Does this really need a spoiler alert? OK, spoiler alert. Don’t have a meltdown.
Dany touching the Throne of Swords in the snow in 8.6 completes one of the dream-visions she had in the House of the Undead in the last episode of Season 2. In Season 2 she resisted the dream-temptations given her by her captors, and woke up to roast them using her new baby dragons’ fire-power. (For more on this topic of Dany resisting temptations of power in Season 2, see this link to an earlier post on this blog.) Finally succumbing to her desire for the Throne in season 8 totally fits her character, and her delusions. Her speech to Jon in 8.6 (and Clarke’s acting) were just right. Note how her “break the wheel” speech was actually about the power to reinvent the wheel, absolute tyranny calling itself freedom, etc. Only Tyrion is able to appreciate the irony of that. However, the white savior narrative generated around Dany remains intact, unfortunately, in both Martin’s text and HBO’s eight-season interpretation. For more on the sad ironies of this at a moment when writers of color are doing remarkable things in the “Fantasy” genre, see below.
So if the old maester-scribe whose name I can’t remember included all the details of HBO’s Season 8 in the big book of chronicles that Sam decided to call A Song of Ice and Fire, that means George RR Martin is being cast now as basically a copyist, not really an author Ha ha. Since the ending is already done, what’s taking Martin so long to transcribe it & present it as his own? If you’re curious about this, I have an answer at the end. It’s only partly tongue-in-cheek.
Not sure we should be happy with Brienne’s fate, either as a knight or as a scribe. After getting betrayed by Jaime, she is rewarded by having to write down the heroic version of Jaime’s story, without any mention of the many things they did together??!! (Remember the bath scene and the months on the road, etc., not just the bed they finally shared.) Women can be writers as well as knights, but they still must serve the patriarch’s narrative? Sorta complicates the feel-good equity moment of Brienne’s knighting, no? She’s finally gotten Knighted and then was on the sidelines while the last battle played out. Now … what? What does an unemployed Knight do all day?
Drogon has learned something important about human beings: thus the melting down the Throne of Swords. Of course, without a Throne to fight over, humans probably find something else to fight over, given the stuff we’re made of. I thought Drogon’s morphing from Alien-like monster to the mourning of their* “mother” was pretty powerful, and even better I liked the way in which — admit it — the Jon Is Toast story-line we all expected was suddenly changed. The dragon understood that maybe the Throne caused all the fighting, so like a Zen master with fire-power they melt down what everyone thought they wanted. Clever, But see next topic. *we don’t know Drogon’s gender, do we?
So the solution is parliamentary democracy (but with 6 kingdoms rather than 7) and with all the different “tribes” living in their separate spaces, developing their own mostly self-sufficient economies along with enough trade with each other to bind them together via mutual trade networks. Is that really the solution for eternal peace? Economically, perhaps it makes sense: countries with extensive trade networks tend not to go to war with each other. (However, see the point about Braavos bankers below.) But there’s an ethnic/racial subtext here. Isn’t the GoT ending Multiculturalism Light? Which is in fact Ethnic Nationalism Heavy? That is, every tribe to their own Territory and things will all be fine? Dothrakis back to Dothraki-land, the Unsullied to Naath, Wildings with their new adoptee Jon to North of the North, Yara back to the Iron Islands, … you get the picture. What are the implications of this Fantasy for the world, including the US, after 2016?
Characters-of-color story-lines in Game of Thrones got repeatedly under-written and under-developed by the show-runners and script-writers throughout the 8 seasons. Which means that on TV “fantasy” is reaffirmed as the domain of Whiteness (especially Celtic whiteness) just at the moment when, in print, really revolutionary scripts about what Fantasy can be and can do are being authored by writers of color! Hopkinson, Solomon, (Marlon) James, Jemisin, Belleza, Adeyemi, and many others, not to mention ancestors like Delany and Butler (and I’d add Le Guin) …
The writers had no idea what to do with “Yara” either….
On the other hand, Sansa’s shut-down of mansplaining at the 8.6 postwar council meeting was priceless. Her new Northern crown was pretty cool too, design-wise. Anyone else notice how her hair got redder and redder over the last few seasons? She’s definitely going full Celtic on us.
Speaking of supply-lines and finances, a favorite topic of the new Sansa, aren’t the bankers from Braavos rather pissed with this “ending”? What happened to all their investment money? Who pays those Lannister debts? The negotiation scene between the Bankers’ representative and King “Broken Man” Bran has great comic potential, but we didn’t get to see it. Would be even better if Bronn “Coin Man” Bronn were at the table.
Speaking of comic potential, the best scene in 8.6 that no one’s mentioned is this one: reluctant Hand Tyrion nervously rearranging all the chairs before the committee meeting, in the hopes that it wouldn’t turn out to be the usual mixture of stuff that happens when human beings meet to set up subcommittees, which is boredom, subtle insults mixed in the all the niceties, and god-awful new work assignments for all, report back to us on your “progress” with those sewers next week please. If you didn’t laugh during the discussion of brothels, something is wrong with you.
Yeah, Ser Davos might have been a better King than Bran. Hint: always vote for the “Do I have a vote?” person. But of course Bran has so much charisma and will be great, just great, at persuading people to do what they don’t want to do….
Bran probably can foresee that all the different “nations” or “kingdoms” will be fighting again in a generation or two, if not within the next decade. If the big previous long war was triggered by adultery and a kidnapping, some similar knuckleheaded business could re-light antagonisms again, regardless of trade networks, right? And while the surviving leaders were deliberating over “what government should we go with?,” why didn’t anyone ask Bran to warg ahead and see if he can see what the future holds?
Jon certainly is slow-witted. As was the dialogue between Tyrion and Jon in the jail. If those speeches about Duty and Love went on much longer I would have asked for a Drogon intervention. But Jon got a good ending. Did you notice that we heard Ghost’s whine off-camera before Jon reunited with him and atoned for his ignoring Ghost in the earlier episode? I know I was being emotionally manipulated by the show-runners at that moment … yet I sure did enjoy it.
What happened to Arya’s white horse? Re-joined the Dothraki? Her lines about heading “off the map” and “west of Westeros” were my two favorites in the Finale, along with our being reassured that she had Needle with her for the journey. Guess she listened to the advice she got from Sandor Clegane about revenge. RIP Sandor.
So where do dragons go to bury their dead, and what do they do afterward? Sad to think there will be no new dragons born.
Perhaps George R R Martin hasn’t published the final books in this series because he’s discovered another manuscript full of stories excluded from the Song of Ice and Fire canonical volume that Samuel Tarly showed us in 8.6! Martin has sometimes been at home trying to collate and cross-reference the two, but mostly that labor is proving so difficult that he repeatedly leaves his writing desk in the dark to go celebritize under the bright lights at Comic Con and other events…. It’s not true that “nothing can stop a story”: celebrity fan adulation can. Hmmm. Perhaps Martin should hire not Bran the Broken but Bran the Story-Man to be his ghost-writer?