Friday, May 24, 2019

What I’m Watching: Game of Thrones (Series Finale)

Game of Thrones: Season 8, Episode 6 “The Iron Throne”

This finale was always going to be divisive, though I’m really not sure things could have ended any differently. Episodes three and five of this season were all about the action, and there were only so many sides left at the start of this extended hour. I found the sequence with Daenerys rallying her victorious troops to eternal war to be brilliantly staged and extremely visually compelling, the last great scene of its kind on this show. Tyrion throwing his hand’s pin down the stairs was a forceful, defiant gesture, though it was Jon opting to stab his beloved queen and aunt that was the most impactful decision. Skipping ahead to Tyrion coming out of his cell with a long beard felt almost too quiet, and then it all got particularly bureaucratic. I wasn’t all too convinced by the laughter everyone bellowed at Sam’s suggestion of all-out democracy, but it’s fair to assume that it could never work in this realm. Instead, the notion of a king who couldn’t have sons was indeed the ultimate solution that no one could argue with since Bran, speaker of riddles, is even fairer and more averse to destruction than Jon. Sansa insisting upon an independent kingdom in the North was a worthwhile victory, one that transforms the structure of power much more than a new ruler of the seven kingdoms since there are now just six. Jon being sentenced to a nomadic life with the Night’s Watch is in some ways fitting, since living happily in one place was never his destiny. In some ways, this was a lackluster finish, one reminiscent of “The Return of the King” with its incessant endings, but the experience of watching this final season was one I haven’t recently felt. The urgency to watch an episode immediately to avoid any spoilers and the overall intensity going into each hour was something that I’m not sure will be soon matched again by any show. I’m not feeling nearly as let down as most fans, including my brother, and I still think this show will make a killing at the Emmys this fall. I’ll revisit each of the actors’ chances in a few weeks, but I think there could be a serious contender in each race. I do believe that Peter Dinklage (Tyrion) and Maisie Williams (Arya), followed by never-nominated Sophie Turner (Sansa), are more worthy of praise than Nikolaj Coster-Waldau and Lena Headey (Jaime and Cersei) based on this work this season. Even if the show for some reason falters in the top race, I’d expect it to take home at least a few trophies.

Series finale: B
Series grade: B+
Season MVP: Peter Dinklage as Tyrion
Season grade: B+
Series MVP: Peter Dinklage
Best Season: Seasons 2 and 7
Best Episode: The Winds of Winter

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