In the latest Send the Ravens ahead of the series finale of ‘Game of Thrones’, we talk about the prophecy Daenerys saw back in season 2 and her actions in the penultimate episode…
By Damon Martin — Editor/Lead Writer
The series finale of ‘Game of Thrones’ is upon us after eight seasons and more than 70 episodes.
There was nearly a two year wait between season 7 and season 8 and the first five episodes of the final season have been met with mixed responses from longtime viewers of the series. Some believe this was an inevitable end while others have complained that the rush to the finish line has sacrificed quality.
The truth probably lies somewhere in the middle because final seasons are probably the hardest trick to pull off when it comes to pop culture zeitgeist like ‘Game of Thrones’. The last time a show got bombarded with this sort of attention was probably when ‘Lost’ came to an end back in 2010 because that series, much like ‘Game of Thrones’ had become appointment viewing and while the final season didn’t take quite as much flack, the last episode definitely got hammered by fans and critics alike.
The reality is it was always going to be nearly impossible for ‘Game of Thrones’ to appease everybody or even get the majority of fans to be on board for what was unfolding. Seven seasons worth of story all unraveling to this point with only six episodes remaining, it was going to be very tough for the showrunners to pull it off in convincing fashion.
The same people who complained that episodes like the first of the season weren’t doing enough to move the story along then complained that the battle between the living and the dead only lasted for 90 minutes. The point being it’s impossible to make everybody happy with an epic story as grand as this one so obviously David Benioff and Dan Weiss told the story that planned on telling no matter how much it got under the skins of some of the fans.
Is that a good thing or a bad thing?
Honestly, it’s neither because a storyteller’s job is to tell the story they intended to tell whether we as the audience like it or not. Would we be even more upset if the final episode ended with the revelation that all of this took place inside the eye of a giant named Macumber as foretold by Old Nan back in season 1?
Perhaps the final episode will conclude this story in such a satisfying way that most people will be satisfied, although it seems highly unlikely given the reaction the rest of the season has received. Either way the conversations surrounding ‘Game of Thrones’ is unlike anything else ever witnessed in pop culture because in this day and age of social media and online interaction, there are millions upon millions of people discussing, cheering, bitching and/or moaning with every episode.
It’s hard to believe there will ever be a snapshot in time quite like this one so remember where you were on Sunday night, May 19, 2019 at 9 p.m. ET because that is the last day and time that ‘Game of Thrones’ will ever air on television.
Like it, love it, or hate it, don’t forget it because there may never be a series that captures our imaginations quite like this ever again.
With that said, let’s get to your ‘Game of Thrones’ questions ahead of the series finale…
— C (@mynameischrisv) May 13, 2019
Back in the season finale of ‘Game of Thrones’ season 2 when Daenerys is walking through the House of the Undying trying to find her kidnapped dragons, she ends up wandering into some sort of vision quest that takes her into the Red Keep in King’s Landing where the Iron Throne is located before she walks through a door that carries her beyond the Wall where she’s briefly reunited with Khal Drogo and their never born son Rhaego.
We mentioned this prophecy in our final season preview because there was at least one key moment that could end up coming true. By all accounts based on last week’s episode, a big piece of that prophecy has played out with slight differences between the dream world and reality.
In the scene where Daenerys walks into the Red Keep, the entire room is covered in snow and ice and the roof of the building has been completely destroyed. The Iron Throne is frozen and snow is still falling through the decayed ruins of the once great Red Keep.
Last week saw Daenerys go into a blind rage where she lit King’s Landing on fire with her ultimate target being the Red Keep — a building erected by her ancestors that was eventually taken away when the Targaryen dynasty came to an end with Robert Baratheon’s rebellion.
Daenerys aims her dragon Drogon directly at the Red Keep as he unleashes his fire to bring the building down, which results in the deaths of both Jaime and Cersei Lannister. More importantly relating to this prophecy, it all but makes that initial vision come true as Daenerys has destroyed the Red Keep and the ceiling has been opened by dragon fire.
So to your question about Jon Snow’s sword.
Well anything is possible but based a quick look at the scene it appears Daenerys is about to touch the Iron Throne when she hears a baby crying, which then leads her through that open gate before she’s reunited with Khal Drogo and their son.
While that sword covered in ice and snow may not be Longclaw, there’s still some symbolism to watch heading into the final episode on Sunday night.
As Melisandre said a season ago, prophecies are funny things and rarely are they just a road map to give anyone who sees them the answers.
This particular prophecy seems to show the ruined Red Keep, which has already come true, but the more important part could be the entire floor covered in ice and snow. Now before this season started that could have been interpreted as the Night King roaming through Westeros, bringing death and destruction to everything and everybody in his wake and this was the remnants of a war he won.
We know now that is not possible because the army of the dead has been defeated and the Night King has been destroyed.
That means if this prophecy is going to come back into play in this final episode, it’s much more likely that Iron Throne and the Red Keep being covered in ice and snow is a forewarning about a coming battle between the dragon queen and her former allies in the Starks to the North. Ever since the first episode of the series we’ve heard the words ‘Winter is Coming’ as much as anything else on this show and that vision that Daenerys witnessed could be a looming fight on her hands now that she’s gone mad and killed hundreds of innocent men, women and children in King’s Landing.
