Game of Thrones

Game of Thrones Finale: Daenerys Vows to Make a Hell of Earth

"The Iron Throne" is exciting for 40 minutes, and then a huge letdown.

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For its first 40 minutes, the Game of Thrones series finale is a gripping horror story. It's snowing in King's Landing—or are those ashes?—when Jon and Tyrion learn that the genocidal cruelty Daenerys visited upon Cersei's innocent civilians is just the beginning: The Dragon Queen plans to bring fire and blood to every corner of the world as part of her insane plan to "break the wheel" of tyranny. Those who defy her will meet the same fates as the Dothraki khals, the nobles of Mereen, and everyone else who got in her way.

A central theme of Game of Thrones has been that people must do terrible things to obtain political power. Melisandre warned Stannis in the season two finale that he would have to betray everything he stood for—including his family—to gain the throne, and sure enough, he eventually burned his daughter at the stake. Cersei committed an act of domestic terrorism, killing allies and family members as well as enemies. The list of people who engaged in unspeakably evil acts in order to consolidate power, or hold onto it, goes on and on: Roose Bolton, Tywin Lannister, Petyr Baelish, Ellaria Sand, Qyburn, Olenna Tyrell, and countless others.

To varying degrees, these many players in the "game" of thrones operated in keeping with their belief that monstrous actions were necessary. As Olenna Tyrell once said, "whatever I imagined necessary for House Tyrell, I did." It's a familiar philosophy: The ends justify the means.

But in the finale, Daenerys did something truly unique, and unprecedented for the show: She admitted, in front of Jon and Tyrion and all her armies, that there is no end. Ever. Her crusade for justice requires perpetual revolution. For the ostensible good of the oppressed masses, Daenerys needs to burn the entire world.

Both Jon and Tyrion rebuke this madness, and it's hard not to recognize a kind of libertarian principle in their condemnation. On Reason's pre-finale podcast episode, I referenced C.S. Lewis's famous quote about tyrants, and it's fitting here to reproduce the entire thing:

Of all tyrannies, a tyranny sincerely exercised for the good of its victims may be the most oppressive. It would be better to live under robber barons than under omnipotent moral busybodies. The robber baron's cruelty may sometimes sleep, his cupidity may at some point be satiated; but those who torment us for our own good will torment us without end for they do so with the approval of their own conscience. They may be more likely to go to Heaven yet at the same time likelier to make a Hell of earth.

Cersei and those who came before her were mere robber barons: Daenerys is the omnipotent moral busy body, and "make a Hell of earth" is her exact plan. (The deaths of Jaime and Cersei, which were far too rushed for such important characters, at least matter more in this episode, since Tyrion's discovery of their corpses motivates him to act.)

Except Daeny fails. In her moment of triumph, Jon stabs her, and the Queen of Ashes comes to ruin. Praise be to the Seven, the Old Gods, the Drowned God, the Lord of Light, etc. etc.

Unfortunately, everything that happens after Daeny's demise is a serious letdown. Indeed, it would have been preferable to end with the shot of Drogon carrying her corpse to some distant land. (Honestly, it may have been most preferable to cancel the show after the sixth season finale—Cersei's sept explosion and coronation, Jon proclaimed king in the north, Daeny sailing for Westeros—and left the rest to the viewers' imagination while we wait for George R.R. Martin's last two books.)

Briefly, it seemed like the various lords and ladies of Westeros would deal with Daeny's fall by launching a War of the Six (or however many) Kings. With Grey Worm occupying the capital, the north firmly under Sansa's control, and several kingdoms—Dorne, the Vale, the Iron Islands—back in play, this would have made the most sense. Instead, everybody decides to let Tyrion name Bran as king, which is as random as it is disappointing. The writers' conscious decision to keep us out of Bran's head for the last two seasons works against them here: We no longer know this character particularly well, and have little reason to be invested in his sudden ascendancy. (The fact that he's surrounded by a number of characters who would make cooler monarchs, from a pure fan-service perspective—Sansa and Arya, also Gendry, Brienne, and why not Ser Davos?—doesn't help.)

This ending also cheats Jon, who has to go north to join the Night's Watch, which makes the least sense of all. Why is there still a Night's Watch? The Night King is dead, the Wildlings are friends of the realm, and the Wall has a giant hole in it. (The very idea that anyone wants to live far north of Wall, now that there are tons of unoccupied lands in the warmer south, is difficult to swallow.) Sansa and Arya get perfectly fine endings, while Tyrion makes out better than he deserves, frankly.

It will be interesting to see how—and "if"—Martin wraps up the book series. Many of the story arcs that were present in this last season would have worked on paper, but needed more setup and explanation. For now, we will have to content ourselves with "The Iron Throne," a series finale in which everything ends up sort of better, for reasons that don't quite add up.

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149 responses to “Game of Thrones Finale: Daenerys Vows to Make a Hell of Earth

  1. Reason is running more articles about some fictional witch-queen than it is about the federal debt.

    Maybe the Game of Thrones people can have an episode where the witch borrows heavily and bankrupts the kingdom. That could inspire Reason to get back to the debt.

    1. Same goes for Volokh. Maybe they can discuss the witch-queen’s attitude toward the 14th Amendment.

      1. I think Daeny would have approved of (and celebrated) the Lochner era while Cersei would agree with Oliver Wendell Holmes and voted with the majority on West Coast Hotel Co. v. Parrish.

