What The ‘Game Of Thrones’ Finale Got Right

Features Editor
05.20.19

HBO

As I wrote last week, the final season of Game Of Thrones morphed from “a celebration and the return of an unrivaled pop culture unifier” to a “loveless marriage yearning to be put out of its misery.” That landscape was never going to allow for a switchback to mass positivity and acceptance of the choices made during the series finale no matter what David Benioff and D.B. Weiss did. But while I also count myself among the masses of people who had problems with the finale, I’m going to take a cue from words spoken by AJ Soprano at the end of another much maligned HBO series finale (which has won people over upon reflection) and “focus on the good times.” Not just from the series (though that’s also important), but from the finale. Because while some (or many) things may have seemed rushed or as though they came out of nowhere, there were clear standout moments. And we’re going to highlight those here.

Visual Symbolism

HBO

Were this any other episode, I might have rolled my eyes at the sight of Dany walking in front of Drogon’s spread wings to create the brief illusion that she had gone full dragon after burning the city. The same can be said of the moment where Tyrion passes by the cracked and fallen bell that had been at the heart of his obliterated effort to have a bloodless (and fireless) transfer of power. But in a series finale, especially one that didn’t allow for much in the way of exposition, the use of obvious symbolism feels right.

Tyrion’s Walk Of Remembrance And Sad Discovery

HBO

The action was so fiery, intense, and shocking last week that viewers weren’t fully afforded the chance to mourn the near full destruction of King’s Landing, a setting for much of the show’s most important moments and, really, a character unto itself. Tyrion’s slow walk through the rubble gave him and us a chance to have those feels as he visited the decimated Red Keep. But, of course, nothing compares to his discovery of Jaime and Cersei under a pile of bricks.

I’m still conflicted over Cersei’s death and the execution of it. By the weight of some of the choices made for the character in later years, Jaime had earned the right to be mourned in the way that his tragic end demands. But the same can’t be said for Cersei, whose cruelty was on display right up to the end as she executed Missandei. She probably deserved death by Dragon breath, but the emotional impact of seeing Jaime and Cersei’s bodies together in death is poetic. It’s also just a really beautiful shot and a scene that adds to Tyrion’s sense of loss and failure. It also sparked his brave moment of confrontation with Dany.

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