Of all the reviews I have written, this has got to be the most difficult. Perhaps this is why it has taken me two days to get here to write it.
After dedicating eight years to watching the show and investing emotionally in almost every character, the stakes were high for the season eight finale. Ultimately, the writers had an impossible task. There was no way to satisfy an audience who were all rooting for different things, but that didn’t mean they needed to give up on the series entirely.
The plot of the final episode itself was fine. We fully expected Daenerys to be killed and it seemed fitting that Jon would be the man to do it. We also knew that Arya would leave Winterfell and hoped that Sansa would become Queen of the North. Brandon Stark was low down on our list of choices for the Iron Throne, but after King’s Landing was burned down, it didn’t even seem that important.
What bothers me about the final episode is the fact that it seemed rushed. One-minute Tyrion is being held prisoner and five minutes later he is standing in a circle with the remaining lords and ladies, including Yara Greyjoy, who hadn’t made an appearance since the first episode of the season. Are there even ravens left to send the message out? The only indicator that time had passed was the growth of Jon and Tyrion’s beards. It genuinely felt like half an hour of showtime had been cut out.
What also bothered me was that the Dothraki and the Unsullied did not seem fussed that they had lost their Khaleesi. We would have expected them to tear down the remains of King’s Landing but even Grey Joy seems relatively calm about losing his queen. This is surprising for someone who raged so fiercely at the death of his beloved Missandei.
There were some touching moments in the episode and some things wrapped up nicely. Brienne coming to terms with Jamie abandoning her and recording his sacrifice was one of them and being named Hand of the King was a good ending for Tyrion. The Starks also finally got what they deserved, with Arya, Sansa, and Jon ending up where they had to be from episode one of the first season. The montage of each taking on their new positions with a slowed down version of the theme was emotional, but not as much as we expected.
I suppose really then it is our own faults for expecting too much. The writers had an impossible task of concluding each character’s story in just six episodes. Still, I can’t help but feel cheated that after watching each seed be planted, the characters stalks were cut short before they could fully blossom. As fans, we gave our hearts to the series and it feels like we deserved more.
That said, it doesn’t seem fair to demand the season be rewritten as many are petitioning. A lot of effort clearly went into the season and I still contend that episode three is one of the best pieces of television this decade, if not ever. It’s just hard not to feel a little disappointed when we were denied so much of what we wanted.
On the bright side, George R. R. Martin will likely make an awful lot of money from book sales next year as fans jump at the opportunity for an alternative ending.
Entertainment For Us Winter Rating: Winter has come, gone and left us bitter.