Game of Thrones recap: Finally, the Khaleesi gets off her duff



Actually, there were a lot of “finally” moments in the finale, which is fitting:

  • Arya finally gets to employ her new skills in obtaining what she wants — revenge. That is to say, she had her “My name is Inigo Montoya” moment.
  • As a result, we don’t have to look at Walder Frey’s ugly, nasty, antisocial puss any more.
  • Jon Snow, the bastard who was never treated as a true Stark and who ended last season suffering the ultimate insult-to-injury treatment, finally comes into his own, winning the esteem and devotion of the entire north (if you don’t count Littlefinger, which I don’t).
  • Everyone acknowledges that, as chief Westerosi meteorologist Ned Stark told them so emphatically long ago, Winter is indeed Coming.
  • Tyrion Lannister, whose drinking problem arose largely from his never getting any respect back home, finally gets a promotion — and not a grudging, degrading one like he got that time he was the Hand of the King.
  • All that futzing around with the High Sparrow is at a cataclysmic end, and we know who’s in charge in King’s Landing. True, it’s the wrong Lannister — if the Iron Throne had to be occupied by one of that incestuous pair, we’d all be better off with Jaime (as was noted in commentary after the episode, now that all her children are dead, Cersei has no redeeming qualities at all) — but at least all that uncertainty is over.
  • Samwell Tarly, who has so wanted to become a maester, has that glorious moment beholding the ultimate dream library, which is his to dive into.

And as I said in the headline, the Mother of Dragons finally, finally stops with the big talk and the hemming and the hawing and the messing around with local politics over across the Narrow Sea, and heads toward what she has told us with unrelieved monotony for years is her destiny. Sheesh! About time. At last, the girl will put up or shut up.

Anyway, I found it all fairly satisfying, and now I can happily drop my HBO Now subscription, and not think about it any more until next year. Since, you know, Amazon Prime give me everything else HBO has to offer…

Below, you see Jon being acknowdged as King in the North. Yay. But it reminds me I’d like to see one more “finally” moment. I’d like to see someone finally pay the light bill in Westeros. Why does everything have to be so dark that I can’t tell what’s happening if I try to watch on my iPad in a room with any lights on at all?


19 thoughts on “Game of Thrones recap: Finally, the Khaleesi gets off her duff

  1. Brad Warthen Post author

    As for my complaint about everything being so dark…

    You may say, just turn out the lights while you’re watching the show.

    Well, that’s easier said than done when one is watching it to make the time pass while giving platelets at the Red Cross.

    Not that GoT is what I’d call Safe for Watching While in Public…. although, come to think of it, I don’t think any women got naked in this one…

    1. Brad Warthen Post author

      I did have an embarrassing moment last week. It was at the end of the long platelet-giving ordeal, and the technician was unhooking me. I had stopped the show, and the title page was displayed on my screen: “Battle of the Bastards.”

      The nice lady asked, “WHAT are you watching?” I got a bit flustered…

      1. Brad Warthen Post author

        Also… You know why I haven’t watched the latest season of “House of Cards?” Here’s why…

        I started to — while giving platelets, a couple of months back.

        The first episode opened with a voice reading pornography aloud. Graphic pornography. The “c” word was used. Gratuitously, unnecessarily.

        You may think that wouldn’t matter, since I’m listening with earbuds.

        But since I started having my Meniere’s problem, I’ve made it a habit to watch things with the subtitles turned on — especially in a place like that, where they have the TV on and various conversations going on around me.

        And I didn’t want anyone reading that over my shoulder.

        Not to mention what was going on on the screen as the words were spoken.

        So I stopped, just seconds into it.

        And since then, I haven’t wanted to make time to watch it furtively, like a kid hiding under the covers with a flashlight and his big brother’s “Playboy.”

        In fact, I just haven’t had an appetite for watching it anyway. Since the start, the American version of the show has been a sort of “watch it because everybody’s talking about it” thing. I can’t say that I’ve ever really actively enjoyed it.

        Having it start out with such a ham-handed bid to shock just makes me even less interested…

      1. Brad Warthen Post author

        Thanks, Jim!

        Basically, that piece says what I expected: They shoot it so dark because, with digital and HD, they can.

        I particularly appreciated the part about the influence of “The Godfather.” The chiaroscuro look of the film was one of the things I loved about it. But that’s because it suited the subject matter so well. That’s not the case with everything.

        One dark show that continue to puzzle me is “The West Wing.” That was shot before HD was available, and the show’s tone wasn’t somber or foreboding — so why the darkness?

        I’ve been in the West Wing and walked around in it a bit — it’s not that dark…

  2. Bryan Caskey

    I thought it was a great season finale. There was a lot of resolution, and none of it felt forced or contrived. It felt earned. Cersei blowing up the Sept of Baelor with the liquid fire is sort of hearkens back to what the Mad King was going to do (kill everyone with the liquid fire) before Jamie kills him. I wonder how Jamie feels seeing King’s Landing go up in fire since that’s what he sacrificed his honor to prevent.

    Afterwards, Tommen did own impression of the Brexit, so you know that Cersei is basically just going to be the Mad Queen from here on out.

    Up North, the little girl who’s in charge of House Mormant is making all the men look like sad sacks, ain’t she? She might be my new favorite character. The scene where she shames all the men who failed to fight is awesome.

