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Game Of Thrones Season 8 Episode 5 Deep Dive Recap PART ONE

By Lord Castleton | TV | May 17, 2019 |

By Lord Castleton | TV | May 17, 2019 |


Hoooo boy! Did you guys see that?

Time to line up the Emmys!

For music and special effects and sound editing and makeup and production design.

Because the rest wassssssss iffy.

But where some might see lemons, I shall endeavor to see lemonade. For this episode is a straight up masterclass on spellcasting.

In this deep dive I’m going to give examples of those spells and how they work, and a certain ‘Someone’, I’m not going to say who, is also going to break down one of the seminal Benioff and Weiss moves on the show. You’ll know it when you see it, and some might say, you’ve always known.

But without further ado, let us jump headlong into the penultimate episode of Game of Thrones! A mighty, soaring show full of fully fleshed out characters and amazing plot lines.

We open this week tight on Varys, wishing he had a mimeograph machine. He’s busy drafting raven scrolls as fast as he can about Jon being the rightful heir to the Iron Throne. La de da de da. Juuuuuust a little treasoning here, pops! Nothing to see here! Move it along!

A little bird comes in and says she hasn’t been able to poison Daenerys yet. Bummer that. Guards clockin’ her every time she approaches the soup tureen holding a bottle with a skull on it.

Keep trying, Varys tells her.

And right there, that’s what Game of Thrones is all about: mentoring young people. How do we know it’s about mentoring young people? Because it is now decided. It doesn’t really matter that there’s been no setup for that. Does it matter that this is the first Little Bird we’ve seen since Varys noped out of Kings Landing oh so many moons ago when the bells tolled for a man pinned to the rear wall of his commode? No! Have we seen any recruitment of Little Birds, heard talk about Little Birds or witnessed any acts from Little Birds who weren’t Qyburns?

Gosh, no.

But here she is and based on the writing, there are many tiers of little birds. This particular one has been given the “better loot for higher boss” speech.

But the point is that we now need Little Birds, so there they are. This one is called Martha. There are many others, presumably, because allowing the audience to believe whatever they want with regard to a subplot has paid off in Gold Bullion for this franchise. I also noticed that Martha was wearing the traditional garb of a Northerner, so what I’ve inferred from that is that Varys recruited her from the crypt during the Battle of Winterfell.

At least someone is working on this show, even if it’s just writing “Jon is the true king” eleventy times and ravening them to all the corners of Westeros.

We cut to Tyrion. He’s perched on a bluff overlooking one of the entry beaches of Dragonstone Isle.

He sees Lord Varys making overtures to Jon.

“Hows the army?”
“Good, crossed the trident.” ←——— WHERE ME REEL FADDER DOID
“They say whenever a Targaryen is born the gods shit their pantyhose.”
“Speaking plainly, your bone dancer up there is about to act like Bruce Willis at the end of Armageddon. Except she will be riding the bomb instead of lighting it.”
“Ah, I see. Well, let’s just say that if Kings Landing is a chess game, The Breaker of Chains is about to Gary Kasparov the people there.”
“Indeed. Well, let me put it in these terms: you have no doubt recognized a certain proclivity of the Unburnt to wax poetic in the pursuit of slash and burn diplomacy.”
Come again?
“YOU ARE A TARGARYEN AND I KNOW IT!!! Tee hee hee hee hee! I know a secret!”
“Who told you?”
“I um…guessed.”
“You did?”
“Damn. Good guess that.”
“Uhhh…yes your grace. It definitely was just a guess and not because Sansa told Tyrion who told me.”
“Well, I know it coodn’t be tha! She swore an oath and we Starks are pretty prickly aboot that.”
“Of course, your grace.”
“Can you imagine? For you to know, she would have had to tell Tyrion while he was still in Winterfell, which would mean that she kept my secret for like nine minutes!” John belly laughs. “Oh The Spider! They didn’t tell me your were such a card! Good one, boyo!”
“Er…yes, your grace.”
“Nice, so where’s Dunny now?”
“She’s fasting, avoiding poison and sort of looking out the window.”
“She shouldn’t be alone.”
“Yes, well perhaps you might go up there and stick your sword in her?”
“Hey! That’s a kind of naughty talk we don’t do in the Noorth! Yes, I’ve had her in the ancient way, but that was before I knew she was me da’s sister! The only thing I’m gonna stick in her anymore is my loyalty.”
“No, I meant-“
“Anyway, good chat. Thanks for thinking of me as King of the Seven Kingdoms, but it’s not my bag.”
“But she-“
“She is my queen.”
“Get it?”
“But what if-“
“Not another word or I’ll tell mom on you.”

Jon stomps off, leaving Varys behind. Tyrion sees The Spider’s pitch has failed.

You know what’s a fun new game to play if you’re a person who has survived more rulers than any other living person in the seven kingdoms by always staying in the shadows and never ever outing yourself or your position? OUTING YOURSELF COMPLETELY.

It’s like, I could just whisper and urge and stay in proximity to the true power in the world but keep myself out of the spotlight in the same way I have for nigh half a century OR I could just run up to a person who doesn’t want to be king and treason it up on the beach. And I can unequivocally state my intentions to the queen’s Hand.



Example: Harry Potter is walking in a tunnel and comes face to face with a dementor. He yells EXPECTO PATRONUM! And his patronus chases the baddie away. Now he keeps going into the tunnel. We cast FUCKIT. Harry sees another dementor approaching him and this time he screams and throws his wand at it and runs. Although we have established the importance of wands, the characters awareness of that fact, the necessity of using the wand to cast a defensive spell, and witnessed our character actually using the spell properly, we now cast FUCKIT to throw it all out the window. We decided to amp up the danger by fabricating a bullshit scenario that isn’t in keeping at all with the established character or understood plot devices. But as a counterspell we write that Harry realizes his mistake, summons his wand with accio and manages to cast the proper spell before he’s annihilated. The audience forgives. They will still go to the internet and meme the scene where Harry threw his wand at a dementor and ask each other WTF was that all about, but they RECOGNIZE THE FUCKIT SPELL. It’s not like they missed it. But good writing allowed them to move on and forgive, because they want to be spirited away on the back of a great story more than they want to dwell on the mistake.


So we’re with Varys, and they cast FUCKIT on him. And we hear his thoughts inside of that.

