Spoilers Ahead! Watch Out!
Starting on April 14, 2019, HBO began airing the eighth and final season of “Game of Thrones” (GoT). Since its pilot episode, which aired on April 17, 2011, GoT has lead fans on an enticing and captivating journey through the mythical lands of Westeros and beyond.
The main plot of GoT is centered around the fight for the Iron Throne and control of the Seven Kingdoms in Westeros. Through the seasons, various characters have attempted to seize the throne, many of whom are now dead. Aside from this main story line, GoT focuses on a lot of major side plots that keep most of the characters separated. Some of the most important of these side stories include the Night King’s march south, Daenerys’ quest for an army and reclaiming the Iron throne for her family, and Sansa’s escape from captivity. The interconnectedness of these side stories leaves a lot of room for mystery and keeps the series engaging.
One of the most amazing things that GoT has been able to accomplish is bringing together almost all of the characters to Winterfell in the final season for a common purpose – defeating the Night King and his army of the dead. Often times in shows and movies that have a lot of individual character plots, there end up being many dei ex machina—sudden and forced circumstances—in order to bring everyone together at the end. GoT, however, has miraculously avoided this by planning out many of the story lines well in advance so that everyone coming together feels natural.
Including different storylines for the characters in GoT has allowed for many of the great reunions that fans have been looking forward to in this final season. The main reunion has been of that between Jon Snow and Arya Stark, who have not seen each other since season one, which fans have been looking forward to for quite a while. However, as fans looking in on the world of GoT, we know information that not all of the characters know. Being able to see the characters’ reactions as they find out what others have done, both good and bad, in the first two episodes of the final season helps move forward the character arcs and personalities of these characters that we have been following for so long.
One the most intriguing character arcs that we have seen and followed has been that of Theon Greyjoy. Through the seasons, we have gone from not caring about Theon to hating Theon to feeling pity for Theon to finally being proud of Theon and so much more in between. Giving Theon the honorable death that he deserved truly made the fans content with the life that he lived, and he will continue to live in our hearts. GoT’s ability to change the fans’ feelings about a character so drastically over the span of the series serves to prove what a great show GoT really is.
“GoT made the entire episode entrancing for their viewers and kept them on the edge of their seat.”
Another great display of how amazing of a show GoT is can be seen through their third episode of the final season. This episode is the longest battle sequence ever in television history. Normally, a person can only bear to watch so much of a battle scene before it gets boring. However, by focusing on the various characters that we have cared about for so many seasons and hope would survive through the battle, GoT made the entire episode entrancing for their viewers and kept them on the edge of their seats.
GoT also decided not to allow the Night King to die on the first assassination attempt from Daenerys, nor the second attempt from Jon, keeping viewers on edge for the entire episode. By giving fans moments of hope followed by despair, for example the Dothraki flames going out, GoT made it apparent that this battle would not be an easy one for the living. The absence of an easy victory aided in making the episode more realistic.
The manner in which the Night King died was also very fulfilling for viewers as it was widely accepted that he was significantly stronger than all the other characters in the show. Leading up to the death scene, GoT took advantage of fans’ interest in the many characters of the show to divert their attention and make them forget about one of the most important characters in the series. Giving Arya, the only character trained to be a stealthy assassin and likely the only character capable of getting close to and killing the Night King, the final blow gave fans the satisfaction that they deserve after following the show for 69 previous episodes.
Even at the last moment, the Night King’s death did not come without an obstacle as he caught Arya midair at her neck and restricted the arm in which she held the Valerian steel dagger. Despite the classic drop of the dagger and catching it in the other hand being a bit too cliché, the final scene was one that no true GoT fan could not be proud of.
Moving forward, towards the rest of the season and the end of the series, GoT fans will forever keep the connections they have made with the characters over the past seven and a half seasons and hope for an ending of The Last War as rewarding as that given to The Great War. And even after the series finale on May 19, 2019, Game of Thrones will forever live in our hearts.
“What do we say to the God of Death? Not today.”