Here. We. Go.
I’ll get to it by the end of episode seven review, but last night’s episode was the first time my wife and I finished the show debating what the final scene meant for the show going forward. That, more than anything, was the genius of “Game of Thrones” when it really got rolling.
You could debate the show’s direction the same way you might debate who the best team in the NFL or college football was or who was going to end a presidential election. Sure, by the end of the year we know who the champion is, but the fun of most sports seasons, and much of political coverage, is the pathway to crowning a victor. And that was Thrones’s genius too.
I mean, wasn’t who was going to be left sitting on the iron throne at the end of the show the ultimate national title, Super Bowl or presidential win?
Last night was the first time we truly had some really interesting narrative arcs at play.
So let’s get rolling with what happened.
1. We open for the burial of Laena.
We last saw her choosing to burn herself to death rather than try and have her baby saved via rudimentary C-section in a move that would cost her own life.
And let me just say it again, I think this was a heinous and indefensible move by her. Shouldn’t every parent, if it became clear that you had to die, but in so doing that you might save a kid of yours in the process, make the choice to at least try and save the kid?
Am I the only parent out there that kept his head on a swivel totally expecting that every time he crossed a street with a young kid, that he might have to (heroically) toss his child away from an onrushing car only to get crushed himself?
I probably have had this thought, conservatively, a billion times since I became a parent.
And here Laena has the exact dilemma, you are going to die, but your kid might still live. So how do you have your dragon burn you and the baby to death ensuring both of you die?! This would be like pushing a baby in a carriage and then, instead of pushing the baby away to save it from a car, holding on tightly and insisting the baby gets run over with you.
I just don’t get it.
This feels indefensible to me.
So, anyway, not a big Laena person.
I don’t really care that much that she’s buried in a coffin in the ocean.
But it is important that her dragon no longer has a master.
Especially since we have a blond kid who really wants a dragon.
2. From here we have like twenty minutes of near darkness.
I mean, I get it, night’s coming. It’s poetic to make the night a metaphor for death and its aftermath, but come on, this is one thing that drives me crazy about Thrones.
Why do they spend tens of millions of dollars filming some episodes where you legit have no idea what’s happening?
I had my wife turn the lights on and off in our own house to try and make things more visible.
It was like I was watching a black and white film.
I still don’t even know if we saw any nipples or not when Daemon and Rhaenyra made beautiful incestuous love in a random tent on the beach. A tent with holes in the ceiling too. Seriously, this is the worst tent ever.
And, by the way, how does the would-be queen, and all of the kids, just up and walk around anywhere they want for this entire episode?
Does King Viserys have the JFK in Dallas secret service detail?
We got kids stabbing each other with knives, would-be queens getting banged by their uncles out in beach tents, a prince just out running in the hills to CLIMB ON THE BACK OF A DRAGON!
3. Which brings me to the dragon.
Frankly, I expected more.
Your master just died, in fact, tragically you burned her, and her baby, don’t think I’m forgetting this, to death.
Yes, she told you to do it, but still, I would think this has to be a bit traumatic for the dragon.
And the dragon is flying around all over the place wailing and whatnot. So this dragon has major PTSD.
Then a skinny, raggedy-ass kid shows up and jumps on your back and suddenly this full-grown dragon is this kid’s bitch after like two minutes?
I just expected way more from the dragon.
In fact, I wanted the dragon to burn the kid to death for even trying to claim him this fast.
That would have been a way better scene.
I would have respected this dragon more.
As is, he’s trash to me. Any podunk loser can just climb on his back and hang on for one minute and he owns you and makes you his bitch for life? I mean, I’ve watched enough “Yellowstone” to know this doesn’t even work for breaking horses.
Also, I question the relationship duration here. It feels like a fling at best. This poor kid, Prince Aemon, loses his eye and he’s like, “I may have lost an eye, but I gained a dragon.”
And he was so confident about the way he said it that I want it to be wrong. I want the dragon to flip back to Laena’s daughter and leave him jilted without a dragon or an eye.
4. So let’s talk about the kid fight.
First, inexcusable security. Ford’s Theater had better security than this.
Second, the daughter who lost a mom and then had someone else take her mom’s dragon has every reason to be furious.
By all rights that should be her dragon.