    2. There was a story line about the Iron Bank of Bravos backing all sorts of contenders (Tommin, Daeny, and eventually Cersei) because the Kings of Westoros owed them so much money. Cersei ends up sacking Highgarden to steal their gold to pay back Bravos after the Iron Bank calls in 10% of the debt.

      1. Maybe that is why they made Bronn Master of Coin, so when the Iron Bank sends a Faceless Man after him, he had a fighting chance or is expendable

    3. While in agreement I will say that there were some great takeaways last night especially when Jon asks Dany “What about what others think is good?” (or something to that effect) Dany replies like a real Marxist oligarch “They don’t get to chose”. There were others like when Tyrion explains that when a tyrant decides what is a better world for all he/she would naturally kill all that stood in the way. Just like most Progressives.

      1. Yeah, there were a few good bits as far as the politics go… I was actually surprised they went there with some of it, given the current political climate!

    4. Cersei paid off the country’s debt last season.

    5. Well it’s a story about love, deception, greed, lust and…unbridled enthusiasm – that’s what led to Jon Snow’s downfall.

      You see Elaine, Jon was a simple country boy. You might say a cockeyed optimist, who got himself mixed up in the high stakes game of world diplomacy and international intrigue

      1. +Billy Mumphry

    6. she wasn’t a witch and no one is forcing you to read the articles, wait a few days and it will be normal again and you can read the 1000th article about a scary national debt.

    7. Cersei did borrow from the bankster nation to hire her mercenary army that was wiped out in 10 seconds. At least she had a good credit rating before that, since “A Lannister always pays their debts”.

    1. she’s not a witch.

      1. Have you weighed her against a duck?

  2. So much for Daeny and the ” NRx Moment”.

  3. Instead, everybody decides to let Tyrion name Bran as king…

    Tyrion nominated. The people’s representatives chose. And why nothing about Drogon blaming not Jon Snow but the Iron Throne for his mother’s death? That’s got to at least be mentioned in any review.

    Anyway, the Wall is in the North, an independent nation, so what’s to stop its queen from recalling Jon back from his exile? This will all be addressed in Season 9.

    1. There is no season 9… But the fact that the unsullied sailed away means they can just let Jon do whatever he wants now anyway. It’s not like they NEED to keep their word to some dickless wonder who will be across the sea, likely never to hear of it anyway.

      So much slop…

    2. They weren’t “the peoples’ representatives” — they were the House of Lords. They laughed hysterically when Sam proposed democracy.

      1. There’s nothing wrong with a house of lords! Beats absolute monarchy. In some ways I almost think a little less democracy is what the world needs now… Provided the elite actually cares about serving their own national interests. We have TOO MUCH democracy in the modern west, AKA mob rule, which is turning out to be as horrible as any other system.

        The problem with elites nowadays is they’re globalists instead of nationalists… Once you lose the desire to make your nation better, your people better, hence also enrich yourself, the paternalistic bond is broken and no longer works. Nationalistic elites actually have fairly well aligned interests with their own people on many issues.

    3. Anyway, the Wall is in the North, an independent nation, so what’s to stop its queen from recalling Jon back from his exile?

      Yup, hard to enforce a Fugitive, er fugitive law when there are two independent nations involved….

      1. As I said, Grey Worm was the only one who cared about screwing Jon anyway… And he bailed. So there was no logical reason for them to not immediately rescind his stupid banishment. It would have been better if they’d said “Stay, Grey worm is gone anyway.” and he told them to piss off, he’s going north to see what’s there.

  4. So – libertarian moment? After years of drama and intrigue and fire and fury and nail-biting tension over which terrible master is going to rule, none of it really mattered a damn bit and nothing really got settled. A bunch of horrible people did a bunch of horrible things and a lot of innocent pawns got slaughtered – welcome to planet Earth.

    1. Kind of reminds me of the ending to No Country For Old Men – at first you’re like WTF? but then you watch it again and pay attention to what’s going on and you realize it’s the perfect ending.

      1. No Country for Old Men, was designed to show you that the future always changes what you know and its not always something you can handle.

        GoT had numerous underlying themes, one of which was Danearys “breaking the wheel” of power. Then she doesn’t. By the end a new young group does the same stupid shit as all the dead leaders. Even with the “internet of history” sitting in a wheelchair.

        1. The “wheel” that Danerys wanted to break was the cycle of one House being in power and then being overthrown by another House who is then in power until they in turn are overthrown and replaced by yet another House. By “breaking the wheel” she meant to wipe out her House’s enemies so that no one would ever dare challenge them again.

        2. Well, electing a king is a small step in the right direction.

    2. The Game of Thrones never settles anything permanently. You can be winning, but no one ever wins.

      1. CharDeeMacDennis is a much better, if more predictable, game.

        1. Electric Boogaloo?

        2. “CharDeeMacDennis is a much better, if more predictable, game.”

          Yea, but maybe a little too violent

    3. And they all had a good laugh about the possibility of people choosing their own leaders.

      1. Democratic spontaneous orders do not spring up fully formed and mature. They had been developed over time. Even the Founders were building on existing English forms of representative government.

      2. Yet they decided that they would not rely strictly on genetics to select the next ruler instead they would do so as an oligarchical committee. Which is somewhat of an improvement and indicates an evolution in political thinking.. In the end it is still just a si-fi fantasy cable series. Well done and well acted nonetheless still just entertainment.

