Thursday, May 23, 2019

Discussing Game of Thrones: The Iron Throne & Final Thoughts on Season 8

* Spoilers ahead if you haven’t seen “The Iron Throne”

My last GoT recap is here, and I wish I could say it felt bittersweet, even. Instead, thanks to a hot mess of a final season riddled with character-destroying writing and pacing, I'm feeling rather Bran-esque, i.e. I feel nothing.

Speaking of The Branster, after 8 seasons, 73 episodes, and a shit ton of emotional investment in these characters, we got Brandon Stark, First of His Name, Ruler of the Six Kingdoms, Three-Eyed Raven, and Master of the Creepy Hard Stare. Yeahhhh . . . . D & D must have been like, which character would deliver the most shock value ruling over Westeros in the end? Check and mate. And that's been THE problem this season— breakneck pacing that doesn't build plausibility.

I also didn't expect a happy ending for whichever characters made it to the end because this is GoT after all; I don't expect rainbows and unicorns at the end of the books, either, if GRRM ever deigns to write more of them. But really, I expected more out of the TV series finale.

On to the high/low lights (mostly low, though):

Tyrion's Grim Discovery

Tyrion and Jon are walking through the ruined streets of King's Landing and see bodies and devastation everywhere. Tyrion goes off on his own against Jon's advice, and we know where he's headed: to look for Jaime and Cersei. He finds them among the rubble of the cellar, and his reaction is just gut-wrenching.

All Hail Queen Daenerys and Her Absolute Authority Over Absolutely Everyone

With the help of a little (hahahahahaha) dragonfire, Daenerys has done it— she's won the Iron Throne. Before her assembled Dothraki and Unsullied, both of whom have magically multiplied since the Battle of Winterfell where they seemingly suffered heavy losses, she delivers a chilling speech. In a nutshell, she puts the rest of the Seven Kingdoms on notice to expect a visit from her and Drogon very soon so she can build a new world with only people who love her in it.

Tyrion and Jon are both like, what in the seven hells just happened???!!! Tyrion quits as Hand of the Queen and promptly gets arrested. It's interesting that Daenerys, who was so quick to execute Varys for treason in the previous episode chucks Tyrion in a makeshift cell that's not really a cell. This conveniently buys Tyrion time to receive a visit from Jon and convince the latter that Daenerys is cuckoo for Cocoa Puffs and needs to be stopped, and only Jon can make that happen.

I had a hard time sympathizing with Jon, who agonizes over what to do. My problem goes back to never buying Jon and Daenerys as a couple. Jon and Ygritte? Yes. Daenerys and Drogo? Yes. Even Daenerys's non-romantic affection for Jorah felt more substantial. So when this episode went all tragic love story, with Jon stabbing Daenerys in front of the Iron Throne, it didn't pack much of an emotional punch for me. But Drogon trying to wake Daenerys? That got me.

Drogon obliterates the Iron Throne with his dragonfire, scoops Daenerys up into one of his claws, and off they go into the sky.

Democracy in Westeros? Hahahahaha, Sam!

Fast forward a few weeks, and Tyrion gets brought out to the dragon pit where what feels like a very long time ago, the major players in the game assembled to discuss the White Walkers' threat. Now the remaining lords and ladies of Westeros meet once again over their current monarch-less situation. GoT dusts off Edmure Tully and Robin Arryn for this summit. Edmure literally plays the embarrassing uncle here, and Sansa swiftly shuts his ridiculousness down.

Sam proposes that Westeros go all-out democracy and let the people choose their leader. He promptly gets laughed at. Tyrion kinda sorta finds the middle ground in suggesting the heads of the noble houses decide who rules, and Bran would make a great inaugural choice in this new system. I didn't quite follow Tyrion's line of reasoning, but since I had very low expectations going into the final episode, OK.

