Before you read this, I have two warnings:
First I swear like a sailor in this article. I know this is trendy now to swear like a sailor on the internet and not apologizing for being "authentic", but that's really me. And I did it long before it was trendy or well accepted. I don't do it all the time, but swear words are here to be used from time to time.
Secondly, this article is a HUGE SPOILER so you're responsible if you find something out you didn't want to.
We knew it.
We had to prepare for the finale of this epos. A series that has kept us at the edge of our seats for eight years. The expectations for the final season were huge.
Unfortunately or fortunately, it didn't go as we pleased. Because let's be honest, it rarely did in the past.
Lots of fans were already pissed off by the first episodes of the season eight, and in particular, episode three - The Long Night.
Complaints went from "we can't see anything" - just have to give this one credit - to "This is stupid! Why should a teenager kill the Night King?!"
Yeah. Hmm... A teenager that's the most skilled assassin this whole human army has at hand.
I understand that people were wondering where she came from but isn't it kind of her specialty? So screw the deus ex machina as well the "Jon Snow should have done it"-argument. He would have been just ripped apart.
By the way, there is a petition circulating right now to redo the entire season... Just... Let it go.
Still, there were right on a certain aspects.
We've had it with "Lost". Which I gave up by the way.
A long complicated story is always prone to weaknesses.
If you build it up for years, maintaining the mystery and intensity becomes difficult. Although because the fans expectations are huge and probably impossible to satisfy.
A series is a format where characters and their stories have room to unfold for years.
If tension has to be built for years it also means that the story needs breaks. A reason why I wasn't annoyed by the soft beginning of season eight. People complained that nothing happened but I argue they had to build up the tension.
You can't have action 24/7 in a story because otherwise, it loses its meaning, and we become immune to it.
However, Game of Thrones did have a series of events that are worth talking about and were understandably unsatisfying to fans. In addition, we'll probably need a brief moment to grief over the end for a few days.
I know. This is ridiculous. People are dying for real all over the world. And it's a fucking TV show. But there's definitely some mourning to be done here.
So, with no further ado, let's talk about the elephant in the room first...
I'll explain why I think this is also a good choice below, but first I've to say, that it felt like a punch in the stomach as Jon Snow, who sacrificed himself and his personal happiness for the greater good - again - was treated like a criminal and sent back to the wall. Especially if Grey Worm is taking off anyway.
Seriously. It's bitter, but everybody is releaved that someone had the balls to kill the mad Queen. Sorry if you're grieving over Dany.
So, to resume: Jon Snow was just brought back from the dead so he can suffer a little longer along the way, learn that he's the rightful heir, kill Dany, and be brought back to the North. Where "he belongs" (Tormund's words in the third episode).
I've watched the last episode two times yesterday. Once alone and once with friends. And I knew by the first time that it was a good choice but I was also really disappointed about it. I had to hear from my friend, to accept it.
Because Jon Snow on the throne would have been predictable. And Game of Thrones is, to a certain extent, all about disappointing expectations. That's the show's strength.
And the other hand, because that was the finale, it could have been unexpected to satisfy the audience with a happy ending.
Also, a good choice from the production team was to put Bran on the throne. Or just leave him on his wheelchair.
It's good for the following reasons:
Bran is one of the few in Game of Thrones who's never been interested in power. And that's an actual quality to be a fair ruler.
He doesn't "want anything anymore." which makes him perfect for the new, fairer world because he has no personal interests in the game.
In addition, Bran has an overview of human history. Which makes him pumped with knowledge.
However. And that's a big, however:
From a pure storytelling point of view, Bran's character hasn't been enough developped to make him the main character in the end.
Bran was absent for a whole season. A few people died for him, but he always was a supporting character.
As the fucking world was about to end and Theon Greyjoy about to die, Bran had nothing better to do than passing out and have a little trip. He knew everything but never helped.
He knows nothing about ruling and has never made a sacrifice himself for the greater good. He just waited for what was about to happen.
Yet, that brings us to one far more interesting thing.
Now, that's one thing I saw coming and I'm very happy about: Tyrion as Hand of the King.
Tyrion is one of the most beloved characters in the show. He's not completely innocent but Dany puts it in the right words why he's perfect as Hand of the Queen or King.
He's one the most empathic character of the show, yet he's smart and knows how to be ruthless when it's necessary.
A strength that Jon Snow is missing and that got Ned Stark killed.
Because, in case you haven't noticed, Westeros isn't a place that rewards loyalty.
The thing is, since Bran doesn't care about anything and has no problem to be absent when the house is burning down, the one who's going to rule for real, is Tyrion.
And heartbreaking death of Jaime.
Although it had to be like this. They had to end together. And I must confess I had compassion for Cersei for a second as well, despite she deserved it nonetheless.