There are only two episodes left and I don’t want to go down as someone who was just waiting in the crypt to die with no endgame! Remember how I didn’t talk for like eight straight episodes when I could have been building rapport with the queen or solidifying her connections with various noble houses or positioning a female in my employ near to her so she could be indirectly influenced?

They call me The Spider because I’m the one who spins the webs.

But now I’ll just magically be the one getting caught. AWESOME! FUCKIT!

Tyrion sees Varys’ move and knows he has to act, one way or another.

Oh poopie! Now he’s going to have to make a choice. Does he stick with his queen or his best friend, basically? The man who arranged his escape the night before his execution and his hidden passage over the narrow sea. The man who helped him get the best gig he’s ever had?

I mean, they were BOTH talking treason last week. But now, The Spider is exposed by talking to Jon, because, y’know, fuckit. Granted, Jon talked treason with Sam in the crypts, but he didn’t mean to! That was accidental treason. How much treason talking can one show endure?

Tyrion then goes up to the map room where Dany is looking haggard as fuuuuuuck. Hair all a mess with no Missandei and her braid mastery.

Because they chopped her head off. Last episode. To move along Daenerys’ plot. Even though Dany hadn’t talked to her directly for like 18 months. Dany got a new bf and totally ditched all her friends. So Missandei getting fridged should have really been like Dany reading about an acquaintance from high school who died in a car accident, instead of a key compelling reason for her to go scarface.

But anyhoo…Tyrion is like “M’lady? I have news.”

“The Bucks beat the Celtics?”


“I have been betrayed?”

“Yes! How’d you know.”

“Because while you have been plotting my demise I have been reading Thomas Hobbes’ Leviathan, which suggests that the only government that can work is an absolute monarchy.”


“And as I stand in this room, alone, I can feel my enemies growing. I can feel them getting closer. And now I’ve been betrayed. Let me guess. It was you.”


“Was it Jon Snow?”

“Jon- no! Jon Snow? He’s like your lap dog, why just a minute ago I saw Varys- actually nothing.”

“You saw Varys what?”

“I saw Varys, um…”

“Trying to poison me?”

“No! Wait what?”

“Yeah he has this little Northern girl in the kitchens trying to lace my shit with cyanide. Why do you think I look like Grey Gardens up in this mofo?”

“So why haven’t you-“

“Because I wanted to see if you were in on it with him. Now, I know you’re not. Lucky you came up here to rat out your boy. I was about to send Torgo Nudho to chain you up.”

“Oh, yes! Well, yes that is why I’m up here. To, um…betray Varys.”

“Anything else you want to tell me? Like that maybe you’re the one who told Varys?”

“Uhh…yeah, about that.”

“You were just doing your job, I’ll bet. Looking out for my safety as Hand. Telling my spymaster so he could protect me?”

“Yep. That. Exactly.”

“And never mentioning word 1 of it to me. Strange.”

“Uh…if I made a mistake, your grace, forgive me.”

“Which mistake are we talking about here? The wight mission?”

“Um, no-“

“The mission to save Jon where my dragon got killed and turnt into a zombie?”


“The first parley with Cersei where you spoke privately with her and assured me she’d send her armies up north to fight the dead?”

“Um, not that one…”

“Was it the brilliant tactical plan to divide our fleet and make it small enough to be annihilated by the Greyjoys?”

“That was, unfortunate…”

“The plan to split up our forces and not send lookouts when my second baby got killed?”

“Nope, I-“

“The plan to take Casterly Rock where they magically knew we were coming and we lost the rest of the fleet?”

“Oh, I had forgotten about-“

“The plan to not attack the Wagon Train from Highgarden because we didn’t want to appear cruel.”

“Technically, you did that anyway-“

“But not before they stole all the money in Highgarden and used it to hire the Golden Company.”

“I, uh-“

“Or what about the parley last week where my main lady got her head parted from her boday?”

“You barely even talked to her!”

“I’m just wondering which mistake we’re focussing on here?”

“Whoo! It’s hot in here! Is it hot in here?”

“I’m quite comfortable.”

“I feel like you were deep in thought and I barged in here all like HEY LISTEN TO ME I’M A LOUD HYENA. Hahahaha. So I’m gonna just-“


Tyrion stops in his tracks.

“The mistake was telling Varys, knowing his loyalty was iffy. This was a plan hatched by the Red Bitch of the North and you played your part like the drunken sot you are.”

Tyrion says nothing.

“Remind me again who vouched for Varys. Remind me again who got him the job in the first place. Who said he would be loyal to me. I forget who that was. Do you remember?”

Tyrion bows his head.

“I’m gonna kill some people tomorrow. And when I do, I want you to know that I do it in your name as well as mine. Now get out of here and leave me alone. I’ll see you at the execution.”

Tyrion stops in his tracks.

“My? Execut-“


“Ah. Okay. I um. I’ll see you then.”

Tyrion starts to walk out, but he stops. We are holding on Daenerys in the foreground, but we see Tyrion wavering in the background, like we’re not sure if he’s going to say something or not.

Are we about to hear something important?


Congratulations!!!! You have learned your second spell: THE CUTAWAY.



Tyrion’s chat with Cersei, which we’ll never know/see/have any idea what was said/mentioned/decided.

Tyrion’s chat with Brahn, which we’ll never know/see/have any idea what was said/mentioned/decided.

Brahn telling the Stark Gals about Aegon’s real mama und papa.

So Varys gets pinched. I’ve always liked Varys, except for last week. I’ve always admired his devotion to the realm, and his ability to navigate the corridors of power.

But now the fates have trimmed his life line as he hears the footsteps approaching. In a touching moment, he hears the guards coming for him and pulls off his rings and puts them in a cup.

This, I think, is a final gift to Martha. Or final payment.

Or, it’s a message to all the little birds, like if his rings are found, he’s dead and they’re released from their duties.

I don’t know, but I’m leaning toward the first one.

We’re doing suuuuuuuper linear storytelling here, by the way. Varys sending notes. Varys tries to enlist King Jon the Lionhearted. Varys gets finked on. Varys is arrested by the po po. Varys is shishkebabed.

Zowie! Stop Cloud Atlasing this episode you guys! I can’t keep track of all the tendrils! Are we in the past or the future??

So on Dragonstone, on a stone outcropping somewhere by the beach, Varys walks to the Mother of Dragons.

We know this, because she makes sure to remind us.

