‘Game of Thrones’ Series Finale: Matt Roush on Saying Goodbye to a Dark Fantasy

Game of Thrones

How big is Game of Thrones? Big enough to have diverted attention from Avengers: Endgame’s record-shattering opening weekend by staging its own epic, nerve-shredding Battle of Winterfell.

How great is Game of Thrones? So compelling and satisfying that, amid all of the chaotic carnage and bloody heroics in these final chapters, it’s the human, intimate character moments that always stand out.

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“Stick ’em with the pointy end,” Arya Stark (Maisie Williams) advised her regal sister, Sansa (Sophie Turner), giving her a dagger before the grueling clash with the Night King’s Army of the Dead. This clever line — a callback to the first season when Jon Snow (Kit Harington) bestowed Arya with her beloved Needle — resonated further when Arya used her own pointy end to slay the ghoulish menace, immobilizing the zombie horde.

The genius of Thrones is that, dragons and magic aside, these aren’t superheroes but flesh-and-blood participants in an unsparing conflict over power, legacy and honor. We don’t know who’ll survive, or what to expect, in the final episode, but when has dark fantasy ever felt this real?

Game of Thrones, Series Finale, Sunday, May 19, 9/8c, HBO