Greetings my TV Geeks!
BEWARE OF SPOILERS!
Game of Thrones has ended. After 8 seasons, 73 episodes, thousands of deaths the series has ended. But was it with a bang, or a whimper? After the events of ‘The Bells’, the finale, titled ‘The Iron Throne’ wastes no time picking up where we left off. It’s understandable that some viewers may not support the ending, as it has finality to it. It also gives us a definitive winner of the Game of Thrones.
Following on from Daenerys’s destruction of King’s Landing we find Tyrion walking amongst the rubble and the dead. Imagery of dead innocents flood the screen as houses have been torched and charred bodies lay clinging to each other. Jon, Tyrion, Ser Davos and Arya are walking through the streets seeing the kingdom burnt to the ground. Tyrion goes to find any sign that Jaime and Cersei escaped as Jon and Davos find Grey Worm carrying out Daenerys’s final orders. It is a great opening scene that shows the aftermath of the war from the victor’s point of view.
Grey Worm, still mad with anger and love for his Queen is killing the remaining Lannister followers. Jon tries to stop him, but he is seriously outnumbered by the Unsullied and Dothraki armies.
Peter Dinklage is by far the most valuable player in the whole series. He turns in a performance that screams quality when he discovers the bodies of Jaime and Cersei together under the rubble. It’s another in a long line of standout scenes between the Lannister family that have shone throughout the series. Like last week’s episode, Dinklage’s performance makes you feel for him, and shows his love for his two older siblings.
Break the Wheel
Daenerys’s dismounts Drogon, and in what seems to be scene after scene of amazing shots we see Daenerys’s for who she has become. Her banner hangs over the rubble of King’s Landing as Drogon takes flight behind her giving the effect that she has dragon wings. If you don’t like the way the story went, you can’t deny that it’s shot beautifully. Jon and Tyrion take their place behind their Queen as she addresses the two armies that helped her take Westeros. But, as with many despots she’s not stopping with Kings Landing, she’s going to Break the Wheel and free the world, even if they don’t want it.
Tyrion, after not listening to Varys, now sees what he saw retires as the Hand of the Queen, by throwing the badge away. She arrests him on treason charges for freeing Jaime and leaves with a small company of guards (we’ll come back to this). For some reason Jon is still trying to justify what Dany did to King’s Landing, even though he himself can’t admit that he would have done the same. He visits Tyrion who implores him to do what must be done. Jon being the only male heir to the throne is now being the one person who can stand in Daenerys’s way.
Dany approaches the throne as Jon walks his way past Drogon. Snow and Ash fall around her in the throne room. Again, the cinematography of the episode is spectacular having Dany by the throne and Jon emerge from the darkness. We know what is coming, but Dany doesn’t and even though we know what’s coming, there’s still that doubt. Dany embraces Jon, and offers her vision for the world. They kiss and Jon reluctantly stabs Dany ending her reign. It’s easy to place this episode into two sections, as they have a time jump that also changes the tone and feel of the episode.
A New Chapter
The first part is the aftermath of Dany’s attack, and it works extremely well. No one feels safe. Tyrion knows he has made his final mistake by freeing Jaime, and Grey Worm doesn’t trust Jon any longer. It’s a great atmospheric episode that sets up the end perfectly.
The second part, takes the action down a notch as we are greeted by sunshine and all the representatives of the Houses of Westeros meeting with Grey Worm in an attempt to free Tyrion and Jon, with Jon being held on the murder of Daenerys. It’s an odd set up and feels as though it’s a staging scene to remind us who is still left alive. We see Yara Greyjoy, Edmure Tulley and Robin Arryn, who has now grown up. There’s also an unnamed Prince of Dorne.
They are here to decide who should be King.
Tyrion makes a case for Bran Stark because he is the Three Eyed Raven and thus has the history of Westeros stuck in his head. He won’t have children and thus won’t have heirs. Westeros takes one step closer toward democracy having all future monarchs be voted in. Sam’s suggestion that all the people of Westeros should have a vote is quickly laughed off.
Then it’s a quick push to the end with Sansa requesting the North become an independent Country, becoming crowned Queen in the North. Arya decides to travel West of Westeros as no-one knows what’s out there (sequel series anyone?). Tyrion is released and offered the position of Hand of the King, which he reluctantly accepts. Jon’s release is on the proviso by Grey Worm that he is sent to serve his life out on the Wall, holding no lands, or titles and fathering no children. A bittersweet end for the true King of Westeros, and possibly the reason many people may not like the ending.
By the end, Bran is King of the Six Kingdoms, Sansa is the Queen in the North and Jon appears to be the King Beyond the Wall. It may not be what many people wanted or expected, but from a character point of view, it works well. The Starks have been murdered and abused and the North has been forgotten by the South. Now it seems a balance has been found with the Starks (Jon as a Stark) in charge.
The episode was far from perfect, it didn’t live up to the previous episode. But it did exactly what it set out to do, it ended the series. It gave us the endings that the characters deserved, even if it’s not the endings the audience think they deserved. The quick turn into democracy amongst the Lords and Ladies of Westeros does slow the momentum, but from the moment Jon stabs Dany the Game of Thrones is effectively over.
Also, why would Grey Worm arrest Jon instead of killing him after he killed his Queen? These things just don’t ring true with the show in this writers opinion. It’s just little things.
As said it’s not perfect, as there are several moments set up that aren’t followed through. Grey Worm has a mistrust of Jon and Dany is surrounded by guards, yet Jon gains access to Dany as she is alone in the throne room. They suggest Dany’s madness is due to Jon being more loved and the rightful King, and yet, she seemed to fully trust him. The moment Tyrion is arrested, she scowls at Jon, but a scene later she’s kissing him, the character decisions don’t always make sense and carry over. I’m also finding it hard to believe Dany has any armies left .We saw a large part of the Dothraki die at Winterfell, and yet she must have substituted a portion for them to still be alive here.
I may be nit-picking, but it seems this series has struggled to manage time correctly. It’s also disheartening to discover that HBO offered the showrunners money and time to close out the series correctly, and that offer being refused by Benioff and Weiss. Can they hear Lucasfilm calling?
But despite all these little complaints, the series has ended on a bittersweet tone. In a strange turn of events for Game of Thrones, the main characters are happy, and there seems to be peace on the way. At the end of the episode I felt disheartened by it. I wanted more from the aftermath of Kings Landing destruction. More distrust between Dany and Jon. But what we got was exactly what was going to happen. We weren’t going to get things back to how they had always been done. The Targaryan’s had been removed for a reason. Why would they be allowed back?
Westeros has evolved away from familial succession, leading towards a new future. Unfortunately Tyrion is still seen as a sub-human being completely omitted from Archmaester Ebrose’s History of Westeros following the death of Robert Baratheon titled ‘A Song of Ice and Fire’. Maybe things haven’t changed.
Jon is reunited with Ghost finally showing some sense of affection, which is a nice nod to episode 4 when Jon didn’t even say goodbye.
Overall the episode was enjoyable. A little flat after the death of Dany, but it ended the series well. Now all we need to do is compare it to the books when they get released.
What did you think? Was it what you wanted? Let me know in the comments and look back at the other reviews here. Follow me on Twitter @MovieUltimate and listen to this week’s MAD Movie Podcast where we talk Game of Thrones.
You can also check out some of the other WGN contributors thoughts here.