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Over the last few weeks, Game of Thrones fans have been very vocal online as the last few episodes have hit HBO for the first time. Last night the series finale aired, and as has been the trend of late, people were all over the board with their feelings related to the final episode.
Here at CinemaBlend, we’re just as big of fans as many people across the country and the world are. We’ve all spent some time with our feelings and have graded the episode accordingly. So, without further ado, here’s what CinemaBlend thought of the Game of Thrones finale “The Iron Throne.”
There are some nods to spoilers and minor spoilers throughout this article. So, if you still haven’t caught the episode, these aren’t completely spoiler-free reviews.
Let’s start with the good news. CinemaBlend’s own Sean O’Connell was very much invested in “The Iron Throne.” But don’t take it from me, here’s why he gave it an “A” grade:
A. The finale was everything I needed it to be. It was beautifully shot (terrific direction by Benioff and Weiss), with the weight of everything that we have come to know about all of these characters laying thick on top of the drama that was baked into this final episode. Difficult decisions were made, by both the storytellers AND the people on screen, and I am more than content with the resolutions handed out to all of the key players. Tidy? Perhaps. But for a series finale, that's what I'd hope for, and this was a satisfying sendoff to an iconic show.
I also found the finale to be a likable wrap up. In particular, while I think the last couple of seasons as a whole have rushed through plots, given this was the final episode, I generally enjoyed myself and think the finale played out about as well as it could, given there wasn’t enough time for a ton of surprises.
A-. Season 7 and 8 as a whole were hit or miss for me, but I generally enjoyed the finale. It offered lots of entrancing shots and capably wrapped up the plots that needed to be wrapped up With few surprises, there was still enough there to wrap up the storyline eloquently, even if it wasn’t as zany and unhappy as I anticipated the ending to be. In particular, I was really happy with Snow’s last scene as well as the small council meeting, not to mention Robin Arryn and Brienne’s final nod to Jaime Lannister! I'll be watching it again.
Juxtapose these thoughts with Gina Carbone, who harshly compared the finale episode to a Wikipedia entry. Spoiler, she did not really like it. She said,
D. The finale was a bizarre mix of small moments being drawn out and major events being rushed. Like most of Season 8, it felt like a Wikipedia summary more than a full story being told, with only Arya, Sansa, Sam, and Brienne getting endings I can halfway believe. I feel sorry for all the fans who gave the showrunners credit with clever theories, only for something so pedestrian to hit screen. Sadly, the final two seasons have even dampened my interest in reading the final two books in the real A Song of Ice and Fire, and that's the opposite of how I hoped to feel after the finale.
She’s not the only one. CinemaBlend’s Eric Eisenberg was slightly nicer with his finale grade, but only just, but only because he didn’t feel the “happy” ending was deserved. He's written about this more extensively, but here's what he thinks...
D+. My biggest fear going into this finale was that the show would be given a "happy ending," and that's basically what we got, with every character placed exactly where they should be to a frustrating extent (even those who openly protest their placement like Jon, Tyrion, and Bran are just too perfectly at home in their roles). Over the years it has always looked like Westeros would be a place completely unable to ever secure everlasting peace - a perfect fantastical representation of our own world - and yet the writers finished the story without any seeds of conflict or drama. Without that conflict, and without questions about the future, I don't really have a reason to continue thinking about and analyzing the show, and that honestly depresses me.
Those are the most polarizing thoughts about the HBO drama's finale. Most of the staff here at CinemaBlend really believed the episode landed somewhere in the middle range -- not the best series finale ever but also not the worst. Giving the show C grades were Alli Ladd and Laura Hurley. In particular, Hurley noted most of the issues she did take with the finale probably could have been rectified if Game of Thrones Season 8 had been longer as a whole.
C. I enjoyed the series finale enough for what it was: a perfectly adequate episode, with gorgeous visuals and an incredible soundtrack, that tied everything up too neatly. By the end of the finale, I was hoping for a sign that the White Walkers were coming back, if only so the series would end with a little bit of bite still in it. "The Iron Throne" might have been incredible if Season 8 had been longer.
On the other hand, Alli had gone into the finale with low expectations and got exactly what she expected, noting,
C. The magic of the show was completely lost for me for a majority of this season, and especially for the finale. It felt way too predictable and too clean. Where’s the twists and turns of the show that kept us coming back every week?
Corey Chichizola and Mack Rawden didn’t think this was their favorite finale of all time, but both were kinder to Game of Thrones’ “The Iron Throne” than many other Season 8 watchers. Mack Rawden, in particular, felt that even when the finale wasn’t perfect, it set up for storylines he really wanted to see more of, revealing,
B. The finale didn't deliver every single answer I wanted or tie up every single plot thread. As with the rest of Season 8, it was rushed and there just wasn't enough time, but it certainly did leave me wanting more. Similar to the other season finales, Game Of Thrones set up a future I really want to see. Does Bran have the people skills to be king? How will he get along with Sansa and the now independent North? What's west of Westeros? I want a full 10-episode season telling that story.
Corey Chichizola definitely enjoyed himself, even when the finale wasn’t perfect, because it was beautiful to watch and “not squeaky clean.” He said:
B+. While I'm going to be bummed about Dany's date for a while, I really liked the series finale. Context for Dany's mass murder was given, and the Dragon Queen was in the most stunning shots of the night. I liked the finale because it wasn't squeaky clean; characters like Tyrion and Jon weren't given their happy endings, with the latter left to wonder from the wall whether or not he did the right thing.
The common complaint was that Game of Thrones’ pacing in the early seasons was one of the things fans really enjoyed. That really ramped up the last two seasons and particularly during this last set of six episodes. This meant the episodes were more action-heavy, which some enjoyed, but many didn't.
It also meant that some plots that happened occurred swiftly and suddenly, sometimes with less foreshadowing than we may have liked. All in all, it may be over, but we’ll still be talking about it for weeks. That’s something after all.