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The an initial thing the Game the Thrones series finale provides you is darkness. After ~ the credits, before the episode begins, there’s a pause where the viewer is invite to sit and contemplate the blackness as the sounds of chaos to fill the soundtrack.

It’s the consequences of Daenerys’s deadly attack on king’s Landing, and also when the picture fades in, it’s Tyrion Lannister, walking the ash-filled streets and also contemplating his own function in the fiery massacre.


Mostly, he does the silently. The very first act that the Game of Thrones series finale is to fill with an effective images, trusting the load of the visuals and the music to carry the sense of shock and also grief. The cracked bell that have to have significant the finish of the war. The damaged floor map that Westeros that stands together a mocking reminder that Cersei’s fail to organize the nation together. Tyrion, still wearing the iron hand of his queen, finding out the gold hand that his dead brother in a pile of rubble. Jon, nearly coming to blows through Grey Worm, ~ above the same roads where a fight between Ned Stark and Jaime Lannister set the stage for the political struggle that characterized the series. A Targaryen banner hanging limply top top a half-collapsed wall, all at once triumphant and also horrifying and pathetic.


These are powerful moments. Lock are likewise wordless or near-wordless moments. At this point in the series, it’s pretty clear wherein everybody stands, and also what Daenerys’s success or fail will median for the future the Westeros. Game the Thrones has spent the entirety of its final season making certain we recognize those stakes. You might probably perform this whole episode in mime there is no anyone obtaining too confused.


But after that solid opening, the Game the Thrones finale falls earlier on the show’s old habit of laborious, wheel-spinning conversation. The finale an initial started to shed me when Jon went to the captive Tyrion, sparking a conversation so long and repetitive the it felt like it was going to continue until the credits rolled. Together Tyrion said Jon, because that the fourth time, that Daenerys’s once-good intentions had actually been thoroughly corrupted—and Jon said Tyrion, because that the fourth time, that Daenerys to be still his queen anyway—I started to wonder why a show as facility as Game that Thrones doesn’t also trust its audience to follow the discussion in a solitary scene.


I doubt the answer is a sports on the very same thing that has made Game of Thrones’s last season therefore polarizing: This show, which provided to be so dense and complicated, has whittled itself down to a collection of conveniently digestible parts. The remaining personalities tend to have a solitary belief or personality trait they hammer over and over. The strategy that characterized the show’s previously military battles has actually been changed by logic-defying spectacle, where ships and also ballistas are difficult to destroy until castle not. And the formerly sprawling political partnerships have turned into a few distinct ring of united state vs. Them, in which it’s exceptionally clear which next our sympathies are an alleged to it is in landing on.

Of course, the last season has offered us one large exception. Last week’s illustration alienated some viewers in a completely different means by transforming Daenerys Targaryen into the show’s final villain. Whether this felt favor an out-of-nowhere twist or something the display had been setup up for years was mostly up come the viewer—I’m what in the middle, but I’ve review convincing arguments on both sides—but but you felt about it, that was safe to assume the dispatching Daenerys would be Game the Thrones’s endgame.


But prior to we obtain into just how Game the Thrones in reality did it, I want to pause and think around how—for a quick moment—this storyline looks exactly like the Game the Thrones of old. It’s basic to imagine a different, longer version the this story—one the treats Daenerys’s rise to power not as one ending, yet as the midpoint that the story, v the surviving characters striking reluctant partnerships or plotting mystery coups against an increasingly tyrannical Targaryen queen. (At the very least, i can’t wait to check out the occasions of the last two episodes in George R.R. Martin’s novels, which usage character point-of-view chapters come cover the same occurrences from a variety of perspectives, and also which will virtually certainly large this the end longer.)

But HBO’s Game of Thrones is the end of time, which means that Daenerys required to it is in dispatched as successfully as possible, before the show can also hint in ~ what the country can look choose with Daenerys ~ above the stole Throne. And also so Game of Thrones—having flirted v the possibility of another complicated civil war in Westeros—just provides Daenerys erratic and also stupid for this reason she can be eliminated as cleanly and efficiently together the story requires.

To be fair, she fatal mistake comes in the kind of her large weakness: she nephew-lover Jon Snow. Yet what a mistake it is. V the iron Throne accurate in her grasp, Daenerys ignores the reality that she nephew (1) still has a better claim to the throne than she does; (2) emphatically rejected any kind of further romantic overtures; (3) was plainly horrified by that dragon attack; (4) just had a suspiciously long and private conversation v Tyrion in prison; and also (5) to be the human being she most suspected of betraying her just a single episode ago.

Any one of those points would it is in a good reason to meet Jon in a publicly place, or at the very least keep a couple of Unsullied soldiers nearby. Instead, Daenerys choose the worst possible moment come drop she (incredibly justified) paranoid streak, drawing Jon so close that he have the right to literally stick a knife in her. That does, and she dies, and Drogon mourns by damaging the steel Throne with a to explode of dragonfire, because he understands symbolism.


