SINGAPORE — What the past episodes of ‘Game of Thrones’ have taught us is to expect the least and relent to the fact that the writers could have not spun more material in a limited period of time. So, this is the end. And I’m just a bagful of emotions.
As Dany summoned her guards to take Tyrion away for treason, we all thought Jon would continue to serve his Queen. But not so; Tyrion gave his advice to Jon that made him change his mind, with the one quote that Jon uttered and lingered with me throughout this finale: ‘Love is the death of duty.’
We could not see a happy ending for this star-crossed lovers, right when Jon found out about his true lineage; we guessed there will be no loyalty and in place, more bloodshed ahead. With this complicated set of feelings and a sense of duty, Jon did what he thought was right: he murdered his queen and lover as he was professing his love to her. It was anticlimactic but boy, did I shed tears.
That quote served as a reminder that Jon had broken his oaths over and over again. Once quoted by Master Aemon, Jon was advised as a member of the Night’s Watch, that he is forbidden to fall in love and have families (he fell in love with Wildling Ygritte), because their duty takes precedence. But in this finale, he made a choice to protect his kingdom and family from harm.
As a fan who was so invested in Daenerys’ journey from a subjugated prisoner to Mother of Dragons, I did not take her death mildly. The way Season 8 has been written felt like her character arc development was rushed: we could not comprehend her rise to becoming the Mad Queen, and her actions for murdering thousands of innocent women and children. From a psychological angle, surely yes, but the way her story was rushed did no justice to her character.
For the ending of the show, it had a politically correct ending since Bran’s vision allowed him to reply with ‘Why do you think I came all this way?’. He foresaw everything that was coming, and his story would be one to be told and remembered from all over Westeros to Essos. As a ruler of the seven kingdoms, House Stark won. This, on top of Sansa ruling the seventh kingdom of the North independently as its Queen. If you ask me whether Bran was an obvious and inspirational choice, I would say no. However, I wouldn’t be surprised if this was George R.R. Martin’s choice to place an unpopular character as king; his story about a broken boy who was pushed out from a tower, survived the Nightwalkers and ultimately ending right back with his family, felt like the coming of a full circle.
Looking at members of the new ruling council, Tyrion has been given a third chance to right his wrongs. He joked about brothels and honeycombs, which we’ll never get to see. Will he serve wisely as the Hand? We can only hope so, for a Lannister always pays his debts.
Jon banished to The Wall is also, another full circle moment. As he and the Wildlings walk away from The Wall, and the door shuts behind them for good, we are reminded once again, the significance of this landmark.
Even on the press junket in London where I had met some of the cast of ‘Game of Thrones’, little to none was revealed about the fate of the series. With NDAs in place, the stars remember fondly favourite battle scenes, dove straight into the psyche of their characters and love affairs, to painfully pointing out strained muscles, or should I say, ‘battle wounds’.
The directors were also careful to film and hand out various notes to actors that depict different endings to the series. This is to ensure none of the leaked scenes escaped the whispers of those on set.
Despite the uproar, plots and twists, we must remember how we were led here from the beginning of Season 1 when Ned Stark and his family were torn apart, to how each of his surviving children - Bran, Arya, Sansa and arguably Jon - have come so far. It is their stories that gave us this mega hit fantasy series to remember for a very long time. So, thank you ‘Game of Thrones’, for all your sacrifices, love and tears.