        1. Actually, kings and queens were still picked by oligarchical committees.

          The Houses of Westeros “picked” the rulers all along.

          The Children of the Forest “picked” the Night King.
          Someone “picked” Bran the Builder to build the wall and Winterfell
          Six of the Seven independent kingdoms of Westeros “picked” the Targaryns to rule.
          Tywin Lannister “picked” Robert Baratheon as king.
          Cersei “picked” Joffrey to rule.
          Cersei “picked” herself to rule.
          ….

          1. the North picked Jon to be their king too

        2. I’m not sure if its an evolution in thinking, or each member simply imagining they can take the throne when Bran dies. If I were writing a sequel series that would be my premise. They only allowed Bran to be king knowing he would be weak and childless, this gives them time to rebuild their armies, consolidate their power, and form new alliances, all leading to another war of succession upon Bran’s death

        3. Well, there are a number of systems historically that relied on a large number of nobles voting for a king. Rome, technically voted for Caesars throughout most of their imperial history. The Holy Roman Empire did likewise. It was actually a common theme in Germanic civilization that the king had to be voted in, which was practiced all throughout Germanic lands for a long time.

          It didn’t eliminate warring with each other, and often the son of the previous king won the vote… But not always. And democratic elections by the mob haven’t done awesome either. Look at all the tyrants voted in, or informally voted in by popular support. Venezuela ring any bells?

          There is no perfect system. Democracy is a horrible system too, even if it is within the context of a constitutional republic… As the USA today showcases. Humans are just fucked, and there is nothing to be done about it.

          1. People just need to take the next logical step — let everyone join the government of their choosing, without regard to geography. The USA could have two or more governments — let Democrats rule themselves, Republicans rule themselves, and other parties similarly. We have the technology to track it.

            Crimes against people or their property could be adjudicated in the courts of the victim’s government. Torts could be settled by a neutral court or abitrator.

            1. I’ve read some very detailed discussions of such ideas… And it just doesn’t really work. Too many issues. If I have somebody try to break into my house from the other government, and then shoot them and kill the other person… Pussy liberals might make it illegal to shoot first in a home invasion, whereas libertarians and conservatives are cool with it. Whose laws govern what I did?

              The true correct answer is breaking up nations. We have cemented a very INCORRECT idea about nations lately… That they’re some permanent thing. They’re not. They’ve always broken up, merged, changed borders, etc.

              The USA needs to be broken into at least 2 nations, if not a few more than that. People would self sort into the nation that fits their opinion.

              The problem is that the political class wants to force their will on everybody, as they often do… So they hardily oppose people being free to choose their own way. We could break up the USA in a year, and everybody would be happier for it. The issues are not very hard to tackle. Split national debt on a per capita basis. Free trade agreement between all new nations. 10 year guaranteed citizenship change for all current residents, after that every nation has their own laws. Etc.

              It’d be easy. And everybody would get more of what they want. So why won’t anybody discuss it? Some people are just dumb and stuck on wanting us to remain a single nation as we’re very powerful as a single nation, or just out of some silly sense of history… But most others IMO just want to force their will on everybody else.

              IMO several countries right now either need to have secession, or they’re going to have civil wars. The USA is one of them. I’d rather have a peaceful separation than a violent divorce.

      3. Democracy doesn’t always die in darkness, sometimes it dies in fits of laughter.

        1. Universal suffrage based democracy is a shit system too. IMO the founders got it as close to right as possible. When only male landowners could vote it essentially meant that anybody who was a net positive tax payer, responsible, and slightly more likely to be educated, could vote. In short if you were middle-middle class on up you had a say… If you were a drunken lout you didn’t, because you were too stupid to deserve it.

          We could use proxies like actually paying in a certain amount of taxes and passing a history/civics test today to yield the same results. Universal suffrage is what destroyed America.

      4. It was pretty funny. True democracies always end in failure pretty quickly when scaled up past the size of a town. The Greeks proved it.

  5. You will not immanentize the eshaton, my Queen.

    Then we get the Commonwealth of Both Nations Poland and Lithuania under God Emperor Brandon, who has apparently given just enough information to get on the timeline to this result. Which possibly makes him a greater monster than anyone.

    1. The idea that it is dangerous to try and create a perfect world is a very conservative one, at least in the American sense.

      1. Because trying to make a perfect world usually means those that get in the way of perfection are eliminated. No room for alternative thought on what makes a perfect world perfect.

        1. Well if you want to create a perfect world then it goes without saying the world you envision is in fact the perfect one. Anyone who disagrees therefore must be envisioning an imperfect world, and therefore has no place in your perfect one

      2. While taxes, mandates, rations and tyranny will work this time… as long as the ‘perfect world’ people are in charge.

  6. Before the sad state of Westeros’ ruling class, Tyrion states the obvious about what they should do next for leadership and guidance: “You’re the most powerful people in Westeros. Choose one.” There is plenty of humor to be gained by a gladly welcomed Tobias Menzies as Edmure attempting, with not-so-much-welcome, to make himself King of the Seven Kingdoms. Of even greater humor still is Samwell Tarly, always the good boy, suggesting essentially a form of democracy… something more radical than even the most optimistic “A Song of Ice and Fire” fan’s predictions. The guffawing and mocking laughter is also a nice palate cleanser after all the dour despair of the first 45 minutes. (Not that this scene still isn’t a baby step towards Westeros’ magna carta!)
    GoT

    Democracy is a joke to those kind of people.

