tully (Catelyn Stark's little brother); Brienne of Tarth; Yara of House Greyjoy; Ser Davos; Gendry of House Baratheon; Bronze Yohn of House Royce; some dude representing Dorne; and three other dudes I didn't recognize – any help out there?.

Sansa wants to know why Jon wasn't also brought before them.  Grey Worm says that Jon is their prisoner, and will remain so.  Sansa threatens Grey Worm with the thousands of Northmen outside the walls. Grey Worm is unimpressed.  Yara pipes in that the Ironborn (at least, her Ironborn) were sworn to Daenerys, and she wants Jon to die for killing her...which prompts Arya to matter-of-factly threaten to cut Yara's throat if she doesn't shut up.

Davos steps in before things get out of hand.  He thanks Grey Worm for what the Unsullied have done for Westeros, but the war can't continue.  He tries to convince Grey Worm to take land in the Reach (erstwhile home of the Tyrells), but Grey Worm doesn't want pay...he wants justice.  Tyrion points out that justice is not within Grey Worm's purview.  He says that, since Jon committed a crime in Westeros, it's the king or queen who should decide what happens to him.  But first they need to figure out who should be king or queen.

Edmure steps up to announce his candidacy, and is really staring to roll until his niece, Sansa, tells him to sit down.  Then Sam stands to ask why the king or queen shouldn't be democratically elected – after all, this ruler will rule all, not just the great houses.  He is roundly laughed down...even by Edmure.  Sansa and Arya have the good grace to merely smirk at the idea.

Edmure suggests that Tyrion must want the crown, but Tyrion quickly demurs...but he does have a suggestion.  He suggests Bran.  When Sansa suggests that Bran is ill-suited, because he can't father children, Tyrion replies that this is exactly why he's perfect.  Rulers should not be born, they should be  chosen.  He points out to Grey Worm that this is a breaking of the wheel.  Asked if he would accept, Bran replies that he didn't come all the way to King's Landing for nothing.

All the representatives there vote for Bran, save one:  Sansa abstains from the vote, and notes that the North will be seceding from the Seven Kingdoms.  Bran nods in agreement.

They all stand and hail Bran the Broken, King of the Six Kingdoms.

Bran names Tyrion his Hand.  Tyrion protests.  Grey Worm protests.  But Bran notes that Tyrion's sentence is to make up for all the mistakes he's made.

Later, Tyrion informs Jon that Bran is sending Jon to the Night's Watch.  He couldn't give Jon to the Unsullied, because that would start a war.  He couldn't let Jon go free, because that would start a war.  This is the compromise.

Jon asks Tyrion if what he did (killing Daeny) was right. "What we did" replies Tyrion.  When Jon says it doesn't feel right, Tyrion replies "ask me again in 10 years".

Jon prepares to leave King's Landing on his way to Castle Black.  He sees the Dothraki, who are on their way back to Essos.  He sees the Unsullied, who sail for Naath, the home of Missandei.  He says goodbye to Sansa, who will be the Queen in the North.  He says goodbye to Arya, who plans to sail west to see what's there beyond the maps.  He says goodbye to Bran, his liege.  He drinks in the sight of his family, whom he will likely not see again, and gets on the boat.

Brienne is poring over the chronicles of the Kingsguard.   The first page she looks at is that of Ser Duncan the Tall, who is the eponymous Knight of the Seven Kingdoms (a compilation of the Dunk & Egg novellas)... and her ancestor.  The next page is Ser Arthur Dayne – the Sword of the Morning.  Killed by Eddard Stark as he defended the newborn son of Rhaegar Targaryen... a son soon to be known as Jon Snow.  The following page is Ser Barristan the Bold, and then she turns to Ser Jaime Lannister.  His page is not so grandiose, but she adds several items to his record, including "Died protecting his Queen".

Much rebuilding and cleaning seems to have taken place.  Tyrion is convening the small council, which includes himself as Hand, Davos as Master of Ships, Bronn (now Lord of the Reach) as Master of Coin, Sam as Grand Maester.  Brienne, presumably, as Lord Commander of the Kingsguard.  They don't yet have a Master of Whisperers, or a Master of Law, or a Master of War (in the books there is a Master of Horse, but whatever).

Sam lays a thick tome in front of Tyrion.  He proudly names it A Song of Ice and Fire – a history of the wars following King Robert's death, written by Archmaester Ebrose from the Citadel.  When Tyrion presumes that the Archmaester would not have good things to say about him, there is a bit of awkwardness...as it seems the Archmaester doesn't even mention Tyrion in the history.

Bran arrives.  He notes that there are missing roles on the council, and Tyrion assures him that suitable candidates will be presented.  Bran asks about Drogon, and there is no word, to which he replies that perhaps he can find him (by warging into birds or something similar, presumably).  Bran instructs them to carry on, and departs with an assist from Ser Podrick of the Kingsguard.  Humorous wrangling among the council members ensues.

In the North...the real North, Jon has returned to Castle Black.  Awaiting him there is Tormund Giantsbane, along with a number of wildlings, and Ghost.

We end the show with Sansa girding herself in finery for her coronation as Queen in the North.  With Arya donning Needle and the famous Valyrian steel dagger and sailing into the West.  And Jon riding underneath the Wall with his new family, Ghost at his side.  The Stark children have scattered to the winds, and will more than likely never be together again in one place.

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