This is it. “The Iron Throne” is the end of an era, for better or worse. We’re done with the weekly Game of Thrones discussions, and these characters, what they are, and what they can be, are back in GRRM’s hands. Hopefully, sometime soon, we can dust them off and get to go on adventures with them again (Finish that book, George, finish that book), but for now, this is it. The End.
And we have a lot of feelings – most of them bad.
It feels like it was an impossible undertaking, to end Game of Thrones in a way that satisfied everyone. But it also feels like it should have been impossible to disappoint almost everyone, and yet here we are! So let us discuss what we got, what we wanted, and the reason for the divide.
Joining me are Ashley, Michelle, Gillian, Jasmine, Mckenzie and Raquel. So let’s get on with it!
On a scale of 1 to 10, how would you rate “The Iron Throne”? What was your favorite scene of the episode? Your least favorite? Use a reaction gif to express your feelings about this episode.
Lizzie: It was just …not good. 1/10. I didn’t think it COULD be, considering the setup of the previous two, but even I will admit I was shocked at how slow and anti-climactic it was. THIS was what they planned for years? An out-of-left-field twist that confused even the people involved and the most cliched ending to Daenerys ever? Give me a break.
The only good thing was Sansa as Queen in the North, but even that was somehow turned into a Sansa gets power but is now destined to be ALONE thing, so ugh. As for least favorite, I have a bunch, but two stick out: Drogon, the political analyst deciding to burn the throne instead of Jon, cause duh, and Tyrion suggesting to Arya’s face that Bran had a better story than her. WUT?
Ashley: 1/10. As far as trying to wrap up the trainwreck-of-hot-garbage-crashing-into-a-dumpster-fire that was the last episode, it did actually manage to resolve most of the things from that episode. As far as making any narrative sense within the series as a whole? NONE, save perhaps for the North becoming an independent kingdom again. No real set up for most of the things that happened. Blatant disregard for existing story arcs, prophecies, and canon, in either the books or show. Awful. My favorite scene? The shot of Daenerys with Drogon’s wings behind her is the most iconic shot of the entire episode. Least favorite? Dead Jaime. This will never be canon.
Michelle: This is a difficult question to answer. Simply a 5/10.
The rating of this episode isn’t as simple as a single number. I didn’t like the story of the episode, but I loved the cinematography, the acting, and all of the graphics involved. But the story and character progression that culminated everything to the very end? Nope. So I will give it a 5. More points to everything and minimal points to the story.
Gillian: 4/10. Easily the worst episode of the season and I haven’t really liked any episode in the final season so that is quite the accomplishment! My favorite part was Sansa’s ending and my least favorite was pretty much everything else. Especially the amount of slow walking scenes there were because that is not how you pad an episode with a terrible storyline anyway!
Jasmine: 5/10. It just left me feeling meh afterwards. My favorite scene was Sansa becoming Queen of the North. It’s what she wanted since the beginning and she got it. My least favorite part? Jon having to go back to the Nights watch! Some BS!!!
McKenzie: I’ll give it a 5. Coming into season 8 I was expecting to feel immense sadness when we got to the final episode. Instead, I’m just wondering what the point of this season was. I feel like they left 9 million open plot holes that they never covered or outright ignored. There were only two scenes of happiness for me. Watching Sansa become Queen of the North, because she deserved that. Then the 5 seconds we got to see of Ghost again. That’s it.
Basically this episode and the whole season:
Raquel: Hard question … because for me, the episode was a mixture of everything: meaningless stories; logical stories within the lousy plot created these last episodes and stories that really do justice to the development of the characters and their stories. So I give it a 6.
My favorite scene is the coronation of Sansa. I think it makes sense with the character’s story and development. She has deserved to be the Queen in the North, because she has always watched over it and fought tooth and nail for it. She has learned and grown and we, all of us, have grown up with her. To see her being crowned … I feel very proud of her and all that she has achieved. In addition, the scene is beautiful, with symbolism everywhere in Sansa’s costume, in her hairstyle, in her throne, in her crown … and, of course, in that precious final assembly with all the Starks that, at last, have won the Game of Thrones.
Another of my favorite scenes is the farewell of the Starks siblings. They didn’t start as siblings, so much that only Arya saw Jon as her brother. But now, they are all an authentic family, despite the truths, the secrets, the changes … there is a really affection between them and, although they are separated, they feel that they will always be united. They can always go to their family. They are no longer alone.
And, of course, I’m not going to forget about Drogon and how he tries to make Dany react … to burn the Iron Throne later. Sad and heartbreaking scene Drogon’s pain, and very brave and significant the symbol of burning the throne for which so many lives were lost, including Dany.
My least favorite scene is, of course, Bran’s coronation. I don’t think it makes any sense, especially when Tyrion has grown tired of saying that Jon would be the ideal king. And, after all, Bran never cared about that power or earned it … one nonsense after another.
My gif reaction to this episode can not be other than:
Bran is the King of the Six* Kingdoms, Bran the Broken, First of his Name. Does this make any sense? Was there enough setup? Did you like it?
