Film & TV

Spoiler Review: Game of Thrones finale

Game of Thrones series 7 was shorter in length to what we’re used to, but in usual Game of Thrones styley, there were quite a number of twists and turns (n family lovin’ between Ice and Fire). We had brutal deaths, zombie dragons and the collapse of the Great Wall. Our wonderful Quench contributors wrote their thoughts on the finale and the series in general:

‘When you play the game of thrones, you win or you die.’ These were the words first uttered by Cersei Lannister way back in season one, back when most of us knew about as much as Jon Snow, and back when the world underestimated just how true those words would ring. Six years on, and ‘Game of Thrones’ has the world at its feet. The stage has been set for the series’ grand crescendo, as characters that we never thought we’d see share a scene together are now making alliances in the finale, while winter is continuing to creep into Westeros. 

Over seven seasons, heroes have fallen, would-be monarchs have been murdered at weddings (we miss you, Robb!), and dragons have grown from adorable babies into vicious beasts with little consideration for anything other than their mother. The series seven finale was nothing short of spectacular, as Littlefinger’s manipulative ways finally caught up to him, justice was served satisfyingly by the Stark sisters, and ice and fire were finally brought together, albeit in a gross, incestuous manner. Oh, and to top it all off, one of those dragons I mentioned earlier is now a zombified weapon of mass destruction. Here’s to season eight!

Hannah Ryan 

In many ways, the latest season of Game of Thrones has been a coming together. It was a coming together of characters, as seen with the emotional and unexpectedly tumultuous reunion of the Starks. A coming together of ideas; Cersei’s diabolic schemes came to head resulting in Jaime’s long awaited wakeup call. And, of course, it was a coming together of a huge army of White Walkers and their brand new blue-fire-breathing zombie dragon.

Season seven saw remarkably fewer character deaths than we’ve come to expect on a show notorious for giving the axe to its best loved cast members. Yes, we said goodbye to Lady Olenna and the short lived Sand Snakes, but hey, at least Jaime managed to cheat death more than once. And very few fans will be mourning the loss of Littlefinger.

One might’ve even been tricked into believing the season would end with relatively few major disasters – but this is Game of Thrones after all, and in typical R. R. Martin fashion (or should we say Weiss and Benioff fashion) we were left with an almost literal cliff hanger. Everyone’s favourite wildling Tormund Giantsabane and Beric Dondarrion disappeared into a flurry of cracking ice and melted snow – let’s hope he remembers to use his flaming sword to keep warm this time.

Isobel Roach

I could talk about this season of Game of Thrones for about as long as it’s taking George R R Martin to write The Winds of Winter, and whilst I wouldn’t say I’ve been disappointed, the emphasis on plot rather than character development has left me slightly underwhelmed. In fact, the destruction of The Wall encapsulated my feelings toward season 7: it looked impressive and left me wanting more, but really I didn’t care; you can’t emotionally attach to plot or a big block of ice.  

This season has been about alliances, everyone coming together against The Night King, but this one major threat has been its downfall. The beauty of Game of Thrones has always been the tangled web of deceit and peril that every character faces, but now as they came together to fight one enemy it felt too safe. Although the change of pace was refreshing and it no longer takes a whole season to get from The North to King’s Landing, it used to be that in that time that the characters would grow or reveal new depths; amongst all the plot development and Season Eight set up this is something they simply haven’t been able to do, and it’s been what I’ve missed the most.

(PS: how impressed is everyone that I didn’t dedicate my 200 words to discussing Kit Harrington’s arse because frankly I think I’ve found my dissertation topic and it’s pretty peachy.)

Phoebe Todd

After a year and a bit of waiting, we – dedicated GOT fans – finally got to watch our favourite series come back for the seventh time. Though we are long past the books, the TV show was yet to reveal many awaited fan theories and we certainly were not disappointed. We got to know that Jon-o is very much legitimate, and not only that, but also a Targaryen! Yes! Our favourite outcast is finally getting the respect he deserves…if he ever finds out about his real parentage. Oh, and that he’s actually related to his now-lover Daenerys (this show is weird about L-O-V-C-E-S-T).

However, a con about this show, which I never thought I’d say, is the pace. A two-month journey suddenly became a two-minute one, and big events began to unfold rather quickly. This comes as a weird choice by the makers of the show, as they had previously stated that there wasn’t much else to tell in the Song of Ice and Fire (WHAT?!!?) so they had to cut down the series from ten episodes to seven. Ludicrous, am I right?

Apart from that, I am a die-hard fan of the TV series and books, so they could show Daenerys kissing the Night King whilst Cersei and Jon looking on smiling and holding hand, and I would still not be mad because…it’s Thrones y’all.

Marielle Wilkinson

Game of Thrones’ 7th year has come to a close, concluding a season that feels somewhat like a turning point. The intimate drama about family rivalries and backroom politicking that drove the previous seasons is mostly cast aside for an epic fantasy romp that prioritises large-scale spectacle. While this has made for some incredibly big-budget action sequences that seem wildly over-qualified to be on TV, the show has lost its edge a little. The writing doesn’t feel as sharp or quotable as before; a fact which becomes exacerbated as characters continuously quote from the older, better written seasons.

The finale did a stand-up job rectifying this issue, as it focused on the relationships between characters that have slowly been built up across 60 hours of TV, some of which were between those who hadn’t crossed paths in several seasons or had severe grudges to bear (the highlight being the Tyrion and Cersei confrontation that showcased what incredibly talented actors Dinklage and Heady are). It felt a little like fan service, particularly as the characters kept referencing the fact that they knew each other. Otherwise, it was a great finale that managed to deliver great writing without skimping on the spectacle.

Christopher Jones

Game of Thrones season 7 can only really be summarised as one of the most exciting, rewarding and spectacular series of television I have ever watched. However, there were some signs this season that the show’s impeccable critical record is starting to weaken. Returning later than usual and with a reduced episode count, another of season seven’s changes was the sped up nature of the character’s travel times. Now whilst this had advantages, such as seeing major characters meet for the first time earlier on in the season, it also stretched believability a tad in places, which lessened my enjoyment of the show.

Without delving into too many spoilers, episode six in particular had me scratching my head as to how certain distances had been covered in a short amount of time. Another thing that became apparent is that the show is becoming more like traditional TV, in which major characters almost never die, a trend that GoT has always tried to buck. It seems now that most of the characters are wrapped in cotton wool until such a time as they can meet another character. These flaws aside however, the reduced episode count led to some truly epic set piece scenes, and it felt less of a problem given that the episodes were generally ten minutes longer than usual.

It left me excited for season 8, but like many, I just wish the showrunners (Dan Benioff and D.B. Weiss) weren’t in such a rush to finish, as it seems to be affecting the quality of some of the final episodes.

Sam Saunders