But not before Tyrion has a chance to admit that he was the one who betrayed his friend.

“It was me.”

And Varys nods.

Seriously, I think we forget how far the two of these men have come together. It’s a true twosome in the best sense. And the fact that Tyrion was painted into a corner by the terrible, terrible writing which led Varys to completely cast FUCKIT and be someone he never was before pisses me off.

You think of all the deaths on this show, how people meet their fate, and The Spider may be the most brave. He knows what’s coming. He’s scared, clearly, but not the least bit cowardly.

I ripped on him for being duplicitous last week, but like Lord Manderly, I was wrong.

We will see later in this episode that his fears were warranted. My hopes that they wouldn’t arbitrarily turn the #1 female character into a hot carazay mess were in vain. But we’ll get there.

Before that, Varys nods at knowing it was Tyrion, hopes that he’s wrong as he looks at Jon standing next to D-Sizzle and says his final words.

“Good bye, old friend.”

This beat here, this moment of emotion between two characters, is where Game of Thrones really shines. Funny that in a show lauded for its vast budget and grand, sweeping battle sequences, that many of the moments that will stay with us are the small ones.

For me, it was when Tyrion reached out and touched his friend.

In the Behind the scenes for this episode, director Miguel Sapochnik recalls the choice of Conleth Hill to be surprised and look down at Tyrion’s hand, because NO ONE HAD EVER TOUCHED HIM BEFORE.

That’s a pretty big deal. Too bad it wasn’t set up beforehand. The writers didn’t even know. It was just a reaction from an actor who had played The Spider forever.

Daenerys now takes over. It’s very procedural. She’s not angry or vindictive. She told asshole Jonny Snoo that it was gonna go this way and now it’s going this way.



They’re standing in the dark. Above Daenerys, the head of Drogon appears in the darkness. People loved it. It felt super Jim Henson-y to me. Not sure why. It just screamed muppet. That’s not a bad thing.

“Lord Varys, Hi, How ya livin? I’m Daenerys Targaryen, Mother of Los Dragonnes, et cetera et cetera, you might remember me from such incineration warnings as your job interview. Anyhoo, I sentence you to a blowtorch shower.”


Varys doesn’t make a peep. Maybe he was a merman after all and just dry seaweed on the inside.

R.I.P. Lord Varys. Protector of the Realm. The Eunuch. The Spider. Master of Whispers.

You paid the Iron Price.




(The best games make sure you level up quickly in the beginning, to get you hooked on the dopamine of it. This game is no different. See how far you’ve come already?)



Examples: When the Night King is killed by Arya Stark, the show casts OBSCURA! That buries every storyline thread associated with the Night King like why he makes cool arts and crafts shapes out of bodies or how he marks people or why he hates the Three Eyed Raven or what the Three Eyed Raven even is.

By casting OBSCURA on Varys, we now let die everything we hoped to know about him, especially such tasty morsels as this one, brought up by the Red Woman Kinvara.

So now we’ll never know who the voice was that Varys heard when his parts were tossed into the flames or what it said.

It’s only one small thing. It could be a single sentence. But we’ll never now know. Because OBSCURA has been cast, and all threads fall to the floor.

We’ll also now never know more about the origin of the dragon eggs themselves, reportedly from the shadowlands of Asshai, which were gifted to Daenerys by magister of Pentos Illyrio Mopatis, who was also the business partner of Varys in Essos. Varys is our only connection to him on the show as Illyrio has gone the way of Meera Reed.

Deep, deep sigh.

There was a lot of Varys left to be written. The pace of this season is crushing.

Actor Conleth Hill, in an interview with Entertainment Weekly, echoes these feelings, about not getting a final scene vs his nemesis, Littlefinger, and his character in general:

“I was very bummed to not have a final scene with him. I was bummed not to have any reaction to him dying, if he was my nemesis. That’s been my feeling the last couple seasons, that my character became more peripheral, that they concentrated on others more. That’s fine. It’s the nature of a multi-character show. It was kind of frustrating. As a whole it’s been overwhelmingly positive and brilliant but I suppose the last couple seasons weren’t my favorite.”
“I loved the traveling with [Tyrion actor Peter Dinklage] and just the two of us in that cart. I think the stuff that was said in there understood the nature of freaks and outsiders so precisely. In a way, that was lost when we got past [the narrative in George R.R. Martin’s] books. That special niche interest in weirdos wasn’t as effective as it had been. Last season and this season there were great scenes and then I’d come in and kind of give a weather report at the end of them — “film at 11.” So I thought he was losing his knowledge. If he was such an intelligent man and he had such resources, how come he didn’t know about things? That added to my dismay. It’s now being rectified with getting a great and noble ending. But that was frustrating for a couple seasons.”

Hear hear, Conleth Hill. There was so much more for Varys to say and do. During season six I called Lord Varys “a once-in-a-lifetime type of strategist. [Who] Sees the whole board effortlessly.” That’s not how he went out after FUCKIT.

Additionally, and subtly without knowing it, this show is really advocating for organized religion. There’s a notable amount of biblical imagery, with regard to Jaime’s story, we seem to reference Proverbs 26:11.

“As a dog returns to his vomit, so a fool repeats his folly.”

The horse Arya sees is reminiscent of a verse from the Book of Revelation, 6:8

“Then I looked and saw a pale horse. Its rider’s name was Death, and Hades followed close behind. And they were given authority over a fourth of the earth, to kill by sword, by famine, by plague, and by the beasts of the earth.”

But it really just advocates for the voracity of religion itself. Because no matter what storyline we’re on, The Lord of Light, R’hllor, is in control.

Kinvara’s whole premise in the above video is predestination. Everyone is playing a role as determined by R’hllor. Despite all of the various gods, the Drowned God and the Many Faced God and whomever, it’s R’hllor who is winning the Game of Thrones in Heaven.

If I understand the premise of religion in the books, there’s a ‘true’ religion of Westeros, the Old Gods of The Forest. And they create a Night King every time the religion is challenged, which is why they created a Night King to fight the arrival of the First Man and another to fight the Andals, who brought the religion of The Seven. Our Night King that Arya shattered, was created to fight the rise of R’hllor.

I mean, with one episode left, it’s ridiculous to hash this shit out. But I bring it up because to my eye, R’hllor has won.