    1. I liked how it was considered undignified to campaign for yourself.

  7. The real takeaway from the Series Finale is, like all good Hollywood producers, the GOT Gang left plenty of loose ends on which to base the sequel, “Game of Thrones, Part II,” if not “Game of Thrones Reloaded,” “Game of Thrones III in 3-D,” or “Better Call Tyrion!”

    1. Game of Thrones 2 – Further Westeros

      1. Whither Westeros

    2. And the porn.

      Game of Bones (Winter is Cumming).

    3. “Better Call Tyrion!”

      heh, that would make me feel a little better about the fact that they can’t do “The Arya and Hound Show”

      1. Who let the Dog out?

    4. Game of Thrones II: Drogon Cleans House

      Saddest scene in the whole series when he found his dead mother

    5. There won’t be a GoT 2. There are spin off series coming though, at least one of them is going to be a prequel.

    6. GoT2: Drogon’s Revenge

      GoT3: The Return of Jon Snow

  8. Dany was worse than Cersei in her own way, and the ways they were both evil was the ways that average Americans can be so evil–that’s a big part of why people are so viscerally disgusted by it.

    For instance, in the penultimate episode, when Tyrion frees Jamie, Tyrion tells Jamie that Cersei can be reasoned with now because she’s pregnant again and she has another child to think about now–implying that his will make her compassionate. Jamie responds with something like, “All the most horrible things she’s done, she’s done for her children”. That could have been written by commenters here! How often do we say, “What about the children” in jest? From the drug war to the War on terror, how many atrocities have we justified by fear for our children?

    Dany was even worse because her motives were even better–and that made her sure she was right! Libertarians are clear on the point that good intentions don’t justify violating people’s rights. Where we tend to fail is that because we’re better at understanding the likely consequences of our leaders’ foolish actions, we tend to assume that their intentions aren’t good.

    I’ll never know what was in Chavez’s heart. The problem with the road he traveled was that it always led to destruction–regardless of whether his intentions were good. In fact, if having good intentions made people more likely to follow him, then having good intentions made all that destruction possible. Good intentions are evil that way. Average non-libertarians don’t seem to understand that. They don’t care if their favorite leaders’ actions were evil so long as Bush’s or Obama’s intentions were good.

    Game of Thrones made a mockery of the idea that having the right leaders in place with truly good intentions is somehow the solution to our problems. GoT communicating that message to such a wide audience makes it amazing series by itself.

    1. When has the central message of a popular show shown that wanting to free people from slavery can make people evil as hell?

      No, because your intentions are to make life better for gay kids who’ve been mistreated doesn’t justify you. If you do evil things to further your good intentions, then you are the evil one.

      On and on and on and on.

      Couldn’t help but think of Saddam Hussein using people as human shields when Cersei used the people of Westeros as human shields against Dany’s dragon. Wiping all those people out because they’re being human shields may require good intentions–as well as being convinced that what you’re doing is right. After all, Saddam Hussein and Cersei wouldn’t have used them as human shields if they weren’t so evil, so everything we do to those human shields is justified!

      1. It’s not a bad plot line, or message, I just wish they hadn’t belabored it so much. The only way the staircase scene could have been more Triumph of the Will is if it was filmed by torchlight.

      2. I have to admit I was rather surprised they ended up going full on with the “good intentions aren’t enough” thing. Bravo to them for that. Bran being king, and most of the rest of it was pure slop though.

    2. Game of Thrones made a mockery of the idea that having the right leaders in place with truly good intentions is somehow the solution to our problems. GoT communicating that message to such a wide audience makes it amazing series by itself.

      I agree. I couldn’t help but be amazed during Tyrion’s speech to Jon about how Dany would continue killing everyone as long as she continued to believe she was right and good. TV show villains don’t usually mirror real-life villains so closely.

    3. “Game of Thrones made a mockery of the idea that having the right leaders in place with truly good intentions is somehow the solution to our problems”

      Except they made Bran “deep state personified” Stark king, and Sansa “I’ve betrayed anyone I’ve ever met to gain power for myself” Stark queen in the north.
      Fuck that victim-veneration bullshit

    4. Their intentions aren’t good.

  9. […] Game of Thrones‘ series finale, “The Iron Throne,” aired last night. The first half was interesting, while the second half was a huge letdown. Read my recap here. […]

  10. Instead, everybody decides to let Tyrion name Bran as king, which is as random as it is disappointing.

    You know Bran was casting all those votes for himself, right?

    1. Worse; he was worging Daeny and Cersei to make them do evil things.

  11. I loved the part where Vladimir Putin influenced the election using bad Facebook memes to make Bran king. I never saw that twist coming.

  12. […] Game of Thrones‘ series finale, “The Iron Throne,” aired last night. The first half was interesting, while the second half was a huge letdown. Read my recap here. […]

  13. Daenerys dead, Elizabeth Warren hardest hit.

    I mean, was Warren still rooting for Daenerys even after her Stalinist scorched earth plan came to light? Of course she was!

    1. Of course because like when Dany responded to Jon’s question “What about what others think is good” She said “They don’t get to chose” . That is Warren’s progressive philosophy. Progressives know better than the rest of us.

