Game of Thrones Season 8 Episode 4 review - the landmark fantasy series draws to a poor conclusion

PUBLISHED: 09:48 21 May 2019 | UPDATED: 10:41 21 May 2019

Emilia Clarke as Daenerys Targaryen. Picture: HBO

Emilia Clarke as Daenerys Targaryen. Picture: HBO


After a season of low points Game of Thrones ended its run with a finale that will live long in the memory, for the wrong reasons. CONTAINS MAJOR SPOILERS.

Maisie Williams as Arya Stark, Isaac Hempstead Wright as Bran Stark and Sophie Turner as Sansa Stark. Picture: HBOMaisie Williams as Arya Stark, Isaac Hempstead Wright as Bran Stark and Sophie Turner as Sansa Stark. Picture: HBO

Traditionally when reviewing the finale of a beloved television series it would seem appropriate to thank the cast and crew for the journey just enjoyed.

However, in this case I feel compelled to congratulate the people behind shows such as LOST, Dexter and How I Met Your Mother. After enduring years of mocking and topping countless 'worst final seasons' list, Game of Thrones has beaten you all.

Peter Dinklage as Tyrion Lannister. Picture: HBOPeter Dinklage as Tyrion Lannister. Picture: HBO

What was just a few months ago, arguably, the most anticipated event in television history must surely now rank as the most disappointing.

To its credit 'The Iron Throne' was far from the worst slice of Thrones we've been served up this season but the five episodes that preceded it had already inflicted the damage, and this limp finale did little to wash away the foul taste they'd left.

Ultimately nobody sat on the iron throne as it went up in flames. Picture: HBOUltimately nobody sat on the iron throne as it went up in flames. Picture: HBO

Even though the episode was feature length once again the whole thing felt rushed, a common theme this season.

After becoming the 'mad queen' last episode Dany reigned over the ruins of King's Landing promising that her destruction of Westeros' capital was only the beginning of her crusade, and so faced with little choice Jon was forced to cut short her rule.

Jon ultimately being the one to kill Dany, the women he loves, after her tragic descent into becoming a cruel tyrant would have made for compelling television had it been given room to breathe.

Instead the arc was stuffed into a single season, a shorten one at that, and across such a short timeframe moments that should have been impactful lacked any true weight.

The destruction of the iron throne, while utterly predictable, was a nice little touch and felt like a fitting way to wrap up one of the major themes of the show, the struggle for power.

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After dealing with Daenerys the show quickly switched to the major players being forced to decide who would now rule the seven kingdoms with the spot vacant.

This sequence felt laughably bad, not least of which because of the terrible attempts at humour that felt so completely out of place.

Game of Thrones, at least in its earlier season, revealed in political manoeuvring but the crowning of King Bran the Broken was truly a face meets palm moment.

Sansa arguing for the North to be an independent state was a nice idea, but the immediate granting of this request was a tad ridiculous, shouldn't the North at least hold a referendum first?

While there have been many characters and houses throughout the show's run the story has always really been about House Stark and the decision to focus on the remaining members of pack in the closing moments was the correct one. One of the few wise decisions made this season.

There were a lot of smaller moments in 'The Iron Throne' that didn't work, Bronn just sort of turning up and being given a seat on the king's council for example, but there's been much more glaring issues in Game of Thrones' finale season for these to even really register anymore.

And perhaps it's this muted response that is most telling. After a season of disappointment filled with character arcs being reversed, awful dialogue exchanges and plot holes so gapping that a dragon could fly through them, this similarly weak finale felt inevitable.

When the dust settles discussions will be had as to whether this train wreck of a final season tarnishes the whole legacy of the show, personally it just made me want to rewatch the first four seasons when the show was almost unmatched in its quality.

One thing is for sure though when the credits did roll on 'The Iron Throne', there was no real sense of mourning or sadness that Game of Thrones will never grace our television screens again.

Instead there was just a relief that this slog of a season is finally over, and we can move onto whatever the next television phenomenal will be, fingers crossed it'll have a better ending.

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