SPOILERS. AND POSTING ONE DAY LATE, AGAIN.
I beg to disagree. This episode is not the battle of the bastards. What we saw are three battles. Actually, we saw three conversions. What engaged me with this episode is not the battle itself, although admittedly I felt the same trembling sensation in the battles of LOTR and Braveheart and Spartacus (the TV series). What truly engaged me in this episode is the fulfillment of character promises.
Conversion 1: Daenerys is not her father. She is the Aegon of this generation.
Dany’s scene with Tyrion talking about the Mad King and his wildfire plan is a major turning point in her character narrative. The internet almost broke a couple of episodes ago with theories that Dany is the real villain of the series, given the semblance of her choices with her father, the Mad King. But as I said in my previous blog, this episode in Meereen is the part where we will see how TWO Targaryens work together (#BELIEVE) to start creating the THREE Targaryen dragon head theory.
The theory is not just about the theorized parentage of Jon and Tyrion. The three heads of the Targaryen sigil signifies the golden age of the House, wherein three dragon riders ruled the world. In Targaryen history, the golden age came with Aegon the Conqueror. He who burned enemies and created the Seven Kingdoms of Westeros. He who ruled with his two sisters – Visenya and Rhaenys. And if you read the story of Aegon, the flow is much like Dany’s. There is destruction of a home, a planned conquest, and battles won city after city after city – except for Dorne. (You will appreciate the story of Ageon and Dorne better through this History and Lore episode.)
Dorne here, the unbowed unbent and unbroken, is your Iron Islands. Yarra as queen did not bow, did not bend, is not broken. An agreement between queens creates an alliance of equals, much like the story again of Nymeria of Dorne and Aegon’s sister. This agreement of equals explains why, when Targaryens choose not to inter-breed, they always chose a spouse from House Martell of Dorne.
So nevermind the F***ING NARRATIVE CHEAT (okay, so I do mind) of Dany not just suddenly being able to call and command Drogon, but ALL THREE of her dragons out of nowhere from her story arc development. The more important thing to note is that Dany and Tyrion are shaping up to be the Targaryen rulers as they should be, to bring about the return of their House, in the glorious half of the Song of Ice (we’ll get to this Ice part later; see conversion #3 pertaining to Jon of the North) and FIRE.
P.S. Tyrion’s moment on “Tell them what happened here, when Daenerys Stormborn and her dragons ruled Meereen” gave me chills. It signals the beginning of an actual new rule. Dany the lost and indecisive is no more. Not when Tyrion is by her side.
P.P.S. We all had bad fathers. They left the world worse than how they found it. But we are not our fathers. I LOVE THE GENERATIONAL NARRATIVE. TRANSFORMATIONAL LEADERSHIP. Hit me straight in my heart.
Conversion 2: Sansa is neither Lannister, nor Bolton. She is Queen of the North.
This is an episode of queens. First, Dany. Second, Yarra. Third, Sansa.
Okay, so I never liked Sansa. I actually wish her dead. But the truth is, this battle was never about Jon versus Ramsey. This battle is SANSA versus Ramsey.
The entire episode flow is designed this way:
- Sansa promises vengeance. “Tomorrow you will die, Lord Bolton.”
- Sansa struggles for power, for a voice. And this is significant for the healing of her broken, battered self. “If you listened to me you would have known we need more men… I know Ramsey… No one can protect me.”
- Sansa brings forth the full might of the Knights of the Vale. She looks above the battlefield like a queen, a commander. She watches the Bolton army get decimated. She watches Ramsey flee.
- Sansa stops Jon from beating the sh*t out of Ramsey. Her look says, “THAT BITCH BASTARD IS MINE TO F***ING KILL.”
- Sansa watches Ramsey die. Attempts to leave. Watches again. Leaves. And smiles.
Every woman who has known abuse knows how dramatically empowering such character unfolding means. This is a reckoning of a raped woman. She was playing the game to reclaim her abused self. Sansa is now, by stategy and battle, queen of the North. (Though, I’d vote Lyanna Mormont over her anytime. And yes, it’s a different story if you take the narrative from Littlefinger’s perspective.)
Now, situating in the larger picture, this Stark versus Bolton battle is not just because of the repercussions of the Red Wedding. There is much hatred going on for centuries, because the only outright and historical enemy of the Starks in the North are the Boltons. You can watch the story here. So when Sansa and Jon (who is technically NOT a Stark, but still a Snow), erased the bloodline of the Boltons, this marks the end of the history of the war of these two northern houses.
Conversion 3: Jon is neither a Crow nor a Stark. He is the Lord’s Chosen.
I dare you. Watch the episode again with this thought: This story is how a warrior of God is chosen, and how he has come to believe in his destiny. The episode WILL MAKE SENSE.
Again I say, this episode is not the battle of the bastards. This is Jon’s awakening as the warrior of the Lord of Light. The Azor Ahai. Everything builds up on and to that:
- The scene with Melisandre: If I die, don’t bring me back. I don’t serve you; I serve the Lord of Light. I have no powers; he brought you back. Maybe he brought you back to die again. What kind of god does that? The one that we have. IF THIS IS NOT A RELIGIOUS NARRATIVE I DON’T KNOW WHAT IS.
- Davos and Tormund: Maybe that’s our mistake; serving kings. Jon is not a king. COME ON WARRIOR OF LIGHT.
- Rickon: Okay, the boy has no big story significance, but to Jon’s awakening, he does. Remember that the Lord of Light demands blood offering. The lords burned near the sea. Shireen Baratheon. For Jon’s awakening and battle, it was Rickon. A noble blood offering for the rise of the warrior.
- The stampede: Jon in the darkness. Jon rises and looks at the light of the sky. He looks to the mountain. Help comes. LORD OF THE RINGS, TWO TOWERS, anyone?
What is even more significant for me is bringing back the story of Shireen and Davos. That scene wherein Davos holds Shireen’s toy and looks with anger at Melisandre. Remember my previous blog post about a STAR BLEEDING? And the theory about Melisandre being star? You must get the drift by now; where this entire story build up is going to.
- RIP WUN WUN.
- Tormund is the best. He is charming and I was sh*t scared about his scenes in the battle because he must not die.
- I adore all the references with Roman battle. Infantry tactics and phalanx. The spears and short sword moves. There are articles explaining that the design of the battle was actually patterned after the Roman battle of Cannae. And when you have anything that draws inspiration from Rome, I love.
- Yara Greyjoy and Dany. #LoveWins
- Lyanna Mormont. TWO SECONDS OF FIERCE.
The only thing I cannot muster for now is the realization that there is only one episode left. I still have to figure out what to do to fill the gap the end of the season will create in my life.