YOU GUYS. IT’S OVER. GAME OF THRONES IS OVER. Can you believe it? We’ve dedicated ten years of our lives to this show, and it’s just… done.
Look, it’s been a fantastic journey. What a show. What a world George R.R. Martin created (and showrunners David Benihoff and D.B. Weiss formed visually off the back of Martin’s books). But that finale? We were not into it. We being me (Mel, Senior Style & Features Editor) and Josie (Head of Editorial). As always, we’re here to recap what went down and read all your minds! For the last time ever! *cryface into eternity*.
JOSIE: Can we start with that poor awful burned man trudging through King’s Landing? That enormous gaping burn wound on his back needs an entire bottle of Dettol poured on it immediately. No wonder Tyrion looked so horrified.
MEL: I just don’t know if I needed to see a 75% dead man walking in silence down an ash-covered avenue of Kings Landing, but sure. Etch that into my memory forever, Game Of Thrones.
JOSIE: My back is still itchy just thinking about him. But those opening shots were pretty amazing, really, showing the aftermath of Dany‘s fiery dragon tantrum. But she’s not the only nutbag around these parts, Grey Worm‘s crazy was also showing in a big way.
MEL: I have to give the showrunners this – the cinematography this season? Phenomenal. All the scenes from the Battle Of Kings Landing were superb and really made you realise what a horrific mess Dany made when she decided to mass murder the civilian population there. I think we needed that as fans to truly understand how terrible her reign had become, and how much worse it could get. Also YES I could not deal with Grey Worm sassing Jon Snow and then slicing the throats of those poor Lannister army dudes. Can the guy chill for a fucking second? Like Davos My Favourite said – the battle was won! No need, my guy!
JOSIE: Grey Worm really drank the Dany kool-aid and had for a very, very long time. That teamed with the beheading of his beloved Missandei and he just couldn’t see any other option other that MURDER EVERYONE. I mean Davos is forever the voice of reason. I’d like a Davos in my life, just advising me on all personal decisions. He really is the greatest. So the reason for Tyrion’s little stroll through death and destruction is, of course, to find out the fates of his wayward siblings. It was a very emotional scene as he picked through the rubble and found them.
MEL: A very emotional and also suspenseful scene as I was 99% sure we were going to see Jaime move his half-dead head and say a few lines, proving that theory that his character arc hadn’t ended yet to be true. But no, Jaime was very dead. That scene was beautifully shot, in my opinion, and I think it was a fitting ending for our favourite incestuous couple, to see them side by side in death as opposed to just assuming they were crushed in the collapse.
JOSIE: Yes, and their beautiful faces were still suspiciously intact considering 1000 tonnes of bricks had just caved in on top of them. But I get it, it’s Hollywood babey! No one wants to see Jaime’s handsome head all mangled. So then after Tyrion’s little sojourn, Jon decides to stride back to see Dany, his insane girlfriend/aunt/Queen who he’s not overly happy with. And what a shot we’re greeted with!
MEL: THAT. WAS. ALL. TIME. Most iconic shot in GOT history, I’m calling it.
JOSIE: It was incredible. And her outfit was fucking boss, she completely morphed into Evil Dragon Queen. I want that outfit, just to wear in my day-to-day life. Power dressing is underestimated! Imagine showing up for a meeting in that.
MEL: I have to say, I wasn’t sad about Daenerys’ transition into the Evil Queen. I think it could have developed over a longer period of time, sure, but the final product was phenomenal – Emilia Clarke did a great job, the outfit was epic, the scary vibes… all of it, exactly what we loved about this show from the beginning, you know? Just that “no one is safe” feeling. When she addressed her armies I also had the thought which was brought up by Tyrion later, about how we’ve seen her do this powerful “free the people! Smite the bad guys!” speech before in Mereen and at that Dothraki hub, but now it’s like “oh shit, her method of murdering anyone who disagrees with her leadership is becoming quite probbo, isn’t it”. Really, she’s been like this all along and it’s just that before she was murdering slave masters, but now it’s these Kings Landing civilians we’ve become fond of, you know?