Daemon totally screwed up here.
How is your first thought when your wife kills herself with her baby still inside her, not to at least think, “Okay, I better get the other daughter her own dragon at least.”
This poor girl has her mom choose to burn to death during childbirth and then her jerk cousin STEALS HER MOM’S DRAGON!
This daughter would have been justified in gutting Aemon over this, by itself.
But I come back to how all the kids are out of bed and no one notices? Where is the security?
I’m a dad so in addition to always preparing to heroically save my children from sudden death while preparing to die myself in the process, I also presume that every parenting decision I make is wrong and also that I’m not paying enough attention and I can only imagine what would happen if somehow my own kids got in a fight and one lost an eye.
I think my own wife would stab me to death.
So I get that Queen Alicent is mad, but how is she not the angriest AT THE SECURITY DETAIL WHO LET FIVE KIDS ALL ESCAPE THEIR SUPERVISION. (Not to mention the would-be queen was off banging her uncle, but at least she’s an adult.)
The only kid who wasn’t out without a security detail was the one who spends all his time drinking alcohol and jerking off, Prince Aegon.
I also love how we all hate Aegon and then when you think about it, what’s he done? He just drinks alcohol and tries to find people to sleep with. And jerks off when he can’t. Which is what 99% of all the dudes reading this column did their entire four years in college.
And, yet, I, just like all of you, already think Aegon’s the absolute worst.
Anyway, we have a kid fight and one kid loses an eye and then the whole castle is up and Alicent is the crazy girl in every Bachelor season that has ever existed.
I mean it, you know how in every Bachelor season there is at least one chick, often more than one, but at least one, that goes completely crazy at some point.
That was Alicent.
5. And really I understand Alicent’s point.
One of her sons got blinded in the middle of the night because one of her bastard nephews, literally one of her bastard nephews, tried to kill him with a knife.
So everyone’s up in a castle in the middle of the night and everyone’s like, “Okay, kid, why did you stab your cousin’s eye out?”
And one of the bastard kids says, “He called us bastards.” Which, to be honest, how was the kid’s go-to line not, “He tried to kill us with a big rock!”
The defense for why you stabbed him was he said something mean to you?
And King Viserys, who is the only person in the kingdom who thinks Laenor is their dad, says, “Where did you hear this lie?” He actually accepts it as complete justification for the stabbing!
And there’s a long pregnant pause and then Aemon does what every little brother has done since time immemorial, he blames his older brother.
And then Aegon, who I was convinced would tell on his mom, instead just goes ball to the wall and tells his dad, the king, “We know father, everyone knows. Just look at them.”
Again, that’s a pretty baller answer to say in a crowded castle to your dad, the king, about the people who will, in theory at least, be next in line for the throne.
And King Viserys takes this response and somehow ends up issuing his ruling, which is, “We’re a family…make your apologies…your king demands it.”
6. And then Queen Alicent just loses it.
She demands that one of the young princes lose an eye, literally she wants an eye-for-an-eye retributive justice, but with the king saying all is good, she grabs a knife and tries to do it herself.
“If the king will not, the queen will,” she says.
Princess Rhaenyra gets between the boys and the queen and gets stabbed by Alicent in the process.
This is clearly the first battle in the looming succession war, but, man, it was fabulous and riveting. I’ve got no idea what might happen next episode.
This stabbing kind of ends the story and everyone, I guess, just goes back to their chamber.
7. So Otto, back in the king’s service as the hand, since Larys killed his dad and brother, tells his daughter he’s proud of her.
“We play an ugly game,” he says, “and now for the first time I see you can win it.”
He also says, “The boy was right, it’s (the dragon’s) worth a thousand times the price he paid.”
And he says that Alicent should apologize and the king will let it go.
And, remarkably, this works.
Alicent doesn’t even have to say, “Sorry I almost killed the future queen and demanded that your grandsons, the two future kings, have one of their eyes removed and tried to do it myself.”
She just said, “I’m sorry.”
Which, and I’m more convinced of this than ever, means Alicent is definitely going to end up killing the king somehow.
He’s just broken.
8. Meanwhile Laenor, who missed the entire palace conflagration off banging his boy toys, another security failure, by the way, is back to check on Rhaenyra, who is receiving stitches for her wound.
