Coming to Bluray from HBO Home Entertainment comes the final season of a series that has captured the heart of the world as we all became part of GAME OF THRONES: The Complete 8th Season.
Our time in Westeros came to an end and that saddened me in a dual way. I came to enjoy my Sunday evenings all cured up with my yarn crocheting while watching (yes I can crochet without looking) the antics of heroes and villains I either openly cheered and jeered or even secretly cheered.
The cast of GAME OF THRONES is one fans have felt they have watched grow into their characters. From the first season even I wasn’t sure what this was all about having not read the books but was immediately curious with each episode. I’m not sure if it was because I wanted to see if Sean Bean lived (as he tended not to do with his characters) or my love of period pieces but week after week I stayed.
The journey of the Stark clan with Ned (Bean), Catelyn (Michelle Fairley), Robb (Richard Madden), Sansa (Sophie Turner), Arya (Maisie Williams), Bran (Isaac Wright) and the bastard Jon Snow (Kit Harington) didn’t take long to be put under the thumb of the Lannisters’.
Speaking of a dysfunctional family led by Tywin Lannister (Charles Dance), daughter Cersei Lannister-Baratheon (Lena Headey), along with sons Jamie (Niolaj Coster-Waldau) and Tyrion (Peter Dinklage) made sure fans appreciated their own families more. Of course dangling on that family tree was also the kid most likely to be strangled by the masses Joffrey Baratheon (Jack Gleeson) amongst the rest of the kids.
Then there was this little blonde Targaryen girl named Daenerys (Emilia Clarke) who was traded to a very tall Dothraki leader in the form of Jason Momoa. Of course there is a history of craziness in her own family that she needs to come to terms with. That little marriage brought out the Mother of Dragons who flew her way into creating an army as we all cheered her on.
Of course behind the two families were such characters as Jorah Mormont (Iain Glen), Samwell Tarly (John Bradley), Theon Greyjoy (Alfie Allen), Lord Varys (Conleth Hill), Davos Seaworth (Liam Cunningham), Aidan Gillen as Lord Baelish, Brienne of Tarth (Gwendoline Christie), The Hound (Rory McCann), Missandei (Nathalie Emmanuel), Bronn (Jerome Flynn), Grey Worm (Jacob Anderson), Melisandre (Carice van Houten), and the beloved Hodor (Kristian Nairn).
There are so many characters to name that I just don’t have enough room or time to write this all out so let’s move on and know that I am giving credit to every character as they are due with our humble thanks.
Onward, each season the story line grew bigger and bigger, so much so that I couldn’t wait to go to Comic Con and sit in on the panel AND happily receive a goodie that included an awesome bag and inside a book so that I could read what I was missing, Seeing the casts on panels, it was fun to hear them talk about their time on the show as well as trying so very hard not to give anything away.
As the story unfolded season after season there was plans, survival, death, secrets, destruction, betrayal, power struggles (with family and with distant family) and all in the name of the Iron Throne and who will end up sitting on it. We began with Robert Baratheon and his friendship with Ned Stark and ended up with Joffrey being the next king (and I use a small ‘k’ because it fits him). Joffrey was the kind of king who would burn the wings of flies with a magnifying glass while his mother Cersei stands behind egging him on.
That’s when Sansa gets put into play between the Starks and Lannisters but there is oh so much more to that story. As the houses begin to shift and loyalties become apparent, the one person who isn’t loyal to anyone is Tyrion and that’s when I started cheering for him. Yes, I understand that he has a problem with prostitutes and he likes to spout that ‘That’s what I do, I drink and I know things!’ becoming his (and our) mantra.
We watched weddings, funerals, battles, enemies from far away and enemies close up fighting for supremacy, lack of love, a few crushes, women being passed on and men being passed over, magic, dragons, friendships (both faked and deserved), honesty wrapped in lies, and oh so much more in Westeros. Our loyalties, like the characters in Westeros, were solid – until they weren’t.
The break between season 7 and 8 was the longest break in the show and fans believed, as I did, that it was because the last season would be epic. We bit our collective tongues when it was announced that there would only be six episodes, and we bit even harder when we learned collectively that it would be almost two years before the end would happen. Okay, we are die-hards, we can take it…right….RIGHT?
And so we all did, rumors would drop here and there and speculation about what would happen in the final season kept fans going until the first trailer dropped. I think the world might have stopped spinning for a second or two when that happened. It didn’t give us much but it was something and we were raised to believe that it was better than nothing.
Then that first Sunday brought us all back, and sometimes in groups, to see who would finally sit on the Iron Throne. Bets were placed, surveys taken, and polls done with different opinions varying with Jon Snow, Tyrion Lannister, Daenerys, Arya and Sansa being the top picks.
As the finale drew near, I put my favorite Westeros shirt on and filled up my Tyrion “that’s what I do is drink and I know things’ cup and prepared to see who would finally sit on the Iron Throne.
