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Recap / Game of Thrones S8 E6: "The Iron Throne"

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Tyrion Lannister, Jon Snow, and Ser Davos Seaworth slowly walk through the ruins of King's Landing in shock over the devastation unleashed by their queen.

Tyrion leaves the others to head to the ruins of the Red Keep where he descends as far as he can go. Tyrion searches until he finds his brother's golden hand. Gutted, Tyrion removes more of the rubble and uncovers the bodies of his siblings, who have been killed by collapsing rubble from the roof. He breaks down weeping over Jaime and Cersei's bodies. Meanwhile, Jon and Davos try to stop Grey Worm from arbitrarily executing surrendered Lannister soldiers, but the latter refuses, bluntly stating Daenerys's orders were to execute anyone who fought for Cersei. When Grey Worm goes to execute the prisoner, Jon tries to stop him before Davos prevents a potential conflict from erupting between Grey Worm and Jon, suggesting Jon speak to the queen.

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At the gates of the Red Keep, Jon makes his way through the crowd of Unsullied and Dothraki waiting for Daenerys. Daenerys emerges as he takes up a position behind her. She gives a grand speech in Valyrian to her Dothraki and Unsullied soldiers, calling them heroes and liberators who have freed the people of King's Landing, as they freed Slaver's Bay beforehand. As Daenerys vows that they will take their forces and march in all directions, "liberating" the entire world, she is met with the raucous applause of her warriors while Jon looks perturbed and a devastated Tyrion arrives.

After her speech, Daenerys addresses Tyrion and tells him she knows he freed his brother and says he committed treason. Tyrion admits he did this, and then points out that Daenerys slaughtered a city. He rips off the badge that marks him as her Hand and throws it down the stairs. Outraged by his defiance, Daenerys has two of her Unsullied seize Tyrion and they take him away as a prisoner. Jon watches Daenerys leave with her guards and Arya — who's been watching the spectacle from below — silently arrives at Jon's side. Jon is surprised to see Arya in King's Landing and is concerned over her injuries but Arya reveals she came to kill Cersei until Jon's queen did it first. Arya warns Jon that Sansa will never accept Daenerys as queen and Daenerys will come to see Jon as a threat to her position.

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Jon Snow goes to see Tyrion in his cell. Tyrion has resigned himself to death, regrets betraying Varys, and recounts his past betrayals, including that of Daenerys. When he brings up what she did to King's Landing, Jon cannot justify what Daenerys did but believes the war is done now. Tyrion says Daenerys is not done fighting. He tries to tell Jon what Daenerys has become — she has succumbed to her own narrative that she is the Chosen One. Jon tries to defend Daenerys, pointing out her Trauma Conga Line, Cersei's actions, and objects to Tyrion saying Daenerys's nature is "fire and blood". Jon insists Daenerys is not her father, no more than Tyrion is his father. Tyrion responds that Daenerys has killed more people in a day and the more victories she gains, the more she believes that she is right and good, and she is determined to realize her vision of an ideal world — no matter how many she must kill to do it. He understands Jon loves Daenerys — he loves her, too — and knows love is more powerful than reason. Nonetheless, he attempts to convince Jon that he must assassinate Daenerys, to end her bloody reign now before more innocents die, that Daenerys has now become the people's greatest threat. Jon struggles with what Tyrion wants him to do. He reflects on Maester Aemon's words — love is the death of duty — but can't bring himself to commit to Tyrion's plan. When Tyrion points out that she is likely to kill Jon next as a threat to her power base, Jon can't justify betraying Daenerys for the sake of his own life and apologizes. Tyrion points out that Jon's sisters will never bend the knee to Daenerys. When Jon responds they will be loyal to the throne, Tyrion reminds Jon that Sansa told him of Jon's true parentage because she doesn't want Dany to be queen. Jon responds that's not up to Sansa but Tyrion says it's up to Jon now. Jon leaves, looking afraid and conflicted.

As a winter storm blankets the burning city in snow, Jon goes to the ruins of the throne room, where he finds Daenerys looking at the Iron Throne. Jon confronts Dany over the executions of surrendered prisoners and the killing of civilians, shouting at her, "Children! Little children, burned!" Daenerys believes it was necessary and argues that Cersei used the children's innocence against her. Jon tries to convince Daenerys off her path of destruction, pleading with her to show mercy to Tyrion, the surrendered Lannister prisoners, and the people. To his dismay, Daenerys refuses, exhibiting no remorse for anything that she has done and is resolved to her course of action; she espouses her belief that they cannot hide behind "small mercies." Jon says they need a world of mercy but Daenerys is certain she is doing the right thing, the needed thing, and this is how they get a good world. Jon asks her how she knows this world is good and Dany responds, "Because I know what is good." She tells Jon that he knows what is good too but a pained Jon insists he doesn't. He asks about what everybody else thinks is good and Daenerys responds, "They don't get to choose." Dany pulls Jon close — she wants Jon to reign by her side and urges him to join her in realizing her vision of the new world. Anguished, Jon swears that she will always be his queen, and they embrace passionately...

And then Jon sinks his knife into her heart as they kiss.

A moment passes as a stunned Daenerys realizes, too late, what's happened and any last words she might have said remain forever unsaid. Struggling to grasp what he just did, Jon catches her as she falls and heartbroken, cradles her in his arms as she dies. Jon weeps over Daenerys and Drogon stirs before he flies into the room. As he approaches, Jon gently lays Daenerys on the floor, whilst the hulking dragon nuzzles his dead mother's body and roars in rage. Jon prepares himself for a fiery death... but instead, Drogon incinerates the throne room, melting the Iron Throne into a puddle of molten slag before picking up Daenerys's body with a claw and flying away.

And so Daenerys Stormborn of the House Targaryen, First of her Name, Queen of the Andals and the First Men, Mother of Dragons, Breaker of Chains, Queen of Ashes, is dead, taken to lands unknown by her dragon. Her life ended in the ruins of the same hall her father died in, only a few steps away from the throne she spent her whole life dreaming of.

After a time skip of several weeks, Grey Worm takes a shackled Tyrion from his cell and marches him down to the Dragon Pit, presenting him to an assemblage of the lords of the Seven Kingdoms, including: Samwell Tarly, Edmure Tully, Gendry Baratheon, Yara Greyjoy, Yohn Royce, Robin Arryn, and Arya, Bran and Sansa Stark, as well as Ser Brienne of Tarth and Ser Davos Seaworth. It's established that Jon Snow is in prison; the Unsullied want his head, but Sansa reveals the Northerners are willing to kill the Unsullied if they try to take it. More to the point: with Daenerys dead and the Iron Throne reduced to slag, they have no idea how to decide who rules over Westeros.

Lord Edmure Tully tries to nominate himself, but is gently yet firmly shot down by Sansa. Samwell suggests a democratic vote by the whole populace, but is laughed at by the assemblage. Tyrion explains he has had a lot of time to think about their bloody history, the mistakes they've made, and says there's nothing more powerful in the world than a good story, "What unites people? Armies? Gold? Flags? Stories." He nominates Bran "the Broken," of House Stark, exulting him as having the best story. As the Three-Eyed Raven, "[Bran] is our memory, the keeper of all our stories. Our triumphs, our defeats, our past. Who better to lead us into the future?" Tyrion nominates Bran as king and convinces the assembled lords that the recent decades of Westerosi history have shown the folly of using family dynasties for royal succession; instead, he convinces them to switch to a system of elected sovereigns chosen from the most respected members of the Great Houses. Bran says he doesn't want it and Tyrion knows but asks Bran that if he is chosen, will he wear the crown? Bran replies, "Why do you think I came all this way?" Tyrion calls for a vote. In turn, each of the assembled lords, one by one, vote for Bran — even Brienne and Davos, the latter not even sure he's supposed to get one. When it's Sansa's turn to vote, as the Lady of Winterfell, she abstains.

Sansa tells Bran that she loves him but the North simply will not follow a king in the South anymore, not even her own brother. To this, Bran, now elected King, responds by granting the North independence. For his next act, Bran frees Tyrion and declares him to be his Hand. Both Tyrion and Grey Worm protest: Tyrion says he cannot be Bran's Hand and Grey Worm says that Tyrion is a criminal and deserves justice. Bran manages to mollify them both by explaining that Tyrion is being given a lifetime appointment and agrees Tyrion deserves justice for his acts, "He's made many terrible mistakes. He's going to spend the rest of his life fixing them."

