Previously on recapping Game of Thrones… I mean, it was certainly an episode of Game of Thrones. That’s about the only non-controversial thing that can be said about what was either a masterpiece or the biggest crock of shit ever aired on television. This week, Sansa Snark presents…
Season 8, Episode 6: The Iron Throne
Only ~3000 more words to go before we can close the book on Game of Thrones forever. Who is sitting on the Iron Throne? What was the deal with that horse from last week? Was the true “Game of Thrones” the friends we made along the way? Let’s not waste anymore time!
We pick things up not soon after the events of last week’s romp, and what do you know, everything is still destroyed. It’s a close-up on Tyrion’s face as he walks into the ruins of the city, followed by Jon and Davos. What appears to be ash is falling from the sky. Winter may already be here in a seasonal sense, but this feels more like a winter of the soul thing. All at once, the full weight of Tyrion’s choice to back Daenerys starts literally raining down upon him. Or maybe it’s snow and I’m searching for a deeper meaning where one doesn’t exist. Though, he does pass one of the city’s ill-fated bells, cracked and useless on the ground, so actually I might be a genius. Yeah, let’s go with that narrative.
Passing up Jon’s offer to have some men escort him, Tyrion heads off alone to The Red Keep, across the giant map floor and down the secret stairs to the underground, only to find his path blocked off by the same kind of pesky fallen rubble that doomed Jaime and Cersei. Fortunately for Tyrion though, this rubble isn’t piled to the top of the entry way, and he is somehow able to get through. Can’t say they’ve been setting up Tyrion being a skilled tunneler this season or in any season, but whatever, it’s the last episode, let’s just go with it. Tyrion is a skilled tunneler and makes it through, and after coming face-to-face with that giant dragon skull we’re reminded exists in every opening credits this season, looks for any sign of his siblings.
LO AND BEHOLD, what does he spot poking out from among the fallen rocks? Jaime’s gold hand. One last time, Jaime’s mostly useless, glowing fake hand gets him immediately recognized. Tyrion unburies his deceased siblings and has a moment. The metaphor of the falling ash-snow and the cracked bell from slightly earlier fully presents itself. This is the cost of what he has done. There was still hope for his brother and sister, to escape King’s Landing with their lives and the life of their unborn, fourth incest baby. But, the Queen he chose to follow literally crushed that hope beneath the fallout of her ambitions. Damn, this is getting way too deep off the top, where are all the fun jokes?
Shortly thereafter we see Arya walking through the city. HOLD UP. Walking? What the hell happened to that horse with a great mane-care regiment she found at the end of last episode? Was that not played off like a huge thing? Were we not supposed to take that encounter as some grand statement on there still being beauty and hope for life in this world, even amidst cataclysmic destruction? Did she maybe just leave her horse in the back? Bullshit. #JusticeForHunkyHorse.
But anyway, Arya strolls up just as Jon is strolling up to stand aside and let Daenerys stroll up to deliver her big fascist dictator speech. Speaking in Valyrian and forcing me to take even worse notes than usual because I have to read instead of listen, Daenerys lays out her just and humane plans for global peace. They are as follows: MORE MOMENTS LIKE THIS ONE WHERE I BURN ENTIRE CITIES TO THE GROUND! Towards that end, Dany names Grey Worm as her new Master of War. The Unsullied have now gone from slaves to liberators. Yes, by completely wrecking King’s Landing and committing various war crimes against the people, they have actually liberated the people. And now, from Winterfell to Dorne to a whole bunch of places I didn’t get the chance to write down — but may have included Qarth and The Summer Isles — they will liberate everyone and break THAT WHEEL. And the crowd goes wild!
This all greatly unsettles Jon standing up there by Dany, Arya down near the crowd, and Tyrion who has also decided to show up. He makes a slow and dramatic entrance and stands beside his Killer Queen, who takes one look and let’s him know that she knows he freed his brother and committed treason. Tyrion doesn’t try to deny it, he definitely freed his brother and committed treason. But, at least he didn’t slaughter an entire city. Dany may want to fire — in more ways than one — Tyrion in this very moment, but she can’t, because he quits. Framed as the very dramatic gesture it is, Tyrion removes his Hand of the Queen button and throws it down the stairs, stunning a previously hooting and hollering crowd into silence. My word, have you ever seen such disrespect? Certainly not, which is all the more reason for Dany to order Tyrion taken away. Dany and Jon stare at each other from across a green screen background, but neither of them has anything to say. Jon looks like he’s gonna hurl.
