The Game of Thrones finale, as told by Hamilton quotes

Acquired via Game of Thrones PR.
Acquired via Game of Thrones PR. /

The Game of Thrones finale evoked many politically-charged melodies from Hamilton in the most delightful way.

Even before the intro credits rolled one last time on the Game of Thrones finale, Lin Manuel Miranda’s blockbuster musical Hamilton was on my mind. The lyric, “one last time” hummed pleasantly through my synapses over and over again as I fed my dog and grabbed the necessary supplies to survive through the eighty minute conclusion. (FWIW – a bottle of water, a box of Kleenex, and a pint of Ben & Jerry’s. Gotta be ready for all possibilities, y’know?)

It would be the final time fans gathered around the digital hearth to examine the latest installment of Game of Thrones. For many, it was a goodbye that meant something. The show was fodder for transformative events in human lives with people building careers, relationships, families, and even an entire industry on mutual love and appreciation for the show. It was kind of a big deal. So, naturally, my brain picked a lyric to match the occasion.

Yet, as I sat down and began to settle in for the episode, another Hamilton gem popped into my mind grapes.

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“I will never be satisfied! I will never be satisfi-i-ed.”

Fans. Oh, the legions of disappointed fans. People have been increasingly irate over the final season, with over half a million people signing an online petition for HBO to remake the season with different writers. Uh wut? That’s not happening, kiddos. Nor is it necessary. Don’t like it? The show owes you nothing. End of story.

But if pop-culture has reinforced nothing else in this digital age of constant displeasure, it’s the old adage that you can’t satisfy all of the people all the time. That is, unless you’re Breaking Bad.

All I know is that if Angelica Schuyler lived in the now and had a Twitter account, you can bet she’d be vociferously registering her disappointment over the treatment of female characters on the show. Werk!

However, despite swirling disappointment from fans over this most recent season, the final episode still managed to feel like an epic goodbye to something that connected us all, if only for a little while.

Game of Thrones finale
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Over the past decade, Game of Thrones served as an escape from the soul-grinding politics of everyday life. Every Sunday at nine, it allowed us to shift focus and debate fictional character development and strategic flaws with no true political baggage attached. The show consistently explored the narrative that no one person is truly good or bad. (Well, except for a percentage of really, truly evil beings.) So it’s no wonder that the conclusion presented a hopeful new form of government, ostensibly representing a time of happiness and change.

In the creation of that new world, the Game of Thrones finale consistently telegraphed a distinct Hamilton vibe. Turns out that GRRM’s endgame involved breaking the monarchy wheel to form a more perfect union. Woah. That’s the plot of Hamilton, too! In telling that tale, both stories follow moments of indescribable loss, political transformation, and impossible ethical conundrum.

Which leads us to…

“I am not throwing away my shot.”

Early on in the episode, it becomes clear that Daenerys (Emilia Clarke) must be stopped. Waiting on the King’s Landing version of Death Row, Tyrion (Peter Dinklage) implores Jon Snow (Kit Harrington) to choose between his queen and what’s right for the people of Westeros. Jon does not throw away the chance of a lifetime, choosing to stab his auntie square in the heart and ending the madness.

Alexander Hamilton didn’t have to murder a despotic queen, but he probably would have if it had been what was right for his nascent country. I guess what I’m saying is that Jon Snow is Alexander Hamilton. Kinda.

“Never gonna be president now!”

After all that, Daenerys is ded. And all without getting to lounge on the Iron Throne. What a total bummer.

Both Hamilton and Daenerys were in the home stretch for the ultimate seat of power when they threw it all away on tumultuous relationships. For the reasons that Jon and Tyrion outlined earlier in the episode, love, sex, and romance can prove to be difficult for true leaders. Love might be the death of duty, but duty is also the death of love. I still haven’t fully processed what that means, but instinct tells me it applies here.

Game of Thrones finale
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“I am watching it burn. Watching it burnnnn.”

This showstopping lyric from Hamilton marks a moment of total heartbreak. Learning of Hamilton’s indiscretions, Eliza Schuyler burns all of the correspondence her husband has ever sent her in a cleansing bonfire of letting go.

