You know the drill by now, full spoilers for all of Game of Thrones follow.
For something a little different this week instead of extolling the reasons for why season eight of Game of Thrones is the best, because it isn’t, and instead of just listing why it’s the worst, because it is, I decided to try a new approach. Taking some ideas from scrolling through the r/freefolk sub-Reddit and coming up with some myself I’m going to talk about five simple ideas which would have fix the season’s overall awfulness.
The obvious solution is not to have made it at all, but as that point would cause the article to end here we’ll disregard that for now and jump straight in with the first idea.
Brienne should have died to justify Jaime leaving
This is one from the Reddit, and truth be told is the reason why I decided to tackle season eight from the improvement angle rather than outright trashing it in its entirety. As I have said a couple of times before, Jaime Lannister is my favourite character but even I have to admit that his decision to return to Cersei after winning the Battle of Winterfell makes no sense whatsoever.
His kiss with Brienne is one of the most awkward scenes in all of Game of Thrones (though not as bad as Arya and Gendry) which I could very much have done without. Instead of this being able to happen, and as her character arc is finished due to Sansa and Arya being safe at home in Winterfell, I would have had Brienne die during the battle, maybe while defending one of the Stark sisters. In his grief, and because he never told her how he felt, Jaime would have ridden South back to the only woman he ever truly cared for.
Rhaegal shouldn’t have died until The Bells
Some people say Rhaegal had to die before the penultimate episode as ‘two dragons would have destroyed Kings Landing even more’. Even more?! The city is a charred wasteland overflowing with the bodies of the innocent and perpetually raining ash! I’m not sure how much more damage another dragon could have done.
Fresh off the heels of being spurned by Jon Snow, her closest friend Missandei being executed and the death of Ser Jorah protecting her during the Battle of Winterfell, if Rhaegal had been shot out of the sky by a scorpion catapult then I think that would have justified her Mad Queen rampage slightly more.
I would further develop this idea that the tumbling rubble which kills Jaime and Cersei should have been caused by the spear that kills Rhaegal, which was also fired by Jaime, inadvertently causing the dragon to cause the collapse of the Red Keep by colliding with it. If a Lannister accidentally caused the ruin of the stronghold they are fighting to defend, dying as a result, I think that would be some of the best poetic justice in the entire show’s history.
The Night King’s killer
Say it with me – Arya should NOT have been the one to kill the Night King. What did it achieve for her character? Her arc was complete and she had nothing more to add to the story while plenty of other characters would have benefited hugely from being the one to slay the blue eyed bastard. I think any character who had previously harmed the Starks, who was still alive, should have been the one to strike the final blow. Of those present at the Battle of Winterfell, that role could have fallen to just two characters: Jaime Lannister or Theon Greyjoy.
To rub salt in the wound of the bad writing for season eight, Theon is killed a minute before the Night King, heroically charging at him with a spear in a bid to buy Bran more time to sit around staring into space. If the producers were so set on having Arya participate then she should have been the one to distract the White Walkers while Theon gets a sneaky dragonglass attack in to end them once and for all.
Jon should have killed Grey Worm for murdering prisoners
I think it’s safe to say that, until season eight, everybody liked Grey Worm. A capable commander who loyally served Daenerys and also showed his more sensitive side with Missandei, his grief is likely the reason he goes completely off the deep end during The Bells and starts executing unarmed prisoners. Always the honourable man, Jon Snow attempts to convince Grey Worm to stop but is talked into abandoning doing so by Davos in order to confront Daenerys.
Leaving hundreds of potentially innocent men (as innocent as Lannister soldiers can be) to be murdered, I think Jon let himself down at the last hurdle and should have fought Grey Worm to save the prisoners of the conquered city. It could be said that if Jon had done so, the remaining Unsullied would have killed him immediately in response, but as they have always exclusively responded to orders without emotion I think it cannot be expressed as a certainty they would have done so.
The Army of the Dead should have got further South
Another excellent point I hadn’t considered until I saw it on Reddit, the Northern Kingdom made a big fuss about the encroaching army of the dead led by the Night King via ravens to all the Lords of the Seven Kingdoms. Unfortunately, due in part to the amount of Westerosi slain during the Battle of Winterfell, and as the army never made it further south than Winterfell, the whole event will likely be dismissed by all those not present as Northern superstition, a ghost story conjured by the Queen in the North’s vivid imagination to scare off would-be intruders to her realm.
While the North may remember, everybody south of Moat Cailin would soon forget or refuse to believe the battle ever happened. I was predicting for years that the army of the dead would make it as far south as the Trident, in a call back to the battle which saw Westeros overthrow the Targaryen dynasty and reclaim the right to crown their own ruler. If the Night King had made it close to Kings Landing, not only would Cersei have really felt a shiver up her spine for lying to the Northern force, but also all southern Houses would be confronted with indisputable proof that the threat was entirely real.
If the Night King had tried to cross the Twins in season one like Robb Stark, he would have had more than enough men to pay Walder Frey’s toll by marrying all his daughters, before killing and reanimating them. That’s love for you..
Thanks for reading, and now my (Game of Thrones 4K) watch has ended. I hope you enjoyed the switch up in the manner I discussed the final season, but if you would prefer to read the 1000 word tirade I had originally planned then let me know in the comments as I’m sure I can throw something together for you. In the meantime, non-Game of Thrones content will resume next week so I’ll be back to speak to you then. Valar Morghulis.