It seems the endings of TV shows are always controversial. I felt like I was in the minority in that I thought the finale of LOST was terrific, and truly did justice to the characters I had grown so fond of over the years. I was also one of the few people who wasn’t disappointed with the way How I Met Your Mother ended. (I mean, come on – why would anyone be surprised Ted ended up with Robin in the end?)
So maybe I just give my favorite shows a lot of latitude when when it comes to ending. Which could explain why I’ve once again found myself in the minority when it come to this final season of Game of Thrones, because I honestly did not hate it. Not even close. Were there some obvious issues with this season (and I’m not just talking coffee cups and water bottles)? Yes. The pacing was pretty bad this past season and everything did feel very rushed. And I’m sure the show did suffer some because of this, but overall I felt like the story played out the way it was supposed to, and I was satisfied with the way it ended.
One of the major complaints with Game of Thrones has always been the treatment of it’s female characters. I won’t try to defend the show here – there are a lot of very valid points there. However, I do feel some of these complaints have gone a little too far. For example – Sansa telling the Hound if she had gone with him, she would still be that little bird. I understand why this upset some people – and I’ve been disappointed with the treatment of Sansa quite often myself – but I didn’t interpret this scene in the same way that upset so many others. I saw this as another example of how strong Sansa has become. She’s not letting what was done her define her. She’s not running or hiding from it either. You can argue all you want about how unnecessary it was to have Sansa endure rape in the first place (and you won’t be wrong), but she now stands as an example of survival, and she represents hope and a future after abuse. I’m probably not getting my point across the way I would like, but back in season one I couldn’t stand Sansa, but now I have so much respect for her and everything she has accomplished.
The same goes for Brienne. It bothers me that people complained about her crying over Jamie leaving. Was it absolutely necessary to write in Brienne losing her virginity? No. But they did, and I think this scene was another example of showing how amazing women are – because we’re women. Just because Brienne is strong, and brave doesn’t mean that she’s immune to feelings and heartbreak and I really like that they show her feminine side for a change. Because you CAN be strong and powerful, and still be a girl. That’s one of the things I loved about Supergirl the very first time I watched it, and that’s what I took away from this scene.
And now for one of the most divisive topics of the season: Daenarys. Honestly, I was more surprised by how many people didn’t see Daenarys turn coming sooner. I, like all of you, loved Daenarys. I had been “shipping” Jon and Dany since long before they ever met. I think by season two or three I was hoping it would be those two ruling together in the end. But when Daenarys refused to grant mercy, and burned the Tarley’s alive for not bending the knee last season I started to have my doubts – and it was evident from Tyrion’s reaction he did too.
Tyrion’s speech to Jon in last night’s finale may as well have been directed at all of us. We cheered as Dany punished the wicked over and over again – burning them alive, crucifying them, locking them up with her dragons. She repeatedly showed us a lack of compassion and mercy, and a taste for fire and blood. The clues were all there, but like Jon we loved her and remained blind to the truth. All along she wanted to burn King’s Landing to the ground, but allowed herself to be swayed by Tyrion. But in the end no one was there to stop her – she was all alone, and had already chosen to rule by fear rather than love. Therefore her choice to burn the city wasn’t at all surprising.
Does this ending negate what we thought we knew about Daenarys? Not necessarily. Though I don’t think the series could have ended any other way – she couldn’t be allowed to sit on the Iron Throne – I don’t think she was completely evil. She truly believed she was freeing people and doing the right thing. She wanted to free everyone. Her methods, however, were unjustifiable.
That said, I was a little disappointed it was Jon who killed her. I wasn’t expecting him to do it, and I had really wanted it to be Arya. I am, however, glad that Jon did not end up on the throne. Instead it was Bran the Broken, whom was probably one of the last people I expected. I think this would have worked better if they had utilized Bran’s storyline a little better – instead of mostly having him sitting around Winterfell staring at people. The Bran we saw in the last scene, with his Small Council, was a little more lighthearted and seemed to speak and act a little more natural. If this version Bran had appeared earlier, and had made himself a little more useful, it may have been a little more believable. I’m willing accept this end – because I do think it makes some sense to have the Three-Eyed Raven as King, it just felt like a complete left turn given the lack of set-up.
Overall, I still enjoyed this last season, and will not let other fans’ negative reactions cloud my love of the series. Even if the last season felt like Benioff and Weis wrote them the way I tend to write stories – they got too excited about all the big high points and just didn’t want to take the time to write the smaller details and exposition that allow those highlights to make sense.