A very busy finale but does it manage to pull enough plot threads to a close??
Last week’s episode provided us with one of the best pieces of genre TV committed to film so it’s only natural to feel that this extended episode was a touch unfocused. In saying that when Game of Thrones does, ‘unfocused’ it still manages to be head and shoulders above everything else that’s out there. My disappointment comes from the fact I won’t be returning to this world next week and I will miss my time here.
A finale is designed to close off some plot threads and leave a big finish that will draw you back into the next season. Thankfully the final episode delivers on both those fronts, especially with final scene. In fact for the last 20 mins I was half expecting the music to turn up and fade to credits several times before it actually did. That’s how many great endings there were to the character arcs back to back in this episode. Dany and her Dragons, Robb’s romance, The Men beyond the wall, and Tyrion and Shae.
Speaking of the above its time for my weekly Peter Dinklage love in. Again we have an acting tour de force as Tyrion comes to terms with his new future at the bottom of the food chain. Bed ridden from battle, Battle scared thanks to his sweet sister Cersei, he finds himself in a dank lowly room ill-fitting of his heroics. His victory on the battlefield has been erased from history, replaced by his father’s last minute arrival. His tears at the end of his scene cut at the heart of me and I confidently predict Peter may need to find more room on his mantelpiece when the award season comes round.
Dany’s story dealt with the emergence of re-emergence of magic in this world. Creepy sorcerer Pyat Pree reveals that Dany’s Dragons have made magic more powerful and their presence has fundamentally changed the world landscape. With characters like the Sorcerer and Melisandre’s murderous vagina shadow creature active in this world, I wonder what else is waiting for us to discover in the future.
Poor Theon Greyjoy we almost feel sympathy for the Iron Born Prince and self-appointed Lord of Winterfell. He is completely surrounded with only 20 men and only a coward’s way out available. Unluckily for Theon he decides today is the day to find his back bone by turning down Maester Aemon’s secret escape tunnels. My favourite moment here was Theon channelling the ghost of Mel Gibson to rouse his troops only to get knocked out by his second in command. The remaining Iron Men chose to escape but not before cutting down Loyal Maester Aemon and putting Winterfell to the torch. Bran and co escape unscathed and on Aemons advice head North to the proposed safety of his step brother Jon.
Unfortunately Jon snow is still marching north to meet the King beyond the wall, Mance Rayder. Jon is one of my favourite characters and his arc is one of the best in the series. Ygritte has been underused in the series so far but I look forward to seeing her and Jon’s relationship develop over the next series as he goes behind enemy lines. The best of the Night’s watch storylines happened at the very end with the reintroduction of the White walkers. The budget stretched to make some really convincing Zombies on a par with what we have seen in the Walking Dead this year. The lead walker itself instilled a real fear in me for Sam, and that scene alone has me dying to get back to see what happens.
If you hold Game of Thrones up against any other series at the moment the difference is staggering. The characters, the story, the pacing, the costume, the direction etc are all head and shoulders above the competition. Unlike other ensemble television there is no weak actors, no weak stories, characters make decisions that make sense and not just to propel the story forward. They have the confidence to kill off fan favourites and still find other great characters to fill the space. As a fan of the books as well as the TV series I understand some frustrations of long term fans. One that is levelled at me is that some plot points and characters have been omitted entirely. I feel that the sacrifices made by the production team have been well thought out and improve on the story overall. The original books have a habit of meandering needlessly and removing compelling characters for books at a time. The decisions made I feel will keep the spirit of the source material whilst keeping fantastic character front and centre for a while longer. This is a show to be celebrated and kudos to HBO for pioneering such fantastic television.