This review contains mild spoilers.
The thrilling show based on the series “A Song of Fire and Ice” by George R.R. Martin came to its end this past Sunday. For eight years, fans watched favorite characters die, came up with insane fan theories, and waited to see which character would end up on the Iron Throne and rule the Seven Kingdoms. Although there are plenty of mixed reactions over how Game of Thrones ended, the creators of this show, David Benioff and D.B. Weiss, gave us a season unlike any of the rest of the previous seven seasons.
This season had two major plot points—the arrival of the Night King and his army of wights, and the struggle of gaining control of the Iron Throne. The third episode of the season titled, “The Long Night” is the battle between the living and the dead in Winterfell. Miguel Sapochnik, the director, studied the way Peter Jackson crafted the battle of Helm’s Deep from The Lord of the Rings: The Towers, and used brilliant parallels in the Battle of Winterfell. The rest of the season was focused on winning the game of thrones, with Daenerys Targaryen and Cersei Lannister as its top contenders.
For Cersei, the Iron Throne was all she had left—after losing her children and then losing Jaime, the Iron Throne was her last piece on the game board. For Daenerys, the Iron Throne was everything. Daenerys had spent the previous seasons waiting patiently as a player in the shadows, raising her three dragons, gaining an army of Dothraki and Unsullied and then finally crossing the sea to Westeros to take back the throne of her father, Aerys II Targaryen, The Mad King. Although Cersei and Daenerys were the top contenders for the throne, everyone was playing the game, even if they weren’t aware of their position or power.
The best part of this season was not the plot, but the characters—the reunions, the first meetings and the drastic change in character arcs. All of the living Stark family members reunited in their home of Winterfell, something that hasn’t occurred since the first episode of the show. Sansa and Daenerys finally met, which caused tension due to Sansa’s persistence of keeping the North under Northern sovereignty and refusing to acknowledge Daenerys as Queen of the Seven Kingdoms. My favorite character arc was Theon Greyjoy. His storyline has taken him from being a ward of Ned Stark, to betraying the family, and ultimately regaining the favor and forgiveness of the Stark siblings and defending Winterfell like he was meant to do all along.
The finale itself proved to be anticlimactic—only one major character died and there was no real tribute or emotion surrounding their death. It felt empty and forced. The finale didn’t provoke a lot of strong emotions from the audience as it should have, it seemed as the show itself just wanted to be over. Not everything about the finale was bad, it was more so underwhelming. After eight years of being one of the most talked about television shows in history, I expected more from the finale. At times it felt rushed and at other times major moments were glossed over instead of actually being revealed. The pacing of the plot was all over the place—one episode the tension would be high and the next episode it was as if nothing important happened.
The last few scenes were a beautiful tribute to the show. With glimpses of the main characters continuing their own journeys and the theme song coming in at the end as we see these characters for the last time. It’s hard losing characters like these that many of us have nearly been watching for a decade, which is why the reactions to how the finale ended are so strong. After eight seasons, winter has finally come and someone has won the game of thrones. Although I won’t say who ended up on the Iron Throne and ruler of the Seven Kingdoms, I definitely would say that it was something I didn’t see coming. This will forever be a series like none other. The cast and crew worked hard to give us an unforgettable last season and fans all over the world will miss watching Game of Thrones every Sunday.