Lizzie: Look, remember when Bran was all like I can’t be Lord of Winterfell because I’m the Three-Eyed-Raven, and then was all like I don’t want things anymore and over and over again? REMEMBER? Because I do, it was like two seconds ago.
So yeah, sense is long gone. We waved bye-bye to it. Setup is apparently something this show only does to throw it away. And no, I did not like it one bit.
Ashley: We’re already way down the rabbit hole and have been having tea with the Mad Hatter for the last half of the season, so something making sense is almost a laughable question. Nothing about this makes sense though. There’s been no set up. They have not even established what Bran can actually do. I am disturbed that you’ve essentially now established a dynasty that will last for 1000 years with Bran. Think about it. Three-Eyed Ravens seem to just keep existing. How long did the original wait for Bran? Quite a while. A third party that uses a host and can warg into and manipulate anyone at will. HE’S SEARCHING FOR DROGON! THIS IS A PROBLEM!
Michelle: I don’t get it. It doesn’t make sense. His smug self can go back to his tree. There hasn’t been any clue, cookie crumble, trail, or anything to signify this moment in time. Just because Tyrion says something, it now makes sense? Someone who doesn’t want it, but will be punished by leading? WHAT? They didn’t even explain ANYTHING about Bran’s capacity as a Three-Eyed Raven. Only that “that’s not what I am anymore.”
Gillian: This was the moment that I really got mad. When I realized what Tyrion was doing, I exclaimed “You’ve got to be fucking kidding me.” Bran has never been a favorite of mine. I can barely read his chapters in the books and he has never been endeared to me on the show (HE IS THE REASON HODOR IS DEAD). His storyline has been the weirdest and makes the least sense in the show. There is absolutely no reason he’d be a good leader. He has barely been around anyone, but sure. Let him rule the Six Kingdoms. It was baffling, came out of nowhere, and it was honestly one of the worst things they could have done.
Jasmine: Nope, did not make a bit of sense to me! Truly the biggest WTF moment for me while watching. My mouth dropped open and stayed open for several minutes. He literally did NOTHING to end up in that position. He just let the world fall apart around him even when he knew what was going to happen. When he said “why do you think I came all this way?” I was like you smug bastard!
McKenzie: Never in a million years did I think Bran would become King. Besides that, he has said multiple times he can’t rule, he’s the Three-Eyed Raven. That was obviously crap. He knew everything that would happen and he let thousands of innocent people die. He is the villain we never saw coming and Westeros doesn’t even know. Have fun dealing with him for thousands of years. You won’t get to choose a ruler after him. Not that his storyline has made any sense, they never really took the time to explain his abilities.
Raquel: It doesn’t make any sense. I just don’t understand it, really. Bran has not earned it, has not fought, has not even cared or shown anything beyond becoming the Three Eyed Raven (and this season, not even that, looking eerie has been his “superpower” this season 8). I think his destiny would have been more logical if he had been in the Royal Council, but not being king.
I think that, as it happened with Dany and in other aspects of the show, they have prioritized surprise before development. Nobody (or almost nobody) had Bran in their pools to be king. So, they have decided that it should be him to “leave us with our mouths open” but, in reality, what they have achieved is to leave us with a very bittersweet taste that feels as if what we have seen these years doesn’t make any sense. We have been disappointed and deceived.
If they had explained this turn, perhaps the opinion would be different. But it is that they have not explained it. They have not explained anything. Prioritizing surprise over development is never a good sign … and it is what the show has done throughout the season.
Sansa declared the North independent, and became Queen in the North. Does this make sense? Was there enough setup? Did you like it?
Lizzie: It’s the best part of the episode, and the only thing that makes sense in the progression of where the characters are, but it still felt hollow considering all the crap surrounding it. Sansa deserved it, yes, and her progression has been one of the few the show hasn’t crapped on, but did she really need to stand there alone? Is that the one lesson of power on this show? Did she choose power over family?
Ashley: This is surprisingly the only thing I found plausible about this episode. Sansa has shown her leadership abilities for the past 3 seasons. She’s earned it. Bravo to Sophie Turner for taking a character that used to drive me bananas and making her into a character that I like and respect. Well done.
Michelle: I agree. This is the only storyline that stayed true to their canon. Sansa’s character progression has led her to this moment. There was a clear and defined timeline that showed viewers why she is what she is. Every season has shown how Sansa is the fit ruler of the North (and 7 Kingdoms, because wrong sibling up there).
Gillian: Sansa deserved more but I can’t say I’m unhappy with this development. In some ways, it actually proved just how much she deserved the throne over Bran. I don’t think she trusts him at all. But she also knows that by fully throwing a fit, she’d likely get nothing so she uses all her knowledge to get a throne that she deserves. And possibly save her people a ton of heartbreak in a few years. All hail Queen Sansa!
Jasmine: Makes a whole lot of sense! Sansa is a smart cookie. People tended to underestimate her but she proved the naysayers wrong. She just sat back and took stock of everything happening. She watched everyone around her and learned what not to do. She learned how to be a leader on her own terms and I can’t think of a better queen than her.
