May 24, 2019 – Diane Gundaya
After 72 episodes, 8 seasons in total, and more than 8 years in the making, finally, we are down to the last episode of this arduous journey.
It still feels surreal that one of the most loved fantasy drama series—with all its complex characters and mind-bending scenes that quite startled most of us and kept us on the edge of our seats, has finally come to an end.
We were teased with the final season since December last year. However, the fans’ excitement slowly turned into confusion and disappointment when the season started airing. The immense frustration turned into multiple petitions to re-do the final season. Hundreds of thousands of signatures have been collected to show just how serious fans are with this do-over.
But as it turns out, not only the fans were dissatisfied with the story’s turnout. Members of the cast didn’t know how to react during their interviews prior to the airing of the season—especially when they were asked how they personally felt about the story’s ending.
Indeed, endings are a make or break—and endings have been a real struggle for most series, too. There’s a buildup of pressure. Just imagine thousands of people anticipating a show’s every move, waiting if the theories they formulated in their heads are right, checking if their favorite characters make it out alive, and the list of expectation goes on. But this is not really the reason why the last season failed to deliver.
If you’re always on social media, it is inevitable for you not to see the outbursts and questions of different people about what was happening in the last season. Yes, the last season really sped up the whole story which left us baffled and annoyed.
To be honest, I was quite angry about the sudden change of the pacing and all those random featuring of products in Westeros (like Starbucks cup and water bottles peeking), too. After watching the show’s final episode somehow made me realize that it wasn’t really that bad after all.
But we also have to admit that the “Game of Thrones” finale was far from perfect—something we all know by now. However, I cannot deny that upon watching the finale, I felt quite relieved. After innumerable deaths of significant characters and plot twists that we never expected, that last episode gave its longtime viewers a reassurance that maybe somehow, everything’s going to be okay.
It somehow ended with a good note: The Starks conquered all the Kingdoms and even beyond it. The House that was exploited and abused eventually turned out to be the rulers of good and was able to defeat the bad (such a cliché ending but I guess that’s how things are even in Westeros).
Yes, the viewers have a lot of questions about what happened in between and sadly, the writers of the series didn’t give us answers. But what if we don’t really need answers to those questions? What if our questions weren’t really meant to be answered at this point of time?
Remember when Jon asked Tyrion if did they really made the right thing to do and Tyrion answered him back saying, “ask me after 10 years”? Maybe this is just like that.
We can easily end this article by simply saying that this season was rushed, both story and production wise—period. But then we have all these lingering thoughts about the final season that we neither asked for nor wanted.
“Game of Thrones,” despite all its flaws, taught me that maybe there are certain questions and things in life that will always haunt us and confuse us—it shows us things that have no apparent relevance to what we hold important. But maybe someday, it will all make sense and we will all be satisfied with the choices that we made or what others have made for us.
In the season finale, we see Tyrion Lannister, still in shock, walking through the burned city he once live—seeing all the dead bodies of both innocent men and men of war, scanning through the structures that were heavily destroyed by the fire.
Tyrion makes his way to the Red Keep, where he found the dead bodies of his sister Cersei and brother Jaime, all wrapped in each other’s arms. He was quite emotional when he saw his only family, both without life. It was definitely heartbreaking to see Tyrion look really miserable and hurt. However, it was apparent that Jaime’s wish to die in the arms of the one he loved was fulfilled, also somehow felt really rewarding to see.
By the steps of the Keep, we then see an emerging Daenarys, backed up with her dragon child, Drogon.
This scene really sent shivers to my spine. Daenarys looked really powerful and tough—quite far from her timid and shy personality from the start of the series. Her waging of war was only beginning.
Tyrion, disappointed about the choices of his Queen, resigned as her Hand. This part brought me back to Season 1 when Ned Stark also quit the same duty after declaring his disapproval towards King Robert. Daenerys quickly took it against him and charged him with treason, leading to his imprisonment.
Moments after the speech, Arya approached Jon and told him about her intention to kill Cersei but the Queen struck first. She tells Jon that he is likely a threat to Daenarys for the Iron Throne and warns him to be careful towards the Mad Queen.
Jon all confused, visits Tyrion in his cell. Tyrion started to vent out his frustrations and regrets, for he knows that the Queen wouldn’t keep his prisoners alive for too long and might as well tell Jon about his concerns.
He fears that Daenarys is turning mad and might do something that will harm the people again. Tyrion’s advice: Kill Daenarys and save the people from her outrageous rule. She already killed thousands of lives in a single day, and more in the days to come. After a lengthy conversation, Jon went out of the room with somehow an enlightened mind and does what he thinks is best.
With a single stab in the heart, Jon killed Daenarys when she was at her vulnerable state—while they were kissing (such a strange move, Jon Snow).
Jon started crying when he realized what he had done, with her body resting on his arms as he intently watches her slowly lose her life. No words were uttered. Their eyes were both glued to each other—one was confused, the other, with pity and love.
Seeing Daenarys lose her life was indeed, the hardest pill to swallow. The woman who had to endure a string of misfortunes and hardships still suffered until the very end of her life. She faced the most hurtful betrayal of her life in the hands of Jon. This part of the story caught me off guard. Daenarys deserved better.
