Daenerys Targaryen, Queen of the Ashes Game of Thrones S8 Episode 5 Review

Daenerys Targaryen, Queen of the Ashes Game of Thrones S8 Episode 5 Review

If you haven’t already, be sure to read last week’s review of Game of Thrones Season 8 Episode 4 here.

Before I begin this review, I would like to urge you to pick up the A Song of Ice and Fire book series. Published by Bantam Books, it is currently on sale and under $30 for the five novel set and includes:

A Game of Thrones

A Clash of Kings (a personal favorite)

A Storm of Swords

A Feast for Crows

A Dance with Dragons

I own a leather-cloth bound box set of the series, along with The World of Ice & Fire lore book that I purchased years ago on sale with a hefty coupon from Barnes & Noble. I’m not just shilling the books, I own them and seriously the story is night and day from the adaptation. Here is a link to the ASOIAF set, and even a link for a Free 30 Day Trial of Amazon Prime for free shipping in case you’d like to pick them up.

Seriously, it is worth the investment.

You know, in all honestly after episode 5 of Game of Thrones finished airing, I thought I knew what I would write. I got caught up laughing at memes on Twitter and Reddit, but later decided to sit down and write. I planned on talking about how two or three days prior, I decided to just bite the bullet and read the GoT leaks. Saving myself some disappointment, I fully internalized my feelings and while viewing the latest episode subconsciously said to myself “okay, this is going to happen now. Oh, “she goes crazy after hearing the bells” okay this is what they meant, alright that is how he died…” and so on.

I made my peace with the state of the show, and how it would end. I came to terms with that grief, and decided to re-read the books while I waited for George RR Martin to possibly release The Winds of Winter before his death. Not to be morbid, but the man is in his seventies. On top of his age, he takes extra care with his writing, utilizing the “gardening” method where the story unfolds organically before his eyes, rather than forcing an outline and becoming frustrated when it does not come to fruition.

I’ve made peace with that as well.

But then, all of these interviews – real and false – began to flood my social media. Barristan Selmy’s actor stated at some Russian convention that George had finished the books, and made this super-secret deal with D&D concerning the release date. I’m not going to lie, even though it could have been false – it gave me hope.

Then, George makes an angry and seemingly frustrated post on his “Not a Blog” website where he (paraphrasing) states it was a lie, we are all idiots, and people make millions on his novels – including himself. Why on earth would he stall when the show and books actively cross-promote one another?

Broken hearted, I laced up my clown shoes and decided to head to the Freefolk subreddit to console myself with spicy memes. Except, over there, the memes had turned into serious debate and discussions. Revelations that HBO would have given showrunners the necessary budget and episodes to finish the series outright, but Dan and Dave refused.

Which means, the “Jon couldn’t pet Ghost cause of the budget” was a goddamn lie. An intelligence insulting lie after eight years of watching this damn show.

I mean the condescending remarks about the audience being too dumb to “tune their TVs correctly” to enjoy the show by Sapochnik were enough, but this – this is deeply insulting.

I got depressed, and decided to head over to another sub. There were talks that Davos would have been a more interesting POV character during the King’s Landing escape sequence than Arya. I couldn’t agree more.

Then The Onion Knight could even reminisce on losing his sons in Blackwater. And then, you know, remember it was Tyrion’s idea for a chain and wildfire…and then remember that Tyrion never discussed the wildfire caches he found under the city with Queen Daenerys….and then you’ll remember that Jaime could have mentioned it to Tyrion in an effort to dissuade Dany from unleashing dragonfire on the kingdom of 500,000 people….that constantly gets buffed to 1 million whenever the show writers needs it to be…so half the residents can come back after last week’s events…just like the Unsullied did in the series last episode…and how despite seeing the Dothraki screamers dying in the Battle of Winterfell and The (Short) Night…only half the forces died because…plot…same way the Unsullied and the Greyjoy Fleets were destroyed taking Casterly Rock…only for the forces not to be diminished……

Wow, I’m putting too much logic and thought into this. Same way as those bringing up that they never knew the KL bells to mean surrender, rather “they ring for horror. A dead king. A city under siege….”

