Game of Thrones S8E6 'The Iron Throne' RECAP
I started watching Game of Thrones during exam week of the spring semester of my junior year, right before Season 5 dropped. My friend had told me to try it out earlier that year, but I didn’t like it. I thought it was too slow, and I didn’t get what was going on. I didn’t even make it through the pilot because I fell asleep. Then one day in my telecommunications class, a student played a clip of Dany freeing the Unsullied from Astapor in Season 3 Episode 4 as part of his presentation and I kid you not, it’s the only thing I remember from the class. It blew me away, and I left class thinking that I had to try the show out again.
I watched seasons 1-4 in 5 days right in the middle of exam week. That’s 40 hours of television in 5 days! I was hooked. I soaked up as much information as I could during my binge. Pausing episodes to search wiki’s for more information on this world I was falling in love with. I was floored by the depth and scale of this world that George R. R. Martin had created. Ancient cities with storied histories. Vivid accounts of conquests, battles, and wars that had happened hundreds and even thousands of years prior to what I was watching on my laptop. Every character had an interesting story, and a crazy fan theory to match. What George has done is truly a remarkable feat. No bullshit, I probably know as much Westerosi history as I do about any real country. The world he’s created is that vast.
Needless to say, this story has been a huge part of my life for the past four years. I've watched the show eight times in full. I've listened to countless podcasts and watched even more youtube videos. I've watched people react to the biggest moments and I've tried to put so many people onto something that's brought me so much joy in hopes that it could do the same for them. Starting with the show, and then the books, A Song of Ice and Fire has been my favorite thing to talk, write, and read about, and I’m incredibly sad to see part of it end. But all men must die and all good things come to an end, so I want to say thanks to everyone who made this incredible experience possible.
To George, you’ve created a literary masterpiece that will live forever. Please finish. To the cast and crew of Game of Thrones, I’m eternally grateful for your portrayal of these characters and this world that I’ve grown to love and hate over the years. Everyone, from Ned Stark to Joffrey impacted my life in ways I can’t even put into words. Y’all are superstars, and watching y’all grow as actors on-screen and as people off-screen has been one of my greatest pleasures. To Maisie Williams, I’m 100% going to name one of my daughters after Arya. I feel like that’s all I need to say. Lastly, to Dan and Dave, if you don’t hear it from anyone else, just know that a 24-year-old that you’ll likely never meet on his very obscure personal blog is saying thank you. Y’all took a story that was written with the intention of being unadaptable for movies or television and made it the biggest, arguably the greatest, show of all time. There were some bumps in the road here and there. Controversial themes. Questionable writing. Obvious shortcuts. But without you two, none of this would have been possible. You brought the books to life flawlessly, and when those ran out, you did what you could with what you had. It’s not easy to create something so big and so heavily scrutinized, no matter what @dickhead420 on Twitter says. I’m grateful for everything y’all have done over the past 10 years, good and bad. It’s all been a part of the experience, and I thank you for it.
Now that that’s out of the way, let’s talk about the finale.
I’m just gonna come out and say it, I LIKED IT! Matter of fact, I’ll do you one better, I THOUGHT IT WAS GOOD! Fight me, please! Of course, I have some notes here and there, but I think they ended the story about as well as they could have, all things considered. I think we all knew Jon was going to have to kill Dany, but I had no idea what was going to happen after that. If you nitpick, you can find some things that you may not like, but overall I think it was a satisfying ending to the greatest story ever told. These last two seasons have been hotly debated. People (idiots) claiming that these last two seasons have ruined the show need to shut up PLEASE. Yes, the last two seasons have been different, but they’ve still been damn good seasons of television. Do they have issues? Duh, but they mostly have to do with pacing. If we have 20 episodes over the final 2 seasons instead of 13, we’re fine. They played all the right notes, they just played them too quickly, and that’s to be expected when you have 13 episodes to end something as massive as Game of Thrones. In order to end successfully, Game of Thrones had to become a TV show rather than literature on-screen. It’s not ideal, but it’s what we got, and I still enjoyed it.
One last time. Shall we?
