It’s been about a month since Game of Thrones the TV series ended. I was pretty sad when I watched the last episode knowing that there would be no more episodes to look forward to. I wrote many drafts of my thoughts on the series in this past month, and this one is a combination of them all. I also talked with my friends and family about their thoughts on the series and the ending, which gave me a lot of food for thought. Game of Thrones has meant so much to me. It was the first HBO show I ever watched, and it inspired me to write my own epic fantasy.
When I first started watching the show, I had no clue how popular it was or that there were books. Currently, I am halfway through the third book, which I think is the best so far. I’m a fan of both the books and the show. Martin is very good at setting up the world of Westeros and has a great set of characters. I admire the fact that he can keep track of so many at once. It’s like a bunch of short stories put together into one book. It can be challenging to keep track of all the characters at first, but eventually, you get the hang of it. As a writer, I don’t think I could have so many POV’s. I have done two or three POV’s before, and even that was a challenge in itself.
Weiss and Benioff truly brought Martin’s work to life. Some characters look different then I imagined, but that’s to be expected. For the most part, I think the main characters are pretty spot on. I couldn’t imagine anyone else playing them. I like how they stuck to the book for the first few seasons, but then also put their mark on it. Not to mention Martin hasn’t finished the last two books, so they didn’t have much to go on for the last two to three seasons. For the past month, people have been giving Weiss and Benioff a lot of flak for how it ended. It’s one thing not to like how something ended, but to start a petition is going too far.
Overall I thought the series was done well. I believe that the ending was a bit rushed, but overall, most of what happened made sense. Were there certain things I wanted to happen or people I wanted to end up together? Yes, but it is what it is. At the end of the day, it’s just a book series and a show. With this kind of series, it’s impossible to please everyone and give all the character’s happy endings.
Here are my thoughts on the show, characters, and the series as a whole. Since the books aren’t completed this will mostly be about the show. Once all the books have come out, I do plan on doing a comparison and contrast. But for now, here is what I think.
I’m going to start with my favorite character, which is Arya. I identify a lot with Arya because as a young girl, I was a major tomboy. I hated dressing girly and didn’t like being held to what people thought a girl should be like.
Arya never wanted to be a lady. She wanted to be a knight, but it was an impossible dream. Her brother Jon and her father were the only ones who truly saw her for who she was. Jon gave Arya her first sword, and her father gave her the lessons to learn how to use it. I enjoyed watching Arya grow up and break away from what people were trying to push her into being.
While traveling with Gendry, Hot Pie, The Brotherhood, and The Hound, she learned that honor and loyalty do not always guarantee safety. She became disillusioned with the idea of a hero and was became somewhat of an orphan. She watched as her friends and family died and didn’t have much power to do anything about it. This left her with a desire to get revenge on those who have wronged her and her family.
For the first few seasons, Arya has a lot of bark, but no bite to back it up. She is not without skill, but it’s not enough to go against grown men skilled in fighting. Eventually, she does gain the skills to fight during her time training as a Faceless man in Bravos and then returns to Westeros to kill Walder Frey and Cersei Lannister while she does kill Walder Frey and those involved in the killing of her mother, brother, and loyal soldiers she ultimately chooses to go home to her family rather than killing Cersei.
Arya has changed a lot throughout the series. Sansa, Jon, and Gendry all think that she’s the same girl that they once knew, but eventually, come to realize that she is not, when she presses the issue that she is not a lady but a warrior she has the skills the back it up. Seeing Gendry again ignites feelings in her that she thought were long gone. Before the war between the dead and living begins she acts on those feelings. Then during the battle, she kills the Night King and is proposed to by Gendry after he becomes legitimized by Daenerys.
While Arya loves Gendry and is touched by his feelings, she has been running from being a lady her whole life. And to become the thing she never wanted to be is not her. Arya is a warrior. She was a lady and knew that even if Gendry doesn’t expect her to be a traditional one eventually, she would have to slip into that role. She is also still very much blinded by her plight for revenge and in the end, rejects his proposal. However, when presented with another chance to kill Cersei, she is persuaded by The Hound to choose life and put away her revenge.
All this time, Arya has wanted nothing more than to be with her family again. When everything is said and done Arya decides to travel West of Westeros to see if the world ends there or if there is a whole other world to discover. While she loves her family, there is nothing left for her in Westeros. She does not wish to be a lady and has become accustomed to traveling.
