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The Game of Thrones Finale Was Awfully Impressed With Itself, Huh?

Photo: Helen Sloan/HBO

If you, like millions of other people on the internet, had a problem with the way Game of Thrones wrapped up on Sunday, I highly recommend watching it on three hours of sleep while jet-lagged in the airport of a foreign country. It is only there, temporarily suspended in the twilight of human consciousness, surrounded by people speaking Danish, that things begin to make a sort of nebulous sense. Making one protagonist they spent eight seasons forcing us to care about brutally murder the other protagonist they spent eight seasons convincing us to care about in cold blood out of absolutely nowhere? Makes sense! Tyrion convincing Jon Snow to pull off this murder via exactly one (1) four-minute conversation? Yes, sure. I love it. Jon Snow having his hair gel in prison? Sure. Arya becoming a proud colonizer? This tracks!

Since I didn’t get to write about last week’s episode (I was covering the Cannes Film Festival), I will weigh in briefly to say LOL. And now let’s move on. The finale begins with Jon, Davos, and Tyrion trudging through the snow and ash in King’s Landing, doing a little tour of the destruction. A man walks past Tyrion, burned to a crisp except for his underwear, which points to Dany’s great generosity. Grey Worm is randomly executing Lannister soldiers as a way to externalize his heartbreak. Jon and Davos ask him not to, and he’s like, “Absolutely not. I will leave this show only after I have totally destroyed the good will toward my character. You should think about doing the same.” He slits a throat.

Photo: Courtesy of Rachel Handler

Tyrion is searching the burnt husk of the castle for his dead incest twin siblings. He finds them beneath a pile of rocks and sobs, throwing bricks around (disrespectful, considering). I get why he’s sad for Jaime, with whom he spent a lot of time briefly showing emotion in front of a fire, but there is zero textual evidence to support his sadness for Cersei.

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Jon Snow is not ready for the final Rose Ceremony. He hasn’t decided whether he’s going to choose Dany or choose nobody (because she is the only contestant this season). His turmoil is clear in his desperate face and his frizzy hair, which he has unforgivably neglected. Grey Worm waits for him at the top of the castle stairs, despite the fact that he was just murdering people indiscriminately in a different location 12 seconds ago. Dany’s Large Adult Dragon son flies overhead, briefly swooping down to give Jon a wedgie. Dany walks to the front of the castle steps, wearing all black and dramatic shoulder pads to indicate she is Now Bad. She clears her throat. “This is the final Rose Ceremony,” she screams. “It is the time to ask yourself, once and for all, are you here for the right reasons?”

Jon looks confused. “Where’s Chris Harrison?” he asks, tugging nervously on his wedgie. Dany laughs, furls of black smoke escaping from her mouth. “I swallowed him,” she says. “He is now speaking out of me.”

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Tyrion approaches Dany to ask if she believes her abrupt left turn into a murderously insane character has felt believable to her, or if she, too, thinks Amanda Peet’s husband spent too much time giving himself fun little cameos and writing scenes with men briefly showing each other emotion in front of fires and not enough time figuring out how to write women. “How dare you question me, Amanda Peet’s husband, and Chris Harrison, who lives inside my mouth?!” she shrieks. “This is the highest-rated reality-television series in the world. We are changing minds. We are changing lives. Perhaps we’ve had to kill millions along the way, but what are millions of dead people when you’ve got a shot at true love?” She banishes Tyrion to prison. Jon Snow gulps audibly like a cartoon character to indicate he is Experiencing Some Moral Confusion.

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Arya and Jon are having an argument in front of all of the soldiers. Arya is like, “Dany is never going to let you live unless you agree to a lifelong Fuck Plot.” Jon gulps again and tugs his collar, looking straight at the camera. “What if I’m not ready for a proposal?” he asks Arya. “It’s only been a few weeks. I hate this process. How do I know if I’ve met the one?”

Arya laughs. “The process works,” she says, patting Jon on the shoulder. Jon shudders involuntarily. “Did Chris tell you to say that?” he says. Arya winks and walks away.

Photo: Courtesy of Rachel Handler

Terrified that everyone in his life is actually a producer for The Bachelor, Jon visits Tyrion in prison. “Should I marry Dany?” asks Jon. “We’ve had a complicated six weeks. I love her, but she’s my aunt, and her sons terrify me. She’s also been acting kind of weird this week, burning down cities, but please don’t judge her — it’s been a rough transition. Oh, and she ate Chris Harrison. Actually, I appreciate that part. But the show has no host anymore. So I’m not really sure who’s hosting the final Rose Ceremony? Anyway.”

