Warning! This blog is dark and full of spoilers
Seven hells, what a balls up this has been.
The greatest show in television history, pre-2017 of course, turned in its final ever instalment, and it was an utter disaster. I set my alarm for 2am, so I could get up and torture myself by watching Game Of Thrones bow out, all the while knowing that nothing could be done to resurrect the storytelling behemoth it formerly was. Regardless, I primed myself on the sofa, phone in hand, ready to bury myself in the reassuring bosom of memes and prepared to unenthusiastically bid farewell to my favourite show. After all, duty is the death of love...
The iconic theme music hits for the final time and we’re plunged straight back into last week’s horror show. We open up with Tyrion and co. surveying the ruins of King’s Landing with ash raining from the sky, which seemed a little far-fetched to me but hey ho. For some reason, Tyrion goes on a long walk to show us firstly that Jaime and Cersei aren’t in fact able to survive being pummelled by a falling building – and secondly that if they had scooched to the left a bit, they would have somehow avoided all of the bricks and survived?
Anyway, it’s supposed to be sad, I guess, but if you had been paying attention to the series up until now you’ll know that the Lannisters are scum, and we don’t need to waste any time grieving them. Next up, Grey Worm is ready to off some of Cersei’s remaining troops on the new Queen Daenerys’ orders but Jon Snow, apparently now an ardent pacifist, unsuccessfully objects.
Daenerys then gives a rousing albeit clearly deluded speech about how she liberated King’s Landing by frying it to fuck, before Tyrion shows off his am-dram skills and lobs his Hand of the Queen pin down the stairs. He’s arrested, and Arya generates out of thin air to tell Jon Snow that she thinks Daenerys might be a killer. The prospects of Arya’s Westerosi detective spin-off have never appeared bleaker.
Finally, we get the answer to the first burning question of the finale: where did all the money HBO could have spent on decent scriptwriters go? It turns out, the answer is that they spent it on a self-indulgent scene of Drogon shaking some dust off his body after a nap. Everyone’s least favourite mediocre hero Jon Snow goes to talk to Daenerys who, in fairness, does a lot better job of justifying her actions in last week’s episode than I ever thought possible. Jon Snow doesn’t buy it, kisses her and stabs her. And just like that, Dany is dead.
Drogon reappears, and apparently now has the same penchant for metaphor as an A-Level English student, burning the Iron Throne in a fit of rage at the way power corrupted his mother and led to her death. Our favourite scaly cuddle monster didn’t seem to work out that Jon, the only other thing in the room, actually did the physical regicide and singe him accordingly – a real shame.
For some reason, Drogon then picks Daenerys up in his talons and flies away. I’ve chosen to pretend that he takes Dany to Essos and some red priestess has resurrected her so she can get a decent ending befitting of a khaleesi. The Lord of Light really values character development. I hope.
Then we’re back to the mundanity of administering the transition of power. Tyrion appears before a council of people, made-up half by people woefully unqualified to sit on it, and half unexpected hotties who should have had way more screen time than they did. Tyrion then gives some ridiculous spiel about how stories unite people and they elect Bran, the main character with the least interesting story, as the new king. Honestly, this undeserved self-congratulatory crap from Benioff and Weiss is enough to make you want to hop on a dragon, and well, you know.
Sansa can’t wait to get her grubby mitts on the princess crown she’s been coveting since day one and declares the North an independent state. Everyone else seems on board with it, despite the fact that roughly half of the constituent regions have a better reason to want to breakaway from King’s Landing, but they keep schtum.
So, there we are, everything is good in the realm. Power is safe in the hands of a man who can see literally every event ever and has gleefully sat back and watched untold human devastation knowing that he’d profit in the aftermath. Hurrah, we’re saved!
And then, well, I almost can’t be bothered to recount the last few arduous scenes, the Unsullied go to Naath, and my heart breaks. The first female knight in the land is reduced to eulogising over the incestuous child maimer who just fucked her over, and my heart breaks. Arya turns in to a Poundshop Jack Sparrow, and my heart breaks. Samwell Tarly actually bloody name drops A Song of Ice and Fire, and my heart breaks. And Jon Snow gets to see the best boy, Ghost again, and my heart breaks. That wolf deserves so much better than him.
Truthfully, I had known this episode would play out like this for a week. Having declared fan bankruptcy at the end of episode five, I decided to ‘spoil’ the finale for myself – and honestly, I’m glad I did, I wasn’t going to go through my How I Met Your Mother grief again. The showrunners were mad to believe they could ever pull off the quantity of story they tried to in these last two seasons.
You simply cannot legitimate Daenerys’ transformation from Mother Teresa with a temper to Charizard Hitler in just one episode, even if there were a few tracks laid in that direction throughout the previous years.
You cannot off Cersei Lannister, arguably the most fascinating villain in TV history, with a fucking brick. And you cannot build towards eight years of existential threat from the White Walkers to have them made redundant and forgotten halfway through the final season.
Honestly, when you forget the breathtaking cinematography, and the Shakespearian-like drama that left us at the end of season six, and you look at what Benioff and Weiss served up in this finale episode, you’re left wondering – what was the point? Virtually none of our major character arcs were satisfying, and we ended up near enough exactly the same place as we started. The wheel was broken, only to be remade a few scenes later. You know, maybe I’m more disappointed with George R.R. Martin than anyone else. Why did he choose to end this one-of-a-kind saga in a way that felt so illogical and so unearned?
This morning, I bumped into my friend at the gym, who has season eight backlogged and ready to binge. I told him exactly how I felt about this season and advised him to resist whatever temptation he has and duck out after episode three. Fuck me, I wish I had.