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Recap / Game of Thrones S8E5: "The Bells"

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At Dragonstone, Varys is preparing multiple raven scrolls detailing Jon's true parentage, presumably to send to the Lords of Westeros. He's interrupted by one of his Little Birds, who informs him that Daenerys isn't eating, but The Spider just shrugs and says they'll try again the next day. The girl fearfully says that she thinks the Unsullied are watching her, which Varys replies is probably true; their job is to protect their queen. He reminds her that "the greater the risk, the greater the reward", and sends her back to the kitchens (the implication being that Varys is trying to have Dany poisoned).

On the shore, Tyrion watches as Jon arrives, met by Varys, who inquires about the location of the Northern army. Jon asks how Dany is doing and when Varys tells him she isn't accepting food and won't leave her chambers, Jon says she shouldn't be alone. Varys admires Jon's concern for her, but when Jon asks if Varys isn't, Varys says that her mental state has him worried for everyone. He breaks out the old chestnut about "every time a Targaryen is born, the gods toss a coin", but Jon tells him to get to the point. Varys does so, "We both know what she's about to do." However, Jon remains loyal to Daenerys. Varys then spouts a variant of his "men decide where power lies" catchphrase, and when asked what he wants, says that his desire hasn't changed: he wants someone worthy to be the ruler of the Seven Kingdoms. "I still don't know how her coin has landed, but I'm quite certain about yours." Jon again reiterates that he doesn't and never has wanted to rule, causing an exasperated Varys to give a precis of his career as royal advisor and state that Jon will be a worthy ruler, while Dany— Jon cuts him off, angrily responding that Dany is his queen before storming off and leaving the eunuch alone on the beach. Tyrion observes how the conversation went and goes to see Dany.

In the chamber of the Painted Table, Tyrion finds Dany staring mournfully out at nothing, and hesitantly says there's something she needs to know. But she already does: someone has betrayed her. She names Jon, and a shocked Tyrion instead tells her that it's Varys. Dany then points out that the only reason Varys knows the truth is that Tyrion told him, which he would have learned from Sansa, who must have been told by Jon after she begged him not to; ergo, he betrayed her. Tyrion points out that as her Hand, it's important that he knows the truth about Jon, and that as Master of Whisperers, Varys knows, but Dany isn't happy that Tyrion went to Varys first after learning the truth. She then asks why he thinks Sansa told him about Jon, and when Tyrion says that Sansa trusts him, Dany says that yes, she does: she trusted Tyrion to do exactly what he did, tell someone else, who told someone else, et cetera. Tyrion begs her forgiveness, claiming that all any of them want is what she wants: a better world, but after Rhaegal's and Missandei's deaths, what they intended doesn't matter, something that he and Dany finally agree on.

Varys is in his chamber still scribbling away, when he hears a noise outside. He burns the scroll he's currently writing on and removes several of his rings, then looks down calmly at the desk as Grey Worm, holding a pair of manacles, and several Unsullied enter. Torch-bearing Unsullied lead him down to the shore, where Tyrion, Jon, and Dany are waiting. Tyrion and Jon's faces are inscrutable, but Dany, more than anything else, looks exhausted. Tyrion walks up to Varys and admits he was the one who told Dany that Varys had told others about Jon's true identity, and Varys simply states that he hopes he deserves the fate about to befall him and that he also hopes he's wrong about Dany. He bids Tyrion good-bye, and Tyrion clasps his arm for a moment before moving off to stand with Dany. Dany then, exceedingly emotionlessly, pronounces a sentence of death for Varys, and Drogon, who was looming unseen behind her, rears up and immolates The Spider, fulfilling the second half of Melisandre's final prediction. Jon stares at the woman he loves and has pledged his loyalty to, looking concerned.

In Dany's chamber, she's holding Missandei's old slave collar; the only thing her friend brought when they came to Westeros. She hands it to Grey Worm, who regards it for a moment before tossing it on the fire. Jon comes in and Dany dismisses Grey Worm. She and Jon start with a brief silence before Dany begins speaking. Dany reminds Jon that she said would happen if he told Sansa, and Jon again states that he doesn't want the Iron Throne. Dany responds that Sansa betrayed Jon's trust and believes Sansa is just as responsible for Varys's death as she is — it only proves that if they know the truth, people will want Jon as a ruler instead: they love Jon, but fear her. Jon declares, "I love you," and that she'll always be his queen. When Dany asks him, "Is that all I am to you? Your queen?" she starts kissing him and Jon gives in, returning the kiss. However, before things can go further, he again stops himself because of their blood relationship. Dany backs off, accepting his choice. "Alright, then. Let it be fear."

In the throne room, Tyrion is again pleading with Dany about the citizens of King's Landing, "The people who live there, they're not your enemies. They're innocents, like the ones you liberated in Meereen." Dany responds, "In Meereen, the slaves turned on the masters and liberated the city themselves the moment I arrived." Tyrion points out that the people of King's Landing are afraid — they know very well what happens to those who displease Cersei, and that expecting them to rebel for an invading army is too much; they're no better than hostages. Dany agrees this is the case, and they're hostages in a tyrant's grip. She says it's not her fault that they are hostages. She says that Cersei has used mercy as a weakness against her but Cersei is wrong, "Our mercy towards future generations who will never again be held hostage by a tyrant." Tyrion looks a little shell-shocked by her new approach, and Dany orders Grey Worm to ready the Unsullied for departure to King's Landing and join with the Northern armies. Tyrion masters himself and makes one last plea: "Cersei's followers will abandon her if they know the war is lost. Give them that chance!" He continues, "If the city surrenders, they will ring the bells and raise the gates. Please, if you hear them ringing the bells, call off the attack." After a moment, Dany nods and orders Grey Worm to wait outside the city for her signal. Dany regards Tyrion with a cool gaze until he bows, and as he walks down the stairs, she tells him that Jaime was captured trying to get back to King's Landing. She warns Tyrion that he only gets one more failure, and he leaves.

Just before sundown outside the gates of King's Landing, thousands of civilians are still streaming inside. Tyrion and Jon are in a rowboat nearing the shore and the encampment of Dany's army, observed by Davos. After they land, Davos informs them that the rearguard is still on the way and won't arrive before daybreak; Tyrion says Dany wants to attack now, but Jon replies that it can't be any earlier than daybreak. Tyrion asks Davos a favor, and Davos rightly guesses he won't like what it is.

True dark has fallen, and a guardsman stops two riders: Sandor and Arya. He demands to know where they're going. Arya plainly states her name and intention to kill Cersei, leaving the guard stunned into silence by her boldness. Sandor advises the man to let them pass; if Arya kills Cersei, that means no battle, no siege, and a chance for him to stay alive. The man protests that he has to tell his captain, to which Sandor says he should as they ride off.

Elsewhere on the beach, Tyrion approaches a group of Unsullied guarding Jaime's tent. He once again tries to speak Valyrian and order them away but fails miserably several times before one of the Unsullied reveals that they speak the Common Tongue. Tyrion tells them to get some rest for the battle, and when challenged about their orders, says that unless those orders came from Dany herself, he outranks whoever gave them. The guards leave, and Tyrion heads into the tent to speak with Jaime. He asks how Jaime was spotted, and a despondent Kingslayer simply holds up his golden hand, admitting that he didn't even think about taking it off. Tyrion can't believe that Jaime is heading back to Cersei only to die, and when Jaime says that Cersei might win, Tyrion cuts him off and flatly states she's going to die in the morning unless Jaime can change her mind. Jaime points out that he's currently chained to a tentpole, but Tyrion has the key. Jaime laments that he's never been able to change Cersei's mind, and Tyrion asks him to at least try, if not for himself or her, then for the innocent citizens. Jaime rather coolly admits that he doesn't really care about the peasantry, but Tyrion points out that Jaime and Cersei do care about one person: their unborn fourth child. Jaime still hesitates, pointing out Dany's losses of men and Rhaegal over the last few weeks, but Tyrion points out that Dany also has him, the only person outside King's Landing with intimate knowledge of the strength and weaknesses of its defenses. Jaime, still in a funk, has accepted his death, but Tyrion begs him to convince Cersei to flee by appealing to their child. The favor he asks Davos is revealed: a small boat is waiting on the smuggler's old approach, and he tells Jaime about the path under the Red Keep which leads to the stairs on the beach, saying they can make it to Pentos and live in safety. He asks Jaime to swear that he'll do it, and Jaime, given this glimmer of hope, does so. Tyrion frees Jaime, telling him that if Cersei agrees to this, to give the order for the bells to be rung and the gates of the city opened. Jaime cautions Tyrion that Dany will kill him for this betrayal, but Tyrion believes that if she can take the city relatively bloodlessly, she might let him off easy and that even if she doesn't, his life doesn't count for much against all the innocents who might die. Before they part, Tyrion tells his brother, "If it weren't for you, I never would've survived my childhood. You were the only one who didn't treat me like a monster. You were all I had." The two brothers embrace for the last time as Tyrion weeps, then he leaves the tent.

From the vantage point of a bell tower, the Iron Fleet can be seen riding at anchor in Blackwater Bay. Ballistas on every ship are being loaded and primed while Euron keeps an eye out for Drogon, as do Lannister soldiers on the walls of the city. Archers take up positions behind the embrasures, and the people scurry inside their homes, closing their doors and shutters. Sandor and Arya have made it inside the city, and blend into the crush of people as easily as they can manage, then Jaime gets inside just as the Golden Company takes up position outside the wall, facing the Stark/Targaryen army. Captain Strickland rides up to the front row as the last straggling Northmen arrive, and Tyrion reminds Jon that if the bells ring, he should call off his men, to which Jon acknowledges before leaving to take his place with the army.

In the Red Keep, Cersei looks smugly down on the city. Sandor and Arya push ahead of a group of people and barely make it into the Keep before the gates are shut, leaving thousands of citizens outside. Jaime is stuck with them; he tries to signal a guard with his hand, but the man doesn't see him, and Jaime forces his way back out of the throng in search of an alternate way in.

On the Silence, Euron suddenly stops his pacing and looks up at the sun, seeing a tiny, winged black object growing larger and larger: it's Dany and Drogon, flying out of the sun near vertically to impair the accuracy of the ballistas. The first bolts are fired and miss, then Drogon is at sea level and turning the Iron Fleet into so much kindling before the operators can reorient for the lower angle of attack. Two passes reduce a good chunk of the ships to cinders, and by varying her speed and altitude, Dany makes Drogon an almost impossible target. She heads for the Silence and Euron wisely abandons his flagship before getting barbecued. Another pass takes out the last of the ship-mounted dragon-killers, and the dragon rider flies towards the city walls at maximum speed. The ballistas, which had all been aimed for an attack from above, are slow to move; too slow, and as they loose their bolts, Dany is still far enough away that she flies Drogon higher and they all miss. The troops rush to reload and reorient, but the time this takes allows Drogon to reach the walls and do what he does best.

