And so it ends. With the roll of the titles of Episode 6 of the 8th Season this ended one of the decades most gripping and exciting TV dramas. As a fan of the books I had great trepidation on hearing of an HBO adaptation and avoided the first season for quite sometime and then curiosity got the better and I started to watch, I struggled with the first season, trying to ratify the cast with characters I had imagined in my mind but during the second season I let go of the books and chose to enjoy the series for what it was, a fascinating slice of high drama.
It is safe to say that GoT broke the mold for TV production, the sets were lavish, the effects outstanding and the cast drawn for every aspect of theatre and TV, everyone who was anyone was in GoT. The mythology of the show was well handled and at no point did it feel like the show was ever in trouble. There are many who would say that the trouble came with Season 8 and in some regard their could be some truth to it. From this point there will be
so beware. Endings are very hard to do especially when the writer of the source material hasn’t got that far but I like to judge a series as a whole. Many people disliked the ending of Lost and Battlestar Galactica both groundbreaking series in their own write, both of which I had no problem with. I think people invest so much in a series and the characters that they become blinkered to the story and style.
In GoTs place the whole series was about war, corruption and the naked fight for ambition, the throne. George R.R Martin used the War of the Roses as his historical model where kings were raised and brought down by powerful families, There were no clear cut heroes and no real villains. GoT is much the same although we are given a few bold heroes like Jon Snow and villains like Cersei.
So did I like Season 8 and what was its main problem, the answer and yes i did like it and the problem was that it was too short. The 6 episodes felt rushed and it told on screen, some of the changes people complain about seemed shockingly fast because in episode terms they were.
Let me now look at why I think the season works. The White Walkers were never the main plot of GoT they were a nebulous threat, a driver as to why the Kingdoms needed to unite, now I agree they were defeated to easily but have no problem with Arya doing the deed. She was a trained assassin with faceless skills, I know Jon was seen to be the saviour. He had met and fought the Walkers, he rallied the Wildlings, defended the wall and drawn together the North with Danerys’ armies to fight them, so what a great twist that the man who considered himself the only one who could stop the Night King was the very one who couldn’t. I know it kind of emasculated the character a little but this is not a fairy story with a happy ever after.
I hoped for more of the motivations the White Walkers but it was sadly lacking but who is to say they have been stopped for ever, they came once before why not again?
Many people dislike the ending of Cersei and Jamie but this too fits rather poetically, for all Jamie tried, after all Cersei did he loved her and could never abandon her, it was fitting for him to die with her. Cersei herself the big bad guy looked like she would go out in a blaze of glory but how much better for a tyrant to go out with a whimper, what kind of monster was she really to die like that, her evil acts will stand forever but her death will never be a rallying call.
Now to the biggy, Danerys. I have to admit I was, am a fan of Danerys, I think most red-blooded males would be, her character was strong and principled and she had three dragons!! Her descent into madness however is not a character shift it is entirely understandable. She had done questionable things in Essos and to the Tarlys, harsh punishment was not unusual for her. Look now at where she had been, forced to flee as a child, left in the care of her twisted brother, who sold her like a whore to the Dothraki, she climbed up their ranks and then led armies across Mereen and the slaver states all for one goal, to go home and seize the throne. Her throne. She sacrificed much and saw so many die in that pursuit before she even reached Westeros, When she does arrive she is forced to delay and waste men fighting in the North against the Walkers losing one of her children, the dragon. Then she falls in love with Jon, happiness awaits, and then she discovers she is his aunt and that he has a better claim on the throne. She feels betrayed. Her right hand man, part of her conscience ,Mormont is dead in that battle and she feels even more alone.
Taking the fight to Kings Landing, She feels the distrust of the Northmen, her second Dragon is killed her fleet destroyed by Eurin Greyjoy and her only other supporter from the beginning Missandei is captured and then beheaded. Dany has been systematically isolated, she distrust those around her and grieving for her losses, its little wonder she snapped and destroyed the city, its a great juxtaposition, the Queen that would save them all would be the one to now threaten them all, she was a Targaryen through and through madness and all. We got see that she was on a crusade, she had been on one across Essos, now though she saw no reason to end it. It had to be Jon to end it he was the only one to get close enough, Arya could have done it but it was more poetic this way. One question I had was why Drogon didn’t kill him and the answer to me is that Bran was in control, the burning of the Throne made no sense unless Drogon was more clever and aware than he had otherwise shown. But if Bran was in control then this does make sense, taking out the old and forcing it to fly away.
So then to KIng Bran the Broken. I m not sure about this, I think they were too subtle with his character, a man who sees past present and future. It seems he knew all this was going to happen and just stood by to watch, nudging people to be in the right place to ensure it all happened. Did he do this for himself out of somekind of power grab or ego I don’t think we know or is there more in Westeros to come. The answer to this is most definitely yes. Okay GoT is over but Westeros is not safe by a long chalk, the Wildlings are an unknown force as are the Dothraki and Unsullied, despite their return to Narth or Essos they are a force to reckon with. If Arya discovers new lands does a period of colonialism start? and what about the 6 kingdoms, they won’t stop squabbling that quickly. The Greyjoys won’t bend the knee for long if Sansa is allowed to make a success of being the Queen in the North.
In fact if you look at all the Starks they came full circle. Sansa was stuck up and wanted to rule, Arya was an awkward child who went off on her own, Bran was an odd child and now an odd ruler and lastly Jon is the isolated and exiled bastard banished to the wall and beyond. It shows the cycle of history, for all the talk of the breaking of the wheel. Politics maybe different for now but the nature of man continues in cycle,
Farewell Westeros, it was a wild ride, but I have much to look forward to. George R.R Martins own ending of the series, I can’t wait to see how that ends.