For fans of Game of Thrones, ‘The Iron Throne’ was the culmination of 20 years of storytelling from George R.R. Martin’s fantastic books, passed over to David Benioff and D. B. Weiss to take the helm and conclude the enormous series once and for all. Considering that the viewers’ reactions to this whole eighth season have been a mixed bag of opinions with not all of them complimentary, this episode had a ridiculous amount of pressure on it to deliver.
And whilst ‘The Iron Throne’ does deliver on many much-anticipated moments it still manages to disappoint in some key areas. Taking it character by character, this is THE END.
Daenerys Targaryen (Emilia Clarke) has won the battle of King’s Landing and her speech on the steps of the Red Keep is inspiring and terrifying, since the city appears sacked and yet she is still talking about defeating enemies and freeing people, having her sound once again like a Mad Queen. There’s a beautiful moment with Drogon appearing behind her giving her wings, and she looks like the queen the people have been waiting for to reach the throne this whole series. Her moments in the room with the Iron Throne are poignant and moving, all her hard work and everything she has been through was all for this moment. But like everything else in Game of Thrones it was not meant to last.
The bastard turned royalty, Jon Snow (Kit Harrington), ended up becoming nothing more than a puppet, unable to think for himself when it came to deciding how to handle Dany and her desire to break the wheel. His character’s ending was probably the most disappointing since he literally ended up where he started, being banished back to the Night’s Watch once more, reuniting with Ghost. Thankfully there was a budget for him being able to pet his direwolf, and they had a touching reunion. Tormund Giantsbane (Kristofer Hivju) was also there welcoming Jon, and watching all of them ride off past the wall into the cold north was anticlimactic and pointless since there is no real threat anymore north of the wall because the army of the dead are gone.
Grey Worm (Jacob Anderson), Dany’s most loyal and trusted ally is right by her side and does his duty, or at least until his service to her is finished. He is all outrage and indignation at what happens to his Queen, but once he is assured that Jon Snow has been punished accordingly, he sets sail for Naath, the place he and Missandei (Nathalie Emmanuel) talked about visiting before her shocking death.
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The imp, Tyrion Lannister (Peter Dinklage), somehow knows that he keeps doling out bad advice and making mistakes and yet he still continues to do it. He convinces Jon he has the option of changing history once more and ending the rule of someone Tyrion is convinced will rule without mercy. Early on in the episode he goes on a pilgrimage through the rubble to find his twin siblings among the destruction, and his mourning at their deaths almost made you forget all the awful things they have done over eight seasons. But it wasn’t long before he was back again making speeches convincing the remaining characters who the new ruler should be. Perhaps he should have just stayed in the brothels drinking wine and bedding whores. Instead he is named Hand of the King once more and his reign of awful advice giver will continue.
Sansa Stark (Sophie Turner) shows up just in time for the choosing of the new ruler and might be the single best character evolution of the whole show. She speaks up and removes the north from the rule of the Seven Kingdoms and trots off to Winterfell to live in peace. While ‘Six Kingdoms’ doesn’t quite roll off the tongue as well as its previous nomer, her proposal to rule separately was a nice twist. Kudos to the writers for keeping true to her character and not neatly trying to marry her off to someone in the last second.
Arya Stark (Maisie Williams) lurked about this episode doing mostly nothing until she announces that she plans to sail away and discover new worlds. Keeping true to her nature of not wanting to be a traditional Lady, the adventure of Westeros is over but hers is just beginning.
The moment where Dany and Jon talk before the Iron Throne really captured the Dany that viewers have come to love and root for. However, her celebration was bittersweet, since Jon had other ideas. Just as it looked like her anger was over and she was ready to rebuild what was destroyed, she is betrayed by both Jon and her child, Drogon. The pain of what Drogon felt at what happened to his mother was apparent and fitting that he destroyed the vehicle that drove Dany to the destruction she caused, melting the Iron Throne. But where was the anger for Jon? How could the beast that at every turn protected his mother, suddenly become complacent at her death and her assassin?
Brandon Stark (Isaac Hempstead Wright) ends up looking like the master manipulator of everything. Sitting back, not being able to do much of anything except fly with crows, he somehow becomes the best choice to rule over all the Six Kingdoms. Tyrion renames him Bran the Broken, which seems a little off-putting and insulting to use in the same breath as king, but this show has shown fans time and again that this tale is nothing ordinary.
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The introduction of the voting of the major houses from now on seems like a nice change from the previous ways of wars and bearing children and rebellions. However, just because they came to Bran so easily as ruler does not mean that the next vote will go as smoothly, and war could break out again. Only time will tell, except there is no more tale to tell since now fans need to mourn the greatest true casualty of the night: the show. With a slew of spin-offs rumoured, and the eventual release of Martin’s remaining books, fans still have Game of Thrones stories to be told, and hopefully they’ll be able to fill the void that this immense masterpiece has created by ending.
Did Jon do the right thing in killing Dany? Should Bran have been crowned king? Tell us your thoughts in the comments!