Outside the gates, the armies hear noise from within the city. Grey Worm, still seething from Missandei's murder, steps forward, while Harry Strickland and the Golden Company look around, confused about what those sounds could be. They find out a few seconds later, as an absolutely enormous plume of dragonfire blows the gates of the city open from the inside, taking out the entire middle of the Golden Company. The Dothraki and the Unsullied, still thousands strong, lead the charge toward the breached city, and a fleeing Harry is speared in the back by Grey Worm, who retrieves his weapon and proceeds onward, the Northern army following close behind. The Battle of the Blackwater proved that meeting the Dothraki in the open field was a bad idea; now we see that the city streets aren't a much better area, as they cut down Lannister soldiers by the score. In the meantime, Drogon is destroying what few ballista emplacements he missed the first time, then takes a break to roast the Golden Company as they attempt to flee. Cersei, seeing Drogon destroying the only things capable of stopping him, begins to show cracks in her facade of self-assurance. Tyrion walks toward the city through the remains of the Golden Company as Qyburn reports to Cersei that the wall-mounted ballistas have all been destroyed, the Iron Fleet is gone, the gates of the city have been breached, and the Golden Company scattered. But the Queen of the Seven Kingdoms is still defiant: "The Red Keep has never fallen. It won't fall today."

Jon, Grey Worm, and Davos, leading a force of Northmen and Unsullied, enter the city and meet up with the Lannister forces. Both sides are at a standstill and things are tense, with neither side willing to back down — but not wanting to start a final battle. Tyrion gazes up at a bell tower, hoping against hope that Jaime has made it in time. Jaime, meanwhile, is still making his way to the Red Keep, and Drogon flying low over the city to perch on a rooftop is enough to send the citizens nearby into a panic. His furious roars bring the Lannister men to the realization that the war is lost, and one by one, they throw down their swords. Men and women alike begin calling for the bells to be rung, and Dany observes the city from dragonback. In the distance, Dany sees the Red Keep, unknowingly facing off with Cersei, who is looking right at Drogon. Tyrion begins to fear the worst but then... the bells begin to ring! King's Landing has fallen with minimal casualties, mainly the loss of the Golden Company and Euron's fleet. Jon and Tyrion both breathe sighs of relief while, in the Red Keep, Cersei closes her eyes in defeat.

However, Dany, black-clad and with her face streaked with soot, becomes more and more overcome as she looks at the Red Keep until her face twists into an expression of molten rage. Making her decision, she urges Drogon into the air again as Tyrion looks on in shock. Cersei sees the dragon coming for her, but it doesn't... Instead, Dany flies lower and begins to attack the city streets, to Tyrion's horror. Whether those running for their lives are Lannister soldiers or innocent civilians is irrelevant to Daenerys; all perish to her wrath and the flames from the dragon's maw. As Drogon's flames hit behind the Lannister troops, Grey Worm likewise snaps and impales the first man who surrendered with a perfect spear throw. The reality of what's happening begins to dawn on a horrified Jon and, as the Northmen join the battle, Jon tries to stop his men from participating. Grey Worm shoots a Death Glare at Jon and seemingly considers doing something about this, but then decides his time is better served by killing Lannister soldiers and begins applying himself to this task with great efficiency. The Lannister forces, realising there will be no mercy, desperately start fighting like cornered rats, and Jon reluctantly fights to defend himself from attacks as the Northern-Targaryen alliance unleashes its full fury on the city.

Drogon continues to criss-cross the city from the outside in, and Cersei finally realizes she might have pushed Dany too far. As disorder overwhelms the streets, Jon keeps trying to get his men to stop attacking while Davos tries to usher as many citizens as he can to safety, but the army's blood is up and they begin slaughtering indiscriminately. A shell-shocked Jon fights his way through the chaos and horror. He stops one of his men from raping a woman. The man tries to attack Jon, who kills him and warns the woman to hide. Drogon finally heads right for the Red Keep and begins to bring it down piece by piece. Chunks of stone fall on the beach underneath it, where Jaime has finally managed to reach the hidden entrance to the Red Keep. But then Euron shows up, having swum to shore. Jaime tells him they have to get Cersei out of the city, but Euron simply says that it's too late for that and challenges Jaime to a fight, saying that if Jaime kills another king, they'll sing songs about him forever. Jaime snarks that Euron isn't a king, but Euron points out that fucking a queen technically makes you a king, and offers to bring Jaime's decapitated head to Cersei for one last kiss. Faced with this distraction so close to his goal, Jaime lashes out, but though he only has a knife, Euron is good enough to be a match for the off-handed Kingslayer. Drogon is still taking out the Red Keep a pass at a time, and one tower falls into the bay near Jaime's and Euron's fight. Euron cuts Jaime's arm and they disarm each other before punching and grappling, then Jaime gets in a good hit to the throat with his golden hand that knocks Euron off him. They struggle again as Euron reaches for his knife, but though Jaime drags him back, he manages to grab it and stabs the Golden Lion in the left side. Jaime falls to his back as an exhausted Euron does the same.

Qyburn worriedly informs Cersei that the Unsullied have breached the Red Keep's gates and advises a now-weeping Queen that Maegor's Holdfast is the safest remaining place. As he leads her out of her chamber, we see King's Landing burning in the background, with Aerys's remaining wildfire caches being ignited by the flames. A bloodied Euron compliments Jaime for giving him a good fight, then Jaime spots his sword and crawls toward it. Euron shakes his head in disbelief, and just as Jaime grabs the hilt, stabs him again, this time in the right side. But Jaime isn't done; he knocks Euron down and runs him through, twisting the blade to ensure his quick death. "Another king for you," Euron spits. "But I got you! I got you! I'm the man who killed Jaime Lannister," he gloats as Jaime staggers off.

Sandor and Arya have reached the Map Room. Witnessing the devastation that Drogon is inflicting on the city and the Keep and realizing that this type of environment is no place for a girl with so much to live for, Sandor tells Arya to head North, return home and forget her revenge. Cersei could fall to any number of factors: fire burns her alive, one of the Dothraki cuts her down, or maybe Drogon will reach the Queen and eat her alive. No matter what the outcome, Cersei will end up dead, but if Arya sticks around to try and kill her, all that will do is get her killed. Arya stubbornly protests that she's going to kill Cersei anyway, but Sandor grabs her roughly. "You think you wanted revenge a long time? I've been after it all my life. It's all I care about and look at me. LOOK AT ME!" The Hound is as close to begging as he can get, trying to make Arya understand what his vendetta has cost him: "You want to be like me?" He takes her gently by the head and says that if she comes with him, she's as good as dead, then walks off as she realizes he's right. Fighting back tears and panting slightly out of fear as she realizes that another one of her friends is about to die, Arya musters the courage to call out to her former enemy turned companion one last time, addressing him as 'Sandor'. She sincerely thanks him, not just for changing her mind and saving her life (both literally and figuratively) but for all the times he's been there for her. Sandor simply nods, gives a small, sad smile, and heads off towards his fate, towards Gregor.

Cersei, Qyburn, and her Queensguard are heading down the staircase, then Drogon blows a hole in the roof, causing a cascade of masonry that kills most of the Queensguard while Gregor shields Cersei and Qyburn with his body. Sandor shows up in the aftermath, cordially greeting Cersei as "Queen", then cuts down the three other surviving Queensguard before sarcastically saying hello to Gregor. Whatever individuality left inside Gregor awakens and his pure hatred for his brother boils to the surface. He begins to walk towards Sandor, but when Cersei begs him to stay near her, he turns a baleful, red-eyed gaze on her. Ignoring his Queen's orders, he starts again towards Sandor. This time Cersei commands Gregor to stay, with Qyburn even trying to give the behemoth orders next. This pushes Gregor over the edge, and Cersei learns firsthand that some psychopaths just can't be ordered around when Gregor slams Qyburn against the wall, splitting his skull open, before tossing his body down the staircase, landing once again on his skull on the sharp debris below. Cersei is stunned as her once former bodyguard has turned against his "creator". As Sandor and Gregor face off, Cersei decides to high-tail it out of there herself. The Hound ignores Cersei as she walks past him and Qyburn's corpse. "Cleganebowl" begins as Sandor gets in several hits before Gregor can draw his sword, then one blow knocks off his helmet, revealing his face now: corpse-pale, black-veined and rotting. Sandor is hardly surprised since now his brother's outsides match his insides. "Yeah. That's you. That's what you've always been." Gregor draws his sword and begins his own attack, his heavy blade cleaving into pieces of stone.

Cersei, nearing hysteria, has reached the Map Room, where she finds Jaime, somehow still upright after two abdominal wounds, waiting for her. The sibling lovers lock eyes before Cersei breaks down completely, simultaneously terrified by what's happening and overjoyed to be reunited with him. She realizes that he's badly wounded, but they manage to take comfort in each other's presence as he leads her off. On the staircase, Sandor and Gregor remain locked in combat, only Sandor's great strength letting him stay in the fight against the seemingly unkillable monstrosity. Slashes don't slow The Mountain down, being run through bothers him not a bit, with Gregor's response to this being a backhand that knocks Sandor down twenty-some stairs. He pulls Sandor's sword from his gut, then removes his shredded tunic and begins to walk slowly towards his enemy. Sandor can only chuckle as he realizes how outmatched he is in hand-to-hand combat, then Gregor reaches him and begins to lay the smackdown.

Outside, Arya has made it back into King's Landing proper, and finds herself horrified by the carnage: assassinations she knows; death she's seen, but this is the youngest Stark daughter's first experience of what a dragon can really do, and she is left with only one thought: run. She stumbles and is at risk of being trampled by the horde as Gregor pounds Sandor into a pulp, then a woman who she and Sandor pushed past earlier helps her up before they're separated. The crowd runs down a street as a building collapses behind them, while on the stairs, Gregor begins to choke Sandor, who manages to pull his knife and plunge into various parts of his brother's body. "Fucking die!" Sandor yells as the wounds he inflicts have no effect, but Gregor only smirks and Sandor has to laugh again. Gregor begins to push his thumbs into Sandor's eyes, with history threatening to repeat Oberyn's demise at Gregor's hands, but Sandor manages to drive his blade into Gregor's left eye, mirroring the injury just inflicted on him. Blinking through blood and tears, Sandor stares in disbelief as Gregor simply reaches up and tries to pull the knife free, before losing an inarticulate scream of rage and tackling Gregor through the weakened wall, plunging them both to their deaths in the fires below.

