Monday, May 20, 2019

Game Over

*Warning: Spoilers for the Game of Thrones finale*

So Game of Thrones is finally over. While I'm certainly in the majority camp that the series seriously stumbled down the stretch, all in all it still was a fun ride. And -- taking into account the corner that the writers had painted themselves into -- I actually think the series finale was a pretty decent episode. Yet quibbles are more fun than compliments, so here are my final scattered thoughts:

* I didn't mind the Daenerys heel turn at the end, though I agree it didn't have quite enough run-up. But the group that really suffered, character-wise, was the Unsullied. If we now view Dany as a fanatical would-be tyrant who casually murdered innocents, what do we make of her most loyal footsoldiers who unquestioningly carried out the slaughter? There's a story that could have been told here that carries an arc from their freedom from slavery to their status as a murderer's shock troops, but we never got it because the Unsullied -- even Grey Worm, outside his love for Missandei -- were never developed beyond mere arms of Daenerys.

* But at least there was a vague gesture at trying to resolve the Unsullied's thread: they were offered the Reach, and ended up sailing to Naath (to do what?). The Dothraki didn't even get that much. And to be honest -- they're a much bigger threat than unhappy Unsullied. Unsullied are at least disciplined -- they wouldn't move unless someone ordered them to. Indeed, once the Queen was killed, you could almost see how they froze up -- not executing Jon or Tyrion in the days(?) it took for the Lords of the Realm to gather at King's Landing, and scarcely thinking to contemplate the argument that they had claim to be rulers of King's Landing now. But the Dothraki are a mounted band of marauders whose default setting is to rampage over the countryside pillaging everything in sight, in a land where much of the security infrastructure has been decimated. They're a recipe for chaos.

* That said, the main Dothraki question is clearly "Where did these alive Dothraki come from?"

* I'm not entirely sure why Arya wants to get on a boat and sail west. But I'm sad that Yara didn't appear to be joining her (yes, yes, objectively she should be running the Iron Islands. I still can be sad).

* Bran as King is ... okay, I guess. I think the main thrust of the choice is that he's more of a figurehead who will leave the day to day management to his advisers. It's part of the slow "democratization" process (poor Sam -- your actual democratization process got laughed out of the room).

* If the North secedes, Dorne obviously would secede too. There wasn't really any way to build that into the show and not sap Sansa's speech of all its drama, but it's still true.

* Littlefinger may be dead, but someone successfully lived out his "Chaos is a Ladder" motto. From sellsword to Lord of Highgarden and Master of Coin -- well done Bronn! (Though what would have happened at the Unsullied taken the offer to be ceded the Reach -- which includes Highgarden?)


Andy DM said...

I think I liked the finale slightly more than you but here’s quick comments before I get to work.

Naath - that’s where Missandei came from and the city that enslaved her so seems like a good place to take revenge.

Dorne - it seems like open secession isn’t really Dorne-style, they seem to mind paying lip-service to being part of the Seven Kingdoms while basically ruling themselves.

Also where was the food coming from to supply the King’s Landing armies. I don’t think the Northern army had much of a supply train and they’ve just destroyed everything in King’s Landing. Season Eight did seem to forget that we’re now in the middle of a maybe decade long winter.

Andy DM said...
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