Spoilers for ‘Game of Thrones’ Season 8, Episode 6
The series final of Game of Thrones, which is arguably HBO’s most popular show, premiered on Sunday. After the events of episode five, “The Bells”, many fans were disappointed with the direction. that the show was headed so close to the finale. In truth, that episode will most likely be the most divisive of the entire series.
Episode eight, “The Iron Throne” opens with Jon (Kit Harington) and Davos (Liam Cunningham) looking around at the destruction that Daenerys (Emilia Clarke) caused on to King’s Landing. Tyrion (Peter Dinklage), who is still on shock with what’s happened, goes to find Jaime (Nikolaj Coster-Waldau) and Cersei (Lena Headey), eventually finding their bodies buried under the ruins of the Red Keep. It’s hard to really feel anything when Tyrion wanders off to find Cersei and Jaime.
With the choices the show has made this season, seeing Tyrion cry over his dead siblings’ bodies doesn’t give off any real emotion. If anything, it reminds me of how upset I am at Jaime for leaving Winterfell and how badly the character had fallen. However, I can see some sort of purpose for having this scene, since Tyrion didn’t want them to die. He didn’t expect any of this to happen when he decided to serve Daenerys.
While on the outside, Daenerys makes her victory speech in front of the thousands of Unsullied and the Dothraki. She declares that she will not only liberate Westeros but the entire world, the smoldering ruins of King’s Landing still smoking behind her armies. Tyron confronts her after the speech and publicly resigns as her Hand, protesting the destruction that she’s caused. For which, Daenerys has Tyrion arrested for treason after he liberated Jaime, unsurprisingly.
I’m left wondering if I may have missed something in previous seasons that somehow set up Daenerys becoming just like her father. She has always destroyed those who have done her wrong or who have imprisoned others. Her proclamation that she will liberate the entire world seems a bit far-fetched and mirrored a speech delivered by a dictator. This scene sets up that she’s gone beyond her goal of just wanting to rule the seven kingdoms and her desire for power has grown. All of this set up of her becoming the Mad Queen does make sense, but it just feels so rushed that I can’t help but call it lazy writing.
After Tyrion’s confrontation with her, Jon sees Arya (Maisie Williams) and tells her to get to safety. However, Arya is worried about her brother and warns him that Daenerys won’t hesitate to kill him with his right to the throne, and Sansa (Sophie Turner) since she will not yield control of Winterfell. She makes it known that the fate of Westeros is in his hands.
Jon later visits Tyrion in his cell for advice and he tells her that he has to be the one to kill Daenerys or Westeros will have another tyrant as its leader. After his meeting with Tyrion and watching Lannister prisoners being murdered in the streets, Jon then makes his way to confront Daenerys without any clear plans. She tries to convince him to be with her but Jon realizes that she’s too far gone and kills her. Drogon, having sensed Daenerys’ death, flies into the thrown room and melts the Iron Throne with his breath. He later carries Daenerys’s body away.
It’s hard to understand why it takes so much to make Jon realize that Daenerys has taken things too far. He makes these claims that she’s his Queen, but he still blindly believes that she’s the best option for the throne. I feared that Jon really was going to put Daenerys first before his siblings, the Targaryen before the Starks. However, while Jon’s arc in the episode up to this point has been carried well by Harrington, this indecisiveness on whether he should kill Daenerys or not wasn’t handled well.
It was obviously he had some love for her, which was why he was hesitant. But ultimately, it had to be done. I would have much rather preferred Arya to do it, but Daenerys had gone too far. She had murdered innocent people who had no idea they were being used during the battle.
Some unknown amount of time later, the lords of Westeros gather for a meeting to decide who will be the next king or queen. Tyrion makes the suggestion that the lords should be the ones to choose who will rule over the six kingdoms. After some debate and a joke about democracy, he moves that the best story take the crown. As such, he nominates Bran Stark (Isaac Hempstead Wright) to be the first ruler under this new system which would pass the crown by choice and not by birth. which all the lords and ladies agree with.
Naturally, Bran picks Tyrion to be his Hand as a form of repentance rather than being killed by the Unsullied and the Dothraki for treason. He also allows the North to be its own independent kingdom and sends Jon to be a part of the Night’s Watch rather than sending him to die for killing Daenerys – which everyone is okay with.
This entire scene seemed like it was a forced way to wrap things up with the six-episode length. It doesn’t make any sense for Bran to be king, especially since he made it known that he did’t really want anything out of life anymore since becoming the Three-Eyed Raven in the second episode of this season. In all honesty, any one else but Bran would have made a great King or Queen of the Six Kingdoms.
In fact, nothing in this entire season was set to establish that Bran would take the throne. His whole arc since season five has been about him become the Three-Eyed Raven, not King. Also, it’s a bit ridiculous that they would decide to name him “Bran the Broken” due to him being in a wheelchair. The term “broken” has a lot of negative connotations associated with it as many disability activists and advocates have pointed out. Given his status as the Three-Eyed Raven, surely there could have been other names to give him.
The decision to send Jon back to the Night’s Watch with no mention of his true birth is definitely questionable. It seems as if the world is never meant to know that he was the rightful heir to the Iron Throne since he’s a Targaryen. If Bran could have been convinced to take the Iron Throne, I’m certain the Jon would have taken it.
Jon went from this figure that was meant to save the Seven Kingdom’s from the Army of the Dead to a bit of an unimportant character. It’s a bit of a let down with all the character progression he was given only for him to not be the hero. He came back from the dead, for this.
As “The Iron Throne” ends we time jump again, Tyrion reorganizes the Small Council in order to rebuild Kings’ Landing with Brienne as Lord Commander of the King’s Guard, Bronn as Master of Coin, Sam as the Grand Maester, and Ser Davos as the Master of Ships. While the begin discussing affairs, Bran searches for Drogon.
With the rest of the Starks, Arya decides to set out for the unexplored lands that are west of Westeros. Back in Winterfell, Sansa is crowned as the new Queen in the North. Jon ventures off to the true North and not the Night’s Watch, alongside Ghost, Tormund, and the rest Free Folk.
For what it’s worth, at least Sansa was able to be Queen. Yes, she’s not sitting on the Iron Throne, but Winterfell is its own independent kingdom and she will undoubtedly be the person to lead it in the right direction. The struggles and overall journey that Sansa has gone through has prepared her for this. It would’ve been a let down if any of the other Stark children rule Winterfell.
Arya going off to explore other lands was a bit unsettling. The show has spent years setting her up as this incredible character who will stop at nothing to cross off the names on her kill list. However, after killing the Night King, Arya didn’t really have anything else that she had left to accomplish. I mentioned in my review last week that the scene at the end seemed to foreshadow that Arya would be the one to kill Daenerys. It makes sense now that Jon was the one to do it, but that left Arya with nothing else in her arc. This mission to explore what’s outside of Westeros seems like another tactic of making characters have happy endings in a show that has pushed against them for so long.
Ultimately, I didn’t really enjoy this series finale. I’m suddenly reminded of the finales of shows like Chuck, How I Met Your Mother, and Scrubs. All of those shows had finale season that made very questionable decisions that didn’t really pay off in the end. Much like this finale, those shows tried their best to wrap everything up but ended up doing more harm than good. I’m certainly not going to say the entire series is ruined, but I just wish all of this season had taken its time to set things up rather than having everything feel rushed.
Having joined the fandom around season 6, I can’t speak for its earlier years. However, I will be forever grateful for having watched this show and send many thank you’s to HBO for bringing this show to life.
Final Rating: 5/10 Iron Thrones