The 10 most emotional moments from the “Game of Thrones” finale, ranked from least to most tragic
Even for fans who have withstood a lot, this was a rough one
Topics: Game of Thrones, TV, Television, Entertainment News
Lena Headey, Kit Harington and Stephen Dillane in "Game of Thrones"
This post contains spoilers for last night’s “Game of Thrones” finale, “Mother’s Mercy.” Read no further if you wish to remain unsullied.
While “Game of Thrones” has had some seriously heart-wrenching episodes — Ned’s beheading, the Red Wedding, Shireen’s tragic betrayal, et al. — last night might have been one of the show’s most all-round gloomy installments, as we watched unduly terrible things happen to almost all the characters we love (noooo, not you too Arya!) I was sniffling pretty much from start to finish, although it’s hard to know whether that was because of the plot or just because I’m just sad that I no longer have anything to do on Sunday nights. Anyway, here’s a look at last night’s most emotional moments, ranked from most affecting to least.
1. The assassination of Jon Snow by the coward Alliser Thorne (and Olly!) The murder of Jon Snow — one of the last truly noble characters remaining on the show, the final vanguard of our beloved Stark clan, the hero that many looked to as the savior of Westeros — was literally gutwrenching, especially given the brutal Caesarian way it went down (beware the ides of, um, whatever month March is on the Westerosi calendar). Despite everything he has done for his people at the Wall, the Lord Commander was unjustly undone by a mutiny by his fellow night’s watchmen, as each of them took turns violently stabbing him in the stomach and crying “for the watch.” (
?) While we totally saw it coming, it seems such an unfair way for him to go; We can only hope that book readers are right and Snow’s watch hasn’t truly ended (although frankly, it’s not looking good).
For some viewers, Stannis’ death (we presume!?) was probably more jubilant than upsetting: Our badass heroine Brienne finally got to avenge Renly’s shadow-baby murder a few seasons back, while Stannis got what he had coming to him for burning his daughter alive the episode prior. But no matter how you feel about Stannis the Dead-Mannis (and I’ve already laid out my cards here), I found his whole arc to be particularly emotionally grueling. If Jon’s death felt very Roman, Stannis’ was the stuff of Greek tragedy, that of a tragic hero undone by a fatal flaw. In hindsight, Stannis’ downwards spiral all felt bleakly inevitable: Shireen’s murder — shot through with shades of Agamemnon and Iphigenia – was the point of no return, followed by the desertion of his army, his wife’s suicide, the betrayal of the charlatan Melisandre, and finally the slaughter of his army at Winterfell and his own death. Stephen Dillane’s acting throughout — how he held his tension in every muscle of his face and body, inhabiting wholeheartedly the body of broken man who has truly lost everything — really sealed the deal for me here. I’ll admit, even if I abandoned Team Stannis faster than his sellswords on a snowy morning, I cried.
No matter how you feel about Cersei Lannister, the brutal public shaming she experienced last night really packed a punch, especially when you view the scene’s slut-shaming overtones in larger context of how this show treats female sexuality. As with the Stannis scenes, this scene’s emotional power was brought home by Lena Headey, who managed to radiate a real sense of beauty and dignity even at her lowest. As our recapper Libby Hill wrote, “Lena Headey has always been impeccable as Cersei, but during this procession, she walks Cersei through the breaking down of her spirit and, through only facial expressions and body language, says more than any dialogue could.”
In a show full of awful parents, the genuinely touching father-daughter moment aboard the ship home from Dorne, in which Jaime got to unburden himself and his daughter warmly embraced him for who he is, was refreshingly heartwarming. Of course, the emotional weight of the scene was compounded by the fact that Myrcella dropped dead about 20 seconds later. Sure, we may not have known Myrcella well, but we really feel for her parents — for Jaime, who the show has really worked to humanize as of late, and for poor Cersei, who we can’t imagine is going to react so well when she finds out.
5. Melisandre tells Davos about the death of Shireen
There are few characters I feel more protective over than Sir Davos Seaworth. He’s such loyal and fundamentally good guy (even if he did totally back the wrong horse). Watching him learn about the death of his King — but more importantly, about the death of the sweet and innocent Shireen, who he vowed to protect — absolutely broke my heart, as did the look that fell over actor Liam Cunningham’s face as he realized he failed to save her. Another great piece of acting in an episode full of stellar performances.
