***Warning! This article contains spoilers for Game Of Thrones season eight, episode six, The Iron Throne – the last ever episode***
After succeeding in the herculean task of avoiding spoilers for an entire day, Game Of Thrones fans have finally seen how it all ends and said their goodbyes to the epic series that brought us dragons, white walkers and some of the goriest deaths in TV history.
While tens of thousands stayed up or set the alarms to watch at 2am on Monday, the time the show was screened in the US, others waited it out until 9pm – including seven groups of fans across the UK who watched the final episode at special screenings organised with fan show Thronecast.
After eight years, 73 episodes, hours and hours spent in the company of the Starks, Lannisters and Targaryens, and too many deaths to count, it was finally decided: Bran Stark, the Three-Eyed Raven, now to be known as Bran the Broken, would rule Westeros.
As a finale, the last episode, entitled The Iron Throne, had the typical twists and turns that quickly became part and parcel of Game Of Thrones after it started in 2011.
In the end, all the clamour over Jon Snow’s birthright came to nothing; after stabbing Daenerys through the heart and watching as a distraught Drogon dracarysed the Iron Throne to a pool of molten metal, his story ended back at the Night’s Watch. The North remained independent, with Sansa as queen, and Arya went off to explore “west of Westeros”.
At the screening in London, 400 fans – many dressed as their favourite Thrones characters – celebrated with a feast fit for Winterfell before settling down to see how the finale played out.
The series has divided viewers, with criticism that it has been rushed and more than a million people signing a petition for it to be remade, but fans here seemed in agreement that the finale was a fitting way to bow out.
Jessica Cheetham, who wore robes fitting of a lady of King’s Landing, said she understood the ending – but was also a little disappointed not to see Jon Snow named king.
“It was quite emotional,” she told Sky News, highlighting the scene in which Tyrion discovered the bodies of his brother and sister, Jaime and Cersei.
“And also the aftermath of Dany’s ‘madness’. And emotional because it’s the end of an era.”
Emily Garrington and Carl Clayton, dressed as Daenerys and Jon (in happier times), said they were pleased with the ending.
“I thought it was brilliant,” said Carl.
“I loved it when Drogon melted the throne, that was fantastic. I think it was a really good, suitable ending for all the characters. It was a fitting end to an epic saga.”
“It was pretty awesome,” said Emily, “but I was gutted when Jon killed Dany. I couldn’t believe it, I was not expecting that at all. I really wanted to see Dany sit on the throne. It would have been awesome.”
Jason Watson said Dany’s death was his favourite scene.
He said: “I was expecting it to happen but not like that. And I thought [Jon] was going to get fried by the dragon.
“I think it really did do the show justice. It tied it up nicely, I thought it was a really good ending.
“What an episode. It’s not what I was expecting but I thought it was perfect.”
Callum Bishop said he had loved the series.
“It’s a very difficult thing to wrap up, it’s been going on for a decade, and I’m genuinely quite satisfied,” he said.
“Each episode is movie quality.”
Sinead Sampson said she was pleased with the series save for one death.
She said: “I’ve been totally happy except I really wanted someone to slit Cersei’s neck.
“That would have been better for me.”
Among the fans at the screening were Thronecast presenter Jamie East, who said he was sad to be saying goodbye, and former Thrones star Miltos Yerolemou, who played Syrio Forel – the man who taught Arya Stark her sword skills when she was a young girl.
Yerolemou said he felt like “a proud dad” when Arya went on to kill the Night King earlier in the series.
He said he knew in “a little way” that she would go on to become an assassin, but that he was “still surprised” when she was the one to kill the ultimate Game Of Thrones baddie and save the living.
“I’m going to sound incredibly sentimental, but I cried at that,” he said.
No doubt he’s not the only one.