Soon after, Jon is handing over his sword to a guard so he can visit Tyrion in prison. They have a very deep and meaningful conversation about duty, love, and what we owe to each other. Unfortunately, he didn’t bring any wine, nor can he — a guy who has died once — comfort Tyrion with guarantees of a life after death. That’s a shame, because Tyrion really does seem keen on the idea of him and Varys reuniting as piles of ash, but alas, it’s oblivion that awaits. He regrets to inform himself and Jon that Varys was right, and that it was foolish to think he could guide Daenerys, someone with that hateful Targaryen blood in them. Jon, still trying to hold on to the unraveled threads of the “better world” Daenerys promised — a dream of spring, if you will — asserts that Daenerys is not her father, rationalizes that what she did was just in the heat of battle and that everything will be fine now that the war is over. Daenerys is no more The Mad King than Tyrion is Tywin.
Tyrion has to let some sense into the brain of Jon Snow, poor beautiful naïve baby that he is. Like dude, Tyrion’s father and sister may have been incredibly shitty, vindictive people, but even they didn’t murder as many people as Daenerys just did during one casual afternoon flight. She may say she wants to liberate people, but she’s liberating them to live under her rule. Plus, she’s already killed many who stood in her way to fulfill her destiny, what’s to stop her from continuing to do the same? Dany says she wants to break the wheel. In reality though, big wheel keep on turnin’, proud Dany keep on burnin’.
Tyrion knows that Jon loves Dany and that sometimes love can trump reason. After all, look at dead-because-of-love Jaime. Jon then pulls an old Maester Aemon chestnut out his back pocket in the form of, “Love is the death of duty.” While at first shocked that loveably dumb Jon was able to come up with something that deep, Tyrion counters that sometimes the reverse has to be true, duty being the death of love.
Throughout his life as a main character on the HBO Original Series Game of Thrones, Jon has always strived to do the right thing, to protect the people no matter the cost. This may put him in a bit of a pickle, but after everything that just happened, isn’t Dany now the greatest threat to the people? Can Jon honestly say that what happened in King’s Landing will be an anomaly? He needs to decide right now, does he choose love or duty?
So Jon goes to find Daenerys and accidentally stumbles across a sleeping Drogon, who seems to have overslept as the mound of snow covering him would indicate. The two come face-to-face, but Drogon is still so wiped after burning down an entire city, and lets Jon pass so he can keep napping. Upstairs, Dany is staring at the unoccupied Iron Throne, the symbol of her destiny, sitting resolute amongst the chaos and destruction. As snow pours into the room due to missing ceilings and walls, Dany touches the throne — her nails look great — and the music swells in a triumphant way. At least for a moment.
Lurking in the background, Jon walks in and the two have a very important conversation. Daenerys starts to tell of how she thought the throne would be much bigger based on what her idiot creep of a brother had told her, but Jon cuts her off like HAVE YOU ACTUALLY SEEN WHAT YOU’VE DONE, CHILDREN HAVE BEEN BURNED. She maintains that this would have never happened if Cersei hadn’t used their innocence as a weapon against her. Those children were practically firing large crossbows at her and Drogon with their youth and potential. Really, it’s sad that Cersei would do such a thing, but at least now that millions have been murdered, Dany can build a world that is merciful and good.
But, Jon wants to know, what does “good” mean? Isn’t “good” relative? You have your idea of what “good” is, but what about people who have their own ideas of what is “good?” THEY DON’T GET TO CHOOSE, JON. Haven’t you been listening to anything Dany has been saying? Society will be free and just, so long as it strictly adheres to Dany’s personal definition of freedom and justice that none may deviate from. It’s first grade stuff, Jon Snow! Daenerys wants to build this new world, together, with Jon. Break the wheel together, it’s DESTINY. Then, before laying a big ole kiss on her, Jon let’s Dany know that she is his Queen, now and always. And then he stabs her right in the heart. Might be reading mixed signals, but I think Jon realized his destiny may be a bit different from hers. No turning back from this decision.
Not shocking to see Daenerys go necessarily, but kind of shocking it happened so early — though the word count at this point would indicate otherwise — in the episode. She didn’t even get to actually sit on the Iron Throne! Jon is crying, obviously legitimately upset at what he’s had to do. Also obviously legitimately upset, Drogon, who senses like a good boy that something has happened to his mom and flies up. When he gets there he bends down to Dany and starts to sniff and nudge her to get her to move. Honestly, this is the most heartbreaking thing in the episode, maybe in the season. I wanted to grab my dog, hug him close, and sob into his fur a little bit, but he let me know from the other room that that bit died with Theon in “The Long Night.” Enraged, Drogon begins to spew fire, but not at Jon. No, his anger is directed at the Iron Throne itself, a symbol of hate that has only perpetuated misery. Truly, only the beast could realize that everything wrong in this world, all the pain and suffering, was a result of the existence of this stupid chair that’s honestly probably very uncomfortable to sit in. JUST AS I PREDICTED WOULD HAPPEN, the Iron Throne is melted down to nothing, and Drogon scoops up his dead mother and flies off. The void left by the throne’s absence looms.
