Season 8 of Game of Thrones may contain lackluster ends for some fan favorites but ultimately reminds you the show never set out to consistently give fans what they wanted.
|Creator(s)||David Benioff, D. B. Weiss|
|Good If You Like||Seeing Things Till The End|
|Isn’t For You If You||Were Expecting One Epic Moment After Another|
|Jon Snow||Kit Harington|
|The Night King||Vladimir Furdik|
|Bran||Isaac Hempstead Wright|
|Sandor “The Hound”||Rory McCann|
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Game of Thrones Season 8 Summary
It’s the beginning of the end, and Daenerys has decided to lend her support to the north, since Jon Snow has bent the knee, to keep the Night King and his followers from dominating the living. As this happens, Cersei, in King’s Landing, prepares for whatever the result is. If the dead win, she will handle them with the Golden Company, and if Daenerys wins, the same mercenary group will be used.
But, as one adversary after another is toppled, it becomes clear the battle for the Iron Throne will be much more complicated than two women vying for supremacy. For even when the dead get handled, men, and women, whisper and plant seeds to undermine Daenerys’ claim and her potential. Thus isolating the often vicious, yet wannabe benevolent leader of a potentially free world.
However, as anyone who claims to desire a free world, so comes the question of how will they do so? And with Daenerys believing in purification by fire, so comes the question if by ridding the world of Cersei will her followers just be continuing where Daenerys’ father left off?
Tyrion’s Long Game – 90
I’m a firm believer in Tyrion figuring a way to play the Game of Thrones similarly to Cersei. That is, making allies when needed, and betraying them when they outlive their use. Prime example being Varys and Daenerys. Together, they allowed Tyrion to live multiple seasons by him tapping into their knowledge and their power. Yet, as Tyrion either gained a soft spot for his sister, or came up with a long term plan to truly have influence and power in Westeros, he found a way to kill Varys, who would always be a problem, and Daenerys.
For if there is one thing we learned about Tyrion throughout the season is that he doesn’t like to be underestimated or powerless. Despite being seen, for a long time, as an alcoholic whore, it seems his first taste of power, being the King’s Hand to Joffrey, led him to understand why so many have chased after the Iron Throne. However, be it him knowing he’d be killed if he truly pursued it, or recognizing, even after Ned Stark’s death, the power of the influencer might be even greater than the king, it seemed he found his place.
Hence him often pursuing allies over enemies – also him showing mercy. Since being kind to the eventual King Bran the Broken, he made kind gestures which served him in times when he’d otherwise be killed. Heck, just maintaining his relationship with Jamie did him wonders a multitude of times. But, Jamie also seems like a pawn in the long game. For what is Cersei’s weakness beyond her brother/ lover? Children who die left and right and, outside of Tommen, were often sent off and killed by one kingdom or another? So, while Tyrion likely loved his brother, it seemed he was always planned to be collateral damage.
And getting back to Varys and Daenerys, it seemed once it became clear Varys would ruin Daenerys’ claim, due to his sexism, among other things, he had to go. Then with Daenerys, as it became clear his, Tyrion’s, influence was waning, she had to die as well. Making Bran the perfect person to nominate for on top of Bran not wanting the throne, meaning Tyrion could essentially be king without the knife to his back, he’d be all powerful. I mean, why else nominate someone who can’t have kids beyond making sure, for your lifetime, there can be peace?
Granted, Bran can foresee many things, and probably knows Tyrion’s intentions, but let’s not make it sound Tyrion is a bad guy here. More so, compared to many who seek power and dominance, his ego is a bit more humble. Hence showing Tyrion setting up the chairs and wanting order. He wants a well-run kingdom, one which keeps him stimulated, but is largely peaceful. And he knows that, when it comes to the past, nearly all rulers have been more gifted at war than building the empire up and strengthening it.
But, to show again how Tyrion has long been trying to build a legacy and exert influence, take note of how insulted he was to not be included in the Maester’s history of Westeros since Robert The Baratheon. Maybe not outright, to the point of flipping out, but definitely perturbed.
The End Of Lyanna – 85
Of the deaths this season, only one truly felt deserving of the character, and that was the death of Lyanna Mormont. Now, some may say Ser Jorah also got a good death, protecting his queen, perhaps even Theon, though I wouldn’t say they had the same oomph. Ser Jorah’s death simply came from being overwhelmed by the dead and Theon, pretty much giving time for Arya to do her thing, sacrificed himself for a family that kept him captive. With Lyanna though, we finally got to see there was a bite with her bark.
