Well, after a shorter and controversial final season, ‘Game of Thrones’ has finally come to an end with ‘The Iron Throne.’ I’m sure fans will be divided for years over the ultimate fate of ‘Game of Thrones,’ whether or not they were able to “stick the landing” and give audiences a finale worthy of the journey they had experienced these past 8 seasons. For me, the ending delivered where it needed to, though the fate of the season (and the series in a way) had already been marked by last week’s outing, and I felt they could only go up from there.
The episode begins with Dani’s allies picking their way through the rubble of King’s Landing, with Tyrion going off on his own into the bowels of the Red Keep to search for his siblings and finding them crushed in the rubble, going out of the world together the same way they came in. Tyrion is heartbroken, as is Jon Snow, who has just watched Greyworm slaughtering Lannister prisoners on the orders of his Queen (Greyworm has lost all humanity since Missandei’s death which I think she would be crushed to learn). They both watch as Dani, dictator-style, tells her reveling armies that they will bring peace to the world, marching from Westeros outwards to ‘free’ everyone the same way they had the people of King’s Landing.
It is too much for Tyrion, who tosses away his Hand of the Kingpin and renounces Dani, to which she reminds him about his treason of freeing Jamie and has him imprisoned until his execution. Jon says nothing but does see Arya, who tells him he needs to deal with Dani because Sansa will never bend the knee.
So of course, Jon visits Tyrion in prison, and Tyrion gives a rousing speech about how Jon is the only one who can save all the free people of Westeros and the world (right after, the show uses Tyrion as a mouth-piece to explain all the intricate clues they left throughout the series telling us Dani was mad with power). Jon does not want to hear it, but Tyrion tells him he must choose NOW, and Jon heads out to meet his destiny.
Dani, meanwhile, is in the Throne room fulfilling her vision from many seasons ago, right down to the ash/snow falling in through the exposed ceiling, as she approaches the Iron Throne which has been her goal for 8 seasons. Of course, right before she sits Jon enters, and they argue with Jon practically begging her to see reason, to show some signs of mercy or remorse over her actions and all the innocents she has killed. But she is very sure of her righteousness, and even tells Jon that they alone will know “what is right” and no one else gets to choose. Which is when most people I’ve spoken to feel is where Jon made his choice.
He tells her he loves her, they kiss, and then he stabs her in the belly (and perhaps a little north of that considering the blood coming out of her mouth and how quickly she passes). Dani dies in Jon’s arms. Drogon, who Jon had to walk past to enter, senses a disturbance in the Force and enters to find his mother dead. While roaring in pain and anguish, a moment where we all think he is about to roast Jon Snow, instead, the dragon blasts the Iron Throne, melting it to nothing and destroying the symbol of everything wrong with Westeros and the false dreams of his mother. He then grabs Dani’s body and flies away, never to be seen again in the series.
Weeks later, Tyrion finds himself amidst all the ruling Lords of Westeros, who are trying to decide who will rule now that Dani is dead and Jon Snow is imprisoned by the vengeful Unsullied, who want to see him dead. Democracy is shot down when Sam suggests it (and laughed at might I add), but Tyrion suggests the group elect a new ruler, and King’s should be thus be elected that way from now on, with no royal lineage, starting with Tyrion’s suggestion of Bran the Broken as the first King.
Bran accepts, claiming that is why he came to King’s Landing, and we finally have the winner of the Game… Bran Stark. (Or as one internet meme calls him, “That guy in your group project who does no work but still gets the A.”)
Bran who warg-ed out during the Battle of Winterfell and offered no solutions, advice, or help whatsoever to anyone (minus giving Arya the dagger weeks earlier). Bran who KNEW all of this was going to happen and said nothing to prevent the deaths of thousands in King’s Landing because he knew he should be king and did not want to mess it all up. THAT man is now the King.
In the final sequence of the episode, we jump further forward in time to see where everyone ends up. Tyrion is forced to be Bran’s Hand of the King (against his wishes, as he claims he has no wisdom as he once thought, as we all know he has made some terrible choices), but Bran insists it is the best punishment for Tyrion, a life of service,. I am happy for Tyrion because he can finally serve and lead with people who respect him, and in a situation where he is not at war. We see what appears to be one of his first small council meetings, with Bronn as Master of Coin, Sam the new Archmaester, Brienne as Captain of the King’s Guard, and Davos as Master of Ships, and a more fun assembly of characters we could not ask for, even if the comedy of the scene felt a bit out of place in the finale.
Soon enough, Bran is wheeled into the meeting by none other than new King’s Guard member Pod, who has really come full circle. Bran asks about Drogon and when they say there have been no sightings, Bran says he will try his hand at finding the dragon, and he leaves the council, clearly about to finally Warg into a dragon, which would have been great for him to do in earlier episodes (like say, Episode 5, to stop Drogon from burning down King’s Landing) but whatever. Brienne is seen writing entries of famous King’s Guard members, updating Jamie’s page very carefully giving the man some honor despite how he treated her, to show she is above the pettiness of some of the other characters and wants Jamie to be remembered for his good deeds, ending his entry with “He died protecting his Queen.”
As for the Starks, Arya is taking a ship west to see what lay beyond the edge of the map (potentially setting up a sequel series for her, at least it felt that way, which, if true, I don’t think I like the idea), while Sansa fought to keep the North a separate Kingdom, with herself in charge, meaning Bran is only the King of the 6 Kingdoms now, and we see Sansa’s coronation with her people chanting “Hail Queen of the North!” in a somewhat crowd pleasing moment (unless you, like many I know, really, really don’t like Sansa). The Unsullied want Jon to die, but they settle for the compromise of Jon rejoining the Night’s Watch, spending the rest of his life in service to the Kingdom. Little do they know, it is kind of all Jon has ever wanted since the pilot of the series, so it is not that much of a punishment for him, especially when he is reunited with Ghost (who instantly forgives his master for sending him away earlier this season, which I did not really believe) and Tormund, who reappears for the end but sadly has no lines. The series ends with Jon leading the Wildlings back into the Northern wilds, whether to be their king or just guard/guide them before returning to his duties we do not know.
All in all, whether you loved or hated the end of ‘Game of Thrones,’ you cannot deny the fun of the journey to get there and wonder if we will ever see another show capture the imagination of the world as ‘Game of Thrones’ has done. The whole reason everyone has such strong opinions about this season is that they are so committed to the story and the characters, and with that love comes a sense of ownership, and not wanting to be let down. I think they did a lot of things right in the final episode as far as wrapping up loose ends and giving us closure, but I cannot help but feel this is not exactly the end George R.R. Martin has in mind, and I cannot wait for the day (if it ever happens) when I can read the final two books of ‘A Song of Ice and Fire’ (the real one, not the weird one from within the show which somehow does not even mention Tyrion) and see how Martin will wraps it all up.
Thank you for reading my reviews of ‘Game of Thrones,’ I’m sure I’ll be back with more reviews of other series soon!