“Game of Thrones” is full of ominous foreshadowing, but it’s rarely as explicit as what viewers saw Sunday night when Qyburn unveiled a deadly new contraption. Cersei had promised a group of noblemen that she was working on a solution for the dragons. If she was going to gain allies, she had to calm their fears about Daenerys Targaryen’s most powerful weapon. (We’ve been reminded again and again that the way Aegon Targaryen ascended to the Iron Throne was thanks to his three dragons.)
But it wasn’t just lip service; Cersei’s mad scientist right-hand man is onto something. In the Red Keep crypt, Qyburn had set up a massive cross bow, aimed at a relic: the skull of Aegon’s largest dragon.
Qyburn might be crazy — he reanimated the Mountain after all — but he’s no dummy. He reminded Cersei that one of Dany’s dragons was injured in the fighting pits of Meereen.
“If they can be wounded, they can be killed,” Qyburn told Cersei, before letting her play with his new toy. With the press of a button, she sent a huge spear hurtling into the skull. Yep, that’ll do some damage.
It was easy to see foreboding parallels between Dany’s dragons and the Stark’s direwolves, considering the reappearance of Arya’s furry friend Nymeria Sunday night. The six direwolves were intimidating protectors for their owners but now only two remain. The rest have been murdered by humans (both alive and undead). Ghost is with Jon Snow at Winterfell, but, as we saw in Sunday’s episode, Nymeria has returned to the wild and she has no interest in following Arya back home. Now a massive beast, she has her own pack to worry about.
Could the same fate befall Dany’s dragons? It’s pretty obvious now they aren’t going to all survive a run at King’s Landing. The show wouldn’t introduce Qyburn’s latest invention unless someone was going to use it. (My money’s on Drogon going down, considering he’s the most prominent.) As usual on “Game of Thrones,” though, the maneuvering to get or keep the Iron Throne could be at the expense of humanity as a whole. Ser Davos floated an idea on Sunday: If fire kills White Walkers, wouldn’t dragons be a great weapon to save humanity? Yes, they would — but only if they can survive being used as a weapon in the less pressing war between two women.
Storytelling-wise, it makes sense to get rid of at least one of the dragons. They’ve always been Dany’s trump card, making her ascent a little too easy. Every time she gets in trouble, Drogon and company materialize to bail her out. Killing one or two certainly levels the playing field.
But that doesn’t mean they’re all going to die. Like the direwolves, they clearly have a part to play in the biggest war yet. During a 2014 interview with Mashable, George R.R. Martin said that Nymeria would have a prominent role down the line.
“You know, I don’t like to give things away,” he said. “But you don’t hang a giant wolf pack on the wall unless you intend to use it.”
The same could be said for introducing three fire-breathing monsters.