Game of Thrones. This is the end.
Oh man. Here we are. The final episode of Game of Thrones. Ever. The whole shebang. Woof. After this, what do we obsess over next?
Wow, that opening sequence. King’s Landing is trashed. Poor 3D model, I hardly knew ye. Hmm the Iron Throne still stands in model form. Interesting. I figured it burned with the rest of King’s Landing.
We open on Tyrion. He looks like his death is imminent. Or that he was wrong for selling out Varys. Hashtag Varys was right. Tyrion finds the only dead-but-unburnt bodies in all of King’s Landing as he surveys the masacre from last week. Some semi-naked man walks towards him and the dude really looks like a zombie, but isn’t. It’s been quite a day. Even Jon takes a look back at the naked and flayed dude. The survivors aren’t many and they are all shell shocked. No one talks. Tyrion comes across the burnt body of the mother and daughter from last week.
Tyrion walks off alone. He walks past a bell that fell to the ground during Dany’s onslaught. The bells.
Remember when Grey Worm wasn’t a dick?
Grey Worm sentences a bunch of Lannister men to die. Jon and Davos try to intercede. Grey Worm has his orders, “Kill all who follow Cersei Lannister.” When Jon holds Grey Worm’s arm to prevent him from taking the killing stroke, the Unsullied all turn their weapons on Jon. Davos breaks it up with reason, but “We should speak to the queen,” sounds like sentencing these Lannister men to die. And surely enough, Grey Worm starts slitting throats as soon as Jon and Davos walk away.
The ash falling in the Red Keep looks like snow. It’s the map room. Tyrion should find his siblings’ bodies nearby, right? He looks for a way out, but only finds rubble…and a slight way out. Did Jaime and Cersei escape? Through the dragon’s mouth, no less? It certainly looks that way. It’s crazy how this manipulates my emotions. This is like when Jaime and Cersei reunited a few seasons back and the show me all like “Awwww, these two.” That is, right before realizing they were brother and sister and throwing up in my mouth a little bit. Tyrion finds Jaime’s gold hand…but no Jaime? Maybe they did escape! I smell spinoff! The Good Sister-Wife, here we come! Damn, no, he finds Jaime’s face next. Jaime and Cersei: womb to tomb, baby. Mourned over by their only surviving immediate relative. Hey, remember when Cersei was the main villain of this show and her dead body would have been something to celebrate? Meanwhile, now we’re all like “Poor Jaime and Cersei. They could have had it all…”
Where’s the white horse?
Arya walks among the dead in King’s Landing. So much for Arya riding off into the sunset last episode. The Dothraki guard the outside. She can’t escape. Does she even want to? The Dothraki look hungry for blood. Jon walks through them and past the Unsullied. A giant Targaryen banner hangs from the ruins of the Red Keep. Where did they get that flag so quickly? Arya follows Jon. Grey Worm waits for Jon at the top of the steps. Drogon roars from overhead. Jon approaches Grey Worm. Dany surveys her kingdom.
Watching Dany here is like watching Anakin turn into Darth Vader combined with watching Palpatine take power. Dany addresses her people. She says they gave her the Seven Kingdoms, but did they? I feel like Drogon did most of the work. She praises Grey Worm and names him the Queen’s Master of War. He has nothing to live for anymore, so this makes him happy.
Tyrion approaches from behind. He joins Jon.
Dany announces they won’t lay down their spears until they’ve liberated the people of the world. Liberated here means stamped under her boot heel.
Arya watches, seemingly unseen.
Tyrion approaches his Queen. This can’t be good. He stands by her side. Dany says she knows he freed Jaime. Tyrion counters with she slaughtered a city. He throws down his Hand pin. That gets the Unsullied to stop stamping their spears. Come on T, you know this can’t end well. The Unsullied take Tyrion prisoner. What’s the point of this show? You’re just throwing your life away here, Tyrion.
Jon and Dany stare each other down. How far does your loyalty go, Jon?
Arya stands beside Jon. She says she came to kill Cersei but Dany got there first. Jon wants Arya to wait outside the city gates. Arya warns him that Dany knows Jon will always be a threat to her.
Of course Tyrion wants wine.
Jon visits Tyrion in his cell. Tyrion wants wine. Sorry, T, Jon’s dry. Tyrion knows his time is up. And he points out to Jon that Dany isn’t done fighting. Winterfell is next. He also notes that Tywin and Cersei didn’t kill as many in their lifetimes as Dany did in a single day. Jon tries to defend Dany, but can’t. Tyrion explains Dany’s character arc and suddenly her actions don’t seem so out of character. Tyrion’s “I loved her too speech” sounds like a parent saying he’s more disappointed in Dany than angry at her.
