‘Game of Thrones’ Ended in the Worst Way Possible


This article originally appeared on VICE Canada.

You survived eight long years of Game of Thrones, and somehow, you still expected more. But this is no longer the show that made its lead character headless before season two. It’s not the show that killed off many of its central characters in the Red Wedding. This isn’t that Game of Thrones, the global phenomenon that upended any expectations from the fantasy genre. Instead, the biggest surprise of the show’s series finale, “The Iron Throne,” is that every predictable thing happened in the worst way possible.

Audiences knew by episode five that a Stark would end up on the throne, but it was the do-nothing Bran who was the lucky winner. Sure, viewers believed that Daenerys had to be stopped after her Mad Queen turn in the last episode, but all it took was a Tyrion pep talk to get Jon Snow to stab his aunty mid-kiss

Game of Thrones continued to chase the same themes around politics, espionage, and spectacle until the final credits rolled. But the season eight shortchange—largely brought on by showrunners David Benioff and D.B. Weiss’ desire to end the show before it was ready—produced one of the worst endings in prestige TV history.

While there’s going to be plenty of time to break down what brought a phenomenon to a sputtering finish over these last two seasons, it’s painfully easy to pick out the more obvious elements that made the series finale so ridiculously frustrating.

Inexplicably, Bran is King

It’s hard to justify this one. GoT has a penchant for twists and all that—this is Benioff and Weiss material, after all—but only the Three-eyed Raven saw this one coming. We’re supposed to believe that it would only take a well-placed suggestion by Tyrion, a man who all parties distrust, to suddenly place Bran as the best choice to rule? We’re supposed to buy that a series that spent entire seasons reveling in political tug-of-wars and in-fighting about governance, just determined it all from Tyrion’s elevator pitch about folks with the best stories?

Even if you forgive all of this, there is nothing gratifying about Bran’s story. For the entirety of season five, he played hooky as a visible player. In season six, he was that Westeros guy nibbling on psychedelic weirwood bark, mumbling endlessly about being “the Three-Eyed Raven” and not “wanting” anything. And now that the Night King is defeated, this series has done nothing to lay the groundwork for the new leader, Bran the Broken, who’s apparently ready and willing to take the throne.

So it’s the ultimate finesse: that Bran who truly knew of the past, present, and future, spent whole seasons silently staring down other characters, with the knowledge that he was destined to be king. Forget the thousands burned by a dragon. Forget the countless innocents who could have been saved from his foresight. Self-servingly, Bran knew this would happen all along. That doesn’t feel right.

Daenerys deserved more

After a heated conversation with Tyrion—because he’s what passes for reason in this episode—a battered Jon Snow confronts aunty Daenerys about her roast of King’s Landing. One thing leads to another, and Jon hugs Dany, proclaiming her his queen before kissing her. Then he kills her.
It is so cold and out of character for a protagonist known as being stupidly loyal and honorable to side-step Dany’s advances for three episodes, only to slide his tongue down her throat as he stabs her. It took her Mad Queen transformation one episode to reach an extreme, and this kill had the same energy. It was the cheapest and quickest way to rid Thrones of a huge problem it wrote into existence, regardless of believability. The pained relationship between these two required an equal amount of time to undo. Dany was a complicated character who lost her family, home, son, dragons, and friends, over eight seasons’ worth of TV, only to go out in this way in an instant. Every throw-away character on this show was given a chance at redemption, but Daenerys wasn’t given the same shake.

Drogon can understand symbolism now?

What’s Drogon’s deal? In one episode, he can’t take on a fleet of ships led by a deranged pirate. In the very next one, he not only destroys those ships, but takes down King’s Landing, too. And now, when he finds his mother dead by Jon’s hands, he reacts by melting down the Iron Throne with unrelenting fire. It’s a little too on the nose.

Dragons were once thought to be unstoppable weapons, but in the show’s final season their abilities were inconsistent. An indestructible weapon would pose issues from a storytelling perspective, so the thought of a dragon being important enough to kill a certain god-tier character wouldn’t exactly work. But it’s hard not to wonder why Drogon didn’t turn his wrath toward Jon Snow, who just knifed his mother. Instead, the dragon turned the Iron Throne to lava, destroying a symbol that has caused plenty of destruction of its own. Satisfying? Yes. Cheesy? Very.