Drogon, somehow sensed his mother’s pain, rushed to her side and sees Jon, grieving at a lifeless body. This scene probably left a lot of hearts broken – especially those who rooted for Daenarys from the very start and also for Drogon. He already lost his siblings and now, he lost his only family.
He tried to wake his mother up several times, only to be left with no response. Drogon, devastated, shattered, and with anger in his eyes, burned the Iron Throne. He was so furious that he made sure that the throne was completely destroyed and melted until its last piece.I was deeply moved with what Drogon did. He knew that everything that happened to her mother all boils down to the Iron Throne.
She suffered because of the throne and risked everything for it. Now that the Queen is gone, no one can ever sit on the throne again—a heroic and vindictive move. Drogon also spared Jon’s life. It may be because he knew how much Jon meant to his mother or because Jon is technically a Targaryen, too.
Drogo carried his mother’s body and flew away. Nobody knows where, yet there were several presumptions that he might have brought his mother to Old Valyria, an ancient city in Essos which was once ruled by dragonlords and the homeland of House Targaryen.
Weeks later after Daenarys’ death, Grey Worm escorts Tyrion to the Dragonpit where we finally get to see some familiar faces that we met throughout the series. We see Sansa, Bran, Arya Stark, Yara Greyjoy, Ser Brienne of Tarth, Ser Davos Seaworth, Gendry Baratheon, Samwell Tarly, Yohn Royce, Robin Arryn (who has grown a lot but I can still recall his eating habits when he was young), Edmure Tully (Catelyn Stark’s brother) and more from the other houses.
Grey Worm faces the council and says Jon Snow must be punished for killing the Queen and asks about Tyrion’s execution. However, the only one who can decide about Jon and Tyrion’s fate is the ruler of the kingdoms.
Tyrion being Tyrion proposed that since the lords of Westeros were already there, they can just talk among themselves and pick someone from them to rule the kingdoms since the Queen has passed.
There had been quite a number of suggestions yet it was Tyrion’s point that won. He argued that stories have the power to unite people and who has a better story to tell than Bran Stark? Bran experienced a lot of things—from him being pushed out of the tower and being paralyzed, learning how to fly, and becoming the Three Eyed Raven. Tyrion points out that he knows all the stories and suffering of man which gives him the means to provide a just rule.
All of them voted for Bran except his sister Sansa. She explained that she loves her brother but the North will remain an independent kingdom under her rule. Bran acknowledged Sansa’s decision and was proclaimed as the Lord of the Six Kingdoms and Protector of the Realm.
He instantly appointed Tyrion to be the Hand of the King but Grey Worm demanded justice. Bran defended Tyrion and said that justice has been already served. He argued that Tyrion made many terrible mistakes and he’s going to spend the rest of his life fixing them. On the other hand, Jon was sentenced to take the Black again.
Before going back to the Wall, Jon bids his goodbyes to Arya, Sansa, and Bran. He asked Arya to come visit him at the Black but Arya said that she will be sailing west of Westeros where the map ends, to see what lies beyond.
It was quite sad to see them go on separate ways. But at the same time, it was rewarding to see them all grown up—making their own decisions and facing everything with courage and maturity. If only Ned Stark was alive, he would have been so proud of what his children has become.
Another touching moment from the finale was when Ser Brienne read The Book of Brothers, a book where all the great deeds of all the great Kingsguard were recorded. Ser Brienne wrote all Jaime’s deeds and ended it with “died protecting his Queen.”
This was the part where I cried so hard. I really do admire Jaime Lannister even if he made a lot of wrong decisions and actions. We can’t really blame him, he was just so blindly in love. I somehow wished that ended up with Brienne instead. But I guess the heart wants what it wants.
The Starks: Not Just in the North
The season finale wrapped up with a montage of the Starks, all preparing for their own adventures.
We see Sansa wearing a crown that bears two wolves—the sigil of the Starks. She was also wearing Tully’s colors and scales that represents the sigil of her mother, Catelyn from the Tullys of Riverrun, as she was proclaimed as the Queen of the North. It was touching to see Sansa pay homage to her mother and father after all that happened.
Arya, on the other hand, sailed west of Westeros in her direwolf-designed ship while Jon flew to the Wall where he was reunited with Ghost—another tear jerker scene, in all honesty. Ghost finally gets the petting he deserved all he did for Jon!
The series ended with Jon Snow, travelling beyond the Wall with Tormund and a bunch of Wildlings. This part pretty much mirrors the scene from the first episode of the series where some people of the Night’s Watch journeyed beyond the Wall. It all started outside the Wall and eventually ended there. It has come full circle, so to speak.
Its story punctuates the fact that life is really unfair. That sometimes, even if we know that we are right, things will not go according to what we plan—sometimes, nobody will listen to our cries and screams. It is a constant battle; an unending war that one must survive. A game that we must all play.
“Game of Thrones” is literally a game of life and power—the only thing that matters is whether you win or you lose. True to what Cersei said, “when you play the Game of Thrones, you only win or you die.” For them, it didn’t matter what happened in between and how things came to be, the only thing that mattered for them is how they lived their present—or the present that they wanted.
Why did I like the finale? Simple. They chose to move forward amidst all that has happened and did not let the past hinder them from starting a new life, a new journey.
Photos courtesy of HBO
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