After another time skip, Tyrion seeks out a defeated Jon Snow in his cell, and explains that Jon will, in fact, be allowed to live, but at a price: the Unsullied were only persuaded to release Jon when Bran promised that Jon would be sent back to the Wall, to once more take the black and become a member of the Night's Watch. Jon quietly accepts his fate, though he's surprised there's still a Watch, what with there no longer being White Walkers. Tyrion explains that, while it is true the dead are no longer a threat to the living, the Night's Watch will still go on, because it fills a more political need: "There will always be a need for a place for bastards and broken men." As Tyrion turns to leave, Jon asks him if what [Jon did] was right. Tyrion corrects him, "What we did," and Jon responds, "It doesn't feel right." Tyrion sighs and says to ask him that same question in ten years.

Released, Jon is led down through King's Landing, where he sees the Unsullied leaving Westeros to sail for Naath, making good on The Promise Grey Worm made to Missandei to protect her homeland. Dothraki walk openly through the city streets, having seemingly begun to integrate into Westeros. He meets his siblings by the coastline and shares final goodbyes. Bran is, of course, staying in King's Landing to rule over the now Six Kingdoms, while Sansa is returning to Winterfell to rule the new liberated North. After Jon and Sansa hug good-bye, Arya embraces him most dearly of all with tears falling from her eyes. She tells her siblings she's not returning North, she wants to find out what's west of Westeros because nobody knows, it's where all the maps stop.

Ser Brienne of Tarth remains in King's Landing, as the new Lady Commander of the Kingsguard. She takes the Book of Brothers and records the remaining deeds of Ser Jaime Lannister, focusing on his heroic deeds rather than his criminal ones. The final line that she writes declares that he died protecting his Queen. It is the last act of love she can give for the man who ultimately could not love her back.

Tyrion leads the first meeting of the small council of King Bran the Broken, with Bronn of Blackwater (now the new Lord of Highgarden) as Master of Coin, Samwell Tarly, now elevated to Grand Maester, Brienne as Commander of the Kingsguard, and Ser Davos as Master of Ships. Before the council convenes, Sam presents Tyrion with Archmaester Ebrose's new history of the struggles in Westeros, starting with the War of the Five Kings - it is titled "A Song of Ice and Fire." Tyrion is curious to hear how he is depicted in the events - and looks quite put out to discover Ebrose left him out, entirely. Bran stops by briefly, to confirm that they still have three roles to fill for the council, including Master of Whispers, Varys' old position, and that Drogon was last sighted flying east. He muses about looking for Drogon himself before leaving the small council to debate building new ships, feeding the population, and whether or not it's worthwhile to rebuild the brothels at this moment.

Then, a final montage of the three remaining Starks, interspersed:

On a ship somewhere in the West, Arya dons her armor and her weapons, including the same Valryian steel dagger that almost killed Bran as a boy, and destroyed the Night King. She then leaves her cabin and up to the bow of the ship, revealing a Stark Wolf decoration at the front of the bow — off to the Far West and her next adventure.

In Winterfell, Sansa is dressed in a royal gown — blue, with a scalework pattern (like the fish of her mother's House Tully) and embroidered red leaves (like those of the Godswood of Winterfell). She is wearing a circlet crown with a pair of Stark Wolves facing each other at the front. Sansa enters the Great Hall of Winterfell and walks through the assembly of Northern lords before taking her place upon the throne before the assembly. The Northern lords raise their swords and chant, "Queen in the North! Queen in the North!" — the last lines of the series.

Jon Snow once more dons the black of the Night's Watch, and then arrives at Castle Black. There he finds it filled with not Watchmen but the Free Folk; among them, Tormund and Ghost are there, both waiting for Jon to arrive. Jon walks through the group of waiting Free Folk and reunites with Ghost. Alongside Tormund and his loyal dire wolf, Jon ventures with the Free Folk through the gates of Castle Black and into the Far North. As the gates fall behind them, Jon looks back for a moment but then looks ahead again. Jon, Tormund, Ghost, and the Free Folk set off into the forests, vanishing into the wilderness once again — behind them, the first blades of green grass poke through the snow, promising the beginning of spring.

And thus, our series concludes as it began: with a group venturing forth into the unknown of the North.


Tropes:

