That. Was. Awful.
In the end, we’re left with the most useless character on the show as king and a series finale that felt like an advertisement for a reboot when HBO has been unable to create any additional hit shows of this magnitude for a decade.
Then this conversation between Jon Snow and Tyrion will fill prophetic:
“Was it right, what I did?” Jon Snow asks.
“What we did,” Tyrion says.
“It doesn’t feel right,” says Jon Snow.
“Ask me again in ten years,” Tyrion says.
Ah, yes, ten years, when enough time will have passed for Jon Snow to come roaring back from north of the wall and try to save the kingdom from whatever evil has befallen it then.
But for now let’s dive in and discuss an ending that left most of us feeling totally unfulfilled.
Game of Thrones series finale reaction. https://t.co/9iv2IiPtJa
— Clay Travis (@ClayTravis) May 20, 2019
1. Tyrion walks through the remnants of the burned city with Jon and Davos behind him.
Grey Worm continues to execute soldiers on Daenerys’s orders.
Jon opposes the order, but the army prepares to attack him when he disagrees with Grey Worm so he relents and goes to speak with the queen.
2. Tyrion finds Jaime and Cersei dead under the palace and he weeps as he uncovers their bodies.
Remember, up until this moment Tyrion has been able to hold out hope that Jaime and Cersei might have escaped because the bell tolling could have signified Jaime persuaded Cersei to surrender and both could still be alive.
But this eliminates that possibility and leaves Tyrion as the last remaining Lannister.
3. Daenerys addresses her troops, saying their victory is not yet complete.
The address of the armies has a very “Triumph of the Will” motif, a feeling that this is when a leader’s embrace of total and absolute power truly turns into a dictatorship.
Daenerys names Grey Worm as her commander. (By the way, how did Grey Worm beat Jon Snow to the top of the staircase? We just saw him executing people and now he’s up there waiting for Jon? Did Jon get lost?)
“You freed your brother. You committed treason,” says Daenerys as Tyrion stands beside her.
“I freed my brother and you slaughtered a city,” Tyrion says, throwing off his King’s Hand pendant.
Tyrion’s arrested for his treason.
Jon watches on from a distance as all of this happens and we end with Arya approaching him: “I came to kill Cersei, but your queen got there first…I know a killer when I see one,” says Arya.
4. Tyrion and Jon have an incredible scene inside the room where Tyrion is imprisoned.
“I chose my fate. The people of King’s Landing didn’t,” says Tyrion.
“I can’t justify what happened and I won’t try, but the war is over now,” says Jon.
Tyrion says Daenerys killed more in an hour than his father and sister killed in their entire lives.
“Would you have burned the city down?” he asks Jon.
“I don’t know,” says Jon.
Tyrion says he doesn’t believe Jon would have done it. Then he goes on a long soliloquy about Daenerys: “Everywhere she goes, evil men die and we cheer her for it…(Tyrion says she believes she’s making the world better). If you truly believed that, wouldn’t you kill what stood between you and paradise?” he asks.
Then Tyrion continues: “I believed in her with all my heart. Love is more powerful than reason. We all know that.”
“Love is the death of duty,” Jon says.
“You just came up with that?” asks Tyrion.
“Master Aemon said it a long time ago,” says Jon. (You’ll remember that Aemon Targaryen was the maester at Castle Black and the great, great uncle of Jon Snow, even though neither man knew that at the time.)
Tyrion continues to make his case to Jon Snow: “Sometimes duty is the death of love. You are the shield that guards the realms of men…It’s a terrible thing I’m asking, it’s also the right thing. Do you think I’m the last man she’ll execute. Who is more dangerous than the rightful heir to the Iron Throne?”
“That’s her decision, she is the queen,” says Jon. “I’m sorry it came to this.”
“And you sisters? Do you see them bending the knee?” Tyrion asks, driving home the point that much of the season has tried to illuminate — will Jon be loyal to his family or the woman he loves?
“My sisters will be loyal to the throne,” Jon responds.
But Tyrion presses his point, why do you think Sansa told me? he asks.
Tyrion says Jon has to choose now, either allow Daenerys’s power to grow or end it.
5. The dragon is guarding Daenerys in the snow as Jon walks into darkness to go see her.
Daenerys finds the iron throne, which has survived the fire, but now sits surrounded by burned out walls, open air, and squalor.
