Warning: This post contains spoilers for Game of Thrones. Seriously! Get out of here if you haven't watched!
Frankly, who knows how much the people of Westeros actually know about what happened in King's Landing following Daenerys Targaryen's (Emilia Clarke) brutal siege. By the time the story reaches the outer villages, they may think Drogon is their new king.
But Twitter? That's where news of Westeros spreads faster than Bronn's (Jerome Flynn) mind goes to the gutter. Game of Thrones unfolds simultaneously on HBO and on Twitter, where it's filtered through the incredibly witty commentary of its devoted, frustrated fans. During Game of Thrones' last-ever episode, the monoculture's last breaths on Twitter were highly opinionated. Here are the highlights.
Generally speaking, people were sad to see Daenerys go — despite the drastic dip into Mad King Aerys II Targaryen territory she took last episode. There was quite a bit of open mourning on Twitter, both for her character's death and the death of all that was once good in Daenerys. She had begun her character arc as a liberator and a vanquisher of evil. Her commitment to the vague premise of "breaking the wheel" became merciless.
Obviously, one of the night's biggest reveals was that Bran Stark — now known as "Bran the Broken," which is a bit rude – was elected King of the Andals, etc. etc by a group of noblemen and women. On Twitter, people smelled a whiff of "L'eau Du Scammer King." Because if Bran is the three-eyed raven, then he probably knew that Daenerys would burn King's Landing, then knew he would be king. He felt as entitled to the throne as Simba.
Nobles: "Bran, Daenerys freed all the slaves and killed all the bad guys and escaped a life of child trafficking to conquer the seven kingdoms. Now that your brother killed her, why don't you take the job she fought her entire life to earn?"— Comfortably Smug (@ComfortablySmug) May 20, 2019
So, I assume the "Dany was always evil" people will be EQUALLY as fair-minded to realize that Bran manipulated the entire story and got tens of thousands killed in order to power-grab for the throne, right?— Jessica Ellis (@baddestmamajama) May 20, 2019
I’m glad we deposed Dany, the Doer of War Crimes, to elect a fair and just king, Bran, the Sitter-Upon Of His Ass Whilst His Immense Psychic Powers Told Him Daenerys Was Going To Do War Crimes, Which Would Ultimately Prove Necessary For Bran To Take Power— Sady Doyle (@sadydoyle) May 20, 2019
People were also concerned about what Bran's abilities meant for his tenure as king. Daenerys had dragons, but Bran has the ability to warg — just like the Night King.
Consensus was, though, that Bran would at least be a less volatile ruler than Daenerys, even if he's the kind of guy to dip out of important business meetings and think moodily. His first act as king is searching for Drogon, who burned the throne before gripping his mother's dead body in his talons and flying away — also moodily.
With that, the Stark kids are flung into the universe. Jon Snow was banished to the Night's Watch, where he reunited with Ghost and ended up moving to the Truth North with the wildlings. Bran is the weirdo King of Westeros. Sansa (Sophie Turner) crowned herself Queen of the North and stayed put in Winterfell — which everyone agreed was the One Good Thing that happened this episode. Given her seasons-long character trajectory, Sansa's title as Queen of the North felt earned (unlike Bran's sudden pivot toward royalty).
Arya's (Maisie Williams) final storyline incited quite a bit of Twitter turmoil. "What's West of Westeros?" Arya asks Jon as they say goodbye. There's still uncharted territory in the Game of Thrones universe, and she intends to find it. Standing at the prow of a ship headed where no ship has gone before, Arya looks a lot like an explorer — or, you know. Christopher Columbus.
Where is Arya headed? What civilisations will she find? How will coming in contact with Westeros affect them forever? Will her exploration only wreak more violence? The irony wasn't lost on people.
Generally, though, viewers were kinder about this episode than the rest of the (flawed) season. The sense of an ending eclipsed criticism. After all, we've invested nearly a decade of our lives into this show. We can critique season 8 in think pieces and make memes about the creators' stranger decisions. But we can't entirely shut out what the show meant to so many people.
People were aware of goodbyes. To the show, and to the act of watching the show as it airs — an increasing rarity in the age of streaming.
Fittingly, the episode was full of goodbyes. Tyrion weeps over his dead siblings' bodies. Jon says goodbye to the idea of Daenerys before killing her. Brienne (Gwendoline Christie) said goodbye to Jaime by writing him a page in the knight's book, which was memed to no end. Finally, the four Stark siblings say goodbye and head into their futures. They're unlikely to meet again.
At least there was unanimous highlight of the episode: A good boy got pet.
We all said goodbye to the Starks, to the characters whose names we remembered and the ones we didn't, to the idea of a benevolent queen Daenerys. Can you blame us for taking comfort in Jon and Ghost saying hello?
The season's ended. We may still have feelings about how it went:
Actually, a lot of feelings. But when it came to night-of reactions, the "goodbye" mood was stronger than the disgruntled. Be well, young Starks. It's been good knowing you.