Jon was obviously perturbed by Daenerys’ actions and it’s entirely possible that he will return to the North realizing that he backed the wrong queen. That vision could then give Daenerys the idea that Jon has betrayed her and the real heir to the Iron Throne is coming for her. One of the things that ultimately toppled Daenerys’ father, ‘The Mad King’ Aerys II Targaryen, in the end was his overwhelming paranoia.
It seems entirely possible that could be Daenerys’ undoing as well, especially if she remembers this particular prophecy after finally winning the Iron Throne.
So here’s the thing about Daenerys’ army…
When she came to Westeros, the counts that were previously given were 8,000 Unsullied that she took from Astapor after turning them against their masters. Obviously a number of the Unsullied were butchered and killed in Meereen as Daenerys fought to maintain control over the city after outlawing slavery but again no major battles broke out, so it’s unlikely that the Unsullied suffered major losses although hundreds had to be killed in those fights.
As for the Dothraki, when Daenerys is brought back to Vaes Dothrak and ultimately burns down the house where all the Khals meet before she walks through fire and unites all of the Khalasars under her command, the number in that army is supposed to be more than 100,000.
That’s why Daenerys is so confident upon returning to Meereen to finish off the slave masters because she’s got a Dothraki horde to back her up and the same can be said when she sails to Westeros. Even after losses in battle, the Dothraki probably number more than 80,000 at worst after Daenerys unites them all together under her command.
Now we know that the Dothraki were at the front of the battle lines when the war against the army of the dead began. Their arakh’s were lit on fire by Melisandre before they charged off into the night only to watch all of those lights get snuffed out in a matter of seconds.
The question then becomes did Daenerys actually send all 80,000 Dothraki out to the front lines only to watch them get destroyed?
The easy answer is no — even a conservative estimate would say that there was nowhere near 80,000 men at the front of that line when the fighting began. Did the majority of her Dothraki army get destroyed in that fight? Probably yes but even if a small fraction actually survived, Daenerys would probably still have 10,000 Dothraki screamers still at her command.
The Unsullied didn’t suffer as many losses in the fight because they were positioned behind the trench where the last line of defense was set up to stop the army of the dead from actually making it into Winterfell. Again, the Unsullied obviously suffered massive losses, but again even if that’s half of the total army, Daenerys probably still had 3,000 remaining.
When the Battle of Winterfell is finished before Daenerys plans her invasion, the war council notes the heavy losses she suffered and how her armies were almost equal to those of Cersei Lannister with the Lannister army and the Golden Company backing her up with 20,000 men.
That means conservatively the numbers match up — if she had 10,000 Dothraki and say 3,000 Unsullied combined with the forces from the North, her army was probably around 20,000 to 25,000 strong when she arrived in King’s Landing.
Was there any point in Jamie heading to winterfell at the end of last season? Seems like they only did it so he could hook up with Brienne. #sendtheravens
— Natan Cohen (@NatanCohen17) May 15, 2019
That’s a good question and tough to answer.
In the books, Jaime undergoes a huge character change as well from when we first meet him to the last time we find him on ‘A Dance with Dragons’. He’s still leading the Lannister forces as they fight to take back the Riverlands after an uprising led by ‘The Kingfish’ Brendyn Tully. He also ignores a plea from Cersei to serve as her champion in a trial by combat while she’s fighting against the High Sparrow and his Faith Militant.
The last time we see Jaime in the books, he’s reunited with Brienne of Tarth, who just had her own encounter with the Brotherhood without Banners. They are being led by an undead Catelyn Stark now known as ‘Lady Stoneheart’ who refuses to believe that Brienne is out searching for her daughter Sansa and instead has turned traitor because she’s carrying a Lannister sword (the same one in the series that was forged from the remains of Ned Stark’s Valyrian steel sword Ice).
She gives Brienne the choice to kill Jaime Lannister to prove her loyalty or she will hang. When Brienne refuses to kill him, Lady Stoneheart sentences her to death.
Then Brienne pops up at the camp to find Jaime Lannister when she tells him that she’s found Sansa Stark and she’s only a day’s ride away. The assumption is that Brienne is taking Jaime back to Lady Stoneheart where he will be executed but again there’s no telling what will happen because ‘The Winds of Winter’ has never been released.
That said, Jaime had similar character beats in the show that he did in the books in terms of his transformation over time. The ultimate switch is Jaime abandoning Cersei at the end of last season to go fight for the living against the army of the dead against her wishes. In fact, Cersei then offers to pay Bronn to kill both Jaime and Tyrion for betraying her.
When Jaime left Winterfell bound for King’s Landing, it seemed like perhaps he was on his way there to kill Cersei and put an end to this war before it started. Instead, Jaime was consumed with reuniting with his sister before they eventually died in each other’s arms.
In many ways yes, that felt like it just unmade Jaime’s entire character from the past seven seasons only to put him right back into Cersei’s orbit before they both met their deaths. The only argument to say that’s always who Jaime has been is that he’s never been able to fully break away from Cersei and in the end he knew that she was once again carrying his baby.
That’s a powerful motivator when you know that Daenerys Targaryen is going to show up there with a dragon and an army hell bent to destroy Cersei.
In the end, Jaime was always the brother who loved his sister more than anything else in this world and it calls back to that very first episode when he pushed Bran Stark out of that tower window and said ‘the things we do for love’.
Jaime never stopped loving Cersei and that was ultimately his doom.
The final episode of ‘Game of Thrones’ airs this Sunday night at 9 p.m. ET on HBO and make sure to stay tuned afterwards for our deep dive recap.