Summary: Dany takes control of King's Landing and plans to conquer the world. Tyrion quits as Hand and is apprehended. Jon talks with Tyrion who encourages him to kill Dany. Jon eventually kills Dany. Drogon goes into a rage and urns down the iron throne. Drogon leaves with Dany's body. Jon is taken as a prisoner. The lords of the realm and Tyrion meet to appoint a new king. Tyrion suggests Bran and the others all agree. Bran takes over as king and creates a new small council. Tyrion is taken as Hand. Bran sentences Jon to the Night's Watch. Sansa is allowed independence in the North. Arya sails west on a new adventure.
The Good: The episode started off on the right foot. The opening scenes did a brilliant job of establishing a melancholy and desolate atmosphere, creating a near-perfect tone for Dany's new world that she so violently created. Tyrion and Jon walking through the death on the streets was powerful and nicely set up both characters to oppose Dany later.
There were a number of great scenes early in the episode. I thought Dany's break the wheel speech was fantastic and nicely showed us how fractured her mind and goals had become (even if the process to get here wasn't very good at all). Tyrion resigning from his position was a good moment too. Tyrion actually had the best scene of the episode prior to this when he finds the dead bodies of his siblings. It was a sad and tragic end for the Lannisters with Tyrion facing the death of his family.
Tyrion and Jon's conversation was quite good too. It was lengthy and I think it was the closest we have gotten to the classic conversations of seasons 1-4 in a long while. Both characters' motives were clear and they had some very good lines. Tyrion finally did something smart for the first time in many seasons, while Jon has finally been given a proper conflict to deal with in this season. There were some good references to the past as well which the show has done well in the last 2 seasons, if a bit too often.
Brienne's story ended up being the only one I was actually satisfied with. Her character's arc this season was the only one that felt earned and emotional with great (though not perfect) closure on her character. Having her finish off Jaime's account in The White Book was a great, and fittingly somber conclusion for her relationship with Jaime.
Jon actually interacted with Ghost! Yay!
The Bad: This ending was underwhelming in a lot of ways and I don't think it captured the essence of the show very much at all. D&D decided to take inspiration from "The Lord of the Rings" for this ending with its many layers and its epic length. I liked it for "Lord of the Rings" because it nicely closed out the characters while offering a very emotional farewell. Yet it failed horribly here because the path to these final scenes was so poor. The scenes dragged on and were more confusing and rushed than anything else. Somehow after years and years of investment, I felt nothing at the end of what used to be one of my favourite TV shows. How has it come to this?
Well I believe I've explained why the show isn't as good as it used to be in my more recent reviews (mostly because of writing) and that is a big reason as to why this finale flopped. My immersion and investment had slowly been chipped away since season 5. The writing of the show had hit such a low that I was falling out of love with the story and its characters. Now after this episode, I think I finally hit that moment where I stopped caring after the many stupidities I had to watch in this episode. The fond farewells did nothing for me and I found myself just eager to get this disappointment over with. Rather than relishing my final moments in this world, I just wanted it to be over. And unlike TV shows like "Lost" or "Breaking Bad" which left me feeling sad at its conclusion due to the need to say goodbye to these characters, "Game of Thrones" just left me feeling sad that the show wasn't better than it was.
The first half of this episode should have been outstanding and emotional. Dany has gone evil and has killed a ton of people. Now our heroes need to come to terms with themselves and murder her. It's a great story idea yet it doesn't work. Why? Once more it fails because of the writing. The way the show got to this position was so contrived that I found it actually difficult to buy into the story being told. It kept my immersion minimal so I wasn't into the emotions that Jon and Tyrion were feeling as they conspired against Dany. That, coupled with a ridiculously rushed pacing, caused my emotional investment to be low and that prevented the episode from impacting me the way that it should have.
Even the Jon/Tyrion scene had issues with it that I immediately noticed. Jon says he won't defend what Dany did, and yet he immediately starts defending her. Why? I can't buy into him still standing beside Dany after this happened. Their romance isn't strong enough of a storyline for this to work. I was upset by Tyrion adding some depth to his decision to kill Varys after the fact. Wouldn't that have been such a great story to watch develop for a few episodes? Instead the show is so rushed that nothing interesting happened when it could have been great. These big problems made me reflect on how disappointing the show has been these past few seasons, rather than reflect on how great the show was. This occurred many more times throughout the episode.