“What do a thousand swords look like to a girl who can’t count to twenty?” Daenerys asks by way of explaining what she had been told about the throne as a little girl.
Jon asks for Daenerys to forgive Tyrion, but she refuses. Then the two discuss what the future will look like.
“I know what is good and so do you,” says Daenerys.
“What about all the other people who think they know what’s good?” Jon asks.
“They don’t get to choose,” says Daenerys. “We break the wheel together,” she says.
“You are my queen now and always,” says Jon as they kiss.
Just as it seems the two of them might live happily ever after, Jon stabs her to death.
The dragon roars in the background as Jon cradles her and weeps.
The dragon attempts to wake Daenerys then he burns down the iron throne. (Because, of course, the dragon would understand that the iron throne caused all of this heartache.)
Then the dragon picks Daenerys up and flies away.
Couple of plot things here: how does anyone know Daenerys has been killed? It wasn’t uncommon for her to disappear for substantial periods of time with her dragons. So the only way anyone can tell Jon killed Daenerys is because he came outside and confessed. But without a body and with no witnesses, doesn’t it seem strange that they would all believe his story?
Further, doesn’t it also seem strange that Grey Worm, hell bent on revenge and killing all of his queen’s enemies as he was, wouldn’t kill Jon on the spot if he believed he’d killed Daenerys?
I just don’t buy he’d put him in prison and wait for a bunch of people he doesn’t know to decide the fates of both Tyrion and Jon.
And at an absolute minimum, shouldn’t we have seen all this for ourselves instead of the writers just skipping it?
Regardless, Jon Snow is now Jaime Lannister, except he’s killed the mad queen instead of the mad king.
6. Several weeks pass and Tyrion and Jon have been imprisoned by the Unsullied.
All the leaders of the houses are now gathered in a sunlit courtyard.
Many of these leaders we barely know.
Tyrion, emerging from prison with a longer beard which shows us he’s been imprisoned for a decent length of time, tells them to pick a king or queen to rule.
Samwell suggests democracy and everyone laughs, which is actually pretty well done.
Tyrion is asked whether he wants the throne and responds, “Half the people hate me for serving Daenerys, half the people hate me for betraying her,” which he says, makes him unfit for the throne.
But Tyrion says he’s been thinking about who should rule for some time.
“There’s nothing in the world more powerful than a good story… and who has a better story than Bran the Broken, the man who fell from high tower and he lived….a crippled boy became the three eyed raven. He is our memory, the keeper of all our stories…who better to lead us into the future?”
Tyrion says that since Bran can’t have children, “From now on rulers won’t be born, they will be chosen.”
“That is the wheel our queen wanted broken,” he continues.
“I know you don’t want it. I know you don’t care about power. But I ask you now, if we choose you, will you wear the crown, will you lead the seven kingdoms?” Tyrion asks.
“Why do you think I came all this way?” Bran asks.
“To Brandon of House Stark, I say aye,” says Tyrion.
Okay, let’s pause her for a moment. Back at Winterfell in the celebration after the White Walkers were beaten Bran said he had no interest in the affairs of men and wouldn’t be the King of the North and now he’s suddenly saying that he’s been planning for this moment for years?
Even leaving aside the fact that he’s been virtually worthless all of these years this is just nonsensical.
Despite this everyone immediately acquiesces to Bran’s reign except for Sansa who says, “I love you little brother, but the north will remain an independent kingdom, as it was for thousands of years.”
Conveniently enough, this will also make Sansa queen.
Tyrion then intones: “All hail Bran the Broken…lord of the six kingdoms, protector of the realm.”
But here’s my question, if Sansa could just say she wanted to be independent and no one argued with her, why wouldn’t every other kingdom want to be independent? Wasn’t that entire point of ruling, that you had to get every other kingdom to submit to your rule?
King Bran says, “Lord Tyrion, you will be my hand.”
But Tyrion doesn’t want the title for a new ruler: “I thought I was wise, but I wasn’t. I thought I knew what was right, but I didn’t.”
Grey Worm is unhappy, but Bran responds, “He’s made many terrible mistakes. He’s going to spend the rest of his life fixing them.”
Somehow this solves everything.
Meanwhile, King Bran, fucking King Bran, are you kidding me?
Jon saved the world, Arya saved the world, Bran has just been a creepy ass loser for years and now he’s the leader without doing anything? We’ve waited eight years for the least interesting character on the show to be king?
