Did You Bring Any Wine?
On a scale of Lost to Six Feet Under, the Game of Thrones finale fell somewhere around Seinfeld, sharing its evoked feeling of ‘That’s it? Who cares?’ apathy. The best feeling you can have after a series finale is satisfaction, but mostly I feel indifferent. I’ve been on board with a lot of season 8, but the final episode left a lot to be desired.
We need to talk about Jon Snow.
Jon Snow ended up being a big pile of too-little-too-late, and honestly I don’t think he deserved to be the one who ended Dany’s short-lived reign. We finally got the answer to the ‘who is Jon Snow’ question, out loud and acknowledged by multiple characters, it ended up meaning exactly nothing. I guess he’s just proof that bloodline doesn’t equal greatness? We got one Targaryen who was too much and one who was way too little.
Rather than making me actually feel things, this episode left me with several scenes that made me aware that I was supposed to be feeling things, but fell short. As I watched Jon say goodbye to his tearful siblings to return from whence he came, I understood that I was supposed to be empathetic to their pain. Instead all I could think was, good, go back to the Night’s Watch, and get out of my face.
Bran as king. Really?
Mid-episode, we are transported back to the Dragon Pit, where they have re-convened the grand council- a nice throwback to previous episodes and the precedent of coming together to choose a new ruler. It’s a little bizarre that none of them are able to come up with an original idea, but not to worry, Tyrion is here. Despite the fact that he’s a prisoner who has just been menacingly told to shut up, he gives them an inspirational speech about stories, and they are all immediately like SURE SOUNDS GOOD.
So… Bran should be king because he has a story and is the keeper of stories? Bran’s stories is certainly interesting, but I’m still unclear on what the point of his story was.
If you want to make Bran king, I guess that’s fine. But the rationale can’t be “Yo, his story was really cool” when he’s standing next to someone who killed the embodiment of death to save humanity and learned how to wear people’s faces. Sure, Arya wouldn’t want to rule Westeros, but then you’ve also got Ser Davos, who witnessed a smoke monster emerge from the womb of a 400-year-old priestess (a wild story!) and who — no offense, Bran — knows how to hold a conversation for two minutes without warging into a bird.- Miles Surrey
When he accepts the crown, he smugly asks Tyrion “Why do you think I came all this way?” Does that mean he saw the fall of the Red Keep and just sat in his chair with his unreadable expression and let a genocide occur when he could have stopped it? What kind of king does that? If he let it happen, what makes him better suited to the throne than Dany?
Beyond that… is Bran even really in charge? Tyrion is the one that put him there, Tyrion dictated how future leaders would be selected, and in the end, Bran attended his advisory meeting for all of two minutes before he decided to go off and warg search for the missing Drogon. Is this the future of Westeros, a king who has an out of body experience anytime he feels like it? Is it really a good idea to have a strange-psychic-magician as king?
The six kingdoms.
Sansa’s answer to Bran-as-King is that the North will keep it’s independence, officially this time. Bran is named as King of the Six Kingdoms. But none of the other realms want their independence? Not even Dorne, whose new prince is at the meeting despite having been conspicuously absent for a few seasons? Not the Iron Islands? Really?
Even if they weren’t going to ask their independence, does no one have any requests or negotiations to suggest in exchange for agreeing that Bran should rule? This seems like the prime time to negotiate for your house and people, but no one has anything to say.
Thing I wished for.
For Arya or Tyrion kill Dany. Arya’s defeat of the Night King went largely unlauded, which doesn’t seem fair, especially in light of the crowning of her do-nothing brother as King of Westeros. She saved the world from zombies, including a zombie dragon, and it’s barely even been acknowledged.
For Brienne’s story to be less defined by Jamie freaking Lannister. I wish instead of tearfully finalizing Jamie’s entry in the Book of Knights, Brienne had been adding her own entry. I realize he was her friend, but I would have liked to see her promotion and strength highlighted and Jamie’s story ended with Tyrion’s emotional discovery of his siblings bodies.
A more consistent tone. Some scenes came off as bizarrely sitcom-y, Sam Tarwell suggesting Democracy for instance. I had a moment of suspended disbelief where I thought they might actually let that happen, and I’m glad it didn’t because my TV screen might not have survived that. With the final advisory council scene, again I understand what the writers were trying to do, but it came off as just… bizarre, to be honest. This wasn’t a happy show with happy, light conversation, so ending it on humor seems disingenuous.
The Good Stuff
Of course, it wasn’t all bad. It couldn’t be, even in the worst of episodes, HBO makes quality television, and Game of Thrones has been an amazing series. These were my favorite moments.
Tyrion ripping his hand of the queen pin off and chucking it down the steps as he stared at Dany and told her to her face that his crime was nothing compared to hers.
The inevitable question an imprisoned Tyrion posed to Jon before trying to convince him that killing Dany was the right move:
Did you bring any wine?
Jon’s best line:
The world we need is a world of Mercy. It has to be.
Sansa telling Edmure Tully to sit down. 😂
Sam as Grand Maester, Brienne as Head of Kingsguard, Podrick as a Knight. Westeros certainly needs the new blood.
Questions that will never be answered:
What is the Night’s Watch even for now? If the white walkers are dead, and the wild North-people are now friends, who is the wall built to keep out?
Exactly how smart are these dragons? If Drogon had the capacity to somehow understand that the Iron Throne was to blame for his mother’s death, then what else did he understand?
Who in their right mind would make Bronn Master of Coin?!
How did they repair the wall already?
Why does Jon Snow deserve Ghost?