In the streets, Jon and Davos are still reeling from the carnage happening around them. They lock eyes, seemingly reaching a silent agreement. Jon sheaths Longclaw and orders his men to fall back, while he and Davos take what citizens they can save with them. Arya, covered with dust and blood from her most recent brush with death, wakes up in the middle of yet more carnage and having suffered another head wound. With her mouth full of dust, she looks up to see one of the bell towers crumbling and narrowly misses getting caught by the debris. Sobbing behind a safe corner, she sees a group of citizens — well, refugees would probably be the more accurate term now — including the woman who saved her earlier. Arya commands them to follow her to safety, avoiding a few lingering Dothraki on the way, but the woman is cut down. As Drogon descends from above to strafe the city with fire again, Arya tries to get her to safety, but her injuries are too severe, and she instead orders her daughter to go with Arya. But the girl refuses and runs back, only to be consumed in a rush of dragon-fire that nearly catches Arya as well. Beneath the Red Keep, Jaime and Cersei have reached the secret passage, which is now blocked by tons of rubble. In futility, Jaime looks around for another way out, but it's too late. Cersei is reduced to sobbing as the realization hits her that she has truly lost everything: her kingdom, her armies, her city, and very soon, the lives of her unborn child, her twin brother, and her own. She cries out for her twin brother to do something, pull a miracle out of thin air, and save their lives, but Jaime knows better. Resolved to their fates, Jaime comforts his twin sister, his poisonous, hateful, toxic sister that he just can't get away from, and tells Cersei to look at him, only him, that no one else matters but them. They embrace one final time as the tunnels cave in on them, resulting in their deaths.

Ash floats down from the sky upon Arya, who unsteadily gets to her feet, stunned by what she's seen in the last hour. Blood, ash, and dirt caking her face, she staggers down the ruined street, seeing the charred corpses of the woman and her daughter. Then she looks up and, out of nowhere, a lone white horse has appeared. She slowly approaches it and grabs the bridle before mounting it and riding out of the city, traumatized from the pointless death and destruction she had to experience first hand at the hands of her brother's former lover and disgusted by the new "Mad Queen", who now is steps away from taking what she has always wanted since the series start: The Iron Throne...


