Game of Thrones Review: “The Iron Throne”

Game of Thrones has always presented a distorted and phantastic version of European history. The finale’s earliest scenes echo history of recent vintage. The post-battle scenes rival what we’ve seen in the last hundred years, and we even experience a fascist rally.

The second half of the finale feels more like the Renaissance again.

Obligatory: “And now our watch is ended.”

Expect spoilers.

Title: “The Iron Throne”

Cast, Crew, and Other Info:

Written and directed by David Benioff and D. B. Weiss
Based on novels by George R.R. Martin

Kit Harington as Jon Snow
Peter Dinklage as Tyrion Lannister
Sophie Turner as Sansa Stark
Maisie Williams as Arya Stark
Isaac Hempstead Wright as Bran Stark
Emilia Clarke as Daenerys Targaryen Stormborn
John Bradley as Samwell Tarley
Gwendoline Christie as Brienne of Tarth
Gemma Whelan as Yara Greyjoy
Liam Cunningham as Devos Seaworth
Jacob Anderson as Grey Worm
Jerome Flynn as Bronn
Tobias Menzies as Edmure Tully
Kristofer Hivju as Tormund Giantsbane
Daniel Portman as Podrick Payne


With King’s Landing in ruins, Daenerys plans to liberate the entire world.

Other characters aren’t certain that’s a good thing.

Who will end up in the hot seat?

High Points:

The Lords laugh at Samwell’s suggestion, and then immediately propose a system of government that likely will lead in exactly that direction. Just give it a few centuries.

No version of the finale was going to satisfy everyone, and we’ll see a different take when Martin eventually publishes the final volumes. This wasn’t a bad ending. Jon returns to the free folk and his dog. He was happy there. It’s the best possibility for a tragic, haunted man. Ghost gets pets– who’s a good boy? Who’s a good boy? Sansa gets to be a queen. The world still has a dragon. Several characters become the king’s council, and it mostly makes sense.

And Arya gets to be Christopher Columbus.

I just hope no one on that ship has smallpox.

Low Points:

Excessive thematic dialogue remains excessive thematic dialogue, even when Peter Dinklage delivers it.

Didn’t Yara want her islands to be free as well? It’s one of a few things the finale just ignores.

The Scores:

Originality: 2/6

Effects: 6/6 It’s Game of Thrones. The various networks, studios, and platforms will try, but we may ne’er see its like again.

Story: 5/6 We must accept that Season Eight would never abandon its penchant for abrupt developments.

Acting: 6/6 This show has one of the greatest casts in the history of movies and television.

Production: 6/6

Emotional Response: 5/6

Overall: 5/6 People who feel entitled to power shouldn’t have it. That’s a message for our time and all time.

“The Iron Throne” receives 35/42

Lingering Questions

Is Jon Snow fireproof? He is a Targaryen, and he gets doggone close to Drogon’s fiery breath.

Did Jon just confess? I guess that’s in character, but I really expected him to take a different path at that point.

Does this world have continents on the other side? Or just lost islands of cynocephali and men whose heads to grow beneath their shoulders? Or will Arya sail off the edge of the world?

HBO has three proposed spin-offs. Will they all materialize? Will they succeed? Should we just move on? Expansions of successful franchises have an uneven record.

6 replies on “Game of Thrones Review: “The Iron Throne””

  1. Does this world have continents on the other side?

    “Fire & Blood” (the historic backgrounder written from the perspective of a maester) strongly hints it’s possible to sail west and end up on the far side of Essos, but makes no particular mention of a “New World” on the way. “Elissa Farman” is the Columbus of the Ice & Fire world, if you want to Google for a bit more info.

    • sail west and end up on the far side of

      Well, that is where Columbus thought he landed.

      I stopped reading the Ice and Fire books at A Feast for Crows, and ignored the supplementary material. Like Martin, I may finish them some day.

      The show has, to my knowledge, always followed the geography of the source material.

    • About sums up my take too. Part of Season 6, all of Season 7, and the first half of Season 8 feel like they would be about the right amount of material for the next book, with the last three episodes covering the final one. I think when Martin said he’d like there to be at least 10 seasons, he probably knew what he was talking about, but that would probably have meant expensive contract renewals.

      I do think a lot of the clues for the ending were there – right back to Dany’s visions in Qarth and repeated use of “Dracarys” to solve problems – and don’t have any problems with the way it turned out. The breakneck pace of the last two seasons was just too much; not so much savouring a fine wine as knocking back slammers.

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