McKenzie: If there has been one thing I was sure of it was that the North would be independent again. They have been fighting for that since they crowned Robb. This was one thing they did set up right, shockingly. Sansa is very smart, played the game, and came out on top. She knows what she is doing. Sophie Turner has done a wonderful job with Sansa. I remember once when I couldn’t stand her character and now I love her.
Raquel: In my opinion, it makes perfect sense and I love it. Sansa deserves it. I think they have been moving towards this destination little by little. She said it herself “I learn slowly … but I learn,” and she has learned. She has learned to play the game of thrones; also the art of manipulation and of knowing how to recognize it; she has developed her intelligence, her strength, her courage and her cunning and has earned the respect and loyalty of the entire North on her own merits.
Sansa’s destiny has developed since the beginning of the show, and has been the perfect culmination for her growth. I’m tremendously proud of her.
Long live the Queen in the North!
In the end, Daenerys was killed by Jon, who, as a punishment, was banished beyond the Wall. How do you feel about this ending for the song of Ice and Fire?
Lizzie: It’s sooooo stupid I cannot even fully rant about it, because I think we can all see that it’s stupid, I don’t need to convince anyone. Whatever your issues might have been with Daenerys, her episode 5 turn came out of nowhere, and Jon’s betrayal kinda did too, even if the show tried valiantly to set it up with loooong conversations and charged looks.
Honestly, the one thing I have to say is that, if you haven’t, you should read the books, because this wasn’t book Jon, at all, and the woman I saw in the last few episodes wasn’t book Daenerys either, and if anything, GRRM will take us wherever he needs us to go with a LOT MORE SETUP.
Ashley: I’m sorry, but I don’t even understand why the Night’s Watch even exists. No more White Walkers. No Children of the Forest. The North has made peace with the Wildlings. It seems like it only exists as a convenient place to put Jon so he’s not dead. I refuse to believe anything in this last half of the season is even plausible for the true ending of A Song of Ice and Fire. I’ll be over here praying for George R. R. Martin to live long and prosper and finish the series so everyone will know the real ending to this beautiful tale that he created and that D&D cannibalized to tell their dudebro fanfic.
Michelle: This was such a quick and swift death that it is disrespectful of for Dany’s character and calibur of her strength. There wasn’t a lead up, nor was there any type of thought process from Jon. Once again, Tyrion says something and events just fall into place? There is so much missing from this storyline, and it felt so rushed. Jon’s banishment beyond the wall was also unwarranted. How did he get caught? Why would the Wildlings accept him back? This plot seemed to be a device of convenience and I did not prefer it.
Gillian: I’d rather that he died to be honest. I have not been kind to Jon this season but I also don’t see why he deserved to live. I would have loved to see Dany and Jon kill each other or have Drogon kill him and then the Iron Throne. Dany had to die. There was no way around that but as with every death this season, there was nothing shocking about it. It was boring. And why do we need the Night’s Watch? There were so many threads that could have made sense had they given more time to them instead of the slow walking or Tyrion fixing chairs.
Jasmine: I agree Danys death was super quick and so easy! I will say this though, as much as I hated that moment, it made sense because Jon was the only one who could get close enough to take her out which albeit cliche was what I expected. Jon getting banished pissed me off, like WTF? He might as well have stayed dead after season 5!
McKenzie: I feel bad for Jon and I feel bad for Dany. Jon has to kill a member of his family, a woman he is in love with. He stabs her through the heart and watches as she dies. Dany is killed by perhaps the only person she can trust 100%, besides Grey Worm. She even offered to have him rule by her side and he kills her for it. However, I don’t get the point of him being banished to the Night’s Watch. The Night King is dead, who do they have to protect? Also, it’s not like the Unsullied were ever going to stay. They didn’t need to punish Jon, he saved them all. Be grateful. But once again, Jon gives up everything and has to suffer for everyone else.
Raquel: Fucking mad, more with the fact that Jon had to kill Dany than with his punishment. It has not been something that they have developed well, again, prioritizing surprise over development. A blunder they have committed throughout the season. I always wanted both to reign together. But, to tell the truth, there were some clues that indicated that the end would be Jon killing Dany. But they could have done it in so many ways … for example, they could have relied on one of the prophecies of this universe. A prince who had to kill the love of his life to prevent the White Walkers from taking over the world, for example.
Something like that would have been sad, brutal, surprising … but logical. Everything that Game of Thrones is. But making Jon kill her because she goes crazy drives me mad. Dany’s doesn’t make sense, turn and the message it conveys is that women are not good enough to reign and we are emotionally weaker than men. A disgustingly misogynistic message that makes me want to have the producers in front of me to explain a few things to them.
That said, it doesn’t seem fair to me that Tyrion is free and Jon is exiled. But life is not fair. I think that Jon’s punishment was fairly well justified in plot, although I don’t like the fact that the character ends where he started and I think he doesn’t do justice to all the development he has.
Arya decided to become an explorer, and sail beyond the known lands – alone. Does this make sense? Did you like this ending for her? What would you have done differently?
