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Opinion: ‘Game of Thrones’ Fates of Cersei and Daenerys Targaryen Send Mixed Messages About Female Power

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Spoiler Alert: The following NBC News story reveals key details about the most recent episode of “Game of Thrones.”

“Game of Thrones” has been a radical series since its 2011 premiere, both in terms of money spent ($60 million on the first season) as well as the disposability of its characters. The series killed off the most famous actor in the cast, Sean Bean, for god’s sake. Even more surprising, however, was when showrunners killed him. The production used Ned Stark’s death to anchor the penultimate episode of the first season, leaving the finale to set-up a cliffhanger for the next.

Since then, “Game of Thrones” has stuck with this format, putting many of its biggest shocks (the Red Wedding, Shireen’s murder, Viserion’s death) and the biggest battles (Blackwater, Castle Black, the Battle of the Bastards) in the second-to-last installment. No matter how long the season, the penultimate episode is the moment the show crescendos.

Season eight is the shortest season thus far, but this narrative formula still holds. Despite the “Battle of Winterfell” episode breaking records a few weeks ago, the penultimate episode arrived promising another massive fight sequence, as the forces of King’s Landing prepared to battle Daenerys Targaryen, her one remaining dragon and her forces from the north.

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Most fans also assumed the evil Queen Cersei Lannister would finally be pried from her position ruling the Seven Kingdoms on Sunday night. Cersei’s one humanizing trait over the years has been her love for her children, making a Mother’s Day death feel even more appropriate. (After all, the end of season four, which saw the death of Cersei’s father, Tywin, aired on Father’s Day — presumably an unplanned happy accident.) Jaime Lannister’s leave-taking from Winterfell last week also forewarned an untimely death. Both Jaime and Cersei’s passings came at the end of the episode, in one of the show’s more tender moments. Their deaths ended one of the most complex relationships in the series.

But even with so many loose threads starting to come together, showrunners still managed to shock fans as the world of Westeros seems to have finally driven Daenerys Targaryen insane. Despite the intimating might of her dragon, Daenerys decides to methodically burn King’s Landing to the ground, massacring the citizens she’s spent so many seasons claiming she wants to save. The moral here is that war makes everyone look bad. But it’s unfortunate that the showrunners had to turn a female lead into the stereotypical “crazy woman” to get this message across.

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American Entertainment

‘SNL’: Alec Baldwin Returns as Trump in Finale’s Queen Parody

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The season finale of “Saturday Night Live” saw the return of Alec Baldwin as President Donald Trump, who reunited with Robert De Niro’s Robert Mueller during the episode’s cold open.

Baldwin and De Niro joined the cast in the oval office while detailing the administration’s summer plans in a parody of Queen’s “Don’t Stop Me Now.” Aidy Bryant reprised her role as Press Secretary Sarah Sanders, Chris Redd repeated his Kayne West impression and Kate McKinnon’s Jeff Sessions jumped in mid-song for an electric guitar solo.

Actor and comedian Paul Rudd hosted for the third time. The star turned his opening monologue into a best man’s speech and reminisced about his previous appearances on the show.

“After all of these years, I knew we’d always be there for each other,” Rudd joked. “Whenever you needed a host, I needed to promote a movie.”

On this week’s “Weekend Update,” hosts Michael Che and Colin Jost explained the recent escalating tensions between the U.S. and Iran and Leslie Jones came on dressed as a character from “Handmaid’s Tale” to talk about Alabama’s near-total ban on abortions.

“What made me so mad was seeing the 25 Alabama senators who voted for the abortion ban,” Jones said. “Throw that picture up. Look at them. All men. This looks like a casting call for a Lipitor commercial.”

The musical guest was DJ Khaled, who performed a medley of his new songs “Jealous” and “You Stay.” Later he was joined on stage by SZA, Meek Mill and John Legend to perform “Just Us,” “Weather the Storm” and “Higher.”

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Eurovision 2019: Israel Set to Host Song Contest Amid Pro-Palestinian Protests

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Millions across the world will tune into the Eurovision Song Contest in Israel on Saturday for their annual fix of the camp and colorful musical spectacle.

Israel is hosting because singer Netta won last year’s instalment of the competition renowned for its inclusive message, while Tel Aviv is known as a popular destination for LGBTQ tourists.

But while Eurovision unfolds, an alternative show will be held at venues across the globe as part of an effort to protest this year’s host and support Palestinian artists, NBC News reported.

The international Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions (BDS) movement says the contest “distracts attention” from Israel’s treatment of Palestinians in Gaza and the West Bank. 

The competition comes just weeks after deadly exchanges on the border, with a cease-fire bringing a temporary halt to mounting tensions.

Daily life for most of the Gaza strip’s 2 million residents has become increasingly difficult, with almost no clean water and unreliable access to electricity.

“Eurovision in apartheid Tel Aviv is cynically used by Israel’s far-right government to artwash, or whitewash through art, its decades-old regime of occupation, colonialism and apartheid against the indigenous Palestinian people,” said Omar Barghouti, a co-founder of the BDS movement, in an email to NBC News. 

Activists are instead encouraging music fans to tune into Globalvision — a performance highlighting Palestinian musicians, filmmakers and comedians — that will be broadcast at the same time as Eurovision on Saturday.

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Tony Robbins Accused of Sexual Misconduct, Berating Abuse Victims

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Self-help guru Tony Robbins has been accused of making inappropriate sexual advances on fans and staff and berating abuse victims in an investigation by BuzzFeed News on Friday.

BuzzFeed said its report stemmed from an investigation that was based on leaked recordings, internal documents related to Robbins’ work and a series of interviews with fans and insiders. The allegations include sexual misconduct or harassment that took place in the 1990s and early 2000s, before he married his second wife, as well as claims Robbins berated victims of rape or domestic abuse during his self-help sessions.

NBC News has not been able to speak to BuzzFeed’s unidentified sources. It was not clear how many women BuzzFeed spoke to for its report.

Robbins vehemently denied the claims in a response on the website Medium on Friday saying in part that the news outlet was publishing an “inaccurate, agenda-driven version of the past, pierced with falsehoods.”

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“It is intended to disparage me personally, my family, my life’s work, and the efforts of the millions of individuals around the globe who have taken this journey with me over the last 40-plus years,” Robbins wrote.

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