Then we get to Jon killing Dany, and it was... disappointing. The scene was so generic with Jon kissing and killing Dany in such a dull and predictable way. It felt so easy and shockingly anticlimactic. I feel like I should have felt so much more here, but with the lame writing and rushed nature of Jon and Dany's relationship, the scene fell flat for me with little emotion. Drogon burning the iron throne and not killing Jon afterwards felt odd and I was left with more questions than answers. It was yet another case of the writers wanting to go for spectacle rather than actual substance.
So with Dany dead, you would expect absolute chaos to result. I was much more excited to see what happened following her death than anything else in the episode. But the writers made the boneheaded mistake of ignoring the fallout and doing a lazy timeskip. Well what happened? How did the public react? Did the Dothraki go crazy and kill more? Did Jon's men rise up? Did Dany's death cause riots? What happened to everyone after she died? Did King's Landing get rebuilt? Were there enough people to do this? These questions were all skipped over because the writers were too lazy. It's unbelievable. Continuing on the writers' laziness, I thought it was remarkable that we didn't get proper follow-up on the events of last episode. Nobody tries to make sure that Cersei is actually dead. We don't see if any survivors were found and what was done with them. We don't see what everyone thinks about Dany. We don't even get a scene where people confront Dany for killing everyone after the surrender. Hell, Jon doesn't even bring this up when he talks with her! These are important details, and the lack of these details completely killed my immersion. I was too distracted to care about what was happening in the show.
Then we get to the god-awful scene where the lords of Westeros gather to select a new king. First of all, how did this get organized? What was everyone told? Why did they all gather? Was nobody busy? Did nobody care to bring any of their own men with them? Who sent the messages? Whose side are they on? Are there any threats to be worried about? How many men do each of them have? The "Game of Thrones" of old would never have glossed over these details. I've said before how the world of Westeros feels so empty now, and this is one of the reasons why. None of the details are explored.
The scene itself is horribly written. It's implied that Grey Worm has power over the city. So did he invite everyone here? They are all meeting in the dragonpit after all. There is literally not a single line of dialogue addressing how this was all organized. Grey Worm is so hostile and seems to want to resolve things himself. So why didn't he care to participate in this discussion? Was Tyrion his representative? No way that's right. Why was Tyrion even allowed to attend anyways? None of these details were touched on and it adds to how poorly the scene is written. There is so much more too that I hated. Edmure is openly humiliated again in an unnecessary scene. I hate that the writers chose to give time to this scene rather than focusing on the details of the world. The comedy in this scene was weak and not needed. I did get a kick out of Yara laughing at Sam for suggesting a vote from the people. Did she forget that the ironborn select their next king in the same way?
The decision to make Bran the king was so, so, so stupid. Why would everyone listen to Tyrion, the prisoner, anyways? And why does Tyrion think Bran is a good choice? They have hardly ever talked! Furthermore, Bran's reactions are so bad. Bran has made it clear he doesn't want anymore, yet in this scene he implies that he only came down to King's Landing because he wanted to be king. What awful, awful writing. Plus, why does literally everyone vote for him? Do the others not have their own interests? Plus, half of them have no idea who the hell Bran even is, so why would they vote for him?! It's so dumb. Then Sansa asks for independence, which makes sense. But why didn't anybody else try for independence. How about Yara, who was promised independence back in "The Winds of Winter"? Does she not want it anymore? Or Dorne, who were never ruled by the king to being with? So much for unbowed, unbent, unbroken. Hell, the prince of Dorne didn't say a single word, so clearly he doesn't matter. Also, why is Gendry the official lord of the Stormlands now? Did it only take Dany's word at Winterfell to make it official? Did the people of the Stormlands just accept him without any kind of fight? It's all so unrealistic. The more I think about it, the more holes I am able to poke into the logic of this scene. It's simply pathetic.
