WARNING: SPOILERS AHEAD
“Game of Thrones” concluded a 10 year run with its final episode on Sunday, May 19, wrapping up the tumultuous journey toward the Iron Throne for many major characters. Though the final season of “Game of Thrones” was full of action and drama, the ultimate resolution of this complex plot left something to be desired for many viewers.
The television show from HBO, “Game of Thrones” is based on a series of novels by George R.R. Martin that have yet to be completed. Without the reference of Martin’s books to determine much of the plot for seasons 6, 7 and 8, producers, David Benioff and D. B. Weiss, took on a greater role by producing the remaining episodes with only the framework for the remaining story, provided by Martin. Many viewers felt that without Martin’s source material at Benioff and Weiss’ disposal, the quality of writing in the show suffered.
Discontent with season 8 in particular resulted in a Change.org petition to “remake Game of Thrones Season 8 with competent writers,” accumulating over 1.3 million signatures before the season had concluded.
One of the more controversial character deaths in this final episode was Daenerys Targaryen. In a previous episode, Daenerys was revealed to be a “Mad Queen,” a reference to her infamous father’s nickname, the “Mad King.” Atop her dragon, Dragon, Daenerys burned down the majority of King’s Landing, even after her enemy, Queen Cersei Lannister, surrendered. In an emotional scene, Jon Snow decides that the people are more important than his love for Daenerys, and kills her to keep her from committing further destruction.
Many felt as if this devolution of a strong female character undermined much of what originally made the character unique. Many also voiced opinions that Daenerys’ character arc was rushed, relying more heavily on foreshadowing than on character development, in order to make this shift believable.
Twitter user, @babysnitchery, stated in a tweet “most predictable unsatisfying death of all time award goes to Daenerys Targaryen.” She goes on to say, “remember when game of thrones was good and Daenerys was a protagonist and character progression made sense and things mattered.”
Following the death of the both queens, Cersei and Daenerys, an assembly of the most powerful figures in Westeros were tasked with choosing a new king or queen. Ultimately Bran Stark was chosen for his abilities to see into the past and future as the Three Eyed Raven. Many viewers and actors alike did not foresee Bran ascending to power. Even Isaac Hempstead Wright, actor who plays Bran Stark, did not expect to see his character as king.
Hempstead Wright told Entertainment Weekly, “when I got to the [Dragonpit scene] in the last episode and they’re like, ‘What about Bran?’ I had to get up and pace around the room,” he recalls. “I genuinely thought it was a joke script and that [showrunners David Benioff and Dan Weiss] sent to everyone a script with their own character ends up on the Iron Throne. ‘Yeah, good one guys. Oh s—, it’s actually real?’”
Regarding Jon Snow’s fate, Daenerys Targaryen’s followers sought vengeance for their queen’s death, calling for Snow to face punishment. Many instead expected Jon Snow to become king after viewers discovered Snow to actually be Aegon Targaryen, rightful heir to the throne. However, he was not even considered by the assembly.
Instead, Snow was sentenced to serve out the rest of his life as the 1,000th Lord Commander of the Night’s Watch, the setting in which his story began, bringing his character full circle.
Twitter user, @oshawildling, stated in a tweet, “he started his journey at the nights watch, and his journey ends at the nights watch. from jon snow to AEGON TARGARYEN. they did him so dirty, HE DESERVED A BETTER END TO HIS STORY IM MAD.”
Despite complaints about the series finale, the episode was viewed by 19.3 million people on its first night. Many still regard the series as one of the greatest in the history of television, understanding that wrapping up a series which so many feel attached to is bound to be a difficult task.
Twitter user, @JennTheHero, stated in a tweet, “Even though the final season was disappointing and upsetting, I still love Game of Thrones, it has a special place in my heart and it truly has been an amazing ride of a story.”
Photo Source: Screenshot from series finale episode