Search this blog

Monday, 20 May 2019

Why Game of Thrones Ended Perfectly

So the greatest TV show of all time is finally over, and now we have the books. Many are disappointed and pissed off about the ending as they have been throughout this season. In this post I'm going to explain why I think the ending perfectly summed up the story's main themes and messages. The fact is, you can't please everyone, and a story has to end not by how we would like it to end, but how it ends based on its themes and prior events.
(Long post ahead, will contain spoilers. DO NOT read if you haven't seen the final episode!)

So what are the key themes of Thrones and how did they fit the ending?

Power corrupts. Every single power-hungry character ends up dead: Viserys, Tywin, Joffrey, Ramsay, Stannis, Cersei, Littlefinger, Margaery, Daenerys, the Night King. The characters that want to rule them all and start off with everything end up falling down. Why? Because Martin's message of this story is that those who seek power for the sake of power use it for the wrong reasons, and ultimately do not deserve to rule, nor do they make good rulers. When you only have the interests of ruling, you forget sight of what is greater: the actual act of caring for your people and ensuring their well-being.

In the end, the characters who end up ruling are the ones who never wanted power. It is fitting that the person who becomes the leader of the Six Kingdoms in the end is the one who started off as powerless and crippled, who never thought he would be anything, and who doesn't want power. The wisest, most empathetic character on the show. Not the ruler we expected, but the one the story needs. The one whose POV chapter we see first, and the one who is truly able to look at people for who they are and to forgive them and see the goodness in them.
This guy nailed it!

The horrors of war. This is a story with a lot of war and bloodshed, and it shows war in its most gruesome, horrific and tragic elements. Again, the characters who started wars, who wanted to burn cities to the ground and fight and destroy everything, all ended up dying. The ones who truly wanted peace (Jon, Sansa, Tyrion and Bran) and who were directly affected by the brutalities of war, became the heroes. They understood that when people fight and tear one another apart, it creates more damage and destruction. Daenerys becoming the ruler would not have made sense because it would have gone against the entire message of the story. A ruthless, tyrannical dictator who burned a city to the ground cannot be the hero of an anti-war tale.

The importance of family. This is primarily a story of the Starks. It began and ended with them. We saw their tragedy and lost Ned, Cat, Robb and Rickon in the process. But in Arya, Bran, Sansa and Jon, we saw them utilize their family messages and be smarter as a result of the tragedies that fell upon them. The Stark family always stuck together as a pack, and valued honour, love, duty, responsibility and taking care of one another. While it was horrible seeing half of them die, the ones that remained carried the family values in a way that was better than before. They became shaped by their pain and resilient enough to handle life's challenges thanks to all Ned and Cat taught them. Even though the four separated at the end, they still remained a united pack in spirit: the lone wolf dies but the pack survives.

Under-dogs win. Again, the characters who ended up on top were the ones who everyone underestimated and looked down upon. Tyrion the imp, the dwarf, the most hated Lannister, became the last surviving member of his house and probably the most important person in the Six Kingdoms (and my all time favourite character). Jon Snow, the bastard, was the hero who united those of north and south to fight against the army of the dead, sacrificed both loves of his life for the sake of the greater good, and gave up his claim to power that he never wanted and let it spread to his next of kin. Sansa, the little bird who was an annoying brat at the start, became the beautiful and intelligent Queen in the North, a balance between the honour of Jon, the ruthlessness of Cersei, the strength of Dany, and the loyalty of her Stark pack. And Bran, the cripple who nearly died, became the wise ruler of them all.

So what did I think of the final episode and season in general?

Daenery's arc: brilliant. Just brilliant. When I saw Dany make her speech I thought 'this is one of the greatest characters in TV history.' Dany, Sansa, Theon and Jaime have the best arcs on the show because we see them for all their strengths and weaknesses, and our feelings for each at the start and end change the most. Daenerys' story is of a girl who had nothing, rose to power and became a ruthless tyrant, and ultimately was slayed by the man she loved. A tragic and beautiful tale of one of the best antagonists of the show. I cried so much when Jon stabbed her. I wasn't surprised at all - Jon stabbing Dany fit the Azor Ahai prophecy of Dany being Nissa Nissa, although not in the way we expected.

