Throne room

Review of Game of Thrones Season 8, Episode 5

HBO.com

There is one episode left of Game of Thrones after Sunday night and the stage is set for an interesting finale. After four lackluster episodes, this was the best of the season. Five quick thoughts on Episode 5:

1) Adios, Varys

Pour one out for the spider. His attempts to back Jon backfired and he wound up getting roasted by Drogon. It was a strange end for a character who did so much behind the scenes for the entire series. It seemed rushed, like a lot of things these past two seasons. Varys seemed to go from trusted advisor to betrayer entirely too quick. His heart was always in the right place, to a fault. It seemed an unsatisfying end for a guy who was always a step ahead until the finish.

2) The mad queen

Varys was not wrong. Dany has gone off the deep end. Her burning of women and children and the war crimes of the Dothraki and Unsullied were over the top. She has become what she sought to defeat, a merciless monster that made even Cersei look sympathetic. She destroyed King's Landing with no compunction whatsoever. She has become the latest in a long line of villains that started with Joffrey, Ramsey, Cersei and now Dany. The last episode should deal specifically with her.

3) Incredible acting

The best thing throughout this series has been the interactions between Jamie and Tyrion. We were treated to one last great scene as Tyrion was able to return the favor and free his brother. They are the two best actors on the show, and they are at their best when on screen together. It was powerful stuff. Tyrion really might be the best of all of the characters and Peter Dinklage's acting is off the charts. Sad that we won't see that again. Jamie met his demise after a tough battle with Euron Greyjoy that saw both of them eventually die. Jamie at least lived long enough for a last few minutes with Cersei.

4) Cersei's overconfidence did her in

The Lannisters had no shot in the actual final battle. Yet Cersei kept thinking someone would kill the dragon, or her forces would prevail. She out thought them the whole way, but in the end, the confidence from all the wins led her to make mistakes. We did finally get the Clegane Bowl, with the long-awaited Mountain vs. Hound battle. It was particularly interesting considering the city was falling down around them. It ended in a tie - both died - but that seemed fitting. That Jamie and Cersei died in each other's arms as the city collapsed around them was a perfect ending to their story as well.

5) Arya and more

Ayra has earned the right to ride off into the sunset, and she appeared to do just that. Jon has begun to realize that Dany is a problem and maybe that is the direction of the last episode. We finally saw several major characters die - Varys, Jamie, Cersei, Mountain, Hound - and it looks like more are to come.

All in all, a terrific episode. The absolute terror of a dragon on the loose was palpable. There was a lot going on in terms of politics, when to use WMDs and more.

It made up for a lot of other things earlier in the season.

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