Game of Thrones: The Last Episode had mouth-breathers angry
HBO's juggernaut series “Game of Thrones” had it's climactic series finale this past Sunday that ended the series on a surprisingly touching, bittersweet, and almost foreboding note.
Obviously this season has been more than divisive among audience members, most of which are actually the equivalent of being less intelligent than a rock. Like an actual rock, not the established WWE superstar turned box office icon Dwayne Johnson.
The episode begins with Daenerys Targaryen establishing herself as ruler in a speech done to very intentionally mirror one of Adolf Hitler's great rallies. Her army stands before her, all black and silver. Her banner hangs black and red, from the ruins of the capitol city's walls, and Dany walks out to address them in a sleek black and burgundy costume, speaking to them in Valyrian (sounding awful German).
In last week's “The Bells”, Dany went insane and burned King's Landing in a scene reminiscent of the doom of Pompeii- itself used as a basis for the Targaryen homeland of Valyria- and in that destruction Jaime Lannister and Cersei both died, crushed under the rubble of the falling city. Tyrion finds the bodies of his brother and sister, wrapped in one last embrace, and the scene amounts to Peter Dinklage putting his reservation down for a Golden Globe and an Emmy. This week is the fallout of that, and everything that came before it.
Tyrion resigns as Dany's advisor after seeing her unchecked bloodlust, and The Mad Queen imprisons him to be tried and likely executed. Jon Snow comes to visit Tyrion in his cell where Kit Harrington and Peter Dinklage get a beautiful scene together that somewhat mirrors their first interaction all the way back in Season 1.
“Love is the death of duty,” Jon tells him through gasping breath and soft tears as he realizes he must kill Daenerys, the woman he loves, in order to save the realm from her tyrannical rule.
“Duty is the death of love,” Tyrion replies. It is an emotionally heavy moment and shows the incredible range Harrington has developed over 8 seasons, being able to act toe-to-toe against the series' heavy hitter.
Jon approached what is left of the Iron Throne where Dany is admiring the Throne- forged from a thousand blades of Aegon Targaryen's enemies- and admits it is smaller than she imagined. Emilia Clarke acts her ass off in this scene, and honestly it might have been a top 10 performance of the series. The blind insanity she showcased gave way to a genuine...innocence. Not exactly pure innocence, but genuine enough for how she was raised and brought up. She tells Jon they can rule together, controlling the Kingdom because she knows “what goodness is” and the people don't. It harkens back to the kind of motivation that drove Anakin Skywalker into becoming Darth Vader, and is wholly tragic.
Jon kisses her deeply. Their last kiss. She dies in his arms after he stabs her through the heart, and as he holds her and cries in the destroyed room- the Iron Throne looming menacingly in the background of the shot while ash falls like snow- a sense of gut wrenching finality sets in. This is the end.
Drogon, Dany's final living dragon, descends into the chamber and in a fit of rage at the sight of his dead mother, begins to douse the room in flames. The Iron Throne is melted to a bubbling pile of metal...and the wheel, for better or worse, is broken.
We flash-forward a few weeks. Jon is imprisoned for slaying Queen Daenerys Targaryen, and Tyrion is finally brought to trial before a council that hosts the lords and ladies of Westeros. During this, the council votes to pardon Tyrion and to elect a new king which is Bran Stark- Bran the Broken.
It's a great scene, if a little corny. Tyrion's moving speech about stories clearly hits home and acts as a meta statement towards fiction as a whole, and it is touching honestly. I loved it a lot.
One standout scene, among many, is Brienne of Tarth- head of the Kingsguard to protect the new King Bran- finishing Jaime Lannister's entry in the Kingsguard history book. She writes about all the amazing things he accomplished, finally sealing his character arch as a redeemed knight. One of many who died to save the realm. I already talked about Gwendoline Christie's excellent acting this season but watching her write through tears was something else.
Jon is exiled to the Night's Watch, Sansa is Queen of the North and secedes from the Seven Realms, and Arya sets sail for “West of Westeros” where all the maps end.
The final shot of the series is Jon's weak smile as he watched the gates to Castle Black close behind him and he rides north, beyond The Wall, with Tormund, Ghost and the Free Folk to start a new life.
The whole thing is touching, but if you got on Facebook or social media you might think otherwise. Infact you might have heard it was the worst thing ever...why? What could the idiots who only started watching the show a few seasons ago because of "boobs and dragons" possibly have expected from the series final of a show that was- at it's core- built with the subversion of audience expectations and fantasy tropes in mind?
According to many, the mouth-breathers expected Daenerys and Jon to either live happily ever after or for Arya Stark to kill Daenerys which wouldn't make any sense. At all. There's also the "problem" of the Iron Throne. Bran was elected King, and just as many of us have thought from the beginning, the Throne itself doesn't matter and it never did. The Throne is gone and The Six Kingdoms of Westeros are ruled benevolently by a council alongside Bran.
During Tyrion's final plea, the message and moral of the series is clear and explained as part of why Tyrion elected Bran. All we have as a people are stories. Stories are what bring people together, and they transcend time and space, turmoil and peace, to keep the memory of "us" going. There is something beautiful about preserving that for future generations. The show's finale also acts as a reminder that the real world's politics aren't as bloody, sexy, and violent as the fantastical. The last shot we see is of King Bran the Broken's Council squabbling over ships and coins...that is the world we live in, and that is what all this is for.
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