Ugh, and then the ONE STARK (other than Bran?!) who seemed to sort of be in control of things gets BLINDED for putting on a mask wrong? Look, George & D&D, you can amputate all the Lannister limbs you want, but messing with my girl Arya’s vision? It’s going to take a while for me to forgive you for this one.
Samwell Tarly and Jon Snow have one of the show’s most adorable bromances, and their farewell scene — as Jon sends Sam off to the citadel for Maester training — is all the more poignant knowing that it’s the last these two guys will ever see of each other. Sam’s monologue, about the overwhelming power of his love for Gilly and baby Sam, was just the icing on the cake in a very tender, and ultimately very bleak, scene.
8. Drogon is injured and can’t take Dany home
Okay, so Drogon is probably going to be fine, but as an animal lover, seeing this poor guy wounded had the effect that season one’s brutal direwolf-murder had on me. Namely, it made me realize that while I can happily watch Arya gouge out a guy’s eyes, seeing a CGI dragon with a wounded wing will send me to pieces instantly. PETA, take all my money, please.
9. Theon/Reek and Sansa leap from the walls of Winterfell
This also wasn’t technically a sad moment, but seeing Theon/Reek finally regain the
that Ramsay took from him and step up to save his sister totally made me tear up: A rare show of Stark solidarity and familial love in a world that sees our principal characters growing increasingly isolated from one another. (Alternately, another reading sees this as yet another frustrating character choice for Sansa; as Slate’s Laura Bradley puts it, “she has effectively been made, once again, an object of torture, a damsel for Theon to save.”)
Anna Silman is Salon\'s deputy entertainment editor. Follow her on Twitter: @annaesilman.
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7x7 Steakburger \'N Fries & Chocolate Fudge Brownie Milkshake
This stupid sandwich is seven burgers layered with seven slices of American cheese. It is seven hamburgers trying to pretend it is only one hamburger. CSPI added a Chocolate Fudge Brownie Milkshake to its order, making the whole meal 2,530 calories, 68 g of saturated fat and 5,060 g of sodium.
This is a dessert that has fruit in the title so you might think it is virtuous. You would be wrong. The single dish has 1,740 calories (more than any cheesecake on the menu), 48 g of saturated fat and 32 teaspoons of sugar.
The omelette alone (which is "loaded with spicy chorizo sausage, roasted peppers, onions & pepper jack cheese, then topped with a citrus chili sauce & sour cream") is 1,300 calories alone, but since it is served with three buttermilk pancakes, the whole meal clocks in at 1,990 calories -- with 42 g of saturated fat, 4,840 mg of sodium and 1,035 mg of cholesterol. Essentially you are eating a breakfast that could feed a child for three days.
This is a milkshake, people. ONE MILKSHAKE. At 32 oz, the beverage is 2,020 calories, 61 g of saturated fat, 4.5 g of trans fat and has 29 teaspoons of added sugar. As a general rule, resist getting all your daily calories from a drink unless your mouth is wired shut.
For this bargain, CSPI picked Baked Ziti & Sausage Pasta and a Chicago Classic Deep Dish Pizza (both of them... as one meal). Together, they\'re 2,190 calories, 49 g of saturated fat, 5,420 mg of sodium and enough simple carbohydrates to run 100 marathons.
Hello again, Cheesecake Factory. This carbo-horror show weighs 1.5 pounds, which is a lot of pounds for pasta. It clocks in at 2,370 calories, 80 g of saturated fat and 2,370 mg of sodium.
This 16 oz cut of cow is 1,400 calories alone -- paired with a dressed baked potato, classic blue cheese wedge salad and bread with butter, it becomes 2,400 calories, 71 g of saturated fat and 3,560 mg of sodium. Eating this is like impregnating yourself with a small cow. Note: The meal shown in the above photo is another Outback steak.
3 Meat Plate with Free Ice Cream Cone
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For this combo platter, you get smaller portions of three dishes, a side and unlimited Cheddar Bay Biscuits. CSPI chose Parrot Isle Jumbo Coconut Shrimp, Walt\'s Favorite (also shrimp) and Linguine Alfredo, french fries and a Caesar salad. They only ate one Cheddar Bay Biscuit because they are icons of good health. In total, that gets you to 2,710 calories, 37 g of saturated fat and 6,530 mg of sodium. Note: The image shown is another Red Lobster meal.
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