By Zach Peace
Winter is Coming, we were promised all year. Well, winter has come and gone in just three episodes and now we’re fighting in a desert. Looking towards the finale, it’s not winter that concerns us however, it’s fire. Specifically, dragonfire is the main focus, after an explosive episode 5 that set the stage for one final conflict against a “villian” no-one expected. Finally fulfilling her long foreshadowed turn towards ‘madness’, Daenerys Targaryen, the Breaker of Chains and Mother of Dragons, has transitioned into a sort of anti-hero after committing genocide against the million citizens of King’s Landing last episode; as she promised at the beginning of the episode, “let it be fear.”
This really came as no surprise after her violence filled adventures in Essos that included indiscriminately crucifying former masters in Meeren and threatening to burn at least four cities. Emilia Clarke’s acting has been superb in displaying these incidents of madness and the capstone of this process took place last week. A disheveled Daenerys tried to make her way onto the Iron Throne without some of her closest advisors or much sympathy from the people of Westeros as she tried to answer a question her brother once asked of the world before his death:
“Who can rule without wealth or fear or love.” Dany decided she needed fear.
All this of course happens in the face of the revelation of Jon Snow’s heritage. As the rightful heir to the Iron Throne and a man of honor, what will his reaction to Dany’s burning an entire city? All we know for certain right now is that he has recalled the Northern army out of King’s Landing. We will also need to watch for the reactions of minor characters that control large forces; this includes any remaining Lannister forces, the new “Prince of Dorne”, Robin Arryn of the Vale, Yara Greyjoy of the Iron Islands, perhaps Lord Bronn of Highgarden, Gendry Baratheon (newly legitimized BY queen Dany but an old friend of Jon’s), and possibly even Edmure Tully, still alive after being imprisoned at the Red Wedding.
After an initial bungling of the Night King storyline (that will hopefully be explained further in a prequel series set in the age of heroes, when the night king came the first time), Season 8 is looking to end on a strong note, despite much criticism. After switching out the Night King as the final villain for Cersei and now for Dany, the finale is looking to be one of the greatest episodes of Game of Thrones we’ve ever seen and a fitting conclusion to a fantastic TV series.