Last week on Game Of Thrones, Dany got familiar with the layout of King's Landing, Tyrion got some quality time in with his best friends, and The Hound had a family reunion. This week on the SERIES FINALE, everything was resolved in a satisfying manner that pleased all viewers. GOT is all about how people jockey for power, so click through for our SPOILER-FILLED season eight, episode six Game of Thrones Power Rankings.

1. You Win Or You Die (Or The Show Ends): It's been 2955 days since the premiere of Game Of Thrones, television's greatest nuanced incest fantasia, back in 2011. Before this season began, I wondered what a satisfying ending of GOT would even look like—and I think we may have gotten it, considering all the narrative ruts and pacing problems the show has had the past two seasons. This was either the happiest ending we ever could have expected, or if you think about it too hard, the most cynical ending we never could have expected. Most likely, it was somewhere right between the two.

Do I wish we got more time seeing things from Dany's perspective before Jon Snow fatally stabbed her and Drogon took her body off to somewhere far far away? Sure. Do I wish they hadn't brought the theme song back in the last 10 minutes? Definitely. Am I basically content with the way Jon, Sansa, Arya's plots were wrapped up? You betcha. Was the moral of the story that absolute power corrupts absolutely, and absolute power over dragons corrupts even more absolutely? Sure. Was Bran a sneakily ambitious little fellow who knew way more about everything than he let on? Hell yes.

I still have no idea if the third "holy shit moment" George R.R. Martin told the showrunners about (the first was Stannis Barathon sacrificing his daughter Shireen, the second was Hodor's tragic origin story) was meant to be Dany firebombing King's Landing or Jon betraying Dany or Bran becoming king or Edmure Tully turning into the laughing stock of the Six Kingdoms—maybe we'll never know! We have to live with that mystery.

So let's all hum that theme song one last time and get into this. But first up: you should click on this thread below and learn about all the GOT sandwiches.

2. King Bran The Broken Tree Raven Wizard Dude: Since he went north of the wall in season four and trained to become a raven who is also a tree who is also a rude little shit who gets his friends killed, Bran was known around these parts as "The Worst Teenager North Of The Wall," or "The Worst Teenager In The Known World," and even "The Worst Teenager In Westerosi History." Fun fact: no character made more repeat appearances at the bottom of the Power Rankings than Bran (I have no idea if it's true, but it feels true, though I guess maybe Theon/Reek was also in the running). But things changed this season once Bran really embraced his weird George Harrison-on-acid vibes, and started staring at people and interrupting conversations to tell people he knows about their weird sex secrets. He became legitimately hilarious to be around, even if it seemed far-fetched that Winterfell could be so handicap-accessible.

It turns out Bran was playing the long game all along—for all his protestations about not wanting to rule, he turned out to be very ready and willing to do so now: "Why do you think I came all this way?" he says when Tyrion asks him to be king. It's almost like...he knew this was coming...

Does that mean Bran really could see the future the whole time? And he...didn't warn anyone about Dany or the slaughter of King's Landing? And he knew his family was all going to be supremely fucked up and scattered to the corners of the world afterwards? And he was okay with all of this, because he wanted to become an absentee ruler who spends his days warging into birds and shit? God bless this beautiful dumb show.

3. The Night Is Dark And Full Of Disposable Water Bottles: Two weeks ago, an errant coffee cup left on a table at Winterfell dominated the news cycle for 48 hours, provoking pseudo-apologies and venti of terrible jokes galore. Now it's deja vu all over again: this week, people spotted a water bottle hiding behind Samwell's feet during the big tribunal scene. As the wise dude in the video below hilariously puts it while zooming in and out of the bottle, "That's what they're doing in this season finale? A fuckin' water bottle?"

Considering how much organic SEO was born thanks to that coffee cup, maybe GOT just wanted to gild the lily one more time to really milk that content. "How can they complain about the thin characterization of Dany when they're too busy writing strongly-worded blog posts about minor continuity errors? CHECKMATE."

It was such a brilliant, dastardly plan, they threw a bunch of water bottles into the scene. Everybody stays hydrated!