Lizzie: Eh …I mean, again, I would have liked more setup for this than Arya asking once what was West of Westeros. This is her whole life she’s forsaking, her entire family, Gendry and all the possibilities of that. It seems to me like this show is sending the message that you’re either a lady OR a knight/adventurer, etc. You absolutely cannot be both, and men cannot want you in the long run if you aren’t a lady, so you’re better off, to which I have to say Fuck you, Game of Thrones. Fuck you.
Ashley: I don’t know how I feel about this one, honestly. Arya is much like her wolf, Nymeria, wild and adventurous, wanting to see what she can see. Assuming the world in which Westeros exists is a globe, my guess is that she’ll find Essos. That is what happens when you sail west. You eventually go east. If you wanted to go a little deeper, you can say that this is all just representative of Arya never wanting to settle down, not to be “a lady,” like Ned described in season 1, but I refuse to give D&D that much credit. They’ve proven they’re not that smart or that they just don’t care. I would have preferred that Arya find herself somewhere in the middle. You CAN be a woman AND do whatever moves your spirit, even if it’s not something stereotypically “feminine.” Anything outside of that is far too narrow a definition of women.
Michelle: I enjoyed this ending, because it felt true to her nature. But I also feel like there wasn’t much explanation done. Is it in exploration for the North? Does she just aimlessly wander around the world? She’s in a ship with the Stark sigil. Does this mean something more? Is this an opening for a future series? I don’t know. But I would have spent the last few minutes of the montage and maybe added it to the rest of the episode. I just have so many questions.
Gillian: I thought she was going to die! So, I guess I’m happy she lived. But also, she didn’t do much of anything this episode and all her assassin training seemed to be for nothing? I was disappointed more on that end than her actual ending. It kind of fits her character. She never wanted to stay in one place and do all the normal lady thing so her off exploring is kind of nice. I do wish she had brought Gendry along though.
Jasmine: Arya has always been hungry for knowledge. She’s always searching for more so this totally made sense. I was so sad when she left but I was also at peace with her storyline.
McKenzie: Arya was never going to be a lady and sit in a castle and do needle point. This made perfect sense for me. Of course she would go off into the unknown, the girl loves adventure. Why couldn’t Gendry go with her though? That made no sense to me. That is the one thing I would have changed.
Raquel: In my opinion, Arya is one of the few characters to whom they truly did justice. She made it clear from the beginning that she didn’t want to be a lady. She is a free spirit, who has a big heart and a huge desire to explore the world and the possibilities it can offer her; always with Needle at her side and willing to use it when others need it. She is a heroine, that is what she is. And I think the end is perfect.
Perhaps, if I had done something different, it would have been to have her stay in the North as Commander of the Queen’s Royal Guard. That also would have fit, but I have no complaint about the end that they have given … to her personally.
I have a complaint about what they have done with Arya and Gendry. It doesn’t make sense for him to stay as Lord of Storm’s End when he never cared about titles or castles. The logical thing would have been for Gendry to follow wherever Arya went and end up together.
The main 4 Stark siblings all lived, but for all that the lone wolf dies and the pack survives, they all ended up alone. What do you think this says about the way the show approached the idea of love – be it romantic or not? What would you have done different?
Lizzie: I hated it. I felt like the message was love is bad, family is bad, the pack only needs each other survive, not to live. The whole love is the death of duty thing seems to be the message they were trying to send, and hey, since that’s true, rid yourself of any love? I just …what? Can no one find balance? Alternatively, was this the ONLY way these writers could do bittersweet?
Ashley: D&D have no concept of love, familial, romantic, or otherwise. They understand sex. I once heard sex/nudity described as the cheapest special effect in Hollywood. They certainly at least understand that bit. But they do not understand love. You want to know what I’d have done differently? I’d have Bryan Cogman write the entire season because he actually understands the characters, their motivation, and love. Watch his interview in “The Game Revealed” segment for 8×02 [Link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dcqrNXKv628%5D. This is a man that clearly cares about his art. He’s not in it for dragons and explosions. If I ever write a fantasy series, he’s the one I’d hire to head up a screen adaptation.
Michelle: I really disliked this ending. It wasn’t romantic at all. The message of season 8 for the Starks has been to remember who your family are. But here they all are, alone without each other for support. I mean Bran and Arya travel, Sansa is home, and Jon can’t even go back beyond the wall. It is so disjointed from the original canon of this world, and once again, I have questions.
Gillian: This is a tough one. I definitely didn’t love that they all went their separate ways. But I do appreciate that they accepted Sansa on the throne without a man. She has been through so much and for her to find love on her own terms, if she chooses, is something I approve of. I can’t be bothered to think about Bran and I can understand his siblings wanting to get away from him. And Jon has to figure out his real place in the world so some time away might be a good thing. Once again, I wish the reveal of his parents had been sooner or we had gotten more episodes to fully explore his thoughts on the matter. It was only presented in the form of conflict for Dany. And Arya should have brought Gendry along as I stated above.
I feel like I haven’t answered the question at all. I think the show used to be really good at showing love, both romantic and familial. But then, there was a turn and even when we were rooting for some of the romance, they just didn’t care. I understand that we weren’t meant to have a happy ending but it feels kind of cheap the way it was presented to us.
