Game of Thrones: “The Iron Throne” delivers a bittersweet conclusion to the series


The eighth and final season of Game of Thrones has been a controversial one, but the series finale was about as satisfying as fans could have hoped for after the past few episodes.

Game of Thrones has finally come to an end, after a season that’s created quite a bit of controversy amongst the show’s fans. But whether you’ve loved this season or hated it, the series finale wrapped things up about as well as could have been expected—especially after the events that unfolded during “The Bells.”

The first half of “The Iron Throne” wraps up Daenerys’ characters arc, and it was inevitable that the Dragon Queen would have a tragic ending after becoming the Mad Queen. But no matter how you feel about the direction the series took Dany’s character, “The Iron Throne” had plenty of heartwrenching moments in store for her before the end—from Tyrion tossing his Hand of the Queen pin to the ground in front of her to Jon pleading with her before realizing that she was no longer being driven by reason.

Emilia Clarke as Daenerys Targaryen. Photo: Courtesy of HBO

Jon killing Daenerys is probably the most predictable aspect of Dany’s storyline, but the scene is well done at least. It’s hard to believe that Dany ventures so far beyond reason so quickly, but Emilia Clarke plays the role well, and emotions are high during Dany’s final moments. Drogon’s burning of the Iron Throne is also a symbolic one, and fans have to wonder whether the dragon knows that this chair is what corrupted his mother—and got her killed in the end.

The latter half of the episode deals with the future of Westeros, and the cast and crew weren’t lying when they said the finale was a shocking one. Loyal to their queen, the Unsullied and the Dothraki ensure that Jon will never take his place as heir to the Seven Kingdoms (well six now, but we’ll get to that). Instead, the lords and ladies of Westeros convene, getting about as close to democracy as Westeros has ever been—even if Sam’s suggestion that the common people should have some say in their leader is laughed off for the time being.

Still, the major players who are left vote for their leader, deciding on the least likely contender: Bran Stark.

And while this twist certainly does satisfy in terms of shock value, it’s hard to say whether Bran becoming king is built up enough to actually fit comfortably into the finale. On one hand, it does make sense of his journey to becoming the Three Eyed Raven. On the other, it feels a bit too far out of left field to get fully onboard with.

Peter Dinklage as Tyrion Lannister. Photo: Macall B. Polay/HBO

But it’s difficult to complain about Bran’s ending when the rest of the characters get the satisfying conclusions they deserve. The North remains independent of the other kingdoms, with Sansa finally getting the “Queen in the North” scene she’s deserved since two seasons ago. Jon is sentenced back to the Night’s Watch, allowing him to go North and be with his people—the Wildlings—and Ghost (who finally gets pet). And Arya journeys west of Westeros… to where, she doesn’t know.

In King’s Landing, Tyrion helps Bran rule the remaining kingdoms as his Hand. Grey Worm finally sails for Naath, a tribute to Missandei, who should be by his side. Bronn gets his castle, and Game of Thrones fans almost get to hear the punchline of Tyrion’s jackass and honeycomb joke… almost. 

Gwendoline Christie as Brienne of Tarth. Photo: Helen Sloan/HBO

In fact, the only character whose final moments could have been improved upon is Brienne, who really should have written herself a page in that book of heroes, instead of simply finishing Jaime’s story for him.

All in all, the conclusion is the best we could have hoped for, particularly given how quickly things needed to be wrapped up. Could the ending have been better if it had been spread out over a few more episodes? Probably. The finale definitely had its flaws, but it wasn’t the disaster some fans expected after “The Bells.”

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What did you think of the Game of Thrones series finale? Share your thoughts with us in the comments.