We start with Tyrion walking through ground zero. King’s Landing is completely burned to shit, and the only sign of life is a severely burned man who won’t be alive for much longer. Tyrion runs into Jon, who offers to send some men with him, but Tyrion doesn’t want any company where he’s going. Jon and Davos walk up to Grey Worm who’s about to execute some Lannister soldiers. On brand, Jon and Davos preach mercy, but Grey Worm says the orders to execute the Lannister prisoners came directly from the Queen herself. Grey Worm goes to slit buddy’s throat but Jon grabs his arm, and for a minute we think something might pop off. But Davos encourages Jon to make a business decision and go and speak with the Queen.
We cut to Tyrion walking the ruined halls of the Red Keep. He walks through the Queen’s chambers where he had just met with his sister last season. As he’s walking, we kind of feel like we know where he’s going to go. Then he picks up the torch and it hits. He’s going to find Jaime and Cersei, isn’t he? He sure does, and once again, shout out to Peter Dinklage for some masterful acting. They really leaned on him in the last two episodes and he carried the team to the finish line. Bravo. Anyway, this scene had me emotional, and I hate it because I really do hate Cersei, but damn they were really just two kids in love </3. If Cersei would’ve been executed I would’ve been elated, but her dying in this way makes the emotion more complex, I’m glad she’s dead, but I feel her now more than ever.
As Jon walks up toward the Red Keep, we get a glimpse of Dany’s regime and it looks absolutely terrifying. The color palette of this scene just screams dystopian society with all the neutral grays and the pop of red on the Targaryen flag. Big dictatorship vibes here. Then Drogon comes flying in and lands in the castle and we get what is probably the greatest shot in the history of TV or film for my money. Holy shit, Dany walking onto the steps with Drogon spreading his wings behind her is just incredible. I need a poster of that shot in my apartment immediately. Dany addresses her armies and thanks them for helping her achieve what she’s always wanted to. Dany speaks of building a new world and she’s giving off some real Mussolini energy here, but I gotta say I was all in on the reign of terror. Sounded good to me. Also, shout out to Grey Worm. He would’ve made an excellent Master of War.
You know what? I quit!
As Dany’s feeling the love with a crazed look in her eye, Tyrion walks up and Dany confronts her about freeing Jaime. Tyrion counters with the good ole, “You slaughtered a city” trick and I’ve gotta say, it’s a decent point. He proceeds to take off his Hand of the Queen pin and chuck that shit down the steps. So disrespectful. Dany has two Sunsullied take him away as Jon looks on. Dany walks away and Jon turns to his left to find Arya (?!?!?!?) standing right there. She’s a lot calmer than I thought she’d be in this episode. I thought she’d have some rage toward Dany that would lead her to act, but she really just tells Jon that he’s still a threat to her power and that he’d be smart to either get the hell out of dodge or to take matters into his own hands and kill her before she can kill him. Solid advice.
Duty is the Death of Love
Jon goes to visit Tyrion. Why? Because he knows what he needs to do, he just wants to hear it from one more person to make sure it’s the right choice. It’s a good scene between these two as they ruminate on the concepts of love and duty and why the two can’t coexist. Tyrion compares her to her father and basically addresses everybody who was saying that Dany’s character did a complete 180 last week. Everywhere she goes, evil men die and we applaud her for it until she thinks that she’s the authority on what’s good and what’s right. Makes sense. This insight would’ve been amazing last season. It feels like Jon has made up his mind here that he’s going to stick with Dany until Tyrion brings up his sisters. It’s reminiscent of when Ned had resigned himself to death when he had been taken prisoner in King’s Landing until Varys begged him to confess his “crimes” for his daughters’ sake. I think it’s at this point that Jon makes his choice. Duty over love.