Jon was the hero who defeated the horrors of ice and fire. He defeated ice by bringing together everyone to fight the white walkers, and defeated fire by stabbing the love of his life. He ended the darkness on both sides and restored peace to the realm, freeing the world from both tyrants.

Drogon melting the throne: George R R Martin was inspired by 'The Lord of the Rings' and at the end the deadly ring of power is thrown into the lava by Frodo, restoring peace to the world. Thus it's fitting that the thing that caused so much death, pain and destruction ended up being destroyed. I love that Drogon burned it after seeing his mother die, symbolic of a big 'fuck you' to the thing that caused her demise. Essentially rejecting the thing that destroyed his mother and millions of lives; the wheel truly broken.

King Bran and Jon going North: not what I expected but as mentioned, a fitting and happy ending. I was super scared Tyrion was going to be killed so jumped around in joy when Bran named him as his hand. I honestly believed Jon was going to be king in the end so felt a little confused and disappointed when he was sent north, but once again it was brilliantly fitting for his character and this bittersweet finale. Jon returned home. The north was always his home, and he would have been horribly depressed governing in the south, reminded of his lost love and everything that had been destroyed.

Jon belonged in the north and ultimately returned to be with Tormund and his beloved Ghost (oh god I cried so much) and went to be with his people. Seeing the wildlings return to the north after all they had suffered and lost in the long night showed the narrative coming full circle, ending with them returning home after all the pain. I imagine Jon becomes King-Beyond-the-Wall, finally finding his place as discussed with Ygritte in season 3. I was very sad to see Jon go south in episode 4 and part with Ghost the way he did, so seeing him return to his true home was a lovely ending for him.

Queen Sansa: nothing much to say about this other than I was bawling my eyes out. God I've never cried so much over a TV show XD. When they place the crown on Sansa's head and she looks at her people, crowned Queen in the North, its an echo back to Robb being crowned King in the North in season 2. The first female ruler, the lady who went through hell and back, who fought for her land and took it back, and ruled it as an independent state.

Arya the Traveller: Arya survived! This was a delightful surprise because I thought she would end up dead. Seeing her go off travelling was again the perfect end to her character.

Brienne writing Jaime's history: 'Died defending his Queen.' Brienne and Jaime had a complicated relationship, and was one of the best of the show. But Jaime was always going to die with Cersei, the true love of his life and his true destiny. Him going back to be with her did not ruin his 'redemption arc' in any way, it made him human and true to his character. In the end we have to be true to ourselves, and Jaime returning to Cersei showed his true nature. I would have been way more disappointed and annoyed if he had stayed in Winterfell with Brienne and gotten married and had golden children. Would have ruined that message; sometimes we can't help but return to our old worst habits and that's what makes us human. (Also Brienne fricken lived! YAY!!!!)

ASOIAF by Sam: as predicted, Sam wrote this tale. Was a bit disappointed we didn't see George R R Martin have a cameo but other than that, a lovely touch.

The White Walkers: My only criticism of this season is it should have been longer. Everything that happened made sense, it just felt a bit too rushed and sped along. I deffo think the white walkers demise should have been played out in more than one episode, or there should have more made out of the Night King. Seeing him and Bran fight on a mental plane or something would have been cool. I was slightly hoping Bran's eyes would turn blue at the end, but then again that wouldn't have fitted the story narrative.

I'm going to give this season a solid 8.5/10, based on what I think made sense and happened. I'm aware many didn't like it but to be honest, the books will be out in however many decades and it's over now. People can complain all they want but I am sure once we all go back and re-watch it from the start we will see how it makes sense. Martin said that everything about how the story ends can be seen in the first book.

What did you think of the ending? Loved it? Hated it? Somewhere in between? Let me know below!

Related posts:

Character analyses:

Dany -

Tyrion -

Cersei -

Margaery -

Theon -

Sansa -

Jon -

No comments:

Post a comment

I've published three YA fiction books and two poetry volumes. To check em out, copy and paste this link into your browser: