On the latest episode of Westworld, former Game of Thrones showrunners David Benioff and D.B. Weiss have a cameo in which they prepare to dismember a dragon that looks like Drogon.
That sentence is completely ridiculous, but it is 100 percent true. They use a circular saw and everything. Look:
The symbolism of this won’t be lost on anyone. Benioff and Weiss are destroying one of the iconic characters of Thrones—and it seems like a pretty unsubtle “fuck you” to anyone who was disappointed by the way the much-panned final season of the show ended. To them, it’s all a big joke. But before we get into what exactly Benioff and Weiss wanted to say here, let’s break down the entire thing.
This scene begins when Luke Hemsworth—who’s apparently super jacked?—and Bernard come around a corner as the latter asks, “What are we doing in Park Four? I thought the parks were shut down,” which may not make sense even if you watch Westworld. It seems that this is some kind of Games of Thronesian park—at the very least, it’s medieval themed. There’s a shield with some swords behind Hemsworth (screenshots brightened for clarity):
And then the two catch a glimpse of a host that could be a stand-in for the High Sparrow. Behind him is a character that almost looks like the Hound:
The two come around another corner and there is another shield, featuring a green dragon or sea monster on a yellow background:
I was hoping this would be some kind of nod to a lesser-known Westerosi house, maybe one that wasn’t seen in Game of Thrones, but my expectations weren’t low enough. There’s no known Westerosi sigil that matches this shield—it appears to be just another prop confirming the medieval setting for Park Four. Ditto for the first shield. I can’t find any clear connection to Westeros—until the two spot Benioff:
And then, the camera pans over to Weiss:
Benioff and Weiss are playing the Westworld techs who rebuild the hosts after the park guests destroy them. Only now, in Season 3 of this show, the parks are shut down and there are no guests. As such, the tech characters don’t have much to do—so they’ve taken to stealing their employer’s product and selling it for their own gain, apparently.
“We’ve got a buyer,” Weiss says. “Some startup in Costa Rica.” An incredulous Benioff asks: “How are we going to get that to Costa Rica?”
“Pieces man,” Weiss responds, then he revs up the circular saw as we get a glimpse of a living dragon that is apparently just chilling next to them:
The shields may not be from Westeros, but that is Drogon—you can’t convince me otherwise. He’s sporting the same distinctive red-and-black coloring and pattern of spikes and scales. In size, I’d place him around Season 5 Drogon. Big enough to take on a group of the Sons of the Harpy in the fighting pits of Meereen, at least.
This entire cameo is completely ridiculous for a million reasons. There’s Benioff with his feet up, completely disinterested. There’s Weiss putting way too much emphasis on “Costa Rica.” There’s the clunky, expositional dialogue in general. There’s a circular saw that’s clearly way too small for the job. There’s the whole mindfuck that comes with trying to continue to suspend your disbelief as Westworld overtly references another HBO show. There’s Hemsworth’s reaction as he watches all of this go down:
And there’s one more thing that is ridiculous about this, which is this: ON THE LATEST EPISODE OF WESTWORLD, FORMER GAME OF THRONES SHOWRUNNERS DAVID BENIOFF AND D.B. WEISS HAVE A CAMEO IN WHICH THEY PREPARE TO DISMEMBER A DRAGON THAT LOOKS LIKE DROGON.
I have to say I almost respect the sheer audacity. Since the airing of the much-maligned eighth and final season of Thrones, Benioff and Weiss have been the main target for criticism. The season was rushed and sloppy and nonsensical, and some corners of the internet still can’t stop talking about how one of the best shows on television slowly became one of the worst as the series outpaced George R.R. Martin’s source material. For many, Benioff and Weiss ruined characters like Jon Snow, Tyrion Lannister, Daenerys Targaryen, Bran Stark, and, yeah, Drogon.
So for them to literally chop up the main dragon of Game of Thrones on Westworld? If you were frustrated by the conclusion of Thrones, in this clip Benioff and Weiss are telling you that they don’t care—in fact, they think it’s funny.
And I mean, this clip is kinda funny. I laughed, at least—though maybe not for the reasons Benioff and Weiss hoped for. For those of us who invested deeply in Thrones, it’s more confirmation that the showrunners didn’t care about the story as much as the fans did. Were their hearts still in it at the end? Based on the way they just symbolically destroyed their own legacy onscreen, it sure seems like they weren’t.
It’s not really clear what Benioff and Weiss are working on now. In July 2017, HBO picked up the duo’s Confederate, an ill-conceived show that would have centered on an alternate-history America where the South won the Civil War. That project was quietly buried by HBO and then officially died in August 2019. Then the two were supposed to work on Star Wars, with Disney announcing in February 2018 that Benioff and Weiss would helm a new trilogy in that universe. That was cancelled in October 2019. Their last known deal is a whopping $200 million contract they signed with Netflix in August 2019—but there’s never been an announcement on what it is they’re actually working on over there. It’s almost like they aren’t really working on anything, which would explain why they’d have time to hop back on over to HBO to make a quick cameo.
Either way, Benioff and Weiss taking a chainsaw to Drogon is too on the nose. I can’t believe they agreed to it. But knowing how these two have told stories in the past, it’s likely that they didn’t just agree to it—it was probably their idea in the first place.
Disclosure: HBO is an initial investor in The Ringer.