Bran, huh? K. Did not see that one coming. I don’t think anyone did. Except, presumably, for Bran. Which begs the question: did he know all along that this was the outcome, and he just sat back and let it all happen instead of trying to do something to derail this insanity? Is he the biggest monster here after all?
How did we get to this? Let’s reel it back…
Tyrion enters King’s Landing, or, rather, what used to be King’s Landing and is now just Smoking Ruin Filled with Charred and Bloodied Bodies. Which is a lot harder to fit on a return address label, so I’m guessing they’ll just stick with King’s Landing.
He wanders through the ruins and the horror, as ashes fall like snow. He makes his way to the Red Keep, somehow manages to locate where Jaime and Cersei are (is there some sort of Lannister GPS? How did he do that?). Jaime’s gold hand is rather helpfully sticking up out of the rubble, and Tyrion pulls away some of the stone to reveal his two dead siblings, looking remarkably good considering an entire building fell on them. Not just a building: a castle. Tyrion weeps brokenly.
Meanwhile, Grey Worm has taken just as crazy a turn as Dany has and is just executing Lannister soldiers in the street. When Jon tries to stop him, he threatens to kill Jon as well, because sure, why not? Just kill everyone, why don’t you?
Jon goes to speak to Dany about this whole killing surrendered prisoners thing, but along the way runs into Arya, who warns him that Dany will almost certainly kill him soon. ‘I know a killer when I see one,’ she says. Wow, Arya, your ability to suss out a crazed murderer in the midst of the city she razed to the ground for no reason is truly astonishing.
Dany is at the Red Keep as well, addressing her troops. She heaps praise on them, telling them they’ll continue ‘liberating’ people across Westros. I don’t think liberation means the same thing to her as it does to most of the rest of us. The Dothraki and Unsullied are jubilant, especially after she names Grey Worm her Master of War.
But then Tyrion comes steaming up, boiling with grief and rage, and makes his feelings known when he throws his Hand badge about as far away as he can get it. Dany looks at him coldly, observes that he let his brother go and therefore committed treason, and has him thrown in prison.
Jon comes to see him, and their conversation essentially boils down to this:
‘Dany is seriously bad news. She’s gone crazy. Crazy animals need to be put down.’
‘But I’m so conflicted! Can’t we just, you know, reason with her?’
And let me just say: yes, I hate, hate, HATE what happened to Dany this season. Especially these last few episodes. It’s not that she wasn’t ruthless before–she did terrible things and killed people mercilessly. But as Tyrion himself says, they were always pretty bad people. The khals who didn’t fall into line, the slavers in Meereen… Having her turn into some unstable bitch because her boyfriend rejected her and her bestie and pet were lost smacks of the “hysterical woman” trope that we’ve been fighting against for centuries. Thanks, GoT. Way to go retro.
(Also: although I liked Missandei and was sorry to see her die, I don’t feel like her relationship with Dany was quite developed enough to justify this reaction. They got along and everything, but it always definitely felt like a master-servant relationship, not like two girlfriends, which is kind of how the show is trying to retcon it now.)
So, Jon goes and finds Dany in the wreckage of the throne room, where, wouldn’t you know it? The Iron Throne is still standing, unscathed. That bitch can’t be killed.
They have an intense chat, where Jon’s like, ‘What’s with the genocide?’ and she’s like, ‘Gotta kill those enemies. Cersei made those people weapons.’ Nope, Dany. I mean, she did try to create a human wall around herself, but the city surrendered to you before you started killing those people. There was no reason to go on that rampage other than the fact that you’re psychotic.
She starts to talk a big game about how the two of them can rule together, and who wouldn’t want to rule over this wonderland? Jon’s like, ‘Hard pass’ and stabs her. And that’s where Dany’s story ends: an arc that took her from being molested by her brother and raped by her husband to stabbed to death by her lover. Because she let all those girl feelings get in the way of acting like a mature, reasonable human being.
