News

Game of Thrones Finale Reviews: 'The Iron Throne' Ends Epic Fantasy Series with a Whimper

Episode 6 represents a modest rebound, but it was still not enough to lift season 8 back into Certified Fresh territory.

by | May 20, 2019 | Comments

Game of Thrones season 8, episode 6, series finale "The Iron Throne" (HBO)

(Photo by HBO)

Despite stirring speechifying by the Seven Kingdom’s newly crowned despot, her death at the hands of the man she loved, and a dragon’s moving lament, Game of Thrones went out with a whimper, according to critics. Season 8, Episode 6: "The Iron Throne" 47% is not the worst episode of the series, but it is in the bottom three based on the first reviews of the series finale.

With this final entry, the season’s current score is well below the 75% score needed to be Certified Fresh, marking the first season in the series’ history that will not receive the honor. The season is, in fact, now Rotten (updated May 23), which is just stunning given the series’ track record.

Here’s what critics had to say about the episode.


It Was the Best of Finales…

Game of Thrones season 8, episode 6, series finale "The Iron Throne" (HBO)

(Photo by HBO)

“It’s almost impossible to imagine it ending any other way.” — Steve Greene, indieWire

“After showing us a nightmare for eight seasons, Game of Thrones finally dares to dream of spring.” — Sean T. Collins, Rolling Stone

“A stupendous end that the series deserved.” — Mikel Zorrilla, Espinof

“The series finale, proved largely satisfying after eight seasons of incredible drama.” — Todd Gilchrist, Birth.Movies.Death.


Read more: 
Game of Thrones
’ Series Finale Best Moments: Breaking the Wheel and a Dragon’s Choice


It Was the Worst of Finales

Game of Thrones season 8, episode 6, series finale "The Iron Throne" (HBO)

(Photo by HBO)

“As a fan of the TV show, I felt battered into submission. This season has been the same story over and over again: a lot of tin-eared writing trying to justify some of the most drastic story developments imaginable, as quickly as possible.” — David Sims, The Atlantic

“Game of Thrones has lulled us into believing that its women would end up in charge. In the end, it’s only Sansa, by sheer force of will, who wears a lesser crown. The wheel hasn’t broken; the patriarchy is still alive and well in Westeros.” — Anne Cohen, Refinery29

“The kindest thing I can say about the Games of Thrones series finale is that it might have satisfied Plato.” — Judy Berman, TIME Magazine

“Gotta say this episode felt more like a season finale than the series finale it was, if only because this last season seemed so isolated from what went before.” — Glen Weldon, NPR

“It’s hardly an exit cry of triumph.” — Steve Johnson, Chicago Tribune


How Was the Writing and Pacing of the Final Episode?

Game of Thrones season 8, episode 6, series finale "The Iron Throne" (HBO)

(Photo by HBO)

“The ending got rushed to the point of a fantasy even greater than the story told given all we had grown to know and love over six seasons (or seven, depending on your view) got torn asunder in the space of six episodes.” — Carissa Pavlica, TV Fanatic

“I liked this episode, and at times I thought it was truly brilliant… But the lords and ladies of Westeros picked a new king in five minutes, when we’ve spent eight seasons fighting a bloody war over who would sit on the Iron Throne.” — Erik Kain, Forbes

“It was hacky; it was cliched. Every character left standing received a saccharine coda. It was all too simple, too clean, even with a major death and a surprise contender for the Iron Throne. Closure is one thing, but pandering is entirely another.” — Kelly Lawler, USA Today

“Like most of Season 8, it felt like a Wikipedia summary more than a full story being told, with only Arya, Sansa, Sam, and Brienne getting endings I can halfway believe.” — Gina Carbone,
CinemaBlend

“But the pacing and the hurry to get to the finish line are not the only issues. There are large, gaping holes in the fabric of logic that one just cannot ignore anymore.” — Soumya Srivastava, Hindustan Times

“In dramatic terms, it may have resolved itself with something like indecent haste. But thematically, it made perfect sense.” — Karl Quinn, The Age (Australia)

“In this last season there was too little surprise, too many high-dollar digital theatrics, and less drive to really drill down into the essence of what made Westeros a place where so many people wanted to spend their Sunday nights.” — Hillary Kelly, New York Magazine/Vulture


Read more: Game of Thrones’ Final Season Is Officially Its Worst, According to the Tomatometer


Who Were the MVPs?