  • Affectionate Gesture to the Head: Sandor strokes Arya's hair in their last conversation as he tells her he doesn't want her to end up like him.
  • Alas, Poor Villain: Despite everything she has done over the course of the show, watching Cersei break down in tears when she realizes she's lost and tearfully telling Jaime that she doesn't want to die can be rather saddening.
  • All for Nothing:
    • Tyrion's last-ditch attempt to prevent a slaughter by releasing Jaime so he can get Cersei to surrender fails miserably. Jaime gets caught outside the gates of the Keep and has to take a long detour to the beach so he can use the secret passage, and is further delayed by Euron.
    • All the effort, sacrifice, and advice to steer Daenerys away from becoming her father's second coming come to naught as she burns down the city as he once raved. Slightly deconstructed as the loss of so many people is precisely what hardens and enrages her.
  • Ambiguous Situation:
    • Varys is seen composing letters revealing Jon's true identity. Did he have time to send any out before he was executed?
    • Who ordered the bells to be rung? Cersei is never shown giving the order, just staring at Drogon in the distance. Did she do so off-screen, or did her soldiers take the initiative? None of that is made clear, not that it matters in the end.
  • Answer Cut: One of the mooks on the sea-facing walls loads the ballista to aim at Drogon and yells out, "Fire" only for Daenerys to immolate him immediately.
  • Apologetic Attacker: At Varys's execution, Tyrion looks him in the eye and tells him, "It was me," affirming that he was the one who told Daenerys about his betrayal.
  • Armor Is Useless: The Hound stabs The Mountain through his chest plate and out the back. It doesn't really matter too much since The Mountain is pretty much impervious to damage.
  • Armor-Piercing Question: Sandor hits Arya with an effective, and much-needed one, right before they part ways for the last time.
    You think you wanted revenge a long time? I've been after it all my life. It's all I care about... and look at me. LOOK AT ME! ...Do you want to be like me?
  • Asshole Victim: Meh. Qyburn had it coming.
  • Attempted Rape: Jon stops one of the Northern soldiers from raping a woman during the battle. When the soldier refuses to stop, Jon is forced to kill him. However, Jon can't be everywhere and other scattered shots make it clear that plenty of it is going on elsewhere.
  • Audience Surrogate: Arya right in the ground zero of Drogon's attack gives the audience someone they can care about instead of a bunch of anonymous civilians.
  • Aw, Look! They Really Do Love Each Other: Despite sending a hired mercenary to kill Jaime, Cersei is overjoyed when he turns up at her Darkest Hour.
  • Bad Boss: Daenerys warns Tyrion that should he fail her again, that will be his last. It sets the tone that she has gone completely Mad Queen.
  • Badass on Paper: The Golden Company and the Queensguard (formerly the Kingsguard).
    • The Golden Company is completely unable to deal with the threat a dragon poses. Their line and leadership are destroyed by Dany and Drogon before they can even swing a sword. The Northmen and Unsullied mop up what's left. This also applies to their lack of war elephants or cavalry, neither of which are present in the battle.
    • The Queensguard are supposed to be elite warriors. However, they had already begun to suffer a decline in membership with Lannister "yes men" like Meryn Trant being chosen. The Hound (and Bronn) thought very little of Trant as a fighter. Without a two-handed Jaime, Ser Barristan, and Sandor himself in their ranks, The Hound easily cutting down what remains is understandable. The undead Ser Gregor is more than enough of a challenge, though.
  • Bait-and-Switch: Tyrion tells Daenerys that the sign for surrender is the city ringing the bells and opening the gates, to which she seemingly assents before telling Grey Worm to wait for her signal and he'll know what to do. In context, perhaps the signal is a sign to begin the attack or siege, but it's implied that said signal towards Grey Worm is for him to start an indiscriminate attack and butcher anyone the allied forces come across.
  • Beauty Is Never Tarnished: Averted; there is no shortage of good looking people who get absolutely wrecked by the end of this episode, most notably Arya, who ends the episode caked in ash, grime, and blood and with several nasty wounds she earned trying to escape from Daenerys' rampage.
  • Be Careful What You Wish For:
    • Cersei executed Missandei just to spite Daenerys and goad her into a battle, which Cersei believed she could win because Euron shot down Rhaegal. In this episode, Daenerys demonstrates that Cersei only survived as long as she did because Daenerys wasn't willing to mount a full-on siege of the city. Drogon annihilates the Iron Fleet and the city itself while Daenerys's soldiers indiscriminately murder anyone they can find.
    • In a dark fashion, Tyrion's rage-fueled speech at his trial about how he should have let Stannis sack King's Landing for its citizens being Ungrateful Bastards gets a darker twist when Tyrion is, unwittingly, party to Daenerys doing just that. He also wished to have enough poison to kill his entire family - and now his entire family is dead, in part because he helped Daenerys.
  • Bare-Handed Blade Block: Not exactly bare, but Gregor catches Sandor's sword with his gauntlet.
  • Big "NO!": After snapping out of his Heroic BSoD, Jon shouts one of these while trying to stop the Northerners from joining in the massacre.
  • Bittersweet Ending: With so much emphasis on the "bitter" part that it's only marginally not a Downer Ending. Queen Cersei and her court are all killed, but Daenerys has established herself as something even more terrifying by laying waste to King's Landing, throwing out her earlier plans of making a better world in favor of satisfying her own vengeance. Sandor gets his revenge against his brother Gregor and Jaime manages to reconcile with Cersei, but both die as the Red Keep collapses. Jon and Arya both survive but are left traumatized by the horrors they have seen.
  • Blinded by the Light: Daenerys launches her first attack run on the Iron Fleet from out of the sun, which is diffused by clouds but still bright enough to prevent the scorpion gunners from aiming properly.
  • Bloody Horror: There are some extremely gory shots of the Northerners carving up surrendering Lannister troops; beheadings, cutting off hands, cleaving men in twain...
  • Body Horror:
    • When Gregor takes off his armor during his fight with Sandor, his body is visibly rotting, with many open sores.
    • The back of Qyburn's shattered skull can be seen after Gregor turns on him.
    • Like with "The Spoils of War", a number of unfortunate Drogon victims are shown horribly burned and deformed, with many of them still alive and screaming.
  • Book Ends:
    • Cersei and Jaime entered the world together as twins, and here they die together.
    • The current Mountain, Hafthor Julius Bjornsson, was introduced shirtless back in Season 4. In his last episode (this one) he's shown shirtless again... and it's not a pretty sight.
    • Sandor Clegane is the last of the Brotherhood Without Banners to join them, and the last to die, but he takes Gregor Clegane to his death. Ser Gregor's rampage in the Riverlands was the incident that led Ned Stark, Hand of the King to the late King Robert, to commission the group that went on to become the Brotherhood, also taking revenge for Beric Dondarrion's multiple deaths at the hands of The Mountain. Sandor not only died fulfilling his personal crusade but the Brotherhood's original mission while avenging Dondarrion, and Ned Stark's major legacy in his time as Hand of the King.
  • Bottomless Magazines: Drogon never seems to run out of fire. Then again a dragon's means of creating fire are likely magical anyway.
  • Broken Pedestal:
    • A nonverbal one for Jon. His expression as innocents start dying left and right shows that his love for Dany blinded him to her Sanity Slippage. It's only when she starts massacring everyone that he realizes she's not the beacon of light, hope, and compassion he thought was going to "break the wheel." She's the Mad Queen.
    • This now applies to Tyrion as well since he now realizes he sacrificed his best friend and big brother for nothing to a monster he thought would save the world.
  • Bullying a Dragon: Cersei realizes in this episode that she should never have antagonized Daenerys when Daenerys proceeds to brutally massacre King's Landing and all of its residents, regardless of whether they are soldiers or not. "Waking the Dragon," indeed.
  • Call-Back:
    • Jaime is once more chained to a tentpole, as in Season 2. When Tyrion frees him, he mentions how he never expected to be able to return the favour of Jaime setting him free.
    • The last time so many people died by dragonfire was during Aegon's Conquest, where Aegon, Visenya, and Rhaenys burnt the Gardener/Lannister coalition in the Field of Fire. The main difference is that those were soldiers while Daenerys is killing indiscriminately. Never has a dragon targeted a city, even during the Dance of the Dragons, though it's known that the threat of Aegon burning down Oldtown was what led House Hightower to surrender the city and personally crown Aegon as King.
    • Arya sees the charred horse figurine still clutched in Nora's daughter's hand. It is reminiscent of Ser Davos finding the charred stag figuring confirming Shireen's horrible death.
    • Jon preventing one of his own men from raping a woman during the battle echoes when Sansa was almost gang-raped during the King's Landing riots and rescued at the last minute by Sandor.
    • As well as Daenerys trying to stop the Dothraki from raping the women of Lhazar when they were sacking it. It goes to remind us how much she used to care about commoners.
    • The shot of Drogon's shadow passing over King's Landing is the same as the vision Bran Stark had back in Season 6.
  • Canon Discontinuity: The City of King's Landing was established to have had a mountain flanking it on Season 6, spilling towards the coast. In this episode, the city appears completely flat.
  • The Cameo: Aaron Rodgers is briefly seen fleeing from some of Drogon's fire by running into a side passage, but it doesn't end well for him.
  • Character Death: Varys, Qyburn, Euron Greyjoy, Harry Strickland, Gregor Clegane, Sandor Clegane, Cersei Lannister, and Jaime Lannister all bite the dust in this episode.
  • Child Soldier: A youthful Lannister soldier is shown urging the civilians to safety.
  • Collapsing Lair: The Red Keep for the latter half of the episode. As Jaime and Cersei hold each other, they die together as it collapses on top of them.
  • Continuity Nod: The green explosions that appear from time to time while the city is burning are presumably the remaining hidden wildfire caches going off. Not that it really matters at this point.
  • Contrived Coincidence: Euron jumps ship when Dany attacks the Silence and happens to wash up miles away on the same shore Jaime is on so they can have an impromptu duel to the death.
  • Contrast Montage: There's a Darkest Hour montage that cuts between Arya being trampled underfoot by a panicking crowd and Sandor getting the worse of his battle with Undead Gregor.
  • Convection, Schmonvection: Tyrion and the Unsullied guards appear to be standing a bit too close to Varys when he's burnt by dragonfire.
  • Create Your Own Villain: As Weiss and Benioff explain in Inside the Episode, Daenerys' despair-fueled rage is driven in part by the schemes of Sansa and Varys, both of whom suspected the worst of her at the time she was doing her best to meet them halfway, with Daenerys even giving Varys a second chance after masterminding one assassination attempt on her. Instead, they stoked her paranoia, confirmed her deepest suspicions and fears — i.e. people will betray her, and her mercy will be spat on.
  • Curb-Stomp Battle: Even though Daenerys is thought to be vulnerable after losing two dragons, she proves them wrong by using Drogon to single-handedly sink the Iron Fleet, decimate the defenses of King's Landing, and lay waste to the city with the defenders being powerless to stop her. It's shown that even on her own, she would have taken the city without the need for infantry, though she can't sack the city on her own... causing her infantry to simply mow down anyone left.
