Game of Thrones burns everything and emerges from the wreckage dragons blazing

“There has always been more than enough death in the world for my taste. I can do without seeing it in my leisure time.”

Leave it to Tyrion Lannister to call Game of Thrones viewers out on their bloodlust. The Imp sits beside Daenerys Targaryen, Daario Noharis, and Hizdahr zo Loraq during the grand reopening of Meereen’s fighting pits, commenting on why he’s not a fan of the blood sport. From writers David Benioff and D.B. Weiss’ fingertips through Tyrion’s lips to your ears, hopefully the message is loud and clear: Game of Thrones is more violent than most any other show, and yet, it wants you to view the violence critically as Tyrion does, not as one of the many brain-dead patrons of the great Meereen arena who find themselves butchered by episode’s end.

Game of Thrones Recap

Take what happens in Stannis Baratheon’s camp, for instance. The man with an unquenchable thirst for the Iron Throne finally crosses an uncrossable line in this week’s episode, when his camp’s already thin food stores and supplies are further decimated in an ambush led by Ramsay Bolton. Unless he takes some desperate measures, would-be King Baratheon’s cause is doomed in the face of the raging winter — leading him to take the most desperate measure of all: Sacrificing his own daughter to the Lord of Light, at Melisandre’s behest.

Stannis sends the morally grounded Davos Seaworth back to the Wall to enlist Jon Snow’s help in the fight, with the actual purpose of getting his most trusted advisor out of sight before embarking on a morally bankrupt mission. With Davos gone, Stannis is free and clear to offer his daughter Shireen up to R’hllor, watching with icy determination as she screams and screams and burns and burns. Melisandre has long advocated for this sacrifice thanks to the power of the royal blood flowing through Shireen’s veins, and finally, Stannis signs off on the idea. But is it just a sickening moment for gore galore’s sake? Or is the scene here to force viewers to recognize that even someone like Stannis, a man who has been on the side of justice more often than not, is capable of utter monstrosity?

In Braavos, another character contemplates violent vengeance, as Faceless-Woman-in-Training Arya Stark encounters one of the many men on her famous kill list: Meryn Trant, Joffrey Baratheon’s former bodyguard, the man who killed Arya’s mentor Syrio Forel. Meryn is accompanying Mace Tyrell in Braavos, and more than that, he’s spending his leisure time in brothels, paying top dollar for a very specific kind of companion — the kind who’s as young as Arya, if not younger.

On one hand, we root for Arya to seal the deal and cross Meryn off her list, not just because it’s one less pedophile in the world, but also because Arya’s pain is our pain, and the men and women who brought ruin to House Stark deserve our ire. On the other hand, we want Arya to cool her jets, because killing Meryn means violating the House of Black and White’s quintessential “I am No One” rule, and also because another vengeance kill only drags Arya deeper into the heart of darkness. At what point does she reach the point of no return?

In Dorne, Game of Thrones inches closer to its own point of no return, in the sense that the home of the Martells remains unspeakably boring. Jaime convinces Prince Doran to spare his life and allow him to return to King’s Landing with Myrcella, her fiancé Trystane, and a broken-jawed Bronn in tow. Even Ellaria Sand seemingly gives Jaime a pass, after spending most of her season five screen time railing against the Lannisters. The moral of the story? Your guess is as good as mine.

But Tyrion’s commentary on violence is at its sharpest in the fighting pits of Meereen, as Jorah Mormont survives improbable odds against several different soldiers, living long enough to prevent an assassination attempt on Daenerys Targaryen’s life. But that’s just the start of things, as several Sons of the Harpy emerge from the arena stands. Donning masks and brandishing knives, they slaughter everyone in sight, with the aim of putting an end to Meereen’s new queen for good.

Dany’s entourage of Jorah, Daario, Tyrion and Missandei fight through the carnage until they reach the center of the arena, surrounded at all sides, their fates all but certain — if not for the arrival of Drogon, the furious flame-spewing beast that lands with a thud and takes out all Harpies in sight. Daenerys finally fulfills her destiny as a dragon-riding Targaryen, mounting Drogon and flying away for parts unknown, leaving her awestruck fellows behind to untie the Meereenese knot on their own.

