Putting aside for a moment ships, character arches and other complaints that people have about Jaime and Cersei’s death, I think part of why it felt sort of so anticlimactic and inspired all the “rocks fell’ jokes, is because the lead up to their actual death scene wasn’t given enough dramatic effect. We get a lot of Jaime trying to get to Cersei and a bit of Cersei trying to make an escape, but once they were together the tension and the hope – no matter how much a pretense – and the drama needed to be ratcheted up. (They also could have lit the damn thing better, but that’s another story.) Like, all other context aside, what I thought in part made Jorah’s and Theon’s death sequences so gut-wrenching, and made Sandor’s so dramatic and more satisfying, is the drawn out lead up sequences. Sandor fights
for his life like hell. Jorah and Theon aren’t just fighting, they also got that lovely piano layover and muted volume that just screams desperation and tragedy.
Jaime and Cersei’s attempted escape was very short lived. Like, “we’re going now,” “oh ooops guess we can’t,” “time to die.” We needed to see them fight – in this case run – for it. To really be drawn into the drama of the attempted escape, that bit of hope, the tension of “oh shit, is it gonna work?” even as the music and editing might cue us in that, nope it won’t. I think it would have been cool to have several parallel shots of Cersei and Jaime running through the tunnels, stumbling, grabbing each other’s hands, and shots of Dany flying around destroying everything. Muffle the sound and make it echo-y, cue some soft tragic music. Cut back and forth a few times the way that we got the parallel of Arya getting swept up by the crowd and the Hound getting beat up by the Mountain. Then at the end, just as they’re about to turn a corner, Jaime makes an expressive gesture, Here! They turn the corner and – nope. Wall of rocks. Jaime just kinda freezes, somewhere deep down he knew they weren’t getting out. Cersei, more desperate, as she was in that scene, slams against the rocks, trying to claw her way through them almost. Jaime grabs her hands, pulls her away, and they have the dialogue as in canon. One last cut away to Dany zeroing in on the last tower or something of the Red Keep, the dragon opens its mouth—Down below, Cersei collapses into Jaime’s arms and they hold each other for a few seconds as the music swells and everything collapse around them.
I mean, look. Maybe I’m overdramatic. I’m certainly not a film director. But I feel like we really needed to feel that adrenaline of an escape attempt with them first, to get that high drama and have a few moments to process the tragedy of it – as romantic tragedy is clearly what they were going for. What we got was kinda rushed (I mean the entire ep was…) and there wasn’t enough breathing room to let things sink in. Especially when we’re saying goodbye to two major/main characters. Because whatever else was bad in the execution of Jaime going back to KL, the themes of them dying together weren’t wrong per se. Even lots of people who don’t ship Jaime/Cersei thought it would make sense for them to die together. Jaime and Cersei as each other’s magnet has been a theme. Them being together against the world, even when that leads to shit, is a longstanding theme. Even them wanting to escape to a better life together and being incapable of it has been an on-and-off theme for their relationship overall. I really do think what we were cheated of most for the death scene/sequences specifically is the dramatic effect.