Chinese viewers hated the latest episode of Game of Thrones as much as the rest of the world seemed to. But one character was the subject of much praise.
There are heavy spoilers ahead for Game of Thrones Season 8 Episode 5: The Bells. Don’t scroll past the picture if you don’t want to be spoiled!
The episode begins with the end of a character who’s been with the show since the first season: Lord Varys, executed by Daenerys after she finds out that he was plotting against her.
Chinese viewers did complain that the Master of Whispers could have been a little smarter when trying to press his case that Jon Snow is a better ruler for the common people of Westeros than Daenerys. But his selflessness is being widely applauded by Chinese social media users, who call him a true communist.
One user on Zhihu drafted a speech for King Jon Snow's theoretical inauguration ceremony. “Comrade Varys’s life is a life of glory and honor… The suffering he has been through laid ground for his dream to seek welfare for the people and the country.”
The speech continues: “Before he was arrested, Comrade Varys took off all his rings, and for the first and last time, proved himself a member of the proletariat.”
The same jokes appeared on movie review site Douban, where one post called Lord Varys a “revolutionary martyr” who contributed his whole life to the people and died heroically.
“Long live Comrade Varys!” hails the Douban user.
Another Zhihu user calls for people to join a new religion he’s starting in Westeros, which worships the Night King and has “party member Varys” as the spiritual leader.
“Game of Thrones fans of the world, unite! Capture [producers David Benioff and D.B. Weiss], resurrect the Night King and run into Communism!” the Zhihu user jokes, referring to the famous political slogan “Workers of the world, unite!”
Just as with viewers everywhere else, Chinese netizens are also baffled by the sudden attack on King’s Landing’s civilians by Daenerys. After the episode aired, a hashtag named “Dragon Mother slaughters city” was trending on Weibo, with most users condemning the plot turn.
Some users have deployed Tang Sanzang, the peaceful-minded Buddhist monk in the classic Chinese novel Journey to the West, to talk some sense into the Mad Queen. A meme circulating on Chinese social media has the monk say to Daenerys, “Why don’t you put down the butcher’s knife and become a Buddha?” -- a Chinese phrase used to persuade people to stop doing evil.
“Hatred does not cease by hatred,” the monk tries to tell Daenerys in the meme.
“So facts prove now that mental disease runs in the Targaryen family. Dragon Mother’s father and brother both proved it, and now it’s her turn,” one user said on Douban.
People are also pointing out plots that don’t hold up (which appears to be the norm for Game of Thrones now), with one user pointing out how vulnerable the capital is to dragon fire.
“King’s Landing is built with Mahjong tiles,” says the top comment under a Douban post that asks people to describe the episode in one sentence.
Overall, Chinese viewers are growing more and more disappointed by the lack of attention to detail in the final season.
“The defect of this episode is not the characters’ endings, but the process and reasons leading up to them,” says one Zhihu post that drew more than 1,800 upvotes. “[The screenwriters’] biggest problem is that they’re tired with the show.”