I hated how the episode treated Jon after he killed Dany. He had little to no focus on his character after this. Nobody vouched for him to be a king even though he is a Targaryen. Why, I will never know. What's worse is that when you look back at it, Jon's lineage had zero impact on the story. All it did was make Dany mad. That's literally it. Such a big twist with limitless possibilities can't possibly have no ramifications whatsoever. That's just poor storytelling. Furthermore, the decision on what to do with him should surely have been given more time. It's a genuine conflict for Bran. But alas, the writers don't care about Bran and Jon's simply banished in one scene. Why is he banished anyways? The only people who want him dead just went away to Naath. So can't they just free him now?
Plus, why is the Night's Watch even a thing now? What are they defending against? The White Walkers are dead and the wildlings are allies now. Are they hunting for grumpkins and snarks? Also, what about that gaping hole in The Wall? Is anyone going to be able to fix that?
I have several other quibbles. The small council scene was pathetic and just served to remind me of how good the small council scenes were earlier in the series. The patheticness of this scene was just painful for me to experience and it made me crave for the old "Game of Thrones" more than anything. How could it have come to this?
Arya's extended screentime in the last episode was quite pointless. She did nothing whatsoever. Hell, she didn't even have a story arc this season even though she killed the Night King. She was painfully bland. The same can be said for many of the characters this season. They were misused and/or given nothing to do. The best examples are Jon, Dany, Jaime, Cersei and Davos, though many other characters had downright bad storylines this season. I'm honing in on Arya specifically because she had so much time on screen. Yet she did next to nothing the entire time. How hard is it to give her a character arc instead of just making her an unkillable assassin? Furthermore, that convenient horse from last episode didn't even get any pay-off. It wasn't symbolism, it was just a way to make Arya survive King's Landing. And damn it, it doesn't even appear in this episode!
The presence of winter has been so inconsistent. The scenes flash from summer to winter sporadically and it fails to establish a consistent setting. After hyping up that winter will be coming from the first episode, it hardly even came at all. Even the writers don't know if it's winter or not.
Had Jaime or Cersei stood a few feet away from where they were, they would have lived. That's just poor storytelling.
The Unknown: Did King's Landing get rebuilt? Or is it still rubble? How many survivors were there? Is Bran actually ruling anything?
Why does Bran need a master of whisperers when he knows everything? That's kind of pointless, and besides, who would even be up to the task?
Who will be Bran's kingsguard? Will he have any? You would think that the cripple king would need guards more than anyone else.
Where has Drogon gone with Dany's body? Valyria?
Did Jon join up with the wildlings rather than the Night's Watch? That's a neat development.
What ever happened with the Lord of Light? Does he no logner exist? Why did he bring Jon back to life anyways? I find it tough to believe it was just to kill Ramsay and Dany.
Best Moment: Tyrion crying over his dead siblings.
Character of the Episode: Brienne for having the best character conclusion.
Conclusion: This was so disappointing, and I don't think disappointing is a strong enough word to describe what happened here. The finale is enjoyable enough at parts but the writing is so lazy it's absurd. D&D really phoned it in this season and it shows. This is an absolute trainwreck and will go down as one of the worst finales ever. The more I think about this episode, the more painful it gets. At this point I'm not even mad anymore, just in pain. How did such a great story end this way?
Season 8 ended up as a pretty looking, well-acted disaster. Outside of episode 2, no storytelling stood out whatsoever and it was nearly impossible to care about anything that happened in the show. The characters were all handled badly, many questions were left unanswered and the ending proved to be absolutely awful. At this point I really don't want to talk about this season any more than I already have. I've written thousands of words on it, and that will be enough to give you an idea of how weak this was. In retrospect, every episode I rated this season was rated too high and should have been much lower, particularly the battle episodes which are fun on the first watch, but disappointingly stale on rewatch. Even "The Bells" feels so much worse after watching how meaningless it all was following this episode. It's amazing how much stink a bad ending will leave on the rest of the show. "Game of Thrones" didn't deserve to go out this way, and I've already rejected this as a canonical ending. I'll just have to wait until GRRM releases the final two books to get the ending we deserve.
Just a university student who loves to watch TV. And criticize it like hell.