Cut to: Tyrion lying down in his cell. Where could we possibly go from here??? Grey Worm takes Tyrion out in chains, leading him to the Dragonpit where all of our friends are hanging out. Sansa, Arya, Bran, Brienne, Davos, Sam, Yara, Gendry. Even some lesser heralded jamokes like Edmure Tully, the new prince of Dorne — let’s call him Boban — and a grown up Robin Aryn who looks like he got the memo about giant’s breastmilk. Everyone is gathered to figure out the fate of Jon Snow. When they realize that it’s up to their king or queen to decide what happens to him, the most powerful people in all of Westeros figure that maybe they better get themselves a new king or queen. How soon we forget Daenerys was even alive.
Permitted by an increasingly irritable Grey Worm to choose, Edmure Tully stands up to start making his case. Almost immediately, he is told by Sansa — his own niece — to sit down. Everyone looks super embarrassed for him. Edmure Tully retire bitch. Sam then hatches a very novel idea that will never work in fantasy nor reality: Have the decision about what’s best for everyone be left to, well, everyone. The common people of Westeros should vote on who their ruler should be. HA! Let people decide? People are idiots! One second you let people vote for their leaders, and then the next they’re wanting to get married to their dog. It’s a slippery slope.
Turns out Tyrion has been thinking on this whole subject in the weeks — WEEKS!? — since the incident. What unites people better than anything? Not gold or flags or armies, but STORIES. Makes sense, look at how popular true crime podcasts are. Nothing is more powerful than a good story, and who has a better story than good ole Bran the Broken. Fell from a tower, learned to “fly,” became the Three-Eyed Raven and is now the world’s memory, keeper of its stories and history. Who better than Bran? He can’t have kids, which is perfect really, since kids of Kings tend to suck. This is how they will truly break the wheel. Not by free elections, but by having an elite council of one-percenters choose for everyone who gets to be the next ruler. Baby steps. They ask Bran if he’ll pretty please be the new King, to which Bran puts on his sunglasses, lights an American Spirit and says, “Why do you think I came all this way?” Total pimp move, holy shit this kid fooled us all. Thought Bran had no interest in like, existing, but it turns out he was born to rule.
Everyone — even Davos who isn’t sure he really gets a vote — then swears allegiance to Bran as the new Lord of the Seven Kingdoms. Well, everyone except Sansa, who loves her brother, but would rather she get to be a ruler of something too. The North vows to remain independent. Luckily, Bran is cool with only lording over six Kingdoms. And as his first order, he appoints Tyrion as his Hand. Tyrion doesn’t want to be Hand, but hey, Bran doesn’t really want to be King, so it’s only fair. As punishment for betraying his Queen, Tyrion will now have to spend the rest of his life fixing all of his mistakes. Kinda sucks, but for sure beats death by dragon fire, so take your pick I guess.
In a reversal of roles from earlier, Tyrion goes to meet an imprisoned Jon. Turns out, Jon is equal parts hated and beloved, so both death and freedom would overall be very unpopular with the people. As such, it’s back to The Night’s Watch with him, back to where it all began. No wife, no kids, just long nights of being cold and staring at the snow from atop a wall. Could be worse! Seems like Jon’s had a lifetime of heartbreak to be scared off of marriage for good anyway. Jon wants to know though, was it right to do what he did? “Ask me again in ten years,” says the new Hand, maybe during one of his trips up North after he inevitably gets bored with doing advisory stuff.
Immediately Jon is off to the docks, where his siblings are waiting for him. Sansa wishes there was another way, but hey, at least The North is free thanks to her. They may have lost their King, but now Ned Stark’s daughter will speak for them. It’s the best they could ask for.
He tells Arya that she’s allowed to come visit him, as if anyone would dare tell her she’s not allowed to go somewhere. Sadly, Arya isn’t interested in visiting Jon or maybe anyone ever again. She’s going to go West of Westeros, wherever that is, literally no one knows, all the maps stop. Probably Tennessee, or something. Fiji perhaps? Definitely one of those two.
Kneeling before his broken brother-king, Jon let’s his Grace know that he’s sorry for not being there when he was needed. Bran of course tells Jon that he was exactly where he was supposed to be. GUH, come off it with the philosophy, Bran. We get it, you’re King now, can you dial it back a little?
