The Iron Throne (Game of Thrones)
|"The Iron Throne"|
|Game of Thrones episode|
|Episode no.||Season 8|
|Featured music||Ramin Djawadi|
|Cinematography by||Jonathan Freeman|
|Editing by||Katie Weiland|
|Original air date||May 19, 2019|
|Running time||79 minutes|
"The Iron Throne" is the series finale of the American fantasy drama television series Game of Thrones. It is the sixth episode of the eighth season and the 73rd overall episode of the series. Written and directed by the series creators David Benioff and D. B. Weiss, it aired on HBO in the United States and Canada on May 19, 2019.
Jon and Davos survey the damage that Daenerys wrought on King's Landing while she wrested the city from rival queen Cersei. Tyrion sets off to find his brother and mourns over Cersei and Jaime's corpses in the ruins of the Red Keep. Jon finds Grey Worm executing surrendered Lannister soldiers under Daenerys' orders. He tries to stop him, a standoff ensues and Davos advises asking Daenerys, who meanwhile declares to the Unsullied and Dothraki armies that she will liberate the entire world. Tyrion publicly resigns as her Hand in protest and is arrested for treason.
Arya warns Jon that because of his Targaryen heritage, Daenerys will kill him as a threat to her rule. Jon insists that Daenerys will still treat them as allies. Tyrion tells Jon that despite Jon's love for Daenerys, it is Jon's duty to kill her for being the people's greatest threat. Tyrion also warns that Arya and Sansa will not bend the knee to Daenerys.
In the throne room, Jon confronts Daenerys, who blames any incinerated civilians on Cersei for using them as human shields. Jon begs that she forgive Tyrion, but she says he and the Lannister prisoners committed crimes she cannot forgive, that their executions – and a continued liberation campaign – are necessary to establish her vision of a good world, and that only she and Jon can choose what is good. Unable to dissuade her, a conflicted Jon reaffirms his fealty to her and stabs her to death as they kiss. As he grieves over her corpse, Drogon arrives, sniffs it and cries. He melts the Iron Throne and carries her body away.
Some time later, sixteen influential leaders of the Seven Kingdoms convene to discuss Tyrion and Jon's fate. Tyrion, Grey Worm's prisoner, suggests that future monarchs be chosen by a council instead of inheriting the crown. He nominates "Bran the Broken"; the rest agree, except for Sansa, who declares the North's independence from the Seven Kingdoms. Bran accepts, appoints Tyrion his Hand, explains to Grey Worm that justice is served if Tyrion spends his life fixing his many mistakes, and sentences Jon to rejoin the Night's Watch for murdering Daenerys. Appeased, the Unsullied depart for Naath, Missandei's homeland.
Tyrion convenes the Small Council, comprising Bronn, Brienne, Davos, and Sam, and they begin planning to rebuild King's Landing. Bran, wheeled by newly-knighted Kingsguard Ser Podrick Payne, briefly meets with the Council and tasks himself with finding Drogon.
Arya sets sail to explore the uncharted seas west of Westeros. Sansa is crowned Queen in the North by the Northern lords. Jon arrives at Castle Black and reunites with Tormund, Ghost and the wildlings to return to the lands beyond the Wall.
The episode was directed by David Benioff and D. B. Weiss.
During filming of the Dragonpit scene in Seville, Spain, actors Vladimir Furdik (The Night King), Faye Marsay (The Waif), Tom Wlaschiha (Jaqen H'ghar), and Kit Harington (Jon Snow) were brought by HBO to the city as decoys to hide plot points. In the same scene, two plastic water bottles were spotted by the audience behind John Bradley and Liam Cunningham's feet.
The episode was viewed by 13.61 million viewers on its initial live broadcast on HBO, making it the most watched episode of the series, surpassing the preceding episode "The Bells", as well as the most watched HBO telecast ever, surpassing the 13.4 million viewers of The Sopranos episode "For All Debts Public and Private". An additional 5.7 million viewers watched on streaming platforms, for a total of 19.3 million viewers.
On review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes, the episode has an approval rating of 49% based on 130 reviews, with an average rating of 6.39 out of 10. The website's critical consensus reads: "If nothing else, 'The Iron Throne' is a bittersweet – if unfortunately bland – series finale that ensures Game of Thrones fans will linger on the fate of their favorite characters for some time. Will they ever be satisfied by the show's conclusions? Ask us again in 10 years."
James Poniewozik of The New York Times felt the story insufficiently explained why Daenerys burned King's Landing and how she arrived at her final character point, stating that "a woman, abused and traded like chattel, becomes so caught up in her zeal to do good that she sees anything but blind adoration as evil" was a solid idea, but that viewers were not taken "inside her perspective to make that change seem real and inevitable." Poniewozik said "small character moments" like Tyrion straightening chairs, Arya sailing west and Jon rejoining the Wildlings "made emotional sense". Hank Stuever of The Washington Post, who watched with lowered expectations, said the series "sailed (and trotted) off to a noble and perhaps anticlimactic end...It was everything nobody wanted, but it was still quite a thing: adequately just, narratively symmetrical and sufficiently poignant. It went long on swelling imagery and somewhat short on dialogue." Laura Prudom of IGN wrote that the finale was "not a disaster", but also "not quite the dream of spring we might've hoped for", "struggling to resolve many of the show's lingering plot threads in a satisfying and coherent conclusion, and once again falling victim to the season's needlessly truncated episode order."
