9

It's obvious that

Cersei

could have killed

Daenerys

with the

scorpions mounted on the towers of Kings Landing and thus ended the war.

Are there any legitimate in-universe reasons why she didn't? Seems like the writers just don't care anymore to me.

EDIT: I've been convinced why the war might not have ended, but not why it wasn't done anyway. Assuming

Cersei had the capability to kill Daenerys, Grey Worm, Tyrion and the Unsullied

which the screenplay made it seem like she very much did, I find it hard to believe she would pass up the opportunity to kill the group of leaders we saw.

  • 19
    In real life, killing leaders is rarely an effective means of winning a war. Would Daenerys's soldiers, allies, and dragons stop fighting simply because Cersei broke a truce? Or would they be even angrier? In other words: Daenerys isn't the Night King. – Adamant May 6 at 6:12
  • 4
    Also: Jon Snow. – zibadawa timmy May 6 at 7:56
  • 5
    At the battle of Stamford bridge, Harald Hardrada dies quite early, but the battle still continues, even if there is no point, as the war was based around Harald claim to the throne. Pretty sure you could have plenty other examples on history.SE. Also, even if Daenerys, which had a good claim, dies, those with lesser claim could still battle, even more as Cersei would prove everyone she is not a good ruler – Kepotx May 6 at 12:29
  • 3
    "Harald Hardrada dies but the battle still continues" that's a battle, not a truce meeting. There was no battle between Cersei and Dany taking place yet. "if Daenerys, which had a good claim, dies, those with lesser claim could still battle, even more as Cersei would prove everyone she is not a good ruler" exactly, and which of those lesser claims would end up ruling? If you kill the best claim, then the other claims will squabble amongst themselves. That can only be good for Cersei; she loses a strong adversary, AND/OR she splinters Danys forces and conquers them that way. – ThatOneGuy789 May 6 at 15:01
  • 2
    Those are all examples out of era with dissimilar political structures. The show is based on a time in history with absolute monarchies and feudalism; specifically, political structures with no universally accepted system of power distribution in the event of a monarchs death. Case in point, the War of the 5 King's in the earlier seasons. – ThatOneGuy789 May 6 at 16:53
15

The intent of the scene is clearly that they are stopped just out of bow and Scorpion range, and only Tyrion approaches close enough to be in danger. It just utterly fails at conveying this visually, possibly because they also need to be close enough to see Missandei get killed so the range of the Scorpions magically shrinks.

  • 4
    They look to be well within range of the scorpions considering what we saw earlier in the episode. – TheLethalCarrot May 6 at 13:56
  • 5
    While it's hard to say without a quote, I feel this has to have been a cinematography decision, not an in-universe thing. Just like in a real world it's unlikely the scorpions would have been throwing spears that could blow 3' holes in a ship like you would normally expect from Age of Sail cannons, but it was visually stunning so they did it. – Paul May 6 at 15:39
17

The obvious answer is: Jon Snow. She knows he's in league with her, and he'd simply show up and continue the war without her anyway. And if she's heard anything from the battle in the North, she'll know that Jon's ridden a dragon before, so Drogon would still be a threat (unless he got emotional and exposed himself).

Secondly, killing the enemy commander during a parlay is a good way of making a martyr out of your enemy. That makes it a lot easier for the enemy forces to double down on their resolve to take you out. And it makes it harder to cast yourself as the benevolent protector she wants the people to think of her as. Cercei's going out of her way here to make Dany look like the crazed, murderous aggressor, so that even if Dany did win it'd be a poisoned well: the people would hate and fear her.

Thirdly, Dany's no good as a military commander, as should be quite obvious by now, so you wouldn't make much of a dent in their strategic capabilities, and may make them better by getting rid of her tactical dead weight.

  • 2
    well, Drogon was also in range, so she could also kill drogon. While this could indeed backfire at Cersei, she could definitely solve the dragon's problem – Kepotx May 6 at 8:24
  • 2
    @Kepotx It's hard to judge the range capabilities and actual distance in that shot. I think the impression you're obviously supposed to get is that he's out of range. He's much, much further back than Dany and the rest. – zibadawa timmy May 6 at 8:29
  • 4
    If those are the same ballistae than those from euron's fleet, it seems like he was at range – Kepotx May 6 at 8:33
  • 4
    @Kepotx If we go through and try to maximum-nerd things and try to calculate the range demonstrated by Euron's fleet and then calculate the apparent distance to Drogon from the walls, then maybe we'd find he's in range. But the set-up is narratively meant to suggest to the viewer that he's been intentionally held back and out of range (Dany in principle ought to have a good feel for this, but she's no mathematician or physicist). Both for his own safety and to reinforce the idea that this is a parlay, not an attack. Also, Euron has teleportation hax, so... – zibadawa timmy May 6 at 8:37
  • 3
    @Kepotx That's what my parenthetical was getting at, yeah. And why I said she's awful at military tactics. One may perhaps forgive her for having no dang idea how to make use of literally the only airforce in the world, but still...I have a vague, not-getting-attached-to-it hope that the next episode preview indicates she finally figures out how to actually make use of the ability to fly and hover. She's basically been Khan to Cersei's Kirk, never thinking three dimensionally. – zibadawa timmy May 6 at 8:44
9

That's not how politics work.