Game of Thrones season 8, episode 6, series finale "The Iron Throne" (HBO)

(Photo by HBO)

“That finale was a mixed bag for me. I’m not sure how much it made ACTUAL SENSE in terms of how we’ve seen this world to work, but Jon ending up back at the Wall with Ghost actually felt to me like one of the best endings for his character.” — Huw Fullerton, Radio Times

“Wow. Drogon understood more about the geopolitical power struggle and human weakness than I would’ve thought he did.” — Kimberly Roots, TV Line

“Bran was the king of least resistance, with the added bonus of some superpowers that definitely are real, but which are dubiously useful at best.” — Kathryn VanArendonk, New York Magazine/Vulture


Read more: All Game of Thrones Episodes, Ranked by Tomatometer


Final Verdict?

Game of Thrones season 8, episode 6, series finale "The Iron Throne" (Helen Sloan/HBO)

(Photo by (Helen Sloan/HBO)

“This was a largely satisfying conclusion. One could quibble over a couple of plot points, and argue about the reassertion of the show’s regressive gender politics. But a piece of entertainment as complex as this was always going to involve some compromise.” — Nick Curtis, London Evening Standard

“Over all, though, it was a solid and largely satisfying wrap-up to one of the most exciting and enthralling TV series ever.” — Richard Roeper, Chicago Sun-Times

“So, yeah, it all worked out in the end, really. Was it perfect? No, because it couldn’t be. Was it enough to course-correct some of the more truncated story decisions from this season? Yes, I believe it was.” — Tim Goodman, Hollywood Reporter

Game of Thrones season 8, episode 6, series finale "The Iron Throne" (HBO)

(Photo by HBO)

“Because the Game of Thrones finale is really a bunch of different endings rolled into one. All the outcomes combined add up to a finale that’s sort of … bittersweet, just as author George R.R. Martin has been saying all these years.” — James Hibberd, Entertainment Weekly

“After showing us a nightmare for eight seasons, Game of Thrones finally dares to dream of spring.” — Sean T. Collins, Rolling Stone

“It’s not quite the dream of spring we might’ve hoped for, but it’s not a disaster either. And now our watch has ended.” — Laura Prudom, IGN Movies

Did you agree with the critics? Tell us in the comments!

Game of Thrones season 8 is available to stream on demand, on HBO Go, and on HBO Now.



Like this? Subscribe to our newsletter and get more features, news, and guides in your inbox every week.