4. THE GOOD PET THAT WAS PROMISED: After weeks of agony over Jon's very disrespectful treatment of his very loyal very good direwolf (it was VERY rude), Ghost ended up having the happiest ending of them all: a smile, a pet and a cuddle.

Sure, he lost an ear and was conveniently "forgotten" by Jon whenever the show didn't want to bother paying for doggo CGI, but at least he got the last pet. Note: Mark Hoppus was not satisfied.

5. Ser Bronn Demonstrates How To Survive The Game Of Thrones: The Lord of Highgarden and Lord of Lofty Titles shows up with 10 minutes left in the episode to serve on the new small council as Master Of Coin, thereby making him the richest dude in the land (?). The sellsword made the wise decision to blackmail Tyrion and Jaime, then hightail it out of town until all the fighting was done and he could collect his reward. And now he's like the fifth most powerful person in the country! Who would have thought that one of the final scenes in Game Of Thrones would feature Sam and Bronn arguing about whether to rebuild the brothels!

6. This Cool Ass Shot Of Dany Being A Dragon: In season seven, The Queen Of Thorns counseled Dany on what she would need to do to take the Iron Throne: "The lords of Westeros are sheep. Are you a sheep? No. You're a dragon. Be a dragon." Olenna Tyrell was undoubtedly one of the smartest people in all of Westeros, and maybe things would have been different had she heeded her words sooner. While Dany may not have taken her advice initially, she sure as hell did last episode when she ravaged King's Landing, incinerating anyone standing (or running in terror) in her way.

Say what you will about the way in which showrunners David Benioff & DB Weiss got us to this point (and we sure as shit have more to say about that down below), but the first 30 minutes of the episode were filled with truly beautiful shots of Dany—and no image was more striking than the one below, in which Dany finally became the dragon before a conquered city of ash. I don't exactly know if it needs to be taught at film schools, but it also isn't corny—it's a satisfying visualization to signal the character has evolved. And it is pretty metal.

7. Everything's Coming Up Sansa: Lady Stark is crowned Queen in the North in an incredible, cinematic coronation ceremony, and she gets the North declared an independent country to boot. How that works exactly, and how it's different from the situation before, or how it might change once her brother isn't the king anymore, we'll never know. Actress Sophie Turner told EW this was all good for her: "Ever since the end of season 1, Sansa has not been about the capital or being queen. She doesn’t believe she could rule and doesn’t want to. She knows her place is in the North and she can rule the people of the North and rule Winterfell."

And to top it all off, she was responsible for the two biggest burns of the entire finale:

8. Jaime Lannister's Wikipedia Entry: Ser Brienne Of Motherfucking Tarth got a promotion to Lord Commander of the Kingsguard under King Bran The Pink Floyd Enthusiast (but why didn't she stay with Sansa?). After donning approximately 400 pounds of armor, she also finally got around to updating Jaime Lannister's entry in the Kingsguard book, thereby making her an honorary blogger and/or Sex & The City fanfic writer.

Here is what she wrote: "Captured in the field at the Whispering Wood, set free by Lady Catelyn Stark in return for an oath to find [unreadable] her two daughters, lost..." his hand. "Took Rivverrun from the Tully revels, without loss of life. Lured the Unsullied into attacking Casterly Rock, sacrificing his childhood home in service to a greater strategy. Outwitted the Targaryen forces to seize Highgarden. Fought at the Battle of the Goldroad bravely, narrowly escaping death by dragonfire. Pledged himself to the forces of men and rode north to join them at Winterfell, alone. Faced the Army of the Dead and defended the castle against impossible odds until the defeat of the Night King. Escaped imprisonment and rode south in an attempt to save the capital from destruction. Died protecting his Queen."

Some people were upset that Brienne wasn't writing her own entry in the book, and while I prefer to be respectful of everyone's personal theories and opinions, in this case, that is just dumb as hell. It's the duty of the Lord Commander of the Kingsguard to write down the history of the Knightsguard (including that of their predecessors, as was explained 27 seasons ago by Jaime). Considering that Brienne is already the most honorable person in Westeros, there's no doubt she'd take such responsibilities seriously, regardless of her personal feelings for Jaime—and I have a hard time imagining her bragging about her own exploits before she sets the record straight about him.

