Spoilers galore, read at your own discretion.
And the city burned, bricks aglow like falling stars cascading upon one another and human beings in a blind fury that heedless of its destination unleashed destruction the winding history of that land had never dreamed of in its goriest nightmare. Aerys II Targaryen, who wished to rule with kindness but, spurred by his incestuous lineage, became convinced murder was an amusing courtly activity, raved that he was going to burn the city. He was the Mad King, but it was his daughter with the vision to change the world for the better, breaking the “wheel” of age-old tyranny, freeing people of chains and cruel ways, who riding a dragon, drops fire on King’s Landing turning children, women, men, soldiers, and horses into char and ash that is hard to distinguish from the burnt chunks of buildings that once housed human beings and their broken lives and broken dreams.
As Lord Varys says in the Game of Thrones' penultimate episode, “Every time a Targaryen is born, the gods toss a coin, and the world holds its breath.”
In the finale of Game of Thrones, the most-watched show in the history of humans who watch television shows with devotion that is borderline fanatic, obsessed with who lives and who dies and who kills, who is going to conquer who-the-hell-cares which kingdom, there is so much that breaks the heart, so much that gladdens the heart, so much that leaves questions unanswered, ends that are loose, stories wistfully unfinished. To make happy millions of viewers of the acclaimed-beyond-expectations eight-season series based on George R.R. Martin’s A Song of Ice and Fire and recreation of David Benioff and D.B. Weiss is a fantasy made in TV heaven, but life, like Game of Thrones, has a way of stunning you when you least expect it.
Game of Thrones in all its glory and disappointments has rewritten television history, how stories are told, and how good stories have the power to bring the world together.
Game of Thrones could never, with its endless drama, intrigue, heartbreak, heartache, treason, betrayal, bloodshed, beheadings, stabbing in the heart, stabbing in the back, acts of stark cruelty, kindness that sought no gratitude, window-less darkness, ice-covered castles, kingdoms with no king, armies that had to be vanquished, kingly scores that had to be settled, kingdoms that wailed for a new ruler, alliances of blood and power and ambition unlimited, and loss that made human-shaped holes all over Westeros, have ended on a globally satisfactory note. Game of Thrones in all its glory and disappointments has rewritten television history, how stories are told, and how good stories have the power to bring the world together riveted to a magnificent narration of the best and the worst of human beings. The rest is all confetti.
Game of Thrones as it wraps itself in an unwieldy finale makes me sad; what I’d miss the most about this splendour of television is its magic of storytelling. Magnificent dialogue, profound musings on life and what life is and what life could be, crackling humour, sharp-as-Arya’s-Needle quips, and lofty words used for things mundane, Game of Thrones rewords stories told countless times in a unique manner that has the power to move and affect. Lords Varys and Lord Baelish, Tyrion Lannister and Lord Varys, Tyrion Lannister and Twyin Lannsiter, Tyrion Lannister and Cersei Lannister, throughout the eight seasons, there are so many verbal interactions that you hear transfixed. Game of Thrones is as Tyrion says in the finale: “What unites people? Armies? Gold? Flags? Stories. There's nothing more powerful in the world than a good story. Nothing can stop it. No enemy can defeat it.”
The 19.3 viewers across the HBO platforms, the Game of Thrones finale is the power of good television uniting for one hour and twenty minutes people divided on lines of border, nationality, ideology, and faith. The world watched with a breath that was bated the fate of characters loved and loathed and haloed and mocked in equal measure. Game of Thrones went beyond being a TV show. What it is, the encapsulation of that in a limited-space piece of writing is harder than killing the Night King. Even with the best dagger made of the finest Valyrian steel.
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In the Game of Thrones finale, there are scenes that send chills down the soul. Daenerys Targaryen, resplendent, unbroken, cold as ice, rides Drogon and drops fire on a city that she wishes to free of cruelty and tyranny. She burns the bad guys, she burns children clinging to their mothers, she burns soldiers, she burns families that have done no harm to her. In her victory, Daenerys, with her singular mission to sit on the Iron Throne, becomes everything she sets out to fight years ago, fragile, vulnerable, lost, noble.
In the Game of Thrones finale, Sandor and Gregor Clegane, the Hound and the Mountain, the two brothers who are mortal enemies, have a fated fight that could only have one end: complete annihilation of the other. Its very ferociousness has the deeply moving intensity that comes from looking at the emotional and physical distance between people who have the same blood but have stones cobbled around their heart.
In the Game of Thrones finale, Jon Snow, frozen in an excruciating dilemma of love and duty, knows that his heart that was stabbed with a dagger will always be broken. As he takes Daenerys in his arms, the woman he loves, the woman he is forbidden by the world to love, he knows what he is going to do must be done. Putting the dagger in the heart of the woman who thought her only destiny was sitting on the Iron Throne, inches and moments away from fulfilling her destiny, is the hardest thing he has ever had to do.
In the Game of Thrones finale, you feel your heart shrinking to the size of a silver coin as you watch Drogon mourn the death of his mother. The giant dragon touching with his nose the tiny, still, brokenhearted body of Deanrys is one of those unreal images that have the power to touch you in places of your being you didn’t even know existed.
In the Game of Thrones finale, Tyrion loses his best friend, Lord Varys. Tyrion betrays Varys. Tyrion is shattered. In the finale, Tyrion also loses the only person who loved him, his brother Jamie, to whom he says in the episode 5 of the last season, “If it weren't for you, I never would have survived my childhood.” As he stands wordlessly next to the rubble covering the bodies of his dead siblings, his eyes, darkened in pain, are the entire universe mourning his loss.
In the Game of Thrones finale, the Stark siblings, in a silent acknowledgment of their destiny, set out to change the world that has seen too much pain, weighed with the loss of much that is irretrievable.
In the Game of Thrones finale, Jon Snow is reunited with his Ghost, a moment of pure love that has a few parallels in a story full of separation, loss, heartache, longing, and death.
In the Game of Thrones finale there is much that you wish had happened, much that you wish could have been different, much that remains untouched, much that is forgotten. Much that is still buried in the crypts of Winterfell. And much that still lies far to the west of Westeros. There are untold stories of villainy and heroism beyond the thousand swords that made the Iron Throne. That is the magic of Game of Thrones. It is what is and what isn’t. It is what you think it should be but won’t be. It is everything and nothing.
It is what has rendered me, like the writers of Game of Thrones, incapable of finding the perfect ending.