“Actually, you should murder her,” says Tyrion.

“Uh, what?” says Jon. “Truly what? I don’t even … what?!”

“You should kill her because we only have 40 minutes left in this episode and we absolutely must wrap this up in a way that is totally fucking out of control and random,” says Tyrion.

“Well, when you put it that way,” says Jon. “10-4.”

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One of Dany’s sons is hiding underneath a pile of snow and pops up just as Jon walks past, screaming “Boo!!!” and pulling down Jon’s pants. Jon starts weeping uncontrollably. “Shit, dude,” says Dany’s son. “Chill.” Upstairs, Dany approaches the Iron Throne, where she herself will hold the final Rose Ceremony. She strokes it longingly, imagining what it will be like to peg Jon Snow atop it.

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Jon walks up behind her. “Isn’t this sword chair hot?” asks Dany. “I’ve been aroused by it since I was a child.” She wiggles her eyebrows suggestively.

Jon gulps again. “Uh, Dany, listen,” he says, twiddling his thumbs. “You burned some kids to death. I don’t know how to feel about that, exactly.”

Chris Harrison speaks from Dany’s mouth. “It’s all part of the process, Jon!!!” he screams, his voice desperate and echoey, trapped inside a dark tunnel. Dany swallows hard and Chris is silenced.

Dany looks at Jon. “It’s not easy to be a woman on this show, you know,” she says. “The producers made me get naked in episode ONE. My brother touched my BOOB. I was raped multiple times and then I had to fall in love with my rapist. I had to get naked again inside a FIRE. Little girls around the world told me I was their hero, which means little girls watched me do all that shit. I had to do half of my scenes on a green screen, pretending my sons were phallic mythical creatures. My best friend, one of the only women of color on the show, got beheaded just so I’d have a good reason to go nuts. I never got any fireside chatting scenes. And now I have to act like Stalin for no reason.”

Jon nods sympathetically. “That all sounds really hard. Dany, will you accept this final rose?”

Dany is delighted. “I’ve been waiting so long to hear you say that,” she says, weeping. “Does this mean we’re engaged?”

Jon murders her. “No, sorry,” he says. “I’m not ready for a proposal.”

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Jon cries over Dany’s body, mostly for the cameras, even though they’ve stopped rolling to deal with the insurance and public-relations fallout from Dany’s death. Her son from downstairs approaches the two of them. “Really?” he says to Jon. “The snow thing was just a practical joke. Jesus Christ.” He torches the Iron Throne, symbolically pointing out that it is stupid. “I knew I was the only woke one on this show,” he says, dragging his mom’s body off-screen. “Ever heard of Galaxy Brain? You should try it.”

Photo: Courtesy of Rachel Handler

Months (?!) have gone by, according to Tyrion’s beard. How cool. Definitely isn’t interesting at all to us what happened in the months after Dany’s death. Anyway, now everyone important on the show who is still alive has gathered to figure out who should be king next. Jon is in prison. Tyrion gets a brief reprieve to help decide (?).

Edmure Tully proposes himself; Sansa is like, “Sit the absolute fuck down.” Sam, a nerd who has had sex twice, invents the idea of democracy and everyone laughs at him because he is a nerd who has had sex twice. Ultimately, everyone chooses … Bran Fuckin’ Stark.


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Bran Stark, Westeros’s douchiest start-up bro. Bran Stark, who was “too busy” being uselessly psychic to be the warden of the North. Bran Stark, who admittedly is “not a person anymore.” Bran Stark, who visibly and obviously does not care about anyone except himself, who never warned anybody about the 1 billion deaths to come that he absolutely foresaw, who let people who loved him die to save his life and then just went back to scrolling idly through Twitter.

I don’t know what’s worse Bran Stark being crowned king (hahahahahahahaha) or Tyrion going on a little interlude about how “there’s nothing in the world more powerful than a good story” — in other words, Amanda Peet’s husband and Amanda Peet’s husband’s friend just fully jerking themselves off on international television.