  • Death from Above: Unlike past episodes that involved dragon-riding, once Dany starts her full-on assault of King's Landing, viewers are treated almost exclusively to a civilian's perspective on the streets. It makes Drogon's attacks much, much more terrifying.
  • Death Glare:
    • Daenerys slowly hardens her face into an incredibly terrifying version as she perches atop Drogon and glares daggers at King's Landing with her patience withering moment by moment until she snaps.
    • Grey Worm gives one to Jon's back when the latter objects to the senseless slaughter of the smallfolk, with the implication that he might kill Jon for betraying Dany's trust and blocking her claim to the throne. A Lannister soldier attacking Jon forces Grey Worm to back off... for now.
    • When Cersei orders Gregor to defend her rather than fight Sandor, he turns to face her, giving her a baleful look that also shows off the fact that his eyes are completely blood-red now.
  • Death of a Child: Several babies are seen being carried by their parents before Drogon torches them. Cersei's unborn child, assuming she didn't lie about them, perishes along with her in the Red Keep.
  • Deliver Us from Evil: Subverted. Tyrion holds on to hope that Cersei will surrender to spare the life of her unborn child. Jaime points out that some of Cersei's worst crimes were done to protect what she saw as her children's interests; having an heir on the way will just make her cling to the throne all the more ruthlessly. Cersei remains delusional about her success until the city's defenses have been laid to waste, the people of King's Landing demand she ring the bells, and Dany refuses the surrender, beginning to burn the city.
  • Despair Event Horizon:
    • The death of Missandei, her closest friend from Essos, sent Daenerys deep into depression, having not eaten in days or leaving her room out of grief. What pushes her over the edge is a combination of the rage and desperation of battle fatigue, discovering that Varys is plotting against her, learning that Sansa betrayed Jon's secret when Jon told his sister the truth despite Dany's pleas for him to stay silent, Jon loving Dany but being unable to give her the intimacy she needs because of their blood connection, and the feeling that she'll never get the love of the people. It all leaves her simmering in a state of rage where she decides to take no prisoners when invading King's Landing, sparing neither soldier nor civilian.
    • The episode is one long crossing for Cersei, although she doesn't fully reach that point until she realizes that her only exit has been blocked off by all the rubble. She breaks down and tells Jaime she doesn't want her or their child to die.
  • Didn't See That Coming: Cersei didn't think Daenerys would go all in and sack King's Landing, so when she does so, Cersei literally cannot believe it, insisting the Red Keep won't fall even as Daenerys burns the city and attacks the Keep. Qyburn gets her to see reason and flee.
  • Disc-One Final Boss: Cersei and her forces are killed just one episode before the finale, leaving Daenerys to take over as the final Big Bad.
  • Disney Villain Death: The Mountain suffers this fate courtesy of his brother tackling him off the Red Keep into the fires below.
  • Disproportionate Retribution: Dany roasts the smallfolk in King's Landing for not turning against Cersei even though Tyrion argued that they are too afraid of Cersei to rebel. Considering that the smallfolk openly cheered Euron's parade with the captured Yara and the Sand Snakes in Season 7, it's possible that Daenerys's intelligence on that matter is better than his.
  • Dramatic Unmask: We see Gregor Clegane without his helmet in the light in all his horrific glory.
  • Dropped a Bridge on Him: Gregor smashes Qyburn's head in for suggesting that he stay with the queen, in what is easily the most sudden demise of the episode.
  • Duel to the Death: The Clegane brothers engage in their long-coming final battle. It ends in a Mutual Kill when Sandor tackles Gregor off the Red Keep.
  • Dying Moment of Awesome: Sandor tackling Gregor out of the Red Keep and to their deaths.
  • Evil Is Not a Toy: Qyburn and Cersei finally learn why empowering Gregor was a bad idea when he deserts them to fight his brother, killing Qyburn in the process.
  • Eviler than Thou: Dany pulls this off towards her father Aerys and Cersei. Aerys wanted to blow up King's Landing to deny Robert victory but never gets the chance thanks to Jaime. Cersei blew up the Great Sept to claim victory. Dany razes King's Landing to the ground after her victory, simply to make an example of them for the sake of her envisioned future conquests.
  • Evil Versus Evil: On one hand, we have Cersei's regime which has no trouble killing hundreds of people with wildfire and using civilians as meat shields. On the other, we have Daenerys and the forces loyal to her who massacre innocent civilians and yielding soldiers even after they have surrendered.
  • Eye Scream:
    • Gregor tries to press Sandor's eyes like he did Oberyn. He manages to get Sandor's left eye before Sandor returns the favor with a knife.
    • Gregor's only weakness in his revenant undead state. He cannot be killed by stabbing and feels no injury, but stabbing him through the eye socket (and brain) disorients him, presumably because his brain is the only part of his body that is still living. This allows Sandor to tackle him into the fires below before he can recover.
  • Face Death with Despair: When she realizes the Red Keep is closed and she has no chance of getting out alive, Cersei is reduced to crying.
  • Face Death with Dignity: Varys does not resist when the Unsullied come for him. He claims that he hopes he is wrong and thus deserving of his punishment, bids Tyrion farewell, and does not show any resentment towards Tyrion over his decision to inform Dany of Varys's actions.
    • After realising their escape route out of the Red Keep is blocked by rubble, Jaime accepts his impending death and spends his last moments trying to console Cersei in their final moments.
  • Face–Heel Turn:
    • Daenerys, whose sanity finally snaps after everything she has suffered this season, decides that if the people will never love her, they will come to fear her instead and burns King's Landing to the ground.
    • Grey Worm, still reeling from the loss of Missandei, massacres the surrendering Lannister armies as revenge for her death.
  • Fallen Hero: Consider that two episodes ago, Daenerys personally played a major role in helping to prevent the extinction of the human race. By the end of this episode, she has become what amounts to a mass murderer and looks on her way to becoming yet another ruthless, insane tyrant who feels the people are there to serve her, just like Cersei, Joffrey, and her father before her.
  • Fantasy Conflict Counterpart:
    • According the production team, the set designs showing the destruction and aftermath of Daenerys's attack are based on historical documentation and photographs showing the Allied Bombing of Dresden during World War II.
    • Arya walks through a cloud of ash then flees a collapsing tower, bringing to mind 9/11.
  • Feel No Pain: Gregor doesn't react to anything Sandor throws at him. Getting stabbed in the eye only disorients him briefly.
  • First-Name Basis: For the first time in the whole show, the Hound is called by his first name. In a tender moment, Arya calls him Sandor and thanks him for steering her away from a life defined by vengeance.
  • Five-Second Foreshadowing: If you watch the background as Jaime and Cersei hold each other, you can see the wave of the collapsing vault come toward them.
  • Foreshadowing:
    • At the end of Season 7, Jaime warned Cersei that betraying the alliance against the Long Night, if the latter survived, would result in them coming back down south to kill 'em all out of hatred and vengeance for being bystanders who showed Callousness Towards Emergency, while profiting off the sacrifices made by the alliance. How right he was.
    • Tyrion grimly warned Tywin after the Red Wedding that the northerners would never forget nor forgive that atrocity. Now the Northerners exact bloody and brutal payback for that (and a lot more) on the administrative heart of the Lannister regime.
    • Several seasons ago, Maester Aemon lamented (to Jon) that "A Targaryen in the world all alone is a terrible thing." Ostensibly, this refers to Daenerys being the Last of Her Kind, but it takes on another meaning now that Dany has lost almost all of her inner circle of support, culminating with Jon rebuffing her romantically, and snaps mentally.
    • Going back to Season 1, King Robert warned Ned Stark about the horrors that Daenerys would bring to the Seven Kingdoms. This episode proves him horrifically right.
    • Olenna told Jaime moments before her death in Season 7 that Cersei, "is a disease. She'll destroy you." And indeed, Jaime's love for his psychotic twin proves too powerful for him to ever break free of, despite trying to become a better person and his love for Brienne, and he dies in the arms of the woman he loves, just like he told Bronn he wanted to do in Season 5.
    • Arya does leave Sandor to die as she said in the previous episode, albeit for entirely different reasons than last time.
    • Daenerys warns Tyrion "The next time you fail me will be your last", which is very similar to Darth Vader's "You Have Failed Me for the last time". By the end of the episode, she is as much a villain as Vader.
  • Free-Fall Fight: The Hound and the Mountain are locked in a Duel to the Death amidst the collapsing Red Keep, which culminates with Sandor charging his brother Gregor through a brick wall in a final attempt to kill him. They continue fighting all the way down until they're both engulfed by a sea of dragonfire.
  • From Bad to Worse: Cersei loses the battle categorically, but little does she know that this would be the least of her worries, as Daenerys starts burning down the city with everyone in it, both soldiers and civilians. Sure, Cersei was intending to use the refugees at the Red Keep as meat shields, but to Daenerys, the whole city was the meat shield.
  • Go Out with a Smile: Euron Greyjoy led a life of chaos and brutality, bedded a Queen, and mortally wounded the legendary Kingslayer. His last moments in life are quite content and thoroughly satisfied. In fact, despite dying one could argue that Euron was the only one who was happy in this episode.
  • The Guards Must Be Crazy:
    • Sandor and Arya flat-out tell a Northern guard that they're passing through their lines because they're on a mission to kill Cersei. When he waffles and talks of calling for his Mook Lieutenant, Sandor tells him to go ahead and just pushes past him.
    • Tyrion relies on the ingrained obedience of the Unsullied to order them away from Jaime's tent. As long as it wasn't Queen Daenerys herself who ordered them to guard the prisoner, he knows that as the Queen's Hand he greatly outranks whatever Mook Lieutenant did give the order.
  • Helmets Are Hardly Heroic: Grey Worm gives up his helmet (and his shield) for this battle, probably because he no longer cares if he dies so long as he can take down as many of Cersei's army with him. It's also implied that he just gave up on all the ceremony that comes with being a soldier.
  • Heroic BSoD: Jon briefly has one of these as he watches his fellow northerners follow Grey Worm's lead in massacring surrendering Lannister soldiers, before snapping out of it to try and stop the carnage.
  • History Repeats:
    • Aerys Targaryen could only watch helplessly as Tywin Lannister and his army sacked King's Landing. Now Cersei, a Lannister monarch, can only watch in horror as a Targaryen returns the favor.
    • Like their fathers before them, Daenerys's and Tyrion's once-close relationship as monarch and their respective Hand falls apart due to, like her father, Daenerys growing more hostile, paranoid, and brutal in her methods of problem-solving.
    • Combined with Ironic Echo. Cersei dies under similar circumstances as the remaining members of House Reyne of Castamere, besieged and trapped underground while their lair collapses around them. The perpetrator of the collapse of the Red Keep is Daenerys Targaryen; the perpetrator of the drowning of the Reynes was Tywin Lannister. Curiously, Cersei also dies like the scheming Ellyn Reyne (her expy and the cause of Tywin's rampage against the Reynes and Tarbecks), as Tywin set fire to Tarbeck Hall with her inside. And finally, she dies like Elia Martell, as King's Landing is being burned and sacked when its ruler lost the war they were fighting.
