Seeing the fury around The Bells baffles me. Are we watching the same show?
Warning: this article contains spoilers.
As Kings Landing burned, and characters whose lives weve been following since season one either fled the carnage or became permanent fixtures in it, the only hotter takes than the one Daenerys unleashed on her would-be subjects were those exploding across the internet.
Some calmly listed inconsistencies. Others wailed about how this episode or the season thus far had retroactively ruined the show forever, because they didnt quite agree with certain things that had happened. Most lay somewhere in between, questioning choices made by writers David Benioff and DB Weiss. Phrases like character arc and fan-service and deus ex machina were bandied about. A surprising number of experts in military history, tactics and dragonry piped up. At the time of writing, a petition to have season eight entirely remade has garnered almost 300,000 signatures. And whispering in the background of all this were those who thought that the episode was quite good, actually. Really good, in fact. These people GoT aficionados as much as anyone, who were wondering if we were all watching the same show were baffled as to where all this furious opprobrium was coming from.
The major sticking point for many was Danys apparent transmogrification into an unhinged tyrant, as if this was something that happened in the space of five sour-faced minutes. Dany has been burning people alive since Mirri Maz Duur in season one, and has scorched her way through the Tarleys, Varys, the slavers, the loot train and scores of others ever since. Her moral unravelling has been glacial, her innate, entitled Targaryen madness always percolating, its worst impulses tamed and feared by Tyrion, Jorah, Varys and, latterly, Jon. Following the loss of her best friend, her ersatz father, two of her children, her squeeze, her rightful claim to her birthright, the adoration of her people and her entire reason to exist, it wasnt much of a stretch to accept that her brittle grip on reason would snap. Graduating from only burning those who deserved it to chargrilling anyone in her way, including allies who would likely soon become foes, was no giant leap. It seemed inevitable. That it occurred in quite possibly the most visceral, visually stunning episode of television ever produced was a welcome boon.