A spoiler-filled review for the Game of Thrones series finale

  • Who wins the eponymous Game?
  • Were the character arcs rounded off satisfyingly?

It’s been eight years for some. For those who read George R R Martin’s first book upon release, it has been 23 years. For me, someone who had never seen an episode before November last year, it has been only six months!

But for all of us who care, we finally know how Game of Thrones (and to a lesser extent Martin’s Song of Ice and Fire series) ends.

In one of the biggest TV events of our time, the answers were finally revealed and loose ends tied up.

That’s now enough hyperbole and I will be getting heavily into spoilers from this point onward!

Emilia Clarke in Game of Thrones
Daenerys addresses her troops following the massacre. Photo courtesy of HBO

The episode starts emotionally with Tyrion discovering the bodies of his brother and sister, confirming they died in the previous episode. Tyrion weeps and so do we, whether you love or hate Jaime and Cersei, they have been leading parts in the story since the first episode and have had the most extensive character development.

Daenerys gives a speech to the Unsullied and Dothraki thanking them for liberating the almost entirely destroyed King’s Landing and telling them to liberate more cities and countries.

Jon and Tyrion share awkward glances showing they are uncomfortable with this, although it’s amazing they both managed to learn fluent Valyrian to understand her speech. In a scene reminiscent of Ned Stark disagreeing with then King Robert in the first season, Tyrion throws his Hand pin away, wanting to serve the queen no longer.

Following this, Jon visits Tyrion in his cell where we get one of the better scenes of the episode where Tyrion ponders his fate and tries to convince Jon to overthrow Daenerys. The writing for Tyrion and Peter Dinklage’s delivery of the lines are fantastic as they have been throughout the series. This is certainly one character I will miss.

A few scenes later we then see Daenerys approach the Iron Throne as in her vision in the second season. Before she sits on it however, Jon interrupts her and confronts her about all she’s done. The queen tries to pull Jon along with her into her craziness and for a moment I thought she had succeeded, but he suddenly stabs her through the heart in the episode’s most shocking scene.

Tyrion in King's Landing
Tyrion made it to the end. Photo courtesy of HBO

With the Iron Throne subsequently melted by dragonfire, we cut to a few weeks later where a meeting has been announced with the remaining important lords of Westeros to decide who should become the ruler.

Tyrion suggests they elect Bran as King given his wisdom and knowledge as the Three Eyed Raven. This will no doubt have surprised most of the fans, I certainly did not predict he would remain so integral to the plot, which is good – I’m glad the filmmakers kept me guessing until the end!

And so, Brandon Stark, the Broken, first of his name, etcetera, etcetera, is crowned King of the new Six Kingdoms, because his sister, Sansa, declares the North an independent country and Bran agrees its secession.

This leads to a scene many had hoped for since the outset – Sansa being declared Queen in the North by the Northmen.

The remainder of arcs are wrapped up fairly succinctly from here. Jon is sentenced to return to the Night’s Watch for murdering Daenerys and in the final scene goes to live beyond the wall with Tormund and the wildlings (the only one of my predictions I (sort of) came close to getting right)!

Grey Worm takes the unsullied and sails to Naath to guard Missandei’s people. Arya sets sail herself to discover what is west of Westeros. Brienne, now commander of the Kingsguard fills in Jaime’s great deeds in the White Book. Bronn has been given Highgarden and is now Lord of the Reach and Master of Coin. Sam has been made the new Grand Maester. 

Tyrion is yet again Hand of the King and the stories in King’s Landing end with the Small Council bickering already about how to perform their tasks.

Jon Snow and Daenerys Targaryen
Kit Harrington and Emilia Clarke were in the pilot episode and made it to the final episode. Photo courtesy of HBO

It has been an emotional journey and Game of Thrones has provided me with some great entertainment this last half-a-year.

Many fans have been disappointed with the show in its last few seasons, but it was always going to struggle to tread water above the hype. Everyone had their idea of how it should end, everyone had their theories.

True, there were plenty of things left unexplained by the show that will probably be resolved in the books, but people seem to have forgotten that you don’t have the freedom to put every plot detail onto film – some things would convolute the plot, some would take too long to explain and some would just not be cinematic.

I would like to have seen a greater explanation of what the White Walkers were and what they were doing but I accept the show did not need to explain any more than it did. As is apparent from my predictions, I imagined a whole series of different endings but in the end I wanted to be told a story, and I am glad it took me somewhere I did not expect.

We need not worry about missing out on our Westeros fix. A prequel series focusing on the Long Night (a time referred to in Game of Thrones as when the White Walkers first appeared, set a few thousand years earlier) starring Naomi Watts, John Simm and Miranda Richardson is being filmed and may come out next year. We are waiting on the final two books in George’s series as well, and we can probably expect another supplementary book from him, like the histories and tales he has already released.