Here at last
Before we get to the throne room scene, look at HBO flexing their muscles here with this shot of Drogon sleeping under the ash. Just completely unnecessary but completely awesome as well. Shouts to the GFX people because no matter what you think about the season’s plot, you can’t say it didn’t at least look amazing. Anyway, we cut to Dany in the throne room and she’s walking toward the throne, just like in her vision in the House of the Undying, except this time, she actually touches it. Jon walks in before she can sit down and they have an interesting conversation. Jon confronts her about here genocide and you can tell Dany’s losing it. She’s pretty disillusioned here and starts speaking as if she knows what’s best for everyone, which is the telltale sign of a crazed tyrant. Jon leads her on for a moment and I really thought he was all in until *knife sound* NOOOOOOOO! I was sick! Jon why?? I know she killed damn near a million “innocent” people but damn man you ain’t have to kill her! I knew you were going to do it but why did you actually do it? I was distraught man, I loved Dany, flaws and all. I hated to see her go out like that, but I suppose it was necessary. Drogon, sensing his mother in danger, flies in and makes the political statement of the year by choosing not to burn the man who literally killed his mother in cold blood, but the throne that metaphorically killed his mother in cold blood. Hey man, the jokes are funny, but it’s established canon that dragons are smart as shit. I’ll give him the benefit of the doubt while still laughing at Drogon being woke af. Shouts to everyone who said there wouldn’t be an Iron Throne at the end of the season, you weren’t wrong.
Ladies and gentlemen, we have the first time jump in Game of Thrones history, and we know there’s been a time jump via beard clock. I heard somebody on a podcast say it’s been six weeks since Dany was killed, I don’t think I heard that, but that seems like a fair enough time span. I think it’s safe to assume that Jon turned himself in after Drogon flies off with Dany’s corpse to gods know where. That would explain the reason he’s taken alive, that and the fact that killing Jon Snow would start another war and the Unsullied are instantly down a leader and weapon of mass destruction.
Grey Worm brings Tyrion to the dragonpit to speak with the High Lords and Ladies of Westeros. Here we see some old and new faces like Edmure freakin’ Tully, a glo’d up Robyn Arryn (wtf), and an unnamed new Prince of Dorne (looks like the old one). Grey Worm informs us that King’s Landing is under Unsullied control and that Jon Snow hasn’t been brought to this summit because he killed their Queen. There’s no way they’re going to let him walk free. Yara’s (oh hey!) like hell yeah, we swore to follow Dany and Jon killed her, give him what he deserves. And Arya shuts all that shit down immediately while threatening Yara’s life in the process. I love her. Davos offers the Unsullied land in the Reach and Grey Worm demands justice over payment. Tyrion tries to speak up and Grey Worms tells him not to, then Tyrion proceeds to speak up (lol). I mean, if there’s one thing Tyrion is good at, it’s talking his way out of a jam, and that’s what he does. He tells the group to choose their next King or Queen and Edmure freakin’ Tully stands up and does his best Joe Biden impression before Sansa politely tells him to shut the hell up and sit down. Sam (bless his heart) takes it a step further and suggests they let the people choose the next King or Queen. His suggestion is predictably met with laughter, oh well smh.
I’ve seen people say Jon should have been nominated here at this summit, and I’m not so sure that makes sense. I mean, how many times does this man have to say he doesn’t want the throne before y’all believe him. I understand he’s the true heir, but if anyone tells Grey Worm that, how does that make his murder of Dany look in hindsight? Like a power grab, not an act of sacrifice for the realm. That’s sure to be the end of his life, and war will ensue. I do, however, feel like they should’ve found a way to show us Jon being called upon and refusing the throne one last time if that’s what we’re supposed to believe is happening. Why not?
Tyrion decides to take matters into his own hands and goes on a spiel about what unites people. Stories. Agreed. And since the two characters with the actual best stories are either dead or imprisoned, why not choose the person with the third best story? Congratulations Bran the Broken, you’re the new king. Apparently, Bran knew the realm would need a new leader, so he rolled all the way down so he could be nominated for the job, but to be clear, he doesn’t want to be king. yeaAIGHT. Everyone says “aye” except Sansa who declares the North and independent kingdom, which was a relief because I thought she was trying to throw her name in the ring for Queen of the Seven Kingdoms and I would’ve thrown up in Hattie’s Tap & Tavern right then and there. She already told the world he can’t get it up, so I was expecting the worst. I was wondering why nobody else, especially Yara, decided to declare independence, but I guess if you’ve already said “aye” you’re SOL. Too bad, so sad. Tyrion basically established an Oligarchy, which I guess is a step in the “right” direction. I’ll consider the wheel broken. Bran names Tyrion as his hand and Grey Worm initially objects, but Bran strong
arms him. At this point Grey Worm is like forget it, I gotta get out of this country ass town. I feel you.
