So Game of Thrones season 8… happened. And I think it’s fair to say that a lot of people had a lot of feelings about it. This is a show that tons of fans have been following for a decade full of characters that we’ve come to love and root for through the ups and downs of their arcs.
I watched the finale with my boyfriend and when the credits started rolling, we both took a big breath and I asked him, “Thoughts?”
His feeling was that visually and soundtrack wise, it was a marvel, but a lot of the events that took place were kind of baffling and at the very least incredibly rushed. I’m inclined to agree on all accounts.
I checked my phone before I headed home and saw a text from my brother, who had also just finished watching the finale. His summation of the finale was this: “bruh.”
Here’s the thing. I think if we had been given another season, or not even that- just a full, 10 episode season instead of one with only 6 episodes, we’d all feel very differently about the conclusion.
I feel like I could absolutely get on board with a lot of the final points in the story if there had been some more lead up to them to properly convince me that that was the direction these characters were headed in.
So for starters there’s Tyrion who really started to lose his way as a headlining character in season 7. He’s no longer the witty guy who drinks and knows things. He’s more of a not-so-witty guy who makes bad calls and apparently sells out one of his only friends- RIP to Varys. Despite this, people still listen to him without much trouble at all.
He convinces Jon to make the play of the game in this episode (we’ll get back to that) and then literally, standing in shackles before Grey Worm and an assembly of nobles, declares that Bran Stark (UMMM OKAY?! We’ll get back to that too) should be king of the seven kingdoms. Everyone kinda looks around and goes, yeah sure that makes sense.
The big one we should talk about, the dragon in the room you might say, is Danaerys. She’s been one of my favorite characters throughout this whole series. Her story is by far one of the most compelling to follow as she starts from nothing- a girl sold into marriage by her own brother who becomes the leader of her own Khalasar, the liberator of cities, and the mother of three dragons.
We watched her go from motivated and well-meaning conqueror trying to claim her destiny on the iron throne to like, fantasy Hitler/Sith Lord in a matter of an episode and a half. Which is a real shame because I think the “mad queen” angle could have been portrayed in a more realistic and meaningful way if there had been more time and effort put into setting it up properly. No, I don’t believe this turn of her character was a sexist choice, but I do think it was a very rushed one. And for such a controversial change of pace for such a beloved character you really need to take your time. Because what we saw on screen came off as cartoonish.
While we’re on that topic, I thought her death was incredibly anticlimactic. I’m not really sure what I expected but Dany has one of the biggest presences in the entire cast of characters and for her to go out without a sound and a couple teeny dribbles of blood from her mouth and nose just seemed… off to me.
What I DID enjoy a lot was Drogon’s response to to finding Dany dead. I figured he wouldn’t kill Jon with him being a Targaryen and all that but I was surprised and very pleased with the symbolic action of him melting the iron throne and then very tenderly scooping up his mom and flying off into the mist. I thought it was really impactful because Dany died with no family left to support her and not many friends to name either. Drogon is similarly alone since he’s the last of his brothers and now motherless. Where has he gone? Who knows, but I wish him all the best.
Jon has pretty much been delegated to a glorified minor character role this season. I was very exhausted by his constant spouting of “muh queen” when this is the guy who squared up with Mance Rayder, rallied the wildlings, fought in the Battle of the Bastards, f*cking died and came back to life. Jon is literally the Prince that was Promised and he really didn’t do much of anything in this season which I found disappointing. Obviously, killing Danaerys was a big one but like, of course he was going to be the one to do that.
I’m pleased with his ending for the most part. It’s fitting that he goes back to the Night’s Watch, where his story began and ended once before. Though I’m a little baffled by the fact that it still exists when apparently the Wildlings are just cool now and there’s no white walkers left to defend against. Also, I guess we’re not gonna talk about the fact that the wall has a giant f*cking hole in it. I’m glad we saw him pet Ghost. That’s all I wanted from him at this point.
Bran is the king now. And of all the plot points that I could’ve been on board with, this really isn’t one of them. Bran is probably one of my least favorite Game of Thrones characters. Even in the first book (I still need to read the rest), Bran’s chapters were the toughest for me to get through. He really doesn’t do anything interesting and he rarely has anything interesting to say, especially now that he’s the Three-Eyed Raven. I really thought that would’ve made his character more compelling because of the mystery behind it. I was convinced that he would shed light on the whole white walker conspiracy, and that didn’t go anywhere. I thought we might find out what he was doing during the Long Night when he spent the entire time warging into those ravens but that didn’t happen either. I guess he was just trying to get a better view of all the action going on?
