Welp. It’s over. Game of Thrones has come to an end, paving the way for whatever comes next. The perpetually monumental TV event in pop culture at last has come to a close, and all was well in the world, and everyone was happy with everything! The end. Thanks for reading….But seriously, you’ve already read what your cousins and friends thought on Facebook. You’ve already seen what your favorite celebrities have said on Twitter. But you came here to get to the bottom of what’s been bugging you all day: What did the critics think of Bronn’s new castle?
Here at Watchers on the Wall, we encourage you to ‘Always Support the Bottom.’ This extends to your support of our editor-in-chief Sue the Fury, in which her background knowledge of the books informs her perspective on the episode, so please go check it out when you get a chance! Once you’ve done that, you would do well to support our peerless Oz of Thrones’s recap in which his fearless determination to avoid reading the books has outlasted all others, continuing on for 8 full seasons. After this, you can check out what these Internet critics thought of “The Iron Throne”:
Alan Sepinwall, Rolling Stone – In which the show ultimately betrayed its source material.
Alex McLevy, The A. V. Club – In which the lurid storytelling and expensive-looking action can’t compensate for what seems to be missing—namely, that elaborate narrative connective tissue lending emotional firmament to the strength of the separate installments.
Alyssa Rosenberg, The Washington Post – In which Benioff and Weiss’s decision to make two truncated final seasons of the show may go down as one of the worst in recent television history.
Daniel D’Addario, Variety – In which the symmetry of Bran falling out of a window in the first episode and ascending to rule in the last picked up whatever poetry Peter Dinklage could lend it through narration, but falls flat given how meager a presence Bran has been for seasons now, delivering gnomic provocations but almost no plot action.
Dave Gonzales, Thrillist – In which GOT had the difficult reality of competing with unwritten novels.
Dan Kois, Slate – In which GOT has three strengths unmatched by any other popular TV show.
David Rosenblatt, Squinty Overanalyzes Things – In which I (yes, me of me fame) unconditionally and unreservedly loved it and everyone else’s opinion is bad.
Hillary Kelly, Vulture – In which the show gave up on the magic of the books because its writers didn’t have the puzzle skills to really work through them.
Ian Thomas Malone, Personal Blog – In which the conclusion needed to honor GRRM’s original vision while still providing a sense of narrative closure for all the book’s deviations, and sort of succeeds on both fronts.
James Hibberd, Entertainment Weekly – In which if you feel episode 5’s twist was earned, then everything that happens in the finale flows logically from that.
Jeremy Egner, New York Times – In which it was a compendium of greatest hits, with another regicide, another jailing of Tyrion, and another scattering of Starks.
Joanna Robinson, Vanity Fair – In which Jon killing Daenerys has long been foreshadowed.
Julia Alexander, The Verge – In which if GOT gave us anything, it was certainly great conversations in elegant rooms.
Kelly Lawler, USA Today – In which it didn’t gracefully swerve into another lane, it careened off a cliff, and looking back, the series will never be the same.
Laura Hudson, WIRED – In which it will always be replete with alternative interpretations and theories, debates about what it meant and revisionist histories that imagine it through the lens of whatever people want to see, through which it has truly come to embody stories—and histories—in all their slippery glory and their power to remake the past and shape the future.
Laura Stone, Hey Don’t Judge Me – In which the real friends were the dragons who melted the symbols of imperialism along the way.
Lauren Sarner, New York Post – In which Jaime and Cersei actually won GOT.
Lindsey Romain, Nerdist – In which Drogon was the MVP of the episode.
Mark Perigard, Boston Herald – In which no one has a better story than George R. R. Martin.
Melanie McFarland, Salon – In which it is is an entirely predictable end to a season marred by rushed narratives and uncharacteristic U-turns in behavior that David Benioff and Dan Weiss explain away in their post-episode behind-the-scenes features.
Michal Schick, Hypable – In which it comes full circle, while stepping past a few missed opportunities.
Mike Bloom, Parade – In which the future of Westeros is reported in the Westeros World News.
Myles McNutt, The A.V. Club – In which we shouldn’t be surprised that the final season has been divisive, or that some people have gone so far as to risk the public embarrassment of signing an online petition to force HBO to change the show’s ending.
Rob Bricken, io9 – In which the finale got the important stuff right.
Ron Hogan, Den of Geek – In which rushed though the finale is, it is ultimately very satisfying, because everyone involved brought everything they had to every scene within the episode.
Sarah Hughes, The Guardian – In which it was a fantastic conclusion, melancholy and stirring in all the right places, to a show that has had to wrestle with the often unwieldy but always addictive nature of the story being told.
Sean T. Collins, Rolling Stone – In which one of the series’ most unique and underrated performances reaches its zenith as Isaac Hempstead Wright accepts the crown.
Todd VanDerWerff, Vox – In which he looks at the five winners and nine losers of the episode.
Tori Preston, Pajiba – In which there was no political resolution that would satisfy all the characters, and no plot resolution that would satisfy all of the viewer.
Verne Gay, Newsday – In which maybe we should’ve seen this coming all along, except for the fact that Bran still seems a bit of a letdown.
Thanks for joining this week. Whose reviews did you love/hate, with all due respect of course, and as always?