Game of Thrones finally ended and people have thoughts. Obviously, there was some criticism. Well, change that to a lot of criticism since there’s actually a petition going on to remake the Game of Thrones season 8. And look, I understand the sentiments of everyone disappointed in that fast-paced season where not every character in the Game of Thrones universe got the character arc they deserved (Jaime Lannister, Tyrion Lannister, Jon Snow, Daenerys Targaryen, Missandei, Grey Worm and his army of the Unsullied – to name a few). But, hear me out. The show could not have ended any other way after the direction it took.
The Pack Survived | You Go House Stark!
The Game of Thrones has revolved around two main houses: the Starks and the Lannisters. Of course we witnessed some other great houses and their representatives on the screen such as House Mormont, House Tarly, House Tyrell and House Baratheon. But the main players were always the Starks and the Lannisters. After seeing the House of the North undergo the most suffering throughout the whole 8 seasons, their victory was worth it.
Ned Stark, the noblest and purest leader in Westeros at the time, was beheaded by Cersei and her cruel son Joffrey Lannister. Catelyn Stark, Rob Stark, and his pregnant wife were ruthlessly massacred in the famous Red Wedding. Sansa Stark had to endure the wrath of Joffrey and Cersei in King’s Landing, only to be met by an even crueler fate with the hands of Ramsay Bolton. Arya Stark traveled all of Westeros alone and trained in extreme circumstances to be the faceless assassin. Bran had to live a life of a cripple right after Jaime threw him out of that tower in season 1. Rickon died a death that was solely made for shock value in the Battle of Bastards.
Now, Bran is the King of the six kingdoms and protector of the realm after becoming the Three-Eyed Raven – a Game of Thrones version of a robotic Wikipedia and GPS personified. Sansa Stark outlived all her abusers and reclaimed the North for the House of Stark, and she’s become the Queen of the North. This was also satisfying for many who are complaining about lack of female leadership on Game of Thrones. Arya Stark sets sail to explore what’s west of Westeros. Considering that Arya is one of the best warriors Westeros has ever seen, this is an arc that makes sense.
Tyrion | Once a Hand Always the Hand
Over the course of the seasons, we witnessed Tyrion’s soul being damaged and crushed after enduring more and more pain. His one true love was sleeping with his father who never accepted him as his son; leading him to murder both of them. Ultimately, Tyrion had to see the one queen who he believed could make the world a better place to transform into something much cruel. In the process, he saw his only remaining family members die. You can feel that he has pain for the death of both Jaime and Cersei in that brilliant scene done by Peter Dinklage. The point is, Tyrion has been through a lot, and his wisdom isn’t exactly what we thought it would be.
In a way, that isn’t too crazy to see. Every move Tyrion makes isn’t working out in his favor, but in the end, he’s the one who nominates Bran the Broken and suggests democracy to be introduced. And no one argues with him at that point because they all trust his judgment. Despite the mistakes he’s made, Tyrion is still the best option for the Hand of the King. And we were all hoping he would be, ever since we fell in love with his wit and charm in the pilot episode. Him being the counsel to the new king of the six kingdoms isn’t a bad option.
Bran Stark | The Least Political Politician Westeros Needs
People are complaining that Bran Stark didn’t deserve that position because he didn’t do anything. They will also point out that he knew everything that would happen because he’s the Three Eyed Raven and didn’t do anything to stop it. Well, I somewhat agree to that because the writers and the show runners didn’t explain much of who and what Three Eyed Raven is and how it actually helped with the plot point. Other than being the bait for the Night King, Bran doesn’t do much. Him revealing Jon Snow was Aegon Targaryen didn’t mean anything at all either. These inconsistencies could have been avoided due to better writing, I agree.
Yet Bran the Broken is the best option because he’s the least risky. He doesn’t lust after power, something that previous rulers of Westeros have always done that has led to cruel times for the land. Nor is Bran capable of any emotion that would ultimately be the reason for destruction and downfall for Westeros. Even if we don’t know anything about him, we are aware that he relies on logic to make judgments and decisions. Since, he doesn’t crave power, fame or money, he won’t make any selfish decisions that would harm the people of Westeros. He’s the least political and the most passive. He may not have earned the Iron Throne, but is he really that bad of an option?