He positioned everyone perfectly to take out the Night King. Everyone from Stannis to Jon to Mel to Arya to The Hound to Beric. Everyone exactly as they should be to arrive at the perfect victory over the Old Gods. And according to Kinvara, he’s not done.

Speaking of Asshai, he also positioned another creature of the shadow, Quaithe, to ensure the safety of Daenerys while she was in Qarth.


“They shall come day and night to see the wonder that has been born again into the world, and when they see they shall lust. For dragons are fire made flesh, and fire is power.” Quaithe says to Daenerys.

Apparently there was more Quaithe in the books than in the show, and many of you won’t even remember who she was, but she knew exactly who Jorah Mormont was before he really knew. She knew he was from Bear Island, which is on the other side of the Known World. She knew that he had betrayed Daenerys.

Is she a high priestess of R’hllor? The shape of the pieces on her mask matched the shape of the patterns on Melisandre’s necklace.

She was very confident about the rise and success of Daenerys, a success we saw as Daenerys heard the bells ring this week and achieved her lifelong goal.

Quaithe knew, back then, in season one.

And Kinvara knew, back in Meereen, that Daenerys was the chosen of R’hllor and would ‘purify’ non-believers.

“Daenerys Stormborn is the one who was promised. From the fire she was reborn to remake the world.”
“Her dragons are fire made flesh: a gift from the Lord of Light.”
“The Dragons will purify non-believers by the thousands, burning their sins and flesh away.”

And last season, when Melisandre got Jon Snoo to Dragonstone, but would not meet him because Davos would kill her, The Spider tries to threaten her to remain in Volantis and never return to Westeros, and she says

“Oh I will return, dear Spider. I have to die in this strange country. Just like you.”

And now you’ve earned your next spell.



The Prince (or Princess) That Was Promised. A Prophecy 1 spell cast in the books and then later on the show by Melisandre. It was upgraded several times as the tea leaves looked more and more promising for the coming of Azor Ahai, who would wield Lightbringer. Then, when the Night King was killed by Arya Stark, the show cast OBSCURA and everything about that prophecy was immediately forgotten.

So we’re there on a rock outcropping by the water on Dragonstone. Lord Varys’ corpse casts an eerie light on the second shift execution crew hanging by the beach. Remember when Jon paid full price for the Sandals Dragonstone all you can eat vacation and instead it was like a prison? He couldn’t wait to get the fuck outta dodge.

But now his war has already been foughten.

Now he stands there, looking at his aunt, as she casually burns one of her closest advisors to death.


Surely he, of all people, knows the value of loyalty? He who tried to do the right thing only to have the second highest ranking soldier at Castle Black stick a blade into his gullet? What’s the difference between Varys and Ser Alliser Thorne, really?

And Ned taught him that the person who pronounces the judgement must swing the sword. Does Drogon count as Dunny’s sword?

Now we cut to Queen Dunny, back up in Casa Le Dragon, turning over a slave collar in her hands. We’re meant to think this is some kind of nostalgia, but that collar has never been established as anything important before this moment.

Daenerys tells Grey Worm that it’s all she had from Missandei. Her only possession from Essos. I mean, I seem to remember some pretty kick ass outfits, but okay.

Daenerys casts FAKE NOSTALGIA (a spell I’m not teaching you because it never works) and gives it to Grey Worm. He takes it and shits it directly into the fire.

Anything else? We good? Fuck that collar.

This is meant as a small impromptu funeral for Missandei but it’s hamfisted and too little too late. FAKE NOSTALGIA is a spell that never works. NOSTALGIA is an amazing, powerful spell that works every time and is how every Republican ever gets elected. But you have to establish the BETTERNESS OF THE PAST or the IMPORTANTNESS OF THE ITEM before you cast it. In this case, we never saw Daenerys talk to Missandei about anything important. Or, for that matter, anything unimportant but fun, which would have been able to become NOSTALGIA in the future.

The real crime here is that the death of Missandei is painted at all as a loss for Daenerys when it just doesn’t compare to the magnitude of the loss it is for Grey Worm. He has lost the love of his life and his future. This is his story. His loss. This should be his moment. We should feel the pain of this moment through HIS lens, not the Mysah’s.

But we aren’t offered that and it doesn’t happen.

Grey Worm shitcans the slave collar, at once saying fuck you to that miserable past and his lost future all at once.

Dany registers his BURN IT ALL kind of mood.

But who gives a shit, really? This isn’t a fully fleshed out character. Remember the scene where Tyrion was trying to talk to Missandei and Grey Worm and just have a chat? In Meereen? It was the “A wise man once said the true history of the world is a history of great conversations in elegant rooms” scene. And do you remember who Grey Worm and Missandei were, in that scene, where they had their first opportunity for real character development?




I don’t know how the books treated them, but the show never knew who they were and thus neither did we, on any real level. Yes, together, Missandei and Grey Worm found love, but who were they individually? When did they share opinions with the Dragon Queen? Like the rest of the POC on the show, they were so thrilled for the deliverance from slavery from their white savior that they followed her, no matter the job, with slave-like devotion. No questioning. No reservations. No personal opinions.

So it is worrisome that on the night before the big fight, the two of them, master and servant (if not slave), christen their anger and loss, in fire.

Jon Snoo enters and Torgo Nudho takes up a defensive position between his queen and her lover.

The fuck?

What’d we miss?

Did she cast CUTAWAY and tell him offscreen that Jon had betrayed her?

She tells Grey Worm, in Valyrian, that it’s alright and she wants to talk to Jon.

If I’m Jon, I slowly back out the door because THEY’RE SPEAKING IN VALYRIAN ABOUT ME.

But menacing words never a potato doth awaken, and so he just hangs, presumably hoping for a glass of Sunny D.

SIDE NOTE: a word on Emilia Clarke’s acting. She’s had to speak, convincingly, in English, Valyrian and Dothraki during this show’s run. And Season 8 has been her finest season of acting ever. In many past episodes, they didn’t give her much to work with, writing her character in a one-note way which felt stale as hell, and her acting style sometimes felt a bit too wooden for the role because of that. But she has chewed that shit up and spit it out this year, and is deserving of praise in a season where every story arc is moving far far too quickly.

So now we have an important scene of character development between Jon and Dany. She says I told you so about Sansa and Jon’s decision to tell her. She doesn’t say it to him directly, but she views his transgression as a betrayal.