As every little loose end gets tied up in a perfectly fine bow, we see Brienne doing some writing. She’s flipping through the book of all the knights, and gets to Jaime’s entry. It mentions him being Kingslayer — last post ever, I still maintain that slaying the King was 100% justified and he should have been lauded — but not much beyond that. So, Brienne takes it upon herself to write Jaime’s honorable history. Good thing there was a blank page after Jaime’s entry so she had a lot of room to work with. Brienne is quite the wordsmith, and gets right up to the most recent history, topping things off with:
But actually it was, “Died protecting his Queen.” Make it official: Jaime Lannister was an honorable man.
Now, at this point the Bronn element is of course still out there. Last we saw of him, he seemed mighty ready to kill Tyrion. Color me delighted then, when Bronn walks into the Small Council room and takes a seat as Master of Coin. All he wanted was money, and at last, he has control over literally all of it. This whole scene is kind of weird and plays out like a comedy sketch, but it’s fun. Sam is now Archmaester, and comes in with a treat: a book! It’s a history of mankind from Robert’s Rebellion on called, *DEEP EXAGGERATED SIGH THAT COULD PROPEL A BOAT TO SEA* A Song of Ice and Fire. HA, right, as if the books are ever going to be finished.
The Small Council is still incomplete, but they can’t worry about that now as there is much work to do. Namely, should their coin be spent on ships or brothels? Bran leaves them all to decide while he goes to do some general bird stuff, in search of Drogon who is still MIA. They all try to send him off properly by listing all his fancy titles, but ooh boy, these chowderheads need some practice! Don’t worry, they’ll figure it out soon enough! Just a whole bunch of classic Game of Thrones banter to send us all home happy.
Last three things ever that are kind of one thing. We see shots of the other three Stark kids setting off on their, well, their lives. Sansa gets decked out in her Winterfell best, crown and everything, and is met with uproarious chants of “THE QUEEN IN THE NORTH!” Awesome. Arya is on a boat, sailing off to the undiscovered world under the Stark banner. Go forth! Hope you don’t become this universe’s version of Columbus! Jon gets back to The Wall, where his best friend Tormund is waiting, along with his other best friend. Yep, talking about Ghost. After all the hand-wringing over Ghost only getting a perfunctory nod a few episodes ago, the good boy finally gets some head rubs. Yay, the season has been redeemed!
Finally, Jon, Tormund, and Ghost venture out into the snow, beyond the gates. They’re followed by hundreds of Freefolk, who are ready to return to the “real” North, now that it’s probably much less scary out there. Then, Jon turns and watches as the gate behind them closes. Yeah, he ain’t coming back.
And then, it’s over. The curse has been lifted, we are all free to watch literally any other television show. You check out I Think You Should Leave on Netflix yet? Hilarious, well worth your time.
In the end, Game of Thrones was okay.
Spare thoughts to wrap this thing up once and for all
-Overall, definitely not the greatest episode in Game of Thrones history. But, considering the circumstances, it was good. Of all the rush-through jobs of Season 8, “The Iron Throne” was the most acceptable.
-Still hilarious that Sam continues to get dunked on no matter the setting. This dude is an Archmaester who killed a White Walker and is a war hero, yet every suggestion he makes is just like, “Ayyyyyy git lawst, noid!” (Noid=nerd, not The Noid.)
-With his scheduled cleared and the brothels due to be re-built, looks like Bronn is finally going to have the chance to fuck. #LetBronnFuck was a success, we did it y’all!
-Was almost too delighted to see Podrick as a full-fledged knight, wheeling Bran away. We will never forget you, Pod the Sex God. What a legend.
Wow! Wow wow wow. That was the series finale of Game of Thrones! Hard to believe we got this far, “we” meaning me and you, the person who is reading this. Hi, how’s it going?
Anyway, what partially started as a way to engage on my own terms with a show I was pestered by friends into watching, has blossomed into whatever this is. An enjoyable read? A waste of everyone’s time? My life’s greatest work that I will strive every day to surpass? Who’s to say.
The only thing that really, truly matters is this: I finished writing about Game of Thrones, Westeros, the realms of man, the song of both ice and fire, before George R.R. Martin did. And you can never, ever take that away from me.
Currently, it is 4:06 AM, and I need to wake up for work in… well, soon. Hope it ends up being a good day for me, and for you as well. It’s been real.
See you in the car! Best wishes,
Follow me on Twitter here and on Instagram here. If you want to read more of my work, I write about music for Tiny Mix Tapes and about pro wrestling for Fansided. Check out every damn edition of Sansa Snark here. Sorry for any weird ads, I don’t have enough money to pay for a premium WordPress. Seriously cannot believe this is over. Thank you so much for reading, even if this is your first time. It truly means a lot. That’s a wrap on Sansa Snark. Until we meet again.