Tag Cloud

The Arrangement TBS 2015 Epix Writers Guild of America Fargo golden globe awards ABC NYCC Netflix Grammys halloween Premiere Dates ESPN Family 78th Annual Golden Globe Awards OWN MTV debate Tubi stop motion franchise Alien Election 45 richard e. Grant disaster Pop TV Travel Channel vampires 20th Century Fox Pride Month Dark Horse Comics Freeform singing competition werewolf Certified Fresh Amazon Prime FX on Hulu robots stoner Chernobyl boxing romance serial killer WarnerMedia action-comedy gangster Television Academy cancelled TV series CBS Peacock italian nbcuniversal Emmy Nominations IMDb TV biography Calendar live event AMC Plus Mystery king kong ABC Family comic comiccon Classic Film venice Character Guide TCA 2017 Drama Cosplay Fox Searchlight binge DGA a nightmare on elm street quibi all-time south america 72 Emmy Awards rom-coms natural history Paramount Plus lord of the rings Emmys award winner Shondaland pirates of the caribbean TCA Awards documentaries Sundance TV Mudbound Thanksgiving Disney zombies diversity Countdown RT21 Pacific Islander reviews Apple TV+ Toys movie rotten movies we love Christmas Valentine's Day comic book movies festivals mission: impossible cinemax feel good VICE Heroines asian-american witnail Year in Review MCU news Hulu crime drama Comedy live action book remakes dreamworks suspense slasher Nominations Action hispanic dogs superhero Marathons Hear Us Out Marvel Studios Trivia strong female leads new star wars movies HBO Go X-Men wonder woman french NBC SundanceTV Amazon Teen Disney Channel First Look Rom-Com Star Trek obituary reboot Walt Disney Pictures directors sopranos twilight Marvel Television Cartoon Network foreign jurassic park Vudu period drama 93rd Oscars Black Mirror CW Seed slashers FXX doctor who YA National Geographic boxoffice art house supernatural USA spider-verse dragons Film Festival Animation harry potter TV One Set visit fresh canceled TV shows true crime jamie lee curtis indiana jones independent NBA police drama vs. IFC Films CNN adaptation 2021 BAFTA Reality blockbuster screen actors guild based on movie LGBTQ ABC Signature Binge Guide halloween tv stand-up comedy Esquire Martial Arts Endgame The Walt Disney Company batman game show Sundance Now kaiju BBC One BET Awards Reality Competition Comic-Con@Home 2021 2019 Rocky Apple TV Plus TLC Extras BBC America docuseries PaleyFest AMC Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt golden globes anthology video on demand Mary poppins First Reviews films royal family know your critic Pet Sematary Schedule joker LGBT Ovation high school crime VOD Rock PBS Discovery Channel 2018 Superheroe monster movies justice league australia Watching Series Black History Month DirecTV Interview Summer Amazon Studios hispanic heritage month Logo Superheroes sequel nfl scary spinoff unscripted new zealand Podcast YouTube cancelled docudrama japan TV Land Women's History Month mockumentary cops Paramount Network streaming superman Music game of thrones mob Infographic San Diego Comic-Con Nat Geo BBC Quiz Cannes ITV chucky ghosts marvel cinematic universe free movies Bravo Comic Book A&E teaser Neflix Adult Swim tv talk 71st Emmy Awards scene in color series international comic book movie cartoon 21st Century Fox toy story sports DC Comics popular science fiction PlayStation sitcom parents WGN Exclusive Video Polls and Games HBO Max talk show Amazon Prime Video Comics on TV GIFs TCM CMT Tumblr dc 99% classics thriller GoT genre Holiday anime comedies DC Universe cats Biopics Apple indie TV hidden camera Spectrum Originals E3 RT History rt labs critics edition E! El Rey psychological thriller Arrowverse cooking young adult sag awards Sundance worst zero dark thirty Trailer Shudder Lionsgate dceu laika godzilla Lifetime The Academy green book Awards Tour The Walking Dead Image Comics saw politics Lifetime Christmas movies Sci-Fi kids biopic name the review Holidays black razzies war CBS All Access breaking bad prank aliens Spring TV fast and furious Red Carpet finale TruTV American Society of Cinematographers YouTube Red Rocketman mcc dexter children's TV archives child's play scary movies basketball Anna Paquin aapi james bond spy thriller Netflix Christmas movies Pirates black comedy posters The CW Disney Plus SXSW Brie Larson Nickelodeon Captain marvel Academy Awards Turner Classic Movies adventure SDCC zombie TCA Musicals composers 2017 heist movie Crackle cancelled television YouTube Premium TV renewals Paramount dark DC streaming service Hallmark medical drama critic resources Country theme song spain crossover IFC nature worst movies rt labs television 4/20 japanese HBO Oscars critics renewed TV shows A24 President Stephen King Marvel satire spider-man Fox News miniseries kong what to watch Showtime 90s Sony Pictures universal monsters screenings documentary rt archives football Tomatazos cancelled TV shows OneApp Opinion legend target ViacomCBS latino best Television Critics Association BET facebook Masterpiece dramedy Sneak Peek Avengers Super Bowl Best and Worst criterion The Witch 2016 Mindy Kaling ID 1990s Universal Pictures canceled mutant Trophy Talk Wes Anderson Creative Arts Emmys Ellie Kemper technology historical drama Horror comic books TNT Pixar elevated horror cars TCA Winter 2020 festival 73rd Emmy Awards sequels hollywood Box Office deadpool Ghostbusters Elton John MSNBC Baby Yoda versus video FOX 2020 women Film hist GLAAD marvel comics Video Games Hallmark Christmas movies psycho streaming movies New York Comic Con travel romantic comedy leaderboard Acorn TV Starz History TIFF trailers Mary Poppins Returns crime thriller Disney+ Disney Plus 007 The Purge toronto king arthur die hard cults rotten Universal APB See It Skip It Winners book adaptation TV movies USA Network olympics Awards scorecard Tarantino Chilling Adventures of Sabrina Warner Bros. social media Syfy new york movies spanish language Kids & Family Fall TV Mary Tyler Moore Star Wars Comedy Central Turner animated Musical Photos discovery Pop concert Columbia Pictures blockbusters Western trophy Winter TV space Food Network Broadway Tokyo Olympics transformers Instagram Live blaxploitation casting political drama adenture revenge 24 frames christmas movies Legendary telelvision VH1 Lucasfilm emmy awards spanish Britbox FX Fantasy Disney streaming service Spike Funimation ratings Crunchyroll comics Song of Ice and Fire