The final episode of Game of Thrones has hit, and it’s fair to say that people have had mixed reactions. Many feel that the entire eighth season felt a little rushed and that the final episode seemed like an unnecessarily neat tying up of loose ends. However, many also view the show as having done the very best with what they had. It’s true that the writers were in an almost impossible position, and finding a resolution that made sense and felt natural was no mean feat.
In spite of many criticizing the writing and plot lines of the final episode, for many, it was a satisfactory conclusion to the epic show. And though the attention to detail this season has felt a little lacklustre at times, episode six seemed to call back to the golden age of the show in certain ways. And one thing everyone was impressed by are the tiny, secret details that they’ve spotted throughout.
Since 2011, Game of Thrones has been a truly incredible show.
And over the past six weeks, the stories have been drawn together in a final conclusion of epic, ninety minute episodes.
The story revolved around the human desire for power.
The primary motivations of many characters were seizing the Iron Throne and ruling over the Seven Kingdoms.
But, really, it was about more than the titular throne.
It was about how striving to rule over people can be an incredibly damaging motivation; the show was really an exploration of power overall.
But with dragons.
Sure, Game of Thrones was a fantasy – but it was also a deeply human show, with complex characters and ambiguous motivations.
The final season has been a little controversial.
The main issue is likely that the show’s ending seemed a little rushed. After seven, well-paced seasons, season eight was left with a lot to do.
Which meant that certain aspects were lost.
They had to deal with the threat of the army of the dead and decide who would sit on the iron throne, all in under ten hours; it was no mean feat.
The season has come under criticism.
But, ultimately, many think that the finale did the very best it could with the time frame that it had been given.
After all, there’s no pleasing everyone.
And trying to come up with a conclusion to such a long, complex, and far-reaching story is undoubtedly incredibly difficult to do.
This has led to some praise for the final episode.
And though it’s very sad to say goodbye to the show, it’s also been left in a place wherein the majority feel happy about the future of Westeros.
And there’s something else, too.
Many eagle eyes fans noticed some special things about episode six. In fact, these details can help give a more rounded view to the episode as a whole.
The first came early on in the show.
For years, many have praised the Game of Thrones credits. They’re intricate, and often reveal greater details about the show’s plot.
And in the final episode, these credits were a little different.
In the rest of season six, there had been a Lannister sigil above the Iron Throne, signalling their dominion over the realm.
But in the final episode, there was no sigil.
The lion of the Lannisters had disappeared from the Throne Room entirely, showing the end of their rule.
And that wasn’t the only Easter egg.
There were many of these cleverly placed little details, which really added to the viewing experience of the show.
Another related to the Dragon Queen, Daenerys.
In episode five, we saw her sadly descending into madness, torching King’s Landing and the civilians trapped inside. In the final, she made a triumphant speech to her Dothraki soldiers.
And some noticed something about this speech.
It was an almost word for word re-enactment of a speech that Daenerys had given far earlier in the show to the same Dothraki audience.
Another detail involved Daenerys.
Since almost the first season, this Dragon Queen has longed for one thing and one thing only – the Iron Throne.
And in the final episode, she got to it.
She touched the throne in real life for the very first time.
But eagle eyes fans of the show noticed something about this scene.
It was eerily familiar.
In fact, it was almost identical to a scene shot all the way back in season two, when Daenerys has a vision of the throne whilst in Qarth.
And this wasn’t the only shot-based callback.
In fact, people noticed another Daenerys scene which looked spookily familiar to one we’d seen many seasons ago.
In the final episode, Jon Snow was forced to kill Daenerys.
Knowing she would happily put his sisters to death for their questionable loyalties, Jon saw no other option than to kill the woman he loved, and watch her die in his arms.
But this wasn’t the first time that this had happened to him.
Jon’s first love was the Wildling, Ygritte. The pair found themselves on different sides during battle, though, and she died in his arms – in almost exactly the same position that Daenerys did.
Arya’s storyline also had a secret callback.
Many expected her arc to have more of a kickass finale – many even saw her as a potential ruler.
But this wasn’t to be.
Instead, Arya decided that she wanted to choose a very different life path. She decided to set off sailing to explore more of the world.
Some thought that this was a little out of left field.
But it had actually been mentioned before. Way back in season six, Arya asked Jon the fateful question: “What’s west of Westeros?”
Brienne of Tarth was done a little dirty in season eight.
She ended up sleeping with Jaime Lannister, who consequently abandoned her and went back to his evil twin sister (and lover) Cersei, where he died.
But Brienne is a woman of honor.
And she ended up writing the history of Jaime Lannister into the Book of Brothers. While compiling this entry, fans noticed Brienne wearing an unusual sigil.
On her armour was a three eyed raven.
Many believe this to be the sigil of the new King of the Six Kingdoms, Bran the Broken, who has a three eyed raven as his alter ego.
And there are many more of these clever details.
One involves one of the fans’ favorite characters, Samwell Tarly. Over the course of the show, he learned to be a Maester at the Citadel.
While there, Sam took a particular interest in history.
