Season 8, episode 6, the iron throne

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The end of our trò chơi of Thrones watch has come, & the series of our era finds some of that old grace in its final moments.

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The rest of it falls khổng lồ Jon Snow & Tyrion in the other weak spot of the finale. While Clarke overcomes the shortcomings of season 8 here, Kit Harington fares not so easily in portraying the conflict of a man reduced lớn whine, “She’s my queen” one or six too many times. He sees Grey Worm exexinh đẹp Lannister survivors in the street và, realizing if he attempted to lớn stop it he’d only be adding his toàn thân khổng lồ the pile, quietly sulks off. One would hope this would be the last straw, or Arya pointing out that he và especially Sansa will be next on the chopping blochồng, but Jon continues khổng lồ drag his feet to the inevitable conclusion of this passion play. It is left up khổng lồ Tyrion khổng lồ act as a mouthpiece for Benioff and Weiss, walking Jon and the audience to the inevitable outcome.

Dinklage is fine in this scene, & perhaps his words need to be said since so many viewers apparently forgot about Daenerys’ penchant for torture & terror, but it is still a rather heavy-handed moment when Tyrion’s lips move sầu, & out comes the showrunners’ words, giving their closest khổng lồ an “Inside the Episode” this week. As Tyrion says, “Everywhere she goes, evil men die and we cheer her for it,” Tyrion sums up the compliđô thị viewers & readers have been set-up khổng lồ have signed on for with Dany. She conquered with ease, but her rule in seasons 5 & 6 was shaky at best. She might’ve sầu locked up her dragons, but she still used them khổng lồ threaten and frighten her enemies in Meereen, even if they really were evil men. It’s easy khổng lồ overlook your very flawed anh hùng isn’t becoming a superanh hùng but a leader with a messiah complex when the only ones suffering at her whims are people we think have sầu it coming.

Still, it’s a neat trick that Tyrion could articulate all those warning bells we ignored when he wasn’t there to cheer for any of them.

… Anyway, Tyrion’s pep talk is probably the most successful political machination he coordinates in the whole final season, as it forces Jon Snow khổng lồ stop brooding & start facing hard truths. I would’ve sầu preferred the ambiguity of Daenerys not being mad at all, but the episode at least does not forget she is still the Daenerys we’d come lớn love over nine to lớn 23 years (depending when you jumped on). She is still the young woman who dreamed of one day seeing the Iron Throne her brother always spoke longingly of, and who reverts khổng lồ something adjacent of that girlhood when finally standing before it. In a visual remake of her vision in the House of the Undying from season 2 when she approaches a throne covered in snow và ash alike. Her family’s dragonfire is responsible for the ungainly chair she now worships, và her personal dragon has charred the throne to lớn a brittle husk, but it still stands. That & everything it represents.

It’s this woman who Jon Snow must approach và, yes, murder. And I’m not going khổng lồ lie when I say it is a chilling scene in which a man kills his lover as an act of heroism on television. Derived from a story that predates our current and ongoing conversation about how we depict women và violence in truyền thông media, the scene is most obviously politically incorrect. This is worthy of discussion, but it can also become a narrow prism to lớn view the entire breadth of the series with. Evaluating Dany’s journey solely by how heroic và godlượt thích she appears as a savior misses the point of what this says about a feudal system of governance—& our still persistent need khổng lồ be “rescued” by a strong leader, even as they encroach on our rights khổng lồ enrich their own power & self-purported mythology. Likewise evaluating her death solely by the fact a man kills her can miss the melancholy point of the scene.

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Daenerys has what she dreamed about but it isn’t enough. Dragons bởi vì not plant, và she’s had her fill of ruling ungrateful people after Meereen. She wants to move on and continue what she does best, unable to accept she has enough. What she at last does accept though is that she is no longer alone. Ever since Viserys died, the knowledge that she is the Last Targaryen has festered as a birthright and an added pressure on Dany. Discovering Jon was her nephew was neither welcome news of kinship or even unwelcome news of romance; it was just one more obstacle on her quest for power… perhaps the biggest one. In this moment though, she offers Jon Snow something she never had from Viserys, much less the parents didn’t know: acceptance of family.

Jon Snow, poor fool that he is, loves her too, as a queen, a lover, and mayhaps even a final connection khổng lồ a heritage he didn’t know was his until a few months ago. And he still is compelled khổng lồ betray her. I’m sure some fans will squint to see if there is any meaning in his stabbing Daenerys like the prophecy of Azor Anhì stabbing his wife to lớn allegedly forge a sword that would defeat the White Walkers in millennia past. And there is probably something khổng lồ unpaông chồng there, considering even if they already saved the world from ending in Ice, he is doing this to lớn save sầu it from ending in Fire (poet Robert Frost would be pleased). But the greater tragedy is that a man is killing a woman he loves as well as the last bit of Targaryen family they both have sầu in this world because of an earthlier demon within us all.

There is supernatural meaning aplenty to lớn be gleaned—Jon Snow’s betrayal of love sầu also echoes a prophecy from season 2 where Daenerys was told she’d be betrayed first for gold (Jorah), then for blood (Mirri Maz Durr), & finally for love (Jon)—but the potency is in the human scale. In Daenerys’ thirst for “breaking the wheel” she ended up becoming as ruthless a driver of it as any this world has seen. She became consumed by her own human failings instead of living up khổng lồ the divine ones she imagined. Whatever prophetic meaning in Jon’s betrayal that’s hidden becomes immaterial khổng lồ the human và psychological cost of what he does. It’s been noted that Martin’s favorite part of J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Lord of the Rings is the “Scouring of the Shire,” an epilogue so long-winded even Peter Jackson did not adapt it in Return of the King. Aye, even after defeating Sauron, the problems of the world continued when a civil war broke out in the Shire due khổng lồ reasons too convoluted to lớn các mục here.

The point, however, is that the over of Game of Thrones mirrors the over of the literary Lord of the Rings, save sầu the scouring of the Shire becomes more paramount to lớn the story than destroying the Great Evil (Sauron or the White Walkers). Humanity’s gross pettiness lives on, và the woman who made defeating the Evil possible still succumbs to her own much less fantastic demons, & it leaves the last person left in the world she loves almost as much in total ruin.

Martin is also prone to quote William Faulkner when he says, “The only thing worth writing about is the human heart in conflict with itself,” and that conflict is in Daenerys giving inkhổng lồ her worst impulses & also in Jon Snow killing a woman he loves. It breaks both of them. Similarly, Jon once had to lớn consider whether he would kill Ygritte (it is ambiguous on the page if he does, even to lớn himself, và on the show he clearly does not), but with Daenerys he plunges the knife in. He stops her heart and destroys his own.

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It’s as ashen as the debris beneath their feet, but the quiet acceptance of it is represented by neither character—that honor belongs to lớn Drogon. Admittedly, I suspect the reason he does not roast Jon Snow is he knows Jon is a Targaryen, but the dragon which is said lớn have the intelligence of a human does not kill the murderer of his mother or really consider the sight beyond his despair at losing Mhysa. He instead makes the choice we all want to: Drogon roasts the damnable Iron Throne she so coveted and that has driven many mad with ambition. He returns the monument of Targaryen power to the dust and with a surprising amount of dignity, và khổng lồ my chagrin, takes Dany’s toàn thân & flies off back khổng lồ where they were both happier. I dreaded how the series would handle Drogon, not least of all because there didn’t seem to lớn be a satisfying way to lớn defeat the beast, and it instead became one of the most tasteful moment of the finale.