It’s official. Game of Thrones is over. With the scrambled pacing that has defined the final season on the whole, “The Iron Throne” limped across the finish line with little fanfare, leaving many viewers feeling as exhausted as Jon Snow. The surviving Starks arguably came out on top but scattered across Westeros and beyond—so much for Ned Stark’s “the pack survives” motto—and, in general, the plot-driven scrabble to wrap things up resulted in a lonely, sterile finale, bereft of nearly any sense of the complex interpersonal dynamics that for so long defined the series. Still, there are silver linings to be found in any situation, and even this limp pancake of a finale had its highlights.
Daenerys the Dragon
This scene in which Drogon’s wings flare out behind Daenerys is easily one of the finale’s most striking shots. Meant to highlight the fact that the Mother of Dragons is well and truly the show’s Big Bad now—a useful reminder, considering the show switched principal villains no less than three times in the three prior episodes, but I digress—it was an effective demonstration that the rose-tinted view the show had overwhelmingly taken regarding Dany’s “mother of dragons” title is well and truly a thing fo the past. Sure, it’s hardly the most original or inventive image of its kind (see: Wings of Desire), but it’s cool, and I’m going to take joy where I can find it.
Drogon Roasts the Iron Throne
After Daenerys’ anticlimactic demise in an unguarded throne room courtesy of a generic knife to the chest (at least the Night King got ended by a blade that’s been imbued with narrative significance since season 1), Drogon finally thinks to check in on his mother, and, unsurprisingly, is not pleased with what he finds. But instead of roasting Jon Snow, the man who stabbed her, the dragon turns and melts the symbol of the actual cause of her demise—the Iron Throne. Power corrupts, and absolute power corrupts absolutely—a proverb that, apparently, is known to dragons, who have a much better understanding of allegorical meaning than I had previously anticipated. Tyrion did mention once or twice that dragons are supposed to be smart, but Drogon arguably comes across as the smartest character in the entire finale. You know what, we’re just going to roll with it.