Game of Thrones Recap: Season 8, Episode 8
The last episode of a series that has spanned nine years, three dragons, countless monarchs and one Iron Throne.
There have been and will continue to be extremely differing opinions on the finale of Game of Thrones, but one thing is for certain; it has finally come to an end. The creators David Benioff and D.B. Weiss have produced an amazing television series that has topped the charts in plot, cinematography and our expectations consistently throughout its eight seasons. While there are divided opinions and reactions to how the last season has played out, there is no denying that Game of Thrones has been a pleasure to watch over the last nine years.
The episode opened on Tyrion, who featured heavily throughout, walking through the devastated streets of Kings Landing, playing through a range of emotions purely in his facial expressions. Shocked; horrified; scared. Tyrion was determined to go forth into what he didn’t know, by himself, to discover if Jaime and Cersei escaped as he wanted them to. We followed him through the ruined castle to find Jaime and Cersei in one another’s arms, buried underneath the remnants of the Red Keep.
Meanwhile, outside in Kings Landing, Jon Snow had a confrontation with Grey Worm and learned Dany had commanded that everyone who followed Cersei was to be killed, even though the men were on their knees, not able to defend themselves. Jon reluctantly let Grey Worm carry out the executions, however, it was clear he was unhappy, which remained clear for the next scene in which Daenerys was introduced still on the back of Drogon, flying in over the screaming Dothraki and unified Unsullied. The shot where she walks towards what is left of the entrance of the Red Keep while Drogon takes flight behind her was one of the most visually satisfying shots in the series. Her speech to her subjects then followed, in which she was portrayed as a Nazi-esque figure in the costuming and proposition of liberation from ‘Winterfell to Dorne,” and on, coupled with the shot right before she flew in on Drogon of the huge flag with the three-headed dragon. Daenerys’ speech scared Jon and Tyrion, and this along with her burning down the city was enough for Tyrion to finally throw in the towel, or more accurately throw away the ‘Hand of the Queen’ pin. For this, Daenerys had him taken away as a prisoner, after which she left to go an inspect her new castle. Arya, ever stealthy, is quick to appear at Jon’s side, and cites that “she knows a killer when she sees one”, referring to Daenerys. With that warning ringing in his ears, Jon followed his Queen.
The next scene played out slowly, like an old school Game of Thrones episode, with the two characters having an intense discussion about the fate of their land. It is in this scene that Tyrion begs Jon to do what he sees as the only option, a necessary yet terrible decision that has to be made for the good of Westeros and the people beyond. Daenerys has promised to go on killing and purging her seven kingdoms, and Tyrion knows the only person who could stop her is Jon Snow. Jon was upset, unsure and torn between his love for Dany. “Love is the death of duty,” Jon quotes Maetsor Aemon, to which Tyrion responds, “Sometimes, duty is the death of love.” Jon tries to end the conversation by saying she is still his Queen, in denial, but Tyrion stops him with the mention of his sisters. Tyrion and Jon know Sansa and Arya will never bow to Daenerys, and what that means for them.
Another of the visually stunning moments of this episode was when Jon approached the throne room to be stopped by Drogon, who emerged out of the ashes, great and terrible. Jon walked in to see Daenerys in the completely disfigured throne room, now unrecognisable in its derelict state, all except for the Iron Throne, which she had one hand on. Triumphant and almost girl-like in her glee, Daenerys told a story about her as a young girl, caught up in her victory, until Jon is short and direct with her, asking her why she burnt the innocent. Daenerys goes on, talking at Jon rather than with him, that she knows what a good world is, knows what is good for the people and reasoning with him that if he could see the paradise that she saw, that he would understand. Finally, she once again invites him to be with her, build a new world with her and rule with her. Jon responds, “You are my Queen, now and always.” They kissed, and then she was gasping for air, looking down in disbelief at the knife in her chest. Jon Snow stabbed the woman he loved, and Daenerys Targaryen was no more.
This part of the episode was emotionally evocative and heartbreaking, which wasn’t helped by Drogon’s agonising scream for his mother and his gentle nose nudges, to see if she would wake. Drogon roared in fury and pain, and yet, when we all thought he was going to unleash on Jon Snow, he let loose on the Iron Throne, melting it down to nothing, which definitely suggests the dragons within Game of Thrones have a higher level of intelligence, because if we’ve ever seen a critique on the corrupt nature of power hunger and ambition, it was this. Drogon then took off with Daenerys cradled in his claws, to where we do not know.
Fast forward a few weeks and Tyrion is looking shaggy and unkempt, being led into the dragon pit by Grey Worm to the lords and ladies of Westeros. Yara Greyjoy is back and not so quick to forget that she pledged herself to Daenerys. Robin Arryn is apparently a lot older and even Edmure Tully showed up. After some small talk, they realise they are the most powerful people in Westeros and so they must make the decision as to who will be the next King or Queen of the Seven Kingdoms. Edmure has a very awkward moment of trying to suggest himself, but is told to sit down by his niece, and Samwell awkwardly suggests a democracy, which is laughed at (rightfully so, if the show had gone down that path, there would have been major unrest). Tyrion, who once again takes charge, and has always been a lover of books and stories, chooses whom he thinks has the greatest story of all, Bran the Broken. Bran, as is his way, looks stoic throughout the interaction and takes it in without surprise. Tyrion convinces the lords and ladies as each of them utter a resounding “I”, all except Sansa. Declaring her love for her brother firstly, she stated that the North would not bow again. Bran the Broken, now King of the Six Kingdoms, agreed with her. Turning to Tyrion, the new King then decided the fate of he who plotted against the Queen would be to serve the new King as Hand, which is as much a punishment as being the King is to Bran. Two men who are not ruled by passion and have no hunger for power as the most powerful people in the realm? They could have done worse.
The end of the episode wrapped up the remaining major character’s storylines quickly. Brienne of Tarth, Bronn (apparently) of Highgarden and Davos of Seaworth made up the small council with Tyrion, while Grey Worm and the Unsullied sailed to Na’arth. The Stark siblings and their different chosen or dictated paths closed the episode. Jon Snow was banished to the Wall, and after teary goodbyes with his brothers and sisters, we saw what everyone needed, which was Jon reunited with Ghost and defying the rules as usual, going beyond the Wall and the Night’s Watch for what seemed suspiciously like forever. Arya geared up and went wherever is west of Westeros, looking very much the part on her ship with her new shiny scar on her forehead (thanks Daenerys). Last, but certainly not least, Sansa was crowned the Queen of the North, rightfully and deservedly so.
So, the last episode has come and gone. Those key characters that we started this epic journey with now rule the Six Kingdoms, rule the North, roam the seas and have escaped Beyond the Wall. We bid Game of Thrones adieu, and we look forward to hearing your thoughts on this last episode.
Best Line (last episode = 2 answers):
Tyrion Lannister: “I freed my brother. You slaughtered a city.” / Jon Snow: “You are my Queen. Now and always.”
Daenerys Targaryen !!!!
Most Touching Moment (last episode = 2 answers):
Brienne of Tarth writing down Jaime’s life story *cue tears* / Drogon trying to wake Daenerys *cue flood of tears*
Biggest Jaw-Drop Moment (last episode = 2 answers):
Daenerys Targaryen getting stabbed by Jon Snow / Bran the Broken becoming King of the Six Kingdoms