My watch is finally ended, so there won’t be any preamble here. Let’s get down to business.
Pluses, or, The Things I Liked
-The first shot of Peter Dinklage immediately convinced me that he should have all of the Emmys, and then the rest of the episode happened, so in conclusion, Peter Dinklage should have a swimming pool full of Emmys for this episode alone that he dives into like Scrooge McDuck. Plus 5,000 points.
-Does it annoy me that Cersei and Jaime apparently could have had their sexually charged embrace thirty feet to the right and not died? Sure. Was the scene where Tyrion finds their bodies utterly heartbreaking and beautifully shot? Also sure. Plus 1,000 points.
-Daenerys’ speech is very Third Reich-y, which feels both heavy handed and exactly right, but it redeemed itself with that very cool, very picturesque shot of her walking forward with Drogon’s wings silhouetted behind her. She did it for the ‘gram. Respect. Plus 500 points.
-Tyrion quits his job just like a messy bitch who lives for drama would quit his job, which is deeply on brand. Plus 500 points.
-The meeting between Jon and Tyrion has a lot happening and there’s probably an entire term paper I could draft about all of its great lines and lovely moments, but when it comes right down to it, as many better men and women of the Internet have said before me, it’s yet another example of Jon getting talked into doing something by someone who is smarter and more decisive than he is (not that that’s a high bar, but Tyrion is, frankly, particularly smart and decisive). Just for that, it’s a wash.
-Please note that Daenerys never actually gets to sit down on the Iron Throne. Woman’s gotta be tired, but instead, her nephew-fuckboi throne-blocks her and she tells an extremely dumb story about not being able to count as a child, because apparently, she was kind of a super dumb child. Jon gets on his high horse about her, you know, murdering lots of innocent women and children, and Dany sticks to her dragons, being all like, “it’s for the greater good! Fuck everyone who isn’t us!” and because this is all too Grindelwald and evil for Ned Stark’s heir to honorable stupidity to withstand, Jon stabs the crap out of her, which was actually kind of a cool and welcome move in terms of where this show should go. That was a long preamble that led to this statement: I am glad Jon killed Dany. It felt semi-earned and fully correct. Plus 2,000 points. (Also, do not comment anything about whatever Grindelwald lore exists past Deathly Hallows, because I hate the Fantastic Beasts movies and will not watch them out of spite, so I will not care.)
-That being said, RIP Daenerys Targaryen, who died as she lived: frantically trying to bone one of her blood relatives while also trying to take over the world (kind of like an incestuous Dr. Evil). One of the most complicated and fascinating women on the show probably deserved a better ending, but this show kinda hates women, so this is the best option we were going to get. Another wash. I just needed to say something.
-Also to that point: Drogon nudging Daenerys’ body like a sad dog in a movie made me a little teary, and him taking her body with him was actually very emotional. Plus 500 points.
-Move over, Pete Davidson. Sansa Stark is the textbook definition of BDE. Plus 2,000 points.
-Poor Edmure Tully, the Jeb Bush of the Seven Kingdoms, pleads his pitiful case to be King for about five seconds before his much cooler niece tells him to take a seat, stop talking, and sit this next play out. Please clap. Plus 500 points.
-Sam suggests democracy and everybody literally laughs him off the stage. That checks out. Plus 500 points.
-The little smile Arya gives Sansa after she successfully lobbies for the North to remain independent cleared up my skin, hydrated me, and added five years to my life. Plus 1,000 points.
-This might be a kind of unpopular opinion, but Jon being sent back to the entirely defunct Night’s Watch does feel like the right move, only insofar as it allows him to head back North where he belongs. Plus 2,000 points.
-This will DEFINITELY be an unpopular opinion, but I didn’t hate Brienne’s Burn Book, because she really did love Jaime and he deserved the tiniest bit of credit for everything he did before he pooped the bed and bailed on her. I kind of wish she had written something like “had the hottest piece in all of Westeros all up in his junk but slunk back to his ex who was also his twin, so in the end, I win. XOXO, Brienne with the Good Hair,” but I’ll settle for what we got. (Also, the Carrie Bradshaw memes about this are too good.) Plus 2,000 points.
-Bran shows up at his Small Council meeting, does nothing, and peaces out. I guess he’s as effective of a president as anybody else. Wash.
-SER Podrick of the Magic Dick! Long may he bang!!!!!!! Plus 500 points.
-Tyrion never got to finish his joke. Plus 500 points.
-Ghost! The goodest boi!!!!!! Plus 500 points.
-ALL HAIL SANSA, QUEEN OF THE NORTH AND ALSO MY HEART. That dress!!! Her face!!!!!!!! I would like one of those little wolf crowns please!!!!! My birthday is in November!!!!!!!! Plus 10,000 points!!!!!!
-The ending shots were correct and appropriate and nice – Sansa gets crowned, Arya looks cool on a ship, Jon goes on a camping trip with his dog and his best friend Tormund. Is it too neatly tied up? Definitely! Did I begrudgingly enjoy it? I GUESS. Plus 3,000 points.
