Game of Thrones Season 8 Episode 6 Review: The Iron Throne

Game of Thrones ends with a slightly clumsy meditation on the show itself

The final episode of the epic fantasy saga looks to have pulled in record ratings. Catch up now and be a part of the conversation via NOW TV Entertainment. Spoilers ahead for episode 6 and the whole of season 8. 

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It feels strange to say, but Game of Thrones is now finally finished. Its watch has ended. Whatever you think of the final episode or season 8 in general, it’s been a hell of a journey. ‘The Iron Throne’ seems to acknowledge this, with the final moments really being about the show itself rather than untangling the many open plot points. Whilst this has angered many of the show’s fans, it made for a finale that was surprisingly quiet and poignant.

The episode starts by addressing the question “how do you solve a problem like Daenarys?” Standing in the ashes of King’s Landing, Tyrion and Jon Snow come to the realisation that they’ve backed the wrong horse and start the damage control. Tyrion straight away denounces his duty as Hand of the Queen and gets locked up for it, but Jon strangely seems to try and justify her actions. It’s an odd bit of dialogue from a character that’s always been a bit naive, so it’s quite difficult to really root for him here. 

Jon eventually wises up and decides the only thing he can do is kill his lover/aunt. It’s a suitably tragic fate for a guy who has already clashed with someone he loved, though it really could have done with a longer set up - a bit like most other things in season 8. When you consider that just a few episodes ago they were all gearing up to conquer Westeros together, it seems a little jarring.

Drogon the creatively-named Dragon responds by melting the Iron Throne itself, which feels like the writers acknowledging something that’s been part of the show’s themes from the beginning: that who sits on the throne is not important and the fight for it is ultimately destructive and pointless. 

The second half of ‘The Iron Throne’ deals with who will rule Westeros going forward. Whilst there might be some inconsistency here (why are the Unsullied just accepting a vote for a new leader and not just executing everyone?) it’s oddly satisfying to see the characters come together to work out what’s best for the kingdom. It’s underlined by a brilliant moment where Sam suggests they start a democracy and the lords shoot him down in laughter. It’s a stark reminder that even though these are the “good guys” from the audience perspective, they’re still despotic tyrants who believe in birth rights. 

Bran ending up on the Throne is not necessarily what fans expected, though you do get the impression that he’ll be a decent leader, and it puts to bed the complaints that he became the Three-Eyed Raven for nothing. Tyrion is made his Hand as a form of punishment, tying up nicely the notion that the characters will have to take up mantles they don’t want in order for Westeros to rebuild itself. 

This culminates in an interesting final scene that’s a far cry from the epic battles many have been used to, with Tyrion awkwardly trying to get his new Small Council to co-operate and build a new civilisation. Him shuffling chairs around before the meeting has met with some flack online, but it hits home the idea that ruling peacefully is essentially admin - all the interesting stuff happens when the cities are on fire and war rages. 

You can still catch up with season 8 - and all of Game of Thrones now via the Sky Entertainment Package. 

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