IT’S OVER. It’s done. Time to breathe, take a moment, look up at the sky, another deep breath, and there we go. There we have it. Our final episode of Game Of Thrones. People are asking me ‘Did you like it?’ And I’m not quite sure how to answer. Despite my objective reviews of Game Of Thrones I do have the uttermost emotional attachment as a fan, so it’s really hard to differentiate the feelings of ‘not liking the direction of an ending’ and just not liking the fact that it is ending. Right now, I’m just sad that it’s over – so I don’t want to confuse the two. I think the main reason I’m ok with the final episode is that I know I have more coming from the book. This is why I URGE you to start to read them if you have watched the shows. It doesn’t quite feel over for me yet.
That being said, as I have said week after week, there are so many elements I would have liked to seen done differently. Now that we have seen the whole picture, the end game, it’s a little easier to see why certain decisions were made earlier in the season.
The episode opened with more images of the destruction Daenerys caused. More charred bodies, the lone burnt man stumbling through the streets in a state of zombified shock – a really jarring image summarising the chaos we saw take place last week. Tyrion wanders through the keep looking for any sign that his siblings were able to successfully escape. Honestly my heart through this was beating so hard as I was waiting for Jaime to emerge from the darkness with his quick and unbothered wit. It was powerful to see the aerial image of Jaime cradling Cersei with Tyrion mourning them but not so enough to have any lasting effect on me other than to reinforce the fact that Tyrion really is the last Lannister.
Greyworm and Jon begin with animosity which lasts the length of the episode. It’s really surprising to me that Greyworm lasted so long in the final season. Even though I do think he’s a bit of a dick at least we can be thankful that he stood true to his unsullied discipline and chose to imprison Jon & Tyrion instead of acting out of passion. It’s nice that he at least gets to live out his Naath fantasy away from the politics of the westerosi world.
You can sense Jons fear as he makes the walk to the steps alone. All the shots we have seen him in are so vulnerable at this point, they emphasise how alone he is when faced with Daenerys. We see it when he objects to Greyworm’s execution of the Lannister prisoners. His long and lone walk up the steps to Daenerys’ side. His walk past the unsullied toward Tyrions cell soon after. It’s dark and it’s reinforcingly daunting.
I think we can all agree that the greatest piece of direction and cinematography of the episode was Drogons dark wings emitting behind Daenerys as she stands in front of her armies. Simply brilliant and one of those moments you want to scream with joy at the TV at the seamless excellence of it all. Emilia goes on to deliver arguably the best acting we have seen from her. She produces an incredible yet imperialistic speech in Valaryian. She really does excel herself each time she speaks in either Valaryian or Dothraki and this moment was her greatest yet. The cool tones of the cinematography really help to push her threat. She almost appears demonic as her pale skin and hair are teamed with the dark of her leather dress, her eyes wild and ignited.
Once Arya has appeared and spoken to Jon, it leaves me to wonder why she was ever there at all. The only thing her presence did was to say goodbye to The Hound. She didn’t kill either queen, she didn’t use her faceless skills, she didn’t fight in battle, and she wasn’t death riding on a white horse.
Tyrion’s toss of the Hand of the Queen pin created copious amounts of tension. I envisioned his head rolling down the steps. His imprisonment led to a stand alone conversation between Jon & Tyrion. It was stoic of Jon to quote Maester Aemon at this point as he effectively follows his story; renouncing the Targaryen name and taking the black. Of course, we aren’t aware of this similarity at this point but it still provides a poetic insight which is almost wasted on being referred to Jon and Daenerys considering their chemistry is so poor that it’s hard to believe they love each other at all. ~Anyway~ I am really trying to not be negative in this post so moving on. I love the almost light humour that Tyrion provided when Jon said ‘Love is the death of duty’ like no, surely you didn’t make that up? Jon and Tyrion conversations will forever be my favourite. It was in the very first episode that the two conversed and gave me my favourite line of all the books and show. Once again, we are given beautiful quotes such as: ‘Love is more powerful than reason’ and ‘Duty is the death of love.’ One of the reasons Tyrion is a favourite character of mine is because of these wise, romanticised statements his character provides us with that we can take and apply to our own situations and realities that we see people face every day. He really helps to bind the world of Game Of Thrones, and our own world.
I was curious to how much ash had turned to snow in the scene where Jon goes to find Daenerys in what was the Throne room. Drogon appears under a nestle of settled snow in a really picturesque way and it appears that winter has fallen heavy on Kings Landing very suddenly. I had a moment of hope that we were going to be given a snippet of White Walker suggestion but the hope was soon dashed.
Seeing Daenerys walk into the Throne room directly paralleled the visions she saw in the House Of The Undying in Qarth (see below) however as you can see, in the vision, she turns from the throne, through the wall and eventually into the arms of Khal Drogo and her baby in what we can guess to be Heaven (or the Night Lands as referred to by the Dothraki) This could symbolise how to get back to Khal Drogo and her child she had to go through Jon and in turn Jon had to kill her.
As soon as Jon delivered Daenerys’ final blow, I understood why Jaime didn’t kill Cersei. I believe that it wasn’t that the writers didn’t WANT to follow through with Jaimes redemption arc ending with killing her, but if they had done that – it would have took the shine of Daenerys’ death away. The scenes would have almost mirrored each other – the male part of each relationship killing their unsuspecting lovers. Obviously Jon & Daenerys had to have this storyline over Jaime & Cersei. Although I wouldn’t have been mad if Jaime killed Cersei then Arya killed Daenerys. I would have been a lot more satisfied with this but hey ho, all being said, I really loved how this final scene was played out by Kit & Emilia. Jon’s anguish and tired conflict was really moving and as I’ve said it instantly eased my Jaime/Cersei anxieties in a way.
