The ash has settled. The winds of change have blown through Westeros.
And the wheel was indeed broken, just not in the way that we expected it to be. 'Game of Thrones' has finally come to an end.
*WARNING : Spoilers Ahoy!*
The Shortest Reign in Westerosi history
It wasn’t meant to last, and it didn’t. Barely a day after destroying King’s Landing and being responsible for the murder of a million citizens, Dany throws Tyrion in prison for treason as the latter’s breakout of Jaime came to light. Tyrion, finally defiant and basically admitting Varys was right, tosses his Hand of the King lapel pin, and is marched off to the dungeons with his head held high.
Jon, having witnessed the slaughter first-hand on the ground, then visits the last surviving Lannister as a last, small, show of support for his former comrade-in-arms. It is a pivotal moment, as Tyrion argues to Jon that he has to be the one that brings justice to the massacre.
“Love is the death of Duty,” recalls Jon - a phrase once uttered to him by Maester Aemon of the Night’s Watch, all those years ago. Tyrion reminds him that it can be turned around too - for duty can also be the death of love.
They go back and forth a little, before Tyrion seizes the conversation and drums it into Jon’s head that there is no other way. Jon, somewhat petulantly, declares his loyalty to his Queen.
Tyrion, throwing one last Hail Mary (three in three episodes), reminds Jon that Sansa will not obey, to which Jon flippantly responds she will.
Evidently, he knows she won’t. It is this clear underlying desire to save his family that drives Jon to do what he does next. He makes sure that Arya promises to meet him outside the gates. He makes the long trek up to the Throne Room, passing Drogon along the way.
Dany is there, appraising the Iron Throne, not even sitting on it as Jon makes his entrance. In a final plea to Jon, Dany beseeches him to join her on a quest to ‘liberate the world.’
As she sounds increasingly like a tyrant that knows what is ‘good’ better than anyone else, Jon decides. They come together for a kiss, during which our Warden of the North makes his move, swiftly and without any warning whatsoever.
Dany falls to the floor, her eyes aflame and distraught with betrayal. The dagger has gone literally and emotionally into her heart. The Mad Queen is gone.
Drogon immediately recognises that something is wrong, and flies up to find his mother. Surely he must know that Jon killed her?
In a move what we can only speculate to have something to do with his Targaryen blood, but also Drogon recognising what he himself had done (the destruction of the city), he leaves Jon alone, and destroys the Iron Throne.
Gathering Dany in his clawed feet, he flies east - the last dragon has left Westeros.
The Wheel Has Been Broken
With the death of Dany, the security of the realm is thrown into question. Tyrion and Jon are locked up, and there is no clear successor to the Throne.
In a rare display of unity and compromise, the remaining lords of Westeros march on a King’s Landing that has been held hostage by the Unsullied to demand Jon’s release. They gather in the Dragon’s Pit to parley, with Greyworm only agreeing to bring Tyrion along.
As discussions on how to dispense justice keep moving around in circles, Tyrion says that justice can only be given by the rightful king or queen. What happens next is unprecedented. While Samwell’s proposal for a full-on democracy gets laughed out of town, Tyrion’s proposal for the Lords and Ladies of Westeros to choose their next King/Queen gathers some traction.
Nervous glances abound as no one dares put forth their candidacy, knowing full well the massive scale of the rebuilding effort that will be required to right the wrongs of the Westerosi mess. Edmure Tully’s shortlived attempt at becoming king is batted down very quickly by Sansa.
Up steps Tyrion, who nominates Bran The Broken. The lure of a good story, as Tyrion mentions, is incredibly difficult to ignore in Westeros - what better story than that of the boy who fell out of a tower, survived, made it beyond the Wall as a cripple, and trained to become the Three-Eyed Raven?
As the Lords and Ladies agree to Bran’s nomination for King, Sansa makes a bid for Northern independence - House Stark and her bannermen will no longer bend the knee to the South. Bran agrees.
The Seven Kingdoms are no more.
The Rebirth of Normality
Arise, the Small Council!
Ser Bronn of Highgarden (Yes! He got his castle!), Master of Coin. Maester Samwell Tarly of the Maester’s Guild. Ser Davos Seaworth, Master of Ships. Ser Brienne of Tarth, Head of the Kingsguard… and Lord Tyrion Lannister, Hand of the King!
King Bran notices that a Master of War, Master of Laws and a Master of Whispers has not yet been appointed, to which Tyrion says suitable candidates will be brought to him in the coming weeks. This brings us to the real power of the throne - it is Tyrion that is effectively ruling the land, with Bran as an acceptable figurehead to all.
It seems that the littlest of beings can have the biggest of impacts after all.
Sidenote: A word too, to the personal guard of Bran the Broken - arise, Ser Podrick, Knight of the Six Kingdoms! And good on Brienne to complete the records of the Kingsguard, with the last few deeds of Jaime Lannister being recorded for posterity. You never forget your first love, do you?
Farewell to the Starks
As the remaining children of House Stark gather for one last time on the docks at King’s Landing, we find out that the Unsullied are heading to Naath (Missandei’s home) as Greyworm seeks to fulfil his promise to his departed love.
As the strains of Goodbye Brother (a variation of House Stark’s theme) fill the air with its unique mix of melancholy, grief and hope, Sansa apologises to Jon for not being able to spin his situation any other way.
Jon, having accepted his guilt over the death of Dany, has been exiled to the north - once more taking up the black of the Night’s Watch. Arya tells her siblings that she is going to set sail for what is ‘west of Westeros.’ And Bran…
Bran consoles Jon, as the latter apologises for not being there when he needed him. Bran’s response is equal parts uplifting, cryptic and infuriating - "You were exactly where you were supposed to be."
The episode ends with the Starks setting off for different parts of the world. Bran checks in on the small council. Arya is on a boat, sailing west with a crew as brave and determined as she is.
Sansa is crowned Queen of the North, hailed by her bannermen - daughter of Ned Stark, and the best that they could have ever hoped for.
Jon makes it to the Wall, and is reunited with Ghost, Tormund and the Free Folk. They all leave Castle Black, as Jon looks up at the Wall one last time before disappearing into the trees - a neat symmetry with the very first episode of 'Game of Thrones', with Night’s Watch rangers also going beyond the Wall.
Yet, this time, there is nothing to fear - no more White Walkers, no more wights.
Jon Snow is finally free.
When the snows fall and the white winds blow, the lone wolf dies but the pack survives Ned and Robb - you both died, but your pack survived.
Goodbye, 'Game of Thrones'. Thank you for a decade of memories.
The highly-anticipated final season of 'Game Of Thrones' will be invading your TV screen starting 15 April and you get to watch it the same time as the United States on HBO (Astro Ch 411, 431).
Here's the best part: the episodes on demand will be uncensored!
If you're not a fan of the series but you're afraid of being left out when your friends discuss how awesome that week's episode is, you can actually catch past seasons of the series on Astro On Demand and Astro Go.