television

Winding Down Game of Thrones

Ending Game of Thrones in a way that left all fans emotionally satisfied was always going to be a difficult task. With such a novelistic, open-world approach to story telling, finding the right combination of characters to bring closure to through the right combination of decisions is a 70 odd episode Rubix Cube. Everyone had their own favorite character and passionately demanded either an “epic death” or a role of significance in the final moments. Tying up the loose ends of every last character is more likely possible in a 3000-plus page novel, than in a 6-episode work of prestige television.

I thought the ending “worked.” A couple of nitpicks were that some elements felt rushed and there was no final second twist on par with the infamous Red Wedding episode. The series had trained us to anticipate grisly mis-directions. The ending felt more like a gradual winding down of a finely calibrated clock tower. We got to witness the confrontation the entire series had been leading to between Jon Snow and Daenerys. It may have been a little telegraphed, but there was enough nuance in the performance to portray the complexity and conflict around Jon’s decision. And I liked the iconic gesture of burning down the very symbol of the show itself in the final moments.

Bran on the throne felt like a fair enough move character wise. He was a victim with no real bad blood between any of the major characters. He was a safe choice. His appointment does leave a lot to the imagination to figure out how he will rule. By love or fear? I wonder how he will flex his ruling muscles when the people under him refuse his orders.

We’ve heard that Game of Thrones prequels are in the works, but it seems clear that sequels focusing on the new adventures of the Stark children is another chapter (or series of books) to explore. As with most great shows, the best seasons probably lie somewhere in the middle of the series. During a time when nothing needed to be wrapped into a tidy bow, and the conflict and threat of future retribution was at most tense and dramatic levels. Time will tell how the series ages, but I think the creators found a satisfactory ending to a monumental task for a scripted television show.