According the the viewership figures, the penultimate episode was watched by a record 12.48 million people during HBO’s first airing on the United States. This tops the previous record held by the season seven finale, “The Dragon and the Wolf”, which stood at 12.07 million viewers.
It’s hardly surprising that so many tuned in to the second-to-last ever episode of Game of Thrones, but it will be interesting to see if Sunday’s series finale proves to be as popular after the backlash “The Bells” came in for.
If you’re wondering what all the fuss was about, check out our recap below.
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Okay, so Qyburn couldn’t really be described as a major character, but he was a significant player in the game, having provided Cersei with many of the tools she needed to maintain her power – The Mountain included.
It was that undead monstrosity that ultimately proved to be Qyburn’s undoing, as The Hand of The Queen had his head crushed against a stone in a Frankenstein-like monster kills creator moment. Good riddance!
Melisandre predicted Vary’s death two seasons ago, and once The Spider decided to hitch his wagon to the Jon Snow train, his fate was sealed.
When Tyrion, who still believes in Dany despite his doubts, informs his Queen that his old friend has betrayed her, she wastes no time in ordering Drogon to burn him alive.
Varys has been a fan-favorite since season 1, and even though he’s done some pretty heinous stuff himself over the years in service of the realm, it was tough to see him go – especially when he was in the right!
Euron survived the incineration of his fleet, and made his way to shore just in time to see Jaime Lannister en route to Cersei. Greyjoy, probably realizing that all is lost anyway, decides to goad The Kingslayer into a fight, and a fight he gets.
Jaime is not the swordsman he once was, and he’s dealing with a formidable opponent. The Iron Islander manages to stab Lannister twice (essentially killing him), but Jaime ultimately gains the upper hand (no pun) and runs his sword right through the demented pirate.
Euron bleeds out on the rocks, content in the knowledge that he was the man that killed Jaime Lannister.
The Hound and The Mountain
We lost one of the most popular characters on the show last night, but at least he went out doing the one thing that would make him truly happy: killing his horrible bastard of a brother.
The “Clegane Bowl” is something fans have been looking forward to for a long time, and last night delivered a brutal scrap between Gregor ‘The Mountain’ Clegane and Sandor ‘The Hound’ Clegane. Realizing that his big brother was practically unkillable, The Hound decided to sacrifice himself to put an end to him, charging The Mountain through the crumbling stairwell to a fiery doom below.
Sad to see The Hound go, but he did get to share one final moment of genuine tenderness with Arya before the end.
Like the Clegane boys, Jaime and Cersei Lannister went out together, but these characters are far too big to share the spotlight.
Last week, The Kingslayer had seemingly decided to settle down at Winterfell with Brienne, but hearing the news of his sister’s imminent execution prompted him to return to King’s Landing. Many fans assumed he was actually going to kill her himself, but it turns out he really was attempting to save her.
After being captured by Dany’s men, The Kingslayer is freed by Tyrion only to wind up in a sword-fight with Euron. Mortally wounded, he finally makes it to Cersei’s side, and comforts his sister/lover as both are (seemingly) crushed to death by the falling debris.
When Cerei was a child, a witch named Maggy the Frog shared a prophecy that the young Lannister girl would be killed by the “Valonqar” (little brother), and that is what happened… kinda.
While Jamie didn’t actually murder his sister, he did inadvertently lead her to her death beneath King’s Landing while they were attempting to escape. In her final moments, Cersei shows vulnerability for the first time since the Walk of Shame, and maybe even a bit of regret.
Some fans were disappointed to see the woman that had emerged as the show’s big bad killed off in this way, but, really, it was in keeping with Cersei and Jamie’s arcs from the beginning. Also, we appear to have a new big bad now!