    The Jon Snow being the son of someone Targaryen and Ned’s sister is a neat reveal, and I guess that sets Jon up to be in contention for the Iron Throne? But for that to be the case, Bran’s going to have to get back to civilization and report that news, because otherwise, no one actually knows that, right? I’m hoping that means Bran is safe for awhile.

    It was also satisfying to see Frey meet his end, but I didn’t know that Arya learned how to do the faceless man magic on her own. When did she learn that? Maybe they skipped over the part where she learned that at the Face-Changing Assassin School. In any event, it was a resolution that felt earned.

    Likewise, I’m glad that the Mother of Dragons is heading over to get into the fight. Man, that’s going to be a good fight. She’s got some of the Iron Fleet, the Dothraki, the Unsullied, and her dragons. Does she even need allies? She only really has to defeat the Lannisters and their hangers-on, right? I don’t think Jon Snow and his bunch up in the North want anything other than to be left alone.

    I’m guessing that the Mother of Dragons is going to show up and then Jon is going to be like “Hang on, dragon-babe, we gots to kill all these White Walkers before you do your Iron Throne dance.

    Dragons vs. White Walkers? You always got to go with air-superiority in that one.

        1. Michael Bramson

          Plus the book series is called A Song of Ice and Fire. Poetic justice pretty much demands that the dragons fight the white walkers.

  3. David Carlton

    I keep reading people complaining that the series has stopped upending people’s expectations the way it did in the early going (Ned’s beheading, the Red Wedding, etc.), falling more and more into the tired cliches of fantasy. Frankly, I’m up for it. Yes, the reality of the Middle Ages was pretty brutal, but if that’s all we’re going to be told, we can get it from history. But there’s a story to be told, and, after six seasons, actually ended at some point. I suspect the root of the problem is with GRRM, who can’t figure out how to turn his marvelously crafted, if bleak, world into a story. Now that the showrunners have outrun his narrative, they can tighten up the story and give it narrative momentum.

    They can also give us some things to care about. Can Dany become the good ruler she claims she wants to be? The fact that she has Westeros’s Machiavelli (I mean that in a good way) at her ear gives reason for cautious optimism. That she can evoke such loyalty from such a wide range of people and dragons suggests that she can govern in a manner opposite that of get-rid-of-everybody-but-me Cersei–if she can control her own demons.

    In the North, I’m hoping that Jon and Sansa have reached an understanding and will develop a true partnership, confounding all those hopes I hear expressed that Sansa will supplant him or play him off against Littlefinger. For a guy who nearly screwed up the Battle of the Bastards, he attracts enormous loyalty in the North–I think an indication that, despite his flaws, people appreciate his willingness to sacrifice himself for his comrades and point people to a cause larger than themselves. I’m also pulling for him because he shows no interest in the tiresome Game of Thrones, which is really a distraction from the true threat, and because he believes that the North, and humanity, needs to stand united against the White Walkers. Like Varys (at least what he claims), I want the good of the realm, which tends to be an afterthought with most of these characters. Jon cares; Tyrion, in spite of himself, cares. My optimistic money is on them.

    1. Brad Warthen Post author

      I agree with you 100 percent.

      Both the death of Ned and the Red Wedding turned me off to the show. It’s one thing for characters to die, but to have your one character who comes closest to being a hero be killed out of hand at the whim of that contemptible, absurd little twerp Joffrey? That renders the story not worth following.

      It’s a wonder I didn’t stop watching (the way I did immediately after the most manipulative death on Downton Abbey). But I had just signed up for HBO Now, and I thought I might as well continue and see what everybody’s talking about.

      And as you say, “They can also give us some things to care about.” A fantasy with knights and dragons is a ridiculous genre for gritty, grind-your-face-in-it fatalism. There should be nobility, and someone to root for. It can be tragic, like Morte d’Arthur, but you should have characters to care about….

      1. Brad Warthen Post author

        This, to me, is the key paragraph in James Jones’ The Thin Red Line:


        Yes, the battle-weary cynic Bell is heaping scorn on the “semblance of meaning” in creative art. But when it comes to something like Game of Thrones, I demand and expect it…

  4. Scout

    I think Jon Snow is very like Ned Stark. He was loyal to a fault and not terribly good with the politics of it all either.

    I had heard the theory that Jon was the child of Leanna and Rhaegar. My brother in law is very into it and keeps me abreast of all these internet rumors. I don’t understand why Ned couldn’t tell Catlyn that secret. Just guessing, but it seemed like she really thought Jon was Ned’s bastard and never forgave either of them for it. Maybe he did tell her and she was still was just that way.

    There is another rather significant rumor out there if anybody wants more potential spoilers. I will just say that the person that I personally think is the most decent Lannister may not actually be a Lannister after all. At some point in the book there was rumor of the coming of a three headed dragon. Presumably Dany and Jon are now two of those heads. You can ruminate on who the third might be.

    It’s also kind of interesting that Women seem to be taking over all the positions of power of late.

    1. Brad Warthen Post author

      Yeah… and they’re not getting nekkid as much any more.

      Maybe because at some point the audience expanded beyond adolescent boys.

      For some reason, sometime back, I went back and watched the first episode of the first season. I’m pretty sure it had the most nudity, measured as square inches of female skin, in the whole history of the series (just in that one scene with Tyrion in the brothel). So it created certain expectations…


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