A few hours have passed since the credits rolled on the last episode of Game of Thrones. The series had its ups and downs and its highs and lows. Fans laughed, fans cried, and fans rejoiced. One thing the series never lacked was a debate between fans. Social media was awash on a weekly basis with theories, debates, and arguments. The most divisive episode of the series is possibly the Game of Thrones season finale, “The Iron Throne.”
Of all the theories floating around the Internet the only one guaranteed to come to true is that not everyone was going to be happy with the finale. In this sense, the Game of Thrones season finale did not fail to deliver. On other things Game of Thrones it failed miserably, but at the same time Wiess and Benioff ended the series the only they knew how to end it.
If anything the Game of Thrones finale showed us the series needed another season to wrap things up. It also showed us the series was rushed. We could point to the now infamous coffee cup, which lead to Starbucks reaping the profits. A company couldn’t pay HBO for the advertising one little blunder provided Starbucks. We could point to the water bottle John Bradley (Sam Tarly) tried to hide behind his foot. We would have never seen these blunders in past seasons. These two blunders are just symptoms of the last season being rushed.
The series was running out of time in season five. It was around this time characters starting getting from place to place in the blink of an eye. It was also around this time characters’s story lines were being abbreviated ( Littlefinger’s death) and altered. However, we all held to the promise of a final showdown between the dead and the living and between Jon Snow and the Night King. This face off never materialized. Instead it would be Arya who killed the Night King which pretty much ended Jon Snow’s story
Technically, Jon’s story didn’t end until the last scene of the finale. But somehow he seemed to be forced into the background. Even as events unfolded all he could do was stand around and have others tell him what to do. It could be argued after Jon watched Daenerys burn Varys alive and after watching her kill innocent women and children convincing him to turn against Daenerys would be easy. It didn’t take Tyrion but a long speech to convince Jon. Yet it still felt forced and rushed.
If there’s a bright side to Jon’s ending it’s where he ends up at end of the series. He may have been banished to a now useless Night’s Watch, but that’s not where Jon settles. If you recall when the armies were preparing to march on King’s Landing Tormund tried to convince Jon to stay in the North. It’s where he belonged Tormund told him. The smile on his face as the episode ends is all the confirmation we need that Jon is not going back. He was bastard, then a Stark, then a Targaryen. At the end of the finale Jon became Freefolk. It’s not important where he finally stops, just that he’s finally free of everything the last eight seasons dumped on him.
There’s been enough debate on Daenerys becoming the Mad Queen, going crazy, and burning King’s Landing. It’s not enough to point to two or three examples, many of which were committed against tyrants and slavers, to explain Daenerys sudden change. It’s also not enough for Tyrion to say one or two “wise words” to explain away seven and half seasons of Daenerys freeing slaves, destroying tyrants, and breaking the wheel. If there had been enough time the showrunners and writers could have fleshed out her descent into madness over the course of several episodes.
Let’s just say, for the sake or argument, the series did a great job of convincing us all Daenerys was indeed crazy. What made her crazy? Fans of the Mad Queen theory will point to her parentage. Others will point to the fact she couldn’t trust anyone. Others will say it was because she wasn’t the only heir to the throne. There lies the problem with the final scene between Daenerys and Jon.
If Daenerys was crazy and if she feared Jon could at any moment stake a claim to the throne why was she in a room by herself with him? Mad people,crazy people, have a tendency to be paranoid. A paranoid Queen would have guards with her at all times, even a touching moment as gazing on the Iron Throne. Yet, Daenerys has no guards. Even worse, when she plants a long passionate kiss on Jon he returns the kiss with as much passion. Jon hasn’t been too touchy feely with Daenerys since he learned they were related. But this doesn’t bother Daenerys in the least.
The Game of Thrones season finale ultimately fell flat. Weiss and Beinoff said the finale wasn’t going to be a happy ending, but that’s exactly what was delivered. Tyrion became the Right Hand to the King (Again). Arya, who must have received some sailing training during her many years of learning to be an assassin (We’re still not sure where these many years of training came from), sailed off into the sunset. Sansa became ruler of the North and Bran, who did the least amount of any character on the series, became king.
If the series was called The Starks Game of Thrones it would have been a fitting ending. All of the remaining Starks ended up where they were meant to be. But it wasn’t a series only about the Starks. It was a series about everyone playing the game, a game which lost all meaning towards the end of the series.
We’re not done dissecting and looking at the Game of Thrones finale. There’s a lot more to mine in the episode. It’s not all bad, but it sure isn’t all good.