Drogon reacts similarly when he learns his momma is gone. He’s none too pleased about this turn of events and, like Eliza, he turns to fire to cleanse his grief away. His fiery emotional reaction also happens to stand in as of the strongest political statements of the entire series. Who knew Drogon was such a woke dude?

When he finds his mother dead on the icy ground of the Great Hall, Drogon is in anguish. A part of him has died with her. His brothers are gone. There’s no reason for him to stay. But that’s not to say that he can’t make one final declaration before he goes. The giant creature turns his attention to the Iron Throne, churning out fire, melting it to the ground, and creating a bubbling crust to compliment the crunchy rubble beneath. Forged in dragon fire, and destroyed in dragon fire, Drogon completes the circle of power by burning the Iron Throne completely.

Game of Thrones finale
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“Who lives, who dies, who tells your story?”

The art of storytelling has always been an important component on Game of Thrones. In fact, as Jon approaches Daenerys for the final time in the destroyed throne room, she’s telling him the tale of the Iron Throne’s creation and her awe in hearing that tale for the first time as a young girl.

Stories and histories mark who we are and how we remember. In the Game of Thrones finale, we saw multiple instances where some of the more intellectually inclined characters seemed almost compulsively drawn to storytelling and record-keeping. Because those who don’t remember history are doomed to repeat it.

First, Brienne (Gwendoline Christie) takes time out to record her friend and lover, Jaime Lannister’s accomplishments in The Book of Brothers, an encyclopedia of the great knights of Westeros. She lived, he died, so she tells his story. Many likened this moment to the editing of a Wikipedia entry, but it goes deeper than that. Books, especially books recording history, were an important artifact to leave to future generations of leaders. And, in a time before the printing press, the creation of books of any kind was a necessary commitment of intellectual and physical labor. Written history provides a road map of what worked, what didn’t, and the pitfalls along the way.

As a prolific writer, Hamilton knew the written word to contain power and truth. Same with Samwell Tarly (John Bradley West) and Tyrion Lannister. More than most on GoT, these two characters repeatedly taught us the political importance of reading and writing throughout the series, with Tyrion saving King’s Landing during the Battle of Blackwater using some old texts back in Season 2, and Sam (really, Gilly) eyeing the pivotal annulment of Rhaegar Targaryen’s marriage to Elia Martell amidst some old scrolls in Season 7. Heck, Season 6 even included a spectacular visual ode to libraries. The idea of generational storytelling has always been woven throughout the narrative.

So having our heroes commit this epic story we’ve just witnessed to paper fully makes sense. With minutes to go in the finale, Sam delivers a giant tome, entitled A Song of Ice and Fire, to the Small Council, and it seems a fitting end to this particular chapter of Westerosi history.

Except we still never got to hear the forever lingering punchline to Tyrion’s joke about a jackass and a honeycomb. It’s a shame. Bet Bran (Issac Hempstead Wright) knows. Which brings us to…

“History has its eyes on you.”

As the eighty-minute conclusion chugged along in earnest, our stoic survivors began to build a new political system. It’s just an oligarchy, but baby steps are better than nothing! Right?

Those left standing at the end decide on a system in which the leader is a chosen figure instead of relying on birthright. Because obviously that system was deeply flawed and only caused a whole lot of mess for everyone.

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As Tyrion makes an impassioned speech about breaking the wheel and adopting a new system, he turns his attention to Bran the Broken. Brandon Stark of Winterfell. The Three Eyed Raven. (Kid has almost as many titles as Daenerys, amiright?) Tyrion posits that the collective memory of the universe should be the one to rule, and he’s probably right. Choosing a leader who can simultaneously access all the foibles, mistakes, triumphs, and joys of humanity – and everything in between – is a promising way to see forward to a brighter day. With Brandon Stark as ruler, history literally has its eyes on Westeros, for better or worse.

Game of Thrones Seasons 1 – 8 are available for streaming on HBO Go and HBO Now.