An Honest Review: The Tragedy of Ice and Fire
There is only one cardinal sin that any series climax can commit and it's not leaving an impact. Worse than ending in such a mess that it it leaves a bad taste, and not reaching the Pinnacle of becoming the capstone upon which the series rests this show has ended with a mediocre episode that can only be summed up as forgettable. This episode isn't hateable because there is nothing there to hate, it can't be loved because there is nothing there worth loving. It ended the largest pop culture icon with not a crash or a shout but with and awkward mumble.
This season had three climaxes and all of them utterly mistimed. Three monarchs lie dead with nothing but rushed goodbyes and plain conclusions. This episode starts with twenty minutes until the climax and an hour of filler to follow.
We start the episode with the perspective of Tyrion and Jon as they walk through the city looking upon the damage wrought by Dany. They part ways as Tyrion looks and finds the bodies of his siblings and Jon squares up with Greyworm who is murdering prisoners under orders of the Queen. The Northmen and Unsullied draw swords and level spears in a decent moment of tension as the enraged and still mourning Greyworm stares down the guilty feeling Jon until Davos steps in to move them on to speak with the Queen.
Tyrion finds the bodies of his siblings still embracing each other and has a somewhat sad scene of mourning silence before he makes his way back to confront the Queen. Arya follows Jon through the ruins to watch Dany's speech to the swollen number of Unsullied and Dothraki who the continuity checkers forgot have been consistently killed of the past two seasons. Dany delivers a shallow speech blatantly showing that she has no intentions to leave the rest of Westeros in peace or even governing them as she wants to go on to conquer the world due to her suddenly becoming a cartoonish villain. Jon watches still struggling internally with his loyalty while Dany threatens Winterfell first on her list in Valerian so that Jon doesn't notice. Tyrion walks up beside Dany and in the only powerful moment of the episode and one of the better ones of the season she accuses him of treason, which he admits to as he accuses her of mass murder before he throws down his pin displaying the hand of the Queen. He is led of to await execution while Arya tells Jon that Dany is a killer and will not stop at Tyrion and that she'll kill Jon sooner or later.
Jon goes to see Tyrion and has a decent enough conversation about the validity of Dany's actions and on wether or not Jon should kill his Queen. The only good quote from this conversation is "Love is the death of duty.... Sometimes Duty is the death of love." Which while a concept used in other books (Wheel of Time, Night Angel Trilogy) still holds merit and Jon woefully bids farewell to Tyrion before confirming his loyalty to his Queen. Jon leaves with Tyrion speaking after him reminding him his sisters will not accept the rule of Dany nor she accept their fealty.
Dany has a moment looking on to her vision of the throne room come true as she touches the goal she had pursued after her entire life. Jon soon enters Dany tells him about hearing of the throne in her childhood and about how many villains it took to gain the swords to make it, and how together they could form a world in which there would no longer be villains to create such thrones as she would see them all vanquished. He accuses her of mass murder and she swiftly counters that she had to because Cersei was using her mercy as a weakness. She then goes on to state that mercy is weak and that they cannot afford it when creating her new world( that she said should be merciful so already displaying self defeating logic). Her and Jon play on until she pulls him to her and asks him to be with her and he affirms his loyalty now and forever as they kiss, before he slips a dagger between her ribs and into her heart. Her look of confusion and betrayal leave a haunting impression after an otherwise decent conclusion to a long and applauded series.
The only problem being that this is 20mins into the damn episode and everything from here is downhill from something that honestly should have just been tacked on last episode since they are already rushing the ending out. This was the Pinnacle moment of ten years of viewer involvement and it was brought in and moved on in a matter of moments. An honest full other GoT episode from any other season could fit into the time left in the episode and it quickly becomes not only boring as there is nothing left to hope for, but the threads left to wrap up are done so clumsily.
Flashforward a month and Jon and Tyrion are alive for some reason. Greyworm instead of killing them out right for murdering his Queen, or just because he dislikes them and has already been unhinged by the death of his love and shown to have no problem with killing innocent people holds them captive and is holding negotiations with the Lord's of Westeros for their return. First problem here is that he didn't kill Jon and Tyrion he had no reason to keep them alive other than a now (non-existent) plot armor because he had nothing left to fight for. He now had nothing but impotent rage to take out on the Westerosi who had taken everything he loved from him. Second is they skipped absolutely all the reactions to Dany dying besides Drogon and Jon. We move a month ahead and don't even see the fallout to the largest character of the show being killed. This move could capture the essence of the whole episode and can be described as a bread sandwich there is no filling just a beginning and end. All of the filler that makes the sandwhich good happened off screen and the aftermath doesn't even make sense.
