Three Queens Left on the Board

If you tuned into the Game of Thrones episode this past weekend you know that some of my predictions have turned out, and one in particular did not- though the one that didn't made me very happy anyway. Beware of spoilers if you have not caught up with Season 8, Episode 5, "The Bells".

I had predicted that Cersei and Daenerys would destroy each other, and that would leave only Arya and Sansa alive. I predicted that Arya was a lost cause, giving into her need for revenge well into the third quadrant of The Queen's Path and dying as a bitter MIPE. What I couldn't see coming was that Arya Stark would actually become a queen according to the mythic structure in the most recent episode.

Sandor Clegane, also known as The Hound, leaves Winterfell with Arya, as they both return to King's Landing bent on revenge. Arya is going to kill Cersei, and we learn later that The Hound is committed to killing his abusive brother, Gregor, (who also is graced by a menacing nickname, The Mountain). Arya is sent away from her revenge mission by Sandor who tells her that only death waits for her if she follows him into the Red Keep. He admonishes her that even if she survives what is happening all around them that she will become like him. In a moment of clear tenderness, Arya finally gets the message, and leaves the Red Keep, leaving Sandor to battle his brother to the death.

This is a critical moment, and if you're keeping up with the wheel of the Queen's Path, it is Arya's mirror moment. She looks into the mirror, sees who she has become, and breaks the mirror, shattering the image of herself as only a MIPE. What follows is confirmation of this new direction as Arya experiences a bit of The Hunt, and is nearly trampled to death when she is trying to escape from the dragon fire and destruction raining down on King's Landing. A woman clinging to her young daughter sees Arya and reaches into the melée to help Arya stand on her own two feet. Arya then feels compelled to protect the mother and daughter as King's Landing falls down around them.

Arya has come out of the mirror moment on the other side, no longer condemned to the wasteland of the MIPE's ambitions. She is now free to take on the challenge of saving her sister-self, and ascending the metaphorical (or actual) throne of a fully self-aware sovereign. What will happen next is anyone's guess, but my prediction is that now that there is only one MIPE left, she will likely have to be destroyed. It is a sad course of events that Daenerys Targaryen will have to die the MIPE's death. She will likely be destroyed by someone close to her, after being given the opportunity for her own mirror moment.

Certainly Jon Snow attempted to force Daenerys to do the right thing. Varys also tried. Tyrion tried as well. But when the city had surrendered, Daenerys, consumed by her rage, attacked the King's Landing anyway, burning it to the ground with dragon fire. This is critical to who she has become, because it implies that Daenerys, upon seeing the opportunity to be benevolent, to embrace the MISOR image and become a whole, united sovereign queen, instead chose the path of the abjected MIPE. Right at all costs, strong, without compassion, and without her "sister-self" Daenerys crossed into the realm of Abjection, a MIPE consumed by revenge, with no capacity for reconciling the dueling halves of herself.

In English myths, dragons were symbols of vice. They hoarded gold, and kept beautiful women for themselves. It is from Chinese mythology that the idea of dragons having more benevolent natures comes from. We might want to bear that in mind as we imagine the fate of the Dragon Queen. Perhaps the myth always hinted to us, using the mere presence of dragons, that Daenerys would always be forsaken, corrupted by her own lust for power and righteousness.

What will happen in the conclusion? Who can say... Cersei is certainly dead, having escaped to the dungeons of the Red Keep, to find Jaime there to hold her as the whole castle literally came crashing on top of them. Sansa is still at Winterfell. Arya is at King's Landing. I would imagine that the final episode will see Jon Snow ascend the Iron Throne, only to abdicate, perhaps in favor of Arya Stark? Or perhaps he and Daenerys will destroy each other, or attempt to- each of them having survived death in the past. Maybe Arya will assume the face of the Dragon Queen after killing Daenerys? Or perhaps Sansa Stark will come to King's Landing to unite the North and the South under the Dire Wolf banner.

One thing is certain, the Mad Queen must die. She will not sit on the Iron Throne for long. Who will succeed her, and how will the remaining queens on the board fare? We'll know in less than a week!