  • All for Nothing: After her long and costly quest to obtain it, Dany dies before she actually sits on the Iron Throne.
  • Always Second Best: Tyrion admits to Jon that he also loved Dany, but can't help adding, "Not as successfully as you".
  • Armour-Piercing Question: Tyrion makes Jon accept that Dany must be killed with a whole series of these questions, ranging from asking Jon what he would do in Dany's position, knowing what it's like on dragonback, how many more will die if they pose an obstacle to her vision, and finally, whether or Sansa or Arya would willingly submit to her reign.
  • Artifact Title: The titular chair gets molted by Drogon halfway through the episode.
  • The Atoner: Tyrion's atonement for his mistakes is to serve Bran as his Hand of the King.
    Bran: He's made many terrible mistakes. He's going to spend the rest of his life fixing them.
  • Awesome Moment of Crowning:
    • Bran Stark is dubbed "Bran the Broken" and is unanimously deemed to be worthy of ruling the Six Kingdoms, with the North now having become independent under his sister.
    • Sansa Stark, "The Queen in the North!" The chant of her title is the last line spoken in the series.
  • Back for the Finale: Edmure Tully and Robin Arryn reappear after being absent since Season 6. Bronn, Samwell Tarly, Tormund Giantsbane, and Ghost also reappear after a one-episode absence, the latter three remarkable because their exits during the fourth episode seemed permanent.
  • Background Halo: Drogon unfurls his wings behind Daenerys as she walks through the ruins of the Red Keep, making her appear to be a literal dragon queen with wings or a Fallen Angel.
  • Bait-and-Switch: Sam presents Tyrion with the story of the show, called "A Song of Ice and Fire." Then it turns out there's not one mention of Tyrion, making clear this isn't a hackneyed reveal that the book is actually A Song of Ice and Fire.
  • Balkanize Me: The North permanently splits off from the Seven Kingdoms to form its own independent kingdom, with the rest of the continent reformed into the Six Kingdoms of Westeros.
  • Beauty Is Never Tarnished: Jaime and Cersei make some good looking corpses, even after having a ton of bricks fall on them.
  • Because Destiny Says So: Invoked. Tyrion argues her belief that it is her destiny to liberate the world from tyranny is the driving force behind Daenerys now... and it's why she'll destroy anything that stands in the way of that.
    Tyrion: She believes her destiny is to build a better world, for everyone. If you believed that, truly believed it, wouldn't you kill everyone who stood between you and paradise?
  • Benevolent Mage Ruler: Bran becomes king and seems to be more interested in practicing his magic for the good of the realm than in tending to mundane matters, which he leaves to those he feels best suited to tending to the needs of the people.
  • Big Brother Instinct:
    • Tyrion activates this in Jon when, in trying to convince Jon to assassinate his love Daenerys and urging it is the right thing to do, reminds Jon that his sisters will never bend the knee to her.
    • Reversed with Sansa and Arya for Jon. Sansa warns Grey Worm that there are thousands of Northmen outside the city gate if Jon is harmed. When Yara pushes for Jon to be executed for Daenerys's assassination, Arya warns her, "Say another word about killing my brother and I'll cut your throat."
    • Instead of returning to the North with Sansa, Brienne is now Lord Commander of the Kingsguard, implying that Sansa left her behind to ensure Bran's safety.
  • Big "NO!": Although incapable of speech, Drogon still manages to do this when he learns his mother is gone.
  • Big Sleep: After she's fatally stabbed, Dany's eyes eventually close as she dies in Jon's arms and is laid out on the ground.
  • Bittersweet Ending: In contrast to the absolutely bitter conclusion to the previous episode, this one is more on the hopeful side:
    • Tyrion is Hand of the King once more, a position he admits he's good at even if he'd rather not be doing it anymore. Furthermore, with his immediate and much of his extended family dead, he is implicitly Lord of Casterly Rock and the Lord Paramount of the Westerlands, titles that are his birthright long denied to him by his spiteful father. However, House Lannister has been broke for several seasons now, so unless Tyrion can find some new source of revenue, the Westerlands and his family seat will fall into poverty and disrepair. He is left without Daenerys, a person he loved and intended to follow, and without Sansa, who seceded from the Seven Kingdoms.
    • Tormund and Jon lead the Free Folk to resettle north of the Wall... and we see only a few hundred are left. It may be enough to start a couple of settlements but Mance Rayder had, in his own words, ninety clans united, speaking seven languages, each with their own traditions and culture going back thousands of years. Now, most of them are dead and most of that culture is gone forever.
    • The Starks spent years trying to reunite after being forced apart. Now, after they are finally together in peace, they, and the world, have all changed so much they go their separate ways. Yet, it's unknown if they will ever see each other again, bitter in that it took so long for them to find each other again.
      • Jon Snow kills Daenerys Targaryen at a great emotional cost to himself, and is exiled back to the Night's Watch, who no longer have to worry about the White Walkers or invading Wildlings. Back in the North and away from all the political games of the south, he is last seen with the remaining Free Folk beyond the Wall as they go to their new home with new blades of grass peaking through the snow. However, he's again separated from his siblings — unknown when and if he'll see them again — and he must live with the fact that he killed Daenerys.
      • Sansa Stark becomes Queen in the North and establishes independence for the region, but is separated from the rest of her family once again. Adding to that, since Brienne is now permanently stationed in the South, Sansa's essentially alone, separated from her loved ones.
      • Arya Stark decides that there's no place for her in Westeros and she's better-suited to explore the world. But she is going off to a region that no one has ever returned alive from.
    • While Daenerys is dead, her initial dream of creating a better world is still being realized through Bran Stark as the seeds of an Elective Monarchy are planted, and his court is explicitly shown being concerned for the needs of the people (in direct contrast to the leadership seen throughout the rest of the series).
    • Grey Worm ultimately agrees to the terms of Jon's exile and opts not to go to war with the North over revenge for Daenerys. Instead, he takes the remaining of her troops to set sail to Naath in order to fulfill his promise to Missandei of protecting her people.From the books... 
    • It appears as though the seasons have returned to a sense of normalcy as well after the death of the White Walkers, as it does not appear as if a lot of time has passed between the last few scenes and the epilogue, and the weather appears to be much less harsh than usual. The Starks have inherited Westeros, and by all signs it seems like the world will be the better for it.
    • Essos will have to deal with Drogon, and the region that was ruled by the Mother of Dragons has an uncertain future. It's entirely possible that the region may fall back into slavery after Daenerys fought so hard to get rid of it.
    • The presence of Bronn on the Small Council possibly risks the corruption, ambition, and amoral qualities that characterized the earlier small councils manifesting in the new one — so the Game of Thrones may never truly end.
  • Bleed 'em and Weep: Jon breaks down in tears after stabbing Dany through the heart.
  • Blood from the Mouth: When Jon stabs Daenerys, a small trickle of blood comes out of her mouth and nose.
  • Body Horror: A horribly burned man walks aimlessly past Tyrion as he surveys the carnage left by Drogon.
  • Book-Ends:
    • The series opened with a group of the Night's Watch departing from the Wall into the Haunted Forest beyond it and ends with Jon, now a man of the Night's Watch again, escorting the Free Folk as they depart from the Wall and return to the forest. The shots are even similar.
    • The first episode revolved around the motif "Winter is Coming". The last episode ends with a shot of green grass emerging through the snow of the frozen north — in other words, "Spring is Coming".
    • Jon Snow started his journey as a member of the Night's Watch, and he ended his journey by becoming part of the Night's Watch once again.
    • Sansa went south to become a queen and ends up going north to become a queen.
    • The two known members of House Targaryen are the first and last major characters to die in the series. Both are also killed by male extended family members and their deaths are associated with molten metal (for Viserys, a molten pot of gold is poured over his head; for Daenerys, Drogon melts the Iron Throne).
    • The Seven Kingdoms began with Aegon the Conqueror forging the Iron Throne out of the swords of his enemies with his black dragon, Balerion. In this episode, Drogon melts the Iron Throne, symbolically putting an end to the Seven Kingdoms as Aegon Targaryen conceived them. From the books 
    • Within the episode, Jon visits Tyrion in prison, then Tyrion visits Jon in prison.
  • Broken Hero: Both Tyrion and Jon are left broken shells of their former selves once Dany is dead, with Tyrion fully believing that he was never as clever as he thought and shouldn't be Hand again and Jon bleakly left wondering if it was the right thing to kill Daenerys, confiding it doesn't feel right (with Tyrion even telling him to ask him again in ten years).
  • But Now I Must Go:
    • Arya leaves Westeros to explore the uncharted lands, hoping to map them. From the books... 
    • Officially sent into exile as a member of the Night's Watch, Jon Snow leaves Castle Black and instead marches off into the Far North with the surviving Free Folk as they migrate back into their lands.
  • Butt-Monkey:
    • Even after another multi-season absence, Edmure Tully still can't catch a break, and his attempt to make a pitch for making him king only serves to make everyone feel very awkward or bored until Sansa mercifully clues him in.
    • In the same scene, there's also Sam. When he tries to propose democracy, everyone laughs at him.
  • Call-Back:
    • At the end of this episode, Arya is on a ship and looks toward the sea as the Game of Thrones theme song plays, referencing Arya leaving Westeros for the first time on a ship in Season 4's "The Children", looking toward the sea.
      • This also wasn't the first time Arya said she wanted to check out what's west of Westeros. She told Lady Crane this in Season 6.
