***Spoiler Warning: This post contains Spoilers for Game of Thrones through Season 8, Episode 6. Spoilers***
With guaranteed multidirectional reactive hyperbole, the television reimagining of George R.R. Martin’s epic fantasy finally came to its unnatural conclusion; for better or worse it’s over and done, leaving satisfaction, melancholic yearning, screams of happy and sad fans in its wake. As we readers have clamored for more and watchers anxiously anticipate the coming prequels, nothing quite prepared the united masses for these last scenes.
Surveying the wasteland as it were, a dazed Tyrion Lannister walks through King’s Landing, Jon and Davos trailing closely behind. Still-falling ashes cover piles of bodies; women, children clutching their toys … the men’s emotions are palpable, all except Grey Worm, who seems to have caught his queen’s endless bloodlust as easily as the common cold. Tyrion declines an escort to find his siblings buried under the Red Keep’s endless rubble, Jaime’s golden hand rising Carrie-like from under the broken rock so a brother might properly grieve his loss. Not even Peter Dinklage’s heartfelt performance can save the drivel Benioff and Weiss hath wrought.
“Blood of my blood … You gave me the Seven Kingdoms” (actually, that was Drogon), Daenerys claims her crown of madness, calling for the rest of the world’s liberation by fire and death — whether or not what this queen calls freedom is wanted. To properly seal her coffin door, Dany orders the treasonous Tyrion be taken into custody; everyone knows his days are not long. Jon’s dungeon visit has its intended effect (“Varys was right, I was wrong. It was vanity to think I could guide her.”) and after confirming his querulous queen’s intentions, Jon unceremoniously slips her the sword. A threatening Drogon neglects to fry her murderer in favor of the dastardly throne that hides among myriad never-mastered swords.
Lest we readied for the reluctant King Stark … er, Targaryen, representatives of the surviving Houses gather to decide their future fate and inexplicably, not a word is spoken of the mental math (R + L = J) or secret history that factored into and through this entire series. Instead, we’re treated to another hilarious round of Tobias Menzies’ trying to get in a word, only to again be shushed in favor of anyone and everyone else. Though Tyrion has clearly proven to have terrible judgment time and again, his nomination of Bran the Broken as their new leader is accepted by all but Sansa, who elects to reign over the independent North; the last Lannister scores his third (Dany, Bran, acting for Joffrey) Hand gig.
Having traded wooden wheels for a brand-spanking-new (metaphorical) iron throne, the new king elects to send Aegon Targaryen Jon Snow right back where he started(-ish). With equally and egregiously perplexing decisions, the remaining Stark siblings part ways, will probably never see each other again. Arya blindly states she’ll not even visit Jon in favor of exploring whatever’s west of Westeros, and quickly sets sail; Sansa is crowned with headgear that recalls Cersei’s, indicating dark things we won’t get to see. As Tyrion gathers the new Small Council, Brienne edits Jaime’s Wikipedia historical entry, and Maester Sam announces his new book — A Song of Ice and Fire; the history of wars following the death of King Robert. A forgiving Ghost and smiling Tormund welcome back Jon to walk with the Wildlings, and without so much as a wayward tear or sensible conclusion, this Game is finally over.
I must admit I am still somewhat in a stupor after this Very Strange Finale. For me, there were so many things that felt unfitting, not the least of which was Jon so quietly and quickly putting down (yes, it really felt that way) Dany. After the fact, I can’t stop hearing Guns and Roses’ Used to Love Her in my head as I think back on this almost comical ending. In fact, at a certain point, it was as if “The Iron Throne” turned Game of Thrones into a sitcom. Was it just me, or did the semi-happy ending come off cheesy?
I’d say I’m nonplussed rather than mad. After the past few episodes, I think we all knew this wasn’t going to be the fulfilling ending we might have dreamed. As with many excellent series, it’s so difficult to nail a great finale (Six Feet Under did it, as well as Breaking Bad). But, where I felt angry over the Lost finale because I expected more than what we got, I’ll give it to Benioff and Weiss that they managed to lower expectations this season. By the time this hit the screen, I was prepared (to a certain extent) for it to not be excellent. It is a shame because I’m on yet another rewatch of the entire series, and there is and was so much good. The actors are so uniformly excellent, and the early seasons were some of my favorites of any show, ever.
So, Jon is the son of Rhaegar and Lyanna but all the buildup to finding out who he really is, the secret getting out — to a degree — and all that he’s been through, meant nothing? This does not compute. It simply cannot be what George R.R. Martin intended. And if it was going to be someone who doesn’t want the throne sitting on the throne, how can that person not be Jon/Aegon? Of all the possible endings, I can’t imagine anything more anticlimactic than putting Bran in power and sending Jon back to the Night’s Watch.
I don’t see it. I don’t see the Three-Eyed Raven as King. I guess … Bran must have seen it.
I’m sure Emilia Clarke did her best with what she was given, but Daenerys’ all-too-quick descent into madness over a couple of episodes, culminating in her wide-eyed amazement at seeing and touching the throne, was likewise comical to me. And Jon’s blind devotion to his queen bordered on the ridiculous, yet after Tyrion’s pleading and a quick confirmational conversation, our would-be hero/king took out Daenerys like it was nothing (a few tears) to him.
Similarly to Daenerys’ quick transition to “mad queen”, Grey Worm’s personality went mercilessly ultraviolent a little too quickly for me. Killing the Lannister soldiers after they’d surrendered and the whole of King’s Landing was burned down, without even checking back with Dany, made no sense for the character we’ve come to know.
Drogon must be the smartest mothereffer of them all, knowing to angrily burn down the object of his mother’s (everyone’s) obsession in retaliation for her death. Hey, if mama ain’t gonna be on that throne, no one is.
Speaking of Drogon, where do we think he flew with Dany? I’d venture he’s on his way back to where Khal Drogo was burned and the dragons were born (and maybe she’ll finally reunite with her husband and child in the Night Lands, as she saw in her vision).
That’s not to say there was nothing good — the opening was dutifully somber and affecting, and Peter Dinklage is again to be commended for his continuously exceptional performance. He did his utmost to sell Tyrion’s broken-hearted discovery of Jaime and Cersei (unfortunately, that scene was set up to be so overly dramatic that it fell flat for me).
This was cool.
Brienne is Lord Commander of the Kingsguard; that’s fitting.
Tobias Menzies is always a delight, and I am thankful for Edmure’s ever-ridiculous moments.
I’m happy for Arya and Sansa that they will theoretically live the lives they want. I don’t really understand the Starks separating for good after all they’ve been through, but at least they have the freedom to do what they choose.
I freed my brother. And you slaughtered the city.
She’s everyone’s queen now.
Try telling Sansa.
Jon, she knows who you are, who you really are … I know a killer when I see one.
Our queen doesn’t keep prisoners for long.
It just occurred to me, I’m talking to the only man alive who knows where I’m going.
So is there life after death?
Not that I’ve seen.
I chose my fate. The people of King’s Landing did not.
I can’t justify what happened, I won’t try. But the war is over now.[What does it matter what I do?] It matters most of all.
It’s a terrible thing I’m asking. It’s also the right thing. Do you think I’m the last man she’ll execute?
We can’t hide behind small mercies.
The world we need is a world of mercy; it has to be.
You are my queen now and always.
Say another word about killing my brother and I’ll cut your throat.
Maybe we should give the dogs a vote as well.
Why do you think I came all this way?
What’s west of Westeros?