GAME OF THRONES FINALE: THE WRITER MAKES HISTORY

The long awaited Game of Thrones finale was made for historians to love. It modeled so many historical elements. And having gotten the big battles over with earlier in the season, the finale could focus on characters and legacy. Isn’t that what any good legend needs? Tyrion says as much when he nominates Bran. Who can beat Bran’s story? But every scene was an historian’s delight. Or perhaps the historical writer’s delight in particular.

First, I want to pay tribute to Peter Dinklage. His character Tyrion went from pure decadence to ultimate wisdom, but by the final season, Peter Dinklage was named first in the credits and that is an historic victory for little people. Peter Dinklage has brought empathy and sex appeal to historically berated people and for that alone, Game of Thrones is historic. Thank you.

Kill off the two evil queens Daenerys and Cersei? We needed that because they were both corrupt from power. But then, the writers did not veer from history. Haughty women of power are reviled historically. Whether Livia in ancient times or Catherine de Medici in the Renaissance, history has always found it easy to take down women seen as haughty with power. Didn’t that narrative play out in recent elections?

THE RISE OF A REPUBLIC! I loved how that played that out. Maybe everyone gets a vote? Democracy? Belly laugh. But what if we in power can find a ruler by consensus? We see their government transform from a tyrannical kingdom to a representative republic, Rome c. 500.

Disappointed that Jon Snow did not take the throne? Seven, no six kingdoms? Pa-shaaa. He goes on to found the next continent! He won’t need bio children. He will lead the migration of an entire tribe. Perhaps not his physical DNA, but certainly his legacy DNA will spread throughout the New World. Jon Snow stands to earn the grandest legacy of them all. Not insignificantly, his best-bro Tormond–along with the entire new tribe–are Free Folk, making Jon an inter-cultural navigator. His reach stands to be not just national, but global. And out there, of course, he can “take any wife” he wants, so the tribunal’s judgment can be damned.

But talk about explorers: our girl Arya, the kick-ass Jennifer Lawrence type who can wield a sword better than any man, nerves of steel, confidence from struggle: Arya will go on to discover the New World by sea. And recent research has found many women involved in exploration over the ages, so bravo to the writers for including that narrative of possibility.

Sansa stands up for an independent republic in the north. That was rewarding pay back for all her trials. Did it make you ponder whether Scotland should redo its independence vote?

The absolute best, most beautiful scene for its subtly and cleverness was when Brienne of Tarth has her true Shakespeare moment-here we see unfolding how the writer makes history. She slowly opens the book of names. She tenderly searches for her lover’s. She sucks in a breath when she sees his name. She pauses. She ponders. Perhaps they had a love-hate tumultuous relationship, but she loved him. She would not tarnish his legacy. No matter that his queen was an incestuous, evil tyrant. Brienne of Tarth’s true love Jamie Lannister “died for his queen.” Shakespeare could not have done better.

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