Warning: Contains spoilers for the Game of Thrones episode The Bells

The biggest enemy in Game of Thrones was never the White Walkers, the Night King, Cersei Lannister or a Mad Queen. No, the show's biggest enemy was time. Well, it gets us all in the end, I suppose.

With only two increasingly truncated seasons to wrap up this sprawling epic, time was not on anyone's side. For seven seasons this cast of chess pieces moved strategically around the board at a considered pace. Which was fine when The End was a concept to be dealt with sometime in the future, not a reality to confront in the here and now.

As the clock ticked down the show had to speed up. Its measured story-telling and subtle machinations giving way to slap-dash, broad strokes as characters began zipping towards their fate with ill-regard for trivialities like self-preservation. But needs must. This thing has to finish.


Unsurprisingly, fans on the internet are not happy with the show's sprint to the finish line. Because "fans" are never happy about anything these days.

Some complaints feel valid; The pitch black battle episode was foolishly dark, the Night King's defeat felt unsatisfying even with Ayra's kick-ass heroics and, as a whole, the season's undoubtedly feeling rushed.

Game of Thrones Season 8 Episode 6 Preview. /HBO

But we're on a time limit here. Something's gotta give.

Other complaints feel like people need to get a life; I'd wager 99 per cent of those moaning about last week's rogue coffee cup didn't notice it when the show aired.

And this week? It's been a grouser's paradise with fans working themselves into a whiny tizzy over the heel turn of a beloved character. Social media's been flooded with fools frothing online about the episode's "bad" or "lazy" writing.

The descent of Daenerys Targaryen into madness has been so thoroughly signposted throughout several seasons that it barely qualifies as a plot twist at this point. She even spelled out exactly what she was going to do and how she was going to do it back in season six.

"I will crucify the Masters. I will set their fleets afire, kill every last one of their soldiers, and return their cities to the dirt," she said. "That is my plan."

Well, A+ for execution and follow through.

Daenerys and her dragon raze King's Landing
Daenerys and her dragon raze King's Landing

The inciting incident of both "fans" rage and the episode comes just before the midway point. As the titular bells of the besieged city of King's Landing ring out in surrender, our hero Daenerys, Mother of Dragons and freer of slaves, sneers malevolently as her madness finally takes control.

She's fought it for years, heeding advice from various advisers for calm and a course of action that didn't involve burning every damn thing to the ground. But, all alone and perched atop her last surviving dragon she finally gives into fate and starts firebombing the city she'd spent her adulthood fighting to claim. The dragon fire destroying buildings and burning thousands of innocent men, women and - in graphic detail - children.

But it wasn't just little girls going up in smoke. So too was the fan's fantasy of this character. We're all the heroes of our own story and fans had latched onto this empowered woman who rose from heinous adversity to fulfill her destiny as a liberator and champion of the people who kicked ass, took names, and looked great doing it.

Which is the story she told herself and the story we, as viewers, bought into. We watched events through her eyes, took her reality as truth and accepted her justifications for her actions because we knew her life's struggle. Sold into slavery, abused, left for dead, the loss of her trusted companion, best friend and two "children" (eg: pet dragons) to war, her counsel's betrayal and then, on top of all that, seeing her ironclad claim to the ultimate power of the Iron Throne usurped by the recently revealed lineage of her lover. Who also, by the way, she's just discovered is her nephew.

Really, it's enough to send anyone round the bend.


Daenerys' fate was always to follow in her mad father's flame-throwing footsteps. Did people forget that the sympathetic and likeable hero Daenerys ruthlessly burnt more people than a crematorium on a busy day? Or did they not care because - from her viewpoint - those folks were bad apples who deserved it?

Problem is, no matter how great a person you are, even just a teeny-tiny little bit of ruthless murder means you're not a great person.

As Daenerys rained down fire on the city streets her lover-nephew Jon Snow had an even dumber look on his face than usual. He couldn't comprehend what she was doing. He was the visual embodiment of Daenerys' many fans; startled, confused, disgusted and feeling deeply, deeply betrayed.

Far from being a "bad" piece of writing in this instant you were feeling exactly how the writers wanted you to feel. Bravo.