A divisive chorus to song of ice & fire

Warning: Do not read until you have seen S8E6 “The Iron Throne.”

The last-ever episode of Game of Thrones has divided fans with its surprise ending (newsflash, it was always going to be a surprise).

This season by showrunners David Benioff and Dan Weiss has lied far beyond he pages of George R.R. Martin’s A Song of Fire & Ice novels. But that in itself has led to some fans questioning their dramatic choices, even to the extent of a GoT petition to remake Season 8 -now at over 1.2m signatures and climbing.

I didn’t really have a problem with Jon Snow killing Daenerys, there wasn’t room enough for both on the throne, even though he graciously gave it up for the woman / aunt he loved. But after her “Mad Queen” turn in the preceding episode, there were fewer options.

“I think it’s going to divide,” Kit Harington told EW of the finale. “But if you track her story all the way back, she does some terrible things. She crucifies people. She burns people alive. This has been building. So, we have to say to the audience: ‘You’re in denial about this woman as well. You knew something was wrong. You’re culpable, you cheered her on.’”

Harington adds he worries the final two episodes will be accused of being sexist, an ongoing criticism of GoT that has recently resurfaced perhaps more pointedly than ever before. “One of my worries with this is we have Cersei and Dany, two leading women, who fall,” he says. “The justification is: Just because they’re women, why should they be the goodies? They’re the most interesting characters in the show. And that’s what Thrones has always done. You can’t just say the strong women are going to end up the good people. Dany is not a good person. It’s going to open up discussion but there’s nothing done in this show that isn’t truthful to the characters. And when have you ever seen a woman play a dictator?”

There’s plenty of tragedy for Jon as well, he points out. “This is the second woman he’s fallen in love with who dies in his arms and he cradles her in the same way,” Harington notes. “That’s an awful thing. In some ways, Jon did the same thing to [his Wilding lover] Ygritte by training the boy who kills her. This destroys Jon to do this.”

Emilia Clarke agreed her death was a logical step in her story, even though she cried in disbelief when reading the script.

“Where else can she go? I tried to think what the ending will be. It’s not like she’s suddenly going to go, ‘Okay, I’m gonna put a kettle on and put cookies in the oven and we’ll just sit down and have a lovely time and pop a few kids out.’ That was never going to happen. She’s a Targaryen,” she said.

“I thought she was going to die,” she continues. “I feel very taken care of as a character in that sense. It’s a very beautiful and touching ending. Hopefully, what you’ll see in that last moment as she’s dying is: There’s the vulnerability — there’s the little girl you met in season 1. See? She’s right there. And now, she’s not there anymore…”

I was less enthusiastic about the whole anointing of Bran as the new King. Sure, Tyrion made a compelling case as the keeper of all stories, but it was too democratic for my liking. Too United Nations to have consensus on such a prized goal. In Westeros rulers have always seized control, or inherited it. That’s what makes them rulers. But I’m not about to sign a petition.

The dragon burning the throne was a brilliant touch, however…


  1. This GoT season finale was a bit like Christmas, the anticipation was better than the event at least for me, I enjoyed the gruesome party the CGI companies and the production staff had creating the epic battle sequences and the dragon, the ultimate effect of it all was a bit lost on the small screen though, perhaps an edited big screen cinema release may be considered in the future. The last episode looked like a series of teasers for future spin-offs, especially at the end, though I’m not sure the original actors will participate, the winner if you can call him that was Bran, he did have a recurring role but seemed too obvious as a sleeper king you wanted it to be more complex than that. Overall it was a rather perfunctory effort by all concerned which is understandable when you have a big budget dominating everything, however, the main stars certainly lived up to their celebrity,…

  2. estherhoffman

    I had mixed feelings about the final episode.On one hand there were great moments of poignancy,like when Jon killed Danni and his obvious grief at doing so,and the dragon trying in vain to wake Danni up.It was like a Greek tragedy and so sad.But at the same time there were parts of the story that just didn’t add up.For example,would Greyworm,who was fanatically devoted to Danni just arrest Jon after he killed her and then wait weeks for the house rulers of Westeros to come and pass judgement on him?i seriously doubt so.I think he would have summarily executed Jon on the spot for killing his Queen.That would be the logical thing for him to do,given the nature of his character.It was just one of the many leaps in logic that marked the final series of this show.But overall I still love Game of Thrones and am sorry to see it go.It really is a one of a kind show and will be sorely missed.

