There has been a lot of criticism of Game Of Thrones Season 8 so far. Some of it has been fair. Some of it has felt short-sighted and mean-spirited. Even at its worst, Game Of Thrones is better than almost every other show on television, and while some of the choices may have felt a little rushed, Season 8 has had its share of amazing moments. I think it’s important we admit that.
So, let’s celebrate those wins. Let’s not lose the valid criticisms some have put forth. We can talk about those, as well, but for right now, let’s give a round of applause to the moments that have been fantastic so far this season because there have been more than a handful than stand up next to practically anything Game Of Thrones has ever put out.
Arya And The Hound's Final Moment Together
In a show filled with amazing twosomes (Varys & Littlefinger, Bronn and Tyrion, Jaime and Brienne), Arya and The Hound have arguably been the best of the lot. Their bizarre and fascinating relationship gave us some of Season 3 and Season 4’s best moments, and their final send-off was absolutely perfect. The Hound showed Arya the consequences of living a life dedicated to revenge, and he implored her to leave and think about the long-term. The subtext of his speech was you have so much more to live for… I don’t. It’s a great moment that’s about as animated as we have ever seen from The Hound, and her direct addressing him as “Sandor” was a wonderful way to humanize their relationship. They’re both better people for having found each other, and their relationship will live on as a wonderful example of Game Of Thrones letting unexpected characters learn a lot from each other.
Varys Back To Scheming
I don’t care if it all ended badly for the Spider. He spent too many episodes on the sidelines in both 6 and 7, emerging now and again for a great speech and then sinking back into the outer reaches of the plot. Season 8 allowed him to wheel and deal one final time, telling Tyrion and Jon in very certain terms that Daenerys was the wrong leader. His scheme included a subtle poisoning attempt that many fans missed, and he ultimately lost his life for the botched effort. That too, however, was a positive, as he was given one more great scene where he embraced his death without anger or malice, thinking only for the realm and its people. It’s fair to say the plot was a little rushed and would have done better stretched over more episodes, but it was a fitting end for one of Thrones’ most fascinating characters.
The Battle Of Winterfell's Music
The two big takeaways from the Battle of Winterfell were that some people felt it was too dark and some people felt not enough people died. I get the first criticism. I disagree with the second one, but regardless, my main takeaway was how beautiful the music was. It reminded me a lot of Season 6 Episode 10, specifically all the stuff related to Cersei and the Kings Landing plot. I thought it built tension but didn’t overpower the moment. It was the perfect accompaniment and worked particularly well near the end when the camera went back and forth between Theon/ Bran/ The Night King, Jon and the ice dragon and Jorah and Dany. Well played by everyone involved who really came through and produced an end result Thrones fans will be vividly remember for years to come.
Brienne Gets Knighted
What a beautiful, well-deserved moment. In a show filled with selfish, deceitful people, Brienne has been arguably the most honorable, at least since Ned Stark lost his head. She’s been teased and tormented. She’s fought and remained loyal. She’s been a good person throughout, fighting against the wickedness of the world around her and against the gender role she’s supposed to play. She deserved her moment of glory, and the writers did a wonderful job of creating a believable situation in which she would be knighted. Staring down what seemed like the end of the world, filled with alcohol and surrounded by unconventional people who are less invested in tradition, particularly Tormund, she finally got a chance to kneel and arise a knight of the Seven Kingdoms. Incredible.
Theon At The Battle Of Winterfell
I’m not sure anyone else on Game Of Thrones has had a crazier character arc than Theon Greyjoy. He’s been taken in and cast out by multiple families. He spent multiple season being tortured. He was castrated, turned into a coward and set adrift, all because he didn’t realize the Starks were his real family. So, it’s only fitting the show gave him a chance to fight for Winterfell and fight for Bran, more than a half decade after his ruinous betrayal. Say what you will about the larger stuff at the Battle Of Winterfell, but all the exchanges between Theon and Bran were really touching. Theon’s ultimate death, stabbed in the side and tossed to the side like garbage by the Night King, was the right way for his story to end too. He’s a deeply flawed character, but he’s one most of us really cared about.
Arya Rejects Gendry
Unlike a lot of viewers, I liked the sex scene. I thought it was in character for Arya and gave us a much needed humanizing perspective of her. What followed, however, was even better. Gendry’s excited and kind of stupid proposal was a really sweet moment. He’s known a lot of bad luck and heartbreak in his life and to see him so giddy about his future and about Arya was great. But that’s not her. She’s been saying since Season 1 that she doesn’t want to be a Lady, and her accepting that proposal, while it would have been nice to see her get a happy ending, would have been a betrayal of her character. That wouldn’t have been her, and seeing that touching rejection was a great reminder of who Arya is and why we’ve all fallen in love with her.
Jorah Protects Dany And Brings Honor To His House
Jorah, while having a colorful history with both his family and Daenerys, is one of the simplest, most straight ahead characters on Game Of Thrones. He’s always been about trying to find redemption in the eyes of his father and trying to serve and support Dany in whatever she needed. His touching death let him ensure one final time that he protected Daenerys and let her carry out her goals, and it also let him defend humanity and restore honor to House Mormont, honor he lost when Ned Stark originally banished him for selling slaves to support his expensive wife. It’s fitting that he struggled and struggled to serve in spite of multiple wounds and then quickly died the moment he knew she was safe. He was a great character, and the Battle Of Winterfell was the perfect time for his journey to end.