I think most of the emotion that drove the scene in the absence of Emilia and Kits romantic chemistry was Drogons despair. His cries, his nudges to wake her and his bellowing breath turning the Throne into lava. It was a bit of a stretch to have him be able to pick up on how symbolic his Throne destruction was and it made me cringe slightly but I’ll take it. I also don’t know how I feel about him picking up Daenerys’ limp, doll like body and whisking her off to where? Valyria? I was really rooting for Drogon to bend the knee to Jon and Jon to fly back to the North on him, thus enforcing the Targaryen heritage but this dragon stayed loyal to his mama and I guess Jon being a Targaryen didn’t matter all that much after all in the end game…*eye roll*
A time jump. One that I really didn’t anticipate. So we skipped the part where Jon, confesses to Greyworm as Ed Starks blood through and through. We skip the arrests and the calling for the Lords and yeah fair enough. It was strange to see so many familiar faces sat around together. Edmure Tully who we haven’t seen since the Red Wedding, Robin Arryn (do NOT talk to me about him having a glow up. It’s called puberty) Sam, Gendry, Sansa, Arya, Yara to name a few. My favourite parts of this scene had to be Edmure getting told by Sansa to sit down and stop showing her up. Also Sam, inventing democracy and these old white men laughing in the face of it? – Can relate.
Oh Bran. Who would have known? I mean asides from the thousands of people who read the leaks on twitter (BTW why were they allowed up so long? They are still up now? HBO legal should have seen to that) I’m kind of indifferent to Bran being King. I have far bigger concerns such as needing a bigger three eyed raven explanation. I am wholly THRILLED for Sansa however reclaiming the North. If Ned could see her now. Also her coronation gown was a whole look. That waist. Wow. I was totally shook at the decision to send Jon back to the wall initially. His character development became a circle, not an arc.
All the rest of the family moving on and doing bits and then we have one of the most important characters being sent right back to the beginning. Of course it is so much more than that though, and when he was greeted by Tormund, Ghost and the wildlings leading him North Of The Wall my eyes FILLED with tears. This was another direct Lord Of The Rings parallel in some ways, how the LOTR story ends with Frodo being led off by the Elves, Jon was led off by the Wildings, to a quieter and blissful life ahead of him. The Nights Watch of course was a ploy to settle the Unsullied. There is no need for a watch without the threat of the Night King and the Wildlings. I imagine Jon will live a happy life as a Mance Rayder / King Beyond The Wall type situation.
Arya. My heart. She’s going travelling, she’s doing a gap year, she’s going to discover America, she’s going to bloody THRIVE and this is a spin-off I am down for. There’s been a few hit and miss moments for Arya since she killed the Night King. She seemingly set aside her faceless training and that’s a bit of a shame because it was such a huge chunk of her story and it’s been put aside like it never happened at all. It’s one of the most frustrating and infuriating feelings knowing our story ends here and we won’t get an insight into the future of the Starks. Will Jon find love again and father a child as all he has ever yearned for is normality? Will Sansa wed a Lord and rule the North successfully? What lands will Arya discover and will they all meet up annually for celebrations? After all the years we have longed for Stark reunions they all become separated again (I know it’s in good circumstances but my anxiety can’t take it I need you all together in one house safe and well please)
We do however see a small insight into the future of the crown with Bran as leader. He has a trusty council supporting him. Brienne is LORD COMMANDER OF THE KINGSGUARD – Fulfilling her promise to Catelyn to protect her children. Crying. Bronn is master of coin, Sam is a Maester, Tyrion remains as hand and our best loved Davos is master of ships. A true glow up for them all. Not forgetting Pod who is a SER. I can’t. This is where we also have Sam deliver the infamous A Song Of Ice & Fire line as a nod to the novels. It was an inevitable reference.
A moment for Brienne though. Girl! 😭 What are you doing! She truly has the purest heart. Can you even imagine? She did Jaime the biggest service by filling in his White Book entry. I aspire to be as good hearted as Brienne because that takes some fucking composure.
I didn’t cry the first time I watched the final Stark sequence but the second time I sobbed. Sansa being readied for her coronation, Arya readying herself for her exploration and Jon being greeted by ghost. It’s all too much emotion for my heart to deal with.
There are of course a hundred questions that still need answering but I don’t want to dwell on these today. I’ll perhaps discuss it another time but I want to focus on the positive, on the 8 seasons as a whole that were the best television the world has ever seen. I want to say the biggest thank you from the bottom of my heart and soul to George R.R. Martin for giving us these stories, and to D&D and HBO for bringing these characters to life and for allowing us all to take part in endless discussions and debates.
This show has completely brought the world together. Whether it’s the memes shared over whatsapp, the threads prepared on twitter, hours of conversation in the pub, or just having something to look forward to each week.
It’s been an absolute pleasure to be apart of this community and I’m so grateful for each and every comment I’ve received from you guys along the way, I truly am.
I’ll leave you with this, the artwork I wake up to next to my bed every morning. I hope you can all take comfort in it too as it’s my favourite quote in the world.