Also, in a season which, outside of the Stark women, embarrassed or diminished many of the female characters, Lyanna was one of the few who we were introduced to as a badass and died a badass.
The Fall Of Daenerys Targaryen – 80
Like many, a part of me questioned the madness of Daenerys Targaryen. However, if you read up about her father, and take note of her journey, you get it. Daenerys has lived her life often under the guise that compromise and mercy will either weaken her or threaten her life. Making it so she can’t find friendship in people who are equals or can be perceived as threats. If you are not less than or employed by her, she cannot trust you. Hence why her closest friends are former slaves – their mentality suits her ego.
So it only makes sense that her first encounter with love, someone equal to her, drove her mad. Not to downplay Drago’s role, but let’s not forget he bought her, technically raped her, and she learned to love him for the sake of survival. With Jon, things were different since they both got something out of that relationship, their intimacy didn’t have to do with politics or anything like that. He was a powerful man, she a powerful woman, and between that and a sense of loyalty, that attracted them to one another.
Making the series of events which happen this season make it easy to understand why Daenerys became mad. Her relationship with Jon became lopsided, and she began to feel used, and with him learning she was his aunt, she didn’t get that affection and sense of love he once give. He left her out in the cold, and even if Daenerys is a powerful woman, like Cersei, it doesn’t mean she doesn’t at least want affection and companionship. Even Arya, who hadn’t shown an interest in relationships, still wanted to have sex and know what it is like. Granted, Gendry made it seem overhyped, but that’s another topic.
Point is, between Jon taking advantage of her, the loss of Ser Jorah, and the execution of Missandei, one of the few people Daenerys still was able to be herself with, minus her dozen titles, it broke her. For you know how celebrities talk about how staying grounded was thanks to people who knew them before their fame? With so many deaths of the people Daenerys knew before she really was in reach of the Iron Throne, paired with her first heartache, her lashing out and destroying King’s Landing was a cathartic release. One for herself, her family, her friend, and perhaps a dare for her to be killed. Since I don’t think Daenerys wanted to live for the people if the people wouldn’t love her. So she’d have them live in fear until, like her father, she inspired someone with enough courage to kill her. Hence why there might be shock, but not necessarily anger after Jon’s betrayal.
When Sansa & Arya Got To Be Young
When it comes to Sansa & Arya, we’ve watched them become young women, mostly through suffering. Sansa has been raped, tortured, treated as a possession, but eventually found her strength, gained cunning, and learned what politics she needed so history wouldn’t repeat itself. Arya was within earshot of the Red Wedding, was taken far from what she had known, and while never assaulted physically, emotionally, she was stripped bare.
However, both had moments this season when the weight of what they have done, and continue to do, in order to survive was laid down. Seeing Sansa smile with Theon, be it because of a crush or seeing her brother figure, was a wonderful moment. Arya’s moments with the hound, before he faced his brother, and we were reminded of how close they became, could get you teary-eyed. For if there is one thing Game of Thrones gave these two but left nearly everyone else without, is showing them having a connection with someone that wasn’t about politics or power. It was just a genuine love or sense of friendship. One that allowed them to strip their titles and armor and, for a moment, perhaps be the person they would have if the world weren’t so cruel.
All The Major Deaths Feel Anti-Climatic – 65
With that said, Daenerys’ death was anti-climactic. Jon kissed her, stabbed her, Drogon found out about it and didn’t even try to kill Jon. I don’t know if it was because he is part Targaryen, he knew that isn’t what Daenerys would want, or what his reason was, but that whole situation made the death of her just so bleh. Especially considering she basically wiped out one of the biggest cities in Westeros.
But at least she isn’t alone. Cersei, the woman behind the Red Wedding, who gave birth to Joffrey, tortured Sansa, and was probably one of the best female villains – period – died due to a cave in. One in which she died in her brother/lover’s arms at that. That is, rather than Arya having a part in it which, I get, after the Night King, to major kills would have been a lot, but Arya’s revenge was our revenge – and a cave in stole that from us.
Leaving perhaps the biggest, not even anti-climatic, but WTF death – the Night King. We’ve been taught to fear this thing, see it as damn near immortal, and Arya just leaps out of nowhere, does a trick of the hand, and kills not only them but thousands of soldiers. Now, don’t get me wrong, Arya getting to be that motherf***** I was fine with. It’s just that death set a tone that made the deaths above suck all the more.
What They Did To Brienne – 66
I’m not that big of a Brienne fan since I just find her dull. However, while I found her dull, I did respect her. So for her to be so caught up on Jamie just boggled the mind. Especially since she was willing to full on embarrass herself. Not that I don’t get he might be the first cute guy who spent time with her, never mind he made her a knight, but come on now.