McKenzie: I wasn’t a huge fan of it to be honest. They are family, family sticks together. Where is the support? Everyone went their separate ways and it left me feeling like they would never see eachother again. For a House that prides themselves on family, they sure fell short.
Raquel: I have mixed feelings about this. On the one hand, I would have loved for the Starks to stay together, like the pack they are. But, despite the reservations I have with the destinies of Jon and Bran, I think that each one has followed their paths and that seems good to me.
It’s what the family has. Each one is in a way, follows his own path, his own dreams and desires, grows and explores his own life, but, at the end of the day, you can always count on your family no matter how far away you are from each other, so I think the Starks are a reflection of that. I don’t think they are alone, I think they are still a pack, but that each wolf has followed its own path … but they are never alone, never. No longer.
On the other hand, I think the show doesn’t do love any favors. Basically in the romantic aspect. They have not let couples who, by the character of the characters, should have finished together, have done so. They have also given a horrible message about women with Dany and Brienne.
You already know what I think about Dany but Brienne … the message they sent with her is that the less graceful girl, the one who really has good feelings and is true to herself, no matter what else, doesn’t get the handsome boy. Not really. He will return with the beautiful girl, simply because she is prettier.
However, I think that the show does show us what friendship and fraternal love mean, love despite their differences, learn to love those differences; It is true that in some cases much better than in others, but the general assessment in that sense is good.
Brienne’s ending was meant to be a happy one. Was it? What message do you think the way her story ended sends? What would you have done differently?
Lizzie: Once again, I think this has to do with the fact that these writers think women can only be strong one way, and if a woman like Brienne is going to have a “happy” ending, her happiness has to lie in doing her duty, and being recognized for being the best at it, because they absolutely don’t understand nuance, and they apparently haven’t met many women who balance family life, work, and a thousand other things every day, and do a brilliant job of it.
What I would have done differently has a lot to do with Jaime, and the way they botched HIS character, because I think these two deserved to grow old together, and I think Brienne deserved to be the character that proved that you don’t have to be just a knight, just a warrior, you can have everything, do everything.
Ashley: My biggest complaint this season aside from Jaime’s botched redemption arc is the complete misunderstanding of Brienne’s character. Brienne’s arc is NOT just about her finally being recognized as a knight. Brienne’s greatest aspiration is not to be a glorified bodyguard. The thing Brienne wants the most of all is to be loved and respected for exactly who she is as a woman. Brienne is strong. Brienne is intelligent. She’s kind and good and loyal. But Brienne is also deeply romantic. She’s a lover and a fighter. Jaime is driven by the things he does for love. Brienne is too, which is why she and Jaime are so attracted to each other. D&D have absolutely no idea what to do with a more than one note character. They can’t get past the idea that the ugly girl might actually be something other than stoic deep down inside, that her inner beauty far surpasses any other character’s exterior beauty.
We finally see the one and only time that Brienne makes a choice for herself when she chooses to be with Jaime and D&D snatched that away from her. I am utterly incensed about their treatment of her character.
You know why? It comes down to this.
The ugly girl is only good enough to be a bodyguard. She might get lucky and land the hott guy for a time, but that won’t last. She’ll only be a “taste test,” and then he’ll leave. He’ll go back to the hott girlfriend he had before. It doesn’t matter how good or kind or loyal the ugly girl is. It doesn’t matter that she loves the hott guy selflessly and has repeatedly put herself in the line of fire for him. It doesn’t matter that the ex abused him emotionally and sexually and that their relationship was toxic. It doesn’t matter that SHE IS HIS SISTER. None of that matters because in D&D’s story, essentially only the pretty people OR the people whose last name is Stark (usually you must have both) get everything they want. You aren’t good enough.
That is the message they are sending, and I’ve got to be honest, as an ugly girl who has heard that same message almost her entire life, that one gutted me. It became personal. This is why I’m incensed.
Brienne deserves better that what D&D did to her. Brienne is so complex and the show did her the greatest disservice by not featuring that part of her story well. She is literally the definition of “Get you a girl that can do both.” Shame on you, D&D. Someone take Star Wars away from them right now. They’ve proven they can’t handle anything that isn’t a sausage fest.
Michelle: This was the ending that I hated the most. Ser Brienne of Tarth has been strong and steadfast throughout the whole series. I refuse to believe that her character, despite her looks or actions, will crumble and give everything that she has worked for just to be a love-sick and forlorn puppy. REFUSE.
It is insulting to females and it is insulting to this character.
She has been the most loyal to herself above all of the other characters in this show. One night does not erase everything about Brienne. It is so angering to see that Brienne will fill in words about someone she admired and end it in that manner. It just demeans her value and that show that she will never be good enough. UGH.
Gillian: Her ending as a knight is still pretty badass. However, the fact that she had nothing to do in the finale except write Jaime’s story was not cool. She should have written about herself first and then focused on writing his heroic tale. She did get a position on Bran’s council which is a huge step up from previous councils so it’s not all bad but yeah. She deserved much more.
