SPOILERS AHEAD FOR SEASON 8!
Whether fans like it or not, one of the most successful epic fantasy TV shows is now over. For me, it ended with a bit more of a whimper than a bang, but I want to start this post by acknowledging where Game of Thrones has brought genre television. In so many ways this series brought the masses into “nerd culture”. It brought people to reading, theorizing, researching, and arguing about a fantasy world. It gave fans an outlet when the real world was bleak. It provided a lens to view social issues of inequality, racism, and sexism. It wasn’t always perfect, there have been so many missteps on the road to the finale, but the world of pop culture would look very different today without Game of Thrones.
On to my thoughts on the finale.
Ever since episode 3, when it was a bit too dark to see what was going on, this season has lacked clarity. Turning up the brightness didn’t help matters, and turning on the dragon fire definitely made things worse. So many narrative threads were picked up and quickly dropped throughout season 8. The Night King was dealt with a bit too quickly, and the battle with the undead had few repercussions outside of diminishing Daenerys’ army. Presumably, he just wanted to kill all humans, but his motives are never explained.
Though Melisandre was involved in that battle, there’s no other mention of
R’hllor (the Lord of Light) in season 8. The servants of R’hllor played a fairly large role in previous seasons, but R’hllor prophecies and purpose are never explained.
One truly ugly moment of this episode occurs when Dany is debriefing her troops on the steps of the Red Keep. The imagery screams Third Reich, further cementing the theme of Dany’s insanity and delusional behavior. There are few things worse than a villain without a compelling motive. Unfortunately for Daenerys, she was turned into a plot device. She was a glorified super-weapon, and her character arc didn’t progress much beyond that.
As expected in a final episode there are several emotionally charged moments meant to inspire sadness and offer closure to the audience. Sadly, I found all of these rather flat and numbing to watch. I couldn’t care about Jaime and Cersei, their reunion wasn’t meaningful to me. Watching Ser Brienne complete Jaime’s story in the annals of the King’s Guard was nice, but if I were her I would have ripped that page out and fed it to Drogon. Ser Brienne is a better person than that but it’s frustrating to know that she has to live without an apology or real explanation from Jaime.
Speaking of Drogon, he was the real winner of the episode. I think most viewers will agree that the image of the melting throne was pretty spectacular. Afterward, I found myself wondering if Jon would have burned in the dragon’s fire. Fire cannot kill a dragon, but what about a half dragon? Perhaps Drogon knew it was a lost cause and was simply taking out his frustration on the nearest meltable object. Or he was making a statement about destroying the Westerosi system of rule. OR Bran warged into him at the exact moment he was going to burn Jon, melted the throne, and told Drogon to fly away. Honestly, the notion that Bran will find Drogon later and probably become a dragon warg is amazing, but why didn’t we get that in the show!? The hint in this finale was maddening.
As Jon walks off into the forest with the Wildlings, it seems clear that he will ignore his life sentence and live free among his comrades. He also finally got to pet Ghost! I couldn’t help but notice that there wasn’t a lot of snow north of the wall. Many viewers have speculated that the death of the Night King may have ended the cycle of years long summers and winters in Westeros. We do see some snow in King’s Landing, but soon after all the snow is gone and it appears to be a temperate spring day. Once again, there are hints at fall out from the death of the Night King but it is (say it with me) never explained.
There are a lot of feelings and opinions flying about this final episode, and I would love to hear your thoughts! Comment down below, or tweet @TheConCollectve!