Spoilers ahead for the series finale episode.
It’s over. No, really.
Following a mostly glorious eight-season run, HBO’s fantasy epic Game of Thrones came to an end on Sunday (Monday for Indian viewers). Leaks about the fate of the key surviving characters and the occupant of the Iron Throne had fortified hard-core fans in advance, but they seemed unprepared for the bittersweet tone of the sixth and final episode, written and directed by creators DB Weiss and David Benioff.
There were only two important casualties, including the Iron Throne. It was built out of a mere 200-odd swords rather than a thousand, Petyr Baelish noted in an early episode (he had counted). And yet, the Iron Throne exerted the same power as did the Ring in JRR Tolkein’s novels. It drove men and women to wars and madness, claimed countless lives, and proved to be a bigger threat than the White Walkers in the HBO series.
Occupied by different characters over eight seasons, the Iron Throne meant different things to different people. For the Starks, it represented the muck of politics and the reason Ned Stark (Sean Bean) was beheaded. For Daenerys Targaryen (Emilia Clarke), it was the only thing that kept her going. For Cersei Lannister (Lena Headey), it was hers to guard and occupy. For Varys (Conleth Hill), it was the thing that prevented the emergence of “a land where the powerful don’t prey on the powerless”.
Legend has it that the swords were melted by the fiery breath of the dragon Balerion and reshaped into the hot seat of power. It took another dragon, Drogon, to destroy the symbol of human folly for good.
The final episode did not impress everybody, especially those who have been dismayed by the weaknesses and flaws that have marked the final season overall. And yet, fans were saddened by the end of a truly remarkable series, one that expanded the world of magic and power play suggested by George RR Martin in the A Song of Ice and Fire novels.
The downfall of Daenerys Targaryen created one of the best images in the series.
Among the actors singled out for praise was Peter Dinklage, who played Tyrion Lannister.
Of course, there was snarkiness.
But Pedro Pascal, who played Oberyn Martell in the show, had the “perfect” retort to shut down trolls.
Among the most-appreciated moments was the reunion of Jon Snow (Kit Harington) and his beloved direwof Ghost. The outrage that followed the fact that Jon didn’t even pet Ghost upon being separated from him in a previous episode seems to been laid to rest.