    • As Tyrion is trying to convince Jon that assassinating Daenerys is the right thing to do, even though Jon loves her, Jon reflects, "Love is the death of duty," referencing Maester Aemon's conversation with Jon in Season 1's "Baelor". Tyrion says this phrase is fitting and asks Jon where he heard it, and Jon tells him Maester Aemon said this to him, a long time ago. This conversation is also a mirror of Ned's last conversation with Varys in that very same episode, with Jon taking Ned's role as the one stubbornly clinging to Honor Before Reason, and with Tyrion taking Varys's role of trying to convince him to do the pragmatic thing. Both conversations end with the honorable one being swayed out of fear for Sansa and Arya's lives.
    • After assassinating Daenerys to save Westeros, Jon holds her body while crying, as he did with Ygritte in "Watchers on the Wall".
      "This is the second woman he's fallen in love with who dies in his arms and he cradles her in the same way," [Kit] Harington notes. "That's an awful thing. In some ways, Jon did the same thing to [his Wilding lover] Ygritte by training the boy who kills her. This destroys Jon to do this."
    • When Jon asks for mercy for Tyrion, Daenerys points out that Jon has executed people who betrayed him, "even when it's broken your heart." Clearly at some point Dany asked Jon how he got that knife scar over his heart, and what happened to the young boy who put it there.
    • Tyrion recalls his experience with the sewers of Casterly Rock when noting that people do better with clean water.
    • After winning the Battle of Blackwater, Varys told Tyrion that he would never receive any credit for it. Turns out Varys was right! Tyrion has been written out of history entirely when Sam presents him with the book, "A Song of Ice and Fire", admitting that Tyrion is not mentioned.
    • King Joffrey sneered over the fact that there weren't many heroic deeds listed under Jaime Lannister's entry in the White Book. As the new Lord Commander of the Kingsguard, Brienne makes sure to list them, including the final entry that he died protecting his queen.
    • Jon is sent to the Wall under similar circumstances as Ned was supposed to go through, as it was Cersei's intention for Ned to take the Black until Joffrey decided against it and ordered Ned beheaded.
    • Two episodes ago, Tormund told Jon that they may see each other again and he had "the True North" in him. At the end of the episode, Jon reunites with Tormund and travels with the rest of the Free Folk back beyond the Wall, possibly to live out his remaining days.
    • Just like in Season 3's "And Now His Watch Is Ended", Dany gives a speech to her victorious Unsullied in the ruins of a destroyed city, asking them to come with and continue to fight for her in the name of freedom. The Unsullied give their assent by slamming their spears into the ground in unison. Before that, she quotes Khal Drogo to her Dothraki by saying that they killed men in their iron suits, tore down their stone houses, and gave her the Seven Kingdoms, the same way that Drogo declared he would do when Robert attempted to have her assassinated.
    • Tyrion quips, "A few years as Hand of the King would make anyone want to piss off the edge of the world."
    • Tyrion winces over Bronn and Davos scraping their chairs.
    • Yet again, Tyrion attempts to tell his joke about the jackass, the honeycomb, and the brothel, and yet again he fails to reach the punchline, after attempting to tell it in both Season 1 (to Lysa Arryn) and Season 6 (to Grey Worm and Missandei)...
    • Sansa's coronation is reminiscent of the coronations of Robb and Jon before her.
  • Can't Take Criticism: Daenerys's response to Tyrion essentially calling her a tyrant is to have him thrown in a cell, though she notes beforehand that he has already betrayed her by setting Jaime free.
  • Captain Obvious: Arya tells Jon that Dany is a killer because she knows one when she sees one. Gee, what gave it away Arya? Was it the city full of ashes and thousands of charred corpses?
  • Character Death: The sole death (aside from some remaining Lannister mooks) in the final episode is Daenerys Targaryen.
  • Conflicting Loyalty: Tyrion realizes Jon is torn between his love and loyalty for Daenerys and his duty to the realm as "the shield the guards the realms of men" to protect the world from Daenerys's reign. This echoes Maester Aemon's speech to Jon that one day, there will "come a day [he] must choose" and how it hurts.
    Jon: "Love is the death of duty."
    Tyrion: You just came up with that?
    Jon: Maester Aemon said it a long time ago.
    Tyrion: Sometimes duty is the death of love. You are the shield that guards the realms of men. And you've always tried to do the right thing. No matter the cost, you've tried to protect people. Who is the greatest threat to the people now?
  • Cradling Your Kill: A distraught Jon cradles Daenerys in his arms after assassinating her to save Westeros, continuing to hold her after she dies, not even noticing Drogon's initial arrival.
  • Critical Research Failure: In-universe example. Archmaester Ebrose somehow missed all of Tyrion's involvement during the War of the Five Kings and Daenerys' invasion in his chronicle. Even people on another continent knew Tyrion had supposedly poisoned Joffrey.
  • Cruel Mercy: Bran decides to appoint Tyrion as his Hand because Tyrion has made many mistakes, and now will spend the rest of his life fixing them.
  • Dark Horse Victory: Bran, of all people, is the one to rule over six of the kingdoms of Westeros.
  • Dark Reprise: During the scene when Danaerys is walking towards the throne, the show's theme tune is playing in the background but is done in a haunting One-Woman Wail.
  • Dead-Hand Shot: The first thing we see of the dead Lannister twins in the cellar of the Red Keep is Jaime’s golden hand.
  • Deader Than Dead: Tyrion finding the bodies of Jaime and Cersei squashes any possibility that they might somehow have survived the collapsing of the Red Keep's cellar in the previous episode.
  • Deadly Hug: As Daenerys tries to convince Jon to conquer and rule the world with her together, she pulls him into an embrace. As she and Jon have their Last Kiss, an anguished Jon fatally stabs her to end her reign.
  • Death Glare:
    • Arya gives Daenerys a baleful one while hearing the latter's New Era Speech, having seen firsthand the kind of world Daenerys wants to create.
    • Arya gives another one to Yara when Yara pushes for Jon's execution.
    • Daenerys gives Tyrion a furious one when he resigns as her Hand in protest at her atrocities.
    • Grey Worm is shown glaring at Jon Snow as he's brought past him on the dock to the ship that will take him to exile, before continuing preparations to sail to Naath.
  • Democracy Is Bad: The nobles of Westeros laugh off Sam's proposal for democracy, which admittedly isn't the best idea for Westeros at this point in timenote . However, they ultimately go with Tyrion's more pragmatic idea of having elected monarchs instead, which still supports the concept of an eventual, full-blown democracy in the centuries that would follow Bran's rule.From the books... 
  • Didn't See That Coming: Both Daenerys and Drogon completely let their guard down when Jon goes to the throne room, likely because they both trust him. Drogon wakes up from a nap, sees Jon, and then lies back down. When Jon sees Daenerys, he confronts her over the slaughter of innocents and tries to make Dany see this is not the way. Dany defends her actions, expressing they are the way to build a better world and asks him to rule with her. As they embrace and share their Last Kiss, Dany (and Drogon) are blindsided when Jon, realizing Dany will not change in her resolve, assassinates Dany before she can act on her plans.
  • Died in Your Arms Tonight: Daenerys dies in the arms of her love, Jon Snow, who weeps over her body after he assassinates her to save Westeros.
  • Disproportionate Retribution: Invoked by Tyrion, who argues the devastation Daenerys unleashed on King's Landing was this trope in regards to her grief over Rhaegal and Missandei's deaths.
    Jon: She saw her friend beheaded! She saw her dragon shot out of the sky—!
    Tyrion: And she burned down a city for it!
  • Dragon Their Feet: Grey Worm outlives his queen, and spends the second act of the episode wanting to execute Jon and Tyrion in her name. He's talked into a compromise by the newly formed council instead.
  • Dramatic Irony: In Bran's ascension to kingship of the remaining Six Kingdoms, two become apparent when considering his predecessor as the Three-Eyed Raven, still implied to be Brynden "Bloodraven" Rivers:
    • Bloodraven, as a bastard, was barred from ever being considered for the Iron Throne — even as he served that very throne and the main line of House Targaryen loyally. With Bran's ascension, it is ironically his legacy which will define the post-Iron Throne domain of Westeros.
    • Furthermore, Bloodraven was himself exiled by King Aegon V/Egg to the Night's Watch (eventually becoming the Three-Eyed Raven) for unjustly executing one of the Blackfyre pretenders — who like himself are Targaryen bastards. In Bran's decision exile Jon back to the Wall, he essentially sentences the remaining scion of the legitimate Targaryen line to permanent exile much like Bloodraven himself was subjected to.
  • Due to the Dead:
    • Brienne sets up to the task of updating the White Book with Jaime's accomplishments.
    • Grey Worm sets out to Naath with the Unsullied to protect the innocent and peaceful people of his beloved Missandei.
  • Earn Your Happy Ending: The surviving Stark children have each been put through immense trauma and their endings involve hope.
    • Bran lost the use of his legs and part of his humanity but became king of the Six Kingdoms.
    • Sansa was raped, battered, watched loved ones die, was manipulated and humiliated and held prisoner for many years, but she ends up Queen of an independent North with crucial familial alliances in the South with the Crown, the Riverlands, and the Vale of Arryn, and on friendly terms with the Westerlands and the Stormlands, this being one of the main reasons she was able to secede unimpeded.
    • Arya always wanted to be a fighter and to see the world. She was hounded from her home, lived as a vagabond, trained as a faceless assassin, and gets to be the first person in Westerosi history to venture out across the sea to the west.
    • And Jon, the bastard son, is away from Westeros's political games and back in the "real" North, where he felt most at home. He is among the wildlings, whose regard and respect for him is based on his own merit rather than on blood, claims, or family titles. If he stays with the wildlings, he may possibly be chosen as their King beyond the Wall.
    • Essentially... House Stark wins the Game of Thrones.
