Game of Thrones finale: when we get to where we’re going, and don’t know where to go next
Remember, this recap is written on the assumption you've watched all the episode up until this point. If not, for the love of Davos go do so, and then come back. It's cool, we'll wait.
Game of Thrones was not done with us after the Red Wedding, and the establishing shot of the Stark army being wiped out, and then Robb being shown to the crowd with his head replaced by that of his direwolf, finished the job that began last week. The Starks are gone, their power a memory. Arya finally gets to see another member of her family, but her last memory of her brother will be his desecrated corpse. Last episode was brutal, but this is just rubbing salt in the wound.
So, you know, pleasant stuff.
Tyrion and Sansa continue to have an uneasy relationship, and it was almost harder to watch them joke with each other in Shae’s presence. This show is delightful when characters pair up in unexpected ways and just let it rip, and Tyrion and Sansa's discussions of oddly innocent forms of revenge was wonderful. Also: that’s the funniest the word “shift” has ever been in a dramatic scene.
Those moments come with their own sadness, however. Sansa still hopes for some form of happiness, and she’s trying to make the best of her situation, but still… she’s crying and staring out of windows. That’s not a good sign. Varys seems to think that Tyrion can actually be a force for good in Westeros, and his plea for Shae to take a bag of diamonds and leave seems sincere, but when has any character in pop culture taken such a deal? She's standing by her man, at least until Tyrion himself sends her away. There is no way this is going to end well for anyone involved.
A step too far
Joffrey has always been an insufferable little shit, but at least he’s beginning to realize the ornamental nature of his power. He still seeks to torture Sansa, and wants to serve her Robb’s head. This was his idea of good fun, until Tyrion openly threatened him, and Joffrey’s decision to take down to Tywin also led to an icy, uncomfortable moment. Kings die when they outlive their usefulness, and Joffrey has never had the love of his people, or those around him. He’s too simple, and too sadistic, to fully grasp the tenuous nature of his situation. The moment where everyone in the room turns to see Tywin's reaction to being insulted is the sort of dark humor the show does so well.
In fact, this entire sequence of convesations between the family was amazing. For all of Tyrion’s bluster and charm, Tywin still has the ability to make him feel like a scared little boy. Their extended conversation was heartbreaking in its brutality.
We also found out that it’s Roose Bolton’s son who is torturing Theon, and it seems like this was just a fun thing he decided to do while making sure to send a message to Balon. Sending someone their son’s severed penis is certainly one way to make a point, but Balon took a very different meaning; now that Theon can’t give him any Greyjoy heirs, he’s useless. His sister, on the other hand, decides to go rescue him. That should be an interesting battle for the next season.
Also: Grossest eating of a pork sausage ever.
For now, let's get back to Arya. She has always been one of my favorite characters, and her joining the Hound is yet another one of those inspired pairings of characters, but watching her kill a man for mocking her mother’s death… yikes.
It’s an interesting scene; she would have died without the Hound jumping in to finish the rest of the men off. It turns out she had taken the knife from him, and his response wasn’t that she shouldn’t kill people out of spite, but to at least warn him before she’s going to do it. He asks her if this is the first man she’s killed, and she says yes, and that’s not exactly a lie, but it’s not the truth he thinks it is. Arya is turning into a killer, and Maisie Williams fills the scene with a sort of whimsical menace that’s disquieting.
This was an awkward hour of television, although an ass-ton of things happened, to the point where it’s hard to remember all of it. Jaimie is reunited with Cersei, and the moment, while powerful, doesn’t really go anywhere. Davos helps Gendry escape, although it’s unclear if Gendry is going to be able to survive on that rickety-ass boat. Danaerys once again frees a bunch of slaves, and the final shot sees her as a kind of Messiah figure, and that’s an image that’s already been beaten into our brains.
We get it. She gives people freedom. It’s still an interesting story arc, but let’s hope she’s brought into the main fold soon, because I’m not sure how long they can milk this “give people freedom, extend your army” cycle she’s been repeating.
I’m going to end this recap by talking about Jon Snow for a bit, because I’m ultra-annoyed at the way his character ended out the season. Yes, we know he’s still a Crow, but he broke his oath when he made love to Ygritte, and his argument for why he had to run from her was weak. He was “going home,” but he also loved her, and holy shit he just wanted everyone to be cool with him dabbling in one world while having the freedom to escape into the other one, while also breaking Ygritte’s heart. I was ecstatic when she actually shot him and, while it’s likely he survived, he’s just turned into a wet paper towel of a character. I’m more than happy that he was punished for being such a whiny little asshole about everything.
So that’s that! I had a great time sharing this season of Game of Thrones with you, and I’m going to admit that I have no idea what’s going to happen in the next season. Brann is going beyond the wall, Sam has a kid named after him, the Onion Knight is a badass, Arya is getting scary, and we know the situation with the White Walkers hasn’t been solved. I’m not sure how the story is going to play out, but we can be sure of one thing: Winter is coming.
Remember, I have not read the books, so please keep the spoilery discussions away from direct spoilers based on the books. On the other hand, I'm not going to police the comments so read at your own risk. See you next season!