Game of Thrones Season 8, Episode 6 recap: A depressing farewell

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Game of Thrones is over. All that’s left is determining what everyone thinks of the King’s Landing massacre and who will eventually sit on the Iron Throne.

This is the finale, and barring the Mexican standoff we all deserve, there are some mandatory inclusions. Game of Thrones has to finish right, with a huge sense of fulfillment, or thousands of fans (millions?) will never forgive HBO for rushing the finish. Or maybe the blame rests in GRRM’s lap since he has not finished the series?

Either way, we need to see dead bodies (Cersei and Jaime). Daenerys has to fall somehow. And there needs to be a final resolution with an acceptable person sitting on the Iron Throne. Let’s go!

And so it begins…

Tyrion Lannister, Jon Snow, and Davos Seaworth walking in the aftermath, ruins of King’s Landing at their feet, nothing but ash and smoldering fire. Not a peep. Not an insect. The only sound are footsteps crunching snow, but the snow likely has smoldering human remains. A bloodied, burned, half-naked man walks by Tyrion and barely registers. Like ignoring the Napalm Girl.

They separate for different purposes.

Jon walks up on Grey Worm and several Unsullied about to execute the minimal number of survivors who once supported Cersei Lannister. Jon demands they stop. Grey Worm has orders to kill until the enemy is fully defeated. Both Jon and Davos recognize defeat, but that’s not what Daenerys wants apparently.

Jon grabs Grey Worm’s arm in a tense moment, as both the Unsullied and Northern supporters prepare for round two. Cooler heads prevail. Jon defers until after he talks to Daenerys, they walk away and throats get slit.

Game of Thrones finale
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Tyrion Lannister has a different mission. He walks beneath the crumbled remains of the city, down to the final, ostensible resting place of Jaime and Cersei. Soon enough he sees a golden hand, and begins to unpile bricks. Each brick is heavier and heavier as he realizes his beloved brother is dead. Tyrion openly weeps when he finally uncovers both his siblings, crushed in each other’s arms. He picks a brick up and smashes it down repeatedly, completely spent emotionally.

Introducing Queen Daenerys Targaryen

Jon walks up the front steps of King’s Landing’s remains. The seemingly multiplying Dothraki – did they watch Multiplicity? – are on horseback celebrating, and the Unsullied are standing in celebratory formation. Drogon flies overhead like fireworks after the Super Bowl. The Dothraki’s tribal cheers are cheering fans.

Atop the stairs Daenerys rouses her troops. She switches effortlessly between Dothraki, Valyrian, and English. It may as well be German, however, because her flag in the background and her speech are obviously a metaphor for WWII Hitler and his oratory skills. And propensity for mass murder.

With her troops whipped into a rabid frenzy, Dany appoints Grey Worm commander of all her forces, Queen’s Master of War, Administrator of her Third Reich. Grey Worm nods approvingly and the Unsullied rhythmically slam spears into the ground.

Game of Thrones finale
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Daenerys lays out her plan. She calls the Unsullied and Dothraki “liberators” of King’s Landing, and wants to “liberate” everyone else alive. From Winterfell to Dorne. Lannisport to Qarth. Summer Isles to the Jade Sea. She asks, “Will you break the wheel with me?!”

Behind Dany, Tyrion’s slow footsteps approach. Behind the Unsullied, Arya creeps. Dany continues stirring the pot, proclaiming their superiority, but stops long enough to accuse Tyrion of treason for freeing his brother. Tyrion’s retort about a slaughtered city is obvious. Taking off his Hand of the King badge is also obvious. He throws it down the stairs and the thudding spears stop. Dany’s look of hatred lasts seconds before she has Tyrion apprehended.

Tyrion walks away under guard, but he gives Jon Snow a look as if to say, “You know you have to kill her.”

Starks begin to conspire

Dany turns and looks at Jon Snow. Sneers. She walks away with her royal entourage. Arya suddenly appears beside Jon Snow and says she came to kill Queen Cersei. “Your Queen got here first.” Jon says Dany is everyone’s queen now. Arya doesn’t think Arya will bend the knee, nor will Daenerys accept Jon Snow remaining alive as the rightful heir.

Prison visitation

Tyrion sure does get some good visits in prison. This time it’s Jon, and the discussion is obvious. Tyrion thinks Varys’s ashes are about to tell his own ashes “See, I told you so,” and asks about life after death. Jon doesn’t think it has to end that way, and mentions the war’s completion. Rightfully, Tyrion brings up the fact that Daenerys appears to want more war, not less.

Game of Thrones finale
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The WWII parallels continue, as Tyrion brings up the growing belief amongst not only Daenerys, but also her followers, that destiny is on their side. Win after win builds her confidence and belief. The murdered slavers of Astapor, the crucified Meereenese evil nobles, the torched Dothraki khals. Everywhere she goes, evil men die and her people cheer.

Tyrion mentions they both love her, and that love is more powerful than reason. Suddenly philosophical, Jon says love is the death of duty. Ever the brain, Tyrion flips it with “Duty is the death of love.” Appealing to Jon’s general role as protector and savior, he hints as strongly as he can that Jon is the only one who can get close enough to Dany to assassinate her. Just like Arya, Theon adds in the risk of Jon being rightful heir to the Iron Throne.