Jasmine: I too am glad she became a knight. Like Gillian, it bothered me she made no mention of herself in the book. She fought by Jamie’s side during the battle of Winterfell so I wish she had added that in. I’m glad she got a place on Bran’s council but I would have liked it more if she stayed with Sansa because what’s better than two badass females working together?
McKenzie: She was knighted, I loved that. But I’m with everyone else here, she deserved far more. She is Ser Brienne of Tarth, not some maiden who only cares about a man. Also, why did she leave Sansa? That should have been addressed. Brienne deserves the world, she is a badass.
Raquel: I think the message of Brienne’s ending is horrible. It simply “teaches us” that a person who is strong and true to herself, despite what others say, and precious inside (although not outside by the standards of some fucking idiots, but for me she is) will never get the handsome boy she loves. Not really.
Maybe she can have it for a while, she can caress happiness with him for a moment … but he will not choose her. And will return to the arms of the treacherous but “pretty” woman, although this is his sister and is a monster. But he will come back with her and swear eternal love, he will speak to her as if the other girl of noble feelings and enormous heart didn’t exist … and, if necessary, will die with her. In short, the hack message that boys like him will never choose girls like her.
They have no idea of the damage they can cause with these types of messages. Game of Thrones is a worldwide phenomenon. It is not a series for children, not even teenagers. But we can agree that millions of teenagers see it.
Adolescence (and also, although it may not seem like it, adulthood) is full of insecurities. Full of low self-esteem for many people. We need to see a positive message. We need to know that no matter what, we can get it. Even when the whole world (and we ourselves) look ugly, as if we were not worth it, we need to know that we are worth it and that we can eat the world, that we deserve to do it and we deserve happiness, including having the man we love.
The message they send with Brienne is the opposite of that. The opposite of what we need. It’s horrible and they have no idea what damage they can do. I hate it, I hate it as much as what Sansa was told in episode 8×04. It is in these moments, more than ever, when you notice that the series is written by men.
That said, I think the scene in which Brienne writes in the book of the Royal Guard is a beautiful scene because Jaime stopped being that person long ago … and with her words, honors the man she met and loved. But it is the logic within the nonsense and the horrible message they have decided to show.
What I like about the end of Brienne is that she is Commander of the Royal Guard. I think it was a position made for her and, in the end, she has considered in that aspect, everything she deserves.
Tyrion was rewarded for bad decision after bad decision with the chance to make more bad decisions. Do you think this was a fitting ending? Would you have changed anything?
Lizzie: I used to love Tyrion, and one of the tragedies of the show’s writing is that they needed him to be dumber to make the plot work and I think Dinklage kinda resented that, which translated into the performance, and we’re left with a Tyrion I just don’t care about anymore, and one who absolutely did not deserve the post of Hand again.
Ashley: I’m not sure how I feel about that. One thing I wanted from the series, though I expected to get it via Jaime, is redemption for House Lannister. I like Tyrion a lot, especially in the books. I think he’s had to learn a lot the hard way. I don’t know that I would have done anything differently with his character. Here’s hoping that he does something to change the legacy of his house after the actions of Tywin and Cersei.
Michelle: I’m torn about Tyrion’s ending. I like him as a character, but why does he get this ending when so many others deserve more? I understand the plot device needed. I understand that the untold ending needs to show change. I just have so many more questions.
Gillian: I can’t believe how many characters I wish had died instead of live due to these endings. I loved Tyrion so much but probably the last two seasons Dinklage was kind of phoning it in and it made me mad. If he picked Sansa (or even Jon, I’ll relent), I probably wouldn’t have hated his ending so much. At least the playing field would be a bit more even in those cases. With Bran, you have no idea what’s going to happen and Tyrion’s probably going to take more control than he should have.
Jasmine: I love Tyrion but he made some pretty bad decisions and his advice wasn’t always the best. I mean I guess he’s where he belongs because technically he’s home. Would i have changed anything? Other than him nominating Bran as King? I don’t know
McKenzie: I have become indifferent to Tyrion becoming Hand again. I didn’t expect more and I for sure thought he was going to die. Instead he is just….there.
Raquel: Tyrion was a character that this season was terribly blurred. It’s like he’s been lurching … first he trusted Cersei, making brother’s love blind him (which he never would have done before), then, he was faithful to Dany, later, he thought that she and Jon should reign together, after that, he chose Jon and, finally, Bran without any explanation. My reaction is WTF ?! Tyrion, you used to be cool.
For me, his destiny should always be the one that ended up being, Hand of the king/queen. But I never imagined seeing him fulfill it in the midst of so much disaster and nonsense, in the midst of so much destruction to his character and without him seeing the meaning of his actions prior to it.
It would have changed not his final destination, but the way in which events unfold.
One of the show’s enduring legacies will be the issues they had with writing female characters. Do you think they did any female character justice? What do you think we require to be able to put onto screen more nuanced female characters?
Lizzie: No. Hard no. I think the beautiful, talented, amazing actresses on this cast all deserve a standing ovation and our respect and admiration for what they brought to these characters, but the writing never went hand in hand with them. Over and over again the show proved that they do not understand nuance when it comes to females, likely because they have never hired a female writers/director, and maybe don’t even talk to many women on a day-to-day basis? What else am I supposed to think when everything is so black and white?