    • The last time King's Landing was sacked, Eddard Stark had a major falling out with Robert Baratheon when the latter seemingly condoned the brutality the Lannisters used to take the citynote . Now Eddard's nephew Jon likewise abandons his alliance and his relationship with Daenerys out of disgust at the brutal massacre she instigates.
    • Daenerys's attack to King's Landing is reminiscent of the Dragon's Wrath, in which Aegon and Visenya Targaryen bathed Dorne in flames, in part to Make an Example of Them. Even the motivations are similar in that both events happened after the loss of a loved one and a dragon.
    • Daenerys blasts the city from the back of Drogon with fire while her soldiers follow behind her in massacring any trying to escape. Centuries before, her ancestor Maegor the Cruel used a similar tactic in his war with the Faith Militant (he attacked the Faith's headquarters in King's Landing, the Sept of Remembrance, by using Balerion the Black Dread to blast the sept from the air with fire, then his soldiers, who'd surrounded the Sept beforehand, killed any survivors trying to escape the flames).
  • Hoist by His Own Petard: Alas poor Qyburn, killed by the corpse he reanimated. Doubles as an Ironic Death.
  • Hollywood Tactics: Two episodes after the Battle of Winterfell, we again see an army array itself outside the fortifications that they really should be inside. Given the fact that only the Golden Company deploys outside the walls, a possible explanation is that Cersei wants to put the expensive mercenaries to good use as soon as possible. It's irrelevant this time, as tactics are pretty much useless when Dany can just fly around on Drogon and scatter the lines.
    • Averted with Dany's attack on the Ironborn fleet, as she makes great use of attacking down from the sun to prevent the ballistae gunners from getting a good shot on her.
  • Hope Spot:
    • The bells ringing suggest that no more bloodshed will be required... and then Daenerys decides that it's better to be feared than loved, and sets fire to the civilians and soldiers of King's Landing. Meanwhile, Grey Worm attacks the surrendering Lannister men, forcing both armies into a desperate face-off.
    • Jaime manages to find Cersei and get her beneath the Keep to the secret passage that will lead to the shore, only to find the passage has collapsed.
    • Arya leaves the Red Keep having been dissuaded by Sandor Clegane from killing Cersei, only to be faced with the hell Daenerys is dispensing upon King's Landing.
  • "I Know You're in There Somewhere" Fight: Turns out there is enough of the old Gregor in there to override whatever Qyburn did to him.
  • In the Back: A vengeful Grey Worm kills several Lannister soldiers by spearing them from behind, even if they're running or have already thrown down their arms.
  • I Regret Nothing: Euron dies with a smile on his face, happy to have told Jaime that he cuckolded him, inflicted a mortal wound on the famous Kingslayer, and sowed a bunch of chaos in his life.
  • I Reject Your Reality: As the battle quickly goes south for her, Cersei loses her grip on reality. She keeps insisting her forces will turn the tide, despite Qyburn repeatedly pointing out any military forces she has left are either destroyed, dead or fighting for their lives. When Drogon is literally burning the Red Keep down around her, she desperately clings to the idea that the Keep is the safest place in the city. She can't even convince herself of this lie, however, and gives in to his insistence that they need to evacuate.
  • Idiot Ball:
    • A self-acknowledged one. Early in the episode, Jamie Lannister finds himself identified and captured by Daenerys' soldiers. When Tyrion asks how he managed to get himself spotted so easily, Jaime glibly shows off his golden hand. Tyrion then asks why Jaime didn't consider removing his hand during his travels, which leads to him quipping that "Cersei always said I was the stupidest Lannister." This one is particularly bad because when Jaime travelled to Winterfell at the end of Season 7 for the first time, he was conspicuously shown having the wits to cover up his golden hand with a glove for that exact reason.
    • Varys's plan to assassinate Daenerys at this juncture makes no sense. Cersei hasn't been defeated or King's Landing taken yet, and the major part of Daenerys's forces are loyal to her personally, not because of her bloodline, and will not follow Jon as the next person in line for the Iron Throne unless they (and he) can be convinced that she was not killed by Varys and to take up the fight against Cersei in her name, which they would have be very gullible to fall for. There is a very high risk of unleashing two uncontrolled armies and one uncontrolled dragon on the Seven Kingdoms to pillage and burn. Varys has had no assurance of a place for himself in Jon's court or that Jon would accept the throne even if the lords of Westeros rallied for him. The northern lords would support Jon, but the southern ones have no reason to believe Varys's letters about his identity and would be likely to see it as a Northern power grab. And if Jon learned that Varys was responsible for Daenerys's death, he would execute him. In short, this is an unrealistic plan for a character who is supposed to be both clever and a master of self-preservation, and is contrived so that Daenerys can slide further down the slippery slope due to Varys's betrayal.
  • Instantly Proven Wrong: Cersei is told that the scorpions have been destroyed, the Iron Fleet is burning, and the Golden Company has fallen. Undeterred, Cersei insists the Lannister soldiers will fight to the last man to defend their queen. Right after this, the Unsullied/Northmen soldiers confront the Lannister soldiers inside the city, and the Lannisters lay down their arms when faced with the overwhelming might of a dragon stacked against them.
  • Irony: In spite of being built by the Dragon Kings to specification, the Red Keep is by no means dragon-proof and collapses from the damage made by Dany's attacks. The Red Keep also happens to be only the second castle in Westeros ever to fall to dragonfire, behind Harrenhal 300 years before, in an act that cemented the might of the Targaryens in the first place. The attack also presumably destroys the prized Targaryen dragon skulls kept in storage in the dungeons, which were ordered to be stored by Robert Baratheon, the man who deposed the Targaryen dynasty in the Seven Kingdoms.
    • In the previous episode Jon told Sansa "If not for Daenerys, we would be undead marching towards King's Landing". The Northerners didn't become undead, but they did march towards King's Landing - and inflicted almost as much destruction as the undead would.
  • Is That the Best You Can Do?: Daenerys is shown to become unsatisfied with her relatively easy victory, and deeming that Cersei hasn't paid and suffered enough with her categorical defeat, she goes berserk on the citizens of King's Landing. Her wrath certainly wasn't satisfied with so little.
  • I Warned You:
    • Varys warns Tyrion and Jon about what Daenerys is about to do, and they don't listen. Indeed, just as Varys warned, Daenerys burns the city to the ground.
    • Daenerys warned Varys that should he try and betray her, she would execute him. She fulfills her promise here.
    • Daenerys tells Jon that she warned him what would happen if he told his sisters the truth of his parentage. The fact Sansa went straight to Tyrion who passed that information onto Varys, setting in motion the events leading up to his planned betrayal and execution proved her right that if the information got out about Jon, others would seek to exploit it.
    • Tyrion tells Jaime that King's Landing will fall and no one will be able to do anything about it; indeed, King's Landing falls and is burned to ashes by Daenerys, and no one was able to anything to stop her.
    • Back in their last conversation, Jaime warned Cersei that the Golden Company and the Lannister forces wouldn't be enough to stand up to Daenerys' armies, and that if the Northern-Targaryen alliance managed to defeat the Night King, the survivors would almost certainly come south to seek revenge for the Lannisters effectively leaving them to die against the undead. He's proven right when the Golden Company are scattered by Drogon and the survivors cut down in the confusion, followed by the Lannister army being overwhelmed and slaughtered once the walls of King's Landing are breached and Dany makes it clear no quarter will be given.
    • Tyrion previously warned Tywin the northerners would neither forgive nor forget the atrocities the Lannisters committed to win the War of The Five Kings. He's proven right as the Northern forces slaughter any Lannister soldier they can get their hands on (and plenty of innocent civilians caught in the middle) in retaliation.
  • Inelegant Blubbering: At the last moments of her life, Cersei is reduced to tears of desperation by the destruction of the city, while Jaime tries to console her as the Red Keep collapses on top of them.
  • Impaled with Extreme Prejudice:
    • What sets the massacre of surrendering Lannister forces in motion is Grey Worm dropping a Lannister soldier with a thrown spear.
    • Sandor impales Gregor with his sword early in their fight. Gregor brushing it off is the first indication that killing him (again) is going to be a near-impossible task.
    • Jaime finishes the fight with Euron by skewering him with his sword and leaving him to bleed out.
  • Ironic Echo: Just two episodes ago, the greatest threat in Westeros was a merciless monarch with a dragon, which he used to destroy the army created to keep him at bay then blow a giant hole in the wall that was protecting the innocent population from him. Now, the greatest threat in Westeros is a merciless monarch with a dragon, which she used to destroy the army created to keep her at bay then blow a giant hole in the wall that was protecting the innocent population from her.
  • It Has Been an Honor:
    • Tyrion's last exchange with Varys before the latter is executed by Daenerys for conspiring against her is both men wishing each other farewell on friendly terms.
    • From daydreaming about killing him and leaving him to die, when Sandor tells Arya to ditch her revenge plan and go home, Arya has this to say:
  • It's Personal:
    • The northerners join in the carnage unleashed by Daenerys, despite Jon's orders to stop, because after years of the Lannister-led regime in King's Landing inflicting atrocities on them (Ned's execution, the Red Wedding, the rule of Roose and Ramsay Bolton), the northerners want payback with interest. Likewise, these were veterans of the Long Night who stared down the undead invasion for the sake of everyone in Westeros, including the residents of King's Landing who did nothing to stave it off. Jaime himself pointed out that should the Crown not hold up to their bargain, they can expect a punitive expedition driven by righteous anger and vengeance at the lack of gratitude.
      Jaime: If the dead win, they march south and kill us all. If the living win and we've betrayed them, they march south and kill us all!
    • This is the motivation behind Dany's decision to burn the city down as Cersei looks on in horror.
      Dan Weiss: I don’t think [Dany] decided ahead of time that she was... going to do what she did. And then she sees the Red Keep, which is, to her, the home that her family built when they first came over to this country 300 years ago. It’s in that moment, on the walls of King’s Landing, where she’s looking at that symbol of everything that was taken from her, when she makes the decision to make this personal.
    • This is implied to be one of the reasons Grey Worm starts to attack the unarmed Lannister soldiers.
  • I Will Only Slow You Down: After being wounded by a Dorthraki screamer, a woman urges Arya to leave her and take her daughter to safety. The daughter insists on running back for her mother whereupon both get killed by dragonfire.
