Monday, 30th October 2017

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Heartbreak time: Game of Thrones's final season

How do we explain repenting loving something so dearly in the past? Let GoT tell you

  • Published 13.05.19, 7:09 PM
  • Updated 13.05.19, 7:09 PM
  • 4 mins read
Ser Davos Seaworth (Liam Cunningham), Jon Snow (Kit Harrington) and Tyrion Lannister (Peter Dinklage) stand in front of the gates of King’s Landing and the impending war Source: HBO

It’s a bad time to be a nerd in the Game of Thrones universe. Writers David Benioff and D.B. Weiss had two years, a plot, required resources, willing actors and a fan base that gave serious competition to cults that have existed for a longer period of time, to provide a worthy climax to this iconic show. Yet, what we got in the final season was heartbreak — a painful and unexpected parting with an old friend on unprecedented terms.

This is not what we loved and this is not what we signed up for, one feels like screaming at the makers of the show. We definitely did not root for Daenerys Targeryn, the deliverer of justice, freedom and leadership to the down-trodden, to go mad in half an episode. We did not support Jaime Lannister and the evolution of his character only to have him go back to the exact place where he started — his twin sister’s arms. We definitely did not demand a Cleganebowl (a fan theory sustained over the years that suggested the two Clegane brothers will eventually come face to face for a fight) for the sole purpose of a visual extravaganza. The characters deserved better, even if it’s an early end that they deserved.

One is reminded of season four and Oberyn Martell, a character adored for his looks, charm, confidence and fighting abilities. Pedro Pascal, who had played the character, perhaps experienced one of the most gruesome deaths in the history of the television show, in the hands of Mountain. This death had a horrifying effect on the audience akin to Ned Stark’s death in season one — deaths that created an impact. In season eight, however, the ends we witnessed were inevitable and what we relied on and waited for fruitlessly, was the impact. But alas! There was none.

The army that took down a dragon (Rhaegal) within five minutes of his sighting, surrendered in the very next episode within 15 minutes of the war! One could almost feel like Drogon, the last dragon to still be alive, to have multiplied his powers overnight, spewing more fire than ever witnessed before. Yes, the episode was visually spectacular, just like we are used to, from our earlier Game of Thrones days. Playing in broad daylight, director Miguel Sapochnik delivers what he is best known for — a war scene that boils your blood and makes you want to regurgitate dinner from the night before. The intensity of watching thousands of innocent women and children running amok in a desperate attempt to save their lives was perhaps multiplied upon seeing Arya Stark being another lost soul, one in that howling crowd of desolation. Cersei’s army surrendered and rang the city bell but that did not stop Daenerys from unleashing wrath upon a city that is yet to betray her. “They say that every time a Targaryen is born, the gods toss a coin and the world holds its breath” and we did! The coin was tossed only to land upon complete destruction.

Jon Snow’s damsel-in-distress act is now infuriating. Constantly in a state of betrayal and shock, with no exceptional points of strength, Jon Snow is one trump card that I would never want to own in a game. He tells Dany that he loves her but only as a queen and it is this betrayal that acts as the final nail in the coffin. “Let it be fear then”, she says as she makes the choice of ruling on the Iron Throne, with or without the love of her people. There is only a single episode left for this franchise to end and the rightful heir to the throne still has achieved nothing other than being resurrected from the dead (thank you Melisandre) that would make him deserve the Iron Throne, or the ash-covered structure of it. Will he take down Dany in the final episode and add some redeeming value to his character’s arc? With Cersei dead, the onus of fulfilling the prophecy of Arya Stark murdering someone with green eyes lies solely on her killing Daenerys, who has green eyes in the show but purple in the book. This conundrum proves that yet again the plot with multiple loopholes will die a tragic death much like our hopes and dreams from the show.

The most poignant moment of the episode arrived as the stories of the two Lannister brothers, Tyrion and Jaime, came back a full circle. Last time (in season four), it had been Jaime helping Tyrion escape from captivity and this time, he came back to return the favour. “You were the only one who didn’t treat me like a monster. You were all I had,” Tyrion says as they hug for what seems to be the last time. Tyrion, the only character perhaps who has been an honourable mix of good and bad, delivers empathy even in the darkest moment of strife. He wants Jaime and Cersei to run away, arranges for a boat and paints a picture of homely solitude in the future for he knows that his sister maybe ruthless but her only driving force comes from her children.

The tragic, yet anti-climactic death of Cersei and Jaime in each other’s arms, leaving no legacy behind, was perhaps what she deserved but definitely not what the audience did. But for all of Jaime Lannister’s competencies and incompetencies aside, the man sure knew how to love.

What hurts a fan the most is the fact that the plotlines are really apt and perhaps inevitable but the execution was haphazard. What deterred the makers of the show to spread this season out over two instead of one? One can only wonder.