The only reason we, as an audience, don’t view it as a betrayal is because we live in a patriarchal world and Jon is the #1 unquestioned hero of this show. Ipso facto, anything he does is justifiable.

Except his queen told him not to and he did anyway.

If the roles were reversed, we’d all be howling for him to kill her like Varys.

Ditto for Tyrion.


But we don’t because men.

And, luckily for us, we get a reprieve since Daenerys is still DTF.

She tells Jon that in Westeros all she has is fear. But Jon has love.

Ooooh. Someone’s been reading Machiavelli as well as Hobbes. Atta girl!

And she’s right! That’s all she has. And unlike everyone else on this show, she’s the only one thinking about the reality of that with a clear mind and considering changing her tactics.

Her enemies are closing in, faster now, with the news of Jon’s lineage racing around the world. Every advisor of hers who was worth a damn is dead. And to be honest, with the exception of Olenna Tyrell, who urged her to be a dragon, they’re all cut from the same tepid cloth. From Tyrion to Jon to Jorah to Ser Barristan. They’re all fish swimming in the water of the very world they’re trying to undo.

So they can’t see it.

And thus, they’re not in any position to break the wheel.

Daenerys, on the other hand, actually learns from her mistakes and one thing that’s readily clear is that she needs to stop listening to her advisors, primarily Tyrion, who hasn’t had a good idea in like four seasons.

A definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different response. So she’s smart enough to know that she needs to change something up. But the one hiccup to that plan is that she’s still in love. With Jon.

And that part is heartbreaking because, through no fault of her own, he cannot be with her any more. He cannot bridge the incest. And he still has the smell of roasting manflesh in his nose. He may never get it out of there.

How cruel a fate. For both of them.

You think about the reasons why couples are forced apart in the world of literature and this is a particularly memorable reason. They were crazy about each other, but raised in different places and with different values. And once the familial tie is revealed, Jon cannot overcome The North in his head.

Remember how they used to look at each other? Any of us who know how that feels, and know also how it feels to be without that? It’s among the most powerful emotions known to humans.

And Daenerys needs it. It is the proverbial cork in the bottle.

I have lamented the descent of Daenerys into madness, how it’s handled, the speed and rate of decline, but losing a piece of your sanity when love is stolen from you? That I get. Looking back, this scene has and will always be reduced down to an inaccurate thesis: Daenerys didn’t get laid so she went crazy. That’s how it might come across.

Like Torgo Nudho, she has lost the love of her life. But unlike Torgo Nudho, he’s still standing right there in front of her, unable to reciprocate feelings he had mere weeks ago, before he learned of something that happened decades ago. It’s cruel.

But her thinking, portrayed incredibly poorly by the show as crazy, is crystal clear.

She is the queen of the seven kingdoms and she has a very specific goal. For a number of reasons, she has been held up in her pursuit of that goal for years. But no more. And she rightly understands that she will not win the hearts and minds of the citizenry of Westeros through love. So she makes a decision, then and there, after Jon can’t kiss her anymore.

“Let it be fear.” She says.

Now if you watched the Behind the Scenes, David Benioff says she goes mad there on the day, in the battle. The bells ring and she has won and “it’s not enough.” Well, that’s it then. If they say it, it must be so. But boy does that feel wrong to me. I see the tumblers of that decision happening here, in this room in Dragonstone, where she has to make a decision. I saw the tumblers moving when she met with Tyrion and says “It doesn’t matter anymore.” But her last gasp: she needs to know if she still has love in her life.

And she doesn’t.

Now we cut to the throne room, where Daenerys is giving her dumbass Hand a final audience before she breaks the wheel. She is seated in her throne, formally. Gone are the days where they would chat in private, informally, as teammates. We thought she was distant before but now she makes sure there’s a wall of formality between them. This is her throne room. He is a guest.

When we join them, Tyrion is begging for the lives of the people of King’s Landing. I mean, I never understand why. Remember this gem from his trial, when he was jeered at by the very people he had personally saved from Stannis?

“Nothing but this. I did not do it. I did not kill Joffrey but I wish that I had. Watching your vicious bastard die gave me more relief than a thousand lying whores. I wish I was the monster you think I am. I wish I had enough poison for the whole pack of you, I would gladly give my life to watch you all swallow it!”

But okay, now presumably, he cares.

More like he cares for his sister’s life. Which is also fucking strange. Considering he himself cast PROPHECY 1 with this line:

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“I will hurt you for this. A day will come when you think you’re safe and happy, and your joy will turn to ashes in your mouth, and you’ll know the debt is paid.”

Hmm. We never really get that to pay off do we?

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But Daenerys is resolute. She knows Cersei uses her enemy’s weaknesses against them, which is why she’s filling the Red Keep with peasants. She’s counting on the fact that Daenerys has not attacked yet because of her mercy and desire to protect innocents.

In the Qarth video above, Daenerys establishes that she doesn’t want to kill anyone. In fact, for every major beat of the show where she “descends” into madness and rage, there are as many beats where she resists those impulses. She truly wants to be good, as we all do, but she herself is borne of hypocrisy that she cannot see.

The Dothraki are a perfect example of that. They are the prime body of roving marauders, rapists and killers in the known world. But they are her killers, and therefore magically exonerated.

(Where’s my big boi Dothraki dude from last week, anyway? The funny one? How am I supposed to give him props if I don’t see him?)

Anyway, Daenerys is steadfast in her representation of mercy, specifically that her upcoming assault on King Landing, while it will certainly have collateral damage, will ultimately protect the millions of people who come after it, who will never have to suffer a tyrant.

“Ready the Unsullied.” She says.

They sail for King’s Landing that night.



Actually, maybe no more night shoots. Though, I mean, come on. This is when you hop on Drogon and burn a fleet.

Tyrion begs her to show mercy. He says that Cersei’s allies will abandon her if the city is lost. And now we have the key marker: they will ring the bells. If they ring the bells, it’s over. The city has fallen.

If they ring the bells, he implores her, call off the attack.

She nods.

Grey Worm fucking GLARES at Tyrion before leaving.

Huh! Is it that he’s out for blood because of Missandei? Is it that he’s pissed about the betrayals vis a vis Varys et Jon? Is it because this man on their team seems so intent on protecting the scum they sailed a million miles to conquer?

No idea. But he looks hatefully at Tyrion before he leaves. Now we’ve seen back to back scenes where someone is revealing an emotion or suspicion about another character by looking at them from behind.


