Every week for the eighth and final season of Game of Thrones, three Atlantic staffers have been discussing new episodes of the HBO drama. Because no screeners were made available to critics in advance this year, we’ll be posting our thoughts on the series finale in installments.
David Sims: Let me start this review by listing a few of Brandon Stark’s qualifications to hold the Iron Throne (or whatever throne takes its place) of Westeros. One, as the eldest male Stark, he’s got the lordly bloodline to appease the country’s more tradition-obsessed members. Two, he’s got the temperament—ever since he assumed the mantle of the three-eyed raven, I haven’t seen him get remotely upset about anything, so no Mad King potential there. Three, he can see across the sea of time and has the power to mentally experience every memory anyone in Westeros has ever had, which is definitely a helpful skill set going forward. Honestly, someone should have thought to crown Bran earlier.
The sudden decision by Tyrion and company to name Bran the new Lord of the Seven—sorry, Six—Kingdoms might have prompted a fair bit of whiplash for viewers. In all the warring between Daenerys, Jon, and Cersei, Bran was mostly overlooked as a contender, having become a living Wikipedia database and losing his personality in the process. The move to crown him was arrived at with the same kind of alarming speed that accompanied just about every big plot twist this season. The difference for me was that, by the time of the finale (titled “The Iron Throne”), I was less worried about plausibility and more just wondering how everything would end up. After a largely disappointing lead-up, I was at least satisfied by where the pieces fell.