The End of the Road
Tyrion goes to see Jon and informs him of his fate. The Unsullied and the King of the Six Kingdoms have come to a compromise. He cannot be executed and cannot walk free, so he is to join the Night’s Watch. Funny stuff guys. It’s not a fitting end for King Aegon Targaryen the 6th of his name, but it’s a perfect ending for Jon Snow which is who he’s really been this whole time. It doesn’t matter who his biological parents are. He’s been Ned Stark’s bastard son this whole time.
Grey Worm says eff it and takes the Unsullied to the Isle of Naath, fulfilling his promise to Missandei. Touching.
We then cut to the last of the Starks saying their goodbyes as they prepare to go their separate ways. Just a well-executed, emotional scene here as Jon says farewell to Sansa, Arya, and Bran. We learn that Arya is going to explore west of Westeros. An idea she told Lady Crane about in Season 6 as she was nursing her wounds from her first fight with the Waif. Apparently, HBO has shut down the idea of an Arya’s Adventures spinoff and to that, I say f*ck y’all mane. I’m gonna miss Arya so much :/
As soon as we see Brienne looking through the Book of Brothers, I already knew what was going to happen. This was a beautiful scene here as we see Brienne filling in the rest of Jaime’s pages in the book. Regardless of what Jaime did to Brienne, she recognizes that he was a good man. He was just in love. The gods don’t let us choose who we love. He loved a hateful woman and it made him do hateful things, but there was a good man somewhere inside there and Brienne saw him. Brienne was his light. In the end, he chose Cersei, but there’s always going to be love there toward Jaime from Brienne. Beautiful stuff.
We then go to Tyrion adjusting the chairs in the small council chamber, awaiting what is probably not the first small council meeting of Bran’s reign. Everybody walks in shortly after, including the new Master of Coin, Lord Bronn of Highgarden. What a come up. It’s fun to see Tyrion and Bronn interacting as peers instead of Bronn doing Tyrion’s bidding for once. As we all predicted, Sam plops down A Song of Ice and Fire right in front of Tyrion. He helped Maester Ebrose to make the title a bit more poetic. Bran participates in the meeting for a good 15 seconds and gets wheeled out by SER PODRICK PAYNE *AIRHORNS*. I’m proud of my boy. You earned it, kid.
The final montage is Grade-A television. We see Jon, Arya, and Sansa all embarking on their different journeys. Jon’s back at Castle Black, Arya’s sailing West, and Sansa is getting coronated as the Queen in the North. It’s a beautiful, surprisingly sweet resolution for some of our favorite characters, and I was emotional watching it. And for all you whiny ass babies, Jon and Ghost got their moment, I bet y’all feel pretty dumb huh? But anyway, this ending felt right for the Stark children, and Jon’s little smile as he rides into the Northern wilderness is all I needed to see. He’s home.
What a ride it’s been. Like I said earlier, I liked the finale. It wasn’t the best episode of Game of Thrones, but it damn sure wasn’t the worst. I feel the same way about season 8. It’s definitely better than seasons 5 and 7, definitely worse than 3, 4, and 6, and somewhere in the middle with seasons 2 and 1. Please relax with the hyperbole. This season did not ruin the show. It ended it. Game of Thrones is still one of the greatest shows, if not the greatest, of all time. It didn’t end with its best season, but what show has? MAYBE Breaking Bad, but honestly probably not. Season 4 is probably the best. But alas, it’s been real, it’s been fun, it’s been real fun. Be on the lookout for more content coming to the blog and other channels. I can’t give away too much, but some really cool shit is coming here shortly. Thanks to everyone who reads and gives me feedback. I’m going to miss talking about Thrones, but we’ll have other stuff to talk about soon enough (prequels, I’m looking at you). Until next time, Internet.