Monday 18 November, 2019

GOT Review: And now our watch has ended

This image released by HBO shows from left to right Maisie Williams, Isaac Hempstead Wright and Sophie Turner in a scene from the final episode of "Game of Thrones," that aired Sunday, May 19, 2019. (HBO via AP)

This image released by HBO shows from left to right Maisie Williams, Isaac Hempstead Wright and Sophie Turner in a scene from the final episode of "Game of Thrones," that aired Sunday, May 19, 2019. (HBO via AP)

With Claude Mills

The final Game of Thrones episode is a fitting capstone for a series that has captivated millions of viewers for eight years. 

The episode begins with Tyrion glumly trudging through the ashes of King’s Landing, only to discover the bodies of his older siblings, Cersei and Jaime Lannister under the smouldering rubble, thus setting the stage for his showdown with his queen. 

This episode represents a final and brutal end for the 'Mad Queen', Daenerys Targaryen. The writers finally succeeded in dehumanising Dany, done stunningly vis a vis that beautiful shot of her in the middle with Drogon's giant wings on each side which shows that she has metamorphosised into a full-fledged demon. This sets the stage for her to be murdered by Jon in front of the Iron Throne, the symbol of imperial rule over the Seven Kingdoms. 

Dany's death comes a few hours after she has massacred the civilian population of King’s Landing, torching the city to smouldering embers and putting the survivors to the sword afterwards. Tyrion quits and is arrested, and awaiting his faith on Drogon's barbecue grill. Then she and Jon have a conversation where she refuses to grant mercy to Tyrion or to grant small mercies, and delightedly announces her intention to violently “liberate” the rest of the known world. 

So Jon pops a knife in her chest.

Last week, it was telling that when Tyrion went to Dany to betray his best friend Varys, the first name she mentioned as a possible traitor was Jon. Is that what you call foreshadowing? Dany has had some really bad luck, she lost two aides, two dragons, her baby, her husband and the love of Jon Snow who clearly does not share the Targaryen taste for incestuous sex. But 'how she just dead lame so'? 

The Mad Queen dies with nary a whimper. Jon murders her and places her body on the ground. Then Drogon appears on the scene, and mourns the death of the Mother of Dragons, not by torching Jon, but by melting the Iron Throne. Why? Is he intelligent enough to understand that the real villain here is the concept of an institutional monarchy, and so destroys the very symbol that has set off generations of bloody wars? Puh-lease. Then the bloody dragon picks up Daenerys and flies off, either to eat her or use her as a toothpick. Who the hell knows?

One good thing about the finale is that Tyrion shines in this episode. He may be a dwarf and the outcast Lannister, but he won’t shy away from an intense verbal confrontation just because of his stature. First, he has a loud and treasonous conversation with Jon where Jon remarks:  ‘Love is the death of duty’. To which Tyrion replies: ‘Duty is the death of love’, presumably convincing him to knife his beloved Dany. 

Then later, Tyrion - a prisoner set to be tried for treason --  helps to pick the next future king of the land. After an eloquent speech, he declares that Bran should be king. All hail Bran the Broken, Bran the Inter-dimensional Time-Travelling Three Eyed Raven, and the resident Wheelchair-riding-Google-Memory-in-Westeros psychic. Hail Bran. First of his name. King of the Six Kingdoms. 

Yes, six kingdoms, because Bran's sister, Sansa manages to claim the North for herself. Interestingly nobody objects to the Stark family carving up the country like a strawberry pie. 

It is all very tidy. 

There are comedic moments such as when Samwell tried to suggest a stab at democracy and they laughed him to scorn because look how well that turned out for us in the 21st century. 

Many people may be disappointed in how the season ended but for me it was intense GOT in terms of sheer spectacle, an impressive feat in storytelling that was  built to a spectacular and emotionally satisfying climax.

After seven and a half seasons of marginalizing its characters of colour, at least Grey Worm made it to the end. He is seen sailing off to some island called Naath with the rest of the Unsullied, presumably to liberate Missandei’s people. Arya is a flat-earther, as she declares that she is going west of Westeros, the place where all the maps end. 

In the end, Jon is also freed and sent back to the Night's Watch. He is given the stank eye by Grey Worm as he passes the docks, but nonchalantly glides through sword-bearing Dothraki who seem pretty cool that he murdered their Mad Queen. After all, the Dothraki only came to Westeros to serve Dany and help her kill the men in metal suits and break their stone houses, so no big deal, right?

The episode ends with Jon leaving Castle Black and heading out with the wildlings who now appear to be on good terms with Westeros. Guess there isn't  a whole lot for the Night’s Watch to do so Jon is entitled a little down time. Maybe he can find another wilding lover. Jeez, man. Jon has been through a lot, give him a break, and at least he finally gave his CGI dog, Ghost, a hug.  

The episode ends with Tyrion trying to tell a joke about the time he once brought a jackass and a honeycomb into a brothel, but he’s cut off before he can deliver the punchline. But at this point, does anyone really care?

Thank God it is all bloody over. Enough is enough. 

Claude Mills is an award-winning veteran journalist, publicist and record producer. You can contact him at claude.mills@gmail.com. The opinions expressed in this column represent the views of the writer and not necessarily that of Loop News.

 

 

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