      1. Just like Warren knows hot to run the tech companies and the banks and the health care industry and education, etc.

      2. Yes, Warren is the equivalent of the Mad Queen. Of course, any “progressive” fits the bill.

    2. The Mad SJW Queen!

    3. Nice jump in logic there, yo

  14. Episode sucked. But not as bad as the prior three episodes. I really do not see Grey Worm doing anything other than killing Jon immediately, and Tyrion short after. Certainly not waiting around while all the houses march their way south for the big confab. And even if he hesitates it’s not like the Dothraki are going to sit around and do nothing. And that a ruined city was not quite so ruined after all…

    Best thing about last night is that it was the last night.

    1. “And that a ruined city was not quite so ruined after all…”

      Speaking of ruined, how is it that Tyrion found the bodies of his brother and sister under only one layer of fallen bricks at
      the top of a pile of rubble with their bodies apparently perfectly preserved?

      When those two died, they were standing on a flat area of floor beneath the keep and the ceiling caved in on them. They should be at the bottom of the pile and mashed flat.

      1. They should be at the bottom of the pile and mashed flat.

        Maybe they thought we couldn’t take that shocking scene…

        ….oh, wait…

      2. Shit writing my friend, shit writing. As with half of the rest of it once the shitty Hollywood writers ran out of Martin written material.

    2. The show never explained how all the Dothraki rushed the Army of the Dead and their lights went out, with a few stragglers riding back…then they suddenly have over a thousand mounted riders.

      Same with Unsullied having the army they did after being decimated by the Army of the Dead.

      A few hundred would be more believable.

      1. It was only by season three (when I stopped watching) when i realized that there were no significant armies left. Yet they still kept marching. Sigh.

      2. Dude, none of the stuff from this last season made much sense. It was all so poorly thrown together and filled with holes it was ridiculous. Too bad too because the series overall was pretty sweet.

  15. The most disturbing thing to me is how the betting markets all hit on Bran while it made almost no sense in the story. That’s called insider info. No fair.

  16. […] Game of Thrones‘ series finale, “The Iron Throne,” aired last night. The first half was interesting, while the second half was a huge letdown. Read my recap here. […]

  17. everybody decides to let Tyrion name Bran as king, which is as random as it is disappointing.

    I don’t think it was random at all. It made a lot of sense in light of the whole Night King/White Walker vs Bran escapade. Why would they spend so much time on that unless the Night King viewed Bran as competition for the throne? The Night King wasn’t literally trying for the iron throne, but he did want to rule everyone and it wouldn’t make sense for him to do that somehow just by capturing a little crippled kid who knew a couple of secrets. Bran had to be more important than that.

    1. Also, I’m sorry to say this but now I know why everyone says Robby isn’t a libertarian.

      Disappointing? Let down? Bran is stoned druggie Calvin Coolidge of possible GoT rulers. He’s always tripping and he won’t get anything done except utter occasional wise quotes that no one at the time understands. How the hell do you get any more libertarian than that?

      1. Ok, you’ve swayed me a little

      2. +1 Silent Cal.

    2. lol he wasn’t trying for any throne he was out to wipe mankind out.

  18. I got an Imperial March vibe from the speech scene.

    1. She should have thrown in a few lines about educating all the children of Westeros for a brighter future — a typical tyrant move to force their history and philosophy on everyone.

  19. On Reason’s pre-finale podcast episode, I referenced C.S. Lewis’s famous quote about tyrants

    You misrepresented the quote a bit, as I recall.

  20. I have no problem with the ending. In fact I read that the showrunners had spoken with GRRM about the ending, so it probably will match the books pretty well (if he ever writes them).
    My problem is with how compressed this season seemed. The major events should have taken two or more seasons to properly play out and for the viewers to digest. Instead, we’re force fed Dany’s decent into madness in basically two episodes. Bran’s subplot was never properly told, so no-one cares or knows who he really is, nor why he should be king. Sansa goes from doe eyed-victim to “the smartest person I know” in a few episodes. And as has been the case with the past two seasons, Westeros becomes basically the size of New Jersey (instead of an entire continent) allowing for unbelievably compressed travel times. Basically, the whole season’s plot seemed twisted around wrapping things up as quickly as possible.

    1. Agree. The episodes were rushed. They cut out backstory. There were too many loopholes. Why couldn’t they take their time with an epic story and give it a proper epic last season? I blame the producers.

  21. […] Game of Thrones‘ series finale, “The Iron Throne,” aired last night. The first half was interesting, while the second half was a huge letdown. Read my recap here. […]

  22. There was *nothing* good about the finale. Nothing.

  23. […] Mangu-Ward,  Nick Gillespie, Peter Suderman, and Matt Welch. Also discussed: Last night’s television finale, last week’s weirdly DOA Trump immigration plan, and of course the weekend’s biggest […]

  24. The destruction of the throne and a dragon with a mind of his own (once mama mctyrant was out of the picture) was the highlight of the finale.

  25. Jon Snow
    became
    Jon’s no.

  26. […] Game of Thrones is finis. This seems like a good time to recount how various consumer brands riffed off the show, even […]

  27. I got the outcome I predicted last week (Tyrion and Bronn in charge and talking about brothels) in a most disappointing finale.

