Last night on Game of Thrones we said goodbye to a lot of people, most of whom no one cared about. Today we gather in a Google Doc to wail into the abyss over the one goodbye that nothing could prepare us for. Usually a remembrance like this is not worth anyone's breath, as Westeros is a world jam-packed with lame-o's and bad guys and expendables and fuck-ups. But today, today we have something beautiful to mourn.
[SPOILERS FOR GAME OF THRONES BELOW]
Kaitlyn Tiffany: Goodbye Maester Pycelle, you very old dude; fare thee well Kevan Lannister, I can't remember the last time you spoke; safe travels Tommen Baratheon, you were honestly such an incest baby, and very dumb. The only death that stung me in this finale was that of the Last Great Scammer — Margaery Tyrell. This is for you, Marge. I can't believe you had to die in a turtleneck. There isn't much we can offer, just an in memoriam ode-chat on a blog.
we'll remember your neckline as it truly was — a mother-in-law taunting deep V
Jamieson Cox: Kaitlyn, I had a vested interest in Margaery achieving some kind of liberation from the High Sparrow's clutches — she was the Hail Mary pass I hoped would save my miserable Game of Game of Thrones team, which is probably cruising to a last-place finish as we speak. And yet my affection for her ran deeper than her scoring potential in a league that asks you to slap, stab, and sass your way to victory. I truly believed her intelligence and Machiavellian savvy would lead her to some kind of triumph, even if it just meant escaping King's Landing with her family relatively unscathed. She ended up another torched victim of Cersei's terroristic political play, the only person in the room smart enough to know what was coming. Were you holding out hope she was going to wriggle under some apostle's weak forearm the way I was, even if it probably wouldn't have mattered? (Wildfire's got one hell of a blast radius.)
KT: Yes! I definitely thought she was getting out of there, mainly because the only truly satisfying series finale of Game of Thrones would involve Marge and her BFF Sansa lounging in a pile of lemon cakes, dishing about the dozens of husbands they dispatched. While it seems cruel that Margaery's long con was cut short, I guess it wasn't totally fruitless — she taught our girl up North how to play the game, and that is definitely paying dividends. Let's try to remember her at her best, "the smirking whore from Highgarden." I will wear a deep V to the club this weekend in her honor.
What's your favorite memory of our queen, Jamieson?
JC: There are plenty of worthy choices, but I have to go with the season five scene where she pulls off the conversational version of dunking on Cersei and stepping over her on the way down. After Margaery and the newly crowned King Tommen consummate their marriage, Tommen tells Cersei she'd be happier hanging out in Casterly Rock. Sensing Margaery's hand at work, Cersei decides to give her a visit. What happens instead? Margaery makes sure Cersei knows she's spent from boning her beloved son all night, and she asserts her newfound royal authority with acid finesse. The Red Keep's Regina George was at the peak of her powers in that moment.
KT: Ah, beautiful memories. I'm only taking comfort in the fact that Margaery wasn't outsmarted by Cersei and probably couldn't have been. As Natalie Dormer mentioned in a post-mortem interview with Entertainment Weekly, her downfall was the product of a man's incompetence. The High Sparrow was calling the shots, even though Margaery knew better and accurately guessed what Cersei was up to. In that sense, her demise mirrors the arc of Cersei's entire life before this point — she's the smartest one in the room, but the patriarchy breathes fire.
JC: I can't help but look at Margaery's death as proof Game of Thrones' sixth season wasn't quite as kind, cuddly, and fan-servicing as everyone would have you believe. Sure, Jon's entire storyline has been a gift, and it's a relief to see Daenerys and her blossoming entourage finally getting the hell out of Essos. But this season also trained us to believe Margaery had a plan in place, a long con that would lead gamesmanship and family loyalty to triumph over blind devotion and unnecessary cruelty. When she slipped Olenna the paper rose a few episodes ago, I was sure she'd end up stabbing the High Sparrow in the back and waltzing back to Highgarden a free woman.
this show can still be plenty cruel
But she ended up trapped in a place where no amount of political know-how could save her, and she was smart enough to know that the incompetence you mentioned was going to put her in an early grave. The show is starting to tie up its loose ends in satisfying ways, but it can still be plenty cruel.
KT: Just when we thought it was going to let us go, it got us again! On the bright side: Daenerys and Yara and Ellaria and Olenna are cruising in from the East, and Sansa and Lyanna are setting up camp in the North. What if Margaery is the last casualty of Westeros' stupid, dude-centric political system? If she dies a martyr, she's sure to stay a thorn in Cersei's side (pun intended). Dang, I love you Marge. Keep smirking from beyond the grave. Your dastardly plots will not be forgotten.