It goes without saying, but massive Game of Thrones spoilers below.
Sunday night’s episode of Game of Thrones gave us the Battle of King’s Landing, the second huge-scale battle in the final season after . We’ve got good news and bad news for you. The good news is the battle took place during the day, .
The bad news is.
We got our first major character kill before Daenerys Targaryen and Jon Snow left Dragonstone, which in more ways than one was an omen of things to come. In this Song of Fire and Ice, it turns out we should have been more worried about the fire than the ice.
In episode 4,, Varys confided in Tyrion Lannister his concerns about Daenerys’ temperament. Jon is a more able ruler, he said, and Daenerys is proving herself less stable. They should replace her, he argued.
Episode 5 opens with a followup to this thread. The gang is all back at Dragonstone following last week’s unproductive King’s Landing confrontation with Cersei, which ended zero wars and left one Missandei dead, and Varys tries to tell Jon that he, not Daenerys, should sit on the Iron Throne.
Tyrion tells Daenerys about Varys’ betrayal. We see Daenerys is in a bad state; bags under her eyes, frazzled hair, looking sickly. Times are bad. Daenerys says Jon and Tyrion are both also at fault. Jon, against Daenerys’ orders, told Sansa about his true identity, and Tyrion, once hearing it from Sansa, told Varys.
Thankfully for Tyrion, the punishment wasn’t doled out evenly. He got a stern talking to (“the next time you fail me will be the last time you fail me”) while Varys got execution by fire. He was led from his quarters by the Unsullied to Dragonstone’s shores, where he was sentenced to die. Varys tells Tyrion he hopes he’s wrong about Daenerys, then Drogon gets his dracarys on.
The realm will miss you, Varys.
We went quite a while between character deaths. Between Varys and Euron Greyjoy, though, there was a whole lot of miscellaneous soldier deaths. The point of last episode was to make you ask, “Will Daenerys be the Mad Queen or will she turn out OK?” She did not turn out OK.
Drogon destroyed the Iron Fleet and overpowered the Lannister Army. Bells were ringing the sweet sound of surrender. Daenerys had previously told Tyrion she wouldn’t raze the city if the city surrendered early enough. The surrender came early enough, but wow did Daenerys burn everything down anyway.
As the city was falling, Jaime Lannister was racing to find Cersei. On his way he’s confronted by Euron, whose fleet had just been Drogon’d. He asks Jaime if he wants to try and kill another king before they all die, but Jaime isn’t interested. Then Euron mentioned that he slept with Cersei and it was immediately on.
The two scuffled, and Euron stabbed Jaime twice in the ribs. It looked like ye’ ol’ Kingslayer was a goner, but he got his second wind and impaled Euron against a rock.
Qyburn, the disgraced ex-maester and (now former) Hand of the Queen to Cersei was killed by his own creation.
As defeat became obvious, Qyburn tried to rush Cersei to safety. The Red Keep was crumbling. Their party, containing Cersei, Qyburn, Ser Gregor Clegane and a bunch of guards, was running down a staircase as the walls and ceilings were falling. It’s around this time that they’re confronted by Sandor Clegane.
It. Is. Clegane. Bowl. Time.
Sandor wants Gregor. Gregor wants Sandor. Gregor advances. Qyburn tries to restrain him, telling him to stay by the Queen. Gregor grabs him and, with little more than a flick of the wrist, flings him several feet. Qyburns head smashes against a wall and then smashes open against some jagged stairs.
Cersei promptly exited as inconspicuously as possible.
Sandor Clegane, Gregor Clegane
Cleganebowl finally happened, and it was glorious. With The Red Keep crumbling in flames, and with Gregor removing his helmet and armor to reveal what can only be described as a Vader-esque look, this battle was reminiscent of Obi-Wan versus Anakin Skywalker in Star Wars Episode 3.
Gregor started with the high ground, but it was an even match. The two clung swords together. Gregor was stronger but Sandor faster. Our sweet Hound looked to have won when he stabbed The Mountain clean in the gut, but Gregor was unperturbed.
Did we mention that Gregor is literally invincible?
Gregor beats down Sandor with his massive, genetically-enhanced fists. He strangles his little brother against the wall. Sandor pulls out a dagger and pokes holes into Gregor to no avail. Nothing hurts The Big Guy. Gregor lifts Sandor and tries to split his skull Oberyn Martell-style. Before he can manage it, though, Sandor puts his dagger through Gregor’s right eye.
Gregor stumbles back and seems to be injured. But he then stabilizes himself and starts pulling the dagger out like it’s nothing. The Hound isn’t having it, and tackles his older brother through the wall. The two fall several hundred feet into a pit of Drogon fire.
Rest in power, Hound. Rest in power.
Jaime and Cersei
The Cleganes weren’t the only twosome to die together.
Jaime manages to reach his twin sister in the nick of time — in the nick of time to die together, anyway. Fans have theorized for years that Jaime would be the one to kill , but nada. Love is love, apparently.
Jaime and Cersei rush into the dungeons, where dragon skulls of old are kept, hoping to escape through to one of King’s Landing’s backwater bays. Alas, the path is blocked by bricks and debris.
They embrace. Cersei says she wants their child to live. Jaime says they’re all that matters. The ceiling falls on top of them.
They shared a womb, now they share a tomb.
The key takeaway from this episode, even above all the deaths, is that Daenerys is now an insane psycho, aka The Mad Queen. Jon was wrong to follow her, Varys was right to doubt her and Arya is almost definitely going to try and kill her.