We open on Tyrion, walking through what’s left of King’s Landing. Oh Peter Dinklage. This season didn’t deserve you. Or Lena Headey, for that matter.
Tyrion finds Jaime and Cersei covered in a light smattering of bricks. Bricks. Bricks killed Cersei Lannister. I’m sorry, but that is not how the biggest badass in the Seven Kingdoms goes out. It’s Arya slicing her into pie or nothing, as far as I’m concerned.
Tyrion cries and wonders why Jaime and Cersei couldn’t have scrambled five feet to the left to avoid being crushed to death. Outside, Arya walks amongst the dead. I have no idea where her majestic white horse has gone. To a different network?
The Dothraki celebrate. The Unsullied fall into Nazi rally formation. Jon pushes his way through the crowd. He and Grey Worm eyeball each other. I saw a suggestion earlier in the week about how Jon should have fought Grey Worm in trial by combat, and fuck me, that would have been a thousand times better than the actual ending of this episode.
Dany, having been to King’s Landing’s S&M outlet to pick up her new Mad-Queen-in-Leather threads, drops in atop Drogon. She does look outstanding. Drogon’s wings flap behind her to symbolically remind us she’s a dragon ascending. Hey, at least the cinematography’s top notch.
Dany: ‘Winterfell! Dorne! Lannisport! Everyone will know burny freedom!’
The Unsullied and Dothraki cheer. Tyrion decides this is an optimal time to resign and throws his hand-of-the-queen pin down the steps. Dany tells the Unsullied to take him away. Tyrion and Jon exchange meaningful looks. Jon and Dany exchange meaningful looks. Arya and Jon exchange meaningful looks. Wait…Arya?
Jon: ‘How the fuck did you get up here?’
Arya: ‘I came to kill Cersei, but the writers decided bricks were cooler. P.S. Dany’s totally gonna kill you.’
Jon heads to the dungeons. Tyrion’s heavily guarded and Jon’s forced to hand over Longclaw. Note that no such stringent process is in place when Jon goes to find Dany in the throne room later, but given the volcano-sized plot holes yet to come we’ll just skip over this one.
Jon didn’t bring wine. Tyrion has morbid questions about the afterlife. Jon, comforting and tactful as ever: ‘There is no afterlife.’ Tyrion, having received the urgent memo from HBO propagandists that Dany is evil and CLEARLY ALWAYS HAS BEEN, does his best to showcase her past actions in a new light.
Tyrion: ‘Everywhere she goes, evil men die. SHE MUST BE STOPPED.’
Jon, not the brightest crayon in the box, reels from the drastic shift in character arc. The writers of this fucking scene pat themselves on the back for overthrowing tropes and subverting audience expectations. The audience decides the Lost finale wasn’t so bad after all.
Tyrion: ‘Love is stronger than reason.’
Jon: ‘Love is the death of duty.’
Me: ‘Love is a battlefiiiiiiiiieeeeeeld.’
Tyrion: ‘KILL YOUR AUNT.’
Jon leaves for the Red Keep. Dany checks out her new digs and wishes she hadn’t destroyed her own fucking castle. She fondles the Iron Throne with her perfectly French-manicured fingers as Jon appears behind her.
Dany: ‘I thought my throne would be bigger.’
Jon: ‘CHILDREN! LITTLE CHILDREN! YOU BURNED THEM ALL!’
Dany tells him that was necessary. Jon asks her to forgive Tyrion. Dany can’t because the world they need won’t be built by men loyal to the world they have. Or something.
Dany: ‘Be with me! Build the new world with me!’
Jon: ‘You are my queen…now and always.’
They kiss. Jon stabs her. Dany looks mildly surprised. Jon looks shocked. I’m not shocked, but I have no idea how they’re going to fill in the next 60 minutes. And just like that, Daenerys Targaryen – First of Her Name, the Unburnt, Mother of Dragons, Breaker of Chains, Khaleesi of the Great Grass Sea and Trust-Us-She-Really-Is-Mad Queen of Westeros – is dead.
Drogon senses a disturbance in the Forces and arrives to discover Dany’s body. But instead of burning Jon alive – which, let’s face it, we’ve all wanted to do at one point or another – he torches the Iron Throne in order to fist us all in the anus with the thematic out-take of the entire series: the pursuit of power turns even the best of us into villains.
Not Jon though. Jon is the Frodo Baggins of this entire shitfest, completely lacking an appetite to rule. Not that that explains why Grey Worm didn’t cut fucking his head off once Jon fessed up to killing Dany, which is what we’re forced to assume happened after Drogon flew off with her body. Yup, the Unsullied and the Dothraki – the most brutal killers in the Realm – decide to just lock Jon up so he can sit and think about what a bad boy he’s been.
And this is where everything starts going to shit. Or becomes shitter, depending on how you look at it. I personally loved ‘The Long Night’ more than any other episode this season (what I could see of it, anyway), but this episode makes me wish the Night King had killed everyone.
To the Dragon pit, where the remaining important people of Westeros have gathered. Someone even rolled Bran all the way from Winterfell, and unfortunately we’re about to find out why.
