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'Game of Thrones' Weekly: All the big conversations heading into episode 5

Image: helen sloan / hboBy Adam Rosenberg2019-05-12 17:55:36 UTC

Game of Thrones is ending. But there's still plenty to talk about — and that's what we're going to highlight every Sunday until the final episode airs.  

It's all coming down to the wire now. With only two episodes left and all of the major players gathering in one place, what's left to ponder. There's going to be a big, bloody fight that someone will eventually "win," and to that victor will go the Iron Throne.

Right?

We'll see. Game of Thrones is known for its curveballs. And while this final season hasn't exactly been satisfying for a lot of fans, there's still a legacy that the show's final chapters will presumably make an attempt to honor.

Now, let's see where the conversation is at.

Anyone seen Arya Stark lately? Writing for Bustle, Leah Marilla Thomas unpacks the possibility that Dany could be a victim of Needle's rage. In this abbreviated final Game of Thrones season, Thomas points out, there hasn't been much time spent exploring motivations and plans.

We last saw Arya riding with The Hound as the two made their way toward King's Landing. Neither of them intends to survive. For The Hound, we can probably take that to mean that the long-hoped-for Cleganebowl is finally going to happen. But what about Arya?

Image: helen sloan / hbo

The common belief is that Arya's heading straight into a showdown with Cersei Lannister, the first name on her kill list. But, as Thomas writes, "we don't know what in Westeros it is that Sansa and Arya have planned." Is the younger Stark sister still following her own path or is she acting under orders? And if it's the latter, what could those orders be?

Sansa and Dany haven't had the best relationship, and the Targaryen queen continues to make questionable choices. Her leadership is shaky. Maybe we didn't see Sansa and Arya's reaction to Jon's "I'm actually a Targaryen" bombshell because they hatched a plan then and there to keep their brother safe?

The common belief is that Arya's heading straight into a showdown with Cersei Lannister.

More generally, lots of people seem to see a dark end ahead for Dany. PopSugar's Karenna Meredith highlighted an April post on Reddit that uses the Mother of Dragons' fashion choices to unravel what's ahead for her. 

That description may seem implausible on the face, but there's a convincing argument to be made here. You should go read the whole thing, but the short version is: Dany's attire in recent seasons has shifted more in the direction of Targaryen vibes. Her Season 8 wardrobe specifically has introduced more red.

"It's a nod to her Targaryen heritage, but the more red we see, the more she's inclined to embrace the fire-and-blood motto," Reddit user kargiso wrote. "The red-on-white is especially foreboding. Notice all the Northerners wear subdued colors and grayish-brownish furs. Dany's advisors all wear muted colors. So Dany's white fur look is her way of announcing to those around her that she is of special status."

What does all of this mean, though? Well, Dany is a Targaryen. The last Targaryen to sit on the Iron Throne was King Aerys, the so-called "Mad King" whose death earned Jaime Lannister his "kingslayer" title. So the harder lean toward Targaryen pride in Dany's wardrobe could be a sign that she's headed toward a similar end.

Finally, a few words from Mashable's own Jess Joho on an important but largely unseen player in Season 8: Varys. The eunuch adviser to multiple Westerosi rulers has thrown in his lot with Dany, but we learned in Episode 4 that his plans may be shifting.

Image: helen sloan / hbo

As much as the show is clobbering us over the head with the possibility that a Varys betrayal is coming for Dany, there's evidence to back it up. Specifically, an old and largely forgotten prophecy. It's something from the books that was trimmed down and shown in altered form on the show, but Joho feels these lines spell out what's coming between Varys and Dany:

Soon comes the pale mare, and after her the others. Kraken and dark flame, lion and griffin, the sun's son and the mummer's dragon. Trust none of them. Remember the Undying. Beware the perfumed seneschal.

The "seneschal" referenced in the prophecy is none other than Varys. In the books, these prophecies are delivered to Dany by a key character and many of them have turned out to be accurate.

Even if you'd rather not put stock in what the books have to say — the show has admittedly diverged from and condensed George R.R. Martin's complex story — there's TV evidence that Varys will act against Dany. And it's not just from Season 8's fourth episode.

Think back now to the second episode of Season 7. Dany questioned Varys's loyalty, since he'd jumped from supporting the Mad King to Robert Baratheon to Viserys Targaryen before finally joining Dany's court. She even says that Varys "conspires" to crown a new ruler when he doesn't like the one he's serving.

"Varys doesn't deny it either," Joho wrote. "But after establishing that his loyalty ultimately lies in serving the people and whichever monarch helps them most, Daenerys softens slightly. 'Swear this to me Varys: If you ever think I’m failing the people, you won’t conspire behind my back. You’ll look me in the eye as you have done today and you’ll tell me how I’m failing them,' she says."

He did just that in Season 8's fourth episode, advising against a direct attack on King's Landing due to the potential for extreme collateral damage. Everything that happened at the end of the episode suggests that Dany is going to flat-out ignore Varys. 

It may well cost him his life in the end, but there's every reason to think Varys is ready to make a move against his queen.

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