WARNING: THIS STORY CONTAINS SPOILERS
Let’s face it, as an undead army descended while Missandei and Grey Worm daydreamed of skipping along beaches, nobody expected a happy ending for them.
It had the same ‘Uh oh’ sense as when the grey-haired cop in a TV drama shows his partner a photo during a stakeout and says, “See this baby? I’ll be sailing this fine vessel to Acapulco with my lady love when I retire next Tuesday”.
Even so, we still didn’t expect Missandei screaming defiantly for dragon fire to rain down on Cersei as her head was lopped from her shoulders in front of Daenerys’s horrified army.
It was the pivotal moment in an episode that took time to build momentum, but once it jolted into action through another dragon being shot out of the sky, things sprinted towards the finish line mercilessly.
Since arriving at Winterfell, Daenerys has lost Jorah, Rhaegal, her Dothraki, Missandei and probably Jon. Her look of isolation early on, as others celebrated survival with family and friends, spoke volumes.
We may soon witness the lethal power of a dragon queen with nothing left to lose.
Viewers last week were critical of Daenerys’s leadership during the cataclysmic battle, which saw her almost lose a dragon then allow herself to be cut off by wights, forcing Jorah to sell his life. This week’s episode won’t do much to reverse that criticism.
With the army of the alliance slashed in half during the Long Night, Sansa counselled Daenerys to wait before attacking King’s Landing.
Queens aren’t good at waiting, but neither, it appears, are they good at deploying dragon-based air cover.
As the army advanced by sea, Euron’s ambush was predicted by virtually everyone but the platinum-haired commander-in-chief. As a result, Daenerys blew what was originally a three-dragon lead and lost another of those most dear to her.
The dragon’s death was taken hard by fans.
— t h o m a s | GoT Spoilers (@RIPeterParker_) May 6, 2019
— Joeyyy (@_Joseph590) May 6, 2019
The loss of Missandei and Rhaegal were galvanising shocks amid what was mostly teary departures and plotting.
The episode began with the dead laid to rest at Winterfell. Rivals Daenerys and Sansa wept over the bodies of Jorah and Theon respectively.
First to have his heart broken was Gendry, rejected by Arya who has pressing business with Cersei. But dire wolf Ghost, who survived the Dothraki charge then was left behind by Jon, provided the saddest moment.
Jon declined even to scratch his loyal mutt as he departed, in an emotional Harry and the Hendersons moment.
Brienne had her heart broken too, having finally consummated her mutual passion for Jaime. Suddenly, there she was in the middle of the night begging him not to return to his soulmate, his sister. As Jaime listed his misdeeds that made their love impossible (in a weird ‘It’s not you, it’s me’ moment) most viewers weren’t fooled.
“She’s hateful. And so am I,” Jaime sighed before galloping off into the night. You can bet your last dragon his plans for Cersei do not involve living happily ever after as they raise another little Joffrey together.
— Louise Coopey (@CoopeyLouise) May 6, 2019
So, on the eve of another pivotal battle, thanks to Sansa half the Alliance now knows about Jon’s claim to the Iron Throne, with active plots afoot to put him there.
Jaime is on one road and Sandor and Arya are on another, riding to King’s Landing on a mission. Already there, Tyrion failed in his peace negotiations with his sister.
“You’re not a monster,” he told Cersei, who peered venomously from the battlements.
“You’ve always loved your children.”
Indeed she has, and Cersei losing three of her children violently has made her all that Tyrion insists she’s not.
But in Daenerys, Cersei faces another mother maddened by loss, not to mention an embittered brother seeking redemption through love.
Expect to see one or both mad queens fully operational next week.