JOSIE: I’m not mad about it either, I remember when we watched last week’s episode and she started killing people you and I were shocked but not in a “that is terrible writing” way. I actually think the killing of Missandei and Rhaegal just tipped her over the edge? Like she’d been pretty fucking stoic for 8 seasons and had gone through a lot of trauma, but killing Missandei and Rhaegal was personal, and it flipped a switch inside her. I am definitely not condoning breathing fire onto small innocent King’s Landing residents at all, but I could totally see WHY it happened. And Dany has been so about the Iron Throne since day dot almost. So as it loomed closer she went a little mad from the power. I thought the storyline made total sense, and I agree that Emilia did a bang-up job with the material she had to work with. Tyrion explained it so well though – it was all well and good when she was killing bad guys, but then the second she kills innocent people it’s like ‘HOLD UP WHO ARE YOU’. As Arya said, I know a killer when I see one. And Dany was always a killer, really.
MEL: Exactly! So Dany arrests Tyrion for treason as we knew she would because he AGAIN makes the terrible decision of approaching her right when all her armies are praising her. Like dude, NOT THE TIME. Wait until she’s calmed down, maybe? Anyway agreed that his speech to Jon while imprisoned was all-time. I missed Peter Dinklage delivering a good speech.
JOSIE: My highlight was him taking his fancy Hand pin off and us chanting “Throw it on the ground! Throw it on the ground!” and then when he threw it on the ground, cheering “YAAAAAY!” The speech was EPIC. Vintage Tyrion, vintage Dinklage (that’s fun to say). Such an excellent performance from him in this episode, I feel. Tyrion’s a fan fave who came out the gates strongly in this show and then kind of faded out in the past few seasons, made bad decisions, acted like a coward. But I feel like he redeemed himself in this episode.
MEL: I love how you’re discussing him like he’s a horse in the Melbourne Cup. Here’s another person I’ll discuss as a horse – Jon Snow.
MEL: A slow starter but quickly proved himself a front-runner, before tiring towards the end and finishing weakly. Look, in all seriousness, I know people will disagree with me, but I just think Jon listening to Tyrion and stabbing Daenerys in the guts was out of character. I felt like he’d be one to die as a traitor before betraying his Queen, you know?
JOSIE: And it seemed to only semi-fulfill that Game Of Thrones Azor Azhai prophecy that everyone’s been banging on about for years. I guess Jon figured he was the only one who could get close enough to her to kill her? And Tyrion’s very convincing speech worked on him. Bloody Varys tried to kill her with his poison plan but he got burned alive before he could do it. If I was Jon I’d just ask my psycho sister Arya to do it for me.
MEL: Totally! It felt like a big gaping “believability hole” to me that Jon would just be like righto, off I go with my dagger to be a Queenslayer. He’s ALL about honour. Like Ned Stark – to a fault. Anyway, THAT happened. Also I will hand it to the showrunners – they lined up the fulfillment of Dany’s vision from season 2 really well.
MEL: And then Drogon lumbered in like the awkward teenager he is after she died and I was SO scared.
JOSIE: Oh my god, me too. Drogon was so off it. And I was like… why isn’t Jon running away? From the huge beast with the big flames that come out of his mouth? But then, and I thought this was kinda poetic and cool, Drogon instead destroyed the Iron Throne. Which I know is a moment getting dragged by some fans who don’t think dragons are capable of such reasoning, but I thought it was cool!
MEL: I did too! Like we can just assume it was unintentional-but-symbolic, you know? The Throne WAS right behind Jon, and Drogon was pissed. I think it would have been stupid if Drogon burnt Jon alive for killing Dany, because Jon had a connection to the dragons too as a part-Targaryen. I just got the feeling the message there was “I’m a pissed off dragon and I can’t kill you so I’ll burn down this room instead”.