The thing you SHOULD be upset about is how quickly and recklessly Brienne turned the pages after writing the entry—there's no way that ink was dry by then, what if it smudged???

9. Master Of Grammar: Ser Davos—the fingerless smuggler who can't really defend himself—outlasted witches, dragons and undead kings to make it to the end of the show. He may not have been sure if got a vote at the Dragonpit meeting, but he ended up getting promoted to Master of Ships under King Bran. He's flourishing at a great new job, he dropping callbacks to his old pal and grammar Nazi Stannis Baratheon, he's on top of the world! Now if only he could remember that he has a wife who is still alive...who he hasn't mentioned in several seasons...

10. Dunking On Edmure Tully: The last time we saw Edmure Tully, the ne'er-do-well Lord of Riverrun, was back in season six when he was being held captive at the Twins. After Arya Stark murdered Walder Frey and poisoned all the males of House Frey, he presumably got out and took back the area. And he makes his long-awaited return in the finale to serve as a punching bag who gets told to sit down by Sansa. Outstanding.

11. Tyrion Failing Upward/Peter Dinklage's Emmy Reel: On the one hand, Tyrion the character really has lucked out over the last couple seasons. He's very clearly been a bad Hand for Dany, constantly underestimating her enemies and offering terrible advice and strategy. "I suppose there's a crude kind of justice," he tells Jon Snow. "I betrayed my closest friend and watched him burn. Now Varys' ashes can tell my ashes, 'See, I told you.'" But instead of being hung, Tyrion's punishment is he gets freed to be Hand to King Bran Cereal now (and judging by Bran's inattentive style of ruling, Tyrion is kinda in essence king-in-absentia).

But while Tyrion failed upwards yet again, Peter Dinklage proved one last time why he was the most important actor on the show. He kills it in every scene, and deserves the Emmy he will hopefully win for this season, whether he's walking through the rubble of King's Landing, dramatically tossing his pin, his two big jail scenes with Jon Snow ("Sometimes duty is the death of love"), and his big speech at the Dragonpit meeting.

"I've had nothing to do but think these past weeks about our bloody history, about the mistakes we've made," he says. "What unites people? Armies? Gold? Flags? Stories. There's nothing more powerful in the world than a good story. Nothing can stop it. No enemy can defeat it. And who has a better story than Bran the Broken? The boy who fell from a high tower and lived. He knew he'd never walk again, so he learned to fly. He crossed beyond the Wall, a crippled boy, and became the Three-Eyed Raven. He is our memory, the keeper of all our stories. The wars, weddings, births, massacres, famines. Our triumphs, our defeats, our past. Who better to lead us into the future?" He sells the speech so well, it's easy to forget that there are literally a dozen characters who have better stories than him. That is truly the superpower of Dinklage.

And he gets to end his time on the show with a reference to his “honeycomb and a jackass” joke, which he has twice brought up (in season one and season six).

12. YOU ARE MY QUEEN NOW AND ALWAYS STAB STAB STAB: After having one conversation with Tyrion (which is basically a rehash of all the thinkpieces and social media arguing online about Dany's actions last week), Jon is convinced to stab Dany to death in the throne room. Then he is taken prisoner by Grey Worm for a couple weeks, grows a terrible beard, and is ultimately sent back to join The Night's Watch, even though there is no purpose to them anymore. Maybe you can argue that Tyrion knew Jon would just head north with his friends, but it's still on the surface a pretty garbage deal.

And so to boil things down even further: Jon Snow was brought back to life in season six by the Lord of murder his girlfriend. It really sucks to be Jon Snow.

