The Iron Throne – Reaction, Breakdown, Review – Spoilers

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Welcome to the end of an era.  Game of Thrones has been a decade long ride, filled with characters we love, those we hate and those that we love to hate.  How many lunch room and water cooler breaks were dedicated to a quick recap or debate on these characters?   How many times have you fallen in love with a character and watch them die?  Or better yet, just watch their motives change before your eyes.  How many times have you gotten angry with the TV, HBO, GRRM or Dan & Dave?  How many people have you convinced to give the show a try?  The answer to any of these questions describe the passion that we’ve shared for the most epic television experience in my lifetime.

Spoilers head folks, if you have not watched the series finale, read no further.

Alas, all good things must come to an end, right?  Last night was that end.  Good with the bad, I have to say I’m satisfied with the ending.  We were promised that season 8 would be bittersweet and that is what we were given.

Here is my open-minded review after rewatching and reevaluating the series finale.  Let’s start with my rating for the episode, 9.  The only reason I won’t give it a 10 was because I didn’t see it initially, which probably doesn’t deserve me removing points.  Not seeing it initially has been the trademark of GOT all along, just take a look at the millions of content creators on YouTube spending endless hours conducting analyses.  Rather than rehash the entire episode, I prefer to play perspectives in this review.  The Villain is only the Hero from the other side!

“Nobody is a villain in their own story. We’re all the heroes of our own stories.” – George R. R. Martin

The Great Counsel, who are these people? – Aside from the named characters and a clearly new Prince of Dorne, there were some new lords here that I couldn’t figure out who they were.  I suppose cousins or lesser houses have risen.  Either way, it was nice to see representation aside from those named characters we knew.  I suppose Bronn should have been at this meeting, Lord of the Reach and all.

Sam, I laugh in the face of Democracy – I did want the story to retain a monarchy in the end, so I was pleased the Kingdoms remained united for the most part.  It was interesting to see how the idea of a government elected by the people was greeted by the High-Born Lords of Westeros.  I can’t say I was surprised; however, it does allude to the possibility in the far future.  Sam is way ahead of his time, as is his medical abilities as evident by his treatment of Grey Scale.  Good try Sam, but your Night’s Watch ideas are not welcomed here buddy.

The Great Counsel, shut up Yara! – Has no one filled Yara in on what happened this season?  Oh yeah, I don’t think any of the Iron Born in the Gods Wood survived.  However, Yara left off in this story as a subject to Daenerys and that is where she picked up.  Even though Theon had alliances to the Starks, she knew her evil uncle had alliances with the Tyrant that was Cersei.  Daenerys eliminated that threat and Jon assassinated her.

“The individual point of view is the only point of view from which one is able to look at the world in its truth.” – Jose Ortega y Gasset

Yara’s perspective is drastically different from others at the great counsel.  She was not in Winterfell, she was not in Kings Landing and those are the eyes from which she views the situation.  However, if Arya had slit her throat in that moment, I would not have been upset.  Shut up Yara!

The Great Counsel, Nice to See you – It was nice to see Robin Arynn not looking like a total creep.  There was an air of confidence, although he looked at Royce for confirmation a time or two, he seems to be more mature.  Of course, it was great to see Gendry Baratheon, also with an air of confidence.  I suppose the man sitting with him could be a Storm’s End banner man.  I would’ve loved to have seen Gendry on the new Stark ship at the end of the episode, guilty pleasure, a girl can wish.  Hey perhaps there is something in a name, Storm’s End could be a last stop for our new Captain Arya.

A Quick Commercial Break – Brought to you by Edmure Tully

This is probably the funniest part of the episode.  I laughed so hard and laughed every time I watched it again.  What a joke!  Jaime said that he was the dumbest Lannister, well Edmure is the dumbest Tully.  I mean the Tully’s don’t have much going for them except the Black Fish anyway.  This scene was the pyre lighting scene all over again, Edmure shot his shot and just like the last time, no good.  Please have a seat.  This was probably my favorite Sansa scene of the entire series.   The facial responses around the counsel, especially Arya, were great and him stumbling back to his seat only made him more of a jester.

Small Counsel, Ser Bronn of the Black Water – Bronn is what he has always been, a smart business man.  I was annoyed with him being at that small counsel table and even further annoyed by his constant interrupting of Sam.  However, Bronn started off in this story observing the odds.  He made a risk in being Tyrion’s champion in his 1st Trial by Combat with the hopes of a big pay off as a Lannister always pays their debts.  Just a regular guy making a risky move and receiving a great reward in the end.  Let’s hope Brienne and Davos can keep those checks and balances in place before there is a Brothel on every corner.  Congratulations, Lord of lofty titles.

