If the social media response is any indication, the Game Of Thrones Series Finale was every bit as divisive as the rest of the eighth season has been. We ran a poll asking fans what they thought of who ended up in charge and the first 300 votes were somehow evenly split between “Yes”, “No” and “Meh”. I get it. The finale made some very strange choices. I certainly wasn't expecting to see Bran emerge or Jon once again banished to the Wall, but I also found myself really invested in quite a few things that happened too. So, let's talk about those.
Let's celebrate what did work about the finale. Here's a look at some of the individual moments during the last episode that really connected...
Business As Usual With The New Small Council
For me, Game Of Thrones, at its best, was always about the interplay between the ruler and his or her advisors. I loved watching Tywin, Varys, Littlefinger and Tyrion scheme and jockey against each other while trying to maintain order in the Kingdom. Arguments about things as stupid as how much money to give the winner of a joust could reveal so much about people's perspectives and the state of the realm. So I loved watching the show pick up with a new ruler and new problems to argue about, in this case whether to rebuild ships or brothels. No surprise what side Bronn is on there.
Delivered in multiple languages and with a great acting performance to go alongside it, Dany's speech did a really good job of selling her state of mind in that moment. She saw the fulfillment of a goal and looked ahead at the next challenges. Her conquering warriors saw the fulfillment of her promise to them, and Jon and Tyrion saw a mad woman who just burned one of the world's great cities to the ground (It's no Qarth). Three different perspectives, all clouded by their own biases. It's a very well done moment, and had the show not killed her off almost immediately afterwards, it's fascinating to think about an alternative universe in which that speech served as the launching pad for the next dozen or so episodes that would see Dany plot to take over the world. I would have definitely signed up to watch that show.
Sansa As Queen Of The North
Sure, the "Queen Of The North" chant wasn't anywhere close to moving as Jon's or even Robb's, but the ruler of an Independent North is exactly the fate Sansa deserved. She interacted with more people, saw more ways of life and learned more than practically anyone else on the show. Through it all, she got smarter and more calculating. She went from being maybe the most gullible character on the entire show to one of its most calculating and clever. She will be an amazing ruler, and how the hell everyone didn't think she was a better choice than weirdo Bran is beyond me.
Everything With Drogon
All the visuals of him behind Dany, him on top of collapsed buildings, him emerging from that pile of snow. I liked the angry burning of the Iron Throne. I like that he took Dany with him after she died. I like that he's still out there, somewhere. Maybe Arya will run into him West of Westeros. Maybe there are other dragon eggs out there somewhere. His survival seemingly opens up a much larger world of possibilities in precisely the same way his death would have closed them. Everything is usually in balance. So dragons probably mean magic which probably means White Walkers or something like them. The cycle continues.
Edmure Tully's Return
If you would have told me Robin Arryn would return, I would have assumed that would have been a clear highlight, but he was overshadowed this week by Edmure Tully coming out of nowhere and proving once again just what a buffoon he is. In some ways, his speech reminded me of Euron Greyjoy's during Season 7 Episode 7, in which everyone was assembled to talk about the White Walkers and he launched into an ill-timed diatribe directed at Theon. Everyone told him to shut up, and Sansa did the same here, telling her uncle to sit down without even letting him finish. P.S. Remember that time he couldn't hit the boat with the arrows? Hilarious.