Game of Thrones had its series finale on Sunday and, while I had some real problems with the season, I thought the final episode was very, very good. I give it a score of 9 , with 10 being “best finale ever” and 0 being “Lost”. I’ll get to why I loved the episode so much in a moment but first…

THE CONS:

Why was Daenerys so easy to murder? Other than “we need to get to this quick” there’s no other rational explanation.

Here she was, a wartime leader, still in the war-zone where she had just committed war atrocities against the indigenous population. I’m not saying “Why was Jon able to get to her” but “Why was ANYBODY able to get to her?” The President of the United States can’t go by himself to his front gate during peacetime without a Secret Service detail. How was Dany roaming around the ruins of the castle without a single Dothraki or Unsullied bodyguard. Did they do a complete sweep of the premises? How were they sure some grief-stricken survivor wouldn’t avenge his family when he noticed the strikingly blonde dragon-riding lady all by herself? Also, it made no sense that Jon Snow would be allowed any alone time with her. Didn’t Daenerys remember the previous two episodes where she clearly laid out the reasons that Jon Snow was the greatest threat to her power? Did it slip her mind that she had executed a top advisor for opining that Jon may make a better ruler?

Also, since there weren’t any witnesses, how did everyone know Jon did it? The dragon took Daenerys’s lifeless body and flew off. Couldn’t Jon have just covered up the bloody snow? Why didn’t he say something like, “Gee, I dunno guys. She just hopped on that dragon of hers and flew off. But, since you’re all here, guess who actually has the strongest claim to the throne?”

What happened to Winter? They spent the last 7 seasons constantly reminding us not only that “Winter was coming” but that it was going to be much worse than normal. Then, In the scene after Dany’s murder, everyone is sitting around King’s Landing like it’s short-sleeve weather. No one was wearing their winter furs. I was surprised Ser Davos didn’t walk out wearing the Westeros equivalent of Bermuda shorts and Crocs.

When Tyrion is brought before the council of Lords and Ladies, it was to decide his fate for betraying the queen. So he…the PRISONER…suggests that they all pick a new leader who immediately forgives him and makes him the second most powerful person in the world. Imagine a parole board hearing where a condemned prisoner says, “You know what, guys, let’s all pick a new governor. Hopefully one who grants me a pardon” and THEN he gets to be one or a handful of people who cast a vote!

All Hail King “Bran the Broken”? “Bran the Broken”?? That the best Tyrion could come up with? How about “Bran the Amazing Boy Wizard” or “Bran, the Awesome Time-travelling Animal Possessor”?? I notice Tyrion didn’t dub himself “Tyrion the Midget”. Bran the Broken, indeed.

THE PROS:

They didn’t beat around the bush. It was obvious that Dany would kill Jon or Jon would have to kill Dany so they got right to it. Still, she should’ve at least had an Unsullied bodyguard or two when it happened.

Samwell Tarly unknowingly invents Democracy/ Gets ridiculed by everyone for it. When Samwell got up to speak about “letting the common folk have a say in who rules them” I thought, “Here we go…time for a saccharine lesson about human rights”. But then, he’s laughed at by everyone present. “What’s next? Are you going to let my horses vote?” Even the more enlightened forward-thinking characters like Sansa and Tyrion don’t come to his defense. Which is exactly 100% correct. No society has ever gone from an absolute monarchy to a participatory democracy over-night. In our own world it’s always been a gradual process with many stops and starts and power only given to the common man in drips and drabs. Maybe in 3 or 4 centuries Westeros may have a system of governance similar to modern democracies. But it was absolutely in line with what we know about human history for Samwell to be laughed almost out of the room.

The scene I love the most was near the end when the new King and his high council are gathered around a table to discuss affairs of state. They talk about improving sewage systems, allocating resources and rebuilding infrastructure (hey, brothels are infrastructure). It’s all very mundane. It’s about the nuts and bolts of running a society that most of us never think about. It’s about the systems of government…the bureaucracy, if you will. Sure, it’s not as exciting as flying a dragon into battle or fighting against a zombie army. But it’s a sign of a functioning society that actually has a chance of making the lives of the common folk better. I found that scene very hopeful and I think it’s a great reminder to us that we should appreciate the boring, work-a-day institutions that make all our lives richer and more secure. Of course, some people would call the King’s High Council “the Deep State”, I suppose.