“I should have been there,” Laenor says.
And Rhaenyra responds, in an absolutely chilling and cutting fashion, “Those should be our house words.”
Laenor might as well be dead after this line.
“You deserve a husband,” he says, and we think, at least for the moment, he means himself.
9. Larys shows up on the boat to ask if Alicent needs anyone killed over the eye-stabbing incident.
Alicent says she doesn’t so Larys respond, “I shall await your call, my queen.”
To which my wife asks a good question, why is this dude just always limping around creepily staring at people? Why is he in the traveling party? What job does he actually have? Wouldn’t you want this dude out of the palace? Or at least not in the traveling party?
I mean, think about if this was happening at your place of work, wouldn’t you want him removed?
He seems to have no job, just limps around with a cane staring at people all day long.
That’s like 99% of the vagrants in Washington, D.C..
And most of them don’t work in the White House.
Just crazy that this dude is allowed to hang out all the time doing nothing.
10. Rhaneyra and Daemon “poetically” discuss the fire and the sea.
Rhaenyra says, “Fire is such strange power…yet it has cost us both what we love.”
I mean, that’s somewhat true — but I don’t think you can blame the fire when you burn yourself to death intentionally and when your lover is burned to death intentionally too. This would be like my wife saying, “Sharks are such strange creatures…yet it has cost me what I love,” after she fed me to a shark.
That’s not even the worst of the lines either. She also says, “You and I are made of fire, we have always meant to burn together.”
Which is going to be every 14-year-old girl’s 8th-grade yearbook quote this year.
But now comes the plot of how they can stay together.
“We couldn’t marry unless Laenor were dead,” Daemon says.
“I know,” says Rhaenyra.
It’s murder time!
As if it wasn’t hammered over our heads enough: then Daemon, wearing his cloak as a hood, no less, seeks out one of Leanor’s boyfriends and offers him a lot of money for “A quick death with witnesses.”
11. Next thing we know Laenor is sword fighting in his parent’s great hall.
An actual sword fight, not the kind he usually does.
Again, where’s the security?
You’d think maybe the kids trying to stab each other would have been a wake-up call.
But here’s Laenor sword fighting.
By the time the security detail shows up, Laenor’s dead, purportedly burned to death as well so his body is mostly unrecognizable.
Lord Corlys collapses alongside his wife, both of his kids appear dead in a short space of time.
Then we get the incest marriage scene. (The four kids, Rhaenyra’s two and Daemon’s two as well, imagine what these four poor kids are headed for in adolescence, watching is vintage Thrones.)
12. The final shot is Laenor, still alive, rowing a boat, Gendry style, off into the night.
Okay, so here’s my question about the ending here.
Do we think Laenor’s lover doublecrossed Daemon or do we think Laenor was in on the plot to fake his death?
My initial thought was a double cross, but my wife says this was all planned. I think you can make a case for both based on the context clues, but the Laenor lover doublecross is far more interesting and fits what we saw better.
Because, think about it, why would Daemon need to be involved at all if Laenor knew his death was going to be faked all along? In other words, why do we need all the cloak and dagger BS at all? Daemon and Rhaenyra could just tell Laenor, “Hey, we know you’re unhappy here and want to go back to the step stones, here’s our plan for how to make that happen.”
Why do they need Daemon in his hoodie, having a secret meeting with Laenor’s lover? And paying him any money at all? Wouldn’t Laenor just tell his lover what they were going to do?
My idea, I think, is way more interesting.
That they tried to kill Laenor, but that he double-crossed them and faked his own death.
Because then you have a jilted lover with a grudge as opposed to a guy just rowing himself out of the show.
Plus, you could imagine Laenor, in the future, returning to cast doubt on his “son’s” ascension to the Iron Throne, potentially creating a new rival claim from the Velaryon family.
Anyway, that’s the debate we ended with in my household.
If Laenor was ultimately involved in faking his own death, then much of the narrative doesn’t hold together. But if he and his lover doublecrossed Rhaenyra and Daemon, fooling his own parent’s in the process as well and leaving everyone but us pretty much thinking he’s dead, then that’s far more interesting to me.
Regardless, I think there is evidence for both and I’m curious to see whether it’s explained in greater detail this season or not.
Until then, see you all next week.