And now the watch has ended.
Game of Thrones, the biggest TV show in the world, possibly ever, met its conclusion Sunday night. The television adaptation of George R.R. Martin‘s story began in 2011 and has since become the juggernaut king of the small screen renaissance.
To learn what happened in the series finale, what a decade’s worth of story was all for, read our recap (below).
THE MAD SPEECH
Following the destruction (or “liberation”) of King’s Landing, Queen Daenerys (Emilia Clarke) gives a powerful speech to the Unsullied and Dothraki as Arya (Maisie Williams), Tyrion (Peter Dinklage), and Jon Snow (Kit Harington) watch in horror. Though they can’t understand what she’s saying as she’s speaking in other tongues, they know it is rhetoric that holds no remorse.
She appoints Greyworm (Raleigh Ritchie) as her Master of War and thanks her army for helping her take back the Seven Kingdoms after living a life in exile following the usurping of her father. Alas, there is no time for rest, as Queen D realizes if she has liberated so much already, she can take her army and liberate the entire world. The moment she has waited for her whole life is no longer enough. She must now rule every land outside of Westeros as well.
It is here that Tyrion walks up to Dany and throws his Hand of the Queen pin down the stairs. Prior to this he had confirmed that his brother Jaime Lannister (Nikolaj Coster-Waldau) and sister Cersei Lannister (Lena Headey) died in the rubble, despite his efforts to free them both. Dany is aware of this betrayal, and she orders him to be taken prisoner.
JON’S BURDEN & THE FATE OF DAenerys
Jon Snow AKA Aegon Targaryen AKA the true rightful heir to the Iron Throne is still committed to his Queen/Aunt/Lover. Before her speech he tried to stop Greyworm from killing Lannister army men, but he yielded after Ser Davos (Liam Cunningham) encouraged him to let it go and meet their Queen instead. He doesn’t want to see any more devastation, but if it’s his Queen’s will then so be it.
After her speech he goes to check on Tyrion in his cell where he debates with the former Hand about Daenerys’ intentions. Jon believes the war is over and they can all rest now, but Tyrion reminds him the passion behind her speech does not sound like the motivation of a Queen at the end of her fight. Not only that, Tyrion admits that Daenerys was once his hero, his love (albeit unrequited), his inspiration — she did free multiple peoples of tyranny — killing the evil masters and men that stood in her and enslaved people’s ways. But now he believes Varys was right, that their beloved Queen won’t stop until every threat to her rule is destroyed without mercy. Jon Snow’s claim to the throne is the #1 threat, Tyrion warns, and he and his family will never be safe so long as Dany gets her way. Jon wants to fight these thoughts, he wants to believe she would never go that far, but the thought of anything happening to his family bears too much burden. So we follow our male protagonist to the throne room, where Drogon rests to ensure his mother’s protection. He trusts Jon, so he lets him pass.
Here is where we meet a happy Queen, finally having made her way to the Iron Throne. Unlike in her Season 2 vision, she is able to touch it here, and she is happy to see Jon Snow. You really have to give it up for Emilia Clarke, who portrays duality so well with her character. Daenerys is genuinely happy and seeming of good nature in this scene, asking Jon to rule and lead by her side as they conquer the world. He begs her to show mercy to Tyrion and others, but she refutes him, standing strong in her opinion that a ruler cannot hide behind small mercies.
She then leans closer to Jon, waxing poetic on her plans to free the world with him by her side. He tells her she will always be his Queen, kisses and embraces her, then stabs her in the stomach.
Our Queen falls to her death quietly, that is until Drogon’s dragon senses alert him she’s hurt. We hear the screams of her dragon son herald from outside and watch as he comes in to discover his mother dead at the hand of the man he just let in.
Drogon’s cries shriek out, his mouth opens, and we see the fire coming up through his throat. Jon is ready to accept his fate, but Drogon chooses not to kill Jon but the thing that ultimately killed his mother — the Iron Throne. He melts it down, picks her up, and flies off with his dead mother in tow (presumably to Old Valyria, but who knows).