All in all, I like where Arya’s journey led her. I think it’s cool that she is going to travel the world and wish they were doing a spin-off of it. Do I wish that she and Gendry could have found some happiness? Yes, but she’s not a Lady, and she knew that she couldn’t be what he needed her to be.
Jon started as a cocky guy who thought he had been dealt a lousy hand being the bastard son of a Lord and that he was a better fighter than his brothers at The Wall. He soon learned that he had a better life than most, and the only reason he was good was because he was trained. He also learns that not all the men at The Wall have done something terrible and that most of it were misunderstandings.
The main thing I like about Jon is that he can easily slip into a new situation. When he goes undercover with The Wildlings, he can get most of them to trust him. But at the end of the day, he shows that he is loyal to The Watch. Eventually, though when he learns that The Wildings want shelter from the White Walkers, he tries to broker a temporary alliance with them which is not met well.
It is not until he is voted Lord Commander that this happens and as a result, his brothers stab him to death. Jon is very much like his father. He is bound by honor and duty and believes that others will be as well. He puts too much faith in others and underestimates his enemies.
His is brought back to life shortly after but is left disillusioned as a result and plans to leave The Wall when his sister Sansa arrives after escaping the clutches of Ramsay Bolton. While he resolves to be done with war, his sister convinces him to fight to take back their home so that they can truly be safe.
Again Jon underestimates his enemy and does not listen to his sister who knows Ramsay well as his wife and almost loses the war and his life. When he is made King of the North initially, he has no wish to be a King but accepts the honor to appease his people.
Knowing that the White Walkers are real and coming, Jon goes in search for allies and hopes to get the materials needed to kill the White Walkers from Dragonstone which is currently occupied by Daenerys Targaryen. His first meeting with Dany does not go well as he refuses to bend the knee and she does not believe his stories about the White Walkers.
Eventually, she allows him to mine the Dragon glass but will not help him in the war unless he bends the knee. In an attempt to get Cersei and the Lannisters on board with fighting the White Walkers, he sets out with a motley crew to East Watch to obtain a dead person to show their enemies that the dead are real and they need to put aside their differences to defeat them.
They are ambushed during their mission by the army of the dead and Daenerys comes to their aid and ends up losing a dragon, which in turn gets her to agree to help him. In return, Jon bends to the knee, and eventually, their relationship becomes romantic.
Jon’s love for Daenerys and his desire to not be a ruler blinds him to the fact that Dany may not make a good queen. He ignores his families pleas to see reason and then when he finds out that he is a Targaryen and Dany’s nephew that drives a wedge between the two. She wishes him not to tell anyone, but he says he cannot lie to his family.
After Dany sacks, Kings Landing Jon still attempts to come to her defense, but he also cannot deny the anger and horror he feels of it all. When he sees that she plans on wiping out those not willing to be loyal to her new world, he realizes what he has to do. Even though he knows he could be killed for it, he kills Dany. As a result, he is sent to The Wall to live out his days to appease the Unsullied.
All in all, I was okay with how things played out for Jon. He didn’t want to be King. He just wanted to be free and not have to fight any more wars. Sadly, he won’t get to see his family again, but at least he doesn’t have to stress out between choosing his family and the woman he loves. I’m sure it will haunt him forever having to kill the woman he loves, and he will always wonder if he did the right thing.
Initially, Sansa annoyed the hell out of me. But, on some level, I was able to identify with her. We all have this idea of how we want our life to play out and are waiting for our prince charming to sweep us off our feet. But like Sansa most of us learn the hard way that life is not a fairytale. Sometimes though even when we realize that our Prince is a psychotic jerk, we still think we don’t deserve any better.
In Sansa’s case, she had to pretend to love Joffrey after he killed her father to survive. She did get her quips in here and there and ended up being saved by men who were regarded as monsters when Joffrey tried to have her publicly beaten. When Sansa had the opportunity to go away with The Hound, I understand why she didn’t want to go with him because she was scared that if they were caught, she would be punished.
When she was forced to marry Tyrion, she found some sense of calmness around him as he did not try and force her to consummate the marriage and shielded her from being attacked physically.