So, yes, hire female writers, and hire DIVERSE female writers, because the female experience isn’t all uniform, either.
Ashley: I really think the only character that got some semblance of justice was Sansa. And honestly feel like the only reason why is because she’s a lot like Cersei, except she’s not an evil narcissist. D&D really love Cersei. They make her much smarter in the show than she is in the books. Also, Lena’s a great actress, so I can certainly understand wanting to highlight her. Sansa learned how to be cunning from Littlefinger, but she learned how to maneuver from Cersei. D&D understand that much at least, but they put her through the ringer to get her there. The sexual abuse and torture she received from Ramsay demonstrate that they believe one of the only ways a female character can grow or change is through sexual trauma. It’s especially telling when you consider that Sansa didn’t have that experience in the books. So did she get justice? Maybe, but at what cost?
What will fix this? Hire female writers. Hire lots of different kinds of women. Hire lots of different kinds of people, not just women! Hire writers who have a proven track record of understanding nuance and the depth of a multi-layered story. Hire writers that actually care about making good art, rather than entertaining the masses with spectacle. I just looked at the credits on IMDB and there have only been 3 women who have EVER worked on the show in ANY writing capacity and even that was only across a few episodes. That is telling.
Michelle: First, before I get into this answer, I want to say that every female in this show has portrayed their characters so beautifully and fiercely. Despite anything that was written for them, or directed, they all showed their characters justice in some way.
I think that for some female characters, during some episodes and in some seasons, there was justice and amazing portrayal for a fierce female. In others, I felt that certain actions weren’t warranted. I enjoyed Cersei’s tenacity, Dany’s strength, Sansa’s loyalty, Arya’s cunningness, and Brienne’s faith. There are so many other female characters that deserve so much attention, and I know you know who they are. But as much as I am angry at the showrunners for these characters’ injustices, it just shows how much of a problem still exists in our society.
Gillian: For a majority of the show, yes. It’s been the past few seasons where they have completely ruined aspects of the women that I once enjoyed. And most of them happened within the last six episodes. Sansa and Arya both ended in better places than I expected. I wish Sansa hadn’t gone through quite as much pain throughout the series but I started the show/books hating her and now she’s my favorite character. But for real, we need more women writing on these shows. We need more diverse writing rooms as well.
Jasmine: I do think they did their female characters justice. Each one of them went through some hard shit but they came out of it. Did I always agree with the decisions they made or how some things were done? No. My favorite females to watch through this entire series were Dany, Arya, and Sansa in that order. I loved seeing their character development. In order for us to have more nuanced female characters, I think we need not only more female writers, but men need to be more open in allowing us to take the wheel.
McKenzie: First, Sophie, Maisie, Emilia, Lena, Gwen, and Natalie. You were fantastic at making your characters come alive and worked well with what you were given. The way that each of them portrayed their characters was so far beyond what I expected and they did a fantastic job. Now for the writing. I absolutely feel like the female characters deserved better. In the end, most of them were sold out in favor of a man. Shocker. Yes, we had some great moments over the years where they were done right by the writers, but they deserved more. How do we fix that? HIRE FEMALE WRITERS ON STAFF.
Raquel: Of course, the writing of female characters is a problem in this show. It was from the beginning, although they hid that very well for a while. I think they have been able to do justice to a few female characters. And some of them, half.
In my opinion, the only female character who has done full justice is Arya. They have always shown her true to herself, without any kind of inexplicable turn. The other two whom I think have done justice, but half, is Sansa and Brienne (as for her, in a very small part).
Sansa since we saw her development and learning until becoming Queen in the North of full right. Although I think that speeches like the one of 8×04 (remember that it related to being strong because she was a victim) they reduce the brilliance to that end.That’s why I say they do half justice. Since they do justice to her fate, but not regarding some speeches that make her say; discourses that leave the character in a bad place and, of course, women.
As for Brienne, I think they have done her justice by anointing her Knight and by making her Commander of the Royal Guard. It’s something that has always been, the dreams she had … only that nobody recognized her as a woman and never dreamed of getting it for that reason. But I think it is the only thing in which justice has been done. In everything else, they have sent a terrible message with her.
For the screen to reflect and develop well the female characters there is only one real solution: MORE FEMALE WRITERS. There’s nothing else.
Finally, was any of what you saw satisfying? If not – choose your perfect ending. What does it look like?
Lizzie: No. I liked one thing, and even that has a caveat, so this was about as far away from satisfying as it can get.
I’m not even going to go into what I wanted in the sense of where I wanted each character to go, because the main thing I wanted was common sense. I wanted the arcs to conclude, I wanted pay off for the setup GRRM had done, and I wanted endings that felt true to the characters I’d grown to know and love. Was that so hard?
