“And I have a tender spot in my heart for cripples and bastards and broken things.”
There is your Game of Thrones series finale. These three characters started in the first season and with exception of Arya and Dany had the most POV chapters in the book series. Every author that writes fiction has a character that is their voice, subconsciously or otherwise. I have always felt that Tyrion was GRRM’s voice in Game of Thrones. After many seasons of being broken he finally returned to being GRRM’s voice. Tyrion’s story and struggle has always been GRRM’s POV and it was him who finished the story for us. The cripple, the bastard, and the broken thing.
So It Begins For The Final Time
Prior to the viewing the series finale I had to accept I wouldn’t get the same beautiful story telling of the first 5/6 seasons. This meant resolving myself to more realistic expectations, but that didn’t mean I had none. Throughout this season there have been wonderful moments, some good conclusions, but with rushed story telling and doing a lot of audience “asks” in the name of convenience. This is what I prepared myself for and that is what I got in the series finale. Mostly.
Dany has won her war and now she wants to conquer the entire world through her “liberation” them through her belief that it’s her destiny. Her tunnel vision of knowing what’s best for the rest of the world is a social commentary that’s hard to miss. But if you’ve been paying attention that’s really the whole point here.
Dany’s madness is clear and she is unaware of the self fulfilling prophecy she’s creating, but as she said in season 2:
I am not an ordinary woman, my dreams come true!
This is only fuel for her madness. Her forces look formidable with the Unsullied, the Dothraki being Dothraki minus all the rape, and Greyworm mercilessly executing all the Lannister soldiers. Dany arrives in front of what has an eerie mirror to Hitler and Nazi Germany, and as she greets her army Drogon’s wings extend behind her looking like her own. It was a magnificent shot. Like most of the visuals this season, particularly featuring Drogon, the effects crew made this episode on another level.
Treason is the New Black
Conspire, conspire. Tyrion is now prisoner, Jon is walking around looking suspicious and Arya is looking for an opportunity to make Dany’s reign short. Tyrion’s voice of reason and logic seem to have returned after he’s been sitting in a cell and he breaks it all down for Jon who once again adamantly refuses to take the throne for himself. He still refuses Tyrion and says he can’t do murder on his Queen even if she has gone all pyro the realm.
Even so Jon makes his way to where the “Iron Throne” resides and Drogon reveals himself underneath a pile of snow. Next to Dany’s symbolic wings, this was visually the best shot of the entire episode. I cannot stress how wonderful the special effects were this season. Never once did I feel like Drogon wasn’t a real dragon and he’s pure CGI.
Now we’re in the throne room as Dany caresses one of the hilts of the swords, and it looks like she may sit on the throne, but then you see the shadow of Jon Snow in the back as he enters the room. She turns away and meets him. After this exchange Dany never ends up sitting on the throne, just as her vision in the HOU she never does. The final betrayal of Jon’s dagger ends her story. Drogon shows up and burns the throne down ending it’s reign and effectively breaking the wheel. He yells at Jon and takes off with Dany’s body to go be a dragon.
Fast forward to everyone (who’s left) meeting in the Dragon Pit with Tyrion in shackles. Word around the campfire is Jon still alive (gasp) and is being held prisoner. This is where the story takes a rough turn and suffers from lack of character development the past several seasons. The conclusions here are as you might expect and for some of us that know our beloved characters might want. The problem is how we get these book ends and it’s at the cost of important skipped pages.
A Problem Of Convenience
- Why didn’t the Unsullied kill Jon immediately? Without Drogon’s protection there is no story-line where Dany’s entire following, starting with Greyworm wouldn’t have just murdered him.
- Bran is king, because he tells stories? He doesn’t. He says abstract things and let’s people die while he turns into a bird. With this reasoning Sam should be ruler of the realm. Bran is more fleshed out in the books, but here he isn’t even Bran or human anymore. This is just nonsense, but it opens the story up to let Tyrion be hand, and he who now will ultimately rule. Still, this almost RUINS all that was good about not just the series finale but: THE ENTIRE SERIES! But oooh, what an edgy choice! I can’t wrap my head around this and every time I feel okay I think about this and I feel rage.
- The Unsullied just leave with the Dothraki after everything? They wouldn’t have massacred the entire realm for murdering their Queen? That’s it. Okay.
- The North is the only free country? Not even Dorne? We don’t even get an introduction to the new representative? Yara and the Iron Born also wanted their freedom so they could continue their plentiful existence growing trees and building fleets in 5 minutes, but they aren’t independent either? Okay.
- Jon is banished to the wall? To a night’s watch that no longer needs to exist? Sure, this sets up his ending, but like all of these conversations, they conveniently set up the closure, but the process of getting there is tremendously frustrating.
- Jon is a Targaryan………..so important for so many seasons and now it ultimately matters for no reason other than to incite Dany’s madness. Thanks again for that Bran.
Series Finale Conclusions and Closure
- Tyrion and the Council – Bronn gets a chair, Sam is now GM, Davos, and Brienne. It’s a bit dodgy, but it still feels right. Tyrion is going to essentially be rebuilding the realm since Bran is figuring out where Drogon is, because that’s super duper important. We get to have a few last laughs that echo the greatness of other council seasons over the years. It feels right.
- Arya heading out on an adventure is everything I ever wanted for her. This is her, it’s where she belongs and as much as I loved her character in both novel and series it felt good watching her sail away.
- Brienne filling out Jaime’s part was touching. She remembered the man he tried to be instead of the man he truly was, and now she sits in charge, with Pod right there as well.
- Sansa is Queen of the North. Fine. It’s fine.
- Jon had the best ending. He returned to Castle Black where his journey began, saw Tormund and Ghost and left with the Free Folk north of the wall. He always was one of them, it was where he belonged and what he actually wanted. It was the ending Jon actually deserved and left me with a sense of happiness.
- Davos lives and is on the council.
- We got to see Tormund one last time and Jon finally gave Ghost a pet.
Keep Calm and Let It Go
I’m fine with how it ended. It left a lot to be desired, but I’m okay with the ending in general. Like a lot of this season, there was a lot of good moments and there was closure. I struggle with the process and that makes it feel less meaningful. If you expected something else, we weren’t watching the same show the season.
The truth is I’m going to have to wait for GRRM to finish his story to see it conclude as it was intended. The character’s need justice, not just an end. The show brought it full circle which does give a sense of closure. There’s just too much convenience of plot and lack of development to feel satisfaction. We are left with a series finale that feels unsatisfying. But….it’s fine.
Our Watch Is Over
The “happy endings” weren’t really happy. What everyone sacrificed to get there was hardly a tale of glory and cheer. Cersei’s prophecy was fulfilled, Dany’s vision came to fruition, and all the clues leading us here were there all along. Every step of it was bittersweet.
From the start of Game of Thrones Bran, Jon and Tyrion were each a corner of this story. From King’s Landing to the true North they will continue it, but our watch is done.
Cripples, Bastards, and Broken Things
If you need to talk about the ending or need some support in dealing with it, please feel free to join my Game of Thrones Support Group…just make sure you answer the questions!