The episode opens with Tyrion, Jon, and Davos walking through the ruins of King’s Landing following Daenerys’ assault. Tyrion tells then that he will me them later, and refuses Jon’s offer of bodyguards. Meanwhile Jon discovers Grey Worm sentencing the Lannister soldiers who died to death, something he says he is doing under the orders of Daenerys. With the backup of the Unsullied Jon is forced to back down and leaves as Grey Worm begins executions. Meanwhile Tyrion arrives at the Red Keep, heading down through the passageway to find the collapsed rubble. He spots Jaime’s hand amongst the debris, and removes the bricks to find his siblings’ bodies as he grieves.
Daenerys addresses her army, naming Grey Worm as her Master of War. She declares her and her men liberators, saying they will not lay down their spears until they have liberated the world. Tyrion approaches during the speech, and when she is finished Daenerys accuses him of treason. Tyrion admits its it, but responds that she slaughtered a city before throwing away his Hand of the Queen badge. After is arrested, Arya meets with Jon, telling him that Jon will always be a threat to Daenerys.
Later Jon meets with Tyrion in his cell. Jon says the war is over, but Tyrion points to her speech, saying it didn’t sound like she was done fighting. Jon however justifies Daenerys’ actions with everything she’s been through, but can’t answer when Tyrion asks if he would have done the same. Tyrion points out that Daenerys truly believes that she is building a better world, and because of that belief will kill whoever she deems to be between her and that dream. Tyrion asks Jon who he thinks the greatest threat to the people is, but Jon maintains that she is the Queen. As Jon goes to leave Tyrion asks whether Sansa and Arya will ever bend the knee, saying that only Jon gets to make the choice whether they will be forced to or not.
Jon meets Daenerys in the throne room, where he pleads with her to forgive Tyrion, saying that their new world should have mercy in it. Daenerys says she can’t, and that only the two of them get to decide what it good. She asks him to be by her side, and he responds that she is his Queen, now and always. As the kiss Jon stabs her. Whilst he grieves over the body Drogon lands behind him. When he sees Daenerys won’t respond he cried out in anger before burning the throne. Drogon then takes Daenerys’ body and flies away.
Some weeks later Tyrion is brought before a council made up of the representatives of the great houses. Sansa asks where Jon is, but Grey Worm refuses to bring him. Yara argues that Jon deserves to die, whilst Ser Davos petitions Grey Worm for peace. Tyrion believes Jon’s fate should be decided by the King or Queen, and as the Lords of Westeros are here they should be the ones the decide. Edmure Tully begins addressing them, until Sansa tells him to sit. Sam suggests giving the people a vote, but this idea is laughed out by the other Lords. It is Tyrion who then talks about the power that their stories have to unite them, and the person with the best story is Bran. He argues that from now on the Lord of Westeros should choose rulers, rather than having Kings or Queens born into it. Bran says he would accept the role, and slowly the Lords agree, except Sansa who says the North will remain independent, to which Bran agrees. Bran then names Tyrion as his hand, however Grey Worm still demands justice against Jon.
Tyrion informs Jon that he is to be sent to the Night’s Watch as a way to appease the Unsullied. Jon still questions whether or not it was right to kill Daenerys. As Jon prepares to depart King’s Landing he is watched by Grey Worm, who is about to set sail for Naath. Jon says his goodbyes to Sansa, Arya, and Bran, where Arya reveals she will head west in order to explore. As King’s Landing is rebuilt we see Brienne reading over a history of the Knights of Westeros, and filling in the last of Jaime’s information. Tyrion meets with the new council, where King Bran says he will attempt to find Drogon. After Brann leaves Tyrion and the council, made up of Davos, Bronn, Brienne, and Sam, begin making plans for running the Kingdom.
We see Jon arrive at The Wall, where he is greeted by Tormund and Ghost, whilst at Winterfell Sansa is crowned as the Queen in the North. The show ends with Jon, Ghost, and the free folk departing north of The Wall.
Well here it is, Game of Thrones is finished. And it is hard to gauge my thoughts on the finale completely right now as I am still mulling over much of what happened, and probably will be for some time. The one thing that I know for sure is that the first half was superb. The scene between Tyrion and Jon in the cell was incredible. Peter Dinklage unsurprisingly knocked this scene out of the park, with a powerhouse of a performance. He too managed to sell the speech to the Lords of Westeros nominating Bran as the King, which is really testament to his acting ability given that this was a strange choice.
So how do I feel about Bran ending up ruling Westeros (we can’t really say on the Iron Throne as Drogon put an end to that)? Well my initial reaction was “REALLY?” but on seeing the rest of the episode it is clear that Tyrion is the de facto ruler of Westeros, as was probably Bran’s plan when naming him Hand of the King. I’m still not sure that I’m on board with it, but it feels far less egregious than it initially did.
Going back to the episode leading up to Daenerys’ death, and it was incredible. This very much was a moral quandary for Jon, leading up to him taking the decision to murder the woman that he loves. This is probably the best performance that I’ve seen out of Kit Harington to date, whilst Emilia Clarke continues her fine performances this season. And that scene between them in the Throne Room was heartbreaking to watch, even though neither Jon nor Daenerys are amongst my favourite characters.
The second half of the show feels far more like an epilogue however. This is the One Ring has been destroyed moment, but we have a lot of character to say goodbye to, and the majority get a happy and fitting ending. As I said Tyrion is essentially the ruler of Westeros in all but name, whilst Brienne gets her place amongst the Kingsguard, Bronn is Lord of Highgarden, Sam the Grand Maester, and Davos also on the small council. Even Grey Worm ends up setting sail for Naath, the island Missandei was from, despite some very questionable action in the final two episodes.
As for the Starks, Sansa is exactly where she should be, as the Queen of a free North. She has consistently been the only character to demonstrate any real leadership abilities throughout, whilst Jon gets to spend the rest of his days living in the North with the free folk. Arya sailing into the west gets a little too close to just mirroring The Lord of the Rings, well nearly identical to that ending where Frodo, Gandalf, and the Elves depart into the west, and is probably the least neatly fitting end for any of the characters.
As for the episode as a whole, if this was just a stock episode in the middle of a season, or even a normal season finale then I think it would have been brilliant. But as the big closer to one of the most watch and talked about TV Shows of all time, I’m not sure there was quite the emotional impact that the show deserved for a final episode. That said I thought it was very well made on the whole, and it was always going to be hard to wrap up such an expansive fantasy epic in a fulfilling and epic way. Clearly Benioff and Weiss went for the epic in the penultimate episode, as is often the case with Game of Thrones, and went with a more thoughtful approach in The Iron Throne. I’m sure that will disappoint a lot of people, but it was a bold choice, and honestly one that I didn’t mind, but not sure if I liked yet.
My thoughts are certainly liable to change over the next few days as I discuss with friends, but whatever you thought of this final episode or season, you have to praise everyone behind the show for what they have managed to deliver of the past 8 years. Here’s to you Game of Thrones.