The Unsullied and Dothraki control King’s Landing. Sansa and Grey Worm argue. Yara and Arya argue. Ser Davos just wants filming over with and tells everyone to behave. Grey Worm yells at Tyrion for talking, which just makes him talk more.
Tyrion: ‘We need a new monarch. Choose one.’
Edmund Tully, the giant blowhard who handed his own uncle over to the Lannisters, nominates himself. Sansa, my Queen now and always, shoots him down. It’s all very droll, but really? Really? Game of Thrones, famous for the beheading of Ned Stark, the Red Wedding, the death of Joffrey and the Red Viper…its final episode consists of an awkward roundtable meeting?
Sam Tarly suggests democracy and everyone laughs accordingly. Davos wants to know who Tyrion thinks should rule, because Tyrion’s advice has always been so solid and no one has ever died from listening to him.
Me: ‘HAIL QUEEN SANSA!’
Tyrion: ‘I can’t think of a better choice than Bran.’
Tyrion: …because he is the keeper of stories, the font of knowledge, the embodiment of memory, the Three-Eyed Raven.
The one person without any strategic or diplomatic skill. The character whose arc has been the least fleshed out of any in the entire series. The character who wasn’t even present for an entire season at all and no one fucking noticed.
Tyrion: ‘Who better to lead us into our future?’
Sansa *puts her hand in the air*: ‘Bran has erectile dysfunction.’
Tyrion: ‘Long live Bran the Broken!’
Bran is the winner of the game of thrones.
Everyone except Sansa says ‘aye’. Sansa claims sovereignty for the North. Bran makes Tyrion his hand. Grey Worm is pissed off. Cut to Jon’s cell, where Tyrion tells Jon that the only way to restore peace was to agree to send Jon back to the Wall. Jon’s more concerned about whether killing Dany was the right thing to do. You mean you weren’t actually sure at the time?? Rather than answer with an emphatic yes, Tyrion tells Jon to ask him again in ten years. Yeah, I’m sure that dispels any doubts Jon has.
Jon reverts back to his Night’s Watch hair-do and heads off to the docks. The Unsullied and the Dothraki have happily – though somewhat unfathomably – relinquished their hold on King’s Landing, and are preparing to sail back East. Grey Worm and Jon eyeball each other again. Umm…why are they not just waiting for Grey Worm to leave and letting Jon stay? What was the point of Sam and Sansa and Varys and Tyrion all coming to the same conclusion, that Jon would be a temperate and fair monarch? WHAT DID THE LAST 8 YEARS EVEN MEAN?
Grey Worm instructs the Unsullied to head for the Isle of Naath. I wonder if someone’s going to stop by Meereen and tell Daario that Dany’s dead? In retrospect and in relative terms, he was a good catch.
Jon heads to the Jetty of Long Goodbyes, where Bran, Sansa and Arya are waiting. Sansa wishes there’d been another way. You know, other than trial by combat, double-crossing the Unsullied, or taking King’s Landing by force now that Dany’s soldiers don’t have Drogon defending them anymore. THERE WERE COUNTLESS POSSIBILITIES THAT WERE LESS SHIT THAN THIS.
Arya tells Jon she can’t come visit him at Castle Black because she’s bound for whatever’s west of Westeros. Jon asks if she has her Needle, and for the first and last time in this whole episode, my heart squeezes like a sponge.
Jon kneels in front of Bran, who monotones about Jon being exactly where he was supposed to be. Jon heads for his dinghy. Arya rolls Bran off the jetty, except she doesn’t, because this is actually happening.
Cut to Brienne, new Lord Commander of the King’s Guard, flipping through the White Book. She comes across Jaime’s record and completes it: Killed by bricks.
Tyrion prepares for the first meeting of the new council. Is it just me, or did cleaning up King’s Landing take minimal time and effort? The council members arrive and Sam presents Tyrion with a copy of the Archmaester’s ‘A Song of Ice and Fire’, as if the meta layers of the show even matter at this point. Dude – the prophecies meant nothing, Jon’s parentage meant nothing, Arya’s white horse meant nothing, Cersei was killed by bricks. Let’s just round this up.
Podrick rolls Bran in long enough for Bran to announce he’s going to look for Drogon and they can ‘carry on with the rest’. Why is this conversation even happening? Is Bran going to warg into Drogon? Is that one of the spin-off concepts?
Podrick rolls Bran out and the council gets down to it. Bronn is Lord of Highgarden and Master of Coin, which means even he got a better deal than Jon. Ser Davos is Master of Ships and Grammar. Bronn wants to rebuild the brothels. Brienne thinks ships take precedence over brothels. I think this episode was 40 minutes too long and the season 6 episodes too short.
Last-ever-montage time. The Starks prepare for their new lives; Jon’s gearing up to go beyond the Wall, Sansa’s frocking up for her coronation, Arya’s got a boat, Jon’s got Ghost, Ghost’s got one ear. Awwwww, such a good boy.
Arya looks towards the horizon. Jon looks at…snow. Just snow. Sansa looks at her subjects and finally rocks a crown. Jon rides out beyond the Wall, and from the look of things he ain’t coming back. His watch has ended, and so has ours.