    My takeaway: Arya survives the bombing of Dresden Drogon’s Terror and then… does absolutely nothing. Tyrion finds the completely unblemished bodies of his siblings who were crushed beneath a massive keep. The queen that has watched every one of her advisers die or be sentenced to death for treason sends her guards on a smoke break so her last and only rival for the throne can walk up and stab her. Drogon psychically senses his mother is dead (smells her blood?) and then goes ‘Whaaaa!” John is not subsequently tested to see if he can’t be burned, because… I have no idea, that would have been awesome. Greyworm (more a worshiper than adviser) kills helpless soldiers in the first scene, but neither he, nor his men, nor the Dalthraki touch his god-queen’s killers for weeks. Edmure somehow hasn’t fallen into a well, Yara suddenly gives a shit, and who the fuck is that guy from Dorn? Bran the Boring is king, ugh. A woman who holds honor above all neglects to mention that Jamie is an admitted murderer of innocents whose incest and attempt to kill a child started a war while notating his work record. Bronn, who has proven he will screw anyone for a buck, is given Lordship over the wealthiest portion of the realm by a King who has to know all the evil shit he has done to fulfill the trope that ‘Lannisters pay their debts’. Arya literally sails off into the sunset. John pets his dog so that we realize the audience was trolled 2 episodes ago. Tormund gets no final words. Really? Tormund get no final words? Fade out on John, the rightful heir to the throne, who has saved the world from the Night King and dragons and, apparently, still knows nothing.

    1. “John is not subsequently tested to see if he can’t be burned, because… I have no idea, that would have been awesome. ”

      I agree. I’d have made the scene with Jon standing between Drogon and the Iron Throne. Drogon goes all dracarys on Jon, and when it’s over Jon is standing there looking back at a molten pile of metal. Thus signifying the end of the Targaryen dynasty, if not the last Targaryen. Drogon recognizes who/what Jon is, and being a dragon understands. Jon then takes Dany’s body, climbs on the dragon, and they fly away.

      He returns later with all the other houses, but sits out the discussions, having already arranged to be sent to the Night’s Watch. Pretty much the rest can proceed as filmed.

      1. I was totally expecting him to get torched and survived.

        With as trite and stupid as the ending ended up being, they might as well have simply had Jon survive getting flamed, hop on the dragon, and declare himself king. At least people would have been stoked, even though it was predictable. Better than the let down we got.

    2. Jon knows where the ginger hotties live.

    3. I thought Arya was just waiting for Jon to do the right thing, and if not, then finish it herself.

      The ending of Jon being “exiled” again makes sense, in that the one person who always tried to do the right thing, and didn’t try to save himself, can’t possibly be rewarded for the deed. The world punishes good behavior (on average).

    4. “John is not subsequently tested to see if he can’t be burned, because… I have no idea,”

      Would have been awesome but been another large plot hole (though I am surprised the writers cared) being that he got burnt badly by fire while fighting off a white walker in I think book 1, and I believe they also put that on the TV show. Just garden variety fire fucks up his hand pretty bad and he nurses an injury for a while from it. It seems they established early that he doesn’t have that targaryen superpower

  28. […] Game of Thrones is finis. This seems like a good time to recount how various consumer brands riffed off the show, even […]

  29. […] Nick Gillespie, Peter Suderman, and Matt Welch. Also discussed: Last night’s television finale, last week’s weirdly DOA Trump immigration plan, and of course the weekend’s biggest […]

  30. I know how it ends. The surviving ruler was called before Nadler’s House committee, where he refused to testify.

  31. For me, what made the ending bearable was that I had decided beforehand that the concluding episode simply HAD to be disappointing. Once I accepted that fact, it made the wrap-up show rather pleasant, in an odd sort of way.

    I think if you put 20 brilliant, ardent Throne fans who were also script writers in a room with Word computers and instructions to write the finale, no two would agree on the ending — not even close. Well, aside the fact that Jon had to somehow dispatch his love witch — and then needed to look really, REALLY sad.

    Several of their “story boards” might well be superior to the real finish, but the rest of the script writers would vehemently disagree with their work. No sharp objects should be allowed in such a room.

  32. Really very good series it this GOT and season 8 is really impressive and good to watch

  33. […] Game of Thrones is finis. This seems like a good time to recount how various consumer brands riffed off the show, even […]

  34. […] Nick Gillespie, Peter Suderman, and Matt Welch. Also discussed: Last night’s television finale, last week’s weirdly DOA Trump immigration plan, and of course the weekend’s biggest […]

  35. “This ending also cheats Jon, who has to go north to join the Night’s Watch, which makes the least sense of all. Why is there still a Night’s Watch? The Night King is dead, the Wildlings are friends of the realm, and the Wall has a giant hole in it.”

    I thought the whole point at the end was that Jon *wasn’t* going to be the Night’s Watch, and was instead going off to live with the Wildlings in the North.

    (The very idea that anyone wants to live far north of Wall, now that there are tons of unoccupied lands in the warmer south, is difficult to swallow.)

    The Rootless Cosmopolitans of Reason cannot conceive of wanting to live in the land of your birth.

    1. The Nights Watch should no longer exist… No Night King, so no purpose. Either way he was TOLD to go be in the Night Watch, whether he’s just fucking off and going north is besides the point.

      Either way, that is retarded too… Because once Grey Worm sailed off, there’s no reason to not just let Jon do whatever he wants, as all the people in Westeros are fine with him. It would have been more realistic if once Grey Worm had sailed off he was like “Fuck yall, I’m going north to see what’s there.”

      Also, did anybody notice the nice green shoot just before the end? I think they were implying that the severe cold of winter was ending, and the north would become nicer.

      1. Jon goes back to the Night’s Watch because it is entirely fitting. It’s where he chose to go back when he was a nameless bastard. The Iron Throne is no more, literally but also figuratively – he can’t accept rulership otherwise he’s objectively perpetuating the kill-your-way-to-power paradigm. So he’s really just a nameless bastard all over again.

