The current season of Game of Thrones is moving forward at a breakneck pace. So many big-picture things are happening, it’s easy to forget parts of the story and to overlook the smaller, more evocative scenes that might be giving us some foreknowledge of things soon to come.
We’ve seen the rise of Euron Greyjoy and the further emasculation of sad sack Theon, the obliteration of the sand snakes, Stark after Stark returning to Winterfell, and Sam’s gross yet awesome surgical capabilities. (Who knew that being a capable doctor just means following a set of written instructions?) We’ve seen Cersei and Jaime throwing caution to the winds about their incestuous relationship, a bunch of long-anticipated first meetings and reunions, Tyrion’s sketchy abilities as general and war planner, and Bran’s creepy new three-eyed raven personality. (No wonder the former three-eyed raven became part of a tree. What living Westerosian would want to hang around with these guys?) And maybe, just maybe, Littlefinger has maneuvered himself onto Arya’s shrinking death list.
And last night, we saw dragons.
Sure, we’ve seen the dragons before, ripping people to shreds, hissing and terrorizing. But last night, in the fantastic battle of the loot caravan, we finally saw what dragons can do on the battlefield . . . and it’s chilling. With Daenerys in the dragon saddle, Drogon laid waste to huge chunks of the Lannister forces, leaving dozens of the bannermen of the lion lit up like screaming, flailing torches and turning the wagons of golden booty into melted hells. Game of Thrones has shown us some epic battles, from the Battle of the Blackwater to the Battle of the Bastards, but last night’s dragon-blasting war scene was the best one yet, a hold-your-breath, what’s-going-to-happen-next jawdropper. And with the show having no problem with knocking off characters, who knew if Jaime was going to survive his brave yet foolhardy charge at the wounded Drogon and Daenerys?
I’m not sure what I want to see more: Cersei killed by being immolated in dragon fire, or Cersei killed by the combined talents of Arya and Sansa and the other remaining members of the Stark clam. Until last night, I would have chosen the latter, but fully knowing what agony befalls the victims of dragon fire is making it a closer call. And I think it’s high time to introduce the Night King and his staggering, lurching army of the undead to a little taste of what dragons can do, too.
Game of Thrones has gotten so good, with so many interesting things happening to so many characters, it’s painful to contemplate that it’s not going to be on forever. But for now, we can relish the wonder of dragons — and rewatch the episodes, to make sure we aren’t missing anything.