“The latest Game of Thrones episode reminded me what I’ve always known about TV.”

Video by HBO

Game of Thrones’ most recent episode will likely go down as one of the best in the entire series.

It had sexual tension in a cave. A family reunion. Brandon Stark’s general… creepiness. But most surprisingly, it had a battle scene I actually cared about. 

I usually find battle scenes drawn out, alienating and slightly boring. There’s something about armies of thousands of men and the use of weapons that I can’t quite relate to. But last night’s was different.

Last night, there was a Drogon.

SWEETIE. Image via HBO.

You see, Drogon is one of Daenerys Targaryen's three dragons. She's raised them since they were eggs. This is the first time any of them have participated in battle, and oh goodness, Drogon did a very good job. He did lots of fire breathing and destruction, etc.

For some context (lol, the idea of providing context for a Game of Thrones scene is giving me legitimate anxiety), this battle was between the Dothraki army - who are fighting for Daenerys - and the Lannister army - who are fighting for Cersei.

Listen: Laura Brodnik and Clare Stephens deep dive into all the latest Game of Thrones story clues on The Binge. Post continues after audio. 

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It begins with a Lannister army, led by Jaime Lannister, preparing to head back to Kings Landing.

But then there's an eerie silence. The birds stop chirping. Something is coming.

The wild Dothraki's - brandishing unusual weapons and riding on horseback - descend upon the battleground. Then, to the amazement of thousands and thousands of men, a dragon flies above them, obliterating sections of the Lannister army with fire.

On the dragon's back, is Daenerys.

Flashback to bubba Drogon. Image via HBO.

During this battle, however, I was reminded of something I've always felt when it comes to TV and movies. It struck me particularly hard when I watched as Bronn took down a soldier by violently cutting through his horses leg, and the feeling peaked when an arrow was shot directly into Drogon's chest.

I can watch thousands of humans die on TV. But I cannot cope with the death of an animal. 

I've felt this way since I was seven and watched Air Bud for the first time. No, the dog doesn't die in Air Bud (spoiler), but for a period of time he gets sent away to go with the clown man (I'm not going to lie, my memories are a little hazy), and I remember crying about a dog having to be the victim of injustice when he did nothing wrong.

He was just being a dog. 

In Game of Thrones, the horses are entirely innocent. They didn't decide to go to war. They're not hungry for power and they have no ego. Seeing them suffer, therefore, was really confronting.

Then there was Drogon.

When he breathes fire on thousands of people he's just acting on instinct. It's not his fault. So seeing him be shot with an arrow designed to kill him felt so unjust.

But it was the final scene of last night's episode that actually broke me. As Daenerys attempts to remove the arrow from Drogon's chest, Jaime Lannister decides to ride towards her to kill her. Just as he approaches, Drogon's pained body turns towards him and releases a huge breath of fire. Bronn pushes Jaime at the last moment, and we're left unsure of Jaime's fate, but the coda is clear: DON'T GODDAMN HURT THE GODDAMN DRAGON.

Of course, there's some irony in the Game of Thrones audience being so profoundly affected by the injury of animals, when this is a show underpinned by incest, torture, mass murder and extreme violence.

But if Drogon dies, I will not cope. All he wants to do is protect his mum. It's not his fault he's a dragon.

I think I speak for everyone (I just... I definitely don't) when I say the worst on-screen genre is the one where animals die and/or are hurt.

After last night, I'm really hoping Game of Thrones stays firmly away from that route in future. Because for goodness sake, I like to watch all my men die in peace.

For the biggest TV news of the week, including all the new shows to watch, listen to the latest episode of The Binge. 

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