13. The GOT Spinoffs I'd Watch Let me be abundantly clear: I do not actually want to see any of these shows. I do not really want to see any more GOT-related shows ever again (or at least for a decade or two, at which point I would probably watch some sort of Twin Peaks season three-type sequel). But we have no choice in the matter because one prequel (which takes place "thousands of years before the events" of GOT) is already in the works (with Naomi Watts!), and there are multiple other ones in development. If I am going to have to suck it up and inject $50 million worth of more GOT-adjacent episodes directly into my eyeballs, at least I can suggest the shows:

a) Game Of Chairs: A workplace sitcom about the new small council.
b) The New Adventures Of Arya Stark: Arya heads west and gets into shenanigans with her sidekick Hot Pie; The Faceless Men are the Big Bads, and in the season two finale, we discover that Syrio Forel is actually alive...or is he??
c) Davos In Charge: When he's not attending small council meetings, Davos spends his post-GOT life traveling across the Seven Kingdoms smuggling soup, fermented crabs, and fatherly advice to the traumatized citizens of Westeros.
d) Best Free Folk Forever: Jon Snow, Tormund Giantsbane & Ghost establish a new society north of the wall...and hijinks ensue. Maybe it's a romantic-comedy.

14. Symbolism! One of the least surprising developments of the final episode was that the Iron Throne was dismantled, thus signaling the end to the throne game. "THE MELTED THRONE SYMBOLIZES OBVIOUSNESS" I screamed at my dog during this scene.

And as the drawing below demonstrates, it's perfectly logical why Drogon turned his anger on the chair and not the puny human standing next to his mom. Drogon can see that there is a pointy thing in Dany and that there are two possible suspects nearby who may have inserted the pointy thing into her: a scary-looking chair filled with other similar pointy things, and the physical embodiment of a mope with a top knot (who is kinda his stepdad? Cousin-uncle? It's complicated). Who really seems like the most likely and capable suspect, eh?

15. Representative Democracy: Samwell Tarly ALMOST became the first person to introduce representative democracy as we know it into this world...until everyone decides the superior form of government is letting the ruling class pick a king amongst themselves. Baby steps!

Really, I was impressed with how much the show stuck to this depiction of real life politics by: a) constantly having people choose an inexperienced white man (Jon Snow, Bran) as leader over a very experienced woman (Dany, Sansa) and b) inching toward democracy, laughing at it, then coming up with a compromise that pleases no one and only changes things on a surface level. The dragons and tits show about politics actually was about politics after all. Can't wait for everyone to get along great once Bran dies and there is no clear candidate to takeover!

Apropos of this...I just love this tweet so much. Long Live King Brahm The Brakhage.

16. Emilia Clarke: As we discussed last week, Clarke has sold the hell out of a really difficult twist. And it took her awhile to wrap her head around it: "What, what, what, WHAT!?" the actress told EW she recalled thinking after reading the final scripts. "Because it comes out of fucking nowhere. I’m flabbergasted. Absolutely never saw that coming." She cried, then spent some time with it, and here's how she sees it:

“She genuinely starts with the best intentions and truly hopes there isn’t going to be something scuttling her greatest plans,” she says. “The problem is [the Starks] don’t like her and she sees it. She goes, ‘Okay, one chance.’ She gives them that chance and it doesn’t work and she’s too far to turn around. She’s made her bed, she’s laying in it. It’s done. And that’s the thing. I don’t think she realizes until it happens — the real effect of their reactions on her is: ‘I don’t give a s—t.’ This is my whole existence. Since birth! She literally was brought into this world going, ‘Run!’ These fuckers have fucked everything up, and now it’s, ‘You’re our only hope.’ There’s so much she’s taken on in her duty in life to rectify, so much she’s seen and witnessed and been through and lost and suffered and hurt. Suddenly these people are turning around and saying, ‘We don’t accept you.’ But she’s too far down the line. She’s killed so many people already. I can’t turn this ship around. It’s too much. One by one, you see all these strings being cut. And there’s just this last thread she’s holding onto: There’s this boy. And she thinks, ‘He loves me, and I think that’s enough.’ But is it enough? Is it? And it’s just that hope and wishing that finally there is someone who accepts her for everything she is and … he fucking doesn’t.”

Writer and producer Bryan Cogman also was torn: "I still don’t know how I feel about a lot of what happens this season and I helped write it," Cogman told EW. "It’s emotionally very challenging. It’s designed to not feel good. That said, I don’t think that’s a bad thing. The best drama is the type you have to think about." He added that he doesn't think she's a villain: "This is a tragedy. She’s a tragic figure in a very Shakespearean and Greek sense. When Jon asks Tyrion [in the finale] if they were wrong and Tyrion says, ‘Ask me again in 10 years,’ I think that’s valid."