Ashley: In this episode? No. The ultimate endgame I cared about was Jaime and Brienne becoming the Lannisters of Tarth, fulfilling their multi-layered inverted Beauty and the Beast arc. It was the true love story of the series and D&D missed it. They had the opportunity to do something that had never been done before. They had the opportunity to show on the most watched television series on the air that an unconventional woman is worthy of love and respect, not just by her peers and friends, but also by the man she loves, who just happens to be the most absurdly handsome man in Westeros. That would have been the most subversive thing they could have done. That would have really changed the face of television. Instead they threw it into the dumpster fire that was the last half of this season.
I am never one to skip the end of the film because I don’t like it. In fact, I used to tease my best friend about this in high school when we’d watch Moulin Rouge! and she’d stop the film when Ewan McGregor and Nicole Kidman got together. I don’t ignore the Star Wars prequels just because I think they’re awful. They’re still canon. But this? Sure it’s “canon” because HBO produced and aired it and it will be in the box set for home video use for all eternity. But there is absolutely no way you can look at the entire series as a whole and tell me the main character arcs that have been established were actually fulfilled in any meaningful way. This simply isn’t canon because it ignores the rest of the story. That’s just bad writing.
For me, the series will always end in the fourth episode of season 8, where Tyrion says during the war council that “Ser Jaime will be staying here as a guest of the Lady of Winterfell.” Brienne and Sansa share a look. Brienne looks down, blushing, and offers a small smile. Brienne is happy. Jaime is happy. I am happy. The End.
Michelle: If I think of the Game of Thrones, I have to include the books, because that is the starting point of these shows. And despite what we have all been saying, there is a huge disconnect from one vision to another. Sure, everyone deserves their own say in how the characters are portrayed, but I was very disappointed in the manner of representation, and that the results after trauma is strength.
This show has been challenging to digest, as a family member, as a mother, and especially as a woman. There have been so many points of trigger that I thought I would not continue to watch. I have questions as to why things were done, felt horrified by certain events, and have undoubtedly been angered by others.
If I were to look at this episode at face value and not digest everything that was scene, I would enjoy it for the amazing cinematography and masterful craft that this show has produced. The ending visualizations have been some of my favorite, despite the story behind them. For example, Dany walking from Drogon? AMAZING. The end sequence with the Starks? Wonderful. But that’s all that I can appreciate.
I don’t know what else I can envision without having my feelings be angered, lol. Maybe later, I can say. But I will say that I’ve always wanted Sansa on the throne, and I’m happy that she became a queen.
Long live the Queen in the North.
Gillian: Sansa’s ending only. But as stated multiple times, she deserved more. Other than that, this was one of the worst finales I have ever seen. Worst final season possibly ever. I have never been more bored by a show that lives to shock people. When I can’t even be happy that the villain died or where my favorite characters turned up, you know you did something wrong. I understand not being able to please everyone but I shouldn’t have wished for almost everyone to die instead of what we got.
As I’ve said throughout every roundtable so far, my love of the show has waned since about season 4. I was looking forward to this season because I thought the showrunners really wanted to blow us all away. Instead, I’m more sad that I built up all these expectations when they showed me time and again they were not up to the task. I’ve never been the type of person who lets a bad adaptation take over my enjoyment of the books so at least, I have that to look forward to (hopefully, GRRM can speed things up!). Even if it does end with Bran on the Throne, there will be more of a lead-up and things will probably make more sense than what D&D gave us.
Jasmine: The most satisfying moment was Sansa becoming Queen in the North. And that’s all.
McKenzie: Sansa as Queen in the North was what I wanted, so I’ll take it. If I could have my perfect ending it would have had the North independent, with Sansa as Queen. Check. It would have shown Dany not going crazy and burning innocent people alive. She would have taken King’s Landing with Cersei alive. Arya would have been able to get the justice she deserved and killed her. Jaime and Brienne would have been happy and gone about their lives being badass. He would have had a full redemption arc and been forgiven.
Arya and Gendry would go travel the world together but would still remember where home was. Dany would have melted the Iron Throne and set up a democracy to rule the six kingdoms. Thus breaking the wheel. She would realize that power wasn’t what she wanted, but a home. That isn’t a place though, it’s a person. That person was obviously Jon. They would have gone on to live a peaceful life with their dragons, Ghost, and eventually children.
Bran would have become Bran again because the need for the Three-Eyed Raven was gone. The Night King is dead. He can just be Bran again. He would have gone to Meera and realized he loved her. That is my perfect ending.
Raquel: In this episode there are some things that leave me satisfied, such as the coronation of Sansa, the fate of Arya, Ser Davos, Brienne (regarding her position in the Royal Guard) and that the Starks have won the Game of Thrones. In the whole series, there are quite a few more things.
Having said that, I would have changed the ending to make Dany and Jon reign together in Westeros, Sansa would have left her as Queen in the North, Bran in Winterfell, being the Three Eyed Raven Jaime would have killed Cersei and returned to Brienne, Bronn would have disappeared some time ago.
It’s hard to see beyond this episode right now, it’s too recent. The season is too recent to forget everything that has been destroyed. But the truth is that it has given us many good times, and changed the way we watched television. It is a big THANK YOU to all the cast and to all who are behind the series.
Agree? Disagree? Share with us in the comments below!
Game of Thrones aired Sundays at 9/8c on HBO.