Eight years in a long time to spend with a story. We have lived with these characters and the world George R. R. Martin created. For some of us the world still lives on as Mr. Martin has yet to finish his novels. But the HBO series has concluded and, as cliche as it is to say, it feels like the end of an era. While Nathaniel Jepson (AKA Ultimate Movie Geek) has continued on with his excellent reviews (which you can read here) Some of the rest of us wanted to say our final goodbyes to what has been a important milestone in geek history, for good or ill.
Daenerys The Conqueror
Danny has destroyed…er…liberated… Kings landing and gives a rousing speech to her armies in which she reveals she won’t settle until she has “liberated” the world.
KJ McDougall: Seeing Danny ride into the ash ridden Kings Landing and deliver her speech to the Unsullied was chilling. It was the perfect caper to her arc. We’ve seen her address people before, but it was always bright and warm. Danny was bathed in white robes and bright light. Now, its bleak and black and ash of slaughtered city looks like snow. Visually it was a stunning representation of what has been going on. And her speech was great. It showed the evolution of her arc in a way the season hasn’t done very well. We could see bits and pieces of our old Kahleesi in there. Her rhetoric was similar but it had become corrupted.
From the Hand to the Dungeon
Tyrion has had his ups and downs. But after seeing what happened to Kings Landing and knowing enough (language) to get the gist of Danny’s plan he throws down his badge of the hand and gets taken into custody by the unsullied.
KJ: What a great visual. Tyrion isn’t in a dungeon as they’ve all been destroyed. He’s just in a disused room filled with empty pots (either wine or wildfire, both have significance to Tyrion’s past, and all of it is gone.) I think one of the most important speeches in the whole series happens here. Tyrion tells Jon and the audience – we saw this coming and we cheered it on. You the viewer are every bit as culpable as the rest of us. We were all so wrapped up in the righteousness of what we felt Danny was doing – killing slavers and bad men, that we never stopped think about the greater implications. The fact that so many fans felt betrayed by this turn, I feel, show just how poignant that message is.
You’ll always be my Queen.
After searching for some sort of redemption in his aunt and former lover and finding none, Jon plunges a dagger into Dany.
KJ: I’ve always found both actors here a bit wooden, but both turned out excellent performances. Jon was desperate to find some sort of redemption in Dany and when he didn’t he had to kill her. You could see the heartbreak on his face as he was asking her questions and knowing that her questions were just confirming what he feared. And her total lack of understanding was that final message to everyone, including us, that she had gone completely mad. It was great.
After sensing that its mother has died Drogon the Dragon goes mourns her passing by melting the iron throne.
Aaron Nash: The melting of the throne was something I did slightly expect, but not quite in the silly way they ended up doing it. The dragon had no knowledge of the throne, yet is set on destroying it. Why?
KJ: That was so stupid. I am a fan of the show. I even like season 8 but there is no denying a slip in quality and this is part of where it shows. One of our writers the other day, Louis, quipped “Do dragons understand symbolism?” Like, WTF, none of that made sense.
Breaking the Wheel
Who is going to sit on the iron throne? That was the central question of the show for 8+ years. And it turns out – no one really. There won’t be an Iron Throne any more. It will be a sort of republic with monarchy overtones.
KJ: Tyrion gave an interesting speech and really this to me is the only ending that made sense. Had anyone else sat on the throne in anyway, there would have been no point to the story.
King Bran The Broken?
And the winner is….the creepy kid who hasn’t done anything for three seasons.
AN: Well not many would of guessed on Bran the Broken, who managed to do pretty well for himself after perving on Jaimie and Cersei having sex and being pushed out a window. Now the creepy lurker boy gets the power to do everything he wants. He serves little to no purpose. He can see things yes, but he never uses what he sees. He from his last comment seems to be colluded by power. He could possibly be evil in disguise.
KJ: I dig Bran the broken. It makes sense. He is a Stark which is a house that is respected. He has a story that people can be inspired by. And he has the entire history of human at his disposal. Plus I got the sense at the end that he isn’t really the ruler. That the new king is a figure head and that the council is the real power now.
The Song of Ice and Fire
Turns out this whole show has been written down by the characters in a memoir called the Song of Ice and Fire.
AN: The creation of the book was beyond silly and just felt like something stolen from JRR Tolkien, but done in a silly jest.
KJ: Yup, agree with Aaron here. This was dumb as rocks. Not only was it silly it was jarring and felt so out of place. I did like the joke about Tyrion not being in it. Part of his arc was coming to terms with his arrogance and his ego. Seeing that put to the test was fun.