        Yes, the original purpose of the Watch is gone, but the institution remains and can be re-purposed.

        Which, taken in conjunction with the outcomes of the pseudo Yalta conference – accepting gradual change rather than Sam’s idealistic but unrealistic suggestion (a continent wide plebiscite, really? What – election returns coming in by raven?) presents a rather Burkean political statement.

        1. Dude, the truth is it is all sloppy writing. They could have thrown in a couple sentences of dialog and made some of it at least slightly make sense… But they didn’t, because the whole thing was rushed and sloppy. On top of the line about how bastards and criminals needing a place to go they could have thrown in something about repurposing it for something… Or said something specific like they should explore north of the wall… Or ANYTHING.

          Leaving gaping holes like they did is pure slop. I liked the show too, but that doesn’t mean I have to be a kiss ass and pretend them fucking the last 2 seasons up royally didn’t happen.

  36. Pretty much all my gripes have already been covered… They might as well have just had Jon kill skank queen, dragon tries to torch him, but he lives, and then hops on the back of the dragon and declares himself king. It would be predicable, but also what most people would actually WANT to happen. Other than kiss asses claiming otherwise after the fact, NOBODY would have preferred this stupid ending.

    A predictable ending is still better than a shitty one. Bran had the greatest story Tyrion??? Are you fucking kidding??? Basically everybody had as interesting, or a more interesting story. Jon coming back from the FUCKING DEAD doesn’t count for anything? Or the fact that he actually DID SHIT? What’s his face being raised as a peasant, even though he was the bastard son of a king… But became king… That’s not a good story?

    All the writing was shite this season. AND too rushed. If they had rushed a good story I might be able to almost forgive them, but they failed across the board.

    1. Yeah, just one more example of shit writing. Why didn’t they have anybody vet the writing? Anybody with half a brain could tell you that whole “story” argument was shite.

      1. HBO usually does a really good job of hiring the right people, and somehow maintaining quality consistently… Whoever was supposed to be overseeing the show runners for HBO corporate dropped the ball HARD by letting the show runners butcher the last 2 seasons this bad. Last season wasn’t even that horrible… But this one is unforgivable.

  37. Once I heard they would be wrapping it up with 2 mini seasons for the 7th and 8th I was pretty sure exactly this would happen. The massive scope of the world and significant dialog concerning the politicking going on surrounding any given event got turned into lightning quick bits to relay essentially a single point without any complexity.

    2 things happened. The above crunch to end what would essentially be 2 entire, large books by GRRM in a handful of episodes, and the fact that they departed from his script years ago.

    I cannot tell you how many people that just watch the show say “man it was amazing in seasons 1-5, and the red wedding was CRAZY, but then…”

    They deviated from his written script essentially (which season 1 followed to a T, and early seasons followed very closely). Remember the red wedding? Ya because it came direct from the book and moments like that are something garden variety Hollywood writers dont put in willy-nilly (almost never in the context of a normal TV show). Mostly because killing off a large chunk of favored/followed characters at once in a non-finale episode is something that just isn’t in the DNA of standard TV and movies. It is the stuff you would find at the end of the movies if it even happens.

    In the awesome fight between the red viper and the mountain, hollywood would have been tempted to make it a classic david v goliath and have the little fast guy who was wronged by this big evil man overcome and make the fans feel good! But GRRM had it end with the mutantly large brute crushing the little guys skull, something that had a high probability of happening, but wasn’t the stuff of standard pop-culture programming. When they were left on their own (with some guidance I guess), it turned into standard HBO fare, nothing more.

    1. As an aside, nothing gets me more pissed off than Sansa’s overall story.

      She is adequately portrayed in the early seasons for what she was in the books also: an insufferable little cunt, girly girl, only caring about being a prissy lady and marrying into power. Essentially being groomed to be a useless fuck-hole.

      Then she gets raped and beaten up a bunch and they show uses this as a proxy for her becoming this capable ruler (of the huge fucking north!) who has all this strategy, tactics, savvy, and they basically say “well she went through so much that’s why she is so tough/capable!”…

      You know what happens to ACTUAL people who start out useless, and then get massively traumatized for years? They become more useless, mostly fighting off PTSD and often struggle to lead a normal life considering what they went through. They don’t get superpowers and have the ability to lead nations because they got beaten and raped a bunch.

      1. Yeah, once they ran out of GRRM material it all went down hill quick. I’ve never been able to understand why Hollywood writers are so bad… They’ll usually butcher great elements in a book even when they have the full text to work with, let alone when they’re essentially going off of an outline like they supposedly were here.

        One has to wonder why more great writers don’t work in Hollywood, but rather write books. There are some greats now and again, but they almost always seem to be inferior to book writers. You’d think good writers would follow the money into Hollywood more!

