The Game of Thrones finale wasn’t bad. There I said it. I’ve spent the months after the finale holding back the eye rolls as people have whined and complained about the end of the series. With the year anniversary just having passed it brought a resurgence of grievances that had me thinking that I’ve just imagined everything that’s happened since then. I guess time really is an illusion when you want it to be, because people are still upset.
Now, I’m not going to be talking about the series as a whole or the last season. I’m strictly talking about the last episode, the finale, Season 8 episode 6. Nothing else because frankly that’ll take too long and I don’t want to. All I’ll say is that no I don’t think the final season was amazing, but it also wasn’t horrible. It was fine, not life changing in either direction, just a shoulder shrugging fine. I say that as someone who, like many, got way invested in the show. Like way invested. So much so that when people have asked for my take they’re surprised I’m not raging like the rest of the internet. I wasn’t wowed but I wasn’t disappointed. I did raise my eyebrows over certain points but overall I was satisfied with where everyone ended up even if the execution wasn’t what I wanted.
Honestly Game of Thrones was just such an emotional roller coaster that I was happy just to have closure, especially since D&D (as the internet calls the creators) seemed to be phoning it in by then.
Ok, maybe I’m a little annoyed.
So here I am to say that, in my opinion, the finale in and of itself wasn’t as bad as everyone keeps saying. Let’s start.
Let’s just address the dragon in the room first, Danearys Targaryen. Love her or hate her, almost everyone seems in agreement that her descent into a merciless tyrant seemed rather rushed and abrupt. While I believe that it could have been executed better, or at least more obviously, I can’t say that it came as wholly unexpected. Moments throughout the series definitely indicated that she was capable of it, but because she had been set up as a hero neither the people around her nor the audience gave it a second thought. She was already burning her enemies alive in Essos before she began burning the lords of Westeros who opposed her. It’s a point that Tyrion brings up before the council of Lords as they hold his trial for his role in Danearys assassination. Once in Westeros there’s a concerted effort from the writers to other Danearys, an alienation that only becomes more defined as she begins to lose her allies to death or old allegiances.
The need to prove herself in ways that she never had to before, and do it alone, push her to the brink. In Essos she was revered and loved as a Breaker of Chains and Mother of Dragons. In Westeros she was feared and reviled for the same. Perhaps if Danearys had stayed in Essos we would have seen her become the ruler we all expected her to be. Instead we see her script slowly flipped until one loss too many breaks her. It’s a lot of reading between the lines, and you arguably shouldn’t have to work so hard when watching a show, but isn’t that half the fun? So yes, it could have been done better but was Danearys’ fate out of left field? No, I don’t think so. Her death at Jon’s hands was pretty obvious too. He might love her, but Jon has always been about the greater good. Would it have been cool if Arya put her assassin skills to use and took her out? Of course but I had expected for one reason or another that Jon would have to kill Danearys so I wasn’t that put out by it.
I’m not going to spend too much time on this one. Did I think this was a weird choice? Yeah but really who else was left? The Tully uncle? Please.
Sansa at this point only cares about the North, Arya would rather die than be Queen, and Jon and Tyrion were behind the murder of the previous monarch. That really did just leave Bran. Everyone else on that council wasn’t anymore equipped to rule than Bran, and at least he has his Three-Eyed Raven powers to spy on his enemies.
Tyrion, Brienne, Sam, Davos, and Bronn
This is probably the best council on the show. Everyone has the expertise necessary to do their job and do it well. They’re also what’s left of the honorable characters (except maybe Bronn) so it’s not like they’ll turn on Bran, he can trust them.
Tyrion, well third time’s the charm as Hand of the King right? He’s learned from his mistakes and now he doesn’t have to worry about his family stabbing him in the back while he’s trying to do his job. It’s not like he could go back to Casteerly Rock, or would want to.
Davos and Sam on this council made my little heart sing. They’ve come so far and worked so hard that this is the best and most satisfying fate for both of them.
My girl Brienne finally getting to be a knight, and not just any knight but the Commander of the Kingsguard??? BE STILL MY HEART AS I SOB IN PRIDE. Her good-bye to Jaime as she writes his entry is well done too, it shows that just because she’s a badass doesn’t mean she can’t also be a woman in love, a woman with a broken, healing heart. Both things can be true and make her a more well rounded character. Jaime going back to Cersei is whatever, I won’t get into it, that’s its own article.
My man Bronn. I honestly didn’t think he’d make it this far so good for him. I have no real opinion other than I wish I could hear the banter that’ll be happening in the Small Council meetings from now on.
MY BABY IS ALL GROWN UP AND SAILING TO LANDS UNKNOWN. She’s one of my favorites and I would have nerd raged so hard if she died. That might be why I’m not as mad at the finale others, because most of my faves made it. I love that Arya is going to be living a life that she wants, not one that is being forced onto her by others. Having adventures, exploring new places, and if Gendry is rowing after her well that’s just my personal head cannon.
QUEEN OF THE NORTH
Sansa’s journey and growth in this series is one of my favorite arcs. I initially didn’t care for her at all, but by the end I was rooting for her hard. Of her siblings she’s the most methodical, she watches and waits instead of running in headfirst. Even when Jon was King, it was Sansa who was running the North. That she finally got the recognition she deserves by being crowned the Queen in the North is the culmination of her growth from the beginning of the series. She’s the Queen that Danearys could have been, and in a way they are two sides of the same coin. It would have been amazing to see them rule their kingdoms if Danearys could have been convinced to grant the North it’s freedom. There’s a lot more in that duality of Sansa and Danearys, but again it would have to be it’s own article.
Finally we come to Jon Snow. So many expected the series to end with him as King of Westeros and Slayer of the Knight King. Yet he ended up back where he started, a brother of the Night’s Watch. While many wanted something more grandiose for him, I think it’s fitting that he didn’t get either of those titles. Since the beginning the thing that Jon longed for most was somewhere to belong. To know that he was worth something despite his status as a bastard. During his brief stint as King in the North we got to see how unsuited he was for the position. He didn’t care about the politics that run the world he was expected to govern, the title hindered more than helped and only more so when the truth came out about his parentage. Yet because he was part of a world that cared more about the legend behind blood, names, and power than the individual upon which they were bestowed Jon was expected to step up. And so it became once word started to spread that he was a Targaryen, Tyrion, Sansa, and Varys all began to look to him instead of Danearys despite his wishes.
By banishing him back to the Night’s Watch Bran was setting Jon free. With his siblings as the rulers of the realm, if he chose to desert the Night’s Watch and live amongst the Free Folk I don’t think Sansa or Bran would try hard to bring him back for justice. If you think back to the rest of the series, it was in his time away among the Free Folk that we see Jon happiest, where he was Jon before he was a bastard, a member of the Night’s Watch. He was free. I’m more than happy with this fate for Jon, because I truly believe it is the outcome that most guarantees him peace.
What did you think of the Game of Thrones finale and where the characters ended up? Let me know in the comments below.
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I'm a writer based in California. I received my Bachelor's and Master's in Literature from San Francisco State University. I dream of one day writing books of my own and maybe even being part of a writer's room for a show! I love to talk about pop culture, books, and travel to anyone willing to listen. Some of my favorite topics in those categories are "Avatar the Last Airbender", "Gilmore Girls", the works of J.R.R. Tolkien, Mexico, and Paris. My favorite thing in the world though is my dog, he's just the cutest!