(Disclaimer – spoilers ahead for Game of Thrones Season 7)
It’s time to say goodbye to Westeros for another year (or two if HBO decide to hold back the final series till 2019), but after an intense finale we still have plenty of things to discuss. Satisfying deaths, inevitable treachery and fan theories abound.
Where to begin? Perhaps we had best discuss the elephant in the room regarding Jon and Daenerys’ liaison, whilst Bran narrates the nature of Jon’s parentage that could spell disaster for the new lovers. Most fans had already suspected that Rhaegar had somehow managed to legitimise Jon before his own death at the hands of Robert Baratheon on the Trident, especially after we had the R+L=J theory confirmed for us at the end of the last season, but now this means that Daenerys has a new obstacle in the way of her ascension to the Iron Throne.
If and when this information comes into public knowledge in Westeros, how will Daenerys respond? Even if Jon forsakes his claim on the crown, surely her legitimacy as monarch will be compromised. Will the two find their Targaryen bond a help or hindrance in their relationship? For Daenerys, incest has always been part of her family’s history, but the honourable Jon is unlikely to favour such a controversial union. And, with the heavy-handed emphasis on Daenerys’ infertility suggesting something to the contrary, it may well be that next season we see an addition to the Targaryen dynasty. In spite of everything we’ve learnt about Jon’s lineage, we’re simply left with more questions than we had to begin with to mull over until season 8.
This season of Thrones has certainly taken a fresh tone and a quicker pace – welcomed by viewers with a mixed reception. We’ve had fewer of the shocking deaths that bought the series its fame, but just as we had the satisfaction of the House Frey annihilation to start the season, Littlefinger’s surprise execution closed the series perfectly. We need not have feared that the Starks would be torn apart just as they were reunited, and to see Sansa and Arya finally reach a common ground was a huge relief. The pack will survive.
Or, at least we hope so, especially after the dragon pit scene. You would be forgiven that a pregnant Cersei would finally relent and join forces with Jon and Daenerys to defend the Seven Kingdoms after coming that close to a Whitewalker. However, her backstabbing knows no end. It would seem that season 8 is not going to be a simple fight against the living and the dead. The tension of that scene was palpable, and there was genuine hope that progress had been made – but with the season closing on the dark image of the demolished Eastwatch, and the army of the dead marching south over the remains of the Wall, our characters look set to face the dead on an even worse stage.
Now that the end is almost upon us, the stage is set for the conclusion of what may well be the greatest TV show of all time. Certainly, Thrones has set the benchmark high not only for the fantasy genre on the whole but for TV shows generally. Plot twists, casting and design have been phenomenal throughout. Season 8 now must fulfil its duty to cement Game of Thrones in television history, roll on the final season…roll on the Ice and Fire.
- The annihilation of House Frey – perhaps the strongest season opener yet, and it provided some much-needed revenge for the Red Wedding.
- The Loot Train attack – to see Daenerys’ army fighting for the first time like that was amazing and left viewers on the edge of their seats. I have no idea which was more terrifying – the sight of Drogon burning so many Lannister men alive at once, or the carnage caused by the Dothraki.
- Viserion’s demise …and resurrection beyond the Wall – tears were shed and our worst fears realised as one of the dragons joined the legion of the dead.
- The destruction of the Wall – we knew that Eastwatch’s destruction was inevitable, but that didn’t make it any less extraordinary to watch as the finale closed on this scene.