Revenge is a reckless and ruthless business. When doubled with the fire and blood of dragons, all it could result is a ruin of lifetime. This vengeful episode, hastened towards the ending of an epic leaves our hearts resentful as the flames of Drogon tears down King's Landing and all hopes rested on Mhysa. A savior raised across the seas turns a beast, the ones who believed in her with all will turn to betrayal and the ones in love are baffled. The tension builds up in the last war but the spirits are lost. The grave pressure resting on the conclusion of the series reveals itself as the quest for the throne threatens the ideals of its characters and the set idiosyncrasies of the base story which needs more than just fire breathing dragons to wrap it all up. Let’s recall the ruins of revenge today in King’s Landing.
Mercy – A strength?
“Mercy, detached from justice, grows unmerciful” says a wise man (not Tyrion!). Daenerys has become unconvincingly merciless lately with a touch of madness forced on her. The Westeros winds had not been kind! The Mother of the Dragons forsakes food for days – neither largely for the death of Rhaegal nor the brave and tragic end of her friend Missandei. She seeks starvation as the threat to her claim for the throne intensifies and betrayal awaits its brutal turn. When Ned Stark vouches for a rightful heir, Joffrey beheads him. Lord Varys meets the same fate in the hands of Mhysa as he attempts to bestow the realms in the hands of the one whom he believes is honorable and righteous. Flames engulf Varys, we hear no screams – just the silence, a dreadful silence instilling fear in the hearts of the Queen’s troop that she is becoming her own version of the Mad King.
In sentencing the loyal advisors of the Seven Kingdoms to death under the name of treason, Daenerys and Joffrey stand with no significant traces of differences. In this dangerous state, she still displays no traces of readiness and relief to accept Jon as her kin. Her insecurities tear her away from him and closer to the pursuit of power. Her mercy- her strength is shattered. She is remaining steadfast to Ollena Tyrell's advice: You are a dragon, be a dragon. That brings back Jorah’s words on the nature of dragons:“They are dragons, Khaleesi. They can’t be tamed.” With her dragon blood running wild, taming is no feasible option.
Ring the Bells
Tyrion furthers in his pursuits to save the city a devastation and provide shelter to his family. His troubled loyalty doesn’t detach itself from the Valyrian queen. It clings on with the last bit of hope to the remnants of gentleness in his grace. He repays his brother the favor of an escape towards a better life, reinforcing his affiliation to the sole member of the Lannister family who beheld him with love and belief. He wants his family to at least survive, if not thrive and the confused man resorts to the rings of the bells – the call for peace. The echoes of the bell fail to reach the ears he wants them to. With the fall of his strategies and the city, the frenzy of fire rises. His counsel and cleverness fails as chaos takes over the capital.
Burn them All!
The dragon's passion and provocation overpowers purpose and in the fire breathed, revenge lets out a loud cry. Dany's revenge rests on the Red Keep but she rips off the entire city prior heading to Cersei’s residence- an outburst of all losses she held within. Aegon, the first of his name unified the Seven Kingdoms and Baelor, his dragon forged the Iron Throne. Daenerys and Drogon are destructing the foundations of their royal ancestry adding weightage to the infamousness of the Targaryen lineage.
Over the past seasons, Daenerys was built with concern and strength as the Queen of the Seven Kingdoms– a ruler like no other, a ruler Westeros hasn’t seen in centuries. Her inherent gentleness growing gruesome remains grim as the existence of gory in her has been poorly justified and inflamed in the recent episodes. Her obsession over possessing the Seven Kingdoms has rapidly grown into a compulsion for power. The blame is singularly laid on her genome. She doesn’t answer injustice with justice. Her language is the fire and blood. In the play of power, it is the poor subjects who bear the brunt as they suffer exploitation under the perils of politics. As rulers rush to become what they wanted to defeat, innocent lives turn ashes– an irony of monarchy indeed. Seated on Drogon, high in the sky, above the flames, Dany might stay blind to it but the helpless Targaryen Wolf is not – he is baffled and his trust betrayed.
The Hound and the Mountain
There are two others besides the Dragon queen in pursuit of their revenge in King's Landing- Arya and The Hound. The latter elucidates to the girl the ruins a revenge can bring as he resolves to seek his. The girl leaves for she is well aware that the forces of fire will overthrow her in vanquishing Cersei. The mountain's monstrous reincarnated form intimidates us but not the Hound. In a single fit of madness, Gregor kills the one who gives him rebirth. Gregor would not fall. He is insurmountable. Sandor assumes his own death as the only means to defeat his brother. In his quest for vengeance, Sandor destroys himself. He has achieved his revenge but what is left of it? Mere ashes and ruin. The Hound's doom highlights the futility of revenge and the wreckage that comes with it regardless of whether or not the thirst for revenge is quenched. Will Dany's revenge lead her to doom? Has she let herself fall from the heights of honor to the depths of vengeance? Unfortunately, it seems very likely so.
Nothing Else Matters
The things we do for love! Jaime ventures back into King's Landing with his copious love that is no partial to hate. He reunites with his love but is devoid of any means to save her. The vulnerabilities tied within Cersei's vile mount as fears and tears with the castle walls collapsing around them. The mother wants the unborn child to live and see the world. It is her blind love that has pushed her towards seeking power with a belief that it is the ultimate. As Jaime embraces Cersei, he assures her: “Nothing else matters! Only us!” His consolation strives to comfort her that the evils they unleashed do not matter in the face of their love. They had been together in birth and now together, they die. Nothing else did matter than their union- neither the Seven Kingdoms, nor the throne.
Power stands no chance to love but as greedy hands stretch towards the former, the grip on love gets slippery and what awaits is a fall none can rise from. Reminiscing about Ser Jaime’s death, I recall George RR Martin’s words (in Book 4 of the Song of Ice and Fire), “The heroes will always be remembered. The best. The best and the worst. And a few others who were a bit of both.” Jaime belongs to the fascinating few – The Kingslayer and the Oathkeeper.
Daenerys hasn’t stopped the wheel. She has broken it as she had promised but in overlooking the adverse collateral damage, she has frightened us that she is building a new wheel after all. The Mad King earned his name. Daenerys is earning hers defeating the primary purpose of her conquest from Essos to Westeros. The ruin is seen and the eyes of the wolf will no longer stay patient. A Queen slayer is around the corner! While this is of certainty, it is unfortunate that there still exists an ambiguity on who shall be the credible and capable ruler to ascend the Iron Throne and ensure a rule of prosperity and welfare post countless years of struggle. Jon begets his name from Aegon who unified the Seven Kingdoms. Jon did bring together the free folks and significant houses in the great war and was hailed the King in the North. Will he be hailed as the protector of the realms, then? The answer is around the corner of the coming week. Well, has anyone suggested Westeros a try at democracy?