Here’s the thing, everyone: endings are really hard. Very few stories get them right. For every Breaking Bad, which has about as perfect an ending as television has ever seen, there are plenty more series that end on a sour note, like Lost, Dexter, or The Sopranos. Unfortunately for Game of Thrones, the rush to wrap everything up so that showrunners David Benoiff and D.B. Weiss could get that Disney/Star Wars money left longtime fans of the hit HBO fantasy drama feeling like an afterthought.
The episode begins with Tyrion (and to a lesser extent, Jon Snow) surveying the decimated King’s Landing, slaughtered by Daenerys Targaryen (and Drogon) the week before. There are plenty of dead children, charred skeletons, and suffering survivors. Greyworm executes Lannister soldiers in the streets, despite Jon’s insistence that they are now merely prisoners.
Tyrion explores the caves and tunnels beneath the Red Keep, looking for evidence that his brother Jaime may have survived the chaos. Instead, he finds both of his older siblings buried amongst the rubble, and both are very dead. Although he knew that Cersei was evil, Tyrion always had a special bond with his brother Jaime. The sudden confirmation that he is now the last Lannister alive was a sobering punch in the face, and one of that only spurred on Tyrion’s decision to confront the Queen over her actions and resign as Hand (oh, and he’s arrested for treason).
One of the best scenes of this finale was Dany standing on the steps of the Red Keep, bellowing out war propaganda to the Unsullied and Dothraki. She spoke openly about “liberating” the people of King’s Landing, which is a funny way to say “I murdered a bunch of innocent peasants.” Jon Snow looks on as she talks about “liberating” all of Westeros, from Dorne to Winterfell.Screenshot via HBO