I know that this is an unpopular opinion with all the negative feedback about Game of Thrones Season 8’s writing, but #TheFinalEpisode is actually the ending the realm needs, even if it’s not what we want.
I was initially underwhelmed by Jon Snow’s storyline, having him sent back to The Wall after all that’s happened; but after a day of processing the events, I understood and accepted why it had to end that way.
Daenerys had wanted the Iron Throne for the longest time. Her intentions were founded on abolishing slavery, freeing the world from tyrants, and “breaking the wheel”. This will lead us to believe that she is the rightful ruler, but as Varys pointed out to Tyrion, “Have you considered the best ruler might be someone who doesn’t want to rule?” Rightfully so, as the quest for power will almost always lead to the protagonist being consumed by it. In a true Shakespearean tragedy, this became Dany’s fate. I don’t think it had anything to do with her being a woman, or that she “snapped”, or that she’s the Mad King’s daughter. It’s just what happens to people who believe that they are always right. Which brings me to Jon and Tyrion’s conversation when the latter was taken as prisoner. That dialogue is EVERYTHING. If you need validation of this season’s drastic events, listen to that convo again. To quote Tyrion, “Everywhere she goes evil men die and we cheer her for it. And she grows more powerful and more sure that she is good and right… if you truly believed that, wouldn’t you kill whoever stood between you and paradise?”
I cried so much during Daenerys and Jon’s final scene because even in the end, Jon still tried his best to make Dany see that she’s wrong. He pleaded, but failed. If he hadn’t killed Dany, who will, and who can? As long as Drogon is by her side, Westeros will only know war. She eventually rode the wheel. It was Jon who made the ultimate sacrifice of killing the woman he loves, giving up his own happiness, so the realm can be at peace. He knew he will either die or, at best, be banished for his actions. He knew he won’t be king, but he did it anyway. This also mirrors Azor Ahai’s story wherein he killed his wife Nissa Nissa to power his blade with her blood, and fight the darkness with it.
Jon had to do what is necessary so that Tyrion would live. In effect, Bran Stark became king, and a council of Westeros’ leaders was created. Bran is actually the best candidate for this new world, because Starks came from the line of the First Men, and is the link between the supernatural and the real world. He knows everything, and wants nothing. Sansa now rules the independent North, and Arya is off to explore west of Westeros. Everyone got what they want at the expense of Jon’s happiness.
The final season’s writing is “bad” because it attempted to constrict all the character development and storyline into six episodes, rather than letting the events sink into the viewers over a span of maybe at least two seasons. That is my only gripe – the fans were not given time to emotionally process the fall and demise of characters they’ve watched for years and have become part of their lives.
In the end, Daenerys laid out the idea of breaking the wheel, but it was Jon who ultimately broke it. #TheFinalEpisode gave us a real end to a saga. It has finality, and retribution, and self-actualization. Daenerys is not a villain. There is a totality in her. She’s neither the good, like Jon Snow, nor the bad, like the Night King. She was a complete and real persona. Her character was founded on good intentions and, same as Jon, united people to fight for a common cause. She is, for me, the best character in this series – my Queen, now and always.
“Love is the death of duty.”
“…sometimes duty is the death of love.”