Title: Game of Thrones: “The Iron Throne” Review
Release Date: May 19th, 2019
(This review will contain Game of Thrones spoilers. So, if you have not seen the latest episode, I cannot recommend you read any further. Also, Game of Thrones is a show with a ton of characters and developments throughout. Although I will talk about most of these major developments, this will not be a scene for scene review)
The series finale for Game of Thrones was going to be a controversial one. With years to speculate on how it will all end, there’s sure to be people who believe the finale failed to live up to expectations. The divisive final season doesn’t help either. All in all, I’m not overly upset by the series finale. But, I’m not rushing out of my chair to go tell everyone to check it out either. To put it bluntly, I think this was a disappointing sendoff to an amazing show.
That’s not to say that I didn’t enjoy anything with the finale. I loved how Jon’s arc ended and mostly everything during those last 20 minutes. It’s just that this finale, like much of season 8, felt rushed.
For the majority of season 8, I’ve accepted the rushed story. No matter what ridiculous petitions are signed or what HBO offered D&D, this was how Game of Thrones was going to end. I was fine with that. I loved “The Long Night” and “The Bells” for its action and shocking moments. “A Knight of the Seven Kingdoms” was a somber prelude to the Great War. But, I think all of the “season 8 was rushed” complaints were 100% applicable here in the finale.
We just didn’t have the time to have a compelling final narrative for our characters. As a result, those first 30-40 minutes were filled with problems. First off, I think Dany was killed way too easily. Kit Harington and Emilia Clarke killed it but it was just an unsatisfying end for Dany’s story. Ruthless savior dedicated to breaking the wheel turned tyrant doomed to repeat the same mistakes her father made. It was an arc I thought was set up pretty well. The beginning of this episode seemed to showcase Jon, Tyrion, and Arya facing an impossible task of stopping Dany’s unstoppable army. Nope. Tyrion gives up his position and is taken as a prisoner. Arya played no factor in Dany’s death. And Jon tried his best to rationalize what Dany had done.
Like I mentioned before, Clarke and Harington brought their A game but the scene was rushed. As a result, my reaction was “Huh, that’s it?”. Surprisingly, I enjoyed that intense Drogon scene much more. Drogon was put in a tough spot. Burn the last Targaryen to bits for killing his mom or leave defeated. At least he got to burn the Iron Throne before taking off for good. If Danerys wasn’t able to have that Iron Throne, Drogon made sure that nobody would either.
Which brings me to my next big head-scratcher, Grey Worm. This dude went off the reservation last week and continued his onslaught in the finale. You’re telling me he didn’t just try to kill Jon outright when he was taken into custody? Not only that but he was allowed to leave King’s Landing with no repercussions for his part in the massacre?
The Game of Thrones series finale had some enjoyment though. Even though he was one of the more popular picks to end up on the throne, I didn’t expect Bran to make it this far. He is a solid choice for the job, especially with Tyrion as his hand. I was never someone who loved the notion of seeing Jon or Dany on the throne by the show’s end. I would much rather have seen the Kingdoms rule themselves but, I’m on board with the new selection process. It certainly breaks the wheel of tyranny, at least for now.
Peter Dinklage won him a few awards with his performance this week, that’s for sure. The scene where Tyrion finds Jaime and Cersei’s bodies is just heartbreaking. Tyrion’s ending was fantastic. As the Hand of the King for Bran the Broken, he has the chance to right all of his wrongs and do some good for Westeros. With Sam, Bronn, Brienne, and Davos all on the council, the 6 Kingdoms should be in good hands (I’m still a little frustrated with that Bronn scene back in “The Last of the Starks” though).
The Starks are all rulers, in a sense. Bran is the King, Sansa is the Queen of the North independent from the crown, and Arya is ruling…the seas west of Westeros (I know, that one was a stretch). I can’t help but think Arya’s ending is indeed a set up for a potential spin-off. Her newfound quest to explore is, while interesting, a strange shift in goals. I think Sansa got what she wanted and that was to rule Winterfell. Which actually might be the best thing for the North at the moment. We all know by now how well the Northerners get along with those in the South.
Jon’s bittersweet ending is what I mainly loved from this episode and what really makes it difficult to give this a 2 out of 5 rating. Despite being the rightful heir, Jon shouldn’t have ended up on the throne. That would not have changed anything. It’s just another Targaryen put in the top spot and doomed to repeat history in the future. Jon didn’t want the throne either. As Tyrion said, Jon has always done what is best for the people. That’s why he killed Dany and that’s why he never made a claim for the throne (Granted if he did the Unsullied would have definitely waged war on everyone).
Jon has lost a lot. The only 2 serious relationships he ever had ended in brutal death. His family is mostly gone. While he had a touching goodbye with his Stark family, it was hard not to think of Jon’s banishment back to the Night’s Watch as a gut-punch. That was until we saw him arrive back to the North. For the first time in seasons, it looked like Jon was legitimately happy. He finally is able to put down his sword, stop fighting wars, and live a peaceful life. And Game of Thrones was able to rectify its mistake of not giving a farewell to Ghost. Let’s scrap the Arya spin-off, just give me a show featuring Jon, Tormund, and Ghost. I’ll be happy with that.
Verdict: Game of Thrones ended on a slightly disappointing note. There’s a lot to pick apart and critique but there is also a lot to enjoy. That’s not to say that this season was terrible or that this show has been ruined due to it. And I think that’s how I want to end this Game of Thrones review. It’s been a hell of a journey filled with epic ups and horrendous downs. Overall, this will remain as a historic piece of television history. This is one of the most popular pieces of entertainment ever and even though I had my issues with the show, it doesn’t take away from what this series has accomplished.
- Peter Dinklage is amazing. Emilia Clarke and Kit Harington were excellent as well
- Brienne writing Jaime's accomplishments down in that book
- Jon and Tyrion's endings
- Bran is a solid choice for the throne
- Interested in a possible Arya spin-off
- Dany died too quickly and it was in a lackluster fashion
- Grey Worm should not have made it out of this episode with zero repercussions for the massacre
- The finale felt rushed. There just wasn't enough time to build a good final narrative for our characters
- Arya played no factor in Dany's death
- It did seem like Dany's army multiplied somehow in-between episodes
Avid gamer and placeholder of what is now the worst selfie of all time. Mostly an Xbox/PS4 player but I have been known to destroy friendships in Mario Kart and Super Smash Bros. Ultimate.