Game of Thrones series finale review: Who sits on the throne, and what’s next?

Game of ThronesThe Game of Thrones series finale proved to be one about devastation, one about sadness, but also one about trying to find a little bit hope.

It was also, ultimately, one about doing whatever needed to be done for the sake of the Seven Kingdoms. That included Tyrion getting arrested at the hand of Daenerys and, soon after that, him and Jon having a long conversation about doing what needs to be done. Daenerys had promised to break the wheel and change the way the world was governed — the problem was that liberating can at times mean death, and she was so convinced that her way of things was right that she would do whatever needed to be done in order to get what she wanted. That, apparently, meant going around the world and eventually becoming the supreme ruler.

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Ultimately, it was none other than Jon Snow himself who made the decision to kill Daenerys. He tried to reason with her, trying to get her to see another side, but in the end, he sacrificed himself for the sake of helping the realm. He recognized what killing the new Queen would mean and he did it anyway. Jon killing Daenerys was the move that needed to be done, and the move that fundamentally changed the world. He is the true hero, but that doesn’t mean that he gets to sit atop the throne.

The lesson of Game of Thrones is that clearly, ruling can be complicated. The Unsullied would never forgive Jon for killing their Queen, and Grey Worm wanted him did as a result of what happened. He also wanted to punish Tyrion … but there was another unique punishment for him in becoming the new Hand to the new King — Bran the Broken! Ironically, it was Tyrion himself who suggested that Bran be chosen for this title when speaking to the other lords and ladies from all over Westeros. His thinking was that, for starters, Bran didn’t want the title. Beyond that, he also felt like Bran would be the right person to keep the history and understand the ins and outs of the world. Westeros needs wisdom, not war. He can bring it.

For Tyrion, being the Hand of the King is his life sentence for his betrayal. For Jon Snow, meanwhile, his punishment was a little more severe. He had to take off to be a part of the Night’s Watch once more — it was the only thing Grey Worm would accept. This was a painful fate for Jon, a man who wanted to do the right thing, but at least he’s alive! More than that, the North does remain independent, with Sansa as her ruler.

So what was going on with some of the other characters? For Arya, she wanted to head west of Westeros to see what else was out there in the world. For Brienne, she took it upon herself to add another chapter to the annals of history for one Jaime Lannister — rather than hold it against him forever for his departure, she wanted to make sure that he did receive credit for some of his final exploits, including how he died protecting Cersei. Meanwhile, apparently there needed to be some sort of callout to A Song of Ice and Fire mixed in here?

One of the final scenes of the series finale was watching and listening to Tyrion and some of the new advisers to Bran trying to figure out precisely how to rebuild the world — there was humor and there was arguing. It was exactly as it should be. Beyond that, we then saw Jon reunite with Tormund of all people as he completed his journey back up north. Was that it? Not exactly. We saw Arya then properly fitted as she prepared to make her journey to discover new worlds and find something more at sea. Meanwhile, Sansa was ready to preside over Winterfell as its ruler.

Perhaps the best reunion of all, though, was Jon and Ghost. GHOST IS BACK! This is not a drill and it is truly exciting.

CarterMatt Verdict

It’s true that this was very much an emotional Game of Thrones finale, but also a rather polarizing one. Is everyone going to be happy with Bran as the King? Probably not, just like there are people who are going to loathe Jon being banished. The logic in certain areas is questionable and will certainly be hotly debated. Also, where in the world was Drogon? That probably bothered us perhaps more than anything for most of the finale. (Apparently, the dragon flew east after burning up the Iron Throne.)

Yet, we have to say that this Game of Thrones finale was a feat like no other, a magnificent bit of storytelling, a visual spectacle, and a legendary show like no other. What’s also fascinating is that the closing minutes, rather than actually focusing on the new king in Bran, actually put its gaze elsewhere on Arya, Jon, and Sansa. The ending was a little more longwinded than it really needed to be — we almost wish that there was more focus put on some other kingdoms and places in the world we wanted to see rather than a long walk with Jon up north.

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What did you think about the Game of Thrones series finale, and did it satisfy most of your expectations? Be sure to share in the comments! (Photo: HBO.)

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