Riddle me this: how can a guy who, himself, has said he’s not really much of a human being at all anymore, be an effective ruler on behalf of nearly everyone in Westeros. He claims he mostly lives in the past now, you think he’s concerned about who’s going to be paying taxes or seeking justice for a village being harassed by bandits?
Also? Bran the Broken just seems like a really bad name. You couldn’t come up with something better? How about Bran the UNbroken, Bran the Allknowing, Bran the Farseeing, Bran the Bloodraven. I dunno.
Also, also: it was annoying to me when Bran said that cute little line to his small counsel like, “Does anyone know where Drogon is?” And they say no, and he goes “Tee hee, maybe I can find him.” Get it? Cause he’s the Three-Eyed Raven and he knows everything that ever is, was, and will be.
Some other things:
I liked Sansa’s ending. I think that was one of the most well-deserved endings in the show. She was probably my favorite character all around this last season because she was one of the only ones who seemed to behave true to herself. I’m happy that she’s Queen in the North.
Arya’s ending was also kinda sweet. She definitely seems like she would be happy living the life of an adventurer, but charting unmapped waters seems like a huge undertaking for someone who’s not a very skilled sailor? Good luck out there, girl. Thanks for killing the Night King and literally saving everyone in the world.
Her farewell to Jon made me tear up big time just like her farewell to Sandor Clegane did.
Brienne’s ending was very noble, as she writes all of Jaime’s achievements down in that book though it’s far kinder than he deserves apparently.
I thought Jaime’s and Brienne’s story arcs were botched so spectacularly in this past season. Jaime had become another favorite character of mine and the way these two held each other up and confided in each other was so touching. I thought the scene where they had sex was really unnecessary for a couple of reasons. For one, it’s clear enough that they love each other even if it’s not a love they consummate physically. And two, how shitty is it that Brienne’s deepest insecurities lie in the fact that men have always made fun of her or taken advantage of her because she’s not conventionally attractive. And so here comes Jaime, a man that she truly loves and seemingly he loves her two, he knights her and then they sleep together and she finally has someone who sees her for who she is and then he just fucks off completely and goes back to his sister.
Brienne, honey, I’m so sorry they did you like that.
Bronn was an annoying presence in this season. I get that he was super popular among fans so they kept him around but my god, he overstayed his welcome. What’s the message here, be a thief and blackmail your friends and eventually you’ll be lord of the wealthiest territory and you’ll be made master of coin. Cool. Love it.
One more thing, and then I’ll wrap this up.
I thought it was really sweet at first that Grey Worm and the rest of the Unsullied were sailing off to Naath where Missandei was from. And then my brother brought Butterfly Fever to my attention- Naath is home to a species of butterflies that transmit a disease that literally kills anyone who’s not a native. So uhh… I guess RIP to Grey Worm and the Unsullied.
I did a lot of complaining in this review but I do have some praises to sing about this season because it wasn’t all bad.
As always, Game of Thrones remains a complete visual marvel. The cinematography and special effects are second to none. And even though there were scenes I wasn’t happy with, some of the spectacle really took my breath away. The dragons in particular look f*cking awesome.
The score, as always was phenomenal. I got emotional at the choral accompaniment to Dany approaching the iron throne for the first time. Ramin Djawadi always blows me away.
The battle scenes were so cool!!! The Long Night and the culling of King’s Landing were heart pounding and got me excited the way the battle for Helm’s Deep in Lord of the Rings did.
I feel like I have to give half a pass (not a whole one!) to the writers of Game of Thrones because I know they’re being drowned in hate for this season right now. Here’s the thing, this wasn’t a great season and there was a lot of plot armor and deus-ex machina, and some other bullsh*t going on, but to be completely fair, I think it’s a monstrous undertaking to make a satisfying ending for a story of this magnitude. It could certainly have been done better, but it also could have been way worse.
I will not be signing the petition to remake the ending and if I’m honest I find that whole concept to be a little disrespectful to everyone involved aside from the two main writers. The actors, and everyone else in the crew worked their asses off on this show for years. They’re all phenomenal I think I would feel pretty upset if I gave my very best to the show and a million people told me it wasn’t good enough and that I have to do it again to gain their approval.
If I had to give Game of Thrones season 8 a rating I’d probably go with a 6/10. It’s a far fall from the earlier seasons that I wouldn’t hesitate to give 10/10 scores to but it’s not even close to the worst television I’ve seen. I’m mostly just salty that some of my favorite character’s arcs got rushed.
So… now that that’s over, what do we watch next?
What did you think of the finale? Who would you put on the iron throne? Or rather some other throne since that one got cooked. I’d love to hear about it.
Thanks for reading!