Game of Thrones (the finale)
Y’all. It’s over.
After eight rigorous and glorious seasons, Game of Thrones is over.
The show had highs and lows, light and darkness, love and hatred, triumph and defeat, joy and fear, celebration and fury. If I had to define the show in a single word, it would probably be intense (if not death, obviously).
But seemingly more intense than the Battle of the Bastards or the Battle of Winterfell has been the Battle of Those Who Liked the Finale (or all of season eight, really) and Those Who Didn’t.
When I heard that an alleged 1.3 million people (and counting) signed a petition for this last season to be re-written, I thought it was a joke. But alas, that many people had that many complaints, apparently. I had complaints of my own, yes, but they were mild and reasonable. A petition is (in my opinion) disrespectful and just… sad.
No, the final season and the finale itself did not go exactly how many of us expected. And, no, it wasn’t all exactly what most people wanted. But despite it being a tad bit rushed and despite there being some loose ends, the end was exactly as it should have been and exactly as predicted several times throughout the previous seven seasons.
The Mad Queen
I did not expect so many people to be surprised by Daenerys’ final decisions and eventual fate. She warned us, several times. There were so many signs. She killed anyone who wouldn’t bend the knee. Why would she stop now?
Even if you missed all of the (not so) subtle hints in earlier seasons, her chilling “let it be fear” line should have been enough warning that she still fully intended on claiming the throne while taking no prisoners.
I will always respect Dany for her resilience and her motivation (and will always admit that she is breathtakingly gorgeous). And make no mistake: she has always been and will always be the Mother of Dragons.
But I often found myself struggling to support her or to believe in her cause, and I struggle now to feel any real empathy for her. Everyone she lost was by her own hand or a result of her greed, she had no rightful claim to the Iron Throne unless Jon kept that one really big secret, and her rule would have been detrimental to Westeros and the world. In her pride, she allowed history to repeat itself. Jon made a very painful but necessary choice, and I believe that he was the only one left with both enough love for her and enough sense of rightness to execute her while still giving her some sense of dignity and respect in her dying seconds.
(Drogon, however, has my deepest sympathies. Poor, poor Drogon.)
(Also, can we please just take a moment to mention the absolutely insane shot of Daenerys and Drogon? With the wings? You know the one. Cinematic gold. Easily one of the most powerful, beautiful, badass frames in history. 10/10.)
The Broken Wheel
Despite Daenerys’ inevitable descent into madness, her deeds were not entirely in vain. She never got to take a seat on the Iron Throne, but her death resulted in something much greater.
Drogon destroying the Iron Throne with dragon fire, the exact thing that forged it, was a gloriously Ouroboros-esque way of closing the loop of the Targaryen legacy, as well as destroying the wheel by which the Throne had been ruled.
Breaking this wheel was a great desire of Daenerys’, and it’s one that was fully fulfilled when Bran became King. Per Tyrion and the others who agreed to elect him, Bran was the best choice out of those who were left, due to his story, his gifts, and his inability to father children.
I’ve seen the memes, and to some extent I can understand the disappointment in this election. But, come on… if there is going to be a King, why not make him the Three-Eyed Raven? If there is going to be a Three-Eyed Raven, why not making him King?
Gifts aside, Bran is not exactly emotive. And as Tyrion said, Bran doesn’t want power. I believe there may have been more to their private conversation in episode two (“A Knight of the Seven Kingdoms”) than we were made privy to. Not only does Tyrion now know Bran’s entire story with a firsthand retelling, but he may also have the deepest and truest understanding of Bran’s gifts than anyone else in Westeros to date. Tyrion may have found reason to trust in these giftings and to believe that Bran has the least risk of moral corruption.
But ultimately and most importantly, Bran is our memory, the keeper of all our stories, the wars, weddings, births, massacres, famines, our triumphs, our defeats, our past. Who better to lead us into the future?
Those who do not know history are destined to repeat it.
Many, many things came full circle this season. But Bran becoming King, with his infinite knowledge and supernatural gifts, can (and hopefully will) ensure that history is not repeated here. That is something that mere blood or fire cannot guarantee.
To Bran the Broken, I say “aye”.
The Pack Survives
Keeping the Ouroboros, loop-closing theme, it was fitting (and oh so satisfying) that each of the last remaining Starks ended up exactly where they had always hoped to be.
