There is a lot to unpack from the Game of Thrones finale. Would Jon really do that? Was it too happy? Why did Dany’s armies just say bye Felicia to Westeros and sail away? Where did the dragon go? Where is Arya going? Who exactly is the Night’s Watch protecting us from anymore? Did we error in assuming Dany burned Kings Landing because she was mad like Aerys.
We’ll get to that in due time. Tonight I want to focus on three things that will prevent this episode from ascending to the pantheon of great series finales.
There were times during The Wire where I forgot I was watching television. The acting and the dialogue were so perfect it didn’t seem like make believe. Not perfect in the poetic, almost lyrical, way dialogue on The West Wing was perfect. But real perfect. What people would actually say to each other perfect.
The Game of Thrones finale had moments so unreal they almost broke the fourth wall. Dany walking into the frame centered in front of her dragon so it could spread its wings exactly behind her. Oh please. What point did that shot serve? We already knew Dany commands dragons. We already knew that made her terrifyingly powerful.
Whenever a show goes so out of its way to create an image like that I look for a religious undertone. Dany…wings…she’s an…angel? Of death, maybe. A Christian reference wouldn’t make much sense in a show where Christianity doesn’t exist, so that’s out.
I settled on the guess that they were trying to portray Dany as the dragon in human form. Great and powerful. Terrifying. Temperamental. Okay. But we kinda got that message when she burned Kings Landing.
Later in the episode we get a scene so ridiculous I legit thought they left an outtake in the episode. The Lords of Westeros are for some reason letting Tyrion guide their decision on who will lead the seven kingdoms (while Grey Worm, who could rightfully claim to lead the army controlling the capital city, for some reason stands idly without a say). Sam, radical thinker that he is, boldly suggests the people of Westeros should choose their king.
Then uproarious laughter from the cast. It was such a jolt from serious to unserious—with a type of laughter we rarely saw on this show—that I had to remind myself I wasn’t watching Monty Python presents the constitutional convention. What the hell was that?
Finally we get Davos, Bronn, Brienne, Sam and Tyrion together at Bran’s cabinet. I could buy their uncoordinated send-off for Bran because they’re all new at this. Then the scene went down this absurd road with cracks about brothels versus ships played against Sam’s general discomfort with anything sex.
Come on. I’m for fan service but this was over the top. It was a more memorable wrap for these characters than had the camera pulled back as they actually discussed core infrastructure, but it wasn’t written or acted well enough to feel genuine.
Three moments out of an episode that ran for 80 minutes. They weren’t going to be scenes that made the finale, and they didn’t ruin it either. I wanted to get lost in the final episode of this fictional world. These three moments made that impossible.