  • Elective Monarchy: What the council ultimately settles on at the end. Realizing how relying on dynastic bloodlines to determine a ruler is risky (as the claimant with the best birthright can be anything from good and noble to terrible and cruel), they decide that the ruler shall be chosen among their council as the most capable one. Tyrion nominates Bran because he has the best story — a trait Tyrion states unifies the people, because of Bran's supernatural powers of greenseeing, while the inability to father children is no longer relevant to this position. The rest of the council agrees to elect Bran.
  • End of an Age: With the death of Daenerys, the destruction of the Iron Throne and the exile of Jon Snow, the Targaryen dynasty and legacy effectively ends, and with it, most if not all of the influence Valyria had on the Seven Kingdoms.From the books... 
  • Euphemism Buster: Played with. Tyrion tells Jon that he has to take the Black, to which Jon asks if there is a Night's Watch left at all in the first place. In not so many words, the lords of Westeros are all telling him, "Dude, don't ask any questions; take it and leave."
  • Eviler Than Thou: Tyrion invokes this about Daenerys, stating that for all the blood on their hands, Daenerys has surpassed the body count of Tywin and Cersei with ease.
    Tyrion: My father was an evil man, my sister was an evil woman. Pile up all the bodies of all the people they ever killed, there still won't be as many as our beautiful Queen slaughtered in a single day!
  • Evil Wears Black: Played straight when Queen Daenerys appears to address her troops dressed entirely in black, even though black and red would be more justified given her House colors.
  • Evolving Credits: one last time for the finale. We have the same locations, Winterfell and King's Landing... but this time, the clockworks are damaged, showing the destruction wrought on Westeros by eight seasons of war.
  • Finale Title Drop: A franchise-wide one: the In-Universe chronicles of the events of the series are revealed to be titled "A Song of Ice and Fire".
  • The Good King: Bran, who never looked for power or even wanted it, ends up setting up a royal court that actually cares about doing the most good for the six kingdoms under his rule.
  • Graceful Loser: Despite Jaime ultimately leaving her for Cersei, Brienne still opts to complete his life story in the Kingsguard record book.
  • Grand Finale: The final episode of the series.
  • Harsher in Hindsight: Discussed in-universe. Tyrion points out to Jon that many of Daenerys' earlier actions that were praised as heroic and humanitarian aren't really any different from her current atrocities; everybody just ignored the implications of her doing a lot of killing and almost no sparing because they were done to Asshole Victims.
  • He's Dead, Jim: Tyrion finds his siblings buried under rubble, guaranteeing to viewers that they are truly dead.
  • The High Queen: Sansa becomes this when she opts for the North to remain its own kingdom and becomes Queen in the North after her brother Robb and later Jon.
  • History Repeats:
    • Tyrion resigns as Hand of the Queen rather than be complicit in any more of Daenerys's atrocities, just as one of his predecessors serving as her father's Hand, Qarlton Chelsted, resigned his position in protest at Aerys's plan to raze King's Landing with wildfire as a gesture of spiteful defiance. He even resigns his post in the same manner, throwing his insignia of office away as a defiant gesture. Fortunately, Tyrion gets off better for his insubordination than Chelsted did. note 
    • Like her father before her, who wanted to "burn them all", Daenerys dies at the foot of the Iron Throne after burning all of King's Landing, killed by a man she trusted who does it to save countless lives. The man is punished for betraying the ruler they had sworn an oath to serve. There are some differences: one kingslayer (Jaime) was pardoned, something Jaime felt was his Startof Darkness, while another (Jon) was exiled. Another difference is there were witnesses to Daenerys's mass slaughter of King's Landing while Jaime withheld his reasons for killing Aerys.
    • Once again, a Northern ruler is taken prisoner by a mad Southern monarch (or in this case forces loyal to said monarch) and just like with Ned Stark and his father and brother before him, the North rose in revolt against the throne, only this time the Northern forces happen to already be at the gates of King's Landing when it happened and they successfully negotiate Jon's release.
    • A sworn member of the Night's Watch again crosses the Wall to lead the Free Folk towards a better life, this time heading north.
  • Hope Sprouts Eternal: As Jon and the Wildlings head north to resettle the areas ravaged by the White Walkers, there's a shot of a single blade of grass protruding from the ground. Spring is coming.
  • Insignia Ripoff Ritual: Tyrion takes off his Hand of the Queen pin after Dany burned down King's Landing.
  • In the Blood: Invoked by Tyrion when he explains how he tried and failed to guide her, telling Jon that Daenerys's nature is 'fire and blood'. Jon rejects this notion, responding, "You think our house words are stamped on our bodies when we're born and that's who we are? Then I'd be fire and blood too. She's not her father, no more than you're Tywin Lannister."
  • Ironic Echo: Continuing the Ironic Echo from the previous episode, Daenerys is killed almost exactly the same way the Night King was killed, with a dagger to the heart.
  • Irony:
    • In spite of spending eight seasons trying to obtain it, Daenerys doesn't ever get to sit on the Iron Throne.
    • The Lannisters resented the Tyrells due to their reputation as greedy opportunists. The seat of the Reach ends up going to Bronn, one of the greediest opportunists in the story — thanks to a deal made with Tyrion, a Lannister.
    • Bran — who was pushed from a tower, permanently crippled, and whose injury was one of the first sparks to light the War of the Five Kings — is the one who wins.
    • Ser Davos ends up sitting on the new king's Small Council years after Stannis' defeat, taking up Stannis' old post as Master of Ships. He shares the post with Tyrion and Bronn, men who had killed his son (among others) when they unleashed the Wildfire explosion at the Battle of Blackwater.
    • The Starks spent years trying to get back to Winterfell and reunite with each other, only for all the survivors to choose to go their separate ways in the end.
    • Robyn Arryn was introduced as a spoiled and mentally unbalanced child, a sickly kid who was totally incompetent in terms of warfare and diplomacy. The Vale ends up being the most politically stable and peaceful region in Westeros. Not once did any of the fighting harm its smallfolk and its ruling family was not overthrown or involved in internal conflict.
    • Ned Stark maligned Jaime Lannister for killing the king he swore to protect; Jon, the boy Ned raised as his own, also commits regicide against the queen he pledged allegiance to — and does it for the same reason Jaime did: to save innocents.
    • When Jon Snow believed he was a bastard, he was recognized on his own merits as Lord Commander of the Night's Watch, and as King in the North, and then Warden. When he found out he was a legitimate heir-claimant, as Aegon VI Targaryen, he ended up renouncing his claim despite countless offers. Though it is discovered he is a trueborn prince who is in line to inherit the Seven Kingdoms, Jon ends up in the same place he started the series as an illegitimate son with no claims or titles — he is banished to the Night's Watch, stripped of all titles and lands, for assassinating his queen and the woman he loves to save the world. As in the beginning of the series, Jon arrives at Castle Black and looks ahead to a life in the north with a new group of comrades.
  • It Can Think: Played with. Did Drogon spare Jon and torch the Iron Throne because deep down the wyrm knew that his mother's lust for power was what really killed her? Could he not bring himself to kill Jon? Maybe dragons really are more intelligent than men.
  • It Will Never Catch On: When Samwell Tarly proposes that the next ruler of Westeros be decided by the smallfolk in an election, the entire assembly laughs at him. They earnestly find the idea of smallfolk democracy as ridiculous as allowing a horse to rule the Seven Kingdoms. Of course, to most viewers, democracies are the norm while monarchies are rare and usually purely symbolic, and real-life historical counterparts to Joffrey and Daenerys are the reason why. A fair bit of Truth in Television in this; historically, one of the many reasons monarchists were against giving power to people was because they truly believed the general populace could not be trusted to know what was best for themselves. This elitism is echoed by the lords using Slippery Slope Fallacies to justify their stance, saying they may as well let dogs and horses vote. There's also the fact that Westeros, a nation still mired deep in feudalism, lacks the needed technological infrastructure to support a massive nationwide election. Progress towards democracy came about not in the giant leap Sam is proposing, but in smaller steps over time — such as progressing from a dynastic monarchy to a sovereign chosen by the nobility.
  • It's All Junk: Implied. Drogon does not burn Jon for killing Daenerys, instead melting down the Iron Throne.
  • It's All My Fault: Invoked by Tyrion, who admits that he was too arrogant and convinced of his ability to guide Daenerys that he wilfully ignored what Varys and the others warned him; that she was too violent and unstable to be swayed.
    Tyrion: Varys was right. I was wrong. It was vanity to think I could guide her. Our Queen's nature is fire and blood.
  • I Should Write a Book About This: Archmaester Ebrose is revealed to have written a book on their experiences, "The Song of Ice and Fire". Sam suggested the title. Tyrion is disappointed to learn he was written out of events.From the books... 
  • I Warned You: Tyrion notes that after his execution, Varys' ashes can tell his own ashes, "See, I told you," about where Daenerys' rule would lead.
  • Just Following Orders: Grey Worm's justification for massacring surrendered Lannister soldiers — Daenerys commanded anyone who fought for Cersei dies, though it's also clear that Grey Worm has no reluctance, hesitancy, or doubts about those orders, having become totally radicalized in her service.
  • Know When to Fold 'Em: Grey Worm reluctantly agrees to the idea of making Bran king, Tyrion being appointed Hand once more, and Jon being exiled to the Night's Watch. The alternative would have been a pointless slaughter.
  • Last Kiss: Jon and Dany share one final kiss (him knowingly, her unknowingly) after Jon tells Dany that, "You are my queen. Now and always," right before he assassinates her.