Tyrion challenges Jon with “Who is the greatest threat to the people now?” Jon doesn’t answer, but in his silence, he does. Jon departs, seemingly loyal to Dany, but I get the feeling we’re about to see Kingslayer Part 2 starring Jon. The Unsullied open the door. Jon exits. Dany sure has a lot of Unsullied guarding Tyrion’s cell. It’s a whole hallway of guys guarding him.
The ash in King’s Landing really looks like snow. Drogon emerges from a pile of ash. He sniffs Jon and goes back to napping. Are these two technically cousins? Am I using technically right?
The Iron Throne stands! Dany look cray as she looks upon it. Oh, Danykin Skywalker, you’ve been corrupted by the dark side, and this Iron Throne is your Palpatine.
Jon approaches Dany, wary as anything. Note: Jon has at least two swords on him. One of them must be going in Dany. Dany tries to tell a cute story about how big she thought the Iron Throne was when she was a girl, but Jon is all like “Oh hey, remember when you burned a bunch of little kids yesterday, cray cray?” Jon wants a world of mercy. Dany wants a world of mercy forged in dragon fire. Sword in the back Jon. Now’s the time. Dany wants a kiss. I want Jon to put a sword in her back. Instead he kisses her, and SNIKT, Jon puts a sword in her gut. Oh damn. He did her Bullseye doing Elektra style. If anyone has Frank Miller’s number, I want that commission!
I watched this scene a few times, and I think it’s great how it was written and shot. When Jon is pleading for Tyrion’s life, he’s really pleading for Dany’s life. He doesn’t want to kill her here and you can see how it breaks him to do so. He was conflicted between his love for her, his loyalty to her, his loyalty to family, and his personal sense of right and wrong. To me, this was the most powerful scene in the episode.
Back to the show.
Um, Jon. I think I hear a dragon. You best run. Drogon approaches and I’m expecting Jon to say “Hey Drogon, I found her like this. Crazy, right?” Or “Drogon, hey Drogon. I’m the captain now” Captain Phillips style.
Drogon roars up on his hind legs, opens his mouth…and burns the Iron Throne! “Yesssssssssss!” says my death pool entry as the throne melts. You can’t sit on the throne if it doesn’t exist, right? Drogon doesn’t spit fire on Jon. Oh man, is Jon is the captain now? PS, someone get Jon new pants.
Drogon picks up Dany and flies off with her body. Um, that is interfering with a crime scene, you crazy dragon. Where you going, Drogon?
How many weeks/months later?
Tyrion wakes up in his cell. Grey Worm enters and escorts him out. Man, Grey Worm has really become such a dick since Missandei died. The ash is all gone, so I’m guessing some time has passed. Tyrion stands before a council of Sansa, Davos, Arya, Pod, Brienne, Yara, Gendry, Brienne, Sam, Catelyn’s brother from Outlander, Robin Arryn and some dude from House Martell. Why is Sam on this council? At best, he’s “friend of Jon Snow.” Yes, yes, I guess he’s the surviving head of a semi-great house, but in that case, what is Davos doing there? This scene is like “Did you have a speaking part on the show? Yes? You’re in! Oh wait, House Martell dude didn’t? He’s in anyway.” And who’s the dude on the other side of Yara? He better turn out to be the quarterback of some football team making a cameo. They’re all debating what to do with Jon, Tyrion and the future of Westeros. Yara is still ride or die Team Dany. Davos is the voice of reason, but even he wonders what he’s doing on this council.
Jon is the prisoner of the Unsullied. As is Tyrion. Westeros is without a ruler. Who will be the king or queen? The dude from Outlander starts to make a speech, but Sansa tells him “Wrong show, buddy, sit down.” Sam proposes democracy. Everyone laughs at him. Ohhhh, Westeros.
They ask Tyrion who he would pick, because the dude in jail is always who you want picking the leader. Tyrion says there’s nothing more powerful than a good story and proposes Bran lead the world. His speech is a great Bran 2020 introduction. Choose the future. Choose Bran.
King who now?
Tyrion announces a sort of representative democracy where the king is chosen by the lords and ladies of Westeros on this spot. Bran accepts Tyrion’s nomination. Sam gives a second, followed by a bunch of people. Sansa announces the North will remain an independent kingdom. Bran the Broken takes the crown. Great name there. Grey Worm looks like he’s eating bile as this goes down. He’s wondering the same thing I am, why exactly is Tyrion being allowed to set the tone of this meeting here? Bran announces Tyrion as he Hand. Tyrion doesn’t want it. But hey, Bran doesn’t want to be king.
Jon rots away in a cell. they can’t free him, but they can’t leave him to the Unsullied, so Bran sends Jon to the Night’s Watch. “There’s still a Night’s Watch?” asks Jon. Fair question. Jon is conflicted about his decision to kill Dany and looks to Tyrion for reassurance. I watched that scene of Jon killing Dany a second time and you can really see how conflicted he was even as the knife went in. It sounds like he’s just as conflicted, months later.
Jon exits King’s Landing not quite a free man, led away by two dudes from the Night’s Watch. Grey Worm watches Jon leave town.
The Unsullied are headed to Naath. I guess they’re giving up their hold on King’s Landing. Question: who was feeding the survivors of King’s Landing during the time after Dany died and the Unsullied gave up the city? Maybe that’s not a question I want to know the answer to.
I’ll miss you most of all, Scarecrow.
In the final Stark family meeting, Sansa asks Jon for forgiveness. But come on, it’s not like Jon hasn’t been here before. Jon gives his family speeches like he’s Dorothy leaving Oz. Arya is leaving town too, like really leaving town. She’s headed west of Westeros, wherever that is. Spinoff, anyone? Jon kneels before Bran, and it really drives home how crazy Bran being king is. Who picked this guy? “Don’t blame me, I voted for Davos.” The Starks are all watching Jon get on a boat from King’s Landing to the Wall, looking like they’ll never seen him again. Meanwhile they all live like 20 miles south of the wall. It’s harder for me to get from New York City to Philly.
Brienne writes in the book of knights about Jaime. She gives him a whole new page of info. Westerosopedia? Who’s editing this? She ends on “Died protecting his Queen.” Awww. Or rather “Awww?” Also, how did this book not burn during Dany’s torching of the city?
Speaking of things that didn’t burn, how did the small council table and the Hand’s chair survive? The small council meets. Archmaester Sam, Davos and Bronn are all on the small council. Sam is that guy at your office who keeps getting promoted but doesn’t add anything. Brienne wheels in Bran. Brienne wears the gold armor of the King’s Watch. Bran notes they’re missing a Master of Whisperers, a Master of Law and a Master of War. I expected him to make a speech about no longer needing these titles on his small council, but nope, it’s new boss same as the old boss in Westeros.
Not the best name.
Pod is also in the King’s guard. They keep calling Bran King Bran the Broken. How does that name end well? Bronn is the Master of Coin. Really, who is better for the job? Bronn, Brienne and Sam debate the merits of ships vs. brothels and I think not enough people died this episode.
Jon makes it to the Wall. Tormund is waiting for him. Yay! If I could have picked a king of Westeros, I’d have picked Tormund. Hashtag Tormund 2020. Hashtag giant’s milk 2020.
Arya sets sail for new lands, under a Stark banner.
Sansa visits the crypts. and then takes her throne in Winterfell. She is crowned the Queen in the North.
Jon oversees the Night’s Watch. These guys all know him, right? He walks through the Night’s Watch and a group of wildlings. Ghost appears and Jon pets him this time. Awww! Glad to see that scene after Jon gave him the cold shoulder previously.
Jon, Tormund and Ghost ride North of the Wall, followed by many wildlings. The wildlings are headed home. The gates close behind them, including Jon. Oh man, Jon is among the free folk now. “Hey, you guys remember Ygritte? Did she have a sister?”
I really liked Jon’s ending. Having him go beyond the wall with his people was a good reward for his character. While he may be half Stark and half Targaryen, it wasn’t until he went north of the wall and met Ygritte that he really found himself. I’m fully on board for a Tormund and Jon in the Wild spinoff series.
And that’s it. The end. I won’t lie, I thought this season would be much bloodier than it turned out to be. But if Game of Thrones was as predictable as some fans feel it should have been, none of us would have liked it as much as we do. Game of Thrones never failed to surprise, from Ned’s death in King’s Landing to Drogon not killing Jon after Jon killed Dany. Looking at reactions online, people seem much angrier about season 8 than people I talk to in person. Personally, I really liked the season. Most things I thought would happen (like everyone dying, Jaime and Cersei being Targaryens) didn’t pan out, but I still loved the show. When someone tells me they haven’t watched Game of Thrones, I give them a quizzical look and just respond “Best show on TV right now.” Now that the show is over, I’ll have to amend that to “You should really watch it.”
If I had any problem with Game of Thrones, it’s that I felt the show backed itself into a corner by announcing years in advance when the final season would be. Didn’t we all learn after Lost‘s folly doing the same? Thankfully, I found the conclusion to Game of Thrones much more satisfying than the conclusion to Lost. It wasn’t what I expected, and I don’t mean that as bad. Like I said earlier, if we could predict where this show went, it would be a far lesser show.
Thanks for taking this final season journey with me. It’s been a very fun ride for me, and I’m glad you were here for it.
Billy Henehan writes for The Beat. In his free time, he likes to hunt down foreign language reprints of Todd McFarlane Spider-Man comics.