Foreshadowing is not an official spell, it’s just good business. Forshadowing, though, does not take the place of things like character development or written interactions.

Now Tyrion is alone with Daenerys and it’s nothing like it used to be. Nothing. There is almost no connection between the two of them. He, once the ‘wise one’ and the more ‘veteran’ one is shaky and nervous. She is silent and solid and confident.

It’s a new era.

Tyrion bows to her, slowly, and walks away as she watches him.

Before he makes it to the door she says “Your brother was stopped trying to get past our lines.”


I keep saying this but where are the smart men on this show? Where? Davos? Yes, I adore him, but he’s been reduced to…what? Never officially made Jon’s Hand in the North he’s now just sort of Jon’s shadow. He doesn’t say shit or do shit or make shit happen. Jon has been marginalized and so has Davos.

Tyrion is a buffoon. Jon is a potato. Grey Worm is the angel of death who has never had an opinion on anything. Sandor is in a foul mood and hell bent on revenge that he could have had at any point over the last seven years but somehow wants now. Varys’ final play was to be overtly dumb in a way he never had been before. Sam? Sam was dumb trying to play G.I. Joe while screamcrying and stabbing wights under his own arms. Gendry isn’t exactly running microbiology assays. Tormund is chicken dumb, like deeply, terrifyingly dumb. Remember when he was North of the Wall and he was daunting? A truly menacing character who beat the Lord of Bones to Death with his own club? He ended up being comic relief.

And now idiot Jaime gets caught? By whom? There are no smart men left in Westeros! He tried to sneak past a bunch of Unsullied? Northmen?



Let’s imagine how this happened…

Jamie heads south. He meets the army he just fought with, an army where like nine guys made it out alive and all of them will share a bond for the rest of their days, and he still couldn’t talk his way past them? I mean, Arya and Sandor just got through and they weren’t officially part of the army.


Arya and Sandor: To kill the queen.



Jaime: Um…to uh…have my hand polished.


Jaime: I’m in love with Cersei! Let me through I’m the heir to Casterly Rock!


Jesus he’s thick. He truly is the stupidest Lannister.

There are, actually, two men who are decently intelligent.

Qyburn is smart. Qyburn is the only true man of science on the show with the exception of Jim Broadbent and the Robes, who sit in their ivory tower and accomplish jack + squat. Meanwhile, Qyburn, who was punted from said tower, has been a man of nearly unlimited potential.

— Without the assistance of any divine aid or dark magic, (that we know of on the show, at least), the dude raised a dying man from the embrace of death itself and made him a perfect automaton.
— He reverse-engineered the most deadly poison known to man.
— When mythical beasts known as “dragons” re-appeared in the world after being dead for millennia, he devised a way to kill them by building surface to air missiles that can also buckle the hull of a man of war.
— He’s a spymaster of note, taking over Lord Varys’ army of little birds and giving them teeth.
— He single handedly healed the gangrene on Jaime’s stump and saved his life.
— He’s unflappable, scoffing away the sounds of children burning.
— And he’s a diplomat and Hand of the Queen, the most powerful minister in the country, not to mention the voice of Sauron at military parleys.

Too bad he works for the baddies. Dude’s a gamer.

The only other man of intelligence is Lord Glover. We’re going to learn a new spell here: Unseen Lesson.



Lord Glover of Deepwood Motte refused the call. Lady Mormont really stuck him for it at the moot after the battle. He then followed Lord Manderly, saying that not being on the field of battle was one of the great failures of his life. He’s almost in tears he’s so full of emotion. Then he begs for Jon’s forgiveness. “There’s nothing to forgive my lord.” Jon says. And with that he screams that House Glover will follow House Stark as it has for a thousand years (except the most recent battle) and that he will follow Jon Snow. Then he holds up his sword like a cross and screams THE KING IN DA NORF!

But when Jon called him again to assist in the Battle of Winterfell, he couldn’t be bothered to help. And there was no retribution for the second major breach of faith.

So this whole time — for all of recent memory since the end of the War of the Five Kings, Lord Gloover has been living it the fuck up.

— While Ramsay Bolton was flaying people he was watching The Big Lebowski and drinking White Russians.
— While Jon Snow was dying in the crush he was binging Netflix and eating chimichangas.
— When House Umber was removed in toto from the world and the Night King attacked he was organizing huge Terrace House watch parties for all his friends and family, who all were fully alive without a scratch on them, and cooking up traditional Hawaiian delicacy of spam musubi for everyone.

None of his family ever died or was flayed or became a wight. They all just partied and kicked ass at home because dad is a lying shitfuck.

The Unseen Lesson cast here is that it’s safer to totally check the fuck out of the Game of Thrones, like cute little sadistic creep Robin Arryn at the Eyrie or whoever the hell is the ‘new prince of Dorne’.

But Jaime Lannister is no such man!

He’s always in the thick of it, bringing the stupid with him wherever he goes. And now he’s caught in the net of it, which I still cannot imagine. Because he could just be like “um, guys I’m here to fight alongside you!” and just go out to take a piss and skedaddle off. HE JUST FOUGHT WITH THEM. How is he on the most wanted list? With all the shit going on, some wily Unsullied was like WAIT A SECOND

And furthermore, this is news to Tyrion, the Hand of the Queen, and foremost piston of the engine of her state. And he wasn’t informed.

That sent a shudder through me.


How would he not know of this unless the apparatus of information has already, unbeknownst to him, THE ARBITER OF INFORMATION IN THE DAENERYS STORMBORN REALM, been altered?

“Your brother was stopped trying to get past our lines.” The Unburnt says to Tyrion’s back as he departs. He turns, in shock.
“It seems he hasn’t abandoned your sister after all.”

No, it seems he hasn’t. And now I feel for the half of you who knew he was a pile of dogshit last week when I thought he was going to kill her and try to make up for all the years of misery he inflicted on the world as her brother, her lover and Tywin’s son.

Ugh. It makes me physically sick.

But I do love broken characters. Some of my most powerful instincts in this world are so rooted in self-sabotage that it’s terrifying. So I get it, and while I loathe the choice from an arc standpoint and from a Brienne of Tarth standpoint, I don’t begrudge it. They have the right to make this choice. Despite it’s callousness and vileness, and some would say beguiling romance, they have certainly laid enough pipe and the choice is at the very least, earned.