The person Clarke was most upset about disappointing? Beyoncé, whose favorite character was Khaleesi. "All I wanted to scream was ‘Please, please still like me even though my character turns into a mass-killing dictator!,'" she told The New Yorker. "'Please still think that I’m representing women in a really fabulous way.'" And here's how she described Dany's fateful destruction of King's Landing: "We all have that thing, whether it’s binging on chocolate or drinking seventeen bottles of wine or having an affair."

666. David Benioff & DB Weiss: Maybe they never stood a chance. The first four seasons were such wild critical and audience hits, the expectations for the second half of the series was through the roof. Faced with the unenviable task of having to finish Game Of Thrones without the aid of adapting George R.R. Martin's novels (and without Martin there to help guide the process), they crafted these final seasons with certain huge end points in mind...and a maddeningly inconsistent approach to dialogue and story. Season five was a mess that also included one of the top five episodes of the show ("Hardhome"), and season six was the last great season of the show that felt like the same show as the first seasons. But the pacing went completely off the rails in these final two seasons.

I truly believe that if they had done 10 full episodes in these two seasons instead of seven and six, it would have given the story enough room to breathe and grow—more time to allow the audience to feel Dany's pain and isolation leading up to the King's Landing standoff, and more time for Cersei to do something in season eight. More time to make Psychotic Pirate Joshua Jackson actually intimidating and worthy of being a dragonslayer, more time to explore Sansa's political intelligence. Crucial scenes that were done off-camera (like Jon telling his family about his birth) could have been explored; fewer ridiculous shortcuts would have been needed to get characters from point A to point B.

But showrunners Benioff and Weiss wanted out. HBO was willing to give them all the resources they needed to keep GOT on the air as long as they wanted, and what they wanted was 13 episodes, not 20, to nip this one in the bud. Whether reading interviews with them or just absorbing the show, the overall takeaway I got was that they wanted to wrap this shit up—maybe because GOT had grown too big and sprawling to handle, maybe because there never really was an ending planned out, or maybe because they wanted to move on to Star Wars franchises. And so they were stuck in the awkward position of offering behind-the-scenes explanations every week about story points which made every controversial decision seem utterly idiotic ("Dany kinda forgot about the Iron Fleet...").

Overall, I think they did an incredible job as adaptors of Martin's vision: they did a remarkably great job of trimming the fat of Martin's novels and streamlining the narrative for TV (give or take an absent Lady Stoneheart, of course), picking just the right monologues to bring to life and occasionally throwing in an entirely new scene that was unforgettable (like King Robert and Cersei having a heart-to-heart in season one). They nailed many of the big spectacle moments in the later seasons too, as with the heart-stopping chaos of "Hardhome," the claustrophobic realism of "The Battle Of The Bastards," the poetic vengeance of "The Winds Of Winter," and even I'd say the climactic horror of "The Bells."

And just because it felt rushed doesn't mean they didn't care—this show made their careers, of course they cared about doing it justice. As Weiss told EW, "We want people to love it. It matters a lot to us. We’ve spent 11 years doing this. We also know no matter what we do, even if it’s the optimal version, that a certain number of people will hate the best of all possible versions. There is no version where everybody says, 'I have to admit, I agree with every other person on the planet that this is the perfect way to do this' — that’s an impossible reality that doesn’t exist. You hope you’re doing the best job you can, that this version works better than any other version, but you know somebody is not going to like it."

In this world in which no matter what they did they were not going to please everyone, they knew they were always destined to end up the ultimate losers of the game. I mean, they still got paid tons of money, and got handed the keys to the aforementioned Star Wars franchise, so clearly things worked out pretty well for them. But they knew enough to stay far away from the Internet when the finale went down: "We’ll in an undisclosed location, turning off our phones and opening various bottles," Weiss said of their plans for last night. "I plan to be very drunk and very far from the internet," Benioff added.