    • No I think the bit with Greyworm fits fine. We didn’t get the story between when Dany died and the meeting. Since Drogon took her body away, Jon must have confessed he killed her. Greyworm was accustomed to taking orders, without his queen around he wouldn’t have known what to do so imprisoning John seems the logical choice and wait for someone else to tell him what to do.

  3. I didn’t like Jon’s ending, apart from the fact he got reunited with Ghost. To be banished to the wall and to never have little Jons of his own was harsh, considering what he did and always has done was noble and for the greater good. Dany got what she deserved, but I did grieve along with poor Drogon.

  4. Jᴏʜɴɴʏ1ᴘ5

    Yeah I was fine with the ending as well, really there have only been two endings that left me wanting and one of those was due to my own imagination. That was Lost, I had absolutely convinced myself that the ending was going to be that they were actually on a Reality Show and didn’t know it, hence all the weird stuff going on. The other, well I’ll never and I mean never get over it and that was when they killed off Victor Meldrew, yeah the show was called One Foot In The Grave however it should have stayed that way.

  5. Like the final of any show, you can come up with a thousand different endings. Thing is with that many possibilities you always going to have people liking it or hating it no matter which ending you pick, in the end it is just a show… For me, I was happy with the ending.

  6. I’m ok with the finale. Not wowed by any stretch. We had a small gathering to watch it together and our collective summary was : “Jon killed Dany, Bran became surprise king, the Stark clan went “Poomf!” in different directions of the world. The end.” We’re gonna binge the boxset and drink the whole journey in again and see how we feel about it then.

  7. I was happy with the ending but felt the season needed 1 or 2 more episodes, because some of the storylines just seemed rushed, especially Dany’s fall into Mad Queen which needed more to be fully earned in my mind.

  8. What a completely wasted opportunity, an unsatisfying, messy, rushed, poorly written final season as a whole. What a fizzer of a finale too. The final season had its moments but it ultimately got consumed by itself… crushed under the weight of the two showrunner’s decision to end the show early and the fact that without the source material to follow so intimately, they lost their way.
    I’m truly flabbergasted at some of the decisions that were made with the fate of many characters over this season… how did it get to this? What a shame.

  9. The episode was a “pass” for me. I too loved the use of Drogon; from the earlier scene where wings seemed to unfurl from Dany’s back, to approving Jon’s passage, to mourning the death of it’s mother. I hated that Sansa just declared the North as a stand alone country and no-one batted an eyelid…why didn’t all the leading houses all say exactly the same thing and claim their own Kingdoms? Bran the Broken…I wish this had have gone full circle and he be named as Bran the Builder – given the amount of re-building that is about to take place. This would have sent theorists into a frenzy. There’s an interesting read news.com.au/entertainment/tv/game-of-thrones/one-change-would-have-made-the-game-of-thrones-finale-brilliant-instead-of-passable/news-story/7bd92a894d3cc48fd1389db8d349dda4 which I think would have been pretty brilliant…

  10. I loved it and thought it all made sense…and yes (as my son-in-law said) if you have a dragon, you have fire…what else do you expect ? Dany was the mad Targaryen she was always going to burn someone or something. Hail King Bran the Broken and Sansa , the Queen in The North. But I will miss the show…looking forward to the prequel and as suggested elsewhere maybe a spin off staring Arya on her travels.

  11. Drogon was nearly the MVP of the episode – when he tried to wake her up and then burnt the throne – amazing!! But you cannot go past Peter Dinklage’s absolutely brilliant performance. Engrave his name on the Emmy now.

    Overall I thought it was great – I agree Bran on the throne wasn’t my favourite choice – but it did make sense when you think about the need to redefine what power is in the wake of so many crazed dictators.

  12. seantheaussie

    “The dragon burning the throne was a brilliant touch, however”

    Except last episode full strength dragon flame hit the gatehouse like a 5000? 10000? pound bomb. This week it is merely hot🙄

  13. Agree with your review – not been a perfect final season but the series finale left me satisfied and bought it back to basics – it was always a story about the Starks, not about the Seven Kingdoms. Was also nice they bought a bit of humour back for the finale – that’s been missing the last couple of years and after the (literally) dark start to the season and all the recent deaths reminding us that Peter Dinklage is funny was most welcome.

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