They don’t have to cast FUCKIT with the Jaime Lannister subplot. Him running back to Cersei at the end of all things, it’s imminently earned. He said, point blank, to Bronn in season four (I think) that the way he wants to die is in the arms of the woman he loves. Many of us just assumed that after what felt like a baptism and rebirth in the pool with Brienne, and their eventual coupling, that she would be the woman he means.

But no.

So now Tyrion is faced with several dilemmas, not the least of which is the fact that his job seems to be coming to an inglorious end.

And Daenerys drives it home.

“The next time you fail me will be the last time you fail me.”

It’s a good line, but let’s face it, this partnership is over. For all intents and purposes, they are done. Tyrion has made it clear that his loyalty to his family runs far deeper than his loyalty to this bratty foreign queen. And Jaime running back to Cersei only cements that.

Side note: Should we have cared more that the very showrunners pronounce the character’s names incorrectly? In interviews they call Missandei MY-sundy and Cersei Sir-SAY. Like, there’s a wealth of contextual information on like THE SHOW to inform what the correct way to say Cersei is.

It doesn’t matter. I only bring that up because now when I’m typing Cersei I sometimes hear them saying Sir-SAY in my mind.

The second I heard that Jaime was captured I knew Tyrion would attempt to save him. Thus I knew Tyrion was either a dead man or a running man. But his time as Hand of the Queen is basically over, and no character’s value, language, gameplanning, study, arc or legacy has been hurt by the ending of the books more than our dear boy Tyrion Lannister. He should sue for damages.

So now Tyrion exits. He’s pretty fucked.

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It’s boooooooolshit. Bullshit, I say.

She has every right to be angry right now. Especially at herself for having such a soft spot for Tyrion. He has been an F as hand. Straight failure. And perhaps a case can be made that he has tempered her worst impulses, but I remember that at the end of season six Dany crossed the narrow sea with the largest fleet in history, an alliance of the Tyrells and Martells, three dragons, all the Dothraki and Unsullied and half the Ironborn.

And since then, because the force was too big and imposing and could never have been challenged by anyone, much less Cersei, Tyrion has been written like John Belushi, making boneheaded error after error to whittle down the force until it could be believably challenged by Cersei.

So Tyrion was character assassinated by the show in service to a weak plot. He was sacrificed to correct it. If you’re a fan of Tyrion and of the tour de force performance of Peter Dinklage? This feels like a betrayal.

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Which is not alone, but among the many reasons why the end of Game of Thrones has felt differently to many of us when compared to other shows that merely bobbled the ball. Because all the pieces were in place. The characters were uniquely deep and well drawn, and then they were all marginalized to force an ending that can feel overly simplistic at best and downright incompetent at worst.

We cut to the gates of Kings Landing, where an ocean of humanity is flooding into the city. Among them is a mother and daughter pair whom we will meet later on when the shit starts to hit the fan. The little girl carries a toy, a small wooden white horse.

Now we cut to Jon and Tyrion in a boat crossing the Delaware. Tyrion looks beyond rattled. He’s quiet and brooding and dour. Jon, behind him, looks miserable as hell. All he ever wanted was to hang out on the beach with the guys from the Night’s Watch, play frisbee, and search the coastland for the ultimate cheeseburger. THAT’S IT. And he’s never been able to have any of it. He hates it.

They land and Tyrion informs Ser Davos that the Khaleesi of the Great Grawss Sea (R.I.P. Missandei) wants to attack right away. Not before sunup demands Jon, who remembers all the super mean tweets about night shoots.

I’m just thrilled to have a Ser Davos sighting. If these deep dives didn’t crash every browser I’d most certainly insert the Holly Hunter GIF from Raising Arizona where she cries and says I LOVE HIM SO MUCH.

Conleth Hill might as well have been talking about The Onion Knight’s character when saying the last two seasons have been difficult. Whither art thou, oh Noble Paladin of the Amaryllidaceae? Whither hast thou gone?

Tyrion pulls him aside.

Tyrion: I understand you’re a man who knows how to get things.

Davos: I’ve been known to locate certain things from time to time. They fall into my hands. Maybe it’s because I’m from Flea Bottom.

Tyrion: I need a dinghy.

Davos: What is it and why?

Tyrion: You make your customer’s motives a part of your business?

Davos: If you wanted a toothbrush I wouldn’t ask questions. I’d just quote a price. A toothbrush, see, is a non-dracarys sort of object.

Tyrion: Fair enough. A dinghy is a name for a certain small class of watergoing vessel usually tied behind a larger boat but often with it’s own small mast and sailing apparati. The term is a loanword from the Bengali ḍiṅgi, Urdu ḍīngī & Hindi ḍieṁgī.

Davos: I don’t like where this is going.

Tyrion: I would need just a small favor of treason for you to acquire a dinghy and deliver it to an abandoned cove below the red keep.

Davos: I really don’t like where this is going.

Tyrion: It’s just a tiny bit of treason. Not much treason at all. Barely treason.

Davos: The foony thing aboot treason is that the size of it seems to grow based on the amount of dragons you own.

Tyrion: Listen, I know that you alone are the moral center of the show and have been for some time. I know you guard your alliances closely, don’t suffer fools, and aren’t quick to make disastrous mistakes. But do this anyway.

Davos: Truth be told, I’m still not completely over you killing my son in the Battle of Blackwater. And I feel like you might be trying to aid your sister and our direct enemy, which to me would be a mistake to get involved in. Especially considering that you were all too quick to rat out a man you were friends with for years and you barely know me.

Tyrion: Oh come on! Do it!

Davos: I prefer not to. Apologies.

Tyrion: Do it.

Davos: No thank you.

Tyrion: Do it!

Davos: No!

Tyrion: Well then I cast FUCKIT and now you will just change your everything to serve the plot.

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Davos: Okay fine, I’ll commit treason. Where do you need a boat?

Yep, that seems right on schedule to destroy Davos Seaworth a little. He’s come out of this season relatively unscathed, character-wise, aside from being sidelined. Nice to get him involved in the descent. He’s a joiner.

So then Tyrion heads over to Jaime’s cell, where the remaining eleven Unsullied have all been stationed. I mean, it’s impossible to tell how many unsullied there are. I thought they all got annihilated at Winterfell, but then Torgo Nudho said only HALF ARE GONE. So that seemed like a few thousand. But in the promo for next week, Daenerys is standing over a ruined King’s Landing and there are like a trillion of them standing at attention fresh from the clone factories of Kamino.