Maybe that’s why Tyrion was really adamant on letting everyone within earshot know that the bells meant surrender.

Gosh, I’ll start the actual attempt at a review now. I just feel so broken thinking about all of the cast and crews hard work being thrown down the drain. Or the fact that no one was even notified beforehand that their characters were killed – no dinners, no phone calls, nothing – just the script shoved in their faces and huge F-you from the greatest writers in the world –

There are no better writers in television than Dan Weiss and David Benioff
There are no better writers in television than Dan Weiss and David Benioff

OR NCW literally fighting with the head writers for Jaime Lannister’s continued character development. Joe Dempsie not being okay with Gendry becoming a track star in addition to world-class rower. Joe obviously “won’t be in Star Wars”.

Lena Headey was also confused by Cersei giving in to Capt. Crack Sparrow’s requests for coital relations, despite seasons earlier Euron Greyjoy proclaimed he would give The Dragon Queen his “big cock”. I guess it doesn’t matter which queen he gives his big cock to, as long as it’s a queen. For…reasons?

Hell, even Euron Greyjoy’s actor, and book fan, Pilou Asbaek was kind of confused.

But I digress…let’s start with the positive first.

Jaime & Cersei’s Deaths

Given the regression of Jaime Lannister’s character arc, in a poorly-written, barely common sense way – it made sense that he would want to die with his twin sister. In the books, the Lannister twins believe they would die with one another. Although Jaime pulls away from her in the novel arc, in the show he never changed at all. Given his ill-written motives for terrorizing the realm to “get back to Cersei” it makes sense if we ignore the reason he killed the Mad King, the reason he wanted to honor his deal with Catelyn Stark, the reason he and Brienne bonded during their time together.

If you just turn your brain off and allow D&D to subvert your expectations, you can almost buy it. Almost.

Then Cersei suddenly caring about the incest babe (?) she is carrying, it makes perfect sense. Oh, for readability purposes, (?) = extremely inconsistent plot point that can’t even be explained away by possibly happening off screen.

In all honestly, Lena Headey and Nikolaj Coster-Waldau acted their behinds off and that is what sold this scene to me. Especially when she said (paraphrasing) “Jaime, I don’t want our baby to die” and Ramin Djawadi really kicks up the score in the background – it was incredibly effective. The Rains of Castamere playing during the credits was an especially nice touch.

Euron Greyjoy’s Death(?)

Credit to the actor convincing the writers to end his disappointing arc by leaving it intentionally vague – a la Euron just smiling on a rock like an idiot. Perfect surmise to a consistently poorly-written character by an actor portraying him the best he could. Kudos to Pilou Asbaek.

The Hound’s Suicide /Cleganebowl(?)

If you ignore The Hound’s iconic “fuck the king” line, his Gravedigger arc from the books that was glazed over in one episode, his remorse returning to the isolated home in S7 with the brotherhood where he killed the father in S4 while traveling with Arya, him talking Arya out of vengeance, and The Mountain being a literal zombie abomination that was only sentient when he came to cracking skulls for Cersei and raping Septa Unella, it makes complete sense Sandor committed suicide by fire trying to kill him.

It makes complete sense that Sandor left Cersei to her fate after telling the highly skilled (?) Faceless Man (??) Assassin(-) who never completed their training and proclaimed she was Arya Stark of Winterfell and was going home, only to leave home and decide to never come back, that Cersei would die of rubble and go home even though she said she would never return.

IF you just subvert your fucking expectations, it makes perfect sense. I’m sure this portion was part of George’s original outline, but it wasn’t nearly as satisfying as it could have been. Qyburn’s death, however, subverted my expectations and even made me chuckle in disbelief. A clear cause and effect death? On Gam3 0F ThR0nEs? With THIS writing? Expectations fully subverted.

