And so, our watch has ended. After eight seasons of battles, betrayals and beheadings, “Game of Thrones” finally takes its final bow, on HBO at least. In contrast to the general excitement leading up to the season, fans approach the ending with a mix of melancholy and disenchantment, a little bit of wariness too, of how showrunners D.B. Weiss and David Benioff will choose to end this epic saga.
Will it meet expectations? Will it satisfy the die hard fans? I could safely say that the final episodes had its strengths and weakenesses, not more than any other ending for a television series. GoT, unfortunately got more flak because fans were really expecting an epic masterpiece as a fitting farewell to their beloved saga.
Synopsis: The Last War is won and Daenerys is poised to take the Iron Throne amid the ashes resulting from the Sack of King’s Landing. But just when one thinks that there will be some peace after the conquer, Dany pumps up the Dothrakis and the Unsullied with words of more war and liberation, cementing Tyrion’s doubts that the Queen has lost sight of her goal of making the world a better place.
***Proceed no further if you don’t want to be spoiled. ***
I could not safely say that what happened in the ending was completely unexpected. Showrunners were only short of writing on the sky how Dany should and would die because she was unfit to rule. When she went off the handle and murdered the innocents on the streets of King’s Landing in a fit of rage and revenge, there was no turning back for her character. It was a given that she had to go.
Tyrion served as the showrunners’ mouthpiece throughout this entire episode, explaining in length to Jon Snow what needs to be done to save the Kingdom and save Dany from herself. He explains how her heart is in the right place but her views are distorted by her successful conquests and her skewed ideas of a better world. He explains how she sees her methods as an end to a means. He does this in length, and also gets the floor to share his views on who should rule Westeros for a better, more peaceful, future.
I was actually surprised that the amount of time Tyrion was given to share this much wisdom given that he was a prisoner accused of treason. However, no matter how effectively Peter Dinklage delivers his dialogue, it was obviously a shortcut to humanize Dany once again after she razed half the city as well as the Red Keep. It was also a convenient way for showrunners to set the stage for an unexpected character to rule the Kingdoms.
“Love is the death of duty” — Jon Snow citing Maester Aemon
“Sometimes, duty is the death of love” — Tyrion
We also catch a glimpse of pre-Westeros Dany, when she tells Jon her vision of a perfect world. It echoed her earlier statements from when she freed the slaves from their masters and liberated Mereeen. However, given her recent spate of power madness, it was weird that when Jon and Dany met, she was willing to have Jon lead with her, as opposed to her general sense of paranoia in Winterfell that he would take the Throne from her.
Jon Snow gets the award for the most consistent character in Westeros. From Season 1 to 8, he knew nothing and learned nothing. He was even willing to let things go after witnessing the heartless murder of innocents because of his “love” for Dany. (Really, all this talk of love has been getting on my nerves) It is only until he is pressured to take action that Jon aka Aegon Targaryen takes action and does the right thing. And it turns out that the revelation of his heritage is actually a non issue.
I loved the moment between Drogon and Dany and how he, a CGI character was able to evoke emotions of loss and grief, and anger when his mother is no more. His subsequent action also makes a symbolic statement of how, after everything was said and done, the deaths and destruction was futile, and it was all done in the name of something that could have easily been torn down by dragonfire. I wish Drogon a long and happy life beyond Westeros.
Another character that deserves the loyalty award is Greyworm who sees to the order of the city in the name of his queen and seeks justice for her loss before he sets out to fulfill his promise to Missandei. As with Ghost, who is reunited with Jon at last, still not bathed after the Battle of Winterfell because can we seriously expect Tormund to do that?
There were attempts at humor with Tyrion, Ser Davos, Bronn of the Blackwater and Sam Tarly, perhaps to herald the dawn of a world that is capable of smiles and laughter. It was a commendable attempt on the part of the writers but it seemed a bit off given that just a few minutes ago, Tyrion was in danger of execution.
While it was impossible for Game of Thrones to deliver an ending that would please all of its fans, there were predictable turns to the final episode that would definitely please fans of the Starks because by the show’s end, each of Ned’s children choose and fulfill their own destiny. It was a good way to spend that last fifteen minutes of the show to find closure for the Starks. I simply loved the transition scenes where they were all in the place they needed to be. Bran the Broken leading the people of Westeros, Jon going back to the real north, just as Tormund implied, Arya setting off to explore the world with that big a*s House Stark sigil on her flag, and Sansa rightfully claiming her throne as Queen of the North. That, intersped with the Game of Thrones theme was an excellent way to close the show.
Throughout this entire episode, I was constantly blown away by the on point cinematography of Game of Thrones that never failed since Episode 1. Every scene was framed and shot to perfection — Dany’s descent from Drogon to address her people, the revelation of Jamie and Cersei’s corpses underneath the rubble, the Starks in their final moments — it was all masterfully executed and complemented with the perfect score. The Emmys should definitely got to GoT for scoring and cinematography, hands down, no contest.
All in all, while the last half of Season 8 was shaky at best, Game of Thrones was able to come out with a passable ending. It wasn’t the epic conclusion that fans had their hearts set out on for a variety of reasons, but it at least made sense, and its an ending that fans can make peace with in the long run, just as Westeros did with their new ruler.
Finally, thank you to the showrunners, writers, actors, production team, and everyone involved in the development of this entire series. Thank you for eight seasons worth of epic experiences. I salute you for this amazing series. You truly set a new bar for excellence with this show.
Check out how the final season went down in the video below.