Hell, even when it came to her writing in the King’s Guard journal, her writing out that man’s story, I get, was in honor of all he did for her, but for that to be her end was so unsatisfying. If anything, you’d think, as some saving grace after the way women were treated, she’d see someone who already did that, she was reading it over, and saw someone had already begun her story.
Or, if only the King’s Guard wrote in the book, she did Jamie’s and was working on her own legacy.
So Many Things Left To Wonder – 69
No show ends answering every last question, but with HBO so focused on prequels, it seemed, beyond cups and bottles, they didn’t push hard enough to make sure fans got answers. For example, with Daenerys spending so much time in Westeros, what was the state of Essos with her gone for months, if not years? Then, in terms of the north, has the land north of the wall become its own kingdom? Does said kingdom belong to the Wildlings? Granted, they don’t have any form of government, and Tormund’s role was perhaps circumstantial, but I’m sure Sansa and the rest aren’t going to claim dominion over that are they? At least beyond a protectorate?
And of course there is the question of, if the Unsullied, who can’t have kids, are given permission to settle in the world, what of the Dothraki? Are they really going back to being desert people after all they’ve seen and experienced? These are some of the more basic questions, but also far easier to answer than if peace remained after Bran’s death, considering now they went from a monarchy to oligarchy in Westeros. Never mind with Sansa gaining independence for the north and Winterfell, so comes the question of why the others didn’t do the same?
On The Fence
Sansa – 74
Like Tyrion and Daenerys, to appreciate Sansa in season 8 requires you to look at her complete journey. Yet, one could argue that Sansa in season 8, while not diminished like the other powerful women, continued a role of passive aggressiveness. One which has long worked for her, kept her alive even, but even in terms of securing the independence of the north, didn’t bring about this sense of HOORA! Perhaps like Jon’s fate in being banished to the wall, or beyond the wall, its something you accept without much care.
The Highpoints of Arya – 75
Arya defeated the Night King, lost her virginity to a boy she liked, got proposed to, and survived the massacre at King’s Landing. But there is a weirdness about all her highs in that, because she often plays it cool, she kind of throws water on them. Now, with the Gendry situation, it makes sense, for her face after the sex implied he was trash. However, her reaction to killing the Night King is so underwhelming it took away from how hyped you were that she had that moment. Making it so you almost feel happy she didn’t kill Cersei for even if she got to in the elaborate way many thought Arys would, she’d probably ruin the experience with her air of indifference.
Jon’s Fate – 70
The issue with Jon’s fate is multifold. First and foremost, sending him to be on the night’s watch when the purpose of them has ceased to exist makes no sense. Following that, there remains the question of people knowing his lineage and their reaction to that considering the kingdoms were under a monarchy system for eons and becoming an oligarchy is quite new. Also, considering he is past Winterfell, and many who live in that area are family, should we really consider him punished? I mean, even if he can’t live in Winterfell and be King of the North there, who is really going to check on him being at the wall or in Wildling territory? Most don’t head anywhere near the north, and Yara likely doesn’t have the numbers to act as some sort of watchful eye over the Stark children.
So him looking so defeated or confused, it makes me roll my eyes. Especially with seeing him with Tormund. Those two back together leads me to believe he’ll find himself a new Ygritte by the time winter is over.
King Bran The Broken – 71
On the one hand, I get it for what is noted about Tyrion above. However, on the other hand, after so much blood has been spilled, the fact the person who is king didn’t really do anything to gain that position is upsetting. Yeah, he traveled far, lost friends, and had something mystical happen to him. But of all the characters who had vast journeys, Bran’s was probably the one which excited you the least. So him becoming king is just part of the many things you just accept since no one on the show makes a big deal so it makes you feel like you’re overreacting.
Game of Thrones Season 8 Overall: Mixed (Stick Around)
To be fair, there aren’t a huge amount of shows which really have a satisfying series finale. Most get cancelled, don’t last as long as Game of Thrones, nor are given a whole season to prep a sendoff. And while some, like Big Bang Theory, somehow nail it, most seem to leave doors open to revisit stories and characters down the line. If not create, like this season did, reasons to unnecessarily flare up emotions for the sake of ratings.
But overall, while a bit disappointing, season 8 wasn’t terrible – hence the mixed label.
Has Another Season Been Confirmed?
This was the last season, but multiple prequels are in play. None of them, so far, seem to lead up to the events of this series directly.