With him as the king, there was also a new existence of democracy in Westeros. Something that the Lords laughed to but eventually accepted. It’s not a perfect democracy; only the powerful Lords and Ladies have a say in it, not the general public. But it’s better than the old system of having to deal with the sons of kings. Plus, it hopefully will give the opportunity to women being leaders of the Six Kingdoms eventually. Maybe George R.R. Martin will show this in the book better.
The Counsel of Peace and Witty Bantering
The counsel consisting of Ser Brienne of Tarth, Ser Davos Seaworth, Bronn, Samwell Tarly and the Hand of the King Tyrion Lannister may not have made much sense but you have got to admit, it’s not that bad of a counsel. All these people are pretty much harmless and were there to witness some of the most important events in Westerosi history. They’re all pacifists and have the best interests of the kingdom at heart.
Plus, they make a great team for some harmless bantering. After all the drama that ensued, however unsatisfied you were with the endings, you have got to admit that this light-hearted scene where they discuss matters of the state was entertaining to watch. Everything is back to normal, even a better normal some might argue.
Jon Snow | Knew Nothing and Wanted Nothing
Jon Snow or Aegon Targaryen probably suffered the most in all of the seasons by being sent to the Night’s Watch. But he successfully managed to resolve conflict with the wildlings and the Northern Men. He was also the main reason everyone united to fight the Night King in the Game of Thrones season 8. Not to mention, he had to see his first love, Ygritte, die a horrible death. Plus, he had to be the one to assassinate his second love Daenerys Targaryen, after all, there was no other choice left.
The showrunners didn’t give him the opportunity to kill the Night King, something that the audience may have wanted to see. But Jon Snow was the embodiment of the just and noble man in all of the Seven Kingdoms. He was good to a fault; always standing up to what needed to be done and what he knew was right. So much so that he killed his love Daenerys Targaryen even when he desperately wished she would change.
But Jon Snow has always been the man who knew nothing. He was also the man who wanted nothing; making him an ideal leader for the Northern Men who knew of his good qualities. His good nature alone united everyone in the North, including the Wildling army. He was made the leader of the Night’s Watch and then the King of the North. Even Varys and Tyrion wanted him to take the Iron Throne. But he wanted none of those things.
The fans wanted Aegon Targaryen to reclaim the Throne and be the just leader, who’s better than Bran the Broken. After all, Jon Snow was the one who played crucial roles in both Battle of the Bastard and the Battle of Winterfell. But, if it weren’t for Sansa helping him in the Battle of Bastard with her army of the Vale, and Daenerys Targaryen helping him in the fight against the dead, he wouldn’t have been victorious. Apart from him being the true heir due to the misogynistic norms, he wasn’t that perfect of a contender. Not to say he deserved all that pain, of course, none of these fictional characters did.
Daenerys Targaryen | Best Villain of 2019
Even Emilia Clarke herself had a pretty hard time accepting everything that Daenerys Targaryen had to become. She has stated that she walked for five hours after reading the script that made her cry in order to process what had just happened to Daenerys.
Here, I completely agree with the critics of the show who didn’t like how Dany’s character arc was written by David Benioff and David B. Weiss. The writing was definitely rushed and didn’t do justice to the person Khaleesi had become. Still, she was the best villain of the year.
What makes a good villain? Someone who justifies all the actions that they are doing by their own ideologies. The best villains are actually the most complicated ones; the ones who think they are trying to help the world by their actions. And nothing could convince them otherwise. We see that with Dany, not even the only person she truly loved could stop her.
All her life she was taught the one true goal was to reclaim the Iron Throne, something that was taken from her family. She didn’t ask for this life either, but she somehow used it and became a liberator for the people. Daenerys Targaryen endeavored to be the leader she thought the people needed. In that fifth episode where she wreaks fiery havoc on all of King’s Landing, she was ultimately trying to strengthen her hold of the Iron Throne. She was looking at the bigger picture; where she would break the wheel and put forth a new world for everyone where there’s no need for war anymore. In her mind, she was doing it all for the greater good. Compare that to the power hungry and evil Cersei that had no intentions of making the world a better place. And the Night King who, as far as we know, just wanted to kill everyone for no reason.
Yes, the show could have had better writing, but it wasn’t that bad that you refuse to appreciate the ending.