This is every rushed, and also maybe a little undercooked, yet there’s additionally plenty come admire about it. The staging the the stole Throne in the ruined, ash-filled room of the Red save is extremely striking. Emilia Clarke, who has constantly been one of Game that Thrones’s finest actors, finds the tragedy and the pathos in Daenerys’s critical moments; Kit Harington, who has actually not always been one of Game of Thrones’s finest actors, provides Jon’s betrayal as reluctant and heart-wrenching as it needs to be.


But every one of that to be all inevitable as quickly as Daenerys damaged bad. The real inquiry that interested me—and the inquiry that turns out to have actually the many disappointing answer—is what come after Daenerys is killed.


There’s a famed George R.R. Boy name anecdote around how component of the catalyst for A song of Ice and Fire to be his uncertainty over the ending of Lord the the Rings, once Tolkien hand-waves over the complex question of exactly how orcs would certainly be cure in the after-effects of the war. But Game the Thrones ends up running right into a comparable problem. Daenerys is not the Night King. When she died, she left a massive military of loyal, rowdy pendant behind. How did they respond to she assassination? By…taking Jon prisoner and then leaving Westeros there is no seeking revenge or even really holding anyone accountable, so don’t worry about it. What occurred to Drogon? the flew away…somewhere. He probably won’t cruise roughly lighting people on fire, so nothing worry around it.

It’s no funny being a stickler. I’m definitely not immune come the joys that a fan-pleasing ending, and I definitely never intended Game that Thrones to answer every concern on its way out the door. However I’m interested in some of these very pragmatic questions due to the fact that Game of Thrones provided to it is in so interested in them. In the end, yes something frustrating around seeing a display that was as soon as so obsessed with results decide come sweep many of lock under the rug.

But this hasn’t been that present for a couple of seasons now. Much as with the Night King, the terrible reign that the mad Queen Targaryen transforms out to be mercifully brief, with basically no consequences. And also in ar of a tyrant or a violent uprising native Daenerys loyalists, we get a little council of pan favorites whom everyone, for every little thing reason, peacefully agrees come accept.

This is whereby pretty much everybody left lively gets a happy ending. Bran Stark, who shares none of the flaws of Westeros’s previous rulers, is named king in ~ Tyrion’s suggestion—an unlikely but acceptable choice (even if the should have been Sansa). Tyrion was a damaging Queen’s Hand, yet Bran to know literally everything and picked him for the job, for this reason I’m sure he’ll do simply fine. Brienne is an ideal choice for lord Commander that the Kingsguard (even if the show makes she too concentrated on Jaime’s deeds at the price of her very own arc). Bronn and also Davos room there too, since we favor them. And Samwell Tarly, the story’s George R.R. Boy name surrogate, lastly goes full George R.R. Martin and shows up v a book called A track of Ice and Fire. It’s extremely corny and lame, and also it still made me smile a small because, come on, I’m only human.


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And climate there space the three staying Stark children, who ultimately arised as the protagonists the the show. Sansa stumps because that independence and also ends up together the Queen in the North. Arya sails turn off to components unknown (and into her own spinoff?). And Jon, who once seemed the likeliest candidate for the stole Throne, avoids execution by going ago up come the Wall.

This is all tackled with a fair amount of sentiment, and also much of the is clunky. (I gain that Game the Thrones wants to recommendation its very own history, but come on, Sansa deserves greater parting praise from Jon 보다 the lofty title of "Ned Stark’s daughter.") however it likewise gives Game the Thrones a possibility to say goodbye to these characters with the warmth and fanfare that was refuse to so many characters on the bloodier, more ruthless TV series this supplied to be. For the an innovative team that spent so lengthy on this story—and, ns suspect, for plenty of fans—that’ll be more than enough.

But if the finale uses emotional closure, it likewise raises questions. How would Bran and also his council of misfits heal a hurt people and also rebuild a not correct country? how would Sansa fare together the Queen in the North? What will Arya find in the floor west of Westeros? v the White Walkers eliminated and the wildlings ~ above his side, what else will Jon discover past the Wall?

There is almost always too much focus placed on how a TV show ends. However Game of Thrones was always at its best when its civilization felt impossibly big, through an endless selection of characters and stories to discover in the show’s rich background and wide-open future.


Honestly: i didn’t an especially like this ending, i m sorry felt favor a too-neat bow wrapped roughly a collection that to be at its most enthralling when it was strange and also ambitious and messy. However Game that Thrones is at the very least wise sufficient to close with the implication that all of this is just one thing in a much greater story, stretching endlessly in both directions, and also that’s truer to the heart of this story than any "ending" might have been.

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