Total: 33,000 points / I kind of enjoyed this
Minuses, or, The Things I Hated
-I don’t know what I’m more tired of: Grey Worm’s vengeful streak or Jon Snow’s self-righteous streak. They both make me feel super tired and annoyed. Minus 2,000 points – 1,000 for each of them.
-Where… where did all of these Dothraki come from? And where did these thousands of Unsullied come from, for that matter? For someone who supposedly lost a large chunk of her army two episodes ago, Daenerys’ Ted Talk is extremely well attended, and I literally cannot fathom how that’s possible. Is it a secret Dothraki slash Unsullied power that when one dies, two spring up in their place? I’m not even going to pretend there’s an explanation for this, because it’s so radically stupid. Minus 5,000 points.
-I’m sorry. Are we to believe that Drogon, an enormous dragon who barbecues anyone who doesn’t fall all over themselves to compliment Daenerys and tell her that her hair looks pretty, left Jon Snow alive so he could destroy a symbol of power?! We’re pretending dragons know what signifies power?!??!? This is fucking absurd. This show has asked a lot of me. This feels like too much. Minus 2,000 points.
-I was willing to let the whole “there’s nothing more powerful than a story” bit go even though it’s so clearly a line that Benioff and Weiss came up with while they were knob-jobbing each other in the editing bay or something, but how DARE Tyrion say Bran has the best story while he’s sitting in between his sisters, one of whom has defeated every man who’s ever even vaguely annoyed her and one of whom is a faceless assassin who killed the goddamned Night King?!?!? Minus 5,000 points.
-And furthermore, Bran, who’s just a stoned grad student who can’t be bothered to make eye contact or help anybody out ever even though he’s an omniscient non-human who “doesn’t want anything anymore,” has been aching to rule the Seven Kingdoms “this whole time” because, wait, WHAT???!?!?!?!?! Minus 3,500 points.
-King Bran the Broken??!?! KING BRAN THE BROKEN?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!#?!?!?!?EQ?WE>DWQ?R>W%W?E> WOULD YOU LOOK AT THAT, MY BRAIN AND KEYBOARD ARE BOTH ALSO BROKEN. MINUS 5,000 POINTS
-I don’t care about Grey Worm going to Naath, so let’s go ahead and call that a wash.
-I am definitely not the first person to point this out, but couldn’t Bran just tell Arya what’s west of Westeros? I’m sorry, is he too busy staring at nothing and being a fucking freak to help a girl out? I hate this fucking guy. Minus 500 points.
-I honestly do not even know where to start with this Song of Ice and Fire book bullshit. My nightmare ending to the show was Sam writing a book, looking directly into the camera, and saying, “I think I’ll call it…… A Game of Thrones,” and this was DISTURBINGLY close to that outcome. I got up and left my living room when this happened. Suffice to say, minus 10,000 points.
-I don’t know why everyone on this show is so stressed about never seeing each other ever again, because according to the last two seasons, it takes about five minutes to get anywhere in Westeros and beyond. Anyway, HAGS, I guess. Wash, because everyone on this show is so very stupid and also time is a flat circle.
-Yes, I very begrudgingly enjoyed the final glimpses of the Starks, but does anybody else feel like this whole thing was wrapped up a little too neatly and nicely? This is Game of Thrones, not Friends. I never expected or wanted a happy ending for this show, and I’m weirded out and a little bummed that it wasn’t…… bleaker. I know that’s an odd outlook, but I think it’s a good idea, and I stand by it. Minus 2,000 points.
Total: 33,000 points / I kind of hated this
I haven’t kept super close track of my point tallies throughout my time recapping Thrones, but a dead even total between pluses and minuses feels rare, and that is truly how I feel about the episode as a whole. I liked it, but I also hated it. I liked a lot of the closure and developments and plot points, but I hate how we got here, because the fourth and fifth episodes of the eighth season were truly such sloppy, tragic messes that they took away from my enjoyment of the finale.
I would like to get more in-depth about this once I finish a long week of Thrones coverage and let both the final season and series finale gestate a bit, but in the meantime, I would genuinely like to thank anyone and everyone who read these recaps for the few years that I’ve been writing them. Sending jokes and thoughts out into the void of the Internet can be terrifying and gross and awful, but all of the positive feedback, encouraging comments, and kind words I’ve gotten in return for writing these emotional trainwrecks have brightened my weeks during each season, so thanks for coming with me on this insane rollercoaster ride of a show. Game of Thrones was an exhausting, exhilarating, confusing, excellent, and terrible show, and at the end of all things, we all did this together, which feels pretty amazing.
Anyway, I’m headed west of Westeros, also known as “Philadelphia” (fingers crossed Arya gets here soon), but no matter what, I look forward to arguing about and dissecting and breaking down Thrones for years to come. Valar morghulis, friends.