Drogon chooses this moment to check on his mum, and he nudges her body a couple of times in a way that strikes me as being kind of cute. He’s like a very fierce looking dog! It looks like he’s going to roast Jon, but then he thinks better of it and just blasts the Iron Throne with fire until the thing melts. Guess the bitch could be killed. And Jon seems to have that Targaryen fire immunity, too, because he’s not fazed at all by being right next to a stream of fire that’s hot enough to melt steel.
Drogon then takes Dany’s body and flies away. And you’d think that maybe Jon could just play dumb and say he has no idea where Dany is, but I guess he was all noble and confessed, because next thing we know, he’s in prison too.
Tyrion is dragged from his cell some weeks later and brought before representatives from all the major noble houses. Hey! There’s Edmure! Good to know he’s still around, I guess. Gendry! And Robyn Arryn, if I’m not mistaken. Managing to not be annoying, well done! And there’s… someone from Dorne as well. Not a Sand Snake. Whatever happened to them? Why did we even bother with that storyline? Who is this guy?
Guess it doesn’t matter. Look! Sam! And Sansa and Arya and Brienne! And Yara–you are still around! Why the hell weren’t you the one to take out Euron?
Bran’s there too.
They’re all gathered to figure out what to do with Tyrion and Jon and what to do with the whole damn country now that the person who conquered it is dead. Grey Worm, of course, is all for Tyrion being executed but everyone else is a bit, ‘Eh, I dunno. He’s kind of useful.’
Tyrion, who doesn’t seem to really care at this point whether he lives or dies, gets a pass. But who gets the throne? Tyrion reminds them that they’re the representatives of the greatest houses in Westros, so why don’t they just choose someone? I’m all for an epic rock-paper-scissors throwdown here, but Sam suggests they put the question to the people. Apparently Westros isn’t ready for representative democracy, though, because everyone there literally laughs him back into his seat.
And now it’s Edmure’s turn to be an ass. He gets up and starts to monologue about how great he is but is then interrupted by Sansa, who delivers an absolutely freezing, ‘Uncle? Sit down.’
Sophie Turner has definitely been the best thing about this season.
Nobody seems all that keen to jump on this cursed throne, so Tyrion puts forth a suggestion: go with the person who has the best story, because people love stories. The people, apparently, are like small children to him. ‘And who has a better story than Bran?’
Everyone. EVERYONE ON THIS SHOW HAS A BETTER STORY THAN BRAN. Or, at least, just as good a story as he.
Let’s talk about Tyrion himself, shall we? A dwarf who spent his life being loathed by all, including (perhaps most of all) by his own family. Except for his brother, the only person who seemed to care for him. He was abused and told he was worthless, and yet never quite believed that, because he kept his good humour and put his clever brain to good work. He served as Hand to two (soon to be three) monarchs, and he was damn good at it, for the most part. Along the way, he was wrongly imprisoned for regicide, escaped prison, committed a double murder, and was spirited away across the sea to try and wrest the throne out of the hands of his own family. And when that went sideways, he was quick to try and fix it and actually managed to make Jon Snow DO SOMETHING.
Or Sansa? A pretty little princess who wanted nothing more than to eat lemon cakes, put on pretty dresses, and have babies, she was subjected to every sort of abuse a person can fall victim to. And yet, she was not a victim. She survived, grew, became stronger, became cunning, observed and learned from those around her, even when they were her enemies. She had a better read on most of them than even their own relatives did (she knew better than to trust Cersei, that’s for sure). She saved Jon’s ass during the Battle of the Bastards, executed her very deserving husband in an extremely satisfying way, outsmarted Petyr Baelish, and ruled the North, which is no easy thing to do.
Or Arya? The cute tomboy turned frightened child on the run turned prisoner, who refused to be cowed by Tywin Lannister and pursued the training she needed to do what needed to be done. She became a face-swapping super assassin and dealt death to actual death.