Remember the previous season, Cersei meets with Jon & co. and they show her the zombie they stole from NK. At that meeting Daenerys had both her dragons and there were no scorpions. She could easily burn Cerse, Mountain , Jaime...

But

If she did that , she would be an unfaithful ruler and everybody would be afraid to meet her in person from then on.

Same is true with Cersei

If she basically kills dragon or the others, she would be a queen who does not respect agreements. Everybody, friend or foe, would be afraid to go to King's Landing and her power would diminish, because people would lose their trust to her hospitality.

Real Life Politics

This is also true for real life politics. Country leaders visit other countries all the time and they do not get killed. Remember , They don't always visit countries they are allies with. (e.g. USA and North Korea , any UN meeting...)

  • Strongly diagree. The Lannisters openly pulled strings to bring about the Red Wedding in season 3. Cersei herself burned her political opponents alive in the Sept of Baelor in Season 6, killing thousands of innocents in the middle of her own capital city. This isn't 21st century politics, there is no balance of power to check your actions when you're on the throne and fear of the ruling monarch is the norm rather than exceptional. The only reason they could meet previous was stalemate. Cersei clearly had the advantage here. – ThatOneGuy789 May 6 at 21:09
  • 2
    I thought about red wedding while writing the answer, look how that turned out for the Freys. Same for Sept of Baelor. Highgarden was an ally before , after that she had to sent armies to capture it. By the way, both cases are not meetings with enemies, these are sneak attacks... – atayenel May 6 at 21:12
  • Let's say the answer of this question is same as "why Daenerys didn't burn everyone last season ?", for me, the reason is this. – atayenel May 6 at 21:14
  • 1
    The show has clearly stated multiple times that Daenerys cares about the people's opinion. It has also stated that Cersei does not. – ThatOneGuy789 May 6 at 21:22
  • 1
    @ThatOneGuy789 - Frankly, both of those were bad strategies. Don't mistake Cersei for a successful long-term ruler. Ruthlessness gets you to the top, but sometimes it gets you down just as fast. – Adamant May 6 at 23:25
6

During the wide shot from the top of the ramparts, you can see that the dragon is much further than the rest of the Dani's guard. enter image description here

Presumably it's outside of the reach of the scorpions. The show doesn't make it clear how intelligent dragons are. When they are allowed to roam, they seem to behave like cats (they come and go as they please). It's not clear if they are less intelligent, more intelligent, or as intelligent as humans. Certainly, Cersei would not know it.

For all she knew, if she killed Dani, the dragon would wait for his chance.. maybe for weeks or months. But then it would attack at night and burn down the city.

This may answer the question why Cersei had to kill Missandei. Just like in the Battle of the Bastards (when Ramsey killed Rickon), she needed to kill someone Dani cared about. This was done to draw the strongest forces into the fight.

Cersei can take on a dragon when she is prepared for it and has all the strongest defenses with her. She is not likely to fare so well if she is unprepared and the attack can come anywhere, at any moment, from a being which travels much faster than any of Cersei's own forces.

The look on Cersei's face after Missandei says "dracarys" is that of a self-satisfied smile. Her plan is working. She would much rather fight the fight where she is the strongest than have to fight against a guerrilla force with a dragon.

  • I'm not sure how this answers the question of why Cersei didn't just kill the advisors then and there? – Edlothiad May 6 at 22:32
  • @Edlothiad it answers the question why she wouldn't kill Dani. I can only speculate that the calculation is that Dani is more likely to mount an attack if she feels more confident with her advisors by her side. – grovkin May 6 at 22:35
0

A parlay is risky for both sides. She Cersei had attacked she would be risking retaliation. She was on top of the walls in a vulnerable position. Maybe her forces could have taken out Drogon in time, maybe she would have been incinerated.

It's also possible that she simply intended to anger Dany, in the hopes of her making further tactical errors. Dany has not shown herself to be a good tactician and many of the set-backs she has experienced have been due to her own inexperience.

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.