  • Last of His Kind:
    • By the end of the series, Tyrion is the last surviving member of House Lannister. By rights, he's entitled to inherit Casterly Rock and the lands belonging to his family now, but with both the Lannister's diminishing fortune and the lifetime appointment to Hand of the King, it seems unlikely that Tyrion will be able to enjoy what is now his to inherit.
    • Aegon Targaryen, alias Jon Snow, is the last surviving Targaryen. It seems even less likely that Jon will want to embrace his Targaryen heritage, but rather leave it behind to live in the Far North instead.
    • With the deaths of Theon and Euron, Yara is the last known surviving Greyjoy, as it's not known what befell her uncle Aeron.
    • As established since "The Last of the Starks", Drogon is the last known surviving dragon in the world, and with the Mother of Dragons dead, he's likely to stay that way.
  • Last-Second Chance: Not wanting to kill his love, Jon pleads with Dany not to continue down this path of destruction, show mercy, and make the people of King's Landing understand that they are mistaken about her. However, Dany is resolved to this path, truly believing this is the way they build a good world.
    Jon: You can forgive all of them, make them see they made a mistake. Make them understand. Please, Dany.
  • Leitmotif:
    • Jon and Dany's Love Theme begins playing at the moment they have their Last Kiss and when he assassinates her. A fractured version resumes when Jon holds Daenerys in his arms and grieves.
    • The Rains of Castamere plays for the last time as an anguished Tyrion uncovers the bodies of his siblings.
  • Karma Houdini:
    • Despite selling out Tyrion and helping the Lannisters, Bronn ultimately accomplishes his goal of becoming a Lord and even gets a seat on Bran's council as master of coin.From the books... 
    • Grey Worm does not have to answer for his war crimes, and he and the remnants of the Targaryen army get to go back to Essos. The Dothraki and Northmen who participated are also unpunished. Grey Worm proceeded under Daenerys's orders, and given that Jon is sent to the Wall for her murder, it's implied she is reckoned as the legitimate monarch preceding Bran. Also, even though there are only a couple thousand Unsullied left, leaderless and dragonless, they are superior soldiers who would not be at all easy to get rid of. And any attempt to do so would likely cause the Iron Islands and Dorne to make a scene (they were loyal to Daenerys and hated the Crownlanders).
  • Knight Templar: Even at the end, Daenerys fully believes that the atrocities she commits are right because she knows what's good for the world.
  • Lampshade Hanging: Ser Davos mentions that they've left the terms of their nascent Elective Monarchy so vague that he has no idea if his vote counts or not. Even Brienne gets a vote.note 
  • Leaning on the Fourth Wall:
    • Tyrion's conversation with Jon when he tells him how it was easy to root for Daenerys when she was doing horrible things to bad people, and then being shocked that she would be capable of doing something reprehensible while taking actions that she's consistently done previously, reflects a lot of the real-world criticism that Dany's Face–Heel Turn received, and likely anticipated by the showrunners.
      Tyrion: Everywhere she goes, evil men die and we cheer her for it.
    • When Jon Snow and Tyrion speak last, and Jon says, "This doesn't feel right," and Tyrion says, "Ask me again in ten years", it also suggests the producers anticipating the divide and discussions that a series finale for a controversial show inevitably brings.
  • The Magnificent: Bran is made king of the Six Kingdoms as "Bran the Broken".
  • Manly Tears:
    • Jon breaks down sobbing after he is forced to kill Daenerys to stop her plans of conquering the world and destruction.
    • Tyrion also starts weeping when he finds the bodies of Cersei and Jaime amidst the rubble of the Red Keep.
  • Meet the New Boss: Bronn's appointment as Master of Coin puts the economy at risk for corruption again as a Nouveau Riche noble Bronn has a social-climbing past with a healthy amount of self-interest, with parallels to Littlefinger. His presence there is largely to show that the new kingdom and its government is still going to be imperfect and subject to the same human impulses, drives, and ambitions that Robert's small council was, with savvy characters like Tyrion, Brienne, and Davos to check and balance him.
  • Mexican Standoff: When Jon grabs Grey Worm's arm to stop him killing prisoners, the Unsullied bring their spears to bear and the Northerners draw their swords. Jon has to walk away to stop the two sides coming to blows. The same thing happens on a larger scale with the Northern army threatening war if Jon is harmed and the Unsullied army threatening the same if he isn't punished.
  • Mythology Gag: Daenerys muses that her brother Viserys told her that the Iron Throne was made up of a thousand swords, so she always imagined that the thing was this giant, crooked monstrosity. That's what the Iron Throne from the books actually does look like, an illustration (by Marc Simonetti) of which was commissioned by George R. R. Martin for The World of Ice & Fire.
  • A Nazi by Any Other Name: In order to drive the point home that Daenerys has fully given over to mad ambition, the scene just before and during her New Era Speech is stark in it's similarities to depictions of Nazi Germany. Dany’s speech is rather unsubtle in its similarity to speeches made by Hitler and Stalin. Daenerys gives the speech from a high platform with huge Targaryen banners beside her, black with the circular red dragon logo. The Nazi flag had a similar color scheme - black swastika within a white circle on a red flag, and the Targaryen banners are draped in such a manner to evoke comparison. The Unsullied stand arrayed in perfect rows on either side with spears at the ready and the Dothraki hordes cheer on in a frenzy. All of these are clear visual homages to the portrayal of Hitler and the Nazis in the classic propaganda film Triumph of the Will. On top of that, the drumming of the Unsullied spears bears a resemblance to the sound of a goosestepping parade formation that is largely associated with Nazi Germany. These parallels were intentional with Emilia Clarke being instructed to channel Hitler's speeches for the scene.
  • Never My Fault: When Jon confronts her about the destruction of King's Landing, Daenerys refuses to take any responsibility for her actions, insisting the blame lies with Cersei for refusing Daenerys's offer of mercy and thinking holding the city hostage would make Dany back down.
  • New Era Speech: After touching down at the Red Keep, Daenerys assembles the Unsullied and Dothraki to announce the next phase of her plan: bringing her "liberation" to the rest of the world.
    Daenerys: You are liberators! You have freed the people of King's Landing from the grip of a tyrant! But the war is not over. We will not lay down our spears until we have liberated all the people of the world! From Winterfell to Dorne, from Lannisport to Qarth, from the Summer Isles to the Jade Sea! Men, women, and children have suffered too long beneath the wheel. Will you break the wheel with me?!
  • No Place for Me There:
    • One way to look at Arya not returning to the North. Her experiences have changed her that such a life isn't really for her anymore, even if that's where most of her family is at.
    • Tyrion and the Council decide Jon Snow will be exiled to the now defunct Night's Watch. Jon agrees and upon his return, is met by Tormund, Ghost, and the surviving Free Folk. In the last shots of the series, Jon is seen wearing the uniform of the Lord Commander as he rides alongside Tormund, Ghost, and the Free Folk into the Haunted Forest. Jon pauses to look at the gate closing behind him and it's unsure if he's leaving Westeros for good.
    • Grey Worm had mentioned this line to Missandei in Episode 2, that there will be no place for them here after Daenerys wins her war. Despite the offer to settle on the Reach and become a High Lord, he insists on punishment for Jon Snow and negotiating Jon's banishment and exile, Grey Worm sails away to Naath.
  • No Pronunciation Guide: Out of nowhere, Sansa pronounces Westeros very oddly and unlike anyone else has. Most people pronounce it with the final syllable ending in a soft s sound, like in the word dose. Sansa says it so that the final syllable is more like the word rose.
  • Non-Indicative Name: Combined with Canon Discontinuity. The Seven Kingdoms is a customary name for the feudal territories of the continent of Westeros, which is a misnomer because first, the kingdoms were taken down by Aegon I, who unified the continent, and second, there were six kingdoms and Dorne making the "seven" (North, Mountain and Vale, the Reach, Isles and Rivers, Storm, Rock, and Dorne), with the Crownlands being formed after the conquest with territories appropriated from other former kingdoms. If anything, it would make Bran the king of five "kingdoms" and Dorne, instead of six.
  • The Nothing After Death: Tyrion muses that Jon is the only man alive who knows where he's going to end up after he's dead. When Jon says he didn't see any life after death, Tyrion says that oblivion is the best he could hope for.
  • Obligatory War Crime Scene: Grey Worm executing the last handful of surrendered Lannister soldiers after the battle is over. Jon tries to interfere, but is unable to stop him.
  • Off-into-the-Distance Ending: The last shot ever of Game of Thrones has Jon Snow slowly riding ahead of the Wildlings into the forest North of the Wall, the real North.
  • Personal Horror: Jon's reactions throughout the episode. As Tyrion said, he's always been protecting the people. He died for protecting the Free Folk at Hardhome. He fell in love with Dany and named her his queen while thinking that she would be the right Queen of Westeros to unify under. He helped her towards her goal. And then, in her quest to take the Iron Throne, she burned King's Landing to the ground and probably killed more people in a single day than the Army of the Dead had ever killed. Tyrion, feeling the guilt himself, tries to convince Jon what Daenerys has become and spurs Jon to take her out before more are killed to achieve her vision of a 'better' world but Jon struggles with this. He goes to see Dany and pleads with her to come off this path of destruction but Dany continues to show no remorse. She is genuinely convinced this is the path to take, destroying those in the old world to build the new is the way to good. To save the world from this destruction, Jon reluctantly kills her — and he will have to live with killing the woman he loves for the rest of his life, feeling the full guilt and weight of that decision forever.