In Season 8 Winterfell brings Jon and Daenerys against the White Walkers and the Night King. There are still secrets that are about to be dropped and Arya has a plan of her own. Theon decides he must return, as does Jaime Lannister to help in the fight for Winterfell and Sam reveals a startling truth to Jon. Euron is back in King’s Landing making sure that Cersei understands what it is he wants and that’s to share the Iron Throne.
Jaime doesn’t hesitate to share what he knows about Cersei and Brienne is happy to see him. Bran sees Jaime and the time has finally come to talk about what started all of the madness. Bran decides that he should be the one to bring the Night King out knowing what he truly wants. Sansa isn’t giving an inch where her distrust in Dani is concerned.
The battle against the White Walkers bring the soldiers, Unsullied, and Dothraki to put together their plan. Melisandre brings her own brand of help as well as well as Jon and Dani riding the two remaining dragons against Viserion. All those fighting see people they love fall and rise again in this battle that can only have one outcome.
Decisions have to be made about King’s Landing as Dani makes Gendry a Baratheon. With his new title he hopes there is one person in the Stark family who will be a part of his new kingdom. Jaime and Brienne have a moment of their own but it isn’t to last an a particular loyalty can’t be forgotten. Jon tells his Stark ‘siblings’ what he knows about his lineage but it doesn’t stop the army from moving towards King’s Landing.
Tyrion continues to stand with Dani as they all set sail when Missandei is taken by Cersei, there will be no surrender when her friend is taken. He also learns that Jaime has been captured and he will do what a brother must for a brother. Varys has plans of his own as well not trusting that Dani has what it takes to sit on the Iron Throne and that causes his betrayal.
All of this leads to Dani doing the unthinkable, Tyrion telling Jon that what was done was unconscionable and the Iron Throne still for the taking. It is time to finally see who will take power and what that future looks like for them all.
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GAME OF THRONES: The Complete Collection and GAME OF THRONES: The Complete Series on Bluray have the Bonus Features: GAME OF THRONES: Reunion Special – A reunion show shot live in Belfast with the cast, both past and present, hosted by Conan O’Brien and available exclusively on these complete series collections. The reunion special is assembled in segments focused on Houses Lannister, Stark and Targaryen and concludes with the key players all onstage for their final reflections on the years they shared in Westeros and Essos.
Also, Bonus Content and exclusive videos from previously released individual season box sets, totaling more than 15 hours of extra materials for fans to explore when they’ve finished watching the series.
The Complete Series and Season 8 formats also exclusively feature GAME OF THRONES: The Last Watch: A documentary featured on DVD in two parts by filmmaker Jeanie Finlay chronicling the making of the final season, WHEN WINTER FALLS: Exclusive 30-minute featurette with showrunners David Benioff and D.B. Weiss, along with major stars and behind-the-scenes players, breaking down all that went into the colossal filming of the ‘Battle of Winterfell’ in Season 8, Episode 3.
Also, DUTY IS THE DEATH OF LOVE: A compelling look at how the team behind GAME OF THRONES and its major stars, including Kit Harington, Peter Dinklage and Emilia Clarke, brought the show to its conclusion in the series finale, ‘The Iron Throne’. Audio Commentaries, Deleted and Extended Scenes, and Histories and Lore.
Yes, that’s all I’m going to say because I think it’s very important that those who have not seen the final season have their own chance to jaw drop. So, what did we learn on our journey? We learned that absolute power corrupts absolutely so sometimes melting a throne is best and love doesn’t conqueror all, in fact in Westeros love could get you killed and usually did. We understood many things about the trials of some characters and we embraced others who seemed un-embraceable. Twisted life lessons but lessons all the same.
From the very beginning we all knew this was a game, a game among men and women for a throne, something that didn’t care about any of them was easily taken away. A game of life and death and there was plenty of that to go around from all the seven kingdoms.
We also learned that loyalty exists, friendships can come from the most unlikely places, that family (even dysfunctional ones) will beat each other up but let no one else do it and that magic is in the eyes of the beholder. All of these things are what makes us love GAME OF THRONES even when we are disgruntled by it.
We will all settle in time, we will watch and re-watch until a comfortability sets in. We will wait to see if the prequels that are rumored will give us back our Sunday’s evenings of being whisked away to another time, another place and another story and restore our suspension of disbelief.
In Westeros, after everything, they are beginning again. In our own imaginations let us hope that the choices made in the finale send them all on their way to a peace not known in Westeros for eight season.
After holding our collective breaths the final season returns to re-visit old friends and enemies. It should keep us busy until we see the first trailer to the prequel to GAME OF THRONES.
In the words of Tyrion and the truth is in it, even after everything that has happened in the years we’ve all invested in GAME OF THRONES, “even knowing what I know now, I’d do it again” – and we will.