Brienne wasted her final moments

As Game of Thrones wrapped up its serving of Northern fromage, we spotted Brienne in the same golden armor Jaime wore. She's now the head of Bran's Kingsguard, and as a duty, it's her responsibility to fill out " The White Book," which records the actions of every member that served. In the last few minutes of the episode, Brienne doesn't note herself as being the first woman to be knighted in the history of Westeros. She doesn't even start her own page. What she does instead is update Jaime's page—the same Jaime who bailed on her—by painting him as a hero and stubborn romantic. 

It's bad enough that her arc this season teased at a woman who seemed fiercely independent, only to reduce her into a woman heartbroken by an a twincest lover. But to make her last thoughtful moments defined by that same man is the worst possible ending for the purest character on this show. 

Arya Columbus

Arya is on her Christopher Columbus ship now. For those with a long memory, back in season six, she asked a Lady Crane about the west of Westeros, to which Lady Crane referred to it as the edge of the world. Arya later smiled and said that she'd like to see that. 
Arya's arc is one of the more forgiving, despite the fact that it took a single conversation with The Hound for her to abandon years of assassination training. She's always been the Stark who refused to settle down, and it's within reason to imagine that she'd end things on a boat to god knows where. But even still, she didn't wear a single face during this entire season which makes a good portion of her arc feel like filler.

This ‘Game of Thrones’ Theory Suggests a HUGE Lannister Plot Twist

From Marie Claire

  • Following last week’s episode, “The Bells”, Game of Thrones fans are speculating as to whether Jaime an
  • d Cersei Lannister really did die, or whether they could still be alive.
  • The brother and sister were finally reunited, but were seemingly crushed by falling rubble as King’s Landing was brought down by Daenerys.
  • With one episode to go, theories suggest that Jaime may have sacrificed himself to protect his sister-or that Jaime could still be alive to complete his character arc and redemption.

This is it, you guys. We’re on the home stretch to the Game of Thrones finale, and I’m already having palpitations. The stress is mainly a result of the endless online theories, which are getting more dramatic and desperate by the day. Whether it’s the dragons representing some kind of secret code, clues about Arya and her destiny, or even the possibility that George R. R. Martin has already revealed the ending… Yeah, it’s a lot right now.

But one potential theory that fans seem to really be getting on board with revolves around Team Incest, Jaime and Cersei Lannister. Last week’s episode saw the two tragically reunited amidst the fiery chaos, before being buried under the rubble of King’s Landing. Somewhere, Brienne was cackling.

Photo credit: HBO

The drama of the moment entirely implied that the Lannisters had perished together, both dying under their crumbling childhood home as Daenerys brought it to the ground. Plus, there was the fact that the gross Euron had managed to inflict a fair few stab wounds onto Jaime earlier in the episode, so the odds weren’t exactly in his favor.

Online reaction seemed to suggest that GoT fans were somewhat disappointed by the underwhelming demise of two of the show’s biggest villains. People wanted a bigger comeuppance for the pair. So maybe it’s sheer desperation that people are now theorizing that one or both of them could still be alive-or maybe it really is a legit possibility.

There’s definitely some evidence to make the argument. Firstly, the wider cast haven’t acknowledged actors Nikolaj Coster-Waldau or Lena Hadley in the same way that they have others who we’ve seen clearly die on screen. Similarly, the actors themselves have yet to say goodbye to their onscreen counterparts in the heartfelt way that others like Alfie Allen and Nathalie Emmanuel have.

Secondly, Entertainment Weekly, which has been sharing a steady stream of interviews with departed Game of Thrones actors following their characters’ deaths, are yet to share their chat with Coster-Waldau. Reporter James Hibberd mysteriously tweeted that he was “holding that one for a bit…”

With that in mind, fans are also in disagreement as to whether one or the other, or both Lannisters could still be alive. Some say that Jaime may have sacrificed himself in order to protect Cersei, knowing that his stab wounds would bring his demise anyway. Could he have protected her with his body considering he knew he was going to die from the stabbing? Could Cersei be the one that isn’t dead? And now she has to live on, knowing that everyone and everything she ever loved is gone?

Or could it be Jaime who is still be alive while Cersei is gone? It would be punishment for him to be left with a body that doesn’t allow him to fight anymore, and to be left at the mercy of whoever finds him in the ruins of King’s Landing. REST OF STORY HERE