I was very surprised there were no objections from the Dornish prince or Yara Greyjoy. Dorne was the last of the Seven Kingdoms to bend the knee to Targaryen rule; a house whose words are, "Unbowed, Unbent, Unbroken" is totally cool with being ruled by someone else when here's an opportunity to regain independence? And Yara—isn't she Queen of the Iron Islands? She's OK with a Stark ruling over all of Westeros, not just the North? Somewhere Balon Greyjoy must be rolling over in some seaweed.

There's not a peep of dissent from any of the lords and ladies except Sansa, apparently the only smart one in the group. She's firm that the North will remain independent, and with her brother about to be crowned king because no one else seems to take issue with him ascending to the throne, it's a slam dunk win. I've got to hand it to Sansa; she ended up playing the game of thrones like a champ.

Jon Is Still a Problem

Technically a queenslayer, Jon's fate needs to be decided at this powwow as well. Grey Worm obviously wants him punished. Just as Daenerys didn't immediately deal with Tyrion earlier in the episode, Grey Worm didn't instantly kill Jon once he found out what Jon did? Is this the same Grey Worm whom Jon found executing Lannister prisoners even though the battle was over and Daenerys had won? Now Grey Worm is fine with negotiating? Give me a fucking break already. Oh, and Jon's fate? He gets sent back to the Night's Watch!!! Does the Night's Watch even need to exist anymore? The big reveal about his parentage fueled some drama for a couple of episodes and fizzles out like this? Jon even reverts to his Night's Watch hairdo. I do not consider this coming full circle or whatever; I consider it bullshit.

Tying Up (Some) Loose Ends

In a sequence of scenes showing us what happens to the characters who made it to the end, we see Bran's new Small Council. Tyrion is Hand, Davos is Master of Ships, Brienne is Lord Commander of the Kingsguard, Sam is Grand Maester, and Bronn is fucking Master of Coin and Lord of Highgarden. Davos was another character who found himself without much to do this season, so I was happy that 1) he survived and 2) he's on the Small Council. We also see Pod in Kingsguard armor—good for him!

At the Small Council meeting, Sam brings out a book called . . . A Song of Ice and Fire. I wish I were joking. Was that supposed to be clever? Like Tyrion mentioning a brothel at the very end of the scene? Because any attempts at humor here fell flat.

We see Brienne finish Jaime's entry in The White Book. This scene launched a ton of hilarious memes with alternate versions of what Brienne wrote. In a powerful montage, Sansa is crowned Queen in the North. Meanwhile, Arya, or should we now call her "Arrya Starrk" sets off for adventures on the high seas. No, really, She gets on a ship to explore whatever is west of Westeros. Here's hoping she gets to use her Faceless Man training again, because that kind of fell to the wayside after she slayed Freys.

Jon Snow returns to Castle Black, where Tormund and GHOST are waiting. GHOST GETS PETS! GHOST GETS PETS! Best scene in the entire episode, and probably the best scene all season. ♥♥♥

And oh yeah, Jon heads off with the Wildlings, beyond The Wall once again. The End. No final pan out on Bran's face showing that he was in Three-Eyed Raven mode and this garbage last season was just one of his visions.

Oh GoT, what happened to you? It seems that once you ran out of source material from the books, you didn't quite know what to do with yourself. Seven seasons of meticulous character and world building went up in dragonfire in six measly episodes. I don't know if I can ever rewatch Season 8. It just had too many wince-inducing moments, except for these 3, which I loved:

  1. Brienne becomes a knight
  2. Tyrion and Jaime's tearful goodbye

Time to end this recap on a positive note before I start dwelling on all of my gripes again. What did you think of the final episode and the final season overall? Do you plan on watching the prequel series that's currently in the works?


  1. I completely agree about the pacing. They badly needed 10 episodes. Everything just happened too fast!

    Aj @ Read All The Things!

    1. Ten episodes would have been SO much better! I would've happily traded some of the extended battle scenes with the White Walkers for better character development!


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