This post contains plot details from “The Iron Throne,” the final episode of the eighth and final season of HBO’s Game Of Thrones. If you haven’t watched yet, proceed at your own risk.
Our watch has ended—well, at least until the spinoffs start rolling in. The televised adaptation of George R.R. Martin’s political fantasy epic, A Song Of Ice And Fire, ended last night, presumably years ahead of when Martin’s series will actually end. Compared to the fire and blood of last week’s episode, the finale was downright subdued. To add insult to injury, no one ate anything, not even in meetings. Has no one in Westeros been clued in on the value of bringing snacks to meetings? Snacks are vital.
Well, at least Archmaester-to-be Samwell Tarly stayed well-hydrated.
And now, for the last time, here are the winners, losers, and winner-losers of this week’s Game Of Scones And Meats And Stews And Wines.
Loser: Tyrion Lannister, Sober And Very Busy
In the course of this episode, Tyrion walks very slowly though a lot of corpse piles, finds the dead bodies of the sister and brother he attempted to save (conveniently near the top of a conveniently placed pile of rubble, with one golden hand sticking out to conveniently catch the eye, but hey, this is a show with dragons, I can suspend my disbelief), quits his job without notice, gets arrested for treason, has to face the fact that he enabled a slaughter, spends a long time in a dank ashy room with zero alcohol, talks a sad boy into an assassination, picks a king by arguing that he’s got the most interesting bio, and gets named to the second-most powerful position in all the land, a job he absolutely does not want.
He does not die, so that’s a win. And hey, he’s got Ser Davos on his Small Council, so he’ll probably get some pretty good soup from time to time.
+50 for good staffing decisions vi-a-vis ships and soups, -20 for involuntary sobriety while awaiting execution, -40 for leading two meetings with zero bagels, -20 for never finishing his jackass/honeycomb story
Winner: The Starks, Satisfied
That is the look of a woman who has just successfully negotiated her way into her dream job. As ever, we stan a Practical Queen, and while Sansa Stark probably won’t have snacks at meetings either, she at least has the excuse of being very concerned about proper rationing.
In my humble opinion, Sansa takes the top Stark slot this week (and I am not giving up hope that she and Tyrion might give it another shot at some point), but all members of the Stark Family Band did well for themselves. After several seasons of making doomy pronouncements, Bran is named Ruler Of The Six Kingdoms, guilts a smart guy of questionable decision-making abilities into working for him in the first 30 seconds, nabs three of Westeros’ most capable people for his Small Council (plus Bronn, who is admittedly very good at staying alive and not killing people when prompted), and delegates all non-dragon-finding responsibilities in the first five minutes of his first meeting. Not bad.
Arya did less well, if only because her incredible story was deemed less interesting than Bran’s (having watched this show, I can confirm that ruling to be false). Her ending may not have been particularly satisfying, but I’m choosing to see it as Arya finally giving herself an adventure not motivated by revenge or trauma; she just wants to see the world. Let’s hope they’ve got good food wherever she’s going.
Jon, on the other hand, gets sent back to The Night’s Watch, which seems like a pretty okay deal, given that he assassinated Dany and a whole mess of people wanted him dead. (Sidenote: Does the Watch only exist now so that Bran had a place to send Jon?) But then the men of the Watch sent him off beyond the Wall with Tormund and Ghost, who is a very good boy who deserves a more thoughtful owner, but maybe Tormund and Jon will share custody now. Short version, now Jon’s a wildling, and he always seemed pretty into that idea, so good for him.
Sansa: +30 for negotiating, +20 for the feast she probably had after her coronation that we didn’t get to see; Bran: +30 for being crowned king, +10 for delegation, -10 for chasing a dragon inside of his mind instead of eating a sandwich; Arya: +20 for being a citizen of the world; Jon: -20 for creating an association in his own mind between making out and stabbing someone in the heart, +30 for heading off with the wildlings for barbecue and giant’s milk milkshakes
Loser: Daenerys, Not Alive
She finally got to be Queen Of Everything, then made the fatal mistake of telling Jon Snow she was going to “liberate” the people of the world, including oh, say, Winterfell. Got stabbed in the heart while her tongue was in his mouth as a result. Sure, it makes no sense that a woman who has been (mostly) understandably paranoid would let a dude she already views as a threat and who is visibly miserable and anxious anywhere near hear, much less let him chew on her lips, and sure, this whole arc—which could in theory have worked, had it been actually developed—has been pretty frustrating, but could the woman at least have had a moment to sit on that big, ugly chair before biting the dust?
Hey, at least she gave herself a new Darth Vader look.
On the positive side, Drogon flew off with her corpse after melting the throne and mastering symbolism at the same time. You know how pets love you until you die, and then you’re just a pile of meat? Perhaps Drogon finally gets to eat a dinner that hasn’t been burned.
Daenerys: -150 for misreading the room, +20 for co-opting Sansa’s look and getting away with it; Drogon: +10 for emotional resonance, +10 for to-go snacks.
Winner: Ser Bronn, Filthy And Rich
Got everything he asked for in return for not doing any work. Will soon be CEO of a very successful chain of brothels.
-10 for neglecting meeting snacks, +30 for opportunism
Loser: Edmure Tully / Winner: Tobias Menzies
On the one hand, Edmure Tully, eternal dweeb, stood up to seize the moment and argue he should be king before being ruthlessly shut down by his niece in a few measly words. To tie it to food, let’s say she stole his lunch and fed it to him. It was a delicious and welcome bit of comic relief in what’s been a very dire season; only Gendry totally midreading the situation and proposing to Arya was more cringe-inducing. Total loss.
On the other, Tobias Menzies got to show up for a day’s worth of work and nearly managed to steal the episode. He is a Very Good Actor and now, when he shows up in the next season of The Crown, everyone will be all, “Hey, it’s that guy who was so funny for 30 seconds in the Game Of Thrones finale.” Total win.
Edmure: -50 for whiffing it; Tobias: +50 for nailing it; Sansa: +30 for serving up humiliation on a pristine platter
Winner: Robin Arryn, Vindicated
This kid breastfed for years and we all laughed at him. Who’s laughing now? Tormund and Robin Arryn should become spokespeople for a line of Westerosian breast milk drinks.
+40 for going the full Longbottom
Ser Bronn: +20
Edmure Tully: -50
Tobias Menzies: +50
Robin Arryn: +40
Winner, week six: Sansa
Total wins: Sansa, 2; Ghost, 1; The Hound, 1; Arya, 1 (+1 honorable mention); Tormund, 1
Winner of the Game Of Scones And Meats And Stews And Wines: Sansa Stark
Congratulations, Queen, and don’t forget: