WARNING: CONTAINS SPOILERS. I’ll add some spaces incases you haven’t watched the season finale of Game of Thrones yet….
Still here? Good. Then I shall begin.
Game of Thrones has finished, in a perfect loop back to where it started via a series of plot twists that had most captivated from its start.
The finale was nearly obvious, as the leaks had suggested that it would be. Bran becomes King Of Westeros, as one would expect of the person that effectively controlled the timeline. Sansa became a Queen, with the North remaining independent, as it always tried to be, and as she always tried to be. Jon was reunited with Ghost and became a leader himself to lead the life he would have had with Ygritte, while Arya continued to be the truest badass of the series.
The episode itself was all that it should have been. The election of a king (albeit elected by a white elite), the death of one just motivated by power and the symbolism of the melting of the Iron Throne by a dragon who had seen his siblings and his mother lose their lives in its pursuit. Tyrion being named as Hand Of The King as an opportunity to put right the wrongs previously inflicted.
The cinematics of Drogon flying over King’s Landing chilled by snow and ice was exceptional. The dragon’s power and anger matched by his tenderness with his stricken mother. Daenerys in the ruined throne room was captivating. It was matched, as always, by the score.
It was, to all intents and purposes, a quite brilliant finale. So was The Long Night. So, too, was The Battle For King’s Landing.
Yet season 8 has been criticised and ridiculed. It has been far too fast. It would have benefitted from more time dedicated to the romance between Dany and Jon, making his conflict all the more heartbreaking. The picking apart of Dany from liberator to despot – the Mad Queen following in the footsteps of her father, the Mad King – could have taken an entire season.
The pace, I believe, was only part of the issue. After all, this post is written by someone who invested a lot of time but not a lot of emotional energy in to the series, but I still wanted to know what happened.
There was a lot that didn’t make sense to me. I’m the person who needed reminding which character was which and who understood more watching a 90 minute catch up show than he did watching the previous 7 seasons. I still want to know what happened to those sisters that killed someone on a boat however long ago it was, and what really happened when Tyrion took a jackass and honeycomb in to a brothel.
I think the fault, if there was one, was possibly in the first seven seasons and the weaving of such intricate possibilities, for Game Of Thrones is a series whose greatness is borne from the internet. The theories that did not come to fruition were often as captivating as those that did.
Take for example, the end of episode 5, the penultimate episode. Arya walks up to a white horse and rides it out of King’s Landing. There are theories that the horse was being controlled by Bran, or that it was an animated form of the toy horse held by a girl that Arya helped, or that it was a reflection of the Book of Revelation and that Arya was Death riding a pale horse destined to kill someone. As it happens, it was just another piece of brilliant production, of a girl riding a horse from a war zone.
There are things that have been cited as disappointing that I never realised because I didn’t think that hard about it. Dany has been negatively influenced by a lot of men in her life, and we had the chance for women to gain power – her, Cersei, Sansa, Arya… Ultimately, all that was undone by a man, and a man took power.
I don’t think it was bad. I think that people don’t want it to end, and yet it has.
I hope that the show’s legacy is not that its final season was rushed. It has left so much open. Where has Drogon gone? Where are Arya and Jon going? Is Dany actually dead? And what will happen to the relationship between Sansa and Bran? I think it’s been left with possibilities and that’s what made it the show that it was.
I think that people are disappointed that there’s no more that they’ll find out, and I think that at some point they’ll be grateful what they were given, rather than upset by what they weren’t. But I also think that it’s the imagination that people will miss the most, and surely that is the merit and power of a good story, just infinite possibilities of where it can take us.