GAME OF THRONES – Season Eight (2019)

  • Cast: Peter Dinklage, Emilia Clarke, Kit Harrington, Lena Headey, Sophie Turner, Nikolaj Coster-Waldau, Maisie Williams
  • Series Creator: David Benioff and D.B. Weiss
  • Original Air Date: 14/04/2018

Unlike the purists and fans of this series, I was initiated to Game of Thrones in 2017 and I binged it all till Season 7 and just had to wait for a little over a year for the finale. The case was not so simple for the fans who have been following Game of Thrones since its inception. Their expectations and mental picture of which way the series was headed was at a different level. The first two episodes of this final season have very little happening apart from the customary set up. Daenerys Targaryen (Emilia Clarke) travels with Jon Snow (Kit Harrington) to the North to face the White-walkers and the Night King who now has one of her dragons. Once in Winterfell, Danny realizes that she is not welcome there and that the people of the North might never submit to her rule. She is particularly edgy about her dynamics with Sansa Stark (Sophie Turner) who is livid with Jon for submitting to Daenerys’ rule. Jon learns of his lineage from Sam (John Bradley) and Bran (Isaac Hempstead Wright) and wastes no time in sharing it with Danny who now turns even more restless and insecure knowing about the existence of a male heir to the Iron Throne.

The White Walkers soon reach Winterfell and a huge battle ensues wherein the enemy is able to nearly neutralize the men’s advantage of having Dragons and nearly succeed in their endeavors which was always to Kill Bran. Arya (Maisie Williams) after having a hard time fighting her way through the undead finally nails the Night-King In the chest not only ending the war but also saving Bran’s life. The focus then shifts to King’s Landing where Danny, Jon, and all their forces arrive to dethrone Cersei but she seems to have a few tricks up her sleeve. As the season progresses we see Danny dive further into an abyss created by her own insecurities and the betrayal of those around her which finally leads her to do the unthinkable, murdering thousands of innocents and earning the title of “Mad Queen”.

I can fully understand why the fans are hating this season so much as I myself feel betrayed. The war with the White-walkers was being built up from season one and it was one of the axioms on which the whole series hinged. The manner in which this war was dealt with was really heartbreaking. For a series like Game of Thrones that is visually so opulent, to have a war that is lit so poorly was almost unbelievable. I watched that particular episode on my 32-inch Television in 1080p and still couldn’t make out much of it. Maybe the makers wanted to give us a real-life feel of how the battle must have felt and the confusion that was there all around but somehow it just didn’t turn out the way it should have.

The very next episode spent half of its time bidding farewell to the fallen comrades and making merry after the end of the “Great War”. Here again, Danny is shown sulking in her insecurities about whether Jon was getting more popular than her and how he may overtake her dreams of ruling the seven kingdoms. There are some interesting dynamics developing between Tyrion (Peter Dinklage) and Varys (Conleth Hill). Tyrion believes in the goodness of Danny but Varys feels that Jon would be a better king and that Danny should be overthrown. Once the armies reach King’s Landing, things get interesting as Rhaegal gets shot down in the most unceremonious of fashion that was in keeping with the Game of Thrones tradition. For once the Dragons looked vulnerable and I loved it. The fact that Cersei (Lena Headey) was holding a position of power, had that trademark smirk of her on her face and killed one of my favorite characters of the series, Missandei of Naath (Nathalie Emmanuel) led to an interesting ending to this episode. I was pumped for the next episode.

However, all that was done well in this episode was undone in the following episode as we see Drogon effortlessly wipe out the whole Iron Fleet that not so long ago felt threatening. I was waiting for some master plan or atleast something out of the ordinary to happen that would lead to Danny’s victory but that was not to be the case. I felt cheated by the fact that the writers put no effort at all in even trying to make this war thrilling. This particular episode had its moments and they were all moments of personal brilliance. Peter Dinklage had some great close-up shots that conveyed his shock and horror at what his queen had become. He had just got the man who saved his life executed for the same queen. There was also this wonderful reunion between him and his brother Jamie Lannister (Nikolaj Coster-Waldau) which I believe was probably the most emotionally rewarding portion of this whole series. Maisie Williams also had a few wonderful moments to shine especially in the company of Rory McCann playing Sandor ‘The Hound’ Clegane. The Hound versus the Mountain battle was something that the series was building up to for a long time but that too patters out without leaving any significant impact.

If all that was not enough, the final episode hammers the nail through the chest of the viewers when Bran is made King. A character that has done nothing for a very long time is made the king for no rhyme or reason. Danny is killed off in a manner that was a pedestrian as her decision to wipe out a whole population. Dothrakis multiplied miraculously and suddenly disappear after the death of Danny. I wouldn’t even get into how poorly the unsullied are treated. Jon is packed off to the Night’s Watch but instead is received by Tormund and the Wildings and taken further north to be their King. Again a ploy to swiftly tie off his story without any serious thoughts.

There are endless loose ends and incomplete arcs that needed tying up but remained as they were. It wouldn’t be wrong to say that the finale and the final season of Game of Thrones will be wildly discussed, cursed and defended for years to come and it just goes on to show the reach of the series and its effect on the popular culture. Irrespective of the fact that this series ended on a meek note, it still remains a feat that has never been achieved before in the history of television or online media. That is saying something about the achievements of the makers. I loved this series up till this point and even though I am disappointed in the manner in which it ended, I can’t help but feel sad and empty thinking about the fact that there will be no Game of Thrones to look forward to anymore. Let’s take this moment to applaud David Benioff and D.B. Weiss and give them their dues for entertaining and enthralling us for so many years.

Rating: 2.5/5 (2.5 out of 5 Stars)

 

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