WARNING: Spoilers ahead.
Game of Thrones’ final season may have been hounded by online negativity, but its final bitter twist was a return to its roots that not even the angriest fan can argue with.
Once again, serious SPOILER warning.
In a savage moment of pure Game of Thrones perfection, Jon Snow saves Westeros and the world by sliding a knife into Daenerys’ heart, ending what was beginning to look like a true reign of terror.
“Love is the death of duty,” Jon Snow says to Tyrion moments before.
“Duty is the death of love,” Tyrion responds.
And this was the advice that Jon took with him to the rubble that was once the throne room, sacrificing his love for Daenerys out of duty to the people of Westeros.
For those mourning the end of her reign, please cast your mind back to this moment.
Like it or not - and many didn’t - Daenerys went full Mad Queen and in that context she needed to be stopped, we just were not convinced that Jon Snow was going to be able to do it.
Particularly given the pair locked lips for one final time, which was the exact moment Jon decided to take a sword to the budding tyrant’s heart.
The chilling moment may have made me drop my glass of Milo in pure shock, but as with so many moments this season, it shouldn’t have come as such a surprise.
Game of Thrones has always made its mark by slipping a knife through your ribs just when you thought you could breath easy for a moment, and this grisly method is what’s served up some of the series’ finest jaw-droppers.
The Red Wedding
Who could forget the infamous wedding from hell, where two key players were wiped out in one fell swoop while fans settled in to enjoy what they thought would be a light-hearted scene in a season full of bloodshed.
The series loves to snatch the life from characters just when they seem to have finally made it, Rob Stark had just gotten away with marrying the love of his life while keeping the loyalty of his Northern allies, or so we thought.
Similarly, it was when Daenerys finally laid hands on the Iron Throne and appeared to have won back her nephew/lover that said nephew/lover slipped a dagger in her heart.
The most poignantly similar death in the series was this one, when moments before her death, Ygritte and Jon seemed to have finally found each other again, and a tiny part of all of us was hoping the pair would somehow rekindle their love.
Then Olly came in with the bow and arrow and shot all of our dreams to hell.
It always hurts that much more when they give you that kernel of hope, and then slap it out of your hands, but that’s what makes Game of Thrones so damn powerful.
The creepiest leader of the Vale was sure she had just won the heart of the love of her life, Littlefinger moments before he pushed her to her death through that anxiety-inducing giant hole in the floor.
Granted, we didn’t shed too many tears over this one, but by god what a punch in the guts.
Remember when evil little Joffrey gave that speech about showing mercy on Ned Stark.
No? Maybe that’s because he had his head lopped off approximately five seconds later.
Yep, the death that kicked off the phenomenon that has been Game of Thrones had a very similar promise of redemption moments before it was carried out.
The death of Oberyn to the Mountain was also responsible for some serious whiplash amongst fans.
The epic trial by combat to determine the fate of Tyrion seemed to culminate in the Dornish prince’s - and therefore Tyrion’s - victory.
Then The Mountain rolled over and turned his eyes into mashed potato.
Once again, way to lull us into a false sense of security guys.
That ability to build us up, tear us down, and take us for an epic emotional ride, is what has always set Game of Thrones apart.
No matter the reactions to the show’s final season, this death is the one that undoubtedly stays true to the series’ roots.
The real ending was never going to be pretty, but it needed to be devastating because that’s how the show has always operated.
As Cersei Lannister one said, “When you play the game of thrones you win, or you die”.
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