Where do I begin? I have purposely sat the last few episodes out as far as a blog response, because well, I just don’t know what to say….
It will be impossible to reflect on each episode and major character without turning this into a novel, so instead I will leave you with some of my soul-searching, birds-eye viewing observations.
Dany. I will admit, she has never been my favorite character because probably like Sansa, I can see a tyrant a mile away. Let’s be honest, she was always going to go down this road. Always. Besides being written into her genetic code, she has always been a girl on fire, but not in an Alicia Keys sort of way.
S8E5: Having said that, I feel like they did a brave injustice to her character this last season in HOW FAST they went about the last spiral to her insanity.
Remember that. Remember who you are, what you were made to be. Remember your words. “Fire and Blood”, Dany told the swaying grass.
Dany’s life has been a tormented one, much of it self-inflicted. She has spent the greater part of it justifying how much she is not her father, and that right there is our greatest key to her inner conflict. Any time you have to talk yourself out of who and what you don’t want to be, you are ignoring that fact that you already ‘are’ exactly what you are denying.
And here-in lies the genius of GRRM.
Once, Dany agonized over the casualties of her conquering, only to later reconcile her inner demons and accept that there would be “collateral damage” to her freeing of the down-trodden, under-privileged and those in chains. The beauty is that initially, Dany’s purpose seemed clear, and the casualties a necessary consequence to her seemingly philanthropic mission. But in time, we saw her change. Sure, she wasn’t “evil” in a one-dimensional way, instead we saw her embrace and love those that embraced and loved her. We saw her use violence that seemed “fair” and along the way, she continued her liberation of the mistreated all the time declaring that she wanted to be a “fair and better ruler, a better queen”. But…..
“You were not made to sit on a throne. You are a conqueror Daeanarys Stormborn.” Daario to Dany. Daario understood Dany. He may have been the only person who actually did. He saw her blood-lust. He saw her for the dragon she was.
By embracing her “fire and blood, dragon-riding” self, she quite literally unleashed her own chains, and that of her dragons back in Meereen, and quite literally hasn’t looked back.
Which brings us to Dany’s story arc. Initially, GRRM gave Danys character what seemed a ‘morally just’ reason to use her violent tendencies. She was freeing the down-trodden. She was “breaking the wheel”. All seemingly noble. But all along he meant to use her as an example. We watched as he took a beautiful, young girl who seemed full of righteous ideas, only to turn her into a tyrant, hell bent on “taking back” what she views as “hers”. Entitlement. And many of us cheered her on, a tyrant in a dress with beautiful flowing silver hair.
S8E5 was difficult to watch, though expected (somewhat). Dany was always meant to descend into her madness. The point being that along the way she had power. She was loved. She was adored. She had peace.
She chose violence.
She chose fear.
Now Jon. He is one of my favorite characters in this story. If we are honest, it seems as though much of the show was written around his character. We watched as he went from an insecure adolescent hated by the women that thought he the result of a very “ennoble” act, from his very noble “father”, to a man that has united the entire continent of Westeros (whats left of it anyway) , a nod to his predecessor Aegon I Targaryen.
Sure, he hasn’t been perfect. GRRM again playing this brilliantly. We have watched Jon make mistakes, and bumble and stumble along but always with the right intention, a clear head and decisive in his plan. Proud to the point of near casualty, but somehow always coming through it, and bringing others through it with him.
Season 5 saw his death and quite literally, it seemed the world waited with bated breath, ‘is he really dead or can our girl Mel bring him back?’. Season 6 saw his resurrection, and his reunion with Sansa, together taking back Winterfell. Again a bumbling, stumbling, proud Jon hell-bent on just “getting it done”. The beauty in this season being the character arcs of Jon and Sansa. Their banter, the arguments, the laughing (something rare to see with either of them) and the growth, all the while watching he and Sansa find a reason, and a bond that would give them both a new purpose.
Season 7, I was on the fence with it because as much as I liked some things, I hated the rushed feel of it. Dany and Jon, that was far too fast and just so weird. Even when Jon was with Ygritte, he never lost “himself”. He was still Jon, obstinate, proud and defiant.
Season 8, he has been largely non-existent and it just feels…so sad. Whether you like him, love him or not, it is so dis-satisfying to see him reduced to what seems like two lines:
“You are my queen.” and “I don’t want it (the throne…well, and Dany, I guess).”
S8E3. I understand that everyone needs to get a chance to make a great kill. I’m fine with Arya delivering the killing blow to tNK. However, Jon didn’t get a chance to spar with tNK…even a little (dragon fight aside)?
Possible SPOILER the next two paragraphs…
S8E6. I am sure this will be in some way fulfilling the Azor Ahai prophecy (Jon killing Dany, his Nissa Nissa which again, just feels too rushed and weird) and bringing in the new Dawn. If the theories out there play out this way, it will be very disheartening to see him abdicate the throne, only to wander aimlessly up north, a broken man of sorts.
I feel the message here is one that is contradictory. Jon has always done what is hard, but is right. He has reluctantly ruled since he left Winterfell. Now he will walk away from the one thing he has been destined to do, which was to rule the 7 Kingdoms because, he’s tired? and Broken? Because he doesn’t want it? Aragorn didn’t either….yet he did.
GRRM has said that the show will end similarly to his book but I am hoping not on this one point.
That is not bittersweet.
It’s not even just bitter.
Its sad, depressing and completely unfulfilling.
My favorite scenes so far this season:
I loved this scene but hated one thing Jamie made reference to in this scene, and that was that he had “no love for the people of Kings Landing” (the very people he protected so long ago when he killed the Mad Kind).
