In the midst of the ongoing hatred, let’s try and analyze the episode.
Before we begin, here’s the exchange between Ned Stark and Robert Baratheon. Ned Stark: You will dishonor yourself forever if you do this. Robert Baratheon: Honor?! I’ve got Seven Kingdoms to rule! One King, Seven Kingdoms! Do you think honor keeps them in line?! Do you think it’s an honor that’s keeping the peace?! IT’S FEAR! FEAR AND BLOOD!
I found many symbolism and parallels in this episode. Let’s start with the name of this episode, The Bells. This name rings a bell (Yep) for those who know their history. Battle of the Bells was the decisive battle that shifted the odds in Robert’s favor during his rebellion, many believe the Battle of Trident to be the game changer, although it was, Battle of the bells marked the beginning of the end for Targaryen Dynasty.
How things came full circle.
A Lannister sacked the city and ultimately ended the Targaryen Dynasty, now a Targaryen sacked the city and ended the Lannister Dynasty. then Pycelle manipulated Aerys into opening the gates for Tywin Lannister, meaning the gates weren’t breached but opened from the inside.
Dany blew those same gates from the inside.
Why was Cersei’s death both satisfactory and perfect.? I will answer that soon, but first, let’s talk about the elephant (Yep) in the room. The sack of Kingslanding was it premeditated? Nope. Not at all. When Tyrion told her about the bells, she genuinely wanted to go with that, that’s what she ordered Greyworm to do. So what happened.? Bells happened. While she was on that rooftop waiting for the bells, she had every intention of leaving things at that, but when the bells began to rang she took a trip down the memory lane.
(Hats off to Emilia Clarke for such an intense and incredible performance)
Upon hearing those bells and staring at the red keep, she imagined the horror her family and her brother’s family must have felt during the sack of Kingslanding, the terror in which Elia Martell was, the screams of little Rhaenys and baby Aegon who had no idea what was happening, then mountain came, crushed Aegon’s head into a pulp, stabbed Rhaenys while Elia was watching and then raped her while the brain matter of her son was still on his hands, and then killed her as well.
(This is why Cersei’s death was so perfect, the horror Tywin inflicted upon Rhaegar’s family came upon his own family, especially on those whom he favored the most, the terror and horror in Cersei’s eyes for her baby, as well as with Jamie was similar to what Elia and her kids went through).
After that Dany remembered everything that happened because of the rebellion, losing their home, begging on the streets, all those who died from Willem carry to Missandei, from silver to Rhaegal. And what did she get in return? Complete distrust and fear.
So if they fear her despite doing the good, then yes, Let it be fear. She is not mad, what madness is for other people is a regular Monday for a Targaryen. I told this a few times before maybe others did as well, Cersei did turn the city into a trap, if Dany had accepted the surrender, she would have blown up the city with the wildfire caches that we saw exploding during the episode. Kings landing was ground zero, and people chose to be in that place, they chose Cersei who hid behind a curtain during the Great War, while Dany literally fought the threat with her own hands.
Also, many who died in that fire were soldiers as well.
She is a Khaleesi and Dothraki follow those who can instill fear among their subject, a wise ruler should inspire a little fear, that’s what Tyrion said. Take a look at the history and you will see what a weak and gullible ruler ends up having at his doorstep. Speaking about Greyworm, Dany had many loyal people with her, be it Jorah, Selmy, Naharis or Missandei. But Greyworm topped them all.
Like I said, the sack wasn’t premeditated, so as soon as Dany began her assault, Greyworm quickly followed without hesitating, that was quite a moment.
About Cersei and Valonqar prophecy. “When your tears have drowned you,(she was crying profusely) the Valonqar shall wrap his hands (Jamie was embracing her) about your pale white throat (what happens when you are terrified to your bone thinking about your imminent death, you do turn pale white) and choke the life from you.” (the rule wouldn’t have killed her instantly, it’s possible she died a painful death gasping to breath).
In Season 7 we had this conversation between Dany and Olenna.
Dany : I am not here to be queen of the ashes.
Lady Olenna : I can’t remember a queen who was better loved than my granddaughter . . . and what is left of her now? Ashes. Commoners, nobles, they’re all just children, really. They won’t obey you unless they fear you.
It’s not that Dany forgot what she said here like some memes are suggesting, she just chose not to take the overrated moral high ground, instead, she chose to heed Olenna’s realistic advice.
Then we had this part.
Olenna: Peace never lasts, my dear. Will you take a bit of advice from an old woman?
I’ve known a great many clever men. I’ve outlived them all. You know why? I ignored them. The lords of Westeros are sheep. Are you a sheep? No. You’re a dragon. Be a dragon.
She became a dragon soon after this with Field of Fire and Tarly’s execution, but her mistake was that she again went back to the morally correct pieces of advice of Tyrion and Varys and Jon, that’s what cost her the most. Someone else should have died instead of Olenna, things would have been better a long time ago. Better late than never, Dany finally accepted her dragon part.
I will end this with one quick fact. During the onset of Robert’s rebellion, Hoster Tully burned villages to the ground when they refused to betray the Targaryens.