*warning, some spoilers are going to be mentioned here, it’s the series finale so it’s kind of unavoidable. I suggest not reading until you’ve seen the final episode.*
Oh wow, wow, wow.
Of ALL the ways I imagined Game of Thrones coming to an end, I never imagined it ending quite like that. None of my theories even considered the possibility of the twists that we saw last night. Now on the one hand, that kind of makes me want to feel mad, since I could’ve sworn the show was indicating an entirely different ending. But on the other hand, the more I think about it, the more some of the twists make sense.
First of all, I don’t think anybody genuinely thought this character would be king at the end of the episode. I know when this character was chosen, my jaw smacked the floor. It made no sense, and really, despite some excellent arguing for why this character should be king, it’s the part of the episode that bugs me the most. I am convinced that this is NOT the character that will rule Westeros (most of it anyway, more on that in a minute) at the end of the books (assuming we ever see the end of the books). I do like how the system of monarchy is going to be changed…assuming it sticks anyway.
Now I have to talk about Sansa, whose arc has been very hard for me to watch at times in the past few years. Of all the character arc endings on this show, I think I like Sansa’s the most because it makes the most sense. She’s completed her evolution from the perfect pawn to a master player in the game of thrones herself (Littlefinger would be so proud). She finally has real power, with no foreign queens to worry about, and no male claimants to take it away from her. I’m really happy for Sansa. I like Arya’s ending too, not quite as much as Sansa’s, since I was half-hoping that Arya would be with Gendry, but I understand why she can’t stay in Westeros. She’s seen too much of the world to go back to her home in the North. And even though we know Arya and Sansa love each other, if those two spend any length of time together, they’ll be bickering again in no time.
Okay, now I need to talk about the ending for Jon Snow, aka Aegon Targaryen. When Jon did…what he did, in the throne room, I thought all of my theories had been confirmed. He’s the sole Targaryen claimant, the throne will come to him one way or another. And then the episode moved forward and everything I thought I knew got thrown out the window. It hurt me, I admit it, and I was upset for most of the rest of the episode. It didn’t seem right that Jon’s true heritage should ultimately mean nothing, and I nearly howled in rage when Jon went back to Castle Black. But then I saw how his story ended, and suddenly I began to understand. No matter how much I or anyone else wanted it, Jon wouldn’t have made a good king. He’s too much like Ned Stark, and we all know what happened to him when he was just Hand of the King, imagine Jon trying to be king himself, and I don’t think it would’ve ended well. What changed my mind about Jon came at the very end, when I realized that he was leaving to go beyond the Wall (at first I thought he was just escorting the wildlings). And this morning it dawned on me; throughout this series, the happiest I ever saw Jon is when he was living with the wildlings, when he was with Ygritte. Jon never wanted to be king, he especially never wanted to be a Targaryen. Having had a taste of that power and not liking it, I realized Jon is all too happy to disappear into the forest and walk out of history forever. Furthermore, I think the person who ordered him sent back to the Wall KNEW this would happen.
So in the end, am I completely happy with how Game of Thrones ended? No, to be honest no. It still feels wrong that this character became king, but really it’s not like there were many choices left. Now that I’ve had time to think about it though, I am mostly content with how it ends the story. The characters are in different places than I imagined, but at least we know where they all end up, more or less. They weren’t kidding when they said this would be a bittersweet ending. I think “bittersweet” hits the nail on the head.
And that’s the end of Game of Thrones. Next week I’m going back to the beginning and reviewing starting with season 1, episode 1. Let me know what you think about “The Iron Throne” in the comments below and have a great day.
My Thoughts on: The Bells (GoT S8 E5)
My Thoughts On: The Last of the Starks (GoT S8 E4)
My Thoughts on: The Battle of Winterfell (GoT S8 E3)
My Thoughts on: A Knight of the Seven Kingdoms (GoT S8 E2)
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When Tyrion pitched Bran as king, I thought he was full on kidding (so did Isaac Hempstead Wright, apparently). Most of those assembled in the pit had a far more compelling narrative than Bran, I felt. But the more I let it sit, the more I kind of dig the choice. Bran is someone so impartial to the concept of leading that he seems less likely to be corrupted by it.
There’s also a kinship with Tyrion being the one to suggest Bran that I admire. I don’t agree with it fully, and it’s hard to see GRRM giving the throne to Bran (if there will still be a throne in the books) but for the purposes of the show it’s cathartic that the Stark children are the leaders of the new world. Bittersweet is exactly how I’d describe the show’s ending.
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I’m so glad Tyrion fully explained his choice because I don’t believe I’d have ever bought Bran being king (part of me still doesn’t, if anyone has a great story behind them it’s Jon). But like you, I accepted it the more I thought about it. I wonder though if monarchy by election will really stick in Westeros.