My Thoughts on the Game of Thrones Finale (spoilers)

I thought about writing this last night, immediately after the finale ended, but I wanted to process the episode a bit before sharing my perspective.

I should preface this with a disclaimer that may or may not matter to you: I tend to give shows I love the benefit of the doubt. It’s exceptionally rare that I’m disappointed by a series finale, as I want to like it. That’s just me. I liked the Lost finale. I appreciated the Seinfeld finale. Fringe. The Office. Parks and Rec. The Sopranos. And so on.

So, no big surprise for the Game of Thrones finale: I really liked it. I was satisfied by the conclusion of all the events that led to Dany dying and Bran becoming king. It felt good to see so many characters I cared about rise up in the world to make a pivotal decision. I smiled as the Jon, Arya, and Sansa walked into their respective futures, and I laughed at the comments made during the first new king’s council meeting.

I was worried that there would be a big twist, something done for shock value, and pleased that the writers didn’t do that. I also though the episode was strikingly beautiful, particularly the image of the wings unfolding behind the Mother of Dragons.

It also made me really want to watch an Arya spinoff. Can they do that instead of venturing back into history? I think part of the reason the world is so interesting is because there’s a history to it that we feel but don’t see.

I said that I was satisfied with Bran becoming king, but that isn’t entirely true. I’m fine with it, and I like Tyrion’s argument that it might be good to have a system in place where rulers aren’t inherited. My ultimate preference, though, would have been for them to decide not to have a monarch at all. Why have a single position with so much power for people to covet and fight over?

I respect and understand if you feel differently about the finale, and you’re welcome to express your opinions as such in the comments. What did you think?


15 Responses to “My Thoughts on the Game of Thrones Finale (spoilers)”

  1. Sara says:

    I really, really wanted to love this final season and the finale. I really found most of it to be lukewarm compared to the prior seasons. There wasn’t nearly time to develop all these plot lines… my favorite part was when that frickin throne finally got destroyed and Drogon took off with his mama. I never saw it coming that Bran would be named king, and I really never saw it coming that Jon would be banished to that freaking wall again. Glad to see he’s not trapped in it this time, but I was really sad that after all his effort and successes, he got banished from everything yet again.

  2. Patrick says:

    Altho i agree on most part with you, Jamey, like how the new ruling system would work or Starks each led to their own path after such a long journey which began different chapter for each of them individually and I liked it. But i was rather disappointed by the overall conclusion, like how Dany, after so much struggling with creating a dynasty, or rather taking what was hers by right, earned herself so much power and love and support of so many whom she helped, ended up avenging her family, making it all personal and died thinking she was doing the right thing.

    I’d like if others share their thoughts on the finale as well.

  3. Ray B says:

    I watched episodes 1-4 last night and 5 and 6 tonight. I’d heard all the outrage and moaning…got spoiled on a couple things but not everything.

    I’m with you. There was a tinge of anti-climax on a couple notes, but I was generally satisfied with the ending. Like you I tend to be happy with endings to shows other people hate (Sopranos… Lost especially as it remained one of my favorite shows through its entire runtime).

    The problem is how invested fans of shows become. They watch a show like GoT for 8 years and expectations grow and grow to the point that being let down becomes almost inevitable. A show about years of war and political intrigue being wrapped up in a nice and tidy bow? That’s hard. You’re not going to please everybody. A show that has consistently been grim and brutal to its characters pulling off a bittersweet ending. Appropriate– probably the best we could ask for that wouldn’t feel cheap. A show that has defied expectations since season 1 was never going to meet expectations in its finale for better or worse.

    This is why I 100% prefer not watching shows as they air and binge-watching them when they are finally done and dusted. I can consume the whole show in one fell swoop and not get hung up on years worth of being frustrated by unanswered questions or preferred outcomes not happening. I can see the creators’ vision better.

    Would I have loved Jamie to have been the one to off Cersei? YES.
    Would I have wanted Jon to take the throne? Yeah, but he never wanted it and it made sense that he didn’t get it.
    Am I cool with Varys getting roasted? NOOOOOOOO 🙁

    But that’s the way the story played out and I’m cool with it.

    I sometimes feel like shows are better off getting canceled these days than coming to their planned conclusion. Then fans get mad at studios/networks rather than the writers/producers!

    The hate being directed at the show I find silly. But it doesn’t surprise me.

    • Ray B says:

      Oh and I knew all along Dany would flip her shit in the end. She always had a glimmer of madness in her. It’s a shame, but there was no way she was going to stay chill in the end. She spent years fighting and killing to gain that throne. That’s a hard mode to turn off.

      • Patrick says:

        Almost everybody i know predicted the same fate for Dany, though not with the hands of Jon. Thats was rather a shock to most I’d say

        And I agree, in the end you cannot make everybody happy. I lost interest in GoT when I found out that its now going according to the book series any more, wether it was better or worse, I was disappointed until the very last episode.
        Who’s to blame though, really?

  4. Joseph E. Pilkus III says:

    Very satisfied, Jamey! I, too, like many others, I believe, did not see Jon being the one to plunge a dagger into Dany, but it really had to be him, didn’t it. Like others have said, it’s a shame to see the show end, as we’ve invested time into these characters, which in my opinion is the greatest hallmark of a series…we’re left wanting more.

