Thoughts on the Game of Thrones Finale

Bittersweet bi-ter-sweet (adjective)

1: being at once bitter and sweet

especially: pleasant but including or marked by elements of suffering or regret

I’ve said before that the tone of the ending that I’m going for is bittersweet. I mean, it’s no secret that Tolkien has been a huge influence on me, and I love the way he ended Lord of the Rings. It ends with victory, but it’s a bittersweet victory. 

George R.R. Martin, The Observer 2015

It wasn’t just about Game of Thrones ending, it was about the end of an era. An era where fantasy and geek reigned supreme. Coming out of the finale after following the show for a decade feels like waking from a pleasant slumber only to be assaulted by the next Netflix teen drama.

In the world we live in, truly great stories have a way of capturing our heart and soul. It’s easy to fall into another world entirely – especially when our world has become a battle ground for various rights such as, abortion, mental health, gun and immigration. As a society, we turn to these stories to take our minds off reality, if only for a little bit. In the process of doing so our thoughts become eschew. We begin to root for endings, plot holes and conspiracy theories that NEVER had a leg to stand on. Looking back now, I realize that I actively rooted for a woman, who, from the beginning, showed she had a harsh streak for violence within her. I allowed myself to root for Daenerys because I told myself she only killed people we despised – slave masters, Khals (who would have done much worse to her) and of course Viserys.

It’s important to remember that our most beloved written masterpieces don’t typically have a “Disney” ending, though for some reason that phenomenon is lost among Game of Thrones fans. A bittersweet ending is way better than imagining Westeros in a pile of ash, or worse, as white walkers. Could you imagine Arya not sailing west in favor of settling down with Gendry as the lady of Storm’s End? Just imagining that is laughable. That wasn’t her character arc but I wished so hard to make it her arc. I had invested ten years of my life into these characters, I wanted them to have that saccharine ending.

I’m not bitter at how it ended, is it the fairy tale ending I was originally after? Hell fucking no. I never truly understood the definition of bittersweet until this very moment. Season seven began bringing the Starks back together in the most long awaited reunion on television. Season eight abruptly tore them apart. Strangely enough, I was ok with this. Knowing that they are alive, well and as happy as can be is enough to placate me. The ending was oddly satisfying, maybe it was that I got answers to my long awaited questions or that The Last of the Starks was playing harmoniously in the background.

Knowing that more information awaits me with the eventual release of The Winds of Winter has me waiting with bated breath. In the mean time, you can find me in the most comfortable spot in the house with a steaming mug of tea rereading books 1-5.

Amanda

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