JOSIE: All of that first half of the episode I thought was really well done. Then we flashed forward a few weeks and Tyrion is being hauled outside by Grey Worm’s cronies to explain himself to a council of powerful Westerosians.
JOSIE: I missed the memo where we were flash-forwarding so I was super confused, but I did love the excuse to bring all our faves and some forgotten folks to the table, so we got to see everyone’s faces before the show ended. Like the Dorne guy! NEWLY HOT ROBIN ARRYN! Edmure Tully, who has presumably been locked up for over a decade!
JOSIE: It was cool to see all those people at the council, I guess, but it was also a bit of a jarring change of pace for me. Like, after all the fighting and scheming and killing and destruction, let’s just have a measured chat about democracy!
It’s like “And here, children, is how the election process was first born.”
MEL: Oh god yes, I HATED the actual proceedings of that council meeting, I just liked bringing everyone together. But once things got started, it was like a new, far less experienced writer joined the staff in the final moments and wrote their first ever TV show script. What was with all the jarring comedic moments about democracy, and all that shit? It was so bizarre to me and you could SEE the showrunners grasping at straws to find a way to wrap shit up.
JOSIE: And I very nearly damaged two very expensive pieces of electronic equipment — my TV and my phone, which I almost threw at said TV — when Tyrion proclaimed that Bran should be King. Also, who decided Tyrion got to choose this? None of it made any sense. And Bran was just sitting there with that irritatingly serene, smug look on his face like “Oh yes everything is unfolding as it should.” Doll, what happened to “I am not Bran Stark anymore”?!! I didn’t hear you bring that up when everyone was bending knees in your direction?
MEL: He has quite literally spent several seasons telling anyone who would listen that he is merely the keeper of Memory and no longer Bran Stark, and then at the last second he’s like “oh yes that’s why I came down here, I am King”. What the fucking fuck was that. Not to mention how people who were passionately loyal to Dany like Yara Greyjoy just went “yep, seems fair” and they got a unanimous agreement for King Bran. I know people come for us over calling this show “unrealistic” but the fact is a show is only as good as it’s world and characters are, so if you break the rules of the world you created or suddenly have your characters doing things that are out of character, it turns to shit. And that’s what happened here, I reckon. That council meeting was a mess and it was a mess because it had a bunch of characters suddenly behaving like completely different people. Also, just kill Grey Worm? That solves a lot of problems, IMO.
JOSIE: Like I said to you, who killed Bruce Springsteen and made Grey Worm the Boss? Dany decided she was Queen and killed thousands of people. Then Tyrion betrayed her and Jon killed her. Suddenly this means they are Very Bad Men according to Grey Worm so Jon gets punished, Tyrion becomes the Hand somehow even though he sucks at it and Grey Worm sails off to Naath to make sure Missandei’s people are okay. None of that made any sense. Dany is not around to see that her traitors are punished and most people are in agreement that she was a fucken psycho. So just… get a fresh start? Absolve everyone of their wrongdoings? Anyway, can we talk about Sansa basically being like ‘But Tyrion, Bran’s cock doesn’t work he cannot be King!’
MEL: Omg I know, I don’t think we needed mention of Bran’s ability to procreate but here we are. Also worth noting – Edmure Tully standing up to give a big speech on why he should be King only to be told to sit down by his niece, Sansa. That was a fun moment, I’ll give them that. Do you know what else didn’t make sense? Sansa declaring that the Northerners would never bow to a King, so they must stay independent. But… Bran’s a Stark? The entire issue of the North was that they didn’t trust people who aren’t their own, and Bran IS their own. Like we’ve said this whole recap – MAKE SENSE, YOU FUCKING WRITERS.
