Rhaenys’ explanation for why she didn’t kill the Greens made no sense. She said it’s not ‘her war’, but then she convinces Corlys to bend the knee to Rhaenyra anyway, despite him wanting to stay neutral. Not to mention that massacring hundreds of people on her dragon during Aegon’s coronation was de facto a declaration of war anyway. And why did she have the same smug expression on her face across the whole episode, no, the whole season even?
Other than that, the finale was great. Overall I would rate the season a 8.5 out of 10. It had great cinematography, (mostly) great writing, and (mostly) good characters. What brought it down a bit were some baffling decisions, like Criston Cole murdering a noble and ruining a royal wedding without any consequences, or Rhaenys’ aforementioned massacre of hundreds (thousands?) of people in King’s Landing just to give her a ‘badass’ moment. Oh, and I have to say it again, but the Velaryons’ wigs looked terrible, especially the girls. I actually laughed out loud when I first saw Rhaena’s terrible spaghetti-dreadlocks in episode 8.
Some of the characters’ motivations also didn’t make much sense. Alicent in episode 8 is probably the most egregious example: at that point she should‘ve been more paranoid than ever that Rhaenyra will kill her children to protect her claim, especially after Daemon killed Vaemond in the throne room. Instead she and Rhaenyra reconciled, only for Alicent to change her mind that same night because Viserys mumbles some incoherent nonsense in his sleep. Wtf?
Also, even though the general consensus is that the season felt a bit rushed, especially with all the time skips (and I agree), there nonetheless was a bunch of stuff that felt like filler to me that could’ve been cut to make more room for more important stuff. That whole royal hunt in episode 3 for example didn’t feel necessary to me, it didn’t tell us anything we didn’t already know before. I feel the same about the search for Aegon in episode 9; I don’t think this was needed at all. Those things could’ve been cut or shortened, in favor of more scenes between Rhaenyra and Harwin (who barely had any scenes), or to show us the aftermath of episode 5 and Criston’s actions at the wedding, or the wedding between Viserys and Alicent etc.
Lastly, as I mentioned in an earlier post, this show lacks humor and lightheartedness. I’m not asking for constant dick jokes, but some relief of tension now and then would’ve been great. Everyone and everything is always so serious and dour. I also don’t care about any of the characters as much as I cared about some of the characters in GoT. Lucerys’ death in the finale was shocking, but it wasn’t the emotional gut punch Ned’s death was in GoT. Honestly, not even Rhaenyra’s or Alicent’s death at this point would have that kind of impact on me, because I haven’t really been given much reason to root for them, or anyone really. Though I don’t really blame the show-runners for that; that’s how it is in the source material as well.
And where were the beeewbs?!
But as I said, overall this was a good first season, and leaves me wanting for more. It wasn’t on the same level as season 1 of GoT (where nearly every episode ended on a cliffhanger, and there were lots of characters to root for), but probably comparable with season 3 or 4.