TV’s biggest, most popular and talked about show has come to an end. After 8 years, we finally got to see who’s won the Iron Throne. Or do we really? It’s time to look back at the most cinematic piece of entertainment ever put to our home screens. Fair warning though: spoilers are coming.
For those who still don’t know (are you living in a cave?), Game of Thrones is the TV adaptation of the yet-to-be-completed A Song of Ice and Fire book series by George R.R. Martin. That’s right, the show went well ahead of the books, starting with Season 6 all the way to Season 8. For that reason, I won’t cover the differences with the books and talk about the show as if it were an original creation by David Benioff and D. B. Weiss. Lots of things are happening in the show, too many to be outlined in a few words. But know that it tells the story of powerful houses in the fictional world of Westeros battling for the Iron Throne. We start with the Stark family leaving for King’s Landing (the Capital of the Seven Kingdoms) with current King Robert Baratheon. The last offsprings of defeated Mad King, Aerys II Targaryen, have been outcasted. When Queen Cersei Lannister poisons the King, their son takes the Throne and executes the Head of House Stark. Thus starts the War of the Five Kings. Still following?
Understand that, when I said that too many things happened in Game of Thrones, it was really an understatement. We have over 75 hours of story covering events taking place on 2 continents (Westeros and Essos) and involving hundreds of characters. Many died along the way, some made their way to the end. As such, thousands if not millions of fans debated the show over the years of its broadcast. Who’s Jon Snow? We got that answer, of course. Debates and fan theories became more intense after the show runners announced taking a year and a half hiatus to write the Final Season. Especially with all the revelations that were made in 6 and 7. Inevitably, we went into 8 with high expectations. I, for instance, would have loved to see Tyrion Lannister on the Iron Throne. But that, of course, didn’t happen. Bran the Broken of House Stark became the ruler of the Six Kingdoms (where’s the seventh?, you’re asking. It became independent). The writers had subverted our expectations in the most “meh” way possible.
I, for instance, would have loved to see Tyrion Lannister on the Iron Throne.
I’d like to go back to George R.R. Martin. When asked if wether or not he would change the plot of the books if someone had guessed it, he stated “I would not. I laid in clues and things that pointed to a particular thing and if I now changed it, the new solution would not be satisfactory because the clues point in another way. It would be a cheat in a sense.” The biggest clue that we came across in past Seasons was that Jon Snow is not the bastard of Ned Stark, but Aegon Targaryen, son of Lyanna Stark and Rhaegar Targaryen after they married in secret, True Heir to the Iron Throne. That’s huge. And that revelation even plays a significant part of Season 8. Would that have been a better ending? Certainly more satisfactory. He doesn’t want it. Nor did he want to be Lord Commander of the Night Watch. But he was. Nor did he want to be King in the North. But he was. As Tyrion pointed out, the fact that he doesn’t want it makes him a better candidate. But they went with Bran. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not criticising the choice that was made. Just the execution.
Because in my opinion, taking an unexpected decision doesn’t make it good. Pippin being crowned King of Gondor is unexpected, but not good. Neville killing Lord Voldemort is unexpected, but not good either. Why? Because as George R.R. Martin said, we feel we’ve been cheated. The last Season of Game of Thrones felt like a cheat to me. Many things can also be said on characters arcs that took an unexpected twist in the last episodes. I’ve never picked clues that Daenerys would become the Mad Queen before half-way through Season 8. I also thought that Jaime had learned his lesson and left Cersei for good. But no. All of that contributes to my feeling of being cheated by the writers. Having said that, Game of Thrones stands as my favourite show of all time. The “meh” ending doesn’t take that away. The writing up to The Long Night is terrific, performances are off the chart (especially Peter Dinklage), and I was much more invested in the story than in any other show. I wanted the show to go with a bang, but it felt more like a whisper.