Warning: Spoilers ahead.
Game of Thrones’ eight-year reign on television came to a dramatic close Sunday night. The final season was rocky, especially in the eyes of its superfans, over a million of whom have signed a petition for the writers to remake the eighth season. The last six episodes brought the deaths of numerous beloved (and despised) lead characters, two mammoth battles, thousands of casualties, and one shocking transfer of power.
With a season so full of gore and betrayal, I was surprised the series finale wasn’t bloodier—or more satisfying. Regardless, here are the eight wildest moments from the Game of Thrones series finale.
Tyrion finds his siblings buried in the rubble.
Last week, Daenerys Targaryen fulfilled her destiny and became the Mad Queen, burning the entire city of King’s Landing to the ground, despite Queen Cersei’s surrender. At the end of the episode, long-time lovers (and siblings!) Cersei and Jamie Lannister held each other as the walls of the Red Keep came crumbling down around them. Since we didn’t technically see them get crushed beneath the weight of their castle (and their sins), some fans of the show held out hope.
However, in the series finale, Tyrion spots his brother’s golden prosthetic hand peeking out from beneath the rubble. Block by block, he uncovers his brother and sister and cries over their bodies, but no one whimpered more loudly than me. I spent years loathing the evil queen, but seeing her die like that suddenly had me calling for #JusticeForCersei.
Tyrion rashly tosses his Hand of the Queen brooch down the stairs.
Look, there was barely any LGBTQ representation on this show, and as far as I’m concerned, an eldritch brooch that symbolizes wholehearted subservience to a Mad Queen is a gay icon. Watching Tyrion disrespect such an honorable heirloom like that was both shocking and rewarding; he chucks it pointedly down the stairs in open disgust at the Mad Queen’s torching of King’s Landing. But also, have some respect for that talisman!
(If you’re not sold on the Hand of the Queen brooch being a gay icon, just remember that we’ve come to know this brooch over the course of eight seasons, only for it to be carelessly discarded of in the final episode—that’s gay as hell.)
Jon kills Daenerys.
The most shocking scene comes after Jon speaks with Tyrion, who has been imprisoned for betraying Dany (and the brooch). Tyrion had urged Jon to kill the Mad Queen and take the Iron Throne, because as Aegon Targaryen he’s the rightful heir, and he’d save thousands of lives she’d likely take as queen.
Dany glides over to the snow-dusted throne, ready to plop down and helm her seven kingdoms, until Jon approaches her. With tears in his eyes, he kisses her and pledges his allegiance, swearing, “You are my queen—now, and always,” and swiftly sticks a knife in her heart.
Maybe it had to be done, but it was still devastating to watch. Screw Cersei—justice for Dany and her busted character arc.
Drogon toasts the Iron Throne.
Moments after Jon’s great betrayal, the Mother of Dragons’ last remaining dragon-child, Drogon, swoops in and screeched at the sight of his dead mother. Heartbreaking! Drogon looks to Jon, fire rising in his throat, and just when we think he’s about to leave King’s Landing smelling like burnt man-bun, he furiously spits fire at the actual Iron Throne. And then again. And again, until the symbolic throne melts into swirling heaps of magma. In the words of Drogon, “RREEEERRRREEEEET,” which I believe translates to: If Daenerys Targaryen can’t have the Iron Throne, no one can.
Sansa roasts Uncle Edmure.
Sure, the death of the Lannisters made me cry and Daenerys’ death made me burn with rage, but Sansa’s roast of her uncle, Edmure Tully, made me gasp. Weeks after Daenerys’ death, Grey Worm brings Tyrion, still a prisoner, before the new counsel of Westeros, made up of the most powerful lords, ladies, knights, and maesters of the realm. He suggests that the only way to break the “wheel” and bring peace to Westeros, as Daenerys intended, is to choose a new leader themselves, and discard of the principle of heirs.
One of the most insignificant men on the counsel, Edmure Tully, stands up and begins to orate about his meager accomplishments, putting himself forward as a potential king of Westeros. Sansa curtly cuts him off, saying, “Uncle. Please sit.” It was my favorite moment in all of season 8. Edmure Tully, retire bitch!!!
Bran becomes king of Westeros…
In the upset of the century, Tyrion ends up nominating Bran Stark as the first chosen King of Westeros. Yes, Bran, whom Twitter loves to roast more than it loves to argue. Bran, whose character is both confounding and underwhelming. I absolutely hate that after eight long seasons, the leader of Westeros isn’t one of the show’s severe leading ladies, like Cersei, Daenerys, Sansa, Arya, or Yara Greyjoy.
…and the other Starks do a lot.
Bran being chosen as ruler of the Seven Kingdoms by a panel of Westerosi superdelegates is truly mindboggling—but what becomes of the Stark siblings is equally as surprising.
Sansa is the only one to detract from the vote, insisting instead that the North will secede from the Seven Kingdoms and remain an independent state, and that she will rule it. Arya decides to become a great explorer, sailing west of Westeros, where no man or woman has ever explored. Magellan could never.
Jon Snow returns to the Night’s Watch.
Jon Snow is sentenced to a life back at the Night’s Watch, never to marry or bear children. In the end, he rides north of the wall with his BFF Tormund. Interesting: The Starks claim to love each other and yet have taken every opportunity to remain worlds away from each other for the last few seasons. Now they can all live peacefully in solitude, as leaders of their own little realms. Here’s hoping that “Arya the Conqueror” is one of those big Game of Thrones spinoffs we were promised.
Goodbye, Game of Thrones. You were great to have on in the background while making out.