Warning: Spoilers ahead.
For eight years, Game of Thrones fans were nurtured into thinking that the world George RR Martin had created is one without morals or apologies because he had the courage to write without fear. The characters’ story arcs were elaborate and carefully carved out, with plotlines so thick you could cut a chunk out of it. The unpredictability in its storytelling was phenomenal. Fan favourites were mercilessly beheaded, stabbed, or slit before you could even catch your breath. And more often than not, you would remain seated in silence long after an episode to digest it and go, “What the h*ll did I just watch?” It was what kept people up at night.
Martin was, probably still is brilliant (no way of saying this for sure, he has yet to release the final books). He clearly had a vision but when he decided to chuck the show over to Hollywood writers David Benioff and D. B. Weiss to wrap it up, Game of Thrones began to die a slow and painful death.
In leading up to the conclusive episode we have all been waiting for (who will claim the Iron Throne?), the whole of the final season was littered with good behaviour, positive outcomes, and straight up “Huh?” moments.
Jaime Lannister redeemed himself and Cersei Lannister got to “romantically” die with him, locked in a loving embrace and all that jazz. Was that Game of Thrones’ version of a “happily ever after”? And this meant there was no epic Daenerys Targaryen and Cersei showdown after all. That. Hype.
This also meant that Arya Stark did not kill Cersei like she had intended to. Arya did not kill Daenerys either. Did the writers forget about what Melisandre prophesied in season three? “I see a darkness in you. And in that darkness, eyes staring back at me: brown eyes, blue eyes, green eyes. Eyes you’ll shut forever.” Brown eyes being Walder Frey, blue eyes being the Night King, and green eyes being either Cersei or Daenerys.
Note: Yes, I am aware that in George RR Martin’s novels, Daenerys is supposed to have violet-coloured eyes. On the show, however, actress Emilia Clarke went au naturale (she has green eyes) after the pilot episode in which she wore purple contact lenses.
So Arya does not shut Cersei’s or Daenerys’ eyes, or any eyes for that matter, although she did spend a great deal of time glaring at Daenerys for the devastation the psycho b*tch had caused to King’s Landing. Instead, she decides to sail West to become Dora the Explorer. Huh?
The entire final episode felt like it was moving at slowmo in comparison to Game of Thrones: The Bells where viewers were sped through the great big meltdown of Daenerys and King’s Landing. Jon Snow driving a dagger right through Daenerys’ heart in the throne room was sad not for anything else other than the fact that it was a lot less impactful than it should have been.
It had the potential to be bittersweet had the show creators not rushed her story (murderous Mad Queen switch flip) through the penultimate episode. She sure took what was hers with fire and blood alright but she barely got her moment with the Iron Throne and died surprisingly fast. It lacked emotional weight.
And getting the grieving Drogon to melt the highly coveted Iron Throne into a useless puddle of iron goo? They basically made a whole, nearly a decade-long series about the ruthless fight for a throne, peppered with politics, betrayal, scandals, heartbreak, and bloodshed, then melted said throne within seconds in the end.
That having said, Drogon nudging his dead mother repeatedly before picking her body up with his giant claw and flying away was perhaps the scene’s saving grace for it was both a beautiful and powerful shot.
Jon (aka Aegon Targaryen and “Queenslayer”) being exiled to the Night’s Watch at Castle Black, where this whole mess started, was not at all satisfying. Why set him up as the rightful heir to the Iron Throne, kill him, bring him back to life, only to send him back there? For his story to come full circle? And to defend against what, exactly? Last I checked, the Night King and his white-walking crew are dead, no?
Why was he seen leaving at the end when he is supposed to be serving his exile? The only silver lining here (and for purely selfish reasons because I love that direwolf) is the fact that he finally acknowledged and petted Ghost. Reunited and it feels so good.
Sansa Stark being made Queen in the North was predictably “on point” as it is not rocket science that she had always wanted to be Queen. Bran Stark, the character that was hardly ever present being selected to rule over the Six Kingdoms of Westeros (enter, King Bran the Broken, First of His Name, King of the Andals and the First Men, Lord of the Six Kingdoms, and Protector of the Realm) was lukewarm at best.
The bigger celebration here was the fact that the noble houses of Westeros agreed on ending the monarchical lines of succession and for future leaders to be voted in instead. Democracy, anyone?
Last but not least, we will always remember Brienne Tarth’s last scene where she was basically editing Jaime’s Wikipedia page.
It is without a doubt that tens of millions were spent, the sets were painstakingly built right down to the last detail, and that the crew worked tirelessly at making Game of Thrones what it was barring the coffee and water bottle gaffes in the last season.
What on earth was that carelessness all about?
ooooh i get it now they all have STARBUCKS names pic.twitter.com/SSj5skShLo
— jonny sun (@jonnysun) May 6, 2019
— ℝίτα🐉||GoT Spoilers (@JonxDanyy) May 20, 2019
But one cannot be without the other (brilliant writing) and while it is sad that the iconic HBO fantasy drama has had its final curtain call, it is even sadder that the initially magical, intense journey has come to such a meh end.
Oh well. At least there is one last thing that we can still appreciate – the making of the final episode. The documentary will delve deep into the mud and blood to reveal the tears and triumphs involved in the challenge of bringing the fantasy world of Westeros to life in the very real studios, fields and car parks of Northern Ireland:
Game of Thrones: The Last Watch airs on Monday, 27 May.