  • Please Wake Up: Drogon doesn't understand that Dany is dead at first and keeps insistently nudging her body as if telling her, "Mommy, why aren't you moving? Please get up!"
  • Plot Armor: Played with. Jon kills Dany with her Unsullied and Dothraki right outside between his loyal Northmen and himself, and instead of brutally murdering him — as they are shown doing to defeated prisoners minutes beforehand — take him prisoner and hold him for the weeks or months it would have taken for the lords and ladies of Westeros to assemble and allow them to elect a monarch, who happens to be Jon's brother so far as they know, and accept his judgment on Jon's crimes. Now, with the combined armies of Westeros gathered and ready to fight over the issue of Jon's life, it's reasonable enough that Grey Worm would back down, however angry he was over it. One of the reasons Jon might have been spared was due to his high profile, as killing him would have meant that a significant portion of Daenerys's forces loyal to Jon would have turned against the forces loyal to Daenerys. It's also ingrained in the Unsullied not to proceed without orders, which is why Grey Worm doesn't back down on Tyrion and Jon until someone with authority tells him what to do (which was the now dead Dany). However, Dothraki bloodriders should consider it an obligation to avenge their khal or khaleesi, and even to ride north and raze Winterfell to the ground if they can, regardless of the risk to themselves. Sansa does point out that there are thousands of seasoned Northern soldiers who would attack the Dothraki and Unsullied if they tried anything, a threat which Grey Worm seems to take seriously, but given their fanatical devotion to Daenerys it seems unlikely that they wouldn't just accept the Suicide by Cop if the alternative was letting her murderer walk away. Jon does not even seem to consider the danger his actions could put the entire realm in, with the possibility of a civil war when the Iron Islands and Dorne get involved (and while the Iron Islands' strength has been spent, Dorne is fresh); therefore, the North itself has Plot Armor.
  • The Promise: In the second episode of this season, Grey Worm promised Missandei that if they survive the battle against the undead, they will return to the beaches of Naath as she wanted to protect its people once their queen's enemies are defeated. Though Missandei is gone and Daenerys never sits the Iron Throne, Grey Worm is still fulfilling his promise.
  • Promotion, Not Punishment: Sam stole books from the Citadel and abandoned his instruction as Maester, but gets to be Bran's Grand Maester. It's implied that he earns this by appointment out of merit due to his deeds curing Jorah's greyscale, his accomplishments during the Battle for the Dawn, and his personal relationship with Bran, not so much through studies or adding links to his chain.
  • Prophecy Twist:
    • Dany's vision of walking through the snowy ruins of the Red Keep's throne room comes true, except instead of this being as a result of the White Walker's triumph as the vision implied, the destruction was all her own doing. The "snow" from the vision is actually white ash raining down from the scorched city. Although she takes the Iron Throne, she never quite gets to sit on it. It's also implied that Daenerys becomes The Stallion Who Mounts The World from the Dothraki religion, but Jon stops her from her from realizing her future conquests.
    • Jon's killing of Dany evokes the legend of Azor Ahai, who plunged his sword Lightbringer into his wife Nissa Nissa to quench it, all in order to save mankind. Jon stabs Dany to save the realm... from her.
  • Rank Up: Ser Bronn finally gets the compensation he's been seeking; he's not only Lord of Highgarden, but also Lord Paramount of the Reach and the new Master of Coin. Ser Davos is Master of Ships, Samwell Tarly is Archmaester, Ser Brienne is Lord Commander of the Kingsguard (it's implied that Sansa gave her the choice), and finally Podrick Payne is no longer a squire but a Kingsguard knight! And of course Bran is now King of the Six Kingdoms while Sansa is Queen of the North.
  • Reality Ensues:
    • Jon just saved Westeros and potentially the rest of the world from a tyrant in the making by assassinating Daenerys. He is thrown into the dungeons by her forces (who are in control of the city) and only spared from being outright executed for his political standing.
    • Jon wouldn't be able to claim his birthright as a Targaryen anymore since Daenerys, a Targaryen, just killed hundreds of thousands of people. That shit won't fly now... Good thing he didn't want it in the first place; one bullet less in his list of problems.
    • When Sam proposes that the next ruler of the Seven Kingdoms be elected democratically by all the people, he is laughed at by all the assembled lords and ladies, particularly Edmure Tully and Yohn Royce. While it's a nice idea, feudalism is in full swing, and nobody is about to give the smallfolk a say in such matters.From the books...  The logistical issues of setting up a democracy, which would be formidable even in the days of Offscreen Teleportation and Instant Messenger Ravens, are also ignored.
  • Reality Is Unrealistic: A common criticism is that the assembled horde of Dothraki and Unsullied at the beginning of the episode looks too large, after they both suffered heavy casualties in Season 7 and especially after over half of them were wiped out in under an hour during the Long Night. The validity of the latter statement aside (given that S8 E3 rather clearly showed they were all killed with no defenders left), there actually aren't that many visible — just a few thousand each, under ten thousand altogether, which indicates that they are indeed down to almost nothing considering there were initially 8,000 Unsullied and 100,000 Dothraki. However, since Suspiciously Small Army is the norm in media, few people know what 100,000 people assembled actually looks like. Part of this is The Law of Conservation of Detail, too — while dialogue is consistent with the idea that the Dothraki and Unsullied have been nearly wiped out, there actually are more shown on-screen in this shot than in most previous shots of their armies.
  • Reasonable Authority Figure: With Daenerys's loyalists demanding Jon's head, and the Starks and their allies prepared to start a war if he's harmed, it's Davos who manages to at least get the wheels turning to organise a compromise. Grey Worm likewise is quite open and amenable to Tyrion's suggestion to elect a new king, unsurprising given that his own status as Head of the Unsullied came from election by fellow Unsullied after Dany manumitted them.
  • "The Reason You Suck" Speech: A short but succinct one from Tyrion, who retorts to Daenerys calling him a traitor by pointing out she's a mass-murdering tyrant with the blood of thousands on her hands, as well as resigning as her Hand in disgust.
    Daenerys: You freed your brother. You committed treason.
    Tyrion: I freed my brother... and you slaughtered a city.
  • Reassigned to Antarctica: Jon is forced to take the Black once again because the Unsullied will not accept him not being punished at all, and his political position is too contentious to assume any position of authority, so his claim to the throne becomes a moot point due to the magnicide he committed.
  • Refuge in Audacity: Tyrion is brought before the assembly of the remaining Westerosi nobility in chains and rags, and manages to convince them, in true Tyrion fashion, that they should elect one of their own to be king.
  • Rooting for the Empire: Discussed between Tyrion and Jon before the latter has a final confrontation with Daenerys. Tyrion argues that it was a lot easier to forgive Dany for the horrible things that she did because the people she was doing it to, like the slavers and Dothraki khals, had it coming. It's much harder to justify those sorts of actions when innocents are in her crossfire, and when her plans of conquest involve taking over kingdoms that don't utilize slavery.invoked
  • Running Gag:
    • Tyrion starts to talk about what he got up to with the jackass and the honeycomb in a brothel, but as usual we never hear the end.
    • Edmure Tully is still a No Respect Guy; when he starts to pontificate on why he should be King, a relative once again tells him to sit down and shut up.From the books... 
    • Bronn is still interested in trying to have a good time in a brothel.
    • Once again the running gag of the correct pronunciation of grammar is brought up by Davos to Bronn. Bronn just snarkily asks if Davos is also the Master of Grammar.
  • Screw This, I'm Outta Here!:
    • Although offered lands in the Reach, Grey Worm and the Unsullied, who have no love for Westeros, set sail for Naath instead.
    • Arya decides she is not going back North or anywhere in Westeros — instead, she wants sail west of Westeros to find out what's there because nobody knows, "It's where all the maps stop. That's where I'm going."
    • Jon rides alongside Tormund and the Free Folk, who choose to head back beyond the Wall, where the politics and scheming of the Seven Kingdoms won't interfere with the egalitarian lifestyles they prefer to live by.
  • Series Continuity Error: In the previous episode, the catacombs Jaime and Cersei tried to flee through totally collapsed, leaving virtually no doubt the two were buried alive down there. So Tyrion can find their bodies in this episode, the ceiling is suddenly intact again and only scant portions of the ceiling show any damage, even though the two have still been crushed under part of it.
  • Shoot the Dog: Jon kills Daenerys, his queen and Second Love, for the sake of saving the world from her 'liberation'.
  • Skewed Priorities: Bronn expresses concern about the destroyed brothels in King's Landing and offers to finance them. The others decide that there are more pressing priorities.
  • Slasher Smile: Daenerys gives one of these that also comes across as somewhat beatific while expounding her Tautological Templar viewpoint to Jon and trying to convince him to rule the new world order she wishes to create at her side.
  • The Smurfette Principle: Brienne is the only woman on the Small Council at the end of the series.
  • The Social Darwinist: Played for laughs in the Small Council meeting at the end. Tyrion discusses repairing the sewage system to improve public health with Samwell before Bronn not-so-helpfully interjects that the weak will always perish.
  • Start X to Stop X: When pressed by Jon, Daenerys claims that in order to create a merciful world, she cannot show mercy in her "liberations". She seems not to realize that said behavior would just further entrench the very behavior she wishes to stop. In all, it comes across as another showing of her madness.
