Don’t read on if you haven’t seen the final episode of Game of Thrones…!
But if you have…
The more I think about it, the more I realise I am not disappointed with the overall story of Game of Thrones, but rather how quickly it was all wrapped up.
People asked… what was the point of Jon Snow being resurrected, to discovery his birthright, then to be exiled back to The Wall? What was his great destiny, which seemed to just fizzle, like the flame of an asthmatic dragon, to nothing? To assassinate Daenerys Targaryen! Who else was close enough to her? Who else was in a position to be able to curtail her reign of fiery terror before it had even begun? And who else could be the instrument of such an act of poetic justice as severing the entire Targaryen lineage (as his adopted sister, Arya, did with the Frey), whilst, we may presume, taking his own claim to kinghood to the grave?
People asked… what was the point of Bran? Why, in the name of the Seven, was it he, who seemed to spend most of his time sleeping or randomly flitting around in the bodies of various animals, who became ruler of the six kingdoms? Because he was most unlike any other ruler there had ever been! Daenerys spoke of ‘breaking the wheel’ – but it turned out she was just going to build a new wheel. Perhaps Bran was the only one who could break all wheels, on account of the fact that he could see the past and the future and was therefore best prepared to not repeat the mistakes of the past.
People asked… why did Sansa go through everything she went through? That one’s easy. To become Queen in the North.
Then there’s the final surviving Stark, Arya, who barely survived the Battle of Kings Landing, to be then presented with a bright white horse, which seemed to be prescient of some great destiny, but which also, like the aforementioned asthmatic dragon, fizzled away to nothing. Although… are we forgetting that she singlehandedly dispensed with the Night King, thus ridding the world of the greatest menace it had ever known?
And herein lies the rub… while there are many threads that make up the tapestry of The Song of Ice and Fire, the central weaves (if the metaphor still holds out) are Ice (the white walkers and all that) and Fire (Daenerys’s rise to queenhood). In a story (or ‘song’) which has two main, um, weaves, how do you give enough weight to each, whilst not confusing the viewer as to which is the most ‘important’ (if either)? The icy weave (yes, I’m going to stick with the metaphor) was unequivocally concluded in the Battle of Winterfell, specifically with Arya assassinating the Night King. This was a Big Final Battle, which, I would say, was concluded pretty satisfyingly. In an end-of-season kind of a way. But then there was the other stuff to sort out: the fiery stuff…
Daenerys played a significant part in vanquishing the white walkers… but this was not her ultimate destiny. The final playing out of her ultimate destiny felt, however, somewhat like an epilogue. There was a bit of a quiet build up to the Battle of Kings Landing, Dany then went mad and burnt everything, she was Queen for ten minutes, Jon assassinated her, Bran was made King, the end… and, um, a couple of other bits. All of the stuff that happened in the final three episodes was significant, important stuff, and yes, admittedly it all happened in the space of about four hours, but considering how many hours things had been building up for prior to this, it seemed a pretty short four hours. We know that the writers of the show had been given ten, rather than eight seasons, to tell The Song of Ice and Fire, and it seems to me that, while the main concluding events of the story were appropriate and suitably significant, they would have been more satisfying if indeed they had played out over the course of another season or so. I would have liked to have seen something like…
Season 8 being the lead up to the Battle of Winterfell. Since the entire series, or at least the ‘icy’ part, has been building up to this, would not this have been appropriate?
Season 9 being the lead up to the Battle of Kings Landing… thus concluding the ‘fiery’ part of the Song of Ice and Fire.
Season 10 completing the circle. The Stark circle. Since GRRM’s original intention was that it was always all about the Starks. Queen Daenerys ruling for a bit, over several episodes; everyone who supported her (perhaps even, ultimately, Grey Worm…?) realising she was not all they had hoped she would be, figuring out what to do about it, culminating in a final showdown between Arya and Dany/Drogon… or all the Starks and Dany/Drogon… or something of that nature.
Then Bran the Broken becoming King, Sansa becoming Queen in the North, Arya venturing off ‘West of Westeros’… and Jon?
I’m not sure of my preferred fate for Jon. Although in some ways where he ended up was appropriate. He wasn’t a Stark, he was in fact of the blood that ultimately the Starks came up against, so perhaps, in being exiled to The Wall, or perhaps, alternatively, in taking himself there, he was serving some noble, sacrificial purpose, in singlehandedly extinguishing the Targaryen lineage…?
Also, part of me doesn’t like how Dany turned out to be ‘just like the rest of her family,’ thus leading to the idea that the Targaryen lineage was in need of extinguishing.
And I think I would have liked to have seen the white walkers get as far as the Westerosi capital.
Well you can’t please everyone all of the time.
❄️ 🔥 🐉 🧟♂️ 👑 ⚔️