The negotiations have a face ten second moment of tension before Tyrion somehow talks Greyworm into letting him face justice from the new ruler who they now have to figure out who it is. We get a brief laugh about how democracy sucks before they settle on a representative monarchy with almost no qualms about the system change and then arguably the oddest decision of the show was made. Tyrion the now prisoner is allowed to pick Bran the cripple who has done nothing the past two seasons except sit in a chair and spout one solid piece of plot to be the next King. This somehow is a unanimous vote that I expected to to come from fanfiction more than the show and the only dissenter is Sansa who wraps up her plot by declaring the North independent and becoming the Queen. Leading Bran to become the King of the Six Kingdoms.
Greyworm accepts on the terms that Tyrion becomes Hand of the King and Jon is sentenced to the Nights Watch. He then leaves peacefully with all the Unsullied and travels to Naarth.
Tyrion has been a Hand for someone since season two this isn't character growth this is him being given a gift for not making any good choices since season three . They try to cover for it by saying it's a job he doesn't want and that's why he'll have it as a punishment but there is still no reason for this to appease Greyworm. As for Jon joining the now non-existent Nights Watch which was just a handy way of having him join the Wildlings this is another punishment that really isn't one especially since Greyworm leaves before even seeing the sentence be carried out. Meaning they don't even have to follow through which they do anyway.
Bran becomes King with a odd gallery of advisors
Bronn as Master of Coin without showing or explaining him and Tyrion coming back together after Bronn threatened to kill Tyrion
Davos as The Master of Ships. This is fair.
Sam as Grand Maester without having finished all studies or earning his Chains, but I guess he still earned it through action.
Brienne as the head of the King guard which she did instead of protecting Sansa or Arya like she had sworn to do? She also finishes Jamie's list of deeds to have him be remembered as a good man which while nice doesn't seem fitting after her betrayed her and broke that character development.
Pod as the wheelchair pusher
They all share an odd sitcom like comedic first meeting. Brann says something about looking for Drogon hinting that maybe he isn't useless and his powers aren't just a plot point.
Arya becomes a seafarer and decides to go as far as West goes find more of the world. Odd ending choice as they never showed her as an explorer in the entire show, would have made more sense for her to either head back to Braavos to become a dancing master (duelist) or for her to have had her character shocked back enough for her to go to Gendry(I'm glad they didn't do that, she never showed her wanting to be a lady but it would have made some more sense than the sudden adventure West)
Sansa ends her story being crowned and sitting on her throne. Being proclaimed Queen of the North and bringing her full circle to her dream of being a ruler.
Jon meets with Tormund, Ghost, and the Wildlings. They all travel north of the wall to enjoy their freedom once more. He is no longer King and ends his story with a sad smirk as he at lasts returns to his real home.
Overall it isn't the worst episode this season. It isn't amazing but it doesn't absolutely betray anyone's character. It is just utterly forgettable and will in no way leave an impact on anyone. The skipped the fallout of the climax and only showed the tying up of loose ends. They barely even showed the build up this is the episode to look at if you want to know what rushing an episode looks like.
Gendry, Davos, Brienne or Sam would have been better picks for King. They were of the people and were underdogs and wouldn't have been cruel rulers. They were smart had some battle experience and all had served admirably and undergone some extensive personal growth. Bran is a repository of knowledge as Tyrion said and would keep them from making the same mistakes as past rulers but he is inhuman due to his becoming the Three Eyed Raven hell his entire arc was him losing himself and his humanity to save the people. They should have made him an advisor but given the governance to someone else more human.
There not being a climax with the remainder of the Essos forces was odd they crossed and burned the world to follow Dany there was no reason for them to hold Jon captive but also no reason for them no not war against the people supporting the man who killed the Queen. The only outcome for them should have been in death because they had nothing left to live for. They could sire no children and they loved and believed in Dany she was their savior. After she died they should have been intent on burning the West to the ground.
Shows are meant to entertain and teach lessons. This season muddied any lesson the others strived for as it reduced everyone back almost to where they started from. A lot of side characters had good arcs but when it came to mains they almost all went back to or ended in the same place they started as (Jon in the black, Tyrion not wanting to be Hand, Arya not wanting to be a Lady, Jamie an insufferable bastard for Cersei, Dany a Mad Targaryen) or they ended on the opposite side of what they wanted (Sansa wanted to be queen now she is one)
This season really just said that you can't change and that trying to is futile. So I'd just say watch it for the loveable characters and the intrigue(first two episodes). The powerful moments and visuals and stunning design, but there isn't a message to take to heart.
It hurts to say farewell to such a large portion of our past ten years especially in such a mediocre way but it's been a fun journey even if not for such a great ending.