The Viserys Targaryen Memorial Least Powerful Person Of The Week Award: I hate to beat a dead horse, but c'mon, of course it's Edmure Tully. In fact, I propose we stop using the phrase "beat a dead horse" entirely and start using "totally pwn an Edmure" instead, because that makes absolutely no sense and will sound totally rad when you say it outloud to another adult, trust me.

The Ser Pounce Memorial Most Powerful Pet Of The Week Award: Ghost is the very good boy forever, but Drogon really acted his CGI-ass off this episode. I never thought I'd be moved by a dragon in pain, but here we are, at 6 a.m. on a Monday morning.

The Hodoriffic Honorary Minor Character Of The Week Award: Among the many surprise faces at the Dragonpit meeting, there was Edmure, Yohn Royce, Yara Greyjoy, an actual living member of the House of Dorne, and...could it really be...

All he said was a solitary "aye," but the mere fact that little-seen anti-formula activist Robyn Arryn (aka Prepubescent Julian Casablancas) showed up—and happens to look like a totally different person now—warrants this recognition. Consider this a lifetime achievement award for his incredible advancements in the field of older child breastfeeding awareness.

It would have been something special if they had name-checked Hodor at all (after all, his sacrifice is one of the major things that helped get Bran to where he was always headed), but we'll have to do with this fantasy infrastructure project.

The Leslie Jones Award For Outstanding Celebrity Contributions To GOT Fandom: Leslie Jones was NOT live-tweeting the finale (good for her! I can only imagine what it's like getting to enjoy this show away from the Internet), but there were plenty of celebs who joined in the fun, including T-Pain, who changed his Twitter name to "#GameOfThrones" for the occasion:

Reese Witherspoon mourned for Cersei (while cross-promoting the second season of Big Little Lies) earlier this week:

Jessica Chastain kept up her pro-Sansa campaign with this gem which, I assume, she edited herself:

Look at Mitt Romney's poorly-timed gift to his wife!

Stephen King was feeling it:

Heidi Montag had her dreams crushed:

Kendra Wilkinson's tweet gave me whiplash:

But the winner, hands down, is The Person Who Runs The Official "King Of Queens" Twitter Account. The show has been off-the-air since 2007—that's one year after Twitter launched, and four years before GOT even premiered. Is it Kevin James? Can you prove it's not Kevin James?

Hey! Remember That Thing? Of The Week: When Archmaster Samwell Tarly first presented Tyrion with "A Song Of Ice & Fire"—the epic retelling of the last eight seasons without any mention of Tyrion—I assumed Samwell wrote it because I was shouting "THAT'S CHAPPIE" too loudly to hear Samwell mention that it was written by Archmaester Ebrose. Sam explains, it's "Archmaester Ebrose’s history of the wars following the death of King Robert. I helped him with the title."

If you're staring at the screen right now thinking, "ughhhhh why am I using what little time I have left on this Earth trying to remember tertiary characters from a TV show which isn't even on anymore?", then I'm happy to be able to remind you he was the character Samwell spent time with at the Citadel in season seven, played by the great character actor Jim Broadbent. He, like most of the other maesters, were smugly skeptical when Sam pleaded with them to take the army of the undead seriously, so who knows about the accuracy of the book—does it even include the copious amount of incest and sexposition? And yes, this is basically the same "twist" as Bilbo Baggins writing There And Back Again.

BOATSEX WATCH 2019: How Much Pro-Incest Propaganda Was In The Episode? Dany died believing that the love between an aunt and her long-lost nephew could change the world. Just because she died doesn't mean that dream is lost.

Way Beyond The Wall: Well, we got to see four (sorta) of our beloved minor weirdos here: Yara, Edmure Tully and Robyn Arryn (aka Prepubescent Julian Casablancas) both made cameos during Tyrion's tribunal—and so did a representative from Dorne, which is at least an acknowledgement that Dorne still exists. We never got to see Salladhor Saan again; Daario Naharis 2.0 probably has no idea his queen is dead; The Faceless Men...remain faceless on screen. I guess maybe The Children Of The Forest never really mattered that much once the White Walker threat was done. Nymeria is out there in the woods all alone, but I guess we got to say goodbye to her in season seven.