  38. […] true but it is not at all inconsistent with Dany’s turn toward illiberal means to achieve her ends. Many a mass-murdering tyrant has professed to doing only what is necessary to rescue the enslaved, […]

  39. […] true but it is not at all inconsistent with Dany’s turn toward illiberal means to achieve her ends. Many a mass-murdering tyrant has professed to doing only what is necessary to rescue the enslaved, […]

  40. […] true but it is not at all inconsistent with Dany’s turn toward illiberal means to achieve her ends. Many a mass-murdering tyrant has professed to doing only what is necessary to rescue the enslaved, […]

  41. […] true but it is not at all inconsistent with Dany’s turn toward illiberal means to achieve her ends. Many a mass-murdering tyrant has professed to doing only what is necessary to rescue the enslaved, […]

  42. GOT was visually impressive throughout with great acting and awesome filming, costuming and CGI but the writing absolutely sucked the last few seasons. Nothing made any sense. Armies are wiped out and then they reappear. The Night King waits thousands of years to almost decimate them and then is killed in a blink of an eye by a teenage girl. Dragons are easily killed one instant and then invincible the next. Character development is all wasted – one minute somebody is a hero and then a villain. Jon’s story was a huge deal and then it meant nothing. Zero. Zilch. That whole secret royal parentage, being brought back to life, etc, – never mind, meant nothing. Nobody sees the Queen’s body but somehow everybody knows she is dead and who killed her. Let’s take the advice of somebody who just supported a Mad Queen and pick some weirdo who did nothing all the time to be king. I could go on and on.

    1. Ya, the targaryens of old used dragons in war for years, successfully, and all of a sudden writers snap their fingers and have the technology to snipe them out of the sky with ease. And from around the corner they are able to hit 3/3 sniper shots on a far away dragon, but then roughly 100 ballistas firing on the biggest dragon all at once can’t land a single shot. Oh and the night king apparently can throw an ice javelin longer, further, and more accurately than said ballistas. I mean I guess he has super powers so maybe.

      They also overused the “dagger drop” in the show a few too many times. You’re dead! I got you in an air chokehold! Oh shit, dagger drop. Also this group of ancient super powered, snow tornado creating, unstoppable zombie lieutenants and their more powerful and magical night king don’t have the wherewithal to detect and dispatch a teenage girl, be her ever so sneaky.

      It was also nice for them to allow the dothraki to come back from the dead, after they sacrificed their entire very capable cavalry to run blindly into an enemy horde they cant yet see, in the least effective use of their abilities. I mean, it’s not like they had any generals or war veterans from all the wars in the north there to tell them that was a terrible idea. But…plot device to make Dany sad she lost all her dothraki that she loved (writers said as much that it was supposed to be the wiping of the race, giving her the sads)…but then a shit load of them are back at kings landing in the end.

      Also super smart dragon understand iron throne was the REAL underlying evil in the realm; I suppose it’s nice to have a dragon that grasps metaphor so well? Infinitely more likely it torches John because mom killer (motherfucker?)

      1. All of this stupid, and similar stupid in almost every other movie/TV show, makes me think I should have become a Hollywood script writer… I would be better than 99.9% of them right off the bat, because I’m not a retard, and understand silly things like character development, motivation, etc. It’s like NONE of these people have even taken Creative Writing 101 or something.

  43. […] true but it is not at all inconsistent with Dany’s turn toward illiberal means to achieve her ends. Many a mass-murdering tyrant has professed to doing only what is necessary to rescue the enslaved, […]

  44. […] plethora of takes of all varieties – political, social, and otherwise – and some even worth reading. The level of dissatisfaction with the conclusion of the epic saga seems to me to be a bit […]

  45. She was a creepy combination of Mao’s Cultural Revolution with Col. Redleg’s fanaticism (“Doin’ right ain’t got no end). Fortunately for that fantasy world, she died like Redlegs, not after tens of millions of slaughtered and starved victims like Mao.

  46. Who cares? I lost interest once Blondie stopped taking her clothes off.

    1. Right??? What was up with that?

      Actually, she put on some weight in not the best ways over the years. You could literally see them framing her shots and planning her costumes around the fact that her ass BLEW UP compared to the first couple seasons. Like her ass got like 9 inches wider or something! Maybe she had a bit of a gut hidden under those costumes too?

      It’s not like she’s a total lard pig now… But definitely not nearly as bangin’ as the early seasons. Maybe their budget just didn’t have the money to CGI the cellulose off her thighs and ass? LOL

  47. […] plethora of takes of all varieties – political, social, and otherwise – and some even worth reading. The level of dissatisfaction with the conclusion of the epic saga seems to me to be a bit […]

  48. One difficulty I had was a cheat by the writers: it is difficult to imagine a scenario where Jon, in a city under complete control of Grey Worm, survives his arrest. He would have been killed instantly when they realized (if they realized) he killed Daenerys.

    1. Since the dragon flew away with all the evidence (body and weapon) and there were no witnesses, I wasn’t sure why he was in custody unless he told them what he did.
      I would have walked out of the city whistling – asking people along the way if they knew where to find Dany. At least until I got back to my own army.

    2. The fact that they just skipped over all of that made me go WTF more than almost anything else… I was expecting some sort of badass fight between him and Grey Worm or something leading to his death/capture/escape. Example # 11,342 of shit writing.

  49. […] plethora of takes of all varieties – political, social, and otherwise – and some even worth reading. The level of dissatisfaction with the conclusion of the epic saga seems to me to be a bit […]

  50. […] plethora of takes of all varieties – political, social, and otherwise – and some even worth reading. The level of dissatisfaction with the conclusion of the epic saga seems to me to be a bit […]

  51. it’s looking Sweet and ugali

  52. Finally got around to watching the final two episodes, and my main takeaway is this – Didn’t everyone know that Targaryens are all bat-shit crazy in the end?

  53. Finally got around to watching the final two episodes, and my main takeaway is this – Didn’t everyone know that Targaryens are all bat-shit crazy in the end?
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