    My girlfriend has never seen a single episode, but she’s intrigued, so in the months ahead, we’ll watch it together and in some ways it will be fresh to me, as well, as so much has happened around Westeros that we can enjoy it together.

  5. Mike Price says:

    I loved the season and the finale. I thought it was perfect. I laughed. I cried. I walked away in a contemplative mood.

    I guess now I understand how Rick and Morty fans feel when I tell them that no matter how many times I try to like the show, I just can’t stand it — that’s how bewildered I am that people weren’t happy with this ending.

    The wife and I work in a department of fifteen English teachers — all but two watch Game of Thrones. Not one of us is dissatisfied with the ending or feels that actions were “out of character” or clumsily depicted. The narrative makes sense to us. It’s poetic.

  6. Mike Price says:

    More thoughts — I think the problem a few people have with epic TV events is they build up a whole set of elaborate theories about how things are going to pan out and then the real thing can’t possibly live up to expectations.

    Another maligned series finale that I LOVED was the end of Battlestar Galactica. I walked away awed and emotional. I thought it was PERFECT. Yet people hate it.

    At least we all agree on Mad Men’s finale, right?

  7. Mike Price says:

    I would have found it earth-shatteringly out of character is Jaime killed Cersei. I can’t understand why people wanted that.

  8. TMac says:

    I was oddly satisfied with the overall outcome. The living Starks all ended up on seemingly the right path. I do wish someone had actually killed Cersei. Heck, I’d have been happy if it was a haphazard slicing off of her head as the Hound angrily walked forward to face the Mountain, all the while never removing his gaze from his brother.

    The one battle I wish I’d seen in the finale that never happened was Jon vs Greyworm. While I understand his character, I admittedly wanted Greyworm dead by the end as much as I wanted someone to take out Dany.

    Overall, I was satisfied with the outcomes, and I too liked the humor in the new council!

  9. Mike Price says:

    Who else would watch an entire spin-off series featuring nothing but meetings of the new small council?

  10. I also thought it was satisfying. It was no Breaking Bad (probably the best finale in recent TV) but it was Endgame satisfying. An ending for the fans. We weren’t expecting Shakespeare.

  11. Wes says:

    I enjoyed it, went into it spoiler free and actually thought Jon Snow loving Dany despite everything was the “shocker”, until she dropped to the ground. Bran as King was not exciting (and his character always feels so dull), but I did love how each of the Starks move on to new futures while Tyrion assembles a table of empty chairs from dead family members before the hilarious council assembles.
    No season redux needed from me (and shouldn’t be for anyone… This is Tv people!). 🙂⚔️🙂

  12. Derrick says:

    Given where the story was at coming into the finale, I thought the finale did a fine job of wrapping up the series. Frankly judging it against other series finales, it is one of the better ones, as they so frequently disappoint.

    My biggest issue was that I felt like they wasted a huge chunk of the final 13 episodes and it forced them to accelerate their storytelling in a manner that was inconsistent with the history of the show. As a result, the stories didn’t resonate in the same way that previously made the show so compelling. It’s like taking something that says cook all day in a slow cooker and putting it in the microwave instead; it may still taste like the thing, but you don’t savor it nearly the same way.

    I’m not trying to hate on GoT; I enjoyed watching the show. And it’s “event television” approach not only made for some great viewing experiences, but it provided an excuse for us to hang out with friends all day and play games before the episode aired. It’s unfortunate that (for me) it’s quality faded down the stretch. GoT could have been a Top 5 show for me, but now I’m not certain where it lands.

    (Oh and I would TOTALLY be down with an Arya spinoff!!!)

  13. Paul Sousa says:

    I was not a fan of the finale, or this final season as a whole. To me it felt like rushed and lazy writing.

    Dany turning to a villain who was basically a caricature of tyranny felt forced and nowhere near nuanced and developed enough, it’s as if they felt they had to replace Cersei with another obvious face of evil. It could have been so much more compelling if Dany hadn’t torched King’s Landing and took the throne, and then when returning to Winterfell having Sansa refuse to bend the knee resulting in Dany taking her prisoner to be executed. It would have allowed Dany to continue to remain truer to her character, but also forced Jon to choose between family and his queen (and give viewers a much harder choice to make on who to support).

    The scene with Bran becoming king also made no sense to me for various reasons. First, there is no way Grey Worm wouldn’t have already executed Jon and Tyrion. He served Dany fiercely and would not have suddenly become a diplomat upon her death. So Tyrion’s speech realy shouldn’t have happened. Second, there is no way the leaders of a world that has been all about gaining power would quickly decide to completely change the way their leadership works, let alone vote to give the crown to a weird, crippled boy (not trying to be un-PC, but Bran is both of those things) in such an apathetic manner. The one guy who just seemed to say “meh” and raise his hand was laughable.

    I also feel like they forgot Bronn was still alive and had no clue what to do with him. It makes zero sense to have a ruthless sellsword become Master of Coin, especially since Bran was under no obligation to honor Tyrion’s promise to give him Highgarden.

    Ultimately I was disappointed because the show’s greatness was built on fantastic character development and the idea that “nobody is safe”, yet the final season was like a sprint to the finish line the culminated in a Disney ending. In a silo was it terrible? Perhaps not. But in the context of the entire series it was a complete disservice to the fantastic seasons that preceded it.

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