Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 14 October 2019

Spoiler alert: 'Game of Thrones' grand finale – is that it?

The show's final fling wasn't so much a happy ending as a smorgasbord of loose ones

This image released by HBO shows Emilia Clarke in a scene from the final episode of "Game of Thrones," that aired Sunday, May 19, 2019. (HBO via AP)
This image released by HBO shows Emilia Clarke in a scene from the final episode of "Game of Thrones," that aired Sunday, May 19, 2019. (HBO via AP)

As a final warning, the Game of Thrones grand finale doesn’t screen on OSN Series until 11pm on Monday, though it has been available on OSN Play.

There are major spoilers ahead, so if you’re waiting for the screening on TV, and you haven’t yet watched S8 E6, you might want to come back here at about 1am UAE-time. We’re not going to give a second-by-second account of the episode, but we are going to raise some questions, which we can’t really do without mentioning the plot.

With that out of the way, read on for... did I mention it?

SPOILERS.

So probably the most successful TV series of all time has drawn to a close, as the final whistle was blown on the Game of Thrones.

There’s been plenty of criticism of the scripts over the last couple of seasons – the producers ran out of George R R Martin’s source novels to draw on back in season 6 and showrunners David Benioff and D B Weiss have been picking up writing duties ever since, albeit with input from Martin.

So did they succeed in drawing the epic, 73-episode series to a successful close?

Honestly, for me, no. As always with GoT, the episode was satisfying enough. There was intrigue, there was violence, there was a water bottle left in shot.

But honestly? The show’s closure seemed rushed, and just brought in too many handy coincidences in order to tie up loose ends, yet still leave vast swathes of unfinished business at the same time.

Here are some major gripes...

So it was that easy all along!

For eight seasons, the Houses Stark, Lannister, Targaryen, Baratheon et al have been ruthlessly plotting, subplotting, murdering, and even indulging in the occasional genocide in their quest to sit on the Iron Throne.

It turns out that all that was really needed was for the assorted families to perch in a tent outside King’s Landing and come up with a rudimentary form of democracy. All that fighting, all the death, the intermarriages, interbreeding and endless war? It could all have been stopped if the involved parties had just sat down, had a nice cup of tea, and unanimously voted on a king/queen. Isn’t that convenient?

A look back on the main characters over the years:

But wait – this sounds more like colonisation than democracy?

Well, yes, there is that. Don’t ask me quite how this got past the assembled nobles as it's beyond me, but essentially the whole of Westeros appears to have just voted to become a vassal colony of the North. Bran Stark was voted king, with just one dissenter – his sister Sansa.

Sansa insisted that the North would become an independent kingdom. So, essentially, the assembled great and good of Westeros just voted to allow an independent seventh realm ruled by House Stark, while the other six realms of Westeros will be ruled by… House Stark.

This is essentially the political equivalent of Scotland voting for independence from the United Kingdom, then immediately and unilaterally imposing Sean Connery as Prime Minister of the remaining countries. Unlikely.

But Bran will be a wise leader, right?

Well, you’d have to assume so. He’s basically Westeros’s equivalent of Google. He can see the past, the future, warg into animals, and, of course, he’s appointed a small council of ministers to assist him in his role. But why?

The man is an omniscient oracle, the Three-Eyed-Raven, who for most of the previous eight seasons has shown little interest in interaction with lowly humans, never mind taking advice from them. Now suddenly he wants to debate the relative merits of prioritising the rebuilding of Westeros’s fleet or brothels first? Er, okay.

Jon Snow though – what a selfless character!

True. Sort of. He killed the love of his life having recognised she’s become a tyrant, to save the people of Westeros from further bloodshed. Because his only wish is to serve the people. He was banished back to the frozen Night’s Watch in the North as a result. Truly selfless.

But surely the most selfless thing to do would have been to reveal his true identity – the rightful heir to the throne – and serve the people as a just and fair king, even though he has no craving for power and doesn’t want the throne. Personally, I’ve always maintained that the most suitable people to lead a country are the ones that have no urge to. That’s true public service, Jon.

Also – where did you go at the end? You arrived at the Night’s Watch, exchanged glances with old friends (including the long-abandoned Direwolf, Ghost, so call off the RSPCA three seasons later), then the whole citadel mounted up and rode out of town. I expect we’ll find out in season nine. Oh…

What about the missing dragon?

Dany’s dragons were basically the nuclear weapons of Westeros, and ultimately the thing that allowed Dany and Jon’s forces to defeat Cersei in the South. Now we have a huge, scaly, self-regenerating multi-megaton rogue bomb lurking somewhere in the skies above Westeros.

Granted, Drogon is clearly going to spend some time mourning his lost mother but, although I’m not intimately familiar with dragon mourning customs, that’s only going to last so long. So what now? Given that Drogon is, to our knowledge, the only surviving dragon in Westeros, retirement home options seem likely to be limited, so where next?

He only has one surviving family member, that’s Jon, and given that he didn’t torch him for murdering Dany, choosing instead to incinerate the Iron Throne that has caused all this misery, it seems the family ties are still strong.

Have The Unsullied just inadvertently exiled a man with a nuclear arsenal due to fly in following the required period of respect?

Or will Drogon just go back to doing what dragons are best-known for? Torching villages, eating people, and collecting huge piles of treasure? Yes, I played Dungeons and Dragons as a kid.

And how about Arya the explorer?

Arya is one of the strongest characters in the show. She has also dedicated endless hours of screen time to her “kill list,” which is far from complete.

Now, we could concede that the show’s final denouement led to her realising that all the pain and violence just wasn’t worth it, though she’s never been one for mercy historically. Even if we grant the writers that get-out clause though, she’s just been reunited with her family after spending years traversing the continent like a shadow. She can finally put her feet up and have some say in the just Westeros, and powerful North, she’s always craved.

So instead she decides to go all Dora on us. What next for the diminutive Stark? Around West of Westeros in 80 Days with Michael Palin and Arya Stark? Arya Stark and Karl Pilkington Present an Assassin and an Idiot Abroad?

After her blockbuster gig with the Night King, she’s the face of the moment. The offers should come flooding in.

Updated: May 21, 2019 03:17 PM

SHARE

SHARE