  • Stating the Simple Solution: Tyrion suggests to the Lords Paramount that instead of squabbling among themselves on how to handle Jon's actions, they allow the King or Queen of Westeros to dispense justice as he/she sees fit. When it's pointed out that there is no King or Queen, he tells them to declare one.
    Tyrion: You're the most powerful people in Westeros. Choose one.
  • Sympathy for the Devil: Tyrion also cries for Cersei's death.
  • Take Over the World: After defeating the Lannister army and seizing King's Landing, Daenerys declares her intent to create a Targaryen Empire spanning all known corners of the world (Winterfell to Dorne, Lannisport to Qarth).
    Tyrion: [regarding Daenerys] She liberated the people of Slaver's Bay. She liberated the people of King's Landing, and she'll go on liberating until the people of the world are free and she rules them all!
  • Tautological Templar: Tyrion discusses with Jon how Daenerys has ultimately become this. Thanks to spending so long paying evil unto evil by killing Asshole Victims such as the Astaporians, Meereenese and Dothraki khals, Dany has grown more and more powerful, and in the process, more and more sure that she is righteous and good. Since she truly believes she's destined to make the world a better place, she sees anyone that stands in her way as being in the wrong and is willing to kill them.
    Daenerys: It's not easy to imagine something that's never been before... a good world.
    Jon: [weeping] How? How do you know it will be good?
    Daenerys: Because I know what is good.
  • Take That, Audience!: Part of Tyrion's lament while imprisoned can be implied to be directed at us, the viewers. We were all perfectly happy to see Dany kill and brutalize terrible people by the score, because they were terrible people. It's not so satisfying to see her do the same to people we know are innocent, or at least are not as terrible.
  • That's No Moon!: As Jon walks towards the throne room, what appears to be a mound of debris next to the entrance turns out to be a napping Drogon when he wakes up and shakes the ash off his back.
  • Third-Person Person: Done as part of the Snark-to-Snark Combat between the new Master of Ships (Davos) and the new Master of Coin (Bronn).
  • Today, X. Tomorrow, the World!: Daenerys declares to her army that, now that they've liberated Westeros, she plans to travel the world, liberating all from tyranny.
  • Token Evil Teammate: Bronn is the only member of Bran's court that doesn't have anyone's best intentions in mind except his own. Tyrion doesn't seem to mind having to deal with them while Samwell Tarly and Brienne are incredulous and bemused by his Skewed Priorities.
  • Trash the Set: With King's Landing already in shambles, Drogon takes out the one prop they missed last episode: the Iron Throne itself. A sustained blast of fire reduces it to molten slag, symbolically putting an end to the Seven Kingdoms as Aegon established them. Given all the myriad atrocities committed by those trying to claim it, it is good to see the thing go.
  • Traveling at the Speed of Plot: When Jon and Davos leave Grey Worm, Grey Worm is executing Lannister soldiers in the streets. Jon goes to Dany to talk about what Grey Worm is doing but by the time he reaches her, Grey Worm has mysteriously teleported ahead of Jon to her side.
  • Trying Not to Cry: Sansa, Arya, and Jon when saying good-bye to each other. Arya, especially, can barely hold back the tears and starts to cry when he asks her if she has her Needle.
  • Try to Fit THAT on a Business Card!: Ser Bronn of the Blackwater is now Master of Coin, Lord of Highgarden, and Lord Paramount of the Reach. Davos lampshades this by calling him the "Lord of Lofty Titles."
  • Turn in Your Badge: Tyrion removes his Hand of the King's badge that Dany gave him to express his disgust and disappointment with her. She has him arrested in response.
  • Unishment: Subverted Trope.
    • Jon is punished for killing Daenerys by being sent to the Night's Watch again. On the one hand, he's Reassigned to Antarcticaagain — and this time for an even more useless purpose, as the Big Bad the Night's Watch was built to guard against (the Night King) is verifiably dead and gone. There is also no one to absolve his guilt over kingslaying (and we saw how well that worked with Jaime) and he must live with the pain of killing Dany. But he is away from Westeros's conflicts, can leave unwanted titles behind, and possibly find a semblance of peace with the wildlings.
    • Tyrion becomes Bran's Hand of the King so he can make up for his past mistakes. The thing is, Tyrion genuinely doesn't want the job anymore. Having said that, the care with which he rearranges the chairs of his small council suggests that, detest the job or not, he plans to do a good job of it — and, as he admitted at the end of the second season, this is what he's good at.
  • Utopia Justifies the Means: Daenerys justifies her new plan of cruelty and conquest by claiming it will ensure the world is ultimately free from the control of tyrants, breaking the wheel for good in her mind.
  • Villainesses Want Heroes: After Daenerys kills thousands of people to destroy her remaining enemies in Westeros and announces her plans to conquer the known world, she still wants Jon Snow by her side to continue the Targaryen dynasty. She fails to convince him, and he ends up assassinating her.
  • Visual Pun: A subtle one. Daenerys's goal was to "break the wheel"; the crown of Westeros ends up going to Bran, who's on wheels.
  • Walking the Earth: The series ends with Jon and the Free Folks heading far north and Arya sailing west from Westeros.
  • We Can Rule Together: Despite others warning him that Dany will see Jon as a threat to her rule, Dany seems genuine in her offer for Jon to rule with her and 'liberate' the world together.
    Daenerys Targaryen: Be with me. Build the new world with me! This is our reason! It has been from the beginning, since you were a little boy with a bastard's name and I was a little girl who couldn't count to twenty! We do it together! We break the wheel... together.
  • What Happened to the Mouse?:
    • It's not at all clear what happens to the Dothraki, and it was still never established what happened to their noncombatants when they sailed to war. For a brief moment before Jon sails North, there are some Dothraki walking around the port area. This could imply they are adjusting to life in a big city, or that they're planning to set sail back to the Grass Sea that's their natural home.
    • The northern army was occupying the ruins of King's Landing alongside Daenerys's forces and seemingly rivaled them in size. It's not explained what happened to them after Jon is imprisoned by the Unsullied for killing Daenerys.
    • Nothing is said about the fate of Daenerys' empire in Essos. Even the Unsullied, for as much as they talk up her liberation of those cities, don't even pretend to care.
    • Gilly, Young Sam, and her unborn child with Maester Sam are not accounted for. This is a particular oversight as Maesters are, like the Kingsguard and the Night's Watch, supposed to be sworn to celibacy and bachelordom. What Bran — and what Sam — thinks about the fact that, according to custom, he must abandon his family, is not discussed.
    • What will become of Drogon, as he's last seen flying east toward Essos with Daenerys's body, is unknown. Bran says he'll try to locate him by greenseeing, but it's unclear what they could do about him even then.
    • Ellaria and Tyene are still considered missing in action with the latter most likely dead and Cersei wanted the former kept alive as much as possible (assuming Ellaria didn't perish inside the Red Keep when Drogon attacked it). Ilyn Payne's fate, despite being prominent on Arya's kill list due to personally beheading her father, is not mentioned, though as a Lannister retainer and King's Justice, it could be assumed he perished inside the Red Keep as well.
    • While none of the kingdoms south of the Neck are discussed, their lords came over for the summit, with the intended implication that they will start getting back on track.
    • Whatever Varys intended with his letters about Jon being the rightful king of Westeros remains a mystery, if he ever got them out to begin with.
    • At the end of the previous episode a whole scene is dedicated to Arya finding a white horse in the ruined city; she mounts it and rides off to the city gates. The horse does not show up in this episode.
    • It's not shown what ever happened to Edmure's wife Roslin Frey, or their child after Jaime lifted the Siege of Riverrun. Although it's unclear whether she was part of the fall of House Frey by Arya's hand, it's implied that due to Jaime's terms of the surrender of Riverrun, she might have avoided the gruesome fate of her family.From the books... 
    • The Iron Bank seems to have dropped off the face of the planet. The Lannisters might be paid up, but the kingdom in general still owes them a geat deal of gold.
  • What the Hell, Hero?: Tyrion invokes this when Jon states that with King's Landing having fallen to her and the Iron Throne in Daenerys's grasp, the fighting and bloodshed is over. Tyrion points out that they both heard her proselytising to her troops about her plans to "liberate" the world: Daenerys isn't done fighting by any stretch of the imagination.
    Jon: I can't justify what happened. I won't try...but the war is over now.
    Tyrion: Is it? When you heard her talking to her soldiers, did she sound like someone who's done fighting?
  • Winged Humanoid: Played with. When Daenerys lands with Drogon to give a victory speech to her forces, there's a shot framing her and Drogon behind her in a way that makes it appear that she's sprouting giant black wings for a second, giving the impression that she's either a dragon herself or a Fallen Angel.
  • Wins by Doing Absolutely Nothing: After eight seasons' worth of everyone squabbling and killing each other over who gets to rule, Bran wins the throne by having it shoved onto him despite sitting out much of the whole mess (not to mention an entire season). "When you play the Game of Thrones, you win or you die..."
  • Winter Royal Lady: Sansa becomes this as the newly crowned Queen in the North.
  • You Bastard!: Dropped by Tyrion when discussing how the King's Landing massacre was forshadowed by Dany's previous behaviour. "Everywhere she goes, evil men die and we cheer her for it." The "we" includes the viewers.
  • You Keep Using That Word: Daenerys starts using a meaning of "liberate" so broad that she explicitly refers to the massacre of the city as liberating its people. This is presented as part of her madness.
  • You Talk Too Much: When Tyrion tries to speak when brought before the High Lords, Grey Worm curtly tells him that he's talked enough. This being Tyrion, it doesn't stop him.
    Grey Worm: You are not here to speak! Everyone has heard enough words from you.

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