Her time with the Lannisters wasn’t all for naught. She learned quite a bit from Cersei and Littlefinger. When she fled Kings Landing following Joffrey’s death, she put her faith into Littlefinger and ended up being sold to another monster. When she realizes that Ramsay has broken Theon at first, she is glad because she believes Theon killed her little brothers, but then tries to get him to help her. Initially, he betrays her, but then he does help her escape.
Sansa has come into herself by the time she and Jon reunite. She is not afraid to speak her mind. While she is wary of Littlefinger and his desire for her, she almost succumbs to the seeds of doubt he tries to plant in her mind when her sister arrives in Winterfell. Initially, Sansa and Arya have a tense reunion. Sansa finds out who her sister is and where she has been all this time and becomes fearful that her sister plans to kill her.
Sansa and Arya both come to realize Littlefinger has been manipulating them and they both beat Littlefinger at his game and kill him for betraying their family. Because of Sansa’s time spent with powerful and manipulative people, she is very wary of Dany when she first arrives. Her first instinct is not to trust her, which further intensifies when Dany refuses to grant her an independent North. Dany’s further actions and reactions toward Jon’s true parentage, and obsession with the throne also confirm Sansa’s fears.
In the end, Sansa gets what she wants. She receives an independent North and becomes Queen of the north. All in all, I like the way her story played out. Sadly, she had to learn things that hard way, but as she told The Hound, “Without Joffrey, Littlefinger, Ramsay, and the rest I would have stayed a little bird.” It’s kind of sad that she will have to do it all alone with her siblings away and Brienne in the South with her brother.
Bran was not one of my favorite characters. I felt like there as so much potential for his story arc, but it was boring to watch and even read about in the books. Yeah, it’s cool he can warg into bodies and that he can see the past, but I felt like a lot of the time his story was forgotten or inserted at the last minute.
Having him fall out the window in the first episode was what made the series exciting and him surviving it was a miracle. But I had a hope that somehow he would gain the ability to walk again and have some higher purpose.
When Theon takes Winterfell and forces Bran to yield, I kept waiting for him to take it back from Theon. Instead, he escapes, and then returns hiding under Theon’s nose and then goes back out. When he encounters Meera and Jojen, I thought things were going to pick up for him. But instead, we mostly go scenes of him warging into his wolf Summer.
Eventually, he crosses paths with Jon, but the latter does not see his brother as he is busy fighting off The Watch deserters. Bran has the opportunity to reunite with his brother but is then convinced by Jojen that they need to move on and that if his brother sees him, he won’t let him go on.
Finally, after a long journey, he comes to the Three-eyed raven and then learns that The Children of the Forest created the White Walkers. From there, his storyline begins to pick up as we get to see the past. And then the White Walkers find them because Bran gets cocky and he and Meera barely escaped while Hodor holds the door.
From there eventually, Bran finds his way to Winterfell where he informs his sister that he is no longer Bran and Meera realizes that the Bran she knew is dead. When Sam, Jon’s brother from the Wall comes to Winterfell, they both deduce that Jon’s birth parents are Lyanna Stark and Rhaegar Targaryen.
After that Bran’s character is kind of thrown to the wayside. When he encounters Jaime again, you think there is going to be some showdown, but instead, he tells Jaime he doesn’t care anymore. And then during the battle, he is a sitting duck while the Night King comes to kill him until his sister comes to the rescue.
At first, it didn’t make sense when they named him King. Tyrion goes on about how he has this great story, but it’s not that great. I mean it’s somewhat inspiring that he left, but he hasn’t done much of anything. All in all, though I kind of get why they made him King. He isn’t power hungry, and he seems more likely to listen to his advisors that Jon, Dany, or anyone else. I wish that Martin and Benioff and Weiss would have done more with his storyline.
Daenerys is another character I identified with in the beginning. She had her brother, but she was mostly alone and at his mercy. She never knew her parents because they died when she was a baby. It was interesting to see Dany rise from the ashes. Literally. She was sold to a Dothraki man by her brother and was able to turn the relationship into one of love. She embraced their culture and found a voice inside of her.
I understand her want for the throne. Her whole life her brother has told her that the seven kingdoms belong to them, which I guess is technically accurate, but like Robert Baratheon, the Targaryen’s also usurped the throne. They originally lived in Valyria until it was destroyed. Robert was continually trying to kill her, which added more fuel to the fire.