As the Queen of Meereen and Khaleesi of the Great Grass Sea rides off into the sky, we’re left with Tyrion’s slack-jawed shock on our face, so much so that his comments on violence are little more than a lingering worm in the ear, wiggling around for attention. But as we prepare for next week’s season finale, perhaps there’s no greater place for Tyrion’s take on the world than Daenerys’ current dragon’s-eye-view.

Movies & TV

Colder and bloodier, Game of Thrones season 8 has a premiere date

A new teaser trailer for season 8 of HBO's hit series Game of Thrones reveals the official premiere date for the final story arc in the award-winning series based on George RR Martin's popular novels.
Movies & TV

From premiere date to footage: Here's all we have on 'Game of Thrones' season 8

With the eighth and final season looming, Game of Thrones fever has officially become a pandemic. Our list of all the relevant news and rumors will help make the wait more bearable, if you don't mind spoilers.
Home Theater

The best movies on Netflix in December, from 'Buster Scruggs’ to 'Roma'

Save yourself from hours wasted scrolling through Netflix's massive library by checking out our picks for the streamer's best movies available right now, whether you're into explosive action, witty humor, or anything else.
Movies & TV

The best shows on Netflix, from 'Haunting of Hill House’ to ‘Norsemen’

Looking for a new show to binge? Lucky for you, we've curated a list of the best shows on Netflix, whether you're a fan of outlandish anime, dramatic period pieces, or shows that leave you questioning what lies beyond.
Movies & TV

Curious about 'Spider-Man: Far From Home'? Here's everything we know so far

Despite some mystery surrounding Spider-Man's future after the events of Avengers: Infinity War, Spider-Man: Far From Home swings into theaters in July 2019. Here's everything we know about the movie so far.
Deals

Stream UFC Fight Night 143 for free with this ESPN+ trial offer

If you're looking for a way to watch UFC Fight Night 143 and other upcoming sporting events on mobile, then ESPN's premium mobile service has you covered, and you can even take advantage of a seven-day trial to stream it totally free.
Home Theater

Not chill: Netflix is hiking prices across all its tiers

Netflix has to get the billions of dollars it's spending on new content from somewhere. The streaming giant announced price hikes across the board, raising its monthly rates between $1 and $2 per tier in the next few months.
Movies & TV

How much does Netflix cost? Here’s a pricing breakdown of its plans

Wondering how much a Netflix subscription costs? You're not the only one. That's why we put together a quick-hit guide covering all the Netflix plans, whether you want to opt for 4K streaming or a disc-based option.
Home Theater

From the Roku Ultra to the Fire TV Cube, these are the best streaming devices

There are more options for media streamers than ever, so it’s more difficult to pick the best option. But that’s why we're here. Our curated list of the best streaming devices will get you online in no time.
Movies & TV

NBCUniversal will launch its own streaming service in 2020

NBCU is prepping a streaming service filled with its original content for a debut sometime next year, meaning that Michael, Dwight, and the rest of the Scranton crew might be moving to a new home.
Home Theater

Sling TV offers free shows, a la carte subscription channels to Roku users

If you are among a select group of Roku users, Sling TV has added free TV shows and the option to subscribe to individual channels without having to subscribe to the company's base level of channels.
Gaming

Break out the Wii: ‘Just Dance’ movie reportedly in the works

Sony's Screen Gems has reportedly acquired the film rights to the Just Dance video game series from Ubisoft, which previously helped bring the game Assassin's Creed to the big screen in 2016.
Movies & TV

Apple’s first original feature film reunites Bill Murray, Sofia Coppola

The Lost in Translation team of Sofia Coppola and Bill Murray will reunite with their A Very Murray Christmas collaborator Rashida Jones for On the Rocks, Apple and studio A24's first official feature together.
Movies & TV

You can get a screaming deal on LG OLED TVs just in time for the Super Bowl

LG is offering steep discounts on its critically acclaimed OLED TV models just in time for the Super Bowl, letting discerning viewers watch their favorite athletes with higher picture quality than ever.