Jon never wanted to be King. In fact, it often seemed like he despised the thought and despised his newly discovered history. It’s been clear that those who didn’t want Dany on the throne were adamant about seeing Jon take her place. But Jon spent most of his adult life fighting, dying, and grieving over wars he never started or wanted a part in. He just did it because he was a good man. It was his duty, which resulted in the death of many that he loved.
After all of that, I would hate for Jon to then have to sit on a throne that he doesn’t want, making decisions that he doesn’t want to make. And after all he has been through, he deserves (more than the throne, more than anything) a chance to just… breathe. Jon belongs beyond the wall, in the real North. Should he choose to lead the Crows or the Wildlings, he will be a damn good leader, but more than anything, Jon will eventually find peace.
Sansa, however, has always wanted to be a queen. And my god did she go through hell to get there. While it is true that Sansa is a slow learner, she always learns, and over the years she learned from quite a variety of people. From the worst of the worst, the best of the best, and those somewhere in between, she learned how to be a good Queen and how to avoid being a tyrant. And while she isn’t the Queen of the Andals and the First Men, she is Queen in the North, which is an honorable title on its own.
But not only did Sansa secure independence for Winterfell- she finally found independence herself. Game of Thrones has never been shy about symbolism, and Sansa’s hair has been hugely symbolic for her throughout the seasons, emulating whoever she is admiring or learning from at any given time. She has, for most of her life, tried to mimic the appearance of or fit into the mold of whoever she is following. So, it is no small detail that Sansa, for the first time, has let her hair down completely as she takes the crown and throne. She is her own person, and she is a capable and fearless Queen. And while her gown, cloak, and crown pay beautiful homage to each member of her family who have all either passed or are now living elsewhere, there must always be a Stark in Winterfell.
And then there is Arya. Never a lady, always a hero. With various trials, experiences, and sometimes grueling training, Arya transformed from an unruly tomboy to a dangerous assassin and a badass warrior. She successfully knocked several names off of her kill list (while others died of other causes and only one is still possibly alive) and took down the Night King.
But for most of her life, justice and vengeance had been her compass. Every move she made and every journey she had been on were ultimately fueled by these intentions. And that could have taken her life, had it not been for Sandor insisting that revenge would be the death of her. Cersei still died, as he knew she would, while Arya is still very much alive. And with no one left to tick off her list and no more threats being made to her family, she’s free to roam as she pleases, explore new lands, and maybe liberate some folks along the way. Who knows. Something tells me her skills will not be wasted, whatever she finds west of Westeros.
Yes, there are some loose ends that will never be tied up. Yes, there were some deaths (or causes of deaths, rather) and final goodbyes that were not as satisfying as some of us had hoped. And yes, there were some things that just don’t make sense in the grand scheme of things. But there will never be a wholly perfect show and there will never been an ending that satisfies everyone.
For what is was and how it all ended, I was satisfied. Those who were left in the end each found their rightful place. The Starks, Tyrion, Brienne, everyone. And for what it’s worth, that’s all I could’ve asked for.
Whether the end was what we thought it would be, what we wanted, or what was right, Game of Thrones will always be a favorite and will always be iconic.
Thank you, to the writers, directors, and producers for telling a story worth watching, and for giving it all the highs, the lows, and room for all the theories.
Thank you, to the actors who boldly and beautifully portrayed the characters that we loved (or hated), and for being as passionate about the story as we, the fans, were.
And thank you, HBO, for having a subscription package that doesn’t make us wait great lengths to watch the newest episodes, and instead allows us to watch episodes as they air. You are the true unsung hero.
And how about that Barry season two finale?!?!
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// GEEK :
(noun) obsessive enthusiast, or (verb) be or become extremely excited or enthusiastic about a subject
// ABOUT :
Morgan of House Geek, First of Her Name, Mother of a Ton of Funkos, Collector of Things, Writer of Stories, Designer of Websites, Watcher of Films, and Player of Games.
INTJ. Libra-Scorpio Cusp. Slytherin.
Jack of all trades, master of none.
// FUN FACT :
I prefer purchasing trades & volumes more than single issues. I find them to be more durable, so I can enjoy them more and they can easily stand on my display shelves without boards.