His character arc was tremendous! I LOVE that at one point I hated Jamie, only to grow to love him (that is writing genius), BUT then to end his character in such a way that I was simply…confused? I can’t even say there was an overall message to it?
I understand leaving Brienne for Cersei. I expected that. I also thought he perhaps left in such a way as to ensure Brienne would not follow, to protect her, one last noble act. If that’s how it was meant, loved it! But then to demoralize ALL of his character growth by stating “he is just as bad and hateful as Cersei”….was fruitless. He isn’t. He may think so but at his core, he was good. He just loved someone who really never deserved his love and loyalty.
And I am going to say it. RIP Cersei and Jamie. I have always had a very mixed feeling of Cersei (and Jamie but less so) as I believe that there was good in her, she just became so consumed with her own desperation that she lost her way. A gray character for sure.
KUDOS to both for 8 years of amazing acting but holy cow Lena Headey, to have people cheering Cersei’s death (I wasn’t though I swear, please do NOT send the Mountain after me), that is some amazing acting!
And I will disagree with most and say that I thought their death together was poetic, and “bad” enough. To know that death is imminent while waiting for an entire castle to collapse on you had to be horrible to wait for….all the while Jamie comforting Cersei to their end…..was gut wrenching and soulful to watch.
These might be SPOILERS so turn back now!
Season 8 Episode 6
IF IF IF the “leaks” are true….
Jon kills Dany. That we expected (although as I said above, I didn’t like how they spun Dany’s character so quickly out of control).
Jon exits, stage north. Jon abdicates the throne and roams north, alone presumably looking for Tormund and Ghost. That is unexpected. And I don’t like it….
SO then WhoTH is on the throne?
Bran is on the throne.
Yes, you did read that right. I am torn just writing it. I like Bran, don’t get me wrong except holy cow, it feels SO SO out of left field, a bit unfulfilling and completely, well….not exactly sweet.
Sansa is the Lady of Winterfell. This I absolutely LOVE! My only wish would be Jon was at her side. I don’t think she would mind…..
Arya. I am unsure, it seems everyone is unsure….she maybe heads west? If that happens, I guess I am going to be a little disappointed as well.
I get it. The “beauty” in Jon and Arya is that they have always been “wanderers” but then again, I don’t get it. I just feel like that ends so sadly….
And Tyrion. I am unsure. 50/50 if he lives or dies….
I am thinking that he does live. I am thinking Jon takes out Dany before Dany can kill Tyrion for letting Jamie free. If that happens then IDK, either he or Davos as Bran’s (still doesn’t feel right) Hand.
The (leftover) Gang!
Davos, Sam and possibly Bronn are on the Kings Council (that’s BRAN King Council).
Brienne not sure at all….but is she stays a knight then probably in the north with Sansa or a Kingsguard for Bran (I keep writing this about Bran but I am still in a huge disbelief if the leaks are true).
Gendry...is hanging at Storm’s End alone, once again a Baratheon rejected by a Stark?
I REALLY REALLY hope that the LEAK is wrong and we are more pleasantly surprised than the above but….we will soon see for ourselves I guess. Just 5 more days…
and that’s (almost) a GoT WRAP
So, season 8 has definitely come under fire with some huge criticism! In truth, the last two years have felt a little too rushed. I guess looking back, if the goal was for 8 years then possibly an entire season of the Sand Snakes was really a waste?
To wrap up so many stories, so many arcs, and so many plots in just 8 hours was a bit overzealous (even for the GoT crew apparently, as I will never look at a Starbucks cup the same again), leaving us, the viewers with a bit of whiplash. The plot holes are a bit….obvious. The dumbing-down of some of the characters (JON!), is well, out of character for Game of Thrones but it has been this seasons nemesis. And the tin-foil hats needed to be donned more than once for some theatrical missteps (RIP Rhaegal, ships behind rocks, and ballista’s with heat-missile accuracy).
Game of Thrones had always been able to shed a sort of reality on the idea of power and greed, and the way it can consume people and deteriorate relationships in such a way that it had us tuning in each week for 10 weeks every year, hungry for more carnage. You throw in a couple of dragons and an evil over-lord with some kick-ass music, and we were hooked for seasons 1-6, even most of 7.
However, S8 has been a little less magical, with E’s 3 and 5 both meant to be penultimate episodes of the season and each leaving us a bit underwhelmed, with more questions than answers. It seemed there was too little time to complete story lines, explain feelings and bring closure to some of our beloved characters.
Watching some of the season 8 wrap videos, I understand that D&D and their crew feel that they brought their best forward this last season but possibly, without the material from GRRM, it wasn’t possible to truly bring this home like the EPIC series that it had been with George’s content.
With all of that being said, the acting throughout has been phenomenal! It has been a pleasure to see the evil Cersei unfold plot after evil plot, only to be outdone by her evil son Joffrey and their evil ally Ramsey. Jamies bad guy>good guy>…..well, we will stop there….his acting ever great, only to be outdone by his little brother Tyrion! Jon, Sansa and Arya bringing it home for the WOLVES year after year! Varys, ever the Spider. Littlefinger. the Hound. Ned (I am still not over the ‘chopping off of the head’ bit)….
All of it….💖
For 8 years, our living room has tuned into a magical world of kings, queens, wars, dragons, dead-undead, Giants, ICE creatures and Night Kings mixed in with a whole lot of villains, heroines and heroes who remind us that at the end of the day, all that really matters is….yep, you guessed it. Family.
All things considered, Game of Thrones was a splendid way to spend several Sunday evenings (and a few hundred hours combing through theories, plots, books and charts connecting all the dots to find the answer to the end….ONLY to be WRONG….
which is why GRRM is probably the artist/author and I am…not) over the course of several years. Thank you!