The Game of Thrones series finale, “The Iron Throne,” was as divisive among fans as this entire final season. And that’s pretty typical of an epic TV show like this one. There’s no way to make everyone happy.
But I’m happy. Really happy.
I’ve watched the episode twice and had a few debates on Facebook, but I’ve purposely avoided other blog posts, podcasts and analysis of the finale. I wanted to get my thoughts down before hearing anyone else’s. I’m sure after I listen to some of my favorite podcasts and read more, I’ll have more to say. (I’ll add those thoughts here later.)
What Happens in the Series Finale of Game of Thrones?
The episode opens in the aftermath of Daenerys’s fiery attack on King’s Landing. Everything is burning and covered in ash and we see Tyrion. He’s on his way to find out if Jaime and Cersei escaped or died.
Tyrion finds their bodies amid the rubble. This scene was long and I was getting a little annoyed. There was so much more to address this episode and they focused too long on Tyrion finding and crying over his siblings.
But it made me think… what is Game of Thrones ultimately about? The quest for the throne, yes. But also? Family. Especially the Lannister story line – it’s always been about family.
Next we see Jon making his way through the celebratory troops. Dany flies in on Drogon and we see this spectacular image as she walks out to address her followers. Loved it.
Dany congratulates her army and talks about not stopping until they have liberated the world.
Go home, Dany. You’re drunk with power.
Jon Needs to Decide
Tyrion comes up behind Dany and challenges her for slaughtering the city. He takes off his hand of the queen pin and throws it. Dany commands her soldiers to take him. As Tyrion walks away, he gives Jon some serious side-eye. Dude, DO SOMETHING.
Arya is suddenly at Jon’s side. He looks a bit shocked to see her and I love how she keeps sneaking up on people. She is a master at sneaking around and I think it also helps that she looks like a little girl. People don’t pay much attention to her.
Arya tells Jon that Dany knows who he is and she’ll always see him as a threat.
Jon goes to see Tyrion, who is shackled in a room somewhere. Tyrion’s disappointed Jon didn’t bring wine.
Jon says he can’t justify what Dany did, but the war is over now and she is the Queen. Tyrion says, “Does she sound like someone who’s done fighting?”
Jon defends her and I’m starting to wonder, WTF Jon? Tyrion tries to convince him that he needs to kill her. But Jon is not saying anything against Dany. Is it because he thinks people might be listening and he doesn’t want to arouse suspicion? He’s the only one who can get close to her at this point.
Tyrion says, “She believes her destiny is to build a better world. If you believed that, if you truly believed that, wouldn’t you kill whoever stood between you and paradise?”
“Who is more dangerous than the rightful heir to the Iron Throne?”
Jon is considering all this, and he truly looks torn apart. Jon and Tyrion commiserate that they both love her and believed in her.
Before Jon leaves the room, Tyrion offers one final thought. “And your sisters, do you see them bending the knee?”
Yeah, chew on that one, Jon.
Jon goes to Dany. Drogon lets him pass. I think this moment is significant because Drogon does not see Jon as a threat.
Dany is standing by the Iron Throne, looking at it with such lust. Jon confronts her about killing the women and children. He tries to convince her that she needs to show mercy. She tries to convince him that together they will rule the world!
She asks him to be with her, and together they will build a new world. Jon says, “You are my Queen. Now and always.” They kiss, and for a moment I can’t believe it. I’m truly shocked.
Then Jon stabs her! YES! I cheered and at that moment I felt that this final season had redeemed itself.
Poor Jon is torn apart that he had to do it. Drogon comes flying up and pokes Dany’s body, seeing that she’s dead.
Drogon looks like he might burn Jon, but instead burns the Iron Throne. My husband tells me that in folklore and D&D, dragons are traditionally very intelligent, wise beings. I think Drogon is crazy sad that Dany is dead, but he realizes it was her quest for the throne that killed her. So he destroys the throne and flies off with Dany’s body.
The Big Meeting
We skip ahead a few weeks. The heads of the various houses are assembled to discuss what to do next. It was awesome seeing a couple old characters reappear! Here’s who was in attendance:
- Samwell Tarly
- An unknown character who could have been a representative of the Reach since the Tyrell’s are now extinct.
- Edmere Tully is alive! Remember this dude from the Red Wedding? He is Catelyn Stark’s brother and married the Frey daughter when Rob refused.
- Arya Stark
- Bran Stark
- Sansa Stark
- Ser Brienne of Tarth
- Ser Davos
- Gendry Baratheon
- Unknown Lord of Some House
- Another Unknown Lord of Some House. Looks like he’s from the North. Maybe someone who took over for House Mormont or Bolton?
- Yara Greyjoy
- The Fresh Prince of Dorne (I did not come up with that clever name – credit to TheVerge.com)
- Robin Arryn, Lord of the Vale. He’s grown up a lot from the 10(?) year old who was suckling at his crazy mom’s tit.
- Yohn Royce, head of House Royce from the Vale.