Here are the three that really burn me up: there was no reference to The Ghost Of Ned Stark's Man Bun (nobody even named a baby after him!). Beloved hero Hot Pie was sadly MIA, despite the fact I've spent the last six weeks guaranteeing he would appear one more time before this whole thing is over. Thanks for making me look dumb Mr. Pie!!! (Did you know that Hot Pie opened a bakery in real life selling Direwolf bread on the Internet? And it was called...You Know Nothing John Dough!!!)

But unexpectedly, the most painful absence was not the heroic Hot Pie (nor the fact that not a single Stark child could bother mentioning Rickon)—it was Meera Reed, who spent multiple seasons dragging Bran across the Known World, lost her brother and friends, nearly died numerous times, and barely got a goodbye.

Episodic Power Rankings, Season Eight Edition:

  • 6. The Last Of The Starks, 8.4: Wherein everyone spent half the episode recovering from the battle with the undead (this was really good), and half an episode in which approximately 4,000 things happened very quickly (not as good).
  • 5. Winterfell, 8.1: Wherein almost everyone assembled at Winterfell and prepared for a season filled with incest, intrigue and ideological heel turns.
  • 4. The Long Night, 8.3: Wherein the living fought the army of the dead, Jon yelled at a dragon, and Arya killed the Night's King.
  • 3. The Bells, 8.5: Wherein Dany burned King's Landing to ash, Cleganebowl happened, Jaime and Cersei were killed by some bricks, and Arya met a horse.
  • 2. The Iron Throne, 8.6: Wherein Jon committed treason, a new government was formed, and Arya sailed west.
  • 1. A Knight Of The Seven Kingdoms, 8.2: Wherein Brienne got knighted, Arya hooked up with Gendry, Tormund explained the origins of his name, and everyone contemplated their deaths.

GOT Season Power Rankings, Because Why The Hell Not:

  • 8. Season Seven: The pacing problems are underway, but the macro plots make little sense (why would someone as important as Jon go North to bag a White Walker...all to impress Cersei...?). Not as many highs as the companion piece season eight, though there's still "The Loot Train" battle, the death of the Queen Of Thorns, lots of Tormund one-liners, and INCESTSEX.

  • 7. Season Five: The Dorne plotline was a giant pothole, and Ramsay Snow officially wore out his welcome here. The treatment of female characters was arguably at its nadir, and certain plots (Arya at The House of Black and White) were spinning their wheels...but it also had the High Sparrow, Stannis' last stand, Cersei's unforgettable walk of shame, and the epic "Hardhome."

  • 6. Season Eight: The highs are some of the highest points (the assault on King's Landing, the beautiful intimacy of "A Knight Of The Seven Kingdoms"), but the pacing problems affect everything. The ending, in this humble GOT blogger's opinion, works pretty well, and yet also feels a little underwhelming.

  • 5. Season Two: More boring than you remember, but still better than almost anything from the second half of the series. Tyrion flourishes in King's Landing playing the game, Arya develops an unlikely relationship with Tywin, Dany gets stranded in Qarth, and "Blackwater" remains a top five episode highlight.

  • 4. Season Six: How could a season with four nearly-perfect episodes ("Book Of The Stranger," "The Door," "The Battle Of The Bastards" and "The Winds Of Winter") possibly be any lower? Arya's plot in Braavos still drags a bit (especially her two episode battle royale with The Waif), but there are tons of strange and wonderful smaller moments too (The Hound's pacifist period, Melisandre's true form, the history of the White Walkers).

  • 3. Season One: It's still as good as you remember, and maybe even better knowing how much season eight frequently relied on callbacks to those early episodes. Ned Stark remains the most honorable idiot in the land, and his death is still an incredible turn. King Robert is both the most fun king and also the saddest. Cersei is somewhat sympathetic in a way she never will be again. Tyrion is happy in a way he'll never be again. And the Stark children are innocent for only so much long.

  • 2. Season Three: Everything is humming at this point. Jon's time with the Wildings is essential to his development (and he has actual chemistry with Ygritte). Jaime's connection to Brienne brings out the best in both of them (they also fight a bear together). After a season stuck in Qarth, Dany gets to become a liberator and badass. And the buildup to the Red Wedding, as well as the execution of it, is dreadfully perfect.

