*If you’re avoiding Game of Thrones spoilers, you have no business being on the internet until you’ve watched the finale.*
Our watch has ended, the internet is roiling, and I, like many, am frustrated with parts of season eight and deeply satisfied by others. Whatever your opinion on Game of Thrones, I think we can all agree that the tweets and memes surrounding this season are stellar, and some of my favorites are collected in this post.
First, some of my frustrations. The final season of a show with such a huge following could never have made everyone happy, but it would appear that precious few fans are totally delighted by what happened. Dismay and vexation are common themes in the cascades of tweets, memes, articles, podcasts, and YouTube analysis videos regarding season eight, and over thirteen million people have petitioned HBO to re-make the final season with new writers. Did showrunners Benioff and Weiss do some characters and plot possibilities dirty, and did much of season eight feel rushed and even lazy? Sadly, yes; I don’t have space here to dig into all or even most of the season’s major shortcomings, but here are some that are sticking with me in the first few days after the finale.
Episode four, “The Last of the Starks,” was especially poor, packed with head-scratching moments such as:
- How is it that Rhaegal, a moving target VERY high in the sky, was shot not once, not twice, but THRICE, while Drogon and Dany were never shot at all?
- Why didn’t Missandei jump off the wall and take Cersei down with her?
- Must we be bothered to watch Bronn menace the Lannister brothers for the olde promised castle when there are far more interesting stakes at hand?
Take your pick, “The Last of the Starks” had more issues than I care to list out, but the one I really can’t get past is seeing the illustrious, honorable SER Brienne of Tarth reduced to standing outdoors in a bathrobe, tearfully begging for Jaime to stay. Jaime returning to Cersei is not much of a shock, but SER Brienne, Knight of the Seven Kingdoms Brienne, Oathkeeper Brienne did not deserve a script that literally leaves her out in the cold in a housecoat, blubbering her heart out like Scarlett O’Hara after Rhett Butler “Frankly, my dear, I don’t give a damn”-ed her.
Speaking of Jaime, his grapple with Euron Greyjoy in “The Bells” was nothing that I cared to see and felt was a tragic waste of precious screen time. Just…why?
So, yes, season eight was indeed imperfect, but I don’t believe we can honestly say it was wholly without merit. In the past few days, cast members including Sophie Turner and Kit Harington have spoken sharply in response to the harsh criticism aimed at the show, and rightfully so. The “Inside the Episode” videos are a revelation of the extraordinary amount of time and work that hundreds of people (VFX and CGI artists, extras, actors, producers, stunt performers, set and costume designers, and so many more) poured out to create season eight, and despite the weakness of the script, it seems highly disrespectful to the excellent work of everyone else involved to callously say, “The season was trash.” Personally, I found season eight to contain many excellent moments—again, far more than I could possibly list in this space.
For starters, this shot from “The Iron Throne” was glorious.
Despite the disrespect and grief that Brienne endures in “The Last of the Starks,” episode two provides a just reward for her courage and loyalty. The title character of “A Knight of the Seven Kingdoms,” Brienne shatters tradition at the prompting of feminist champion (!) Tormund and receives the knighthood she has always yearned for through the authority of her pal, Jaime Lannister, bringing me straight to tears.
I’m not sure I’ve ever swung from jubilance to stress the way I did upon seeing Melisandre light up the Dothraki arakhs (thanks, Lord of Light!) and celebrating as the horde whoops and charges forward in a strong V-shape. GO, DOTHRAKI! Remember when Robert Baratheon said, “Only a fool would meet the Dothraki in an open field”?! WOOOOOEEEEAAAAwaitwhat? Oh…what? Nooooooooo…oh, everyone’s gonna die. Okay, then.
Ramin Djawadi, composer of unforgettable Thrones bangers such as “Light of the Seven,” “Dragonstone,” and, of course, the iconic opening title, gave us much to be thankful for this season. Beautifully reminiscent of Pippin’s “Edge of Night” in Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King, Podrick’s haunting fireside song, “Jenny of Oldstones,” washes waves of sadness and apprehension over the audience as several beloved characters live out their last hours. Jorah Mormont and Theon Greyjoy fight valiantly on the way to their expected but still heart-wrenching deaths to the quiet piano of “The Night King,” which later swells to include thrilling strings as the Night King stalks toward Bran and Arya soars out of the darkness with the Catspaw dagger.
If you need me, I’ll be listening to the Game of Thrones soundtrack on repeat for the next few months as I continue to work through my many feelings on the final season. The story is over, but I still have the memes to keep me company.
Sadie Burgher (‘17) graduated with degrees in environmental studies and writing and has spent the past year working in libraries. She loves essential oils, books, and the idea of getting fit. She is married to Luke, and they make their nest in Grand Rapids, MI.