The wait for season's singular redeeming moment
The fourth episode came and went and my disappointment levels are now in serious competition with what my father felt when I refused to take science in Class XI. While the Internet collectively rages about Jon Snow bidding adieu to his beloved pet, the direwolf Ghost, without even a hug, I wait for a singular redeeming moment in this season of Game of Thrones. With only two-and-a-half hours left approximately, the show runners are running indeed, in an effort to create impact. However, the fact that they no longer have a source material to refer to is manifesting itself in ways we fans have pretended to be oblivious to since season five.
Jon Snow yet again proves that he is only good with words and not action. Giving an impassioned speech as the North buries the dead, the futility of his very existence is haunting me. However, what made this episode a needed reprieve after the long and arduous night of war, was the advent of politics and nuanced emotions within characters, hinting at what could perhaps be on the way. After a sombre opening where Sansa and Daenerys mourn Theon and Jorah, there is merriment in Winterfell and people celebrate in the only way known to the population of the Game of Thrones universe — wine and inappropriate sex.
For, there was something inappropriate about Jaime Lannister and Brienne of Tarth indulging under the sheets. Their love and respect for each other was sanctimonious and pandering to fan theories at this point was extremely unnecessary. However, when Jaime leaves Brienne at the crack of dawn, saying, “I once pushed a boy out of a window and crippled him for life because of Cersei. I strangled my cousin with my own bare hands because of Cersei. I would murder every woman and child for her. She’s hateful and so am I”, one is compelled to wonder if he left to save her life or to take it. We have watched his character evolve over the years and felt a range of emotions for him — from disgust to pity. Maybe that much-needed redeeming moment of shock in season eight will appear when the greatest of lovers chooses what’s right over love.
The ‘hero of Winterfell’ truly is Arya Stark as named by Daenerys. She loses her virginity, kills the Night King, refuses Gendry’s very sweet proposal to be his lady and leaves her home in the dead of the night, all in a night. As iconic and hard-to-believe her murder of the Night King was, one can’t help but wish that Jon had taken down the man and left Cersei’s hopefully inevitable death to Arya, thereby justifying her kill-list in her head.
The sloppy dialogues in this season casually reflect on what could have only been the show runner’s lack of caring, also exemplified by the stray Starbucks cup supposedly spotted in one of the scenes. Deaths no longer have the same impact as they used to and as much as I would love to blame it on fans being immune to deaths in this series, it unfortunately is the delivery of the scene that proves to be the crux of the problem.
Daenerys loses two of her most important loyalists after Jorah Mormont — Missandei and Rhaegal — one of her beloved dragons and her temper as well as sense of self worth are at its peak. She begs Jon Snow to not reveal his true identity, proclaims to Tyrion about her supposed intelligence, and spends most part of the episode looking suspiciously at other people. And why not when her own hand, Tyrion Lannister, and Varys are headed towards the discussion of who is more worthy of the throne, Jon or Dany. Is the daughter of the Mad King headed towards being the next Mad Queen? There is hunger in her eyes and anger on her mind and she is not going down easy. However, one also wonders about her character where she went from being the ideal spokesperson for the innocent and downtrodden to planning to mercilessly kill thousands who have taken shelter with Cersei. “Do not become what you’ve always struggled to defeat,” Varys ominously advises her, echoing all our thoughts.
Cersei seems to be looming as a larger threat than the Night King. She has managed to take down a dragon in her very first encounter with Daenerys’s army, or whatever is left of the army. True that Rhaegal was weak from his encounter with the army of the dead but nevertheless, the anticlimax of his death has shocked me more than the actual event of it. Cersei continues to be the monster that she is, casually deciding to tell Euron Greyjoy that he is the father of the baby she is carrying. Lena Headey, who plays the character of Cersei, deserves an award for her acting in this episode alone. The way her expression changes ever so slightly upon Tyrion mentioning her kids and her love for them was incredible. For sheer valour and strategic ideas of war, Cersei perhaps truly does deserve the Iron Throne.
We will let the next two-and-a-half hours decide.