  • Jerkass Has a Point: The Hound points out to Arya that her assassinating Cersei isn't going to make any difference at this point: Cersei is definitely dying today in any event.
  • Karmic Death:
    • Gregor Clegane gets killed by being hurled into a blazing inferno by the same brother whose face he burned as a child.
    • Qyburn gets his head smashed in by the same knight he vivisected and turned into an undead abomination.
    • Cersei, who started her reign by destroying the Sept of Baelor with wildfire with her enemies inside, ends her reign as the Red Keep is destroyed by dragon fire with her inside (though she technically dies from collapsing rubble, not the fire). She had spat on Ned Stark's mercy when he offered her a time window to go into exile in Essos, and now just when Tyrion and Davos had arranged that Last-Second Chance for Cersei to exit the game of thrones, she finds her path blocked by a cave-in inches away from safety, all for spitting on Daenerys's mercy.
    • The entire Lannister army got their just desserts. After decades of brutalizing people and committing war crimes left and right, they are mercilessly and brutally slaughtered, even after they all surrender.
    • Cersei and Jaime die during a sacking of King's Landing (like their dad did to Aerys), trapped underground (like their dad did to the Reynes) while their smoldering keep falls on top of them (like their dad did to the Tarbecks). Tywin cemented the might of the Lannisters with those actions, and under the same actions, his own beloved children die. The Rains of Castamere that drowned the Red Lions this time fell upon their drowners, the Golden Lions themselves.
    • Euron dies smiling, as he is the man that killed Jaime Lannister. However, he dies with no one to witness it, and Jaime actually dies after being crushed under the collapsing dungeons of the Red Keep, not from the injuries Euron gave him. For all it's worth, he just might as well died in the burning of the Iron Fleet; a great satisfaction after achieving a whole lotta nothing.
  • Karma Houdini Warranty:
    • After eight seasons of always managing to squirm her way out of the consequences of her stupidity and malice, Cersei finally ends up — in short order — defeated, trapped, and dead.
    • Euron, likewise, has been wreaking havoc unopposed since his first appearance. Here he finally has his fleet burned to cinders and quickly thereafter gets bested in a fight and left to die.
  • Kick the Dog:
    • Daenerys snaps and starts burning down the city after the battle is all but won and the enemy armies have surrendered.
    • Grey Worm hurling a spear at a surrendered Lannister soldier right after Daenerys begins her rampage, basically ordering his Unsullied to start attacking everyone in the city, civilian or not.
  • Know When to Fold 'Em:
    • The Lannister mooks within the city lay down arms after Daenerys has ravaged the outer walls and her dragon is roaring at them from above. They're forced to fight anyway when Daenerys decides she isn't accepting surrender and begins to burn down the city, which convinces Grey Worm to spear the nearest mook and continue the slaughter.
    • Though Qyburn has to impress upon Cersei how screwed they are several times, he does eventually get her to realize that the battle is lost. It's much too late for her to escape, however, and she dies with Jaime beneath the Keep.
    • Arya gives up on hunting Cersei at the urging of the Hound, who notes that Arya would only be sacrificing herself for an outcome that is practically guaranteed without her intervention.
  • Last Words: Varys says his last words to Tyrion before Daenerys executes him:
    "I hope I deserve this. I truly do. I hope I'm wrong. Goodbye, old friend."
  • Laughing Mad: Sandor laughs twice as his brother is beating him to death. He sees that no matter what he does, nothing is even slowing the big guy down.
  • Leave No Survivors: After the bells start ringing to signal the city's surrender, Daenerys flips out and decides to level all of King's Landing to make an example of the city, proceeding to burn it down with her dragon while her Unsullied, Dothraki, and Northern armies wipe out any remaining pockets of Lannister soldiers and start killing, plundering, and raping across town.
  • Lightning Bruiser: Drogon is not only big, powerful, and dangerous, he's also quick and lithe. Moving quickly from the side walls on the coast of King's Landing to destroying the city's gates from the inside and opening a breach for Dany's forces.
  • Love Cannot Overcome: Despite truly loving Daenerys, Jon can't overcome his discomfort at the incestuous nature of their relationship now he knows they're related. His inability to give her some form of intimacy and affection she desperately wants is implied to be another thing that pushes Daenerys over the edge.
  • Machiavelli Was Wrong: After experiencing no love from the people of Westeros, with even Jon having become afraid of her, Daenerys decides that she's going to rule through fear rather than love. All of her councillors advise her against this, but she has Varys burnt and Tyrion threatened into submission before proceeding to sack King's Landing.
  • Made of Iron:
    • Even after getting stabbed in the stomach and across the thorax, Jaime manages to get to Cersei seemingly without any issue and only dies after the Red Keep crumbles on top of them.
    • Gregor shields Cersei with his body when the Red Keep starts crumbling around them, shrugging off the impact of stone blocks as big as himself effortlessly. Justified in that he's a zombie who feels no pain.
    • Euron shrugs off his ship exploding in his face and then swims about five miles to the nearest shore. Not only is he not injured, he still has enough stamina left to engage in a fight with Jaime... and proceed to mortally wound him even after getting his windpipe crushed by the latter's metal hand.
    • Sandor gets thrown around by his monstrously strong, zombified brother, smashed into a wall, punched in the face, stabbed and Gregor tries to crush his head ala Oberyn, but Sandor keeps getting back up.
  • Major Injury Underreaction: Jaime walks quite well after his fight with Euron, despite having at least one lung punctured.
  • Make an Example of Them: Daenerys' rampage of King's Landing is a clear example to everyone in the realm, from the North to Dorne, as to what should happen to any and all who spit on her mercy and refuse all her polite overtures.
  • Meaningful Background Event: Jaime and Cersei are trapped underground while hearing the distant collapse approaching slowly. Cersei starts crumbling down while Jaime does his best to console her. As he embraces her, the dungeons behind them start caving in as the damaged Red Keep collapses, reaching them in a matter of seconds.
  • Meaningful Echo: Sandor tells Arya, "Look at me!" just as he did to Sansa in Season Two, forcing both Stark girls to look the truth in the face - that the world is built on killers, and that Vengeance Feels Empty, respectively.
  • Mirroring Factions: The Northern army is no more averse to raping and pillaging than those from the south, even if their lord is an honorable man. One of them even attempts to kill his lord when his raping attempt is stopped. This is shown in earlier seasons, like when en-route to King's Landing with Jaime, Brienne comes across a party of Northmen serving Robb Stark who have just executed innocent farmers.
  • Missed Him by That Much: Arya and Sandor Clegane enter the Red Keep mere seconds before the Lannister guards close the gates behind them, and less than a minute before Jaime is shut out.
  • Mook:
    • The Lannister soldiers in the city are quickly run over by the Dothraki, with the Unsullied and Northmen picking off the stragglers. The main force further in surrenders rather than face a hopeless battle, and when forced to fight are overwhelmed by the superior alliance forces.
    • The Golden Company also doesn't fare very well, mostly because Dany ambushes them by blowing up the main gate, allowing her army to easily overwhelm the confused and scattered survivors. The ones not near the gate fall victim to Drogon's flame on subsequent strafing runs.From the books... 
    • Sandor makes short work of every Kingsguard not named Clegane.
  • Mook Horror Show: The majority of Dany's carpet bombing on King's Landing is shown from the perspective of the unfortunate Lannister soldiers down on the streets... and the innocent civilians caught in the crossfire.
  • Mutual Kill:
    • Sandor grabs Gregor and hurls them both together off the Red Keep's battlements several hundred feet in the air and into the inferno below.
    • Euron stabs Jaime through the lungs several times before Jaime gets a lucky hit in and kills him with a stab to the stomach. In a twist, while this certainly would have killed Jaime eventually, he and Cersei instead die together when the ceiling of the catacombs collapses on them.
  • My God, What Have I Done?: Several characters show this:
    • Tyrion and Jon both seem horrified at the fact their loyalty to Daenerys has made them complicit in her destruction of an entire city and large parts of its population.
    • Cersei likewise is caught completely off guard that all her efforts to goad Daenerys into a blood-soaked assault on King's Landing that would result in the deaths of thousands succeeded.
  • My Hovercraft Is Full of Eels: When talking to the Unsullied guarding Jaime, Tyrion once again fails to speak proper Valyrian, trying to say "I want to speak with the prisoner" and instead saying "I drink to eat the skull keeper". He tries several more times to get it right, before the baffled guard finally admits that he speaks the Common Tongue.
  • Nice Job Breaking It, Hero: Daenerys points out to Jon Snow that Sansa's underhanded scheming led to Varys' death, saying she's as much Varys' killer as Dany is. Jon can only respond that he told Varys he didn't want the crown. The Inside the Episode also has Benioff and Weiss claiming that Sansa's petty schemes played a part in hardening and radicalizing Dany in this episode.
  • Nightmare Face: We finally see Undead Gregor without his helmet in full daylight.
    Sandor: Yeah, that's you. That's what you've always been.
  • No-Sell: Sandor Clegane is one of the best warriors in the show, yet NOTHING he does even slows his Frankenstein's Monster brother Gregor down. It's an utterly hopeless battle and Sandor ends up beaten down relentlessly.
  • Not Good with Rejection: Dany with Jon. While Jon tells Dany he loves her and gives into sharing a kiss with her, he stops himself again as he is still unable to give Dany the intimacy they previously shared because of their blood ties. Dany takes this as a sign of betrayal and edges closer to her breaking point.
    Jon: I love you. And you will always be my queen.
    Dany: Is that all I am to you? Your queen?
  • Oh, Crap!:
    • Tyrion and Jon when Dany burns the city in spite of its surrender.
    • Cersei when she sees Drogon break off from razing the city in the direction of the Red Keep.
    • Harry Strickland survives Dany's attack by the skin of his teeth, only to be faced with a wall of Dothraki, Northmen, and Unsullied careening towards the city. He tries to run, but Grey Worm lances him in the back, killing him.
    • The Lannister forces, when they realize that despite their surrender, they will be butchered to the last man regardless.
  • Personal Horror: Jon's and Tyrion's reactions to having helped Dany.
  • The Power of Love: Tyrion frees his brother even knowing that Daenerys will execute him for doing so, because Jaime was the only one who loved him as a child.
  • Put Them All Out of My Misery: Daenerys, after having lost so much upon coming to Westeros, decides that the people will have to accept her by fear if not by love, and uses the people of King's Landing as an example of what's to happen if anyone dares cross her again.
  • Rain of Something Unusual: The episode ends with ashes falling down like snow.
  • Rape, Pillage, and Burn: Dany burning the city after its surrendered is seen as carte blanche by her soldiers to commit their own atrocities.
  • Rasputinian Death: Gregor shrugs off an absurd number of mortal wounds, including being stabbed all the way through his torso and getting stabbed through the eye. It ultimately takes falling from several stories high and being engulfed in flames to finally finish him off.
    Sandor: (repeatedly stabbing Gregor in the head) Fucking die!