Jon still resists, but Tyrion mentions the problem with his sister’s unlikeliness of bending the knee.

The mission, should you choose to accept it…

Jon walks along a hallway lined with Unsullied. Snow is building on the ground the skies are darkening. A giant pile of snow shimmies, and it’s Drogon. He shakes off the snow just long enough to grumble and determine it’s Jon Snow. Drogon lays back down, content with his mother’s safety.

More from Game of Thrones

Daenerys is in the great hall. Miraculously, the Iron Throne remains among the ruins. Only frames exist from great, stained glass windows. Fractions of the pillars still stand. As Dany approaches the stairs her eyes widen.

The gray sky behind the throne looks surreal, like one of the two is out of place. A slight smile and breath of satisfaction escapes when she finally touches the throne.

Jon enters the room and asks about the senseless executions. She says it’s necessary. And the torched children? Apparently that’s Cersei’s fault. Can Tyrion be forgiven? Nope. She says they can’t hide behind “small mercies.” Jon says the world must have mercy, and he suddenly knows what he has to do. Or does he?

She says she wants a good world, and nobody can see it like her. Jon is rightfully skeptical. The counterargument is that nobody else gets to choose what exactly constitutes what’s good. Jon calls her his queen, now and always. They embrace and kiss passionately. Then Jon slides a dagger into her chest.

She’s shocked. Betrayed. But it always had to be Jon. He holds her as she falls, eyes wide open, the same gray sky and Iron Throne in the background. Jon’s soft weeps are barely audible next to the thundering roars of Drogon, who flies up to the roof to confirm what he senses. Drogon menacingly growls at Jon and then nudges Dany to check for life.

Drogon roars to the sky in pained anguish, stands on back legs, shows Jon Snow a firey throat, then proceeds to melt the Iron Throne into oozing lava. Before the fire even dissipates, Drogon gently picks up Dany in his left claw and flies away. His terrifying silhouette disappears behind the same ominous gray clouds.

The aftermath

Grey Worm marches his prisoner Tyrion to the Dragonpit. All great houses are represented. The Unsullied have the city, but all the houses want Jon Snow and Tyrion at the meeting. Davos pleads to avoid war and offers the Unsullied land. Grey Worm wants justice, not land. But who can mete out justice? Tyrion suggests it has to be a King or Queen.

Nobody wants to be first to speak, but eventually Edmure Tully starts to make his case for the throne, mentioning his history, experience, etc., until Sansa tells him to “please sit.” He’s completely neutered by the comment and doesn’t speak afterwards.

Samwell makes a case for straight democracy, but they all laugh that off with propositions of horses and dogs voting. Then Tyrion makes his case…

For Bran the Broken. People don’t follow armies, gold, or flags. They follow stories. Bran has them all. He’s traveled beyond the Wall and become the Three Eyed Raven. “Who better to lead us into the future?” asks Tyrion. Sansa objects because Bran can’t have children, but Tyrion easily counters that with a reference to Joffrey. From now on, rulers shouldn’t be born, they should be chosen.

Bran reluctantly agrees after telling Tyrion, “Why do you think I came all this way?” Then he names Tyrion the Hand of the King, which is also reluctantly accepted. Everyone agrees except Sansa, again. She thinks the North saw too much and fought too hard to ever kneel again. Then she proclaims their independence. It’s BS of course, because the Northerners would absolutely orgasm at the thought of a Stark King ruling the land.

“All hail Bran the Broken”

Yeah, because that’s inspiring.

The end is near.

Tyrion tells Jon the compromise for all – because the Unsullied want Jon dead and the Starks want him free – is to send Jon to the Wall. To do what, nobody really knows. Tyrion makes a comment about pissing off the edge of the world to bring things full circle to their first experience going north. The Unsullied plan to sail to the Isle of Naath, and Grey Worm is not happy with the compromise.

The Starks say their goodbyes. Arya wants to sail west of Westeros, which is either an inside joke at the lack of development of remaining Game of Thrones world or a subtle reference to Planet of the Apes. Jon kneels in front of Bran and apologizes for not being there when Bran needed help. Bran forgives him like he does everyone.

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Ser Brienne of Tarth flips through a book of knighthoods, finds Jaime Lannister’s page, and writes the rest of his story like Frodo helped Bilbo. The final line is “Died protecting his queen,” and the book is closed before the ink dries, which proves she isn’t thinking clearly.

Tyrion conducts business as Hand of the King. The council includes Samwell, Davos, and Bronn, as Master of Coin and Lord of Highgarden. They bicker playfully about rebuilding ships, rebuilding brothels, and ensuring clean water in order to promote health. A few spots need to be filled and Drogon hasn’t been seen in a while. No big news.

Game of Thrones ends as Jon meets Tormund and the Wildlings at Castle Black. He’s back among the northerners he favors, and finally pets Ghost (which was probably written in post-production after the heat Game of Thrones received after the previous separation). As Jon goes north of the Wall on his new adventure, so, too, does Arya the Adventurer and Sansa the Queen of the North.

Next. Game of Thrones: When the walls fell. dark

Game of Thrones has come to an end. Collective breath will be held until prequel material is finished.