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Game of Thrones Series Finale Review – ‘The Iron Throne’

May 20, 2019 | Posted by Wednesday Lee Friday
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Game of Thrones Series Finale Review – ‘The Iron Throne’  

Given the recent petitioning over a million viewers have signed onto, I gotta think there will be more complaining than praising about Game of Thrones. As a former fast food manager, I already knew that people make time to complain far more often than they call back later with a compliment. Stephen Amell from TV’s Arrow suggested that anyone who signed the do-over petition should be barred from watching the finale. That would be justice, right? Justice was a huge theme of tonight’s finale episode of a show that talks a good game about right and wrong — yet the good guys don’t always win and the bad guys rarely get everything that’s coming to them. To whit — this finale. But let’s not get ahead of ourselves.

Going into tonight’s ep, we already knew that Cersei, Jaime, Melisandre, and Euron Greyjoy all got to die without having to suffer. They all cruelly tortured their enemies and opponents but got away without tasting their own medicine. Meanwhile good guys like Jorah and Lyanna Mormont, Ser Barristan, the Blackfish, and Ned Stark have been dropping like flies since Season One. We see Tyrion’s horror as he surveys the damage his queen brought to the city. Broken bodies and burned corpses lay amid the rubble of buildings that stood for hundreds of years.

Tyrion cries for his siblings after finding their bodies. This also settles fan speculation that they might not be dead. He’s now the oldest, smartest, tallest, and richest Lannister. Neat. Then it happens — the thing some have wanted to see since Season One — Dany takes the throne. It’s not the happy occasion we all wanted it to be. Even she doesn’t seem all that pleased. As far as she’s concerned, her work has just begun. Overcoming an unexplainable language barrier (since when do Dothraki speak High Valaryan anyway?), she announces that they’re basically going to do the same thing to the entire rest of the world. You know, for peace. But wait … because there’s Snow in King’s Landing. Jon Snow.

A few conversations later and Jon knows what he must do. Without much hesitation, he kills his queen. He kinda had to do it, since only he and Grey Worm could have gotten close enough. And man … if you make Grey Worm your minister of war or whatever, you are planning something violent as f**k. Before this happens though, it’s made clear that Drogon recognizes Jon as someone who is not an enemy. This is why Jon isn’t immediately killed. Drogon, despite being an animal, showed more restraint than his Queen. Where did they fly off to? Probably Dragonstone. And we never did get to see any dragon offspring. Plus, that hideous and uncomfortable King-chair is gone forever.

Dany never actually becoming a ruler of the Six to Seven Kingdoms makes us wonder what the point of dragons coming back to life was in the first place. This was all supposed to be part of a huge prophecy, presuming that Azor Ahai (the Prince or Princess who was promised) would rule after stopping the Long Night from taking over everything. This all got summed up in a single episode (with the dreaded Long Night taking literally one night) and was never discussed again. Plus, where did all those Dothraki and Unsullied come from? Didn’t they just about all die at Winterfell?

The Iron Throne is a thing of the past, just in time for a king who prefers to bring his own chair. There weren’t really a thousand swords in it, but now we’ll never know just how many. At the halfway point of this finale, Tyrion and Jon are in dungeons, and a council of Lords and Ladies meets in the old dragon pit. Pause again to ponder how much time may have passed or how people have gotten around so quickly. The council is fantastic. Lord Royce and Robyn Arryn are there. Plus, Brienne (who hopefully has her own lands and castle now). Bronn, Lord of Highgarden is in attendance, plus everyone from Winterfell, the new Prince of Dorne, Asha/Yara Greyjoy, Lord Samwell Tarly, Lord Gendry, and delightfully, Edmure Tully alive and well. I’d swear that was the Blackfish next to Sansa, but it might have also been Lord Glover. I just really wanted the Blackfish to be alive. I didn’t see Alyce KarStark either.

Sansa shutting down Edmure was pure gold. The nerve of him thinking he deserved to be king was laughable, though not at all surprising. Go home Edmure — you’re overtly ineffectual! Sam suggests that maybe the common people should have a say in choosing who rules. He is roundly laughed out of town, even by Sansa and Tyrion. But it is decided that a ruler should be chosen not born, and they all chose Bran. Did anybody expect that? I sure didn’t. I see the value of choosing someone who isn’t power hungry, but Bran? Aside from staying calm in a crisis and being able to warg, and knowing everything about all of humanity since the — okay, I guess I see the value of Bran on the throne.

One of the loveliest moments of the night harkens back to something we heard early on in season four. There’s a moment when King Joffrey is looking at the white book that lists all the brave Knights and their deeds. Joff says, “Uncle … someone’s forgotten to write down all your good deeds.” It’s a sick burn, and one that Brienne rectifies by adding the rest of his story to the book — up to and including him dying for his Queen. She’s awesome, though I doubt she’ll end up as happy as she deserves to be. Miss of Tarth does end up on the Small Council though, so that’s cool.

Another great deal to come out of the war council is the North remaining a free and independent Kingdom. As expected, Queen Sansa rules the North. She’ll be just and fair, and there’s no reason not to expect that to go well. Apparently, the Night’s Watch is still a thing. Why? Ostensibly there’s no more Night’s King, Wights, or White Walkers. There are no more giants, maybe a mammoth or two, and the wildlings are no longer a threat to the Northmen. So, what’s the point? From the looks of it, there really isn’t one. Jon heads to the rebuilt Wall where he’s greeted by Tormund and the direwolf he abandoned without so much as a scratch behind the ears. Ghost was cool with it though. From the looks of it, Jon is leading the free folk away and is en route to becoming the King Beyond the Wall. There doesn’t have to be a place for bastards and broken things.

That leaves Bran as King, Sansa as Queen of the North, Jon as King beyond the Wall (presumably he can marry and have kids if he damn well feels like it), and Arya appearing to lead a Navy after finding out what’s west of Westeros. All good. Meanwhile Tyrion is hand of the King, Grey Worm takes his people to Naarth after all, and Davos ends up on the Small Council with Samwell (as a maester with a wife and kids, which is fun — of course he gets the Samwise Gamgee ending), Lord Bronn, Ser Brienne, Ser Podrick, and of course, King Bran the Broken, First of His Name and Lord of the Six Kingdoms, and Protector of the Realm. It seems like a good group. But…

Overall, I’m not impressed with the thematic elements of this final season. Like LOST, the ending suggests that being a good guy or a bad guy doesn’t matter in the end. You can be terrible and still get off easy. You can be lawful good your whole life and end up sent off to be a glorified slave. Or you can be handed an opulent castle and region if you murder the right people at the right time. Thematically, Westeros is a mess. Is that the point? That you have to be true to yourself because there is no larger morality? I mean, there were actual religions that changed the course of history and nothing really came of it.

In the end, I think it’s like the old Maesters said at the Citadel. Every so often, men know something is coming and they’re sure it will be the end of humanity. But it never is. There’s no need to panic. Whatever you decide what the overarching theme is, how well do you think the show illustrated it in the end? I feel like there was a lot of GRRM’s vision left out, not just in terms of plot and all the characters and stuff we missed — but in terms of why people made the choices they did after say, Season Six.

Still Game of Thrones was a hell of a ride, and I’ll fight anyone who says it wasn’t. As for me, I’ll be around for Legion and later, American Horror Story. Thanks for reading, all!

The final score: review Good
The 411
After nine-plus years of this show, fan expectations are gonna be pretty high. Did the show deliver? There were definitely things I didn't expect, and people I was delighted to see. A certain Tully getting served at a certain counsel was laugh-out-loud funny. But not everything was. Some Westerosi jobs, you just don't get to resign from. Or do you?