‘Sometimes, Duty is the Death of Love’

Well, it’s finally over. All the secrets are out. Love it or hate it, the Game of Thrones finale has been presented, and it is what it is.

Dany and Jon have officially broken up, and not in an amicable way. Dumping the love of your life with a dagger in the heart is one of the more extreme ways to say things just aren’t working out, but at least they got a final kiss.

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Besides, it wasn’t about love. It was about politics.

Jon did not want the Iron Throne, nor did he seem especially concerned about the threat Dany posed to his own life. His decision was driven by the final realization that his girlfriend was going to do a lot more damage to the world in the name of goodness.

He had shrugged off warnings from his sisters, including Arya’s expert opinion that she knows a killer when she sees one. He even looked past Dany’s victory speech during which she named Grey Worm “Master of War,” and the Unsullied rhythmically thumped their spears in a “Sieg Heil” response to each of her world-liberating declarations.

No, it wasn’t until an intense conversation with Tyrion, consistently the most rational and pragmatic character in the series, that Jon was convinced that Dany was unlikely to change her bloodthirsty Targaryen ways.

“When you heard her talking to her soldiers, did she sound like someone who’s done fighting?” Tyrion asked Jon.

“Love is the death of duty,” Jon said to Tyrion, quoting, of all people, the late Maester Aemon Targaryen.

“Sometimes, duty is the death of love,” Tyrion said, making it clear what he was begging Jon to do.

Despite that difficult decision, Jon made a final pitch to turn Dany away from her dark side before doing the deed. Dany was far too fixated on her destiny to listen or to even sense what was happening.

For a moment, I wasn’t sure who took the knife. When Dany fell, I wondered what the hell they were going to do for the rest of the finale.

Emotionally more charged for me was Drogon’s anguished reaction to his mother’s death. I had begun to see Drogon as a mindless weapon of war. When he turned his grief-induced hellfire on the Iron Throne instead of Cousin Jon, I felt that he understood the real forces at play and possessed an intelligence I had not suspected.

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I don’t know where dragons go when they fly off with the bodies of their mothers. If dragons are sentient beings, I imagine they take them to some sacred final resting place known only to their species.

The finale was not without other key and touching moments:

Tyrion finds his way through the still smoldering ruins of Kings Landing to find the bodies of his siblings. Yes, both Jaime and Cersie were rendered very dead when the Red Keep subterranean ceiling came down upon their heads.

Once again, Jamie’s golden hand gave away his position. I thought Tyrion might take the artificial appendage as a memento. I believe that most, if not all, of his tears were shed for his brother. I still think Cersie’s demise should have been more prolonged and painful.

Tyrion, knowing that he is facing a fiery execution for freeing Jamie, removes his “Hand” badge and flings it down the stairway. Little did he know that he would again be saddled with that burden and tasked with fixing all his mistakes by King Bran the Broken.

Brienne completes Jamie’s life story in the Big Book of Royalty with “Died protecting his Queen.” True enough. No need to go into all the nasty details.

Jon reunited with Ghost at Castle Black. In addition to providing a home for bastards and broken men, the Night’s Watch supports the lifetime bond of a man and his Dire Wolf.

In the closing scenes, the House of Stark, seemingly bound for extinction throughout most of the series, fares far better than the formerly unstoppable House of Lannister.

Despite his distaste for titles and power, Jon appears to have taken on the mantle of King Beyond the Wall, leaving Castle Black with a group of Wildling families. Sansa is crowned Queen of the North. Arya is apparently commanding the SS Seawolf (my own name for the ship — just seemed appropriate) and embarking on a voyage of discovery.

I honestly can’t fathom why a reported million fans are so upset about the final Game of Thrones season that they are petitioning for a redo. I do understand how those overly enthusiastic parents who named their children Daenerys, Khaleesi or Grey Worm might be a bit peeved.

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