Game of Thrones—HBO’s hit show about camping and horny sailors—has made it very clear that the trio of dragons possessed by Daenerys Targaryen are Westeros’s ultimate weapons of destruction. She’s torched one proud city with them already, and the only reason King’s Landing didn’t go up in flames on the second episode of this season was because she realized they were too powerful and would cause horrifying collateral damage.
However, it’s only a matter of time before the big dragons unleash hell. Cersei Lannister and her merry band of sycophants have to have a plan to deal with them, right? After all, they used wildfire to own Stannis Baratheon in a battle they should have lost, and turned back a rapidly advancing Robb Stark with one carefully plotted betrayal. Maester Qyburn is a mad scientist with a flair for the morbid, so when he took Cersei into the weapons catacombs to show off his dragon-stopping plan, surely it would be something powerful and bold, worthy of the kook who reanimated the largest man in Westeros and helped vaporize the Great Sept of Baelor.
As he walks past the skulls of long-dead dragons to show off the cutting-edge invention that he’d been working on, the dragon killer that “the finest archers and blacksmiths have been laboring day and night” to create, sinister music swells. Dragons are “powerful, but not invincible,” he says, noting like the famed science doer he is that “if they can be wounded, they can be killed.” (Never mind that he’s literally surrounded by their dead skulls when he says this. Next you’ll tell us some of them may be quite large!)
He casts a shit-eating grin at Cersei before whipping off a sheet to reveal—uh, a crossbow larger than you’d expect?
The Lannisters have had months to prepare for a dragon war, and the best anti-dragon apparatus they can build is a large, flammable version of a weapon that already exists? It looks like kid shit, especially when there only appears to be one in the whole warehouse. Oh, but he demonstrates its lethality for the queen: If you point it directly at a stationary, centuries-old dragon skull, from like 20 yards away, it can drive a spear almost all the way into that fucker!
This scene is reminiscent of the wildfire reveal in Season 2, yet it’s somehow less cool than the last time a Lannister shot a crossbow, which was when Tyrion killed his dad Tywin while he was pooping. You know what would be cool? A dragon net, or a dragon hammer, or a ludicrously huge crossbow, not a medium-sized one that doesn’t seem to be able to pivot fast enough to keep up with a flying dragon. (Also, not to put too fine a point on it, but in A Song of Ice and Fire canon, these crossbows have already existed for hundreds of years and were used by the Dornish to discourage Targaryen conquests. Not only did Qyburn not invent the big crossbow, Daenerys should know to be ready for them.)
The best possible result for the big crossbow would be for a dragon to immediately incinerate it when the battle for King’s Landing begins. This weapon sucks.