- Another Unknown Lord of Some House, probably from the Vale or the North.
Grey Worm brings Tyrion to them. He was also supposed to bring Jon, but Grey Worm is not giving him up that easily.
They start to discuss what to do. Tyrion logically suggests that they choose a King or Queen. Everyone kinda looks around. No takers?
Edmere finally stands and tries to make a case for himself, but Sansa just tells him to sit down, silly. Ha ha! Sam tries to introduce the concept of democracy, which is met with mockery and laughter. I really enjoyed that scene!
Tyrion makes a great speech about their history and the mistakes they’ve made. What unites people? Stories! This is where I started to cry. I’m not a big crier, but I basically sobbed the rest of the episode.
Tyrion suggests there is nothing more powerful in the world than a good story. And Bran is the keeper of all their stories, triumphs, and defeats.
Bran’s Role and How It All Clicked For Me
Sansa objects that Bran has no interest in ruling and he can’t father children. Tyrion replies, “Good. Sons of kings can be cruel and stupid, as you well know. His will never torment us.” What a great line. That had to make Sansa think.
Tyrion declares that from now on, rulers will not be born, they will be chosen. On this spot, by the lords and ladies of Westeros. YAY!
When Tyrion asks Bran if he will wear the crown, Bran replies, “Why do you think I came all this way?”
OF COURSE. This is where it all clicked for me. Hodor, Jojen, even the Night King wanting to kill Bran… it all points to the fact that Bran is important. He knows everything there is to know about their history, and what better way to learn from your mistakes and make a better world than to remember your history?
Then Tyrion dubs him “Bran the Broken.” And it’s just priceless. All that talk about “breaking the wheel” makes this the PERFECT title for Bran. He’s broken, and in a wheelchair, and the one who will break the wheel. It’s so perfect.
Where Everyone Ends Up at the End of Game of Thrones
As they all vote aye for Bran the Broken, there’s a moment where I’m not sure Sansa is going to agree. She declares the North will remain an independent kingdom, as it was for thousands of years. Bran agrees.
And I cried more. YOU GO QUEEN.
Grey Worm is still pissed and doesn’t want to let Tyrion or Jon go. He wants them dead. Bran says Tyrion has made many mistakes and now he’ll spend the rest of his life fixing them – as Hand of the King. I LOVE THIS.
Jon is sent to the Night’s Watch. “There’s still a Night’s Watch?” Jon asks. I had the same reaction. But as Tyrion says, there will always be a need for a place for broken men and bastards.
Jon is clearly struggling. He feels horrible that he killed Dany. Ultimately, no one is very happy with the outcome (except maybe Sansa & Arya). But it’s war… it’s not supposed to end happy.
Grey Worm and the Unsullied sail for Naath, presumably to protect the people, as he told Missandei they would.
Jon says his goodbyes to Sansa, Arya, & Bran. Arya says she’s not going back North. She going to explore West of Westeros. More crying. I LOVE IT.
So when are we getting that Arya the Explorer spin-off? Because I’m here for that!
Next we see Brienne looking through the tome of Knights. She finds Jaime’s entry and updates his story. She writes about all the brave things he did and ends with “He died protecting his Queen.” Another beautiful moment.
She doesn’t hold any ill will toward him. He was a good guy, and a bad guy, but aren’t we all in some way? (I’m still not happy he left Brienne, but in the broad scope of the story, it works.)
The Significance of the Small Council
Bran’s small council assembles: Tyrion is Hand, Sam is Grand Maester, Davos is Master of Ships, Bronn is Master of Coin, Brienne is Head of the Kingsguard.
None of these people have royal blood, and only Tyrion is from a respected house – and he’s an imp. This council represents the dawning of a new age. The Six Kingdoms will no longer be ruled by blood or ancient, arbitrary rules. They’ll forge a new world.
Sam presents Tyrion with the book “A Song of Ice and Fire” and explains that it’s the story of the wars since King Robert’s death. Tyrion asks if he is portrayed kindly, and Sam says “I don’t believe you are mentioned.” This is actually pretty funny because if you go back early on in the series, there was a time (maybe many times?) when Tyrion says no one will even remember his part in all the things he helped with. And that turned out to be true.
Bran comes in, but isn’t all that interested in the discussion. He’s happy to go warg and look for Drogon, while leaving his council to work out all the rest. So he leaves with Ser Podrick (now a full-on knight – yay!), and the council has a fun conversation about rebuilding. Tyrion asks Sam about the importance of clean water and Bronn talks about the importance of brothels. Ha ha!
Then we see a lovely montage of Jon, Sansa, and Arya each going their own ways. It was beautifully edited to mirror the perspective of each character – we view them each close up, then walking through a line of people, then from an overhead shot. It’s a really lovely scene as Arya is sailing off, Sansa is being crowned, and Jon is getting to the Wall.
Jon reunites with Ghost (and the internet is finally happy), then rides off with the Wildlings. I think they are all going home (north of the wall) and Jon is going with them. After all, he truly loves the North.