  • 1. Season Four: What an incredible season of television, possibly up there with the best of the great Peak TV dramas, including season four of The Wire, season two of Deadwood, season five of Mad Men, and the final seasons of The Sopranos and Breaking Bad. It's filled to the brim with greatest hits moments: the introduction of Oberyn Martell, Joffrey's wedding and death, the mutiny at Craster's Keep, Tyrion's trial, Arya & The Hound on the road, Ser Pounce (!), The Mountain vs The Red Viper, the Wilding invasion of Castle Black, Brienne vs The Hound, and Tyrion killing his father on the toilet.

A Series Of Goodbyes: The cast has been on social media all weekend and evening paying tribute to each other, to the fans, to the show that brought them acclaim across the globe. What better way to end this than with their own heartfelt words?

Maisie Williams has her priorities straight:

Pedro Pascal loved the finale:

Sophie Turner addressed her character directly: "I fell in love with you at 13 and now 10 years on.. at 23 I leave you behind, but I will never leave behind what you’ve taught me."

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Sansa, Thank you for teaching me resilience, bravery and what true strength really is. Thank you teaching me to be kind and patient and to lead with love. I grew up with you. I fell in love with you at 13 and now 10 years on.. at 23 I leave you behind, but I will never leave behind what you’ve taught me. To the show and the incredible people who make it, thank you for giving me the best life and drama lessons I could have ever asked for. Without you I wouldn’t be the person I am today. Thank you for giving me this chance all those years ago. And finally to the fans. Thank you for falling in love with these characters and supporting this show right through till the end. I’ll miss this more than anything.

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Nikolaj Coster-Waldau put up this bizarre video and some sweet photos with Lena Headey, but the video I most love is this one:

Emilia Clarke wrote, "Game of Thrones has shaped me as a woman, as an actor and as a human being."

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Finding the words to write this post has left me overwhelmed with how much I want to say but how small words feel in comparison to what this show and Dany have meant to me. The mother of dragons chapter has taken up the whole of my adult life. This woman has taken up the whole of my heart. I’ve sweated in the blaze of dragon fire, shed many tears at those who left our family early, and wrung my brain dry trying to do Khaleesi and the masterful words, actions (and names) I was given, justice. Game of Thrones has shaped me as a woman, as an actor and as a human being. I just wish my darling dad was here now to see how far we’ve flown. But to you, dear kind magical fans, I owe you so much thanks, for your steady gaze at what we’ve made and what I’ve done with a character that was already in the hearts of many before I slipped on the platinum wig of dreams. Without you there is no us. And now our watch has ended. @gameofthrones @hbo #love #motherofdragonsoverandout

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The delightfulPilou Asbaek kept things short and sweet:

John Bradley posted a meaningful memento:

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So tonight we have our very last episode. It’s the final step of a long and wonderful journey. A journey that, for me, started at 10am on Monday 19th of July 2010. I know this because recently I found my rehearsal and prep schedule for season 1, week 1. This was given to me when I landed in Belfast for the first time, weeks before we even started shooting. Listed here is the rehearsal where I first met Kit, and the first time I wore the costume that’s seen me through 8 seasons. I’m glad I kept this. I met so many people that week who have come to mean so much to me. Back then we couldn’t have known the journey we’d go on together. I wouldn’t swap that experience, or those people, for the world. Enjoy the episode and thanks for everything. ❤️❤️❤️ @gameofthrones @hbo #GOT 👋

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Liam Cunningham was thankful:

Gwendoline Christie was cheeky:

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BEING TOLD THE ENDING TO @gameofthrones 🖤⚔️

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As I've previously mentioned, this wonderfully complex, wonderfully silly show has, unexpectedly, meant a lot to me over the last decade, more than I ever could have imagined when I watched the pilot back in 2011 and thought, "Sean Bean is great, but man are the wigs bad!" Thank you all so much for reading along and commenting every week.

And now my watch is ended.

Nell Casey, Garth Johnston and I hang out at the throne back in 2013 (Ben Yakas)