Sansa: Queen of the North
AN: Sansa getting the North also felt wrong as she is little more then a Cersei lite with no interest in anything other then power and having people worship her as queen. It’s all she wanted from series 1 so I guess they at least kept her consistent with her selfish quest. She is on her way to becoming a tyrant herself and if they did do a follow up, get the brutal death she deserves.
KJ: Good for her? I never liked Sansa, still don’t. So I don’t know – I’m sure she’ll do fine as Queen. And while I agree that the North would never bend the knee again – it felt so sudden. Like, there was lots of talk about it and plenty of signposts, but it still didn’t feel earned. Which sums up a lot of how I feel about the season.
Jon Pets Ghost and goes into the wild.
AN: I personally would have like to see Jon begrudgingly walk up to the throne people standing either side and sitting on the throne, depressed and broken. Knowing someone needs to sit and rule and he’s the only one who can bring peace. They kind of wasted the whole who he really is and ultimately created a completely pointless side story. There was little to no reason to include it. Some may say that the threat of his life as the rightful king was what makes him kill Daeny but they could have simply had him see her for who she was. He started to see in the last few episodes. Yet he is sent to exile. One of the few characters who was selfless for the most part, gets truly punished for doing so.
AN: I feel that after the pretty good first half of the episode they hired a completely new writing team who knew nothing about writing or the construction of a good story. The second half turns into a badly written soap opera with beyond awful dialogue and character writing.
It reminded me very much of the ending to Lost which wasn’t quite as bad but was equally as disappointing. This ending sets up for numerous sequel series which are entirely unnecessary but will more then not happen. I didn’t really mind the rest of the season, even with some stupid parts such as Jamie and Cersei’s demise. But this finale really got me annoyed as it felt like a big f-you to everyone who’s watched or been involved in the series.
Andee Dee: Game of Thrones is a popular show, make no charred corpse bones about it; it has some lavish production values, lots of intricately-written plotlines and characters, and I appreciate that a lot of people, almost all my friends and colleagues seem to love it, but it’s been clear for a while now that it’s simply not for me, and never really was. It’s come to represent pretty much everything that I’m opposed to in the broad realm of making entertainment out of misery. Eight seasons of unlikeable people doing unlikeable things to one another, with no real message or allegory, and observed as a whole narrative, bereft of any truly relatable protagonist to root for, and as such, ultimately pointless. A show that, whilst full to the brim with sound and fury, signified sod all.
After the third season or so I had to ask myself, “Why am I even watching this?” I gave it the benefit of the doubt because I’d come so far, and figured I might as well see it through to the end. I almost dropped off around Season 5, but whether from a crippling sense of completionism, or an acute case of Stockholm Syndrome, I slogged on. Now I’m just relieved that it’s over (well, until the inevitable Adventures of Arya gets greenlit this autumn).
And I’m not being negative to be controversial or anything, it’s abundantly clear through the things I tend to review for WGN that I have a predilection for the more light-hearted and fluffier things in life. I’m just at a point now where I can comfortably refuse people’s recommendations for shows like Breaking Bad or Black Mirror that I don’t get a good vibe from, because y’know what? I did my time, I suffered through eight seasons of relentless misery with Game of Thrones.
Cameron McCulloch-keeble The end of Game Of Thrones happened quickly, with slow quiet episodes being thrown out of the window in favour of sudden movements in plot and all sorts of tension. Initially this is what got me watching Game Of Thrones.
I was a Thrones virgin before season 8 and the sudden advances in a deep well built plot make my ears prick up and pay attention. But the same speed that made me love the show is also what’s caused many people to be disappointed in its final season. Personally whilst I quite enjoyed the final episode (I found that it pulled some characters back from the brink of extremes and and further capitalised on the series’s trademark tension) I would be lying if I said it delivered an ending that I was entirely happy with. Coming into the show at the point I did I was hoping for something a little more fantastical or supernatural. instead a show that started as a game of royalty and thrones ended as a game of royalty and thrones, it did exactly what it said on the tin but it seems like people got too used to much more from it.
KJ: I was ok with it. I didn’t hate it by any means. But I didn’t love it either. I felt much of it was the right way to go. The biggest problem with season 7 and 8 has been the pacing. GRRM made a story that had weight and texture to it. You know it’s fiction but you get the sense your learning history. Part of that was the languid way the story was told. Everything happened slowly. You cannot call 7&8 slow by any means. Most every event in the past 2-3 episodes required more subtly and artistry than they got. I don’t agree that this was as bad as Lost (a finale that just destroyed one of the greatest shows ever) but I can see why some are frustrated. I enjoyed it – it was satisfying….ish. It was all a hell of a ride and I look forward to rewatching the whole series again in the future.