The show that many have called the last collective pop cultural experience finished its series finale in a way that will satisfy many of its millions of fans around the world, as much as it will infuriate millions of others. To paraphrase Tyrion Lannister, now that Game of Thrones is over, fans are now just left with each other to deal with. Perhaps it’s appropriate that the show that brought us all together at scale now leaves us in a fractured state of divisive opinion and rage, exactly where we already are on so many other IRL issues.
The sniping began before the show was over. Of course it would. The steady drumbeat of discontent has built over the last two seasons, with many fans questioning the rush to race through the final episodes. But one look at the petition to have this season rewritten (now at more than a million signatures) illustrates the magnitude of how seriously fans have taken this show, and the levels of self-importance some have in its telling.
Personally, I think my favorite scenes were Tyrion and Jon’s chat in the former’s makeshift cell, the final small council meeting with its mix of bureaucracy and banter among much-loved characters, and then the fact Ghost finally got a damn pat on the head.
But here are the three scenes (again, SPOILERS AHEAD) and outcomes most people will be arguing about today and maybe forever, gods (old and new) help us all.
Daenerys’s death scene
— cristina (@typicalpizza) May 20, 2019
So after Jon talks to Tyrion, his choice is crystal clear. There will be arguments over why Drogon didn’t just barbeque Jon then and there, or that it wasn’t grandiose enough for a character of her stature. It was dramatic, emotional, and ultimately an outcome many expected, and the show managed to pull it off without making it too over the top. That said, the melted thrones was a nice, if a wee bit on the nose, touch.
The Electoral College
Okay, so we have a gathering in the Dragon Pits, and very quickly becomes obvious that this is the new ruling class of Westeros. You’ve got Sansa and Arya Stark, Yara Greyjoy, Edmund Tully, Robin Arryn and his trusty guard Lord Royce, Brienne of Tarth, Samwell Tarly, a Prince guy from Dorne, and a few other crusty lookin’ dudes we’ve never seen before but who clearly made good choices to ride out both the Battle of Winterfell and the burning of King’s Landing, and still end up at Survivor: Westeros‘s tribal council.
Here is where Tyrion Lannister dipped into his CMO pitch meeting talking points and started extolling the value of storytelling in rebuilding the brand ruling Westeros. Why not? Right about then, the brand value of the throne formerly known as Iron is at an all-time low.
There was a fun bait-and-switch moment when Sam lightly suggested adopting democracy, which got the biggest laughs from the gathered lords. Tully got about five seconds into his stump speech before Sansa shut that down. Then they went and elected a socially awkward warg to be king. Discuss!
The Night’s Watch
After all of that, Jon ends up back at the Night’s Watch, guarding the realms of men from . . . hmm, what? I was half expecting a glimpse of some icy-eyed baby, to show us all that winter may come yet again. Instead, we got something a bit more low-key, if more satisfying. First of all, Jon’s reunited with his pal Tormund, as well as his trusty (and underappreciated, and definitely underutilized) direwolf Ghost. Count me among the fans calling foul on Jon not even petting his canine companion goodbye when he left Winterfell in episode four. It was in that same scene Tormund hinted at Jon’s return north, to the real north.
And that’s where we ended.
The new leaders of Westeros have built a new wheel, but Jon, the story’s central figure, looks to be headed north among the freefolk to roll on one of his own.
Happy, sad, angry, content–the fan reactions have already run the gamut. In the end, perhaps the ultimate judgment of this Game of Thrones finale can be summed up by another Tyrion Lannister quote: “No one is very happy, which means it’s a good compromise.”