I suppose it should not be a surprise that two guys who added rape scenes to a pre-existing storyline would default at the last minute to truly obvious, reductive hysteria tropes about a woman who, thus far, they have painted as a hero (to the point of truly obvious, reductive white savior tropes). That said, I still greatly enjoyed “The Bells,” the penultimate episode of this last-minute-bungled series, because anytime there’s a lot of killing, it translates to minimal dialogue, a blessing at this point—great-as-ever direction by Miguel Sapochnik, and way fewer lines for Benioff and Weiss to thickheadedly flub.
If you are enough of a masochist to have watched the creators’ commentary after the episode, you saw that Benioff and Weiss (I refuse to call them “D&D,” they could never) really felt that Daenerys’s descent into madness was earned, which is typical man shit. Perhaps it was always predestined that she would become the Mad Queen, but the character development in Seasons 5 and 6 has been so choppy and absurd that Sunday night’s episode felt like a rude fluke.
Of course Daenerys, Breaker of Chains, is going to be feeling fucked up in the game: She just saw her best friends die, especially her number one homegirl Missandei, whose head was lopped off while she was cuffed, when ending her slavery was the exact reason Daenerys evolved to this point. Meanwhile, the man she loves, dum-dum Jon Snow, couldn’t suck it up and get it in with his hot ti-ti he’s supposedly in love with, EVEN if it’s for the benefit of all Westeros? He is supposedly Mr. Preserve This Country but he’s too stuck on his own mythology and Northern social norms to take one for the team? You did not mind boning when she was handing over all her goddamn dragonglass for free, how bout that!!!
But Daenerys was clearly having a major depressive episode—couldn’t eat, couldn’t sleep, wouldn’t talk, wouldn’t leave her room—for extremely obvious and justifiable tangible reasons, and perhaps some undiagnosed chemical ones; hey, I’m not a doctor, I have just been there before and can relate immensely. So the idea that she would have gone from the state where you don’t even have the fortitude to change your goddamn clothes directly to “I AM GOING TO COMMIT GENOCIDE BECAUSE I HATE MY ENEMIES” is not just absolutely banal and lazy, it’s completely cliché and embarrassing on the part of the writers, who, let me reiterate, were David Benioff and D.B. Weiss, (maybe) First of Their Names and Mucker of Scripts. The fact that she did so because some BELLS were converging upon her to make her Go Crazeeeeeee was absolutely absurd and I cannot!
Seriously, the bells shit? I fell the fuck out. Drogon has just handily scorched the entire Golden Company, the Iron Fleet, and every scorpion-weapon meant to kill him. Her army, having already lived through a literal fucking zombie massacre and hasn’t slept a wink (ACCORDING TO LAST WEEK’S SCRIPT), is witness to the remaining Lannister army throwing down their swords. The whole of King’s Landing is screaming “Ring the BELLS,” which if you watch this show with closed captions, you will have noticed that there were about 170 lines in the script of people going “RING THE BELLS!” And when the bells ring, it becomes a freakin’ after-school special from 1972, in which Dany finally loses it, screws up her face, and decides to, yes, COMMIT A LITERAL GENOCIDE. Clamoring bells made her snap, though as my mans said, “Bell ringing is never good for someone who hasn’t slept in five days.” The best thing to say about that scene was that you coulda worn it to the Met Gala, cause it was Camp.
The best thing about this episode was characteristically excellent direction by Miguel Sapochnik, who said in the after-show that he and the special effects team were modeling the destruction of King’s Landing after the firebombing of Dresden during World War II, another genocide by people who positioned themselves as the good guys. The perspectives were excellent: Jon stunned to inaction, watching his own army participate in the senseless murder of civilians; Arya running around a burning city, attempting to help, before taking her horse to the old town road and whatnot. If anything was going to reverse Arya’s killing gene, it was certainly this, seeing the aftereffects of senseless murder, but jury’s still out whether she is Azor Ahai (or if the showrunners even know what that is). The Mountain and The Hound’s fight scene was as epic as it could have been, and Grey Worm’s freak-out made sense along the lines of the vengeance theme—he wants revenge for Missandei, and is cold and dead inside without her. Honestly, same. I’ll reiterate: At least there was very minimal dialogue.
Also, have you guys seen Pompeii, starring Kit Harington as a commoner? I’m going to spoil it for you: It ends with Kit and the woman he loves kissing as they are engulfed by a volcano, turning to ash-mummies of the sort currently existing at Pompeii. It is hilarious. I like to think that Sapochnik saw that film, which is really funny (and campy), and decided to have Jaime and Cersei die similarly in homage to a Thrones star’s extracurricular flop. Pretty good shit.
Deaths: Millions of innocents. Varys by fire, making Melisandre’s cryptic comment to him last season that he’d die in Westeros make more sense. (Love that he went mask off, croaked without a peep.) Ultimate fuckboy Euron, in crispy clean Rick Owens, staring at the sky and cheesily screaming that he killed Jaime Lannister (you definitely didn’t). Captain Whiteman, leader of the Golden Company, plus the entirety of the Golden Company. Qyburn, in a satisfyingly abrupt thud, courtesy the zombie Mountain. Stanky The Mountain, festering, along with our beloved Hound, in the long-anticipated Cleganebowl, rather panderingly to fans but truly satisfying nonetheless. Perhaps Jaime and Cersei in a deeply unsatisfying rain of bricks, though I am still of the belief that Cersei might have survived, because they can’t do the show’s most powerfully vicious woman like that, can they? I guess they probably can, because they’re dumbasses. My soul, after realizing that the finale is both written and directed by Benioff and Weiss. Good god.
Boners: Yeah right!