(By the way, did Septa Unella also die under rubble like Jaime and Cersei? Did Ellaria sand finally perish from grief, or had she been kept alive to watch her daughter’s corpse, only to be crushed by rubble like Jaime and Cersei? Who is the new Prince of Dorne, since Arianne and Quentyn Martell don’t exist in the show? Is Sweet Robin Arryn, the sickly boy, still alive? Did he consent to Sansa taking his Vale forces despite Littlefinger, his protector’s, death? Did Edmure ever get released from captivity? Does the Riverlands not care about their family in Winterfell? Family, Duty, Honor – anyone? Are the Frey women still alive and thriving? What is the north going to do with all the empty castles? Who is going to teach legitimized bastard Gendry Baratheon how to rule a fiefdom and be Lord Paramount of the Stormlands? Does Edric Storm even exist in the adaptation?)


Tyrion’s Final Goodbye to Jaime

Peter Dinklage mourning the death of his character Tyrion Lannister, his backstory, and portrayal to a senile Nikolaj Coster-Waldau after he remarks he never cared about the innocents made perfect sense. It was a surreal, beautifully eloquent, performance. I expected no less from the amazing cast of GoT who has been with these characters for over eight years. Of course they understand their motives, desires, hopes and wishes. And George RR Martin told them something about their character only they knew, which drove certain scenes with that in mind. Fabulous acting, top-notch production, terrible writing.

A complete tragedy.

Varys’ Death

The Spider, the Spy Master of Westeros who stopped utilizing his little bird network and having intellectual spars with his nemesis, Littlefinger. Varys, who kind of forgot about poison being the weapon of choice for women and eunuchs, deciding to kill the Mad Queen on little to no developed foreshadowing.

The little birds, tongues not cute out, openly talking about treason with the queen a few castle rooms way. Varys, who had secret hideouts and employed various disguises because he is a goddamn mummer.

 Varys, for the realm, who never laid out his plans until now.

Who smuggled Tyrion out of Westeros and into Essos after murdering his father and lover, is betrayed by Tyrion, who was smuggled out of Westeros and into Essos after murdering his father and lover by Varys, who had a clandestine meeting with Ned Stark in the dungeons before his death in season 1. Only the dragon would know the tunnels, a Blackfyre that shaved his head and powdered his skin to hide pale white hair.

Varys,  who was accused of treason by Tyrion who only moments later, commits treason and frees his ungrateful brother to ride hard to King’s Landing, get his incest sisterwife, and hop on a dingy and survive the harsh waves that break lesser ships in order to sail all the way to Pentos in the east.

A map of Planetos
A map of Planetos

Tyrion, who despite spending a season in the east is still too stupid to speak Valyrian, or Dothraki,  whatever other cool languages the show forgot about until Dany needed to be mysterious and foreign talking to Grey Worm in front of Jon Snow, her nephew who she is madly in love with (?) and is really distraught over because he won’t bang her anymore.

Tyrion, who talks the Unsullied loyal to Commander Grey Worm into believing he outranks whoever gave the orders to guard his brother, the Kingslayer, from warning his sister, Queen Cersei, whom they are at war with because – screw patrilineal succession and believe incest babes! Screw the smallfolk. Screw plot continuity.

Then Dany kind of forgot her history of preserving the innocent and being a champion, queen, and mother to the common folk. Arya kind of forgot that just because she has Valyrian steel plot armour, it doesn’t mean the mother & child extra’s do as well. Jon says she is my queen, I don’t want it, screams at some Northern soldiers and the episode kind of ends there.

I kind of forgot what else happened, might have been a fever dream. Someone call the maester and bring me milk of the poppy so I can rest easy tonight.

I’ll leave this review off with a mini compilation of Kit Harrington not giving a damn.  

Were your expectations subverted in the penultimate episode of Game of Thrones? Largest Television production in history that single-handedly saved HBO from becoming obsolete? Loved by millions of fans globally whose outrage is being mocked by edgy MSM outlets and websites as “expecting too much”?

Leave your thoughts in the comment section below, I’d love to hear from you! Also be sure to bookmark this page and come back next Sunday for another Game of Thrones Season 8 Episode recap and review!

(Also The 100 episode 2 and 3 reviews will be up soon! I haven’t forgotten about the show! I’d never turn my back on a well-written narrative story that doesn’t insult my intelligence each time I watch!)

⊙ Remember, This World is a Shadow of the Real One.

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