She did good work in Slavers Bay. She freed the slaves, showed people she wasn’t just a silly little girl, and raised three dragons. She had a great group of advisors who kept her in check. She genuinely cared about the people and felt for them because she too was once a slave of her brother and to her husband for a brief period.
The Dothraki crossed the sea for her, and the Unsullied chose to follow her even after she freed them. I admired the fact that she didn’t command people to be by her side, but rather let them choose her. When she burned the Khal’s and the slavers, it was understandable. The Khals were going to rape her and kill her, so there was not much choice there. She did give the Masters a chance to rid themselves of slavery, which didn’t work out after she left Astapor.
Dany learned how to rule in foreign countries, which led her to have outdated views about Westeros. She believed that they were slaves and that they would liberate themselves. Tyrion and Jorah tried to warn her that it would not be easy, but she didn’t take it at face value.
She believed that people were spinning good stories about her and that they would welcome their one true Queen. But the fact is they don’t know her. All they know are the stories of her and her dragons burning cities to the ground and causing chaos. She didn’t give people enough time to see who she was. She expected people to bend the knee to her without even knowing her.
I did like the scene where she, Olenna, Ellaria, and Yara are all grouped with the goal of taking down Cersei. It was great to see a group of woman all working together, but they weren’t smart about it. I think they all should have attacked at once rather than split up. It was sad to see their whole women’s group dissolve overnight.
For so many years she has had people bowing down at her feet and telling her that she is good and when that doesn’t happen in Westeros she then begins serving her justice by burning those in rebellion. I think that she should have given people more time.
Especially regarding the North. Both she and Sansa were being stubborn, but for a moment, they both bonded over their shared experiences of being raped, betrayed, and humiliated. The North had been through so much, and honestly, I think seven Kingdoms is a lot for one person to rule over alone. I don’t think it was too much to ask for the North to be independent but also allies.
Many people say that her descending to madness was out of left field, but I don’t think it is. She has shown signs from the beginning and has been known to have a terrible temper. That doesn’t mean that she isn’t kind and a good person, but she let her anger and obsession with the throne get the better of her. She lost Jorah, Missandei, the faith of Varys, and two of her dragons. But most importantly, she lost Jon because they found out they were related.
She was threatened by his claim and his people’s love for him, but she didn’t kill him. She could have, but she loved him and trusted him even after he told his sisters the truth. But most importantly it was predicated in season two that this would happen. Dany sees a vision of herself approaching the throne, and ashes are spilling down around her, and the Red Keep is destroyed. Cersei humiliated her, and aside from the allies she brought with her she had no one in Westeros.
I don’t think she set out to destroy Kings Landing. I think hearing those bells, thinking about all that has happened to her since coming to Westeros got the better of her. Once she burned down Kings Landing and all its people there was no going back. Even her love for Jon could not bring her back into the light. She didn’t see destruction. She saw a new world where people would love her and those who didn’t would be exterminated. She wanted control and not just of the Seven Kingdoms, but the world.
All in all, I feel bittersweet about Dany’s end. I understand why she had to die, but I wish that she hadn’t. I wanted to see her do good in Westeros and develop relationships organically much as Jon did. I don’t see her as a villain, but as a woman who wanted something for so long that she lost of who she was and what her main goal was.
I’ve always had a soft spot for Tyrion. He had no love in his family, but he didn’t dwell on it. Instead, he lived life to the fullest. Tyrion is intelligent and always has a witty remark. Being betrayed by Shae broke him. He truly loved her and wanted her to be safe. When she testified against him and then slept with his father, it broke him.
He was always kind to Sansa and saved her many of times from Joffrey. Even when they were forced to marry, he did not force her to consummate the marriage and treated her kindly. He was also loyal to his family even though they tried to kill him on several occasions and tried to pin the murder of Joffrey on him.
I admire that he has the guts to call a trial by combat and does not just submit to his fate. Of course, his champion was too cocky and ended up dying, leaving Tyrion to face death himself. He put up with a lot from his family, and I don’t blame him for killing his father. His father wasn’t going to let them kill Tyrion, but he wanted to make his son sweat and suffer all because he was born a dwarf and because his wife died giving birth to him.