JOSIE: That was ALSO weird. Like, for the Northerners Bran being on the Throne is a great outcome! But, I loved that Sansa was Queen of the North (or is it IN the North?) after all that. Jumping ahead, but when they showed her at the end sitting there, I felt quite proud. I’d always disliked her because she was so mean to Arya (who I have always loved and just like Arya I hold grudges) but she’s definitely grown on me and I love love love her character’s arc. Maybe most out of anyones. She definitely did some scheming (telling Tyrion about Jon’s parentage), pulled some strings, got to where she wanted to be. But not in a bad way, just a clever way. And the woman we saw being crowned Queen had come such a long way since Season 1. She’s smart and driven and not crazy – a great Queen.
MEL: YES – I have to say, and you know this, I was bitching on about how Game Of Thrones had fucked it with all their female characters, making everyone bitchy and crazy in the final season. But they came good with Sansa Stark in the end. Also, Arya obviously, Brienne and Yara Greyjoy – she’s running the show in the Iron Islands and I love that, too.
JOSIE: Agree! I actually think that they did those women justice too. Like Sansa wasn’t being a bitch for no reason.
MEL: Speaking of Brienne – I got a bit emotional watching her write out Jaime’s story in that big book, whatever it was.
JOSIE: OMG I had no idea what the book was either but then I did some research and it as referenced in an earlier season. As Kingsguard Brienne has to write the story of the previous Kingsguard in there, which just so happened to be Jaime who she boned once before he noped outta Winterfell and died. So it was probably super hard for her to keep it factual and not being like “Jaime was such a fuckboy, ugh”. But she wrote all the really noble things he did and it was really nice. I’m so glad Brienne made it to the end.
MEL: Hahaha and you were all “here’s Brienne filling in Jaime’s Wikipedia page” when we were watching. That makes more sense, and I agree – I’m glad she gave Jaime a good write-up because I do think, at the end of the day, he was a loyal Kingsguard to his sons and to Cersei. Like, she could have gone Game Of Thrones Burn Book on him but she didn’t and it was v noble of her. Can I say though, aside from Brienne as Kingsguard and Davos as the Ocean Master or whatever that title is, the ship man… I fucking hated that small council of King Bran’s. Like… Bronn? The self-serving criminal who switched sides according to cash? Why the fuck would you make him Master of Coin let alone let him anywhere near your trusted circle?
JOSIE: I know! As much as I adore Bronn, as he himself says “there’s no cure for being a cunt”. And the man is a cunt – a lovable one, but honestly, I’d trust him about as far as I could throw him. I know he got his fancy title as per his agreement with the Lannister brothers after deciding not to shoot them with the crossbow, but I wouldn’t be letting him near any type of King’s big meeting table or whatever that was. Also, the lame attempts at humour in that scene were making me cringe! “Oh, I think we should build a brothel hahahaha”. Like, I get that we’re wrapping things up but not everything has to be “teeheehee everything’s sunny and positive”. Laying it on a bit thick, I thought.
MEL: WAY too thick – it made the council seem unfit to support a King who frankly, can’t fight battles, barely says anything that makes any sense, and has no experience at all managing a kingdom. Bran needed a strong council to make his reign seem legitimate to fans and this council was NOT it. Not to mention he was all “where’s Drogon? Bye, I’ll find him” and noped out of the meeting entirely after five fucking seconds? Twitter update from GOT creators in a month: the entirety of Westeros is in a civil war, bc Bran is a shit leader. Here’s something good – Arya heading off on her adventure to the ends of the earth, Pirates Of The Caribbean: Game Of Thrones Edition style.
JOSIE: MY GIRL! I love her deeply. She’s a strong independent woman who has seen so much. While I would now take the opportunity to sit on my ass for the rest of time, being married to Gendry and living in a fancy castle, Arya is not me so she chooses to go and see the REST of the world, since all the terrible things she’s seen in the Seven Kingdoms apparently aren’t enough for her? I am just frothing for a zesty spin-off that follows her adventures. Imagine ‘Getaway‘ except with a knife-wielding maniac instead of Catriona Rowntree.