All of those stories are amazing. Bran saw two people having sex and then spent several seasons having people carry him around the snowy wilderness. Osha, Jojen, and Hodor all died for him, and I’m not even sure why. Ultimately, he didn’t seem to serve a whole lot of purpose other than being a creepy presence, an opportunity for exposition regarding the Night King’s origins, and Night King bait during the battle at Winterfell.
But, ok, apparently we’re going to go with this, because everyone else is. Well, everyone except Sansa, who tells Bran that the people of the North have been through too much and aren’t going to bend the knee again. Bran doesn’t mind, because he’s not all that into this whole being king thing anyway, so he declares the North free. I’d just like to say, that the look on Yara’s face at this moment is priceless. It’s 100%, ‘Wait, that’s an option?’
And honestly, I’m not sure why most of these houses didn’t take the opportunity to split off into separate kingdoms again. The Iron Islands were definitely interested in being independent, and I’d think Dorne would consider it as well. Guess none of them can be bothered.
Tyrion is reinstated as Hand of the King. Brienne is now head of the Kingsguard, and she takes a brief moment to finish Jaime’s entry in the Book of Brothers. She makes him sound extremely heroic, even though he dumped her after she caught him attempting to sneak off in the middle of the night to go be with his garbage human of a sister. And I know this really bugged a lot of people, that she ends by getting all gooey over a guy and didn’t do something like start filling out her own entry, but I feel like that wouldn’t have been very true to her character. Brienne isn’t going to sit down and start writing about how awesome she is. It’s not her way. Pod can take care of that. (And Pod is a Ser now! Yay!)
So, yes, we have Brienne and Tyrion on the council, along with Bronn, who’s Master of Coin (uh, why? He was a sellsword, he has no finance background that we know of), Davos the head of the navy, and Sam, who’s Grand Maester and has also delivered A Song of Ice and Fire, an accounting of this whole clusterf*** we’ve been watching for nearly a decade now. Apparently the whole thing manages not to mention Tyrion, which makes no sense whatsoever.
Anyway, they all get down to the business of ruling, because Bran is more into trying to track down Drogon. It’s time to rebuild this country, though there’s some disagreement over whether brothels or the fleet should come first.
Up North, Sansa is crowned and takes her place, ready to rule. Girl got to be queen after all.
Arya has decided to head out on a very epic gap year, setting sail on her own ship to find out what’s west of Westros. Farewell, Arya!
Grey Worm, too, is setting sail, heading for Missandei’s home country. That’s… sweet, I guess?
And Jon? Well, he’s sent to the Night’s Watch, which still exists, for some reason. I guess because they still need somewhere to send all the criminals.
He arrives at Castle Black and is greeted by Tormund and Ghost, whom Jon had, uh, ghosted a couple of episodes back. There are no hard feelings, though, and the last we see is Jon, Ghost, and the Wildlings heading out into the snowy forest north of what used to be The Wall.
And that’s it for GoT. And this is how I feel:
I shouldn’t feel that way at the end of such an epic show, but I do. It was just, eh. Ok, that happened. Our villain, after being built up and built up, was killed by falling masonry. And replaced at the last second by another villain who wasn’t properly built up at all. And then that villain was killed off almost immediately. K. And someone with no qualifications or interest in the job was put on the throne, despite the presence of about half a dozen other people who probably would have managed it better and certainly deserved it more. And because he can’t have children, when he dies, what then? Will the chaos just start up again? Can the people of Westros not get a break?
But I guess we’re just not supposed to care. And I don’t. I checked out of this a little while ago, once it became clear that the creators had done the same. Sorry, but if the people making it can’t be bothered to properly invest in this thing, than neither can I. And that’s a shame, because it was a really, really good show. I’ll miss you, awesome credits and soaring soundtrack! I’ll miss the kick-ass ladies and Davos, who always was the most practical person here (though his suggestion that the Unsullied, who have been trained to be nothing but soldiers from childhood, be given farmland was pretty ludicrous).
And so long to all of you, who stuck with me through these recaps. I hope you’ve enjoyed them!