Game Of Thrones: Charting The Highs And Lows Of The Final Season

From the dodgy sex scenes to the mad Queen – it's been quite the ride.

Warning! There are Game Of Thrones spoilers ahead, obviously.

Our watch is officially over.

And what a mixed bag this final series of Game Of Thrones has been.

Unfortunately, some of episodes have failed to hit the spot, and while there were definite high moments, the eighth and final series of the HBO drama also delivered some not-so-impressive scenes.

Following the show’s conclusion, we’re recapping the highs and lows...

High: Brienne being knighted

Let’s start with a high. On the eve of the Battle Of Winterfell, Jaime Lannister bestowed one of the highest honours possible on his friend, knighting her as Ser Davos, Tormund and Podrick looked on admiringly.

This was one of the few emotional moments of the series that landed really well, and the delight on Brienne’s face as she received an honour usually reserved for men, genuinely brought tears to our eyes.

However, given that we knew the battle would be a bloodbath, it did make us worried Brienne would not last the night (Spoiler: She did. Phew).

Low: Arya and Gendry’s sex scene

This was one of the most divisive scenes of the series as fans either (a) absolutely loved it and desperately wanted them to get together, or (b) found it all a bit weird, given the age gap and terrible writing. Here at HuffPost HQ, we’re firmly in the second camp.

Though HBO insisted Arya is now 18, the age gap between her and Gendry (and the fact that their relationship has always seemed more sibling-like than romance-based) is something we can’t get over.

The whole sex scene and the exchange between them was also really weird, and not helped by the below-par writing, as Arya – a coldblooded killer who would go on to slay the Night King – was suddenly preoccupied with losing her virginity.

Thankfully, there was a return to form when Arya turned down Gendry’s marriage proposal, but the whole storyline is one we’d rather forget.

High: The Battle of Winterfell

Yes, it could have been a little brighter, but looking back on the series as a whole, this was a genuinely good episode.

Right from the moment to the Dothraki charged and were immediately destroyed, it was obvious that the fight against the Army of the Dead wasn’t going to be easy.

The character groupings in this episode were great and meant we got to see The Hound and Arya reunite, Jaime and Brienne fighting back to back, and Sansa dodging death alongside her ex-husband Tyrion Lannister.

Granted, Jon Snow did basically nothing, but everyone else delivered, and the biggest shout out obviously goes to the MVP, Night King slayer, Arya.

The cinematography and score were particularly impressive too. How many people have the dragons flying above the clouds as their desktop background? We’re going to guess quite a few of you.

High: Lyanna Mormont’s death

Yes, this was part of the The Long Night, but we’re giving the youngster a shout out of her own. After being swept aside by a giant wight, Lyanna boldly ran back towards danger and was subsequently picked up by the monster.

As he crushed her with one hand, Lyanna pulled out a dragonglass weapon and, as her final act in life, stabbed him in the eye. It was seriously cool and a glorious way for the young heroine to go out on a high – and the actress herself loved it too.

High: Theon Greyjoy’s redemption

As character arcs go, Theon/Reek’s has been one of the most complex and tortuous, but the final series saw him return to Winterfell to fight alongside the Starks and their fellow northmen. After guarding Bran (The Broken) incredibly well through the Battle Of Winterfell, he met his maker in the form of the Night King himself.

If you’re going to get killed, it might as well be a noble death at the hands of the show’s main baddie, right?

Low: Rhaegal’s death

Series eight saw Daenerys’ dragon count reduce at an erratic pace and after surviving the Battle Of Winterfell, Rhaegal was killed in one hit by Euron Greyjoy’s superweapon, Scorpion.

The writers’ attempted to justify this whole incident, including Daenerys’ decision to charge towards the iron fleet, by claiming the Dragon Queen had simply forgotten about the boats – even though they were mentioned in the scene prior.

All in all, it was pretty shoddy and the episode (the fourth) certainly won’t go down in TV history for a good reason.

Low: The conclusion of Brienne and Jaime’s relationship

Episode four also included some astonishingly quick developments between Brienne and Jaime, who slept together in the wake of the Battle Of Winterfell.

Their happiness was short lived though, as Jaime then headed out in the dead of the night and was packing up his horse when Brienne found him, only to be told he was going back to Cersei after all.

We cannot stress this enough: Brienne deserved better.

This would prove to be the last time they saw each other as Jaime and Cersei perished together (more on this later) as Daenerys burnt King’s Landing to the ground.

We never got to see her receive news of his death or grieve either, as by the time Brienne was back on our screens in the last episode, there were numerous other pressing concerns to be dealt with. Y’know, like who would rule the kingdoms in the end.

High: The Cleganebowl

A scene so hyped it had an entire subreddit dedicated to it, the Cleganebowl did not disappoint.

Ultimately, there were no winners as The Hound faced down The Mountain, with both men toppling off the tower and into the flames. But in the split second when The Hound decided to push his brother to his death – throwing himself off in the process – it was weirdly pleasing to see him get what he wanted.

Low: Cersei Lannister’s death

While it was fitting that Cersei and Jaime died as they came into the world, together, we had hoped that the villainous queen would meet her end in a more spectacular fashion.

After all, there had been years of talk about whether Jaime would fulfil the Valonqar prophecy by killing her, or if Arya would get to cross another name off her list. So when Cersei met her maker by being crushed by a load of rubble, we were more than a little disappointed.

Low(s): The coffee cup and water bottle

The final series of Game Of Thrones cost millions of dollars, but HBO should have perhaps spent a little extra cash on continuity as the last two episodes featured rogue objects.

The first was a coffee cup, which snuck onto a table at Winterfell, and the second was a bottle of water, which could be seen on the floor behind Samwell Tarly in the finale. Granted, they were only on screen for a few seconds each, but it was pretty sloppy stuff for the biggest show on television.

High: Danaerys becoming the mad Queen

This was yet another divisive aspect of the last series, but one we were actually big fans of. Going into the battle against Cersei’s armies, Daenerys was angrier than ever and looking to get revenge for the death of Missandei.

When the bells of surrender rang out, it seemed as though everything went into slow motion as the Queen weighed up her options and ultimately decided to kill thousands of innocent people.

Was everything up to this point a little rushed? Yes, massively. But it was still an interesting development that paved the way for an explosive series finale.

We were also gifted this amazing shot in the last episode, just before Daenerys announced her intentions to continue forging ahead with war instead of peace:

Low: Bran’s unexplained story

We’ll be honest: It’s still not completely clear what the whole story is with Bran, even though he won the “game” and been named King.

Where did he go warging during the Battle of Winterfell? What were his exact ties to the Night King? Did he know, all this time, that he’d end up ruling?

His story will hopefully be explored and explained more thoroughly in the books.

High: Sansa becoming Queen of the North

Sansa has made no secret of her desire to rule and was visibly annoyed when Bran became the main candidate for the Iron Throne (which obviously no longer existed, but you get what we mean).

It was fitting then, for her to claim the North’s independence and declare herself Queen – a title she’s definitely earned in the final series.

Low: Jon Snow returning to the Night’s Watch

It was heartwarming to see Sansa take her seat as Queen of the North, but the same cannot be said for Jon’s fate. After everything – his resurrection, the fight against the Night King, revelation about his true heritage, the killing of Danaerys – Jon ended up right where he started, being banished to the Night’s Watch.

What is the Night’s Watch even doing, now that the White Walkers have been destroyed? Your guess is as good as ours. Well, until George RR Martin finishes the books anyway. He’s the only man who can shed some light on this.