The finale to Game of Thrones ended a few minutes ago. Despite one person texting me to talk about it, I’m purposely avoiding any discussion of it online or with anyone to give an unvarnished opinion. The annoying thing about major franchises the past few years is that social media wants to fossilize the “correct” opinion as soon as is possible. So ignoring my brother-in-law (at least until this post is done) and scrupulously avoiding Twitter and Facebook, here now is my take on the series and its ending. Spoilers will be light to non-existent. And just to cleanse the palate, I’ve resumed watching Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan as part of my bachelor week marathon.
George RR Martin has stated the ending to the Song of Fire and Ice would be bittersweet and unexpected. And it is. A handful of people have guessed the final outcome, who would rule the Seven Kingdoms. Most of those who suggested it did so with an air of “This is a longshot, and we all know so-and-so’s going to get it anyway.” Well, so-and-so didn’t end up on the Iron Throne. And I couldn’t be happier with that. Those who survive are older, wiser, a little damaged, and a lot stronger. I will confirm that Arya says no to the god of death another day, but GRRM already stated as much. In the end, though, Arya Underfoot leaves us as someone not to be trifled with.
The finale has none of the bombast of the “The Bells” or “The Long Night.” If HBO used the software program Massive (which created the battle scenes for Lord of the Rings), Peter Jackson should be cashing some nice licensing checks. But the final episode, “The Iron Throne,” is not meant to be an action episode. It’s a denoument, a wind down. What happens to Jon? What happens to Dany? How does Westeros recover from being “liberated”? And will fans consider this worth the wait?
I will say this is a Tyrion episode. It seems our favorite dwarf has more wisdom to impart, even if he’s unsure if it’s really wise. It is again, at the moment of his greatest peril, that his words literally change the world. The world we saw at the beginning of the series, when Ned Stark has yet to become Hand of the King, will never exist again. Kings and queens will be chosen differently. The North does what the North does, and this time for the benefit of all of Westeros, and the Night’s Watch returns, maybe with a new mission and giving some love to the Wildlings, but it’s back. The Night King’s failure is now complete.
Best of all, no Littlefinger to manipulate the new Ruler of the Seven Kingdoms, King of the Andals and First Men, yadda yadda yadda. Not everyone is happy with the end result, but it’s a Westeros we would all want to live in as opposed to the one careening toward an apocalypse with Cersei Lannister cluelessly driving the bus off the cliff.
And props goes to Drogon for figuring out the first change that needs to be made in this brave new world. There’s a reason he’s the last dragon standing.