“Everywhere she goes, evil men die and we cheer her for it. And she grows more sure that she is good and right” – Tyrion Lannister.
Here, Steve Leonard, author of The Doctrine Man military comic, gives his view of the final episode of Game Of Thrones.
In Book VIII of The Republic, Plato warns of the people’s protector who, once having tasted blood, transforms from a trusted leader into a tyrant.
Plato’s warning, shared in dialogue with Glaucon, might well have foreshadowed the final episode of Game of Thrones.
Having tasted of the blood of King’s Landing, Daenerys sees herself as a great liberator of the people.
“We will not lay down our spears,” she speaks before the Unsullied and Dothraki, “until we have liberated” anyone left who needs liberating, regardless of what they might want.
Five minutes into the series finale, viewers might be debating whether they are watching the Mad Queen or the Mad Titan.
King’s Landing looks like a scene from Avengers: Endgame, and Daenerys sounds more like Thanos with every word she speaks.
The surviving heroes of Game of Thrones look every bit as defeated as did the Avengers themselves.
And, just as in Endgame, those heroes are facing down an army as massive as Thanos’s own.
My first thought?
Where did that army come from?
When the Dothraki horde – 10,000 strong, mind you – staged their version of the Charge of the Light Brigade into the Army of the Dead at Winterfell, it was a safe assumption we had seen the last of them.
Inexplicably, they reappeared in time to charge into King’s Landing, and seem to have multiplied fruitfully for the final episode.
The Unsullied suffered significant losses during the defence of Winterfell.
Like the Dothraki, they seem to have multiplied as well, a task that seems especially difficult to accomplish with an army of eunuchs.
But, in a series with three-eyed ravens, frozen zombie armies, and fire-breathing dragons, I suppose anything is possible.
So, with Tyrion awaiting a death sentence in jail, the Grey Worm committing war crimes on the Streets of Kings Landing, and Daenerys channeling her inner Thanos, Jon Snow does the only thing the rightful heir to the Iron Throne can do – deliver a last kiss to his queen while running a dagger through her heart in true Game of Thrones style.
Drogon, in a fit of rage, melts the Iron Throne and flies off over Blackwater Bay with the body of the Mother of Dragons held tightly in his claws. And the curtain falls on the last episode of the series.
So, how do you wrap up eight seasons of epic fantasy television?
Whip up a little statecraft and political intrigue while reviving the Tyrion we saw evolve through the first seven seasons.
While the rest of House Lannister was busy plotting and scheming to retain their tenuous grasp on the Iron Throne, Tyrion was watching, learning, and — seemingly without fail — drinking.
Tyrion’s lesser qualities were more than mitigated by a substantial intellect and keen observational skills. In the final episode, Tyrion the wise returns at long last.
With the Iron Throne destroyed and leadership of the Seven Kingdoms at a tipping point, Tyrion – still wearing the shackles of an Unsullied prisoner – stands before the lords and ladies of Westeros and speaks of how the stories of the families are what unites the people.
Who among them “has a better story than Bran the Broken?” he says. “The boy who fell from a high tower and lived, who knew he’d never walk again, so he learned to fly.”
Tyrion proclaims, “From now on, rulers will not be born, they will be chosen on this spot by the lords and ladies of Westeros, to serve the realm.”
He then leans in and asks Bran directly if he will rule them.
“Why do you think I came all this way?” Bran replies.
All hail Bran the Broken. And everyone generally lives happily ever after.
Except for Jon Snow, who is banished to the Night’s Watch and is last seen crossing under the wall with the last of the Wildlings.
For Jon, living out his days in a frozen wasteland with Tormund might be the only conceivable penance for falling in love with his aunt.
And with that, Game of Thrones is finished.
Now, can anyone explain where all those Unsullied came from?
Steve is a former senior military strategist with 28 years’ service within the US Army, now a writer and speaker with a passion for developing and mentoring the next generation of thinking leaders, he is a founding member of the Military Writers Guild and he is the author of Doctrine Man – a cartoon creation with a cult following that explores common sense perspectives of military leadership ... with a humorous twist.
His writing focuses on issues of foreign policy, national security, strategy and planning, leadership and leader development.