By Roy Mathur, on 2019-05-21, at 12:01:47 to 13:04:13 BST, for Captain Roy's Rocket Radio Show, Listen
The Finale of GoT was released Sunday the 19th of May 2019... so let's talk about that.
We see the survivors stumbling through the rubble (Vice Squad song) of Kings Landing. Jon witnesses the Unsullied killing prisoners. Tyrion find the bodies of Jaime and Cersei. Tyrion goes to the Red Keep to confront Daenerys--lands himself incarcerated, awaiting execution.
It seems to sink through to Jon (at last), that Daenerys is insane. He later visits Tyrion, and we find out that he still needs to be convinced by Tyrion that Daenerys needs to be stopped. Man, that guy is thick. Tyrion convinces him after a lot of persuasion. Jon goes to see Daenerys for a last minute check on her sanity, which she, in full supervillain dark lord of the Sith megalomania mode, fails. So, he quietly stabs and kills her. Drogon is angry, but melts the Iron Throne instead of Jon (good old Targaryen dragonrider bloodline), then scoops up his mother and flies off to see.
Later, judging by Tyrion's beard growth, a council of lords and ladies calls on him for advice. He recommends Bran, they accept, and Bran the Broken of the Six Kingdoms, makes Tyrion his Hand, while Sansa takes control of the North.
Arya leaves aboard a ship heading west for adventure.
Jon is sentenced to the Night's Watch (again), goes to Castle Black, where Tormund Giantsbane, Ghost, and the Free Folk are waiting. They head north together, leaving Castle Black.
Back at Kings Landing, the small council, that includes Sam and Bron, meet. It is now headed by Tyrion. Sam shows Tyrion the finished Song of Ice and Fire that apparently doesn't include Tyrion. Sam and Bron argue about the importance of public sanitation versus brothels.
The last episode was a fairly low-key affair. It wasn't exciting. It was tragic, poignant, slightly amusing at the end, and tied up all the plot points.
Despite my complaints, I watched the whole series from beginning to end. They were some problems, that we'll talk about, but the overall story arc was entertaining enough, even when the showrunners overtook and wobbled past the narrative of GRRM's the books.
Representation of Women? The show is so big that what happens on-screen has repercussions in the world outside the show. The way Daenerys and Cersei, are the most vengeful characters, has demonstrated that, in the minds of some fans, the show represents women as emotion driven and unfit to rule. I'm glad others have dug into this because it is a valid point, if you take them as representative of women as a whole. Daenerys has always been vengeful. Though, given the abuse she has suffered, who could blame her for one or two acts of revenge. But it's more that that. She escalates. Increasing body counts, crucifixions, executions by dragon, wanting to be a ruler who is loved (what ruler is loved?), and finally egomania. And when the Mother of Dragons doesn't get what she wants... Dracarys! Even if Daenerys turned out to be great, what of her heirs? This is a medieval world where people believe in the divine right of kings. In the end, Emilia Clark does a good job of someone who could quite easily turn to the dark side, and does. That scene when she stands at the top of the stairs and surveys and rallies her troops makes her look like a fascist dictator. Cersei's unquestioning love for her children, especially the evil Joffrey is her undoing. Again, who can blame a mother for loving their children, but it's the degree that her natural sociopathy combines with that love that turns it into something vicious. Sansa, on the other hand.... Was what she did to Ramsay Bolton problematic? Frankly, no. He was a monster and deserved it. Besides, Sansa has not escalated in bloodthirstiness since. Arya too, gives up her quest for revenge. Maybe these changes are handled clumsily, but it shows that generally, women are not vengeful or unfit to rule in Game of Thrones.
Representation of Non-White Characters? Before Meereen and Dorne, I was banging on about the lack of representation of diverse characters very early on, when GoT was very very white. Well, the dark skinned characters, while they are present mainly as Dothraki and Unsullied, just seem to exist to serve Daenerys. So, not surprisingly, one of the characters I liked, while he was on the show, was Salladhor Saan; an acquisitive mercenary pirate played by British actor Lucian Msamati. In this universe, what is better? Loyalty to a tyrant, or gold?
I think everyone will agree that Arya's arc is probably the happiest. She doesn't go back to Gendry, but she also abandons vengeance and Westeros and goes off on an adventure. This is really great because as a sword and sorcery fan, rather than a high fantasy fan, this is usually the path my favourite characters take. My only problem is that it is almost exactly the same path her character, Me, in Doctor Who takes. Did Doctor Who influence Benioff and Weiss?
The showrunners threw in a realistic quip from the council about democracy at the end, bearing in mind this is a Medieval world of monarchies, when the members laugh at Sam's suggestion that everyone get a vote on the next ruler.
David Benioff and D.B Weiss must have impressed the right people, i.e. the money people, because they are slated to make the first post-Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker film. Remember that hiatus Disney CEO Bob Iger mentioned, well the new movie is scheduled for release on the December 16th 2022. Not much of a break.
Is this the beginning of a new era of fantasy film and television? BBC His Dark Materials; sure, if nothing else because I pay the BBC licence, the possible Game of Thrones prequel; no thanks, and Amazon's Lord of the Ring Prequel; not sure. I do hope that new fantasy; low, high, or sword and sorcery, is less sloppy with props; helmets and armour that doesn't look useless, the fight training; I saw John waving his free hand right in the path of a sword, and the battle coordination, which occasionally looked ridiculous. I also demand, as a consumer, that new fantasy is more inclusive of minorities and has better roles for women.
Verdict? In the larger scheme of shows that I like, will I watch it again? Maybe a few exciting episodes like Blackwater, but I'm not planning on a full rewatch. My podcast is a year younger than the show and has grown during its broadcast, and though this isn't a GoT podcast, it is a geek show obsessed with genre that includes fantasy, so I have enjoyed being part of this geek and non-geek unifying cultural phenomenon.