Actually, you know, I think it’s the stories part. The writers … of this show … think that this show was good enough … to represent the foundational power … of storytelling … as a medium … that will save the world?

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Actually, the WORST part of this scene is the smug smile Bran gives Tyrion when he suggests he become king. “Why do you think I came all this way?” he asks. “Well, besides trying to find more angel investors for my fifth start-up, which will track how many times women say ‘like’ in a sentence and slap them across the face at each instance.”

“I’ll invest!” says Edmure Tully.

“The North is independent now,” says Sansa, yanking on her domme harness. “Because, wow, do you suck.”

Bran’s first order of business as king is to appoint Tyrion as his Hand, because that went so well last time. He also orders everyone to jog barefoot from now on. “Running shoes are making our feet weak,” he says. “My next app will track how many of you actually obey this order.”

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Jon Snow is regretting murdering Dany. “Do you think it was the right thing?” he asks Tyrion, his curls just slightly too defined to make me believe he has not been using his curly shampoo in prison. “It did great ratings, sure, but did it make sense, from a story perspective?”

“Oh, that? I don’t know, actually,” says Tyrion. “Great q.”

Jon sobs into his giant beard.

“Oh, and you have to go back to the Night’s Watch,” says Tyrion. “Sorry. This is awkward.”

Jon is aghast. “Does that make sense? Narratively? Like, why? I thought I was one of the primary protagonists and people were invested in a satisfying outcome for me?”

“Again, not super sure,” says Tyrion. “But, uh, get ready, because we only have 20 minutes left to wrap this.”

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Jon is saying good-bye to his sisters, including Sansa, with whom he had sexual tension that nobody ever addressed in an official capacity. It’s too late for that now. He is a born-again virgin. Both kick themselves for forgetting to unpack their palpable chemistry before the show ended. Arya tells everyone she is going “west of Westeros, where the maps stop,” i.e., becoming a colonizer, which as usual totally lines up with her narrative arc of being an independent woman obsessed with justice who won’t bend to society’s will. For some reason, Jon apologizes to Bran, even though Bran is the one who just let him murder a queen and get banished to virgin town.

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Back to the power of stories, especially Game of Thrones, a story that I will never forget!!! Brienne is updating her blog. “Jaime,” she writes, “tooted it and booted it after years of meaningful glances across battlefields. Then he died on top of his incest twin. I was reduced to a pile of wet sobs. Not sure why. Felt weird even as I did it. Anyway. The end.” She presses publish.

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Bran’s first meeting as king. He pulls up a PowerPoint about Elon Musk. “This guy right here,” says Bran, “is the king I want to be like. So let’s do that. Can we build a little submarine today?” Everyone looks confused.

“He’s not a king, though,” says Tyrion.

Bran bursts out laughing. “Sure.” He’s barely paying attention, texting his assistant under the table: “Do not forget to ask Elon if he wants some official King’s Landing merch,” he types.

“Anyway, should we discuss official king stuff now?” asks Tyrion.

“Go for it,” says Bran. “I have a lunch thing. Gotta jet.”

Everyone stares at each other dumbly. Sam hands Tyrion a book, titled A Song of Ice and Fire.

“Are you kidding me with this derivative meta shit?” asks Tyrion.

“No,” says Sam, clearing his throat nerdily. “I wish I were. But I’m not.”

Brienne quietly updates her blog under the table.

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It’s montage time. All of the Stark siblings are totally alone and doing jobs they didn’t really want, save for Arya. Jon approaches the Wall, already looking horny and disappointed. Sansa gets dressed for her first day as queen in the North, finally removing her domme harness, which has begun to chafe after months of wear. Arya picks up some binoculars. Jon hugs Ghost, whom Amanda Peet’s husband could suddenly afford to CGI. Bran is shown at lunch with Elon Musk, laughing as they scroll through photos of Grimes in slow-motion. He ignores a FaceTime from Tyrion.

Jon and his band of merry Wildling snowmen march off into the unknown. The music swells triumphantly, trying very hard to convince us that this is a Good Ending. The Game of Thrones theme is accompanied by vocals for the first time in the history of the series. Hilariously, they are utterly unintelligible. If this isn’t a metaphor for the entire series, I don’t know what is.

Photos: Courtesy of Rachel Handler.
Photos: Courtesy of Rachel Handler.
The Game of Thrones Finale Was Impressed With Itself, Huh?