I would rather the Night King have won.
Or Cersei have survived and won.
Creepy Ass Bran?
I hate this.
Up until the final minute of the show I was hoping we’d end the show with Bran being killed and not have any idea who the next king would be.
(But what makes this worst of all is that the entire conclusion to the final three or four episodes leaked online. So the spoilers were already well known. If anything this argues even more for releasing the entire series at once, rather than allow the ending to be spoiled a month in advance.)
7. Bran sends Jon Snow to the Night’s Watch because it’s the only compromise that can be agreed upon.
Which, again, I don’t really agree with.
Wouldn’t most people have considered Jon a hero for killing the woman who destroyed the city? Certainly the north would have. Who cares if the Unsullied are unhappy? Just wait until they sail off and then bring Jon back and install him as the rightful king.
Next we have the conversation between Jon and Tyrion:
“Was it right, what I did?” Jon asks.
“What we did,” Tyrion says.
“It doesn’t feel right,” says Jon Snow.
“Ask me again in ten years,” Tyrion says.
“I don’t expect we’ll ever see each other again.”
“I wouldn’t be so sure,” says Tyrion.
I mean this entire scene is just an advertisement for a new Game of Thrones series in ten years.
But my biggest issue with Jon killing Daenerys is he did it without knowing who would take her place. How can you be sure the person who would replace her is better? The murder just seemed ill conceived and abrupt.
8. Jon says goodbye to the surviving Starks.
“I wish there’d been another way, can you forgive me?” Sansa says. (There were tons of other ways, Sansa).
“The North is free thanks to you,” says Jon Snow. Then he says he’s proud she’ll sit on the throne: “Ned Stark’s daughter will speak for them. She’s the best they could ask for.”
Arya says she’s going where all the maps stop, to what’s west of Westeros.
Jon then kneels in front of Bran.
“I’m sorry I wasn’t there when you needed me.”
“You were exactly where you were supposed to be,” Bran says.
This is just like season one when Jon heads to Castle Black to join the Night’s Watch, only now there’s no point at all for the Night’s Watch to exist since the white walkers have been defeated.
9. Are we sure Bran hasn’t been dreaming this entire time since he was pushed off the castle wall?
How much does this ending suck that I kind of wish we’d gotten a crazy Bobby Ewing coming out of the shower scene here?
Or, again, for someone to kill Bran.
10. Lady Brienne ends the story of Jaime Lannister.
“Died protecting his queen,” is the final line she writes.
Which is awfully kind considering what she could have written since he took her virginity and fled: “Has a small penis, which he used to impregnate his sister/Queen Cersei four times.”
11. Sam brings in the book, “A Song of Ice and Fire,” which has been written to exclude all of Tyrion’s exploits.
King Bran’s advisers are Bronn — who is now the ruler of High Garden and the master of coin, Lady Brienne, Sam, and Davos.
Podrick is Bran’s designated stroller pusher.
No one is sure of where the dragon has gone and the advisers are last heard arguing about how to spend the kingdom’s money and resources.
Bronn, not surprisingly, is arguing for the brothels to be rebuilt.
12. We get a Stark coronation conclusion.
Jon arrives at Castle Black.
Sansa is named Queen of the North.
Arya sails west.
13. Perhaps aware that this final episode sucks the writers have Jon rub Ghost’s head.
At least this way the dog people are happy.
Then the people of the north march back north to repopulate the lands beyond the wall.
Jon will not remain at Castle Black, since there’s no purpose in the Night’s Watch any longer, and will instead live his life north of the wall.
Rather than feel like I invested eight years in a story that saw its final conclusion here, I can’t help but feel that ultimately all we’ve done is set up a series extension in a decade.
Which, honestly, I hope is true.
Because this ending sucked.
I can’t believe we waited eight years for this.
We spent eight years surveying the contenders for the Iron Throne, analyzing and scrutinizing their every move in an effort to find out what kind of ruler they might be, good or bad, weak or strong, just or unjust, and in the end Bran Stark, the one person who never gave us any clue what kind of leader he’d be, is selected as ruler?
No thank you.
I hate to go all Westeros resistance on y’all, but Bran Stark’s not my king.
I’m just going to pretend his ten year reign never happened and wait to see what happens in the inevitable reboot, when Jon Snow comes rushing back from the north, to finally fulfill his destiny.
Because this fan’s song of ice and fire still has several verses left.