Ser Brienne of Tarth, Lord Commander of the King’s Guard – I absolutely love Brienne as the Lord Commander of the Kingsguard as well as the Lord Commander rejoining the small counsel.  Brienne’s story started off as one of ridicule based on her looks and her interests and ended in a Knighthood in the highest position.  She and Arya are the beginning of the future for defying gender roles in Westerosi society.  I’d like to hope that stories and songs are written in her honor and little girls in the future will admire her as Arya once did with Visenya and Rhaenys.  She is stronger for all she has been through including Jaime and having known and lost love.  She can add another notch to her belt as she is not broken but stronger for having experienced heartbreak.  So much so that she even included a little extra spin in Jaime’s white book entry.  While Jaime did die by his Queen’s side, he had no intentions of defending Kings Landing, but the histories are written by the victors.  I am also happy that she didn’t stay in the North as Sansa’s Queen’s Guard.  Tarth is a part of the 6 Kingdoms, and Brienne should be able to defend her homeland.  Finally, it’s amazing that she is paying it forward, congratulations, Ser Podrick Payne.

Ser Davos Seaworth, Master of Grammar… and Ships.  How fitting an ending for the Onion Knight and Westeros’ best smuggler to be the Master of Ships.  Bran and Tyrion have really made some great appointments in the small counsel.  I have no doubt that Davos will be an asset to the counsel as far more than Master of Ships.  He is wise and has knowledge of the people.  It was sad that he had to part from Jon nonetheless.  Perhaps aside from Sam, no one on this small counsel is afraid to speak their minds.

Greyworm – During this interaction, as most of the rest of the episode, I was utterly disturbed by Greyworm’s position.  Previously, he said that he didn’t know fear until he met Missandei and it was clear that she personified him.  After Missandei’s death it was clear that he had reverted to a true Unsullied.  In episode 5 he followed Dany’s commands without judgement.  This machine-like approach was also taken in episode 6 as he executed the surrendered Lannister soldiers.  It didn’t matter they’d surrendered as his command had not been fulfilled.  While I understand the world through his eyes, it was still disturbing.

Tyrion – In the aftermath, Tyrion, Jon and Davos are disturbed and disgusted at the horrors of a burnt Kings Landing.  As Tyrion discovered his dead family he must be wondering was any of it worth it.  He is the last Lannister.  There has been speculation on whether he was a Targaryen over the years and I’m secure in the thought that he had been a Lannister all along.  We are not our family names, as Jon pointed out to him later in the episode.  As a result of being the outcast or the black sheep of his family he was able to explore other ways of existing.  I’m happy Tyrion made it to the end.  He is good at it and has the morality and political savvy necessary to perform as hand of the king.  He will say what he thinks no matter the cost, as he did when he removed his hand of the queen pin facing the consequences of death.

Sansa Stark, Queen in the North – it’s no secret that Sansa has been one of my least favorite characters; however, since we’re playing the perspective game, I’ll try.  The North had a long line of Kings in the North when it was its own kingdom (as did all the other kingdoms before Aegon).  The Northerners have fought in several wars defending themselves and others from the Night King, Targaryens and Lannisters (as did other armies in Westeros).  I mean how many soldiers did the Vale lose.  I digress… Well I’ll just say it, this was one of the worst parts of the episode for me.  Sansa comes off as entitled in this composed tantrum.  She just wants power, always wanted to be Queen from the time she was little and has not changed that perspective.  Yes, she has learned from hardships along the way but with Bran as King, the fear of leadership should’ve been gone.  She could have remained Wardeness of the North.  It just seemed a bit spoiled from my perspective and if I try to look from Sansa’s perspective the logic appears flawed.

Bran the Broken – this title reminds me of Viking’s Ivar the Boneless, ijs.  Bran knew it all along and I suppose Tyrion received some insight from their chat in episode 3 to lead him to this conclusion.  I initially thought, well Bran wanted to be King all along, but it wasn’t a want.  As tragic as episode 5 was, the easy thought would be, if Bran knew all this horror would occur, why did he let it?  Bran is the best choice to be King because he has no wants, he doesn’t want power, things must happen the way they are supposed to happen, and he doesn’t interfere.  He came all this way to be King, devoid of wants.  In the Jon goodbye scene, Jon apologizes for not being there when he needed him most, I assume when Rob left, Theon took Winterfell and his journey north of the wall.  Bran says that Jon was where he needed to be.  This is all a butterfly effect, change one thing and risk another.

Daenerys Targaryen, not the Mad Queen – Dany has the most opposing point of view in the finale.  Through the episode I kept thinking come on Dany show me something.  Dany has the most opposing view point of all the characters in episode 6.  The Throne Room was the best depiction of her perspective.

