IN PHOTOS: Who gets the Iron Throne in the ‘Game of Thrones’ season 8 finale?

MANILA, Philippines – And just like that, Game of Thrones is over. The season 8 finale aired on May 20 (May 19, in the US), wrapping up nearly a decade’s worth of elaborate plot lines and character arcs into one 80-minute-long episode that some fans may find satisfying, and some may not.

 

**SPOILERS BEYOND THIS POINT**

 

The episode begins with King’s Landing in the aftermath of the battle that saw Daenerys Targaryen unleash her Mad Queen fury in from atop her last surviving dragon, Drogon. (IN PHOTOS: What happens when the bells toll on 'Game of Thrones')

The Unsullied, led by Grey Worm, are rounding up surviving Lannister soldiers and executing them by order of their beloved queen – despite Jon Snow invoking mercy on their behalf.

Photo by Helen Sloan/HBO

Tyrion goes through the rubble of King's Landing and finds the bodies of his brother and sister – which causes him to wail in grief (obviously, more for Jaime than Cersei).

A broken man, he walks up to Daenerys – who has just given a rousing speech to her ragtag army of Unsullied and Dothraki about "liberating" the world. In front of everyone, he rips off his Queenshand pin and throws it to the ground – he isn't her man anymore.

Photo courtesy of HBO

Daenerys of course, has him taken away and imprisoned, and while in the cell, he gets a visit from Jon, and here we see the imp being Peak Tyrion: doling out advice, giving great insight – but not before asking for some wine.

He dives into Daenerys' psychology, tells Jon how she went from Myhsa to Mad Queen, and how it all happened before their eyes, before any of them could notice what was going on. Tyrion urges Jon to do the right thing, but doesn't seem to get through because at the end of that conversation, Jon reiterates that Daenerys is, and will always will be his queen.

Which only makes what happens next an utter shock – but not necessarily the good kind. Jon happens upon Daenerys, approaching the Iron Throne with a mad glint in her eye. She then tells him the story of her childhood – of how her own father, the original Mad King, told her he forged the throne from thousands of swords from his fallen enemies.

After a brief exchange, the two draw closer together. Jon pledges his love and loyalty, they kiss, and for a moment the audience is screaming at Jon for still being a slave to his hormones – and then, we hear a knife being driven through flesh. Jon. Kills. Dany. WHAT?

Drogon, seeing his mother fall, rushed to her aid, but too late. We see the grieving dragon in all his CGI pain. Jon is not in a good position. Jon is definitely dying – but then, Dragon unleashes his fire – not on Jon, but on the Iron Throne. The dragon – of all the characters on the show – seemed to know the root of all the trouble. He picks Daenery's body up, and flies off into the unknown.

The aftermath of Daenerys' death then sets off a chain of events that reminds us that this is a show about politics and power as much as anything.

Photo by Macall B. Polay/HBO

Photo by Macall B.

Polay/HBO

A council of Westeros' heads of house is convened, wherein we are reacquainted with some familiar faces, including Edmure Tully (The Stark Kids' uncle and the unsuspecting groom at the Red Wedding) and Lord of the Vale Robyn Arryn (all-grown up and thankfully no longer breast-feeding at his crazy mother's teat).

Photo by Macall B. Polay/HBO

Photo by Macall B.

Polay/HBO

They, together with Sansa, Arya, Bran, Sam, Brienne, Davos, Bronn, Gendry, Yara Greyjoy and other lords that frankly seemed like they came from nowhere, must decide what happens to the realm now that the two people who were poised to lead it have fallen.

Of course, it is Tyrion who comes up with an answer: Bran Stark. Bran the Broken. He's got an incredible story, after all. A crippled boy, of noble heritage, who survived the odds, and several close brushes with the White Walkers, and with no heirs and no lust of power to boot – sounds like he'd make the perfect king.

Photo by Macall B. Polay/HBO

Photo by Macall B.

Polay/HBO

The council takes a vote, and everyone "ayes" in approval – but of course, Sansa cannot just agree. She asks for the independence of Winterfell, and Bran, of course, grants it.

The story begins to wrap up. Brienne updates Jaime's story in The Book of Brothers. Bronn and Davos convene as new members of the small council, with Sam as Grand Maester and Brienne as Lord Commander of the Kingsguard.

Photo by Helen Sloan/HBO

As for the Starks? Bran is the new king of Westeros – though there is no more Iron Throne for him to sit on.

Arya, hero of the Battle of Winterfell, says she's done with Westeros and ready to explore the rest of the world and truly, after everything she's been through, the girl deserves it.

Jon is back to black, having been sentenced to life in the Night's Watch – which is perhaps where he has always truly belonged. Also, he reunites with his wildling friends and more importantly with Ghost, who finally gets the Good Boy pat he deserves.

Photo by Helen Sloan/HBO

As for Sansa? She is crowned Queen of the North – a title she has truly earned on the back of her own hard work. What a character arc. "Queen of the North" also happens to be the last line uttered on Game of Thrones ever. 

What did you think of the Game of Thrones finale? If you're still deciding how to feel about it, an encore telecast will air on HBO Asia on May 20 at 10 pm. – Rappler.com