I feel bittersweet about Shae’s death. It was clear that she was hurt, but Tyrion tried to send her away kindly. But she refused. She said she wasn’t afraid. As admirable as that is, Shae has no fighting experience and if she would have opened her eyes and stopped being jealous she would have seen Tyrion was sending her away for her own good. Instead, he had to resort to calling her whore and saying he didn’t love her to get her to leave.
I genuinely believe Shae’s betrayal broke him and that it’s part of the reason why he didn’t succeed in counseling Daenerys. Tyrion is a smart man, but I don’t think he truly understood the political system in Slaver’s Bay and was trying to negotiate with them like he would in Westeros. He had no stock in Slaver’s Bay, and his titles from Westeros meant nothing to the Masters.
It’s hinted toward the end that Tyrion fell in love with Dany, which is why I believe he gave her the benefit of the doubt. He also never stopped caring for his family. Even though Cersei plotted to have him killed, she was his sister and Jaime had always been good to him.
Tyrion was loyal to the old world while Dany was moving toward the new world with herself at the helm. Their partnership was doomed from the start. And then he started making bad decisions. He told Dany to wait and hold back, and by doing so, she lost her only allies in Westeros.
I think by the time he realized that maybe Dany would not make a great Queen, it was already too late. He was afraid of her. When he found out about Jon’s parentage, even he couldn’t deny that Jon would make a better monarch.
It frustrated me to see such a smart man go downhill. He put stock into a woman he barely knew and fed into the belief that she was good. Again I’m not saying she wasn’t good but in the end, all that cheering and making her feel like a god only made her surer that she was the only one who could fix the world.
Eventually, he did come to his senses, but it was already too late. The whole talk with him and Jon frustrated me because these are things Varys and others were trying to tell him and he told them they were wrong. It took her burning down Kings Landing to realize that she was not the Queen that they needed.
All in all, I didn’t like Tyrion’s ending much. Anyone can make mistakes, but I thought that he was going to save the day somehow. I thought he was going to listen to Varys and Sansa and attempt to do something. It’s kind of Bran to give Tyrion a second chance, but I hope for more with his character.
I have mixed feelings about Theon as a character. When he went to the Iron Island’s, he had good intentions, but after being scolded by his father who gave him to the Starks and his sister, he was left torn. On the one hand, he was grateful to the Starks for raising him, but at the same time, he resented them. He was essentially a pampered hostage. But there was also resentment toward his father for letting the Starks take him.
He succeeded in taking Winterfell with what little men he had, but even they betrayed him, and the Bolton’s ended up taking over. At first, I didn’t feel bad when Ramsay started torturing Theon, but after he broke Theon, I sympathized with him. Yeah, he betrayed the Starks but didn’t deserve what Ramsay did to him. Then I became angry at him again when he betrayed Sansa when she went to him for help. I get that he was scared, but he didn’t have to rat her out.
I’m glad that in the end, he did save her though. I think seeing Sansa and watching her get raped awoke something in him. And it helped him realize that the Starks were his family. Yes, he was their prisoner, but he was treated well.
It was nice to see a humbled side to Theon, and it was hard seeing him struggle between being afraid and being strong. Being tortured by Ramsay did a number on him and when he jumped off the ship rather than rescuing his sister Yara it wasn’t because he didn’t want to. He was afraid of being tortured again.
I was glad when he rescued Yara, and she told him that he was a Greyjoy and a Stark. It was sad to see him die in the end, but he did so protecting the other person he betrayed, which was Bran. It was nice of Sansa to give him a Stark pin before burning his body. It showed that she too saw him as a Stark and a Greyjoy.
All in all, I think his character served its purpose. He betrayed his host family and then redeemed himself by rescuing Sansa and protecting Bran. Having him live would not have made sense for the storyline.
Cersei always said that Jaime was the dumbest Lannisters, but I think she’s in the same boat with him. She is calculating and cunning, but she does not inspire loyalty. She chides Ned Stark for not playing the game of thrones in season one when she misplayed it. On one hand it’s hard to fault her for being the way that she is because she grew up with a cold father and had an incestuous relationship with her twin brother. And she was married to a man who was in love with a ghost.
It’s a miracle that all her children didn’t end up crazy like Joffrey. Robert was drunk and never gave his children any attention. Cersei coddled her children and made them believe they were right even when they were wrong. Joffrey started as a mama’s boy, but once he became King, he was in charge, and he no longer needed his mother. Much as she tried to control him and rule through him, she found that she could not.