With the Archmaester, he helped to compile the events that happened after King Robert Baratheon’s death.
And the name of this book?
A Song of Ice and Fire. Which, as the show’s biggest fans will know, is also the name of the book series by George R.R. Martin which Game of Thrones is based on.
Another hidden detail relates to Drogon.
Drogon is the last survivor of Daenerys’ original three dragons and is named after her first love, Khal Drogo.
Without Drogon, there’s no way that Daenerys could have taken King’s Landing.
And her dragon remained loyal to the end. After she was killed, Drogon torched and melted the Iron Throne, then picked up her body and flew away.
Viewers were eager to know where she might be.
At the end, during the small council meeting, Drogon is enquired after. Although the answer to the question is interrupted by Ser Bronn, many think that the sighting was over Volantis.
There was another fun detail during the small council meeting.
For years, Tyrion Lannister has been known as one of the wittiest and most humorous men in Westeros.
During the meeting, Ser Bronn raises a point.
The newly-appointed Master of Coin informs Tyrion that the siege on the city has destroyed all the best brothels.
Tyrion then makes an ancient callback.
Several times over the course of the seasons, Tyrion has attempted to make the same joke, which starts, “I once walked into a brothel with a honeycomb and a -“. We guess we’ll never know the punchline!
The final episode was filled with these satisfying callbacks.
There was another, fairly emotional one, which featured Arya Stark.
While we first met Arya as a small child, she’s certainly grown up now.
She’s independent and keen to make her own decisions.
This includes her dalliance with Gendry in episode two – which many fans still think was one of the weirder choices in season eight.
Her final move was that of total freedom.
But seeing Arya on a sailing ship reminded many fans of an earlier scene, at the end of the show’s fourth season. Then, Arya was essentially trapped by circumstance – but now, she’s truly enjoying the freedom that she deserves.
Sansa Stark had also been on quite the journey.
She started the show as a silly, naive child, and then underwent some of the worst things that could happen to any character.
But she ended the show on a high.
She refused to bend the knee – even to her own brother. Sansa reclaimed the North as an independent territory, and was named the Queen of the North.
But fans noticed something about her crown.
Sansa went for a small and subtle affair, which, to many, looked oddly familiar. Some thought that it was eerily similar to Cersei’s minimal crown, showing that Sansa had been influenced by her time spent with the Lannisters.
And that wasn’t the only thing that fans noticed about Sansa’s final outfit.
As she was crowned, Sansa was wearing a dress with a very distinctive pattern on it.
Her grey dress is adorned by red leaves.
These are distinctive of the Weirdwood tree, a species native to the North. This symbolizes how truly Sansa has found her place.
And there may be even more to it.
This tree is uniquely linked to Bran Stark, Sansa’s brother, and the ruler of the Six Kingdoms. By including the leaves on her dress, Sansa could be signalling a nod to her brother.
There were similarities outside of the Game of Thrones canon, too.
Game of Thrones has always been influenced both by medieval history and a range of tropes prevalent in the fantasy genre.
But fans noticed one thing in particular.
There seemed to be an intrinsic link between Jon Snow and Frodo Baggins from The Lord of the Rings. This was particularly apparent in their eventual endings.
Jon Snow was forced to return to the Night’s Watch.
Like Frodo deciding to leave with Bilbo, this meant him making a huge sacrifice and leaving many of his loved ones behind forever.
Some found Jon Snow’s return to the Wall a bit of a step backwards.
But many think that this is actually something that he’d wanted all along, and felt far more at home in the far north than anywhere else.
The Wall was a powerful part of the Game of Thrones story.
In fact, it was really the crux of a lot of the storyline. Many pointed out something really clever that the show runners had done.
The last scene of the episode showed Jon moving past the reaches of the wall.
And many noticed that this shot was almost exactly the same as the very first shot of episode one, making it almost the ultimate callback.
But there was one callback that nobody wanted to see.
In the show’s fourth episode of the eighth season, fans noticed a rogue coffee cup in the background of one of the shots.
Some saw it as almost symbolic.
Critics of the eighth season though the cup was almost a metaphor for the laziness that had gone on in the show’s making.
And in the final episode, it happened again.
Viewers spotted something very out of place behind the foot of Samwell Tarly. The water bottle was clearly left by mistake, leaving many feeling exasperated.
Although there was something that everyone was happy about.
The reunion of Jon Snow and his faithful direwolf, Ghost, brought a tear to many people’s eyes.
Although it’s safe to say that people are feeling a little disappointed.
While the show did what it could to tie up all the old story lines, there was a lot left out, and many aspects were seen as totally unnecessary to the finale.
And, of course, some made jokes on the topic.
The seemingly random coronation of Bran as the king had many wondering if there might have been a better way.
The petition to get the eighth season remade has been a hot topic.
Although Sophie Turner, who plays Sansa Stark, has spoken out against it, calling it “disrespectful” to the cast and the crew who worked so hard.
But there’s one thing that everyone can agree on.
In spite of a potentially shaky final season, the journey that Game of Thrones has taken us all on has been pretty incredible.