And, we got to know Jaime as a heartless character and murderer who cares about little but himself and his sister.
Except for his little brother. This is what made him not completely antipathic from the beginning. Jaime was the only one in the Lannister's family who defended Tyrion.
And he developed to a more likable character throughout the series.
Concerning Cersei's death, although it wasn't satisfying, it was also ironical.
This Machiavellian Queen has tortured and murdered people without suffering any consequences seasons after seasons. The only thing she had to pay for, was her incest relationship with her brother. Who nobody cares about by the way.
But, as they say: "The Lannisters always pay their debts."
And she had quite a revenge...
And now she dies under a pile of bricks ?!
Although the symbolism behind it is clear:
An empire built on tyranny collapses to make room for a new world.
I was quite disappointed that she died so mundanely though.
On the other hand, this is typical for Game of Thrones. It deceives the expectations of the audience and that's why it's so good.
I get that some believed that Dany would get one's act together before the big finale but I stopped believing in it quite early in the show.
Varys knew it and he's paid the price for it.
It's a tragic end but it made absolute sense that she had to be stopped. And that the only who had to do it was Jon Snow.
However, it was an impressing showdown.
One of the most iconic cinematic scenes of the last episode is Daenerys stepping in front of her army with Drogon's wings behind her back. For a second you almost think she became a dragon herself.
You also can't help being remembered at pictures from the Third Reich.
And yet, standing on top of ruins and charred corpses, she's the ruler of nothing and can't even see it.
Azor Ahai, who's Melissandre was obsessed about, is a figure in the faith of R'hllor, the Lord of Light.
According to the legend, he forged a sword thousands of years ago, to defeat the darkness when the times comes.
A prophecy foretells that he will be reborn as "The Prince That Was Promised."
First, Melissandre thinks it's Stannis Baratheon. Then we learn that
"Azor Ahai shall be born again amidst smoke and salt to wake dragons out of stone."
Which sounds just like Daenerys. She's helped destroying the darkness in the third episode of season eight and has freed a lot of slaves. But then she goes nuts.
So, now what?
Jon Snow was a possibility, especially after having been brought back to life by Melissandre, and is also the rightful heir of the bipolar Dragon dynasty.
The legend also says that Azor Ahai could unleash the sword's power that could beat the darkness at a great price: Plunging it into the heart of the woman he loves.
Which corresponds to the sacrifice Jon had to make to save innocent lives.
However. we're not sure a hundred percent. Who is, please leave a comment with an explanation.
Game of Thrones also showed that the absolute lack of morality isn't' what the show is about.
It would be way too elementary to kill every good man and woman just for the sake of surprising people.
If you do it too much, it just loses its meaning and nobody cares anymore.
In the end, a few of our favorite characters survived. Characters that have almost always made the right decision when it was a difficult thing to do. And, finally, got a reward for it.
For instance, who hasn't wept a little as Brienne was knighted by Jaime?
And who is more qualified than Samwell Tarly to be a Grand Maester?! I think we don't even need to discuss this.
Podrick as a wheelchair's pusher couldn't be happier.
Davos, Master of Ships and... Grammar (Bronn's credit). The right man at the right place. Davos hasn't lost his integrity in the process - despite his deepest regret to haven't been able to protect Shireen Baratheon -, just improved his reading and writing's skills.
So hasn't Bronn either... Because he never had any. I mean integrity, not reading skills.
I get it, Tyron and Bronn always had a bromance based on material interests, but Bronn almost fucking shot his pal with a crossbow! I feel a sense of guilt for still liking this character.
Still, all in all, it's a pretty good council lead by a pretty good man.
The two Stark sisters are also exactly where they need to be - to borrow Bran's words.
Sansa as the Queen of her beloved North and Arya as what she's always been:
Not a lady but an adventurer and a free spirit.
So, why are we so unhappy about it? The answer is basic.
Let's face it.
This series lasted almost for a decade and it was more than a normal series.
It was a social phenomenon. It has influenced a whole generation of fantasy fans before the series was even born and reached out to people who weren't even fantasy fans through the series.
Millions of people around the world have written and gathered around Game of Thrones to share their thoughts on it.
YouTube channels, subreddits, and websites were created just to talk about it.
And now, it's over.
No more badass female characters asking for their piece of the cake. No more delightful acts of revenge of Arya on villains. Not more dragons flying in the sunset. No more Brienne asserting herself and finding her courage. No more Tyrion asking for wine in the most inappropriate moments. No more winter.
Finally, let me finish with this quote attributed to the publisher and author William Feather:
“Finishing a good book is like leaving a good friend.”
That applies to series too. Maybe even more since the audience has accompanied its characters for years and will need a while to say goodbye.
What were your thoughts on the finale of Game of Thrones? Did you like it or not? Please share your thoughts in the comment section below!
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