Then Tommen became King, and while she thought she would have an easier time controlling him, instead Margaery grabbed his attention and took control. To take back her son she enlisted in The High Sparrow to help knock Margaery down and gain control of her son. That decision backfired on her, and her son ended up succumbing to the power of The High Sparrow and ended up imprisoned herself.
Even though I hated Cersei, I felt terrible when she had to do the walk of shame. I mean, she deserved punishment for sure, but that was just grueling. I would have much rather have seen her exiled or even imprisoned for a long time. What did they think she would do after her walk of shame? Of course, she’s going to retaliate.
Her blowing up the Sept which was at the heart of the city showed that she didn’t care about her people. That explosion took out houses near the Sept where innocent people were. Sure they cheered her walk of shame, but she never inspired any love from them to begin with.
Instead of being with her son when the Sept blew up, killing his wife she left him alone. She failed her own son, and he took his life as a result. I don’t know if she was trying to punish him for betraying her, but that was messed up leaving him alone.
I don’t blame Cersei for being mad about Myrcella. Myrcella didn’t do anything wrong. She was a good girl born with an evil mother. I would have much rather Ellaria put her energy into killing Cersei than her daughter who did nothing wrong.
Something that bothered me was the fact that many months had passed, yet Cersei didn’t seem to be showing any signs of being pregnant even though she claimed she was. I heard that there was a deleted scene in which she loses the child back in season 7 which would have made a lot of sense. She wasn’t acting like a mother who wanted to live in season 8. She didn’t seem to even consider the child within her until she was about to die. My thoughts were that she was in denial about being pregnant, or maybe she became pregnant again after being with Euron. I guess we’ll never know.
Cersei was a terrible Queen. She didn’t inspire loyalty and didn’t care for her people. I thought she was going to have an epic death. I was disappointed that she and Jaime died together. I had hoped Arya would kill her, or that Dany would blow her away with her dragon. I think it would have been much more interesting for Jaime to come and find her only to discover she is already dead.
Jaime is another character I had mixed feelings about. He started off being extremely arrogant and uncaring of others. He pushed Bran out the window for catching him and his sister engaging in an affair. His love for Cersei was ultimately his downfall. It was an unhealthy love not solely because they were related, but because of who he became when he was with Cersei.
During his time away from her is when we start to see a shift in Jaime. His Lannister name and fighting skills have gotten him far in life. When that is taken away from him, he realizes that he is nothing without his name and sword hand. His time with Brienne and reflecting on who he is now that he only has one hand humbles him.
While before he only cared about his sister, he goes back to rescue Brienne. He even gives her his sword and lets her leave to carry out her mission to bring Sansa safely home. He is the only one to believe that Tyrion is innocent and frees him. After the standoff between the Lannisters, and the Blackfish he lets Brienne and Podrick leave. When Tyrion returns even though he is angered at him for killing their father, he still hears Tyrion out.
After finding out the White Walkers are real and that his sister plans to do nothing about it even though they gave their word, he leaves her to join the fight. Even her threats of killing him don’t stop him because he knows she would never kill him.
There was a lot of chemistry between him and Brienne, but I never saw it as a romantic one. At least not on his end. I was confused when he started to look at her with puppy dog eyes. I mean she stood up for him, but that’s only because he proved himself loyal to her and Catelyn’s promise.
I always had a feeling that he would return to Cersei. When he and Brienne hooked up, it felt unnatural. Especially when a few days later, he leaves her to go back to his sister. I think Brienne was a way for him to be someone different and that in an alternate universe they could have worked out. Jaime has indeed changed, but his love for Cersei destroys him. When he sees her, he sees nothing else.
For a moment he forgets about her and thinks of living with Brienne, but when he realizes that she is going to die, he realizes he still loves her. As I said with Cersei’s death, I think it would have been much more fulfilling if he got there only to find her dead body. I figured he would probably die in the end so I wasn’t surprised there.
Game of Thrones had a good run. I’m glad that it didn’t end on a cliff hanger. I was worried that it would. I mean I suppose we don’t know where Jon was headed, and we’ll never know what West of Westeros is, but at least we know that they are okay. At least for now. I started with the Starks and ended with the Starks.
What are you thoughts on the series?