There we have it. Fire met ice, ice met fire, and now our watch has ended. For a multitude of reasons, Game of Thrones will go down as a moment in pop culture history, no matter what your own personal opinion of it may be. Alongside the MCU, it has been one of the most talked-about pieces of drama of the 21st Century, and it’s been fascinating to watch not only how this final season has unfolded over the last six weeks, but also how the reaction to it has grown and evolved alongside it. When you’re a show that has gained a global audience of millions, with high-fantasy storylines where anything could happen at any time, it is genuinely impossible to please everyone with the ending (unless you have a “choose your adventure” style adaptation, but that’s a thread for a different day). This, combined with the ease with which that fan base can express its views, and the passion and stubbornness with which these views are often defended, and you’re left with an intensity of debate that we have never been able to see on this scale before; one that will no doubt shape how stories are told for decades to come.
For what my voice is worth, I’ve enjoyed Season 8 and thought that, on the whole, it has stayed true to the unpredictable, unforgiving nature that was established from Season 1. Do I think it’s been perfect? No. Do I think some storylines have been rushed or sacrificed for the sake of others? Absolutely. Could things have been done better? Almost certainly. But, overall, I think there were more rights than wrongs, and indeed the more I think about things, the more satisfied I am with the choices made, even if, at times, the execution was not up to the standard that had been set in previous seasons. There are so many thoughts swirling around my head at the moment that I may need some processing time (and, indeed, time for spoilers to pass for those readers who are yet to catch up) before putting them all down in more detail. But my initial, gut reaction to that final episode, and indeed the final series, is that it kept me in suspense from beginning to end, and delivered sublime, breath-taking moments that will sit alongside those from previous seasons. Game of Thrones has been one of my favourite shows from day one, and will continue to be for a very long time yet to come.