MEL: I really, really need this expensive spin-off series. Please, showrunners, do this one thing for us! Here’s what I was not into – Jon Snow getting the shit end of the stick and everyone just forgetting he was the one true heir to the Iron Throne and the perfect mix of GOOD Targaryen and Stark? Did we all just blank that from our brains? I know Tyrion was yammering on about choosing leaders each time one dies and so on instead of bloodlines but still… Jon! Rightful heir! Right there in prison! Instead, they’re like “I know you killed the Evil Queen to save us all but look, bc we for some reason refuse to just kill Grey Worm you have to be banished, soz about it”. I guess he got his wish of wandering around in the snow with Ghost alone, but it sucked for me as a fan.
MEL: The only consolation was THAT REUNION WITH GHOSTY BOI.
JOSIE: It was very much like.. what was the point? Remember everyone hyping the shit out of the big reveal that he was the true Targaryen heir and A+L+J or whatever the fuck it was and blah blah omg wow! Then in one boring council meeting, they just decide that bloodlines no longer matter. So… why were people beheading each other for thousands of years? Like, I get they are now enacting social change but for the viewers of the show, it’s a shit pay-off. I don’t care that there is now peace and love in Westeros. And I just don’t think Jon looked happy to be going back to the Wall. I know he kept saying “I don’t want it” but at the very least he could have been Bran’s Hand or Kingsguard or something. Instead of being a good person who always did the right thing for everyone else ending up right where he started. Justice for Jon, man, that ending suuuucked for him.
MEL: Huge agree on all fronts – R + L = J (Rhaegar + Lyanna = Jon, but I had to google it LOL) was the biggest discussion point in Game Of Thrones history, the show hinged on Jon’s birthright and his bloodline and… it meant jack-shit in this episode. And the Azor Ahai prophecy we all were buzzing about for years, ever since Jon woke from being dead? Why fulfill bits of it but not the entire thing? It feels clunky and weird to have him kill Dany but not have the entire prophecy come to pass. Either ignore it entirely or do it properly, guys. I also want to point out that the Lord Of Light was all but proven to exist with Melisandre lighting the Dothraki swords/Jon’s resurrection/so on, but was completely ignored beyond the Battle Of The Dead. Just a lot of loose ends and half-assed finishes to plotlines/theories that have been discussed for YEARS.
JOSIE: It’s a huge, complicated beast of a show but they had two YEARS to wrap this up. Decided to not do any season last year and then rush this one through in 6 episodes. They could have been tying up some of the lesser plotlines in Season 7. It’s really frustrating.
MEL: I know a lot of fans are divided over this uproar, some saying “it’s a good show and they had to finish it this way!” but I just feel like this final season was a disservice to the overall epicness of Game Of Thrones, it all felt rushed and that final episode felt like something out of Riverdale.
JOSIE: The writing was cringey, the ending was rushed, I just feel like as a whole the entire Game Of Thrones series has weird pacing. Leisurely, indulgent seasons 1-6 building this whole fantastical complex world and then nothing really happened in S7 except for R + L = J and then S8 a big gigantic rush to the finish line. I haven’t rewatched the show but I feel like when I do now this last season especially will stick out like a sore thumb. I mean, I liked some of the bits – Arya, Sansa – but then other bits I didn’t like so much and I feel disappointed.
MEL: As someone who did rewatch it, it absolutely does. Particularly this episode – I think I could have given the clunkiness of the season a pass if they had pulled something spectacular out of their writer’s hats for that final ep, and I even liked the first 2/3 of it. But that council meeting and the naff discussions? That final small council with the brothel jokes?? Fuck all of that, seriously.
JOSIE: They were really bad moments. I did like the very end bit where they went around in a montage and showed all the Starks doing their things – since we started with that family it’s a nice way to end it. Even if Jon was banished to the fucking Wall again. And most of the Starks are dead.
MEL: A lovely decimated family all living mildly unhappy lives!
If you like Mel and Josie’s vibe, they’ve got their own true crime/mystery podcast – All Aussie Mystery Hour.