Critics took issue with the episode's pacing and final revelations. Spencer Kornhaber of The Atlantic wrote that the finale was "tonally odd, logically strained, and emotionally thin" and a "drama turned into a sitcom". Lenika Cruz, also writing for The Atlantic, wrote that the episode had "pacing issues, rushed character development, tonal dissonance, the lack of attention to detail, unexplained reversals, and weak dialogue". Kelly Lawler of USA Today wrote, "Tragedy and injustice were as baked into the series' identity as dragons and battles," but the finale was "unrecognizable. It was hacky; it was cliched. Every character left standing received a saccharine coda...It didn't gracefully swerve into another lane, it careened off a cliff." Inkoo Kang of Slate wrote that "We know governance is complicated, and the show’s depiction of those complications is one of the reasons why it initially felt so refreshingly relatable - but the finale’s argument that an abdication of responsibility is the best we can hope for in a leader - feels lazy and false." Soumya Srivastava of Hindustan Times wrote that the episode was the second-worst of the series (behind the prior episode "The Bells"), felt like a "hurry to get to the finish line", and left her wondering how Daenerys did not realize Jon was a threat, and whether there was a point to his royal parentage. Despite her personal confusion and disappointment, she felt "happy for Jon" at the end, thought Drogon had "a good send-off" and that "Ghost got the goodbye he deserved."
Conversely, TV Guide's consensus concluded that the Game of Thrones finale "finished strong," ranking it #33 on the list of all 73 episodes. Richard Roeper, writing for the Chicago Sun-Times, wrote that "over all, the finale was a solid and largely satisfying wrap-up to one of the most exciting and enthralling TV series ever," and was "melancholy, bittersweet, twist-filled and at times surprisingly humorous."  Hugh Montgomery of BBC also rated the episode 4/5, writing that the finale largely satisfies "on the terms the creators have [previously] set out" in the "ruinous" penultimate episode. Bran becoming king was "true to the show’s sense of realpolitik" as a "contingently happy ending", whereas the show "provides an efficient, if disappointingly uncontroversial, ending" for Jon, Arya and Sansa. Karl Quinn of The Age wrote that the show "may have resolved itself" too quickly in dramatic terms, but Bran's ascension "made perfect sense" thematically according to the show's "anti-war and anti-despot themes...After all the bloodshed, butchery and burning, Game of Thrones ended not with a bang but with a ballot." Lucy Mangan of The Guardian gave a 4/5 rating, stating that "the finale just about delivered. It was true to the series' overall subject – war, and the pity of war – and, after doing a lot of wrong to several protagonists last week, did right by those left standing."
- Hempstead Wright, Isaac (May 20, 2019). "'Game of Thrones' Star Isaac Hempstead Wright on His Path to That "Extraordinary" Ending (Guest Column)". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved May 22, 2019.
- Cupin, Bea (May 27, 2019). "'Game of Thrones' finale: Kit Harington flew to Spain 'as decoy'". Rappler. Retrieved May 28, 2019.
- Picheta, Rob (May 20, 2019). "A Song of Coffee and Water: 'Game of Thrones' leaves plastic bottle in shot during finale". CNN. Retrieved May 20, 2019.
- Betz, Bradford (May 20, 2019). "Fans spot apparent water bottle gaffe in 'Game of Thrones' series finale: report". Fox News. Retrieved May 20, 2019.
- "'Game of Thrones' finale sets new viewership record". CNN. May 20, 2019. Retrieved May 22, 2019.
- "GAME OF THRONES Concludes with All-Time HBO Record; BARRY Quadruples Prior Season Finale". HBO PR Medium. May 20, 2019. Retrieved May 22, 2019.
- "The Iron Throne". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved May 31, 2019.
- Poniewozik, James (May 21, 2019). "'Game of Thrones' Comes in for a Crash Landing". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved May 22, 2019.
- Stuever, Hank. "The 'Game of Thrones' finale, while lacking, goes out on an important note: Stories matter". The Washington Post. Retrieved May 20, 2019.
- Prudom, Laura. "Game of Thrones Episode 6 Review". IGN. Retrieved May 20, 2019.
- Sims, David; Kornhaber, Spencer; Cruz, Lenika. "Did Viewers Win or Lose in the Game of Thrones?". The Atlantic. Retrieved May 20, 2019.
- Lawler, Kelly. "'Game of Thrones' series finale recap: A disaster ending that fans didn't deserve". USA Today. Retrieved May 20, 2019.
- Kang, Inkoo. "Game of Thrones' Ending Betrayed the Show's Lofty Ambitions". Slate. Retrieved May 21, 2019.
- Srivastava, Soumya. "Game of Thrones finale review The Iron Throne: A disappointing end as all prophecies, secrets, plotlines are set on fire". Hindustan Times. Retrieved May 20, 2019.
- "Here's Where Game of Thrones Season 8 Episode 6 'The Iron Throne' Falls in Our Ranking | TV Guide". TV Guide. May 20, 2019. Retrieved May 22, 2019.
- "Game of Thrones: Every Episode Ranked From Worst to Best : 33. "The Iron Throne" (S8E6) | TV Guide". TV Guide. Retrieved May 22, 2019.
- Roeper, Richard. "'Game of Thrones' finale review: Enthralling series comes to a satisfying end". Chicago Sun-Times. Retrieved May 20, 2019.
- Montgomery, Hugh. "How good is the Game of Thrones finale?". BBC. Retrieved May 23, 2019.
- Quinn, Karl (May 20, 2019). "Why that Game of Thrones finale made perfect sense (but yes, it was rushed)". The Age. Retrieved May 23, 2019.
- Mangan, Lucy. "Game of Thrones review – epic final episode corrects some major wrongs". The Guardian. Retrieved May 20, 2019.