GAME OF THRONES
Season 8, Episode 6 - ‘The Iron Throne’


ANALYSIS AND SPOILER REVIEW
By JASON BURLEIGH
14/06/19

THE LAST WORD

I doubt any show will ever rival Game of Thrones and it will be something that will be treasured and celebrated for decades to come. Just because it didn't end the way some people wanted it to, nothing will ever, ever take that away.

 THE FINAL SCORE

3/5

REVIEW POLICY

We use a simple “out of 5” rating criteria for all reviews.

3 out of 5 is GOOD.

Something with this rating is absolutely worth checking out, but it’s flawed with a couple of mis-steps.



So there it is, the final episode of what has arguably been the single greatest TV show of the last 9 years. It's true to say you'll never please all the viewers and fans of the show in their entirety. Just like you can't in life in general outside of fiction but you know what, as far as endings go, for a show as grandiose as Game of Thrones, that weren't half bad.

The show has made us feel a vast miscellany of emotions over the course of its 8 season run. It's also (very consistently I might add) demonstrated powerful thematic's, and in this episode three stood out in particular: Love, Power and Honour. Created characters that are so influential, sophisticated and just damn well likeable, and this is what made this show great ever since the pilot episode graced itself onto prime time television. The final episode of Game of Thrones was a lowly affair in comparison to some of the episodes in seasons gone (shout outs to ‘Hard Home’, ‘The Watchers on the Walls’, ‘The Rains of Castamere’ and ‘The Battle of the Bastards’) but in my eyes, it wrapped up a lot of the character arcs pretty well.

LOVE

This episode was heavily focused on performances and the likes of Emilia Clarke, Kit Harrington and Peter Dinklage did not disappoint. It was tough to see a character as much loved as Tyrion on his knees bashing the rocks in grief for what he has lost, reminding himself and the audience that he is the last surviving member of his house. This also serves to remind us that Tyrion himself is far from perfect.

Set phasers to fur. - Ed

Just the week before he had betrayed his best friend, a misguided act of loyalty that now was entirely in vein.  After the dust settles from the weeks previous incendiary events, the now assumed mad queen of the seven kingdoms gives a hair raising speech to her remaining soldiers that is reminiscent of something from Nazi Germany in the 1940's. It seems Tyrion seals his fate here if only for a while, as he casts his pin aside in protest of all the lives she swore to never take in order to achieve what she wanted. He does this not only in defiance and ultimate protest but also because he truly loved and respected her and believed in the world that she wanted to build that is now literally in ruins. The pace of the episode quickens and the drama elevates ending this segment of the episode in a climactic scene in the throne room laced with finality, for the show, for the fans and for a certain character. It's a powerful scene that was always destined to end one way as Jon utters those immortal words "you will always be my queen" and does what he was earlier urged by Tyrion to do and that he also knew in his heart had to be done.

POWER

This episode, as suggested by the episodes title, was all about the Iron Throne and its inevitable destruction. After all in a show that has seen countless people perish amidst a relentless pursuit of a chair made of swords, how could it possibly be left standing at the end of it all? The very symbol of power from the start of the show, melted down into oblivion by the last surviving dragon. It's a little cheesy the way it's done but a moment of huge symbolic importance none the less.  It's an impressive scene in the first part of the episode with Danaerys at the head of her army and that fantastic shot of the dragon's wings spanning out behind her. However it is also completely unrealistic, given the events of the previous episode, as now virtually all of the Dothraki and Unsullied have been essentially respawned after the long night, where virtually no one but the main characters were left standing.

When it came to the choosing where all the remaining power figures had gathered in the dragon pit to ultimately pick who should rule Westeros, I'll admit, I didn't see it coming. My money was on a certain dwarf and red head that were technically still married although be it not consummated. Was it a good choice? Maybe.  Does it make sense in line with the story? I guess, however in the end I think for most of the fan base it was pretty underwhelming, given how minimally invasive and teen angst he has been for the past 2 seasons; more Harry Enfield's Kevin than supposed mystical omnipotent 3 eyed raven (Sorry Meera you deserved better for your efforts, dragging him around in the snow for 3 seasons). I was glad to see the characters that have been central to the story line since the very start (the Starks) seize their individual fates. Ever since the beginning they have arguably been at the very centre of most major storylines and acted as the shows moral compass. It was a great moment to finally see them all get the endings they deserved.

HONOUR

It has to be said that Kit Harrington and Peter Dinklage fundamentally carry this episode with bi laterally impressive performances. From the moment he throws his pin in defiance of his queen in protest to her incendiary actions, to the moment he talks with John Snow about what must be done and what honour demands and what John knows in his heart must be done in order to save the realm. He does his duty at the sacrifice of his own honour. It's equally impressive in Harrington's final moment with Danaerys, and the journey that's he has been through throughout GOT is visible in his expression.

She is still not a nice person. - Ed.

THE END

It's here that tribute has to be paid to the writers of the show, Weiss and Benioff. It's true they have taken somewhat of a digital beating in weeks gone by for the handling of Season 8 and I'll be the first to admit there are things I would have done a lot differently. However, it is ultimately these two writers that brought this incredible literary fantasy to life on screen for tens of millions to enjoy year after year and that hopefully will be enjoyed for many more years to come. Despite the negative press they both still ultimately deserve respect as writers for carrying the show's success and getting it as far as 8 seasons. David and Dan, I salute you. I still don't forgive you for the ridiculous and unexplainable respawns though…

The final episode of the series, although it felt too rushed, is sweetly satisfying. As mentioned previously most of the characters got the endings they deserved. Pod got his knighthood, Brienne got laid, Tyrion still ends up as hand of the King, a certain prominent lord no longer breastfeeds... Sansa comes through it all to rule the north and finally a certain sell sword gets his castle. That isn't to say I was satisfied with all of the characters endings, Jamie's and Cersei's were particularly bad (we all know which one deserved a lot worse) despite it matching what Jamie wanted for himself when talking to Bronn in Season 5. John Snow’s was also particularly anti climatic given the recent focus on his heritage that sees him wound up right back where he started. One thing I wish they would have added in the final two episodes amongst the chaos in Kings Landing would have been to see Arya finally catch up with Illyn Payne. Which I believe was the last un addressed name on her list and given the significance of his character ending her father's life back in Season 1. Just like her appointment with a certain king's guard back in Season 5, it would have been horrifically satisfying to see on screen. However this is not the end of a Song of Ice and Fire, and as a book reader I will eagerly await the publications of the Winds of Winter and A Dream of Spring.

Although myself and many more have taken issue with the overall pace of the last 2 seasons I hail it overall a success. As all men must die so everything must also end but not always the way you want it too. The ending was always going to be controversial; the actors said it themselves before the season aired. The problem Game of Thrones has suffered of late is that the show is a victim of its own success in the earlier seasons. It would be hard for any writer to match the heights of seasons gone by.

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