Game of Thrones, By a Fucking Idiot S8E6: The Iron Throne

by thethreepennyguignol

Well, it’s over.

Not just Game of Thrones, though last night’s episode, The Iron Throne, was the closing knife-wound of the mega-hit’s mega-run. But the era of Game of Thrones, the era through which it was literally impossible to avoid this mighty behemoth of a show. No more (well, once the deluge of thinkpieces are complete, of course) will I have to be pummelled with Game of Thrones, with “Winter is coming!” gags, with “You know nothing, Jon Snow!” quotes at the strangest of intervals. Or, hopefully, people shrieking “it’s historically accurate!” when someone brings up the ever-so-subtle barrage of misogyny in the earlier seasons of this show. I’m going to go ahead and assume that you’ve seen The Iron Throne, as recapping every dragging plot detail here is going to bore me to tears, and I’m sure, like me, you’re ready for this whole thing to be over, at last.

Because perhaps the filthiest trick that this episode played upon us was the fact that it was, well, pretty fucking boring. At an indulgent seventy-five minutes in length, the actual meat of the episode was over by the time Jon stuck it (his sword, you pig) in Dany and her emo dragon flew off with her remains. From there on in, we were in epilogue territory – and boy, did it feel like a foot-dragging rounding off.

Most notably, Bran ends up on the Iron Throne – in metaphorical form, if not literally – in a Gossip Girl-worthy ending of “well, it had to be someone, so I guess it could be him, right?”. I don’t think this is the worst ending the show could come up with, but it’s just so…everything about it feels so dry and staid. You know how everyone shits all over The Phantom Menace for those long Trade Federation sequences of people debating the merits of various international policies? Yeah, that’s exactly what this feels like, even with Peter Dinklage expositing the whole thing.

And man, P-Diddy has a lot to shoulder in this episode, as there was fifty percent off at the Tyrion Monologue Store and the writers went all the fuck in on that deal. I like Peter Dinklage, of course I do, but the majority of this episode seemed to be him gazing pensively into the distance or delivering plot motivation to other characters. Someone’s got to tie up this plot, and it makes some sense to have long-time fan favourite Tyrion shouldering that burden, but a lot of The Iron Throne felt like Peter Dinklage wandering into people, telling them what they should be doing, and wandering off again.

Speaking of wandering off, Arya’s story grinds to a sudden and confusing halt in this episode – The Long Night made a point of reminding us that she had to bump off someone with green eyes, only for them to drop that so Maisie Williams could stand on the helm of a boat looking forth into her hopefully-bright acting future while she plops off the edge of Westeros’ map and into the ether for good. Sansa gets to be Queen in the North, but, you know, her vastly underqualified and largely smug brother somehow got nominated as the big cheese, so I’m a little salty for that on her behalf.

And now, to the most egregious slight of all: that Jon Snow made it out of this fiasco alive. I only watched this season of Game of Thrones because I wanted to see that character buried in the cold, hard ground, and instead we close out the show with him marching on top of it (and near a green sprout because symbolism, guys, do you get it?). In a lot of ways, to be fair, I suppose this is an appropriate send-out for the character: it’s as poorly-acted, as thinly-veiled, as boringly-unfolded as the rest of his entire arc has been. Watching Kit Harrington attempt to emote in those chemistry-free final scenes he shared with (a very solid, but mainly when she’s speaking Dothraki) Emilia Clarke, in some ways, feels like the only way for the show to stay true to it’s original goal: putting Jon Snow, in all his boring, badly-acted glory, at the front and centre of a story with much, much more interesting people in it.

As I said last week, this season of Game of Thrones was always going to be a dissapointment, and this finale only confirmed that for me. The Iron Throne is, in a lot of ways, a story about stories, and their power in this world and ours – an interesting meta-narrative and actually a pretty bold way to round off the show as a whole.

Or at least, it would have been, if it had actually been a good story in its own right. I’m sure history will look back on this episode more fondly than the immediate reaction has, because it makes greater sense as part of the huge, overarching Game of Thrones arc than it does as an episode in its own right. For me, a long-time non-fan of this wildly overrated show, I feel pretty vindicated by this closing-out: it failed to deliver on some major plot points, plastered over the cracks in others, and generally served an undercooked, boring, indulgent epilogue to a story that it never really knew how to bring to a close in a satisfying way.

But as long as it’s over, I’ll take it. Thank you for joining me on this six-week Stark snark-a-thon – you can check out the rest of my Game of Thrones recaps right here, if you feel like jumping back into this whole poorly-planned fiasco from the start. If you enjoyed this post and want to read more stuff like it, check out some of my other recapping projects – I’ve looked at Stephen King’s Carrie and the first Harry Potter book, as well as writing episode-by-episode recaps of RiverdaleDoctor Who, and American Horror Story. I also run the film site No But Listen, where you can find my musings on movies along with writings from my brilliant co-editor. If you liked this recap and want to support me, you can do so on Patreon!

(header image via Mashable)

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