I was never really a Game of Thrones fan in its earliest days, but then my daughter kept shortening our phone calls to her in the UK with, “I’ve gotta go… Thrones is on soon,” or “Hi Dad, quick call, just a couple of minutes during the ad break from the Thrones.”
So, around three years ago, while my wife was away for a week, to fill in some time on the quiet evenings, I decided to have a look and see what all the fuss was about. I had an OSN package that gave me access to every season, so I started with Season One, Episode One, and watched four episodes on that one night. I was hooked, line and sinker!
At the end of each series there was a feeling of having come through an experience, not watching, but living, and now it’s gone, finished, yet I don’t miss it, or feel the need for counselling now it’s gone, and to that extent, while some reviews of the finale appear less than flattering, I believe it was a conclusion that offered closure without trauma, with resolution, and with… satisfaction, and no little dignity.
If it had finished its last moments in a maelstrom of fiery, or bloody death and violence we, the viewers, could have felt robbed of an unfinished storyline or character curve, but instead we were treated to some tragedy, lost love, and lingering malice, but most of all, a sense that the leading characters were, at last, in their rightful places.
Just think about it, and the ‘baddies,’ generally got what they deserved! Daenerys Targaryen was the character who we all wanted to empathize with and love, because she was beautiful, but she was prone to excessive, stern, madness inspired violence and we always knew that wouldn’t end well. In the end she died in the arms of a man she believed could love her in spite of all that stood in their way. Maybe we didn’t want her to die, but at least she did die in the way of so many heroes and heroines of the past, tragically, but well. Interestingly, Drogon her dragon, recognised that it was her hunger for the iron throne that had been her downfall.
Ramsay Bolton! Now there was a five-star villain. He kept his dogs hungry, and they ate him alive in a deserved, ironic end. Joffrey was an evil little sod, but at least he died in agony, poisoned. The Night King was a peripheral villain and always going to perish (the undead couldn’t win!). Grey Worm was utterly mindless, but unreal. Cersei was evil, but had just enough coquettishness to get away with it. Euron was strange,
almost a caricature, Varys was an evil schemer, and so it goes on, the bad guys got their beans.
The good, well everyone wanted Jon Snow to triumph, but knew he couldn’t, after all, he had already died once, and you can’t have a zombie king! Sansa got what she wanted, ‘Queen of the North,’ and Arya, is of on new adventures, off the edge of the map, which seems appropriate. ‘Bran the Broken,’ does seem a funny name for a king, but he was just about the only character left with a clear conscience and a good heart.
All of the characters revealed their humanity, their frailty, their ability (?), need to change, adapt, be good and bad, and none were perfect, and Tyrion strode through the series like a behemoth in terms of character, often right, yet his decisions always had unseen or unwarranted consequences due to others acting in an unforeseen manner. In that, Thrones mirrored the challenges we all face every day in an ever changing world. Maybe that’s why we liked it so much? In this fantasy world, we heard Daenerys say, “Freedom means making your own choices,” and that, my friends, maybe what it was all about.