Winter has come to King’s Landing, as snow falls on crumbled buildings and charred bodies. After eight seasons of political maneuvering, Game of Thrones ends the series with a finale that tidies up the remains of Westeros. Post-war life is a series of concessions and conciliatory efforts, though “The Iron Throne” skips some of the messier bits to create a sense of closure. As Tyrion Lannister tells Jon Snow, “No one is very happy, which means it’s a good compromise I suppose.” In “The Iron Throne,” Game of Thrones resounds with compromise, creating a slightly better political system and saving beloved characters, but leaving us feeling as worn and dejected as Jon Snow. Continue reading
In “The Bells,” Game of Thrones once more demonstrates its prowess at depicting scenes of combat and violence, as well as creating moments of powerful emotion. Daenerys Targaryen (Emilia Clarke) is mourning her losses at Dragonstone as she awaits the arrival of her army. Her feelings of isolation are magnified by conspiracy and betrayal. Daenerys’s advisors seek to moderate her destructive impulses as they prepare for a war that could kill tens of thousands of innocent people in King’s Landing. After killing Rhaegal and Missandei, it seems that Cersei Lannister (Lena Headey) has finally woken the dragon. Continue reading
In “The Last of the Starks,” Game of Thrones allows a quiet moment to mourn the dead, and the rowdy grasping of life’s joys that follows. Once the threat to mankind fades into the background, splinters are revealed. A thought becomes a whisper, a whisper turns into an idea, and an idea has the potential to develop into a plan. “The Last of the Starks” might have worked better as two shorter episodes as the center stage moves from Winterfell to King’s Landing. The sadness and anger the Dragon Queen experiences from her losses during “The Long Night” is compounded by a new attack, leaving some questioning her suitability to rule Westeros. Continue reading
In “The Long Night,” Game of Thrones finally gives us the long-awaited battle between the living and the dead. This conflict has been coming since the very first scene in the series, when a White Walker attacked a group of Night’s Watch rangers scouting beyond the Wall. After the battle of Hardhome it was evident that if the Night King and his ever-growing army made it beyond the wall, all of Westeros could be lost. Game of Thrones brings closure to this conflict through a punishing battle with an unexpected conclusion. Continue reading
The opening scene of the Season 8 premiere, “Winterfell,” reminds us of a simpler time in Game of Thrones. The arrival of Daenerys Targaryen (Emilia Clarke) and Jon Snow (Kit Harington) at Winterfell echoes that of Robert Baratheon and Cersei Lannister in Season 1. It hearkens back to a child’s excitement at seeing a royal procession and antiquated notions of heroes and villains. By the end of Season 1 we were thoroughly disabused of any fairy-tale conceptions of morality. At the start of Season 8, Winterfell has been through the worst of the War of the Five Kings, and remains under threat from the North and the South. Continue reading
In “Eastwatch,” Game of Thrones reveals the aftermath of the latest battle between Queen Cersei Lannister (Lena Headey) and Queen Daenerys Targaryen (Emilia Clarke), while Jon Snow (Kit Harington) steps up preparations for the coming battle between the living and the dead. Season 7 of Game of Thrones continues to bring together all the characters we’ve come to know, each with their own agendas. Strategies small and large are being played throughout the Seven Kingdoms, and “Eastwatch” introduces some new maneuvers into the game. Continue reading
Game of Thrones sometimes gives us explosive conflict that takes our breath away. Other times it shows us the slow process of building influence and establishing a position, similar to a game of chess. “High Sparrow” has the feel a chess game, as many of our characters have charted new paths in the ever-changing landscape of Game of Thrones.