A fiery battle took place on Game of Thrones this week, and it was not long before the first major character death.
Warning! Spoilers for Game of Thrones Season 8, Episode 5 lie ahead!
It was a sad day in Westeros, as fans lost Varys. The Spider was finally killed after years of deception, plotting and diplomacy. As careful as he was, the Master of Whisperers went too far in trusting Tyrion, and he paid the ultimate price, as Tyrion informed Daenerys about his treasonous plans.
After Tyrion reported Varys' treason to Daenerys, she rounded on him as well. The furious queen felt that all of the advisers had played right into Sansa Stark's hands, helping spread the story of Jon Stark's parentage. Ultimately, she executed Varys by dragon fire in a small circle of her closest followers, including Tyrion and Jon.
"I hope I deserve this," the old spymaster said. "Truly, I do."
As tragic as it is, the death comes as no surprise. Many fans expected Varys to die after his outright treasonous talk in last week's episode. Some were even frustrated, feeling that the scheming politician's character was diminished by his over-simplified death.
In the series' long run, nearly every character has been in danger of dying at some point, and most have been subjected to ominous foreshadowing. Still, with the end of the massive story upon us now, finding out who lives and who dies in earnest can be a nail-biting experience.
Game of Thrones became a sensation through surprising character deaths. The show, and the book series, A Song of Ice and Fire, made its mark on fans with the shocking twist at the end of Season 1, when Ned Stark is killed. Up until then, Ned was a main character whose perspective the story was told through, so his death was practically unthinkable. It showed just how unforgiving the world can be.
From there, the series has continued to find new and shocking ways to make surprising character deaths its bread and butter. From the infamous Red Wedding, to the death of Tywin Lannister, even down to last season's tragic death and resurrection of the dragon Viserion, fans literally expect the unexpected from Game of Thrones.
That can be a lot to live up to, and this season is it is becoming a bit of a burden for the show. Fans were outraged that so many main characters survived the Battle of Winterfell, feeling that it did not match the show's ethos. Some were disappointed that the Night King was killed in just one battle, feeling that it diminished the existential threat that had been building for so many years.
On the flip side, many of the same fans are now angry about the bloody path these last three episodes are taking. The deaths of Rhaegal and Missandei caused outrage, as fans wondered how a deranged monarch like Cersei could take out more characters than the ancient magical Night King.0comments
Whatever your feelings, the end us almost upon us, and then it will just be sad. The series has ruled pop culture for nearly a decade now, and its finale will mark the end of an era.
The Game of Thrones series finale airs on Sunday, May 19 at 9 p.m. ET on HBO.