  • Reasonable Authority Figure: Jon is horrified when Daenerys essentially demands no quarter for King's Landing and desperately tries to stop his own forces joining the Unsullied and Dothraki in massacring the surrendering defenders and civilians. Unfortunately, his men are too caught up in the heat of battle and too eager for revenge against the Lannisters to listen to him. Davos also counts as he tries to direct citizens to safety and both he and Jon withdraw their army rather than be complicit in the atrocity Daenerys is committing.
  • Red Eyes, Take Warning: Gregor's eyes are completely blood red now.
  • Removing the Head or Destroying the Brain: Averted; even a knife through the eye isn't enough to stop Gregor.
  • Revenge Before Reason
    • Daenerys brings fire and blood to King's Landing after the city has surrendered.
    • Averted with Arya, who finally gives up her Roaring Rampage of Revenge at the urging of the Hound. The Hound himself plays it straight however, insisting on killing his brother himself instead of leaving him to be crushed under the collapsing Keep, as he has nothing else to live for.
  • Revenge by Proxy: Daenerys runs amok on the citizens of King's Landing as a way to vent her wrath against not only Cersei, but also on the Westerosi who didn't appreciate her efforts to save them from doom.
  • Roaring Rampage of Revenge:
    • Dany, and especially Grey Worm, let out all of their anger over Missandei's death at anything that moves within King's Landing. Missandei's last words were, of course, "Dracarys", and both of them honor her Dying Curse on King's Landing with interest.
    • The Northern troops, after having been subjected to years of betrayals and atrocities at the hands of the Lannisters' rule and not being given any help in the battle against the Night King's forces, let loose all the vengeful rage they've been holding inside.
  • Rule of Symbolism:
  • Scenery Gorn: The aftermath of the massacre, with large parts of the city collapsed and in flames, dead bodies littering the streets, ash falling from the sky like snow...
  • Screw This, I'm Outta Here:
    • After Gregor demonstrates he's not taking orders from her anymore, Cersei quickly flees rather than getting caught up in a Duel to the Death between Gregor and Sandor.
    • After seeing what Daenerys is truly capable of, Jon and Davos decide they won't be complicit in her war crimes and abandon the assault on King's Landing, taking the northmen and as many of the city's civilians as they can to safety with them.
  • Self-Fulfilling Prophecy: Varys attempts to put Jon on the throne instead of Dany out of concern that she's too unstable and would be bad for the realm. Finding out Varys betrayed her only causes Dany to further harden herself and unleash her wrath on the city. The "Inside the Episode" by Benioff and Weiss both admit that Dany's actions were a last minute action driven in part by her reaction to Varys and Sansa's scheming.
  • Series Continuity Error:
    • Jaime claims to Tyrion that he doesn't care at all about the smallfolk, which goes against his defining characterization moment when he sacrificed his honor to kill Aerys and save 500,000 innocents from dying. He also asked Brienne what would she have done if her precious Renly commanded her to kill her own father and stand by while thousands of men, women, and children burned alive. Perhaps he's much more jaded now, but it's a notable contrast either way.
    • Contrary to what Cersei says, the Red Keep has fallen before. During the Dance of the Dragons civil war, it fell thrice: once to Queen Rhaenyra (and her dragons), once to the riotous common folk of King's Landing, and a third time when the so-called King Trystane was sold out by his followers in exchange for pardons. Even more obviously, it was also stormed by Lannister men including Gregor Clegane (who's standing right behind Qyburn when Cersei says this) when Tywin sacked the city during Robert's Rebellion, which occasioned Gregor's infamous rape and murder of Elia Martell and her children.
    • Davos, born and raised in King's Landing's Flea Bottom slum, specifically says in the episode "Blackwater", "I've never known bells to mean surrender." Initially this episode presents ringing the bells as a personal signal Tyrion had devised in the hope that Jaime would ring it in time to negotiate a peaceable surrender but once Jaime fails to do that, the entire city cries out to ring the bells as if this was an established custom, directly contradicting what Davos had said in Season 2.From the books... 
  • "Shaggy Dog" Story:
    • Arya's quest to murder Cersei ends anticlimactically, with Sandor even Hanging A Lampshade that the Keep is already in ruins and Cersei will be dead soon if she isn't already. Sandor ends up convincing Arya to give up on her revenge as, at this point, she would just be wasting her own life for nothing.
    • The woman and child we follow throughout the course of the battle who eventually team up with Arya, only to be torched by dragonfire.
  • Single Tear: Arya does this during the carnage being wrought upon the city by Dany. Cersei when she realises she's lost the battle.
  • Sleeves Are for Wimps: Inverted; the Mountain's cuirass falls apart, but the armor on his arms remains intact.
  • Surprisingly Realistic Outcome:
    • Jon desperately tries to stop his troops from joining the massacre, but the northerners are not inclined to be merciful after years of countless atrocities inflicted on the people of the North by the Lannister-led regime, as well as leaving them to fend for themselves against the Army of the Dead.
    • War rape is a very depressing reality across history that is extremely hard to avoid even among the most disciplined forces, but it's often common during violent and brutal conquests like the one in King's Landing.
    • When Arya protests Sandor trying to send her away before she can kill Cersei, he points out that all the destruction going on is likely going to kill her anyway and Arya will only get herself killed as well if she keeps pressing forward.
    • Daenerys uses the sun's glare, low-altitude flying, and high speed to burn the Iron Fleet and destroy the scorpion ballistae, which are markedly cumbersome to aim; making the scorpions bigger and more powerful also made them unwieldy. It also shows that Rhaegal was struck down in the previous episode because Daenerys was flying at leisure, so it was like a Cessna-vs-Fighter-Jet situation. Drogon also has a lot more practical battle experience than either Rhaegal or Viserion had, and is being directly guided by Daenerys. Euron was able to take down Rhaegal because he took him by surprise. Against a more battle-hardened dragon and his rider, who both know what they're doing, the Iron Fleet didn't stand a chance.
    • Cersei might have some level of skill when it comes to political intrigue and Evil Plans, but at the end of the day she's a noblewoman without any military training. Thanks to her alienating Jaime at the end of the previous season, and then sending Bronn on a mission to assassinate him and Tyrion (which resulted in them buying him off by offering him Highgarden), she no longer has any experienced military commanders (with the likely exception of the Golden Company's leader, who ends up dying in the opening minutes of the battle) to call on. As a result, whereas having a more experienced person in charge of defending King's Landing might have resulted in them putting up a decent struggle and then at least buying time for the civilian population to escape, we end up with the defenders on the losing side of a Curb-Stomp Battle, and then the populace being utterly butchered by Daenerys and her forces.
  • Tainted Veins: Gregor has got plenty of these, many of them visible as Sandor cuts more of his armor away.
  • Take Care of the Kids: Implied when Arya is trying to evacuate a mother and a child, and the mother gets too injuried to keep running, after being trampled by the Dothraki and by soldiers. Knowing her chances of survival at this point are non-existent, she tells Arya to take her daughter with her and leave her behind. However, when Arya is trying to drag the little girl to a safe place, she gets free and runs back to her mother, and the two of them are killed by Drogon's fire.
  • Taking You with Me: Sandor, nearly dead from Gregor's beating, tackles his brother out of the Red Keep and into the inferno below, winning the fight at the cost of his own life.
  • Tampering with Food and Drink: Implied Trope. It's heavily hinted that in the first scene of the episode, the child that visits Varys is informing him that she was unable to poison the Queen's food because, first, there's too many eyes upon her, and second, the Queen is refusing food.
  • Tempting Fate: One of the mooks on the sea-facing walls loads a ballista to aim at Drogon and yells out, "Fire!" only for Daenerys to immolate him immediately.
  • Then Let Me Be Evil: After suffering from one long Trauma Conga Line throughout the season, losing her children and dear friends, her lover no longer wishing to be intimate with her, finding out her claim to the Iron Throne is no longer secure, and continuing to get no respect from an ungrateful populace, Daenerys decides enough is enough and "wakes the Dragon" on King's Landing. This is best exemplified with a quote from her at the start of the episode, when she feels that the people don't love her:
    "Let it be fear."
  • The Oner: The camera follows Arya trying to navigate to Flea Bottom for over a minute.
  • "The Reason You Suck" Speech: Sandor delivers a short but brutal one to Gregor after knocking the Mountain's helmet off and revealing the rotting, monstrous visage underneath.
    "Yeah. That's you. That's what you've always been."
  • Thicker Than Water: Even after all the evils she dispensed upon him, Tyrion does not want Cersei to die the horrible death Daenerys has planned for her, so he sends Jaime her way. It's all for naught in the end, as the Red Keep falls on top of the two.
  • This Cannot Be!: Cersei is deep in denial that she's losing this badly. Qyburn finally convinces her that all is lost.
  • Thousand-Yard Stare: Arya definitely has one after surviving Dany's assault on King's Landing.
  • Together in Death: Jaime and Cersei embrace as the Red Keep collapses on top of them. There are also civilians that died in the path of Drogon's fire holding onto each other.
  • Token Good Teammate: By the end of the episode, only Jon, Tyrion, Davos, and to a certain extent Arya are the only people in Dany's faction who can still be considered good. This is most apparent with Jon, who during the height of the massacre at King's Landing attempts to stop one of his own men from raping a woman and was forced to kill him when said soldier attacks back.
  • Too Dumb to Live:
    • Jon yanks one of his soldiers off a woman he was intending to rape, shouting at him to stop. Instead of following the orders of the Warden of the North (one of his own leaders), the soldier tries to attack Jon, which forces Jon to kill him in self-defense.
    • Qyburn really should have used a bit more caution when Gregor indicated he would prioritise his hatred for Sandor over defending Cersei. Unfortunately, he presses the matter and unceremoniously gets his skull cracked open by the Mountain.
  • Tragic Keepsake: The only item Missandei left behind was her slave collar. Grey Worm throws it in the fire.
  • Trash the Set: After eight seasons of King's Landing and the Red Keep being a constant setting on the show, the second-to-last episode sees both burned to the ground. We won't be watching the nobles scheme here anymore.
  • True Final Boss: Despite being set up as the final antagonist of the series with the Night King's death, Cersei is killed in the penultimate episode and Daenerys, whose sanity is now completely gone, becomes the series' final villain.
  • Truth in Television: Daenerys's torching of King's Landing sadly has a lot of historical basis in real life. In medieval war custom, defenders were given one chance to surrender; if accepted then the city would be merely occupied with minimal loss of life, but if refused then the siege began and if the attackers took it they had every right to completely destroy the city and slaughter the population, as it would "encourage" surrounding cities to surrender as well. The Mongols practiced this to the letter (though being Mongols such city slaughters were relatively rare), and the Romans also had a practice that presupposed that once a battering ram touched the wall or gate, none of the occupants were to be taken alive, not even as slaves - perhaps the most famous city to fall this way was Carthage, which was completely erased from the face of the earth; the siege of Masada also resulted in this, though the Jewish defenders knew what fate awaited them and didn't want to give the Romans the satisfaction).
  • Turned Against Their Masters: Ser Gregor, as Qyburn (like all Mad Scientists) finds out to his cost. It's also evident that if Cersei had done anything other than walk away, she'd be joining him.
  • Turn Out Like His Father:
    • The last order of Mad King Aerys was to "burn them all" in regards to the people of King's Landing, due to him seeing them all as traitors for not loving and supporting him. Fortunately, his order was never carried out. Now finally his daughter and last surviving child personally carries out the order without hesitation or a single shred of mercy. This is even punctuated by Drogon's inadvertent detonation of the remaining wildfire caches under the city that the Mad King had placed there decades ago.
    • Tyrion has found himself in the exact situation his father was in during the reign of Dany’s father. He is the Hand of an increasingly unstable monarch whose relationship with him is getting colder by the day.
    • Although Ned is technically not Jon's father, Jon ends up witnessing unspeakable, morally corrupt crimes from the person he chose to follow, just like Ned witnessed Robert justifying and celebrating the butchery done against Rhaegar's family during the rebellion.
    • Speaking of Jon, he ends up having to fight a war that he did not want, but he took part in causing and in the service of a mentally unstable ruler, just like Rhaegar did for Aerys.
  • Undying Loyalty: Despite the fact that he realizes long before she does that they can't win, Qyburn stays by Cersei's side, trying to convince her to flee rather than saving himself. And his last act ends up being trying and failing to force the Mountain, Cersei's last remaining soldier, to stay loyal to her.
  • Unfriendly Fire: Narrowly averted. As Drogon's fire begins to set the remaining wildfire caches ablaze too close to the Stark forces, Jon shares a look with Davos, and the two seize the chance to get their men to stop the ongoing sack and abandon the city with as many civilians as they can.
  • Utopia Justifies the Means: Daenerys invokes this to Tyrion, arguing that her plan to obliterate King's Landing, regardless of the fact Cersei is essentially holding the city hostage, will be worth it if such actions prevent a similar event taking place in the future. She privileges "future generations" over present ones.
    Daenerys: Your sister knows how to use her enemies' weaknesses against them. That's what she thinks our mercy is. Weakness... But she's wrong. Mercy is our strength. Our mercy towards future generations, who will never again be held hostage by a tyrant.
  • Vengeance Feels Empty: Sandor tells Arya that she deserves better than to live a life of revenge, noting that his quest to kill his brother never brought him anything and gave him nothing to live for.
  • Villain Ball:
    • Dany could have easily just flown to the Red Keep to dispose of Cersei without necessitating much more bloodshed against an army that had already surrendered, but she instead takes a detour to burn King's Landing to the ground to prove why she should be feared if she can't be loved. She has nothing to prove — this is after spectacularly blasting right through the city wall, barbecuing the Golden Company, destroying all the dragon-killing ballistas and turning the Iron Fleet into so many funeral pyres for Euron's sailors, all in full view of the civilians.
    • The fight between Euron and Jaime itself is pointless from the get-go as Euron gives no justification and has absolutely nothing to gain from picking a fight, as ultimately the two of them have the same goal at that moment. Furthermore, Euron has Jaime beaten but doesn't finish him for some reason, preferring to gloat instead, giving Jaime the chance to kill Euron.
  • Villainous Breakdown:
  • War Is Hell: For the first time in the series, an on-screen battle spills into civilian territory, with appropriately-horrifying scenes of civilians being massacred by Targaryen forces and burned alive as Drogon lays waste to the city. Arya's dust-covered face conjures an all too familiar hellish 9/11 imagery also.
  • We Hardly Knew Ye: Harry Strickland appeared in two episodes, had hardly any speaking lines and is nothing but ashes and bone before the viewers knew a thing about him other than "leader of the Golden Company."
  • Wham Episode: Dany has become the Mad Queen, burning King's Landing to the ground. Everyone in Cersei's court is dead.
  • What Happened to the Mouse?: Last we saw of Ellaria Sand, Cersei had her locked up in the Red Keep to watch her daughter die. Was she still in the Keep when Dany destroyed it?
  • While Rome Burns: Euron's fleet has been utterly destroyed, the battle is hopelessly lost, and he's lost everything he'd hoped to gain. None of it seems to bother him all that much, as he attacks Jaime with his usual jolly ferocity.
  • White Stallion: Arya finds a white horse (which could be that of Harry Strickland, the captain of the Golden Company) amidst the flaming ruins of King's Landing and rides away with it.
  • Why Won't You Die?:
    • Sandor stabs Gregor over and over to no effect, and finally screams "Fucking die!" at him.
    • Euron's exasperated reaction to Jaime continuing to move despite being stabbed multiple times evokes this.
  • The Women Are Safe with Us: With Daenerys' forces butchering innocents across the city, Jon witnesses one Northerner trying to rape a woman and commands him to stop, being forced to kill him in self-defense when he attacks him. However, Jon can only do so much and the other Targaryen-aligned forces are preying on civilians everywhere else.
  • The Worf Effect: The Golden Company for all their reputation are helpless against a rampaging Drogon, as are the ballista operators.
  • Would Hurt a Child: There are easily thousands of innocent children and infants in King's Landing, but this doesn't stop Dany from indiscriminately torching every corner of the city she can reach. Seen firsthand when Arya tries to evacuate a mother and child, but they're quickly attacked by a Dothraki horseman, nearly trampled by more soldiers, and then finally immolated by Drogon's flames.
  • You Are Too Late: Jaime is mere seconds too late to get into the Red Keep through the main entrance. Any attempt he may have made to get Cersei to surrender was doomed the moment those doors closed.
  • You Can't Kill What's Already Dead: Sandor does his damn best to fight his undead brother Gregor, but the latter keeps no-selling being stabbed anywhere at all, even casually pulling a sword out of his gut to continue fighting. It takes being stabbed in the head to even stagger Gregor, which is just long enough for Sandor to rush Gregor and tackle both of them into a fiery abyss to finally kill him.
  • You Have GOT to Be Kidding Me!: When Euron draws a blade on Jaime, making it clear that in the midst of the fall of the Lannister regime, the razing of King's Landing, and the wholesale slaughter of every last person within the city walls, he just wants to finish their long-running Cock Fight, Jaime's reaction is pure this.
  • You Have Failed Me: Dany tells Tyrion if he fails her again, it'll be the last time.
  • Your Head A-Splode: When Qyburn angrily demands Gregor defend him and Cersei, a furious Gregor smashes Qyburn's skull against a nearby block of rubble, then flings him against another one a good ten meters away. Upon impact, the top of his skull pops off.