The Game of Thrones finale night is always one of the biggest televised events of the year. Sometimes the final episodes don’t live up to the hype of the full season, while others have made the hiatus an unbearable wait. This finale had a little bit of both. Here are the best and worst moments from “The Children.”
Best: Jon Snow Memorializes Ygritte and a Big Fat Hero Arrives
The introduction of Ygritte to Jon Snow’s life was a catalyst for his transformation from naïve, poor little rich boy to an actual leader worth following. Even though they spent the last season as bitter enemies, she was the single most important figure in his life. It’s fitting that Jon got to mourn her in his own way, while not betraying his new role as a leader. First, he drinks with Mance to her memory. Later, he takes a private moment to burn her body alone.
In the last episode, it seemed like hope was gone for the Night’s Watch. The wildlings outnumbered them by hundreds of thousands of angry men and women, not to mention freaking giants and woolly mammoths. Enter Stannis. The alleged true king Stannis arrived just in time with his army of followers to protect the wall. It was a badass moment, but it would have been better served at the end of the last episode. Imagine how amazing it would have been to end the last lackluster episode with a savior for these hopeless men. Just another example of the show not managing its screen time well.
Worst: Bran and the Magical, Mystical Skeleton Dancers
Bran’s storyline has strayed so far from the major plot, the fight between power players for the Iron Throne, that his scenes always feel superfluous. It doesn’t help that his scenes are so removed from reality that they make the lady with dragons look downright realistic. It’s one thing for Bran to have the power to warg into the bodies of his wolf and mentally handicapped bodyguard and to have a traveling companion with the power of sight. However, fighting skeletons may have been a bit extreme. The skeletons that rose from the ground to fight Bran and his friends looked like the Michael Bay version of the skeletons from Jason and the Argonauts.
The fight scene was longer than necessary, which can be said for most of the bigger battles in the series. Then came a little kid with firebombing superpowers to save the day. It almost feels like a part of a completely different show that would air on Friday nights on SyFy. Will he ever make it to the glowing magic tree? Does anyone really care?
Best: Arya’s Last Shred of Humanity
Ever since she saw her father die, Arya Stark has slowly been losing everything that made her human. At first she was a ball of rage, ready to destroy the world around her and stab anyone who got in her way. As the season progressed, she started to lose some of that, especially as the hope of ever reuniting with her family died one person at a time.
Brienne finds her practicing with Needle and it seems that maybe Arya has finally gotten the lucky break she deserves. However, it’s clear that there’s no hope left in her. Brienne mentions that she made a vow to Catelyn Stark to find and protect her children, but it doesn’t matter anymore. Catelyn is dead and there is no safety anymore.
The Hound and Brienne face off in one of the more brutal fight scenes that the show has done. A few episodes back, The Hound would have been fighting to keep his hands on a high-valued hostage. But his feelings towards Arya are much more protective now. He’s grown fond of his mini psychopathic companion and wants to protect her from Brienne and her perceived loyalty to Jamie Lannister.
Even though The Hound was once the most fearsome creature in the Seven Kingdoms, his wounds and weariness make him no match for Brienne. She has him on his knees many times and even bites off his ear (!), eventually kicking him off the mountain. Then Brienne and Pod trod off in the completely wrong direction to find Arya because they are really terrible at finding Starks.
Arya finds The Hound mortally wounded at the bottom of the mountain. He begs her to kill him. First he acts like he’s doing her a favor. She finally gets to cross him off her list. Then he tries to incite that latent anger in her by recalling killing the butcher’s boy in season one and claiming that his one regret in life was not raping her sister. Eventually, he cries in the hopes that she’ll have a shred of dignity for him. But Arya is completely without emotion now. She feels no loyalty, anger, or sympathy toward him. Whatever she is now, it’s not a little girl.