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…