  • When she walked into the throne room I could not help but remember her in Qarth saying “I’m no ordinary woman, my dreams come true”. The vision of the undying, while it was not a dream, still has relevance.  In the vision, Dany walks into the throne room with what looks like snow, the roof is destroyed, she walks to touch the Iron Throne, but she stops and walks out beyond the wall and sees Drogo and her son Rhaego.  In episode 6, the only difference is that she touched the throne, but did not sit, and what looked like snow in the vision, was ash all along.  By the end of that scene, she was flying off with Drogon, named for Drogo, to meet Drogo and Rhaego in the afterlife.
  • Dany tells Jon that they were always meant to rule from the time they were born and in a sense that was true. Jon didn’t know his true heritage and even though Viserys was ahead of Dany in the line of succession, from the moment of his death and maybe a little before he died, her path has been the Iron Throne.
  • From Dany’s perspective, she knows what is good. The world is black and white in her mind.  She has a by any means necessary approach to obtaining her goals.  Tyrion explains to Jon Dany’s story of conquering in Essos and there was always a justification for why she was doing the right thing.  She was freeing slaves after all.  If I take a step back, if must wonder, how many people died during those liberations?  Aside from the masters.  As Yara put it, she freed them from Cersei, but as Davos, Tyrion, Arya and Jon witness, how many died because of it?
  • If Dany survived, and the new world structured by her, who would ever know there were innocents lost.

You Know Nothing, Jon Snow – If I’m being honest, my initial watch of the episode left me upset.  How unfair for my 2nd favorite character, Jon Snow.

  • This guy was lied to all his life. His evil step-mother rejected and emotionally abused him.  He was sent to a place for thieves and criminals.  He persevered through it all, rising to Lord Commander and King in the North.  He saved humanity from being illuminated.  Yes, Arya delivered the blow but without Jon no one would have been there to fight.  Two loves lost (one at his hand) and all along he was never a bastard to begin with, he was the true king all along.  My feelings were hurt.
  • Sometimes we must take a step back from the Monet to admire the true work of art.
  • After a night to sleep on it. I completely understand and respect where Jon’s story ended.
  • When Dany is telling Jon that they could rule together, and they would decide what was good, I was completely upset with Jon and finally thought ok, what everyone says is true, this guy is just dumb. Then it clicked, Jon is the truest character in my opinion.  He recognizes, unlike Dany, that the world is not black and white.  Good and bad are not clear.  There was no way to know definitively what was good or bad.  In that moment he recognized there was no other way.  In this instant, you know nothing Jon Snow, became a good thing.
  • He sacrificed his love to guard the realms of men.   I initially thought Tyrion was encouraging Jon to take his rightful place on the throne during their early conversation in Tyrion’s cell.  I later realized that he was encouraging him to eliminate the threat.  Jon was distraught after Ollie killed Ygritte in his arms, but how devastating was it to have to do the deed himself?  Even Drogon recognized the truth.

“Love is the death of duty” – Maester Aemon

“Duty is the death of love” – Tyrion Lannister

  • He is beyond the wall. Even his hair changed.  The free folk children smile at Jon as he walks by them. Tormund recognizes him as king, he said so himself in episode 5.  If any one group of people recognize everything that Jon has done and his true worth, it is the free folk.
  • There is a blade of grass poking through the snow beyond the wall and perhaps the Night King’s absence and the break at East Watch is repairing the seasons and the weather will normalize beyond the wall.
  • Even though the sentence was to join the nights watch and adhere to their vows, what does it matter when you’re no longer a part of the 6 kingdoms. Jon’s King Beyond the Wall, with Ghost.

“You’ve got the North in you, the Real North” – Tormond

Arya Stark of Winterfell – Of course I had to leave my favorite girl for last even though there was not much to pick a part her from my perspective.

  • Arya has been living her best life this whole season and I loved it. As I mentioned with Brienne, there will be little girls in not only the Westerosi future but the future of the world that admire Arya.  Through the horrors of it all, defying all the odds, she is the most resilient of the characters with the biggest spirit.  While I would’ve loved to see her being a complete boss in Storm’s End, Westeros is too small for Arya.
  • The only scene that made me smile with tears in my eyes, was the Jon and Arya farewell.

Arya – “What’s West of Westeros?”

Jon – “I don’t know”

Arya – “No One does”

That was an amazing play on words and I loved it.  They have the best relationship from season 1 through the finale even with all the in between.

  • Go forth and discover Americos, Arya! Stop by and say hi to Gendry when you sail by Storm’s End.

2 responses to “The Iron Throne – Reaction, Breakdown, Review – Spoilers”

  1. I agree! I’m still upset, but because I feel I need every bit of the story, down to the tiniest detail. It was such a major jump I feel like so much was left untold. I am okay with all the endings the though, and I said the exact same thing about Arya. I went from despising Jon back to living him in the same episode lol. Overall though, I am pleased with the ending and I am looking forward to this spin-off!

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