So I don’t know.

But hilarity ensues as Tyrion -


Wiping the tears out of my eyes at him trying to speak Gealic or whatever. Man that’s a joke that keeps on giving. Tyrion speaking High Valyrian at the next Correspondents Dinner, amirite? It’s pretty much the pinnacle of comedy.


We have soooooo little time. And this is how we spend it? This is like giving your kid five bucks to run into the convenience store to buy a snack and he comes out with the worst possible item. I can’t say objectively what the worst item would be, because it’s different for everyone, but I’m 100% certain that there isn’t a single Game of Thrones fan, show watcher or book reader who was like “let’s get a callback to that awesome gag where Tyrion botches High Valyrian.”

I mean, his job notwithstanding, he’s now had years to study and learn it. It’s one of the two languages spoken by her primary military force, and should he ever have the need to assume direct command of The Unsullied, one would hope that he would have bought the Rosetta Stone app by now. I mean, wow.


So after watching him embarrass himself…


I mean. I can’t even.

…the Unsullied are like dude this is Brooklyn, we speak ‘murican. And he’s like “ah, lovely, very well piss off by order of me.”

And they’re like FUCK ARE YOU DUDE?

And he’s not sure that the Breaker of Chains hasn’t suspended his access privileges yet, so he pulls rank and luckily they march away.

It’s a bit ramshackle, to be honest, but it works enough.

So now we go from one of the most headscracthing scenes to probably the most moving scene of the episode.

Tyrion goes in and Jaime is clearly happy to see him. They start jawing a bit about trying to convince Cersei to change her course of action, and Jaime wonders when that’s ever happened. And he says that there’s very little he can do from where he is.

And Tyrion holds up a key.

I had assumed that Tyrion’s request of Davos was the boat by the Red Keep, which would require some smuggling skill. But perhaps it’s just a good old fashioned skeleton key.

In any case, Tyrion is returning the favor. On the night before his own execution, Jaime sprung him. Now everything has come full circle.

This is an example where I’d bet my bottom dollar that the entire reason for Jaime getting caught, which feels sort of arbitrary to me, and bizarre considering his relationship with the troops that ‘caught’ him, was to close this circle thematically.

But in this case, despite the FUCKITness of it, it works.

We need this beat between brothers, and though the mechanism feels contrived, the result is worthwhile.

Tyrion, still concerned about the people of KL, urges Jaime to think of them.

But he says he never really cared for them, which is a pretty strange line considering the fact that his worldwide reputation was a direct result of the action he took to protect them from Aerys.

But okay. Huh.

Tyrion urges Jaime to get Cersei to leave but he says she’ll absolutely stay. And further, he lists the evened odds. This part of the conversation isn’t great, and doesn’t feel like the Jaime who was drinking in Winterfell before the Long Night.

I’d suggest that the stress might be getting to him and he might be going a little…mad? But then I remember that he doesn’t have ovaries so that can’t be it.

Tyrion assures him that the city will fall tomorrow, he knows it better than anything and it will fall tomorrow.

And this is the first time this season that Tyrion has been right about something. If that ain’t a kick in the drawers.

Jaime says well then fine, he’ll die tomorrow, if not before then.

And Tyrion channels his best Sergeant Jeffords and says WHY?

And then he lays out his plan, go down to the basement where they keep the dragon heads. Keep going down down down until you get outside and there will be a dinghy waiting for you. Sail to Pentos. Start fresh. Either that or you’ll never see Cersei again.

The thought of that seems to jar Jaime. It’s probably what pulled him out of bed to stare into the fire in Winterfell while Ser Bri slept under that smelly goat fur duvet.

That’s probably what his prime directive is now. Just get to Cersei, one last time. He can’t bear the thought of her dying alone.

There’s probably some nobility in that somewhere, if you tape together enough shredded paper to make a forensic image of devotion, but I feel too burnt by the swing of his arc to delve into it that much.

Tyrion repeats the plan.

Get it.

Get Cersei.

Ring the Bells and we’ll call off the attack.

Don’t forget to ring the bells!


And Tyrion is like, if she gets the throne without blood, maybe she’ll show mercy!


Either way, this is it for the Lannister boys. It’s unlikely that they’ll both survive this gambit, treacherous as it is on every front. It’s even less likely that they’ll ever meet up again. They have drank their last wine together, shared their last fireside laugh, and heard their last song.

The realisation hits me hard.

I have been trying to roll with the finality of it all, even while taking my own advice and trying to scaffold my emotions and keep a cool head about the way it’s all headed, but I had forgotten about this. And it’s ending. For good.

“Tens of thousands of innocent lives for one not particularly innocent dwarf. Seems like a fair trade.”

Oof. Maybe a bit of Varys’ protector of the realm has accidentally rubbed off on him. I maaaaaay not make it through this season in one piece.


And the brothers stare at each other. There is no music, but we begin to flush with emotion.

“If it weren’t for you, I never would have survived my childhood.” Tyrion says.
“You would have.”

Tyrion shakes his head no. His expression is so pained as he channels those emotions. The expressions are so real. So believable. How much of the pain in Tyrion’s voice is informed by experiences that Peter Dinklage may have had? It’s powerful acting.

“You were the only one who didn’t treat me like a monster.”

He shakes his head, fighting away tears.

“You were all I had.”

And then they hug. Tyrion’s crying face vanishes in a tuft of curly hair as he buries himself in his big brother’s shoulder. They hold each other for a long embrace and then Tyrion fights himself to his feet and hurries out.



That’s a tough one. My goodness.

And it made me realize just how alone Tyrion Lannister really is. And in the paraphrased words of Maester Aemon, a Targaryen pretending to be a Lannister alone in the world is a terrible thing.

But it’s the truth. Jaime is not rushing to die with Tyrion, nor is Cer-SAY. They have each other.

And Tyrion has no one.

———————-> PLEASE CONTINUE TO PART TWO <———————————————

Game Of Thrones Season 8 Episode 5 Deep Dive Recap PART TWO | Spoilers: The Final Moments of Netflix's 'Dead To Me' May Not Be What They Seem

Lord Castleton is a staff contributor. You can follow him on Twitter.

Header Image Source: Images courtesy of HBO