SO WHAT’S NEXT?
Some time has passed, and now we meet what appears to be a council formed by the leaders of the last remaining houses of Westeros. This includes Sansa Stark (Sophie Turner), Bran Stark (Isaac Hempstead Wright), Arya Stark (Maisie Williams), Ser Davos, Ser Brienne of Tarth (Gwendoline Christie), Robin Arryn (Lino Facioli), Samwell Tarly (John Bradley), Yara Greyjoy (Gemma Whelan), the new Prince of Dorne, and a few others. They’ve met in King’s Landing to discuss the future of their kingdoms, and they’ve requested to see prisoners Tyrion and Jon. Greyworm, the apparent interim ruler in Daenerys’ loss, brings out Tyrion but not Jon. This upsets Sansa, but Greyworm insists he not be shown the light of day. Yara is fine with this, as she defends Daenerys in front of Sansa, who unbeknownst to Yara, helped manipulate players into the moment we’re at now. Yara reminds the council of Daenerys’ long-running record of doing good for the world, and seeing her murderer isn’t something she’s interested in. So just Tyrion it is.
The kingdoms are in need of a sole ruler, and while Samwell pitches the idea of a democratic election, the leaders of the great houses laugh in his face. Tyrion then suggests that Bran be king as he has the best story of them all and access to all stories with his Three Eyed Raven magic gift. Tyrion asks him if he can step up to the plate, and Bran interestingly responds that it’s why he came all this way. The rest of the council approves this notion, but Sansa hesitates. She assures Bran she believes in his abilities, but she can only sign off on this if he allows the North to be a free kingdom. Bran, son of the North, is obviously cool with this.
And so it is, Bran the Broken, First of His Name, King of the Six Kingdoms.
Bran cannot have children, and that is fine, as from now on, kings and queens will no longer be picked from lineage but from the leaders of Westeros. Daenerys set out to break the wheel, and break the wheel she did.
THE FATES OF THE GREATS
Greyworm is free to leave Westeros with the Unsullied and Dothraki so that they may fulfill Daenerys’ wish to liberate all peoples of the world.
Sansa becomes Queen in the North, which is a super fitting end to her character arc. She had always wanted to be a royal, but she wanted to sit on a throne in sunny King’s Landing. Young Sansa looked down on her home, Winterfell, and now she appreciates it AND rules it.
Tyrion is appointed Hand of the King.
Ser Davos, Master of Ships.
Bronn (Jerome Flynn), Master of Coin.
Samwell, Grand Maester.
Ser Brienne, Lord Commander of the King’s Guard (and keeper of the Knights of Westeros Burn Book).
Podrick (Daniel Portman), Master of Brothels. Just kidding, Bronn basically wants to be that. No, Podrick now serves on the King’s Guard. Oh, excuse us, Ser Podrick.
Arya leaves Westeros to seek out and explore what’s west of Westeros, because nobody knows. Well, nobody except maybe the inhabitants of whatever *is* west of Westeros. Whatever awaits her, she’s ready to meet and get to know it. Another A+ end to a character arc.
And as for Jon Snow? Greyworm wasn’t going to just let him walk free, so the council compromised with an order to have him take the Black once again and serve the Night’s Watch. Jon says goodbye to his family, rides up north and reunites with Tormund, the free folk, and most importantly, good boy Ghost. Yes, Ghost finally gets the pets he deserves.
Speaking of pets, Bran is told Drogon was last seen flying east (which would make sense seeing as how that’s the direction you’d go if you’re trying to lay your mother to rest in Old Valyria, as we presume is the case). Bran says he might be able to find him, but that’s the last we hear of the great dragon.
The series ends with Jon Snow, Ghost, and the free folk exiting Westeros, embarking on their new chapter of life North of the Wall.
Thoughts? Did it live it up to expectations or disappoint? Sound off in the comments (below)!
[Image via HBO.]