At this Arlington pub, dozens of ‘Game of Thrones’ fans gather for one last episode
ARLINGTON — They came filled with anxiety and a thousand questions that needed to be answered in one final episode of “Game of Thrones.”
And for the most part, the few dozen fans who watched the sixth and last episode of the HBO mega-series at The Adventure Pub in Arlington left satisfied Sunday evening.
“I’m completely content with it … and I wasn’t expecting that,” said Kristoff Nelson, 27, of Dorchester said — though he was admittedly still processing.
The bar known for its playful attitude has hosted a viewing party for every episode of the eighth and final season. The festivities for the last viewing party started with a multi-course Thrones-themed feast, complete with drinks named after characters and a suckling pig, that began hours before the show even started.
Some people came dressed in costume, others dressed for comfort as both die-hard and casual fans alike were drawn to the festivities to mark the end of the epic series.
No one knew initially how the show would end, or even what to expect, but those familiar with the series’ sucker-punch twists were bracing themselves for the worst — or at least the tragic deaths of monumental characters.
“I’m already having a little bit of anxiety right now,” Asha Melo, 28, of Quincy said.
Melo dressed in Sansa Stark’s inky black costume complete with a chain necklace and feathers at the shoulders. It took her four hours to complete the look, she said.
“I don’t want to see the show end,” she said three hours before the show would, in fact, end.
A loyal fan since the beginning, Melo said that she has devoted innumerable hours to watch the entire series multiple times, and has even called out of work on occasion.
“It’s definitely this emotional roller coaster for me, and I love it,” she said.
Nelson, who came to the pub with his boyfriend, Yuri Craner, 26, admitted beforehand that he was a bit relieved that the show was finally coming to a close.
“I’m ready to be done with it, but I don’t expect to be too content,” Nelson said.
The couple planned on watching the final episode at home — they even bought a bottle of champagne for the occasion — but decided on a whim to attend the watch party.
Even so, they said they were a bit anxious about watching what could be a very emotional episode with strangers.
“I’m more nervous that it will be spoiled by someone talking over it than how it will end,” Craner said.
“It’s a weird show to watch with people you don’t know,” Nelson said.
In order to mitigate spoilers, fans who also happened to be staffing the bar Sunday night walked around with headphones in as the show played.
Kait Hull, 22, of Attleboro, worked behind the bar with bright orange headphones shielding her from the episode’s dialogue.
“About two weeks ago I learned about the headphone trick after getting everything spoiled,” she explained.
Now, “I kind of put my Spotify on shuffle and put it on loud,” she said.
Those who were watching were subdued, with a few moments of laughter and deep sighs. But overall the finale lacked the visceral reaction provoked by previous episodes.
When the credits rolled, even Nelson said he was satisfied, though he thought “it might have been a little too happy for some people.”
The end left some possibilities for open-ended spinoffs, and Nelson for one isn’t upset about that.
“I could get down with some Arya exploration, I’d watch it,” he said.
Even Melo said she fretted until Bran was named king, but was then able to relax.
“I’m super surprised, it’s definitely not who I thought would be on the throne, but I’m super happy about it,” she said in the aftermath of the episode.
“This is a great ending for me,” she said.
In the days leading up to the series finale, fans had been ravenous for any clues about how exactly the show would end, leading to an enormous amount of analysis mixed with pure speculation.
Although the show’s cast and crew had been sworn to secrecy, Peter Dinklage — whose character, Tyrion Lannister, managed to survive all eight seasons and outlive both his siblings — gave one clue.
“It really makes you question yourself, and not in any sort of snarky way — in a beautiful way,” Dinklage said in a “60 Minutes” clip that was posted online at the beginning of the season.
However, John Bradley, who plays Samwell Tarly, hinted in the same “60 Minutes” interview that fans might not be thrilled with the ending.
“We’ve never given people what they think they want because we know that people really like to be challenged and they don’t like to be spoon fed,” Bradley said, noting the infamous “Red Wedding” where several characters were killed off.
George R. R. Martin, who wrote the book series the HBO show is based on, said he didn’t think the show’s ending would be “that” different from his own — which is still to come.
Martin originally planned to finish his series before the show but missed several deadlines. That meant that at the end of last season, the series eclipsed the books, leaving fans — even the die-hards who read all the books — in the dark.
Meanwhile, it’s not just fans who are bidding farewell to “Game of Thrones.”
On Sunday, the actors whose characters were still alive for the final episode took to social media to say goodbye and reflect on 10 years of shooting the show.
Sophie Turner, who plays Sansa Stark, wrote a letter addressed to her character to Instagram.
“Sansa, Thank you for teaching me resilience, bravery and what true strength really is. Thank you [for] teaching me to be kind and patient and to lead with love,” she wrote. “I grew up with you. I fell in love with you at 13 and now 10 years on.. at 23 I leave you behind, but I will never leave behind what you’ve taught me.”
View this post on Instagram
Sansa, Thank you for teaching me resilience, bravery and what true strength really is. Thank you teaching me to be kind and patient and to lead with love. I grew up with you. I fell in love with you at 13 and now 10 years on.. at 23 I leave you behind, but I will never leave behind what you’ve taught me. To the show and the incredible people who make it, thank you for giving me the best life and drama lessons I could have ever asked for. Without you I wouldn’t be the person I am today. Thank you for giving me this chance all those years ago. And finally to the fans. Thank you for falling in love with these characters and supporting this show right through till the end. I’ll miss this more than anything.
Emilia Clarke, who plays Daenerys Targaryen, also reflected in an Instagram post Sunday morning.
“The mother of dragons chapter has taken up the whole of my adult life. This woman has taken up the whole of my heart. I’ve sweated in the blaze of dragon fire, shed many tears at those who left our family early, and wrung my brain dry trying to do Khaleesi and the masterful words, actions (and names) I was given, justice,” Clarke wrote.
She ended her post with an echo to the show, “And now our watch has ended.”
View this post on Instagram
Finding the words to write this post has left me overwhelmed with how much I want to say but how small words feel in comparison to what this show and Dany have meant to me. The mother of dragons chapter has taken up the whole of my adult life. This woman has taken up the whole of my heart. I’ve sweated in the blaze of dragon fire, shed many tears at those who left our family early, and wrung my brain dry trying to do Khaleesi and the masterful words, actions (and names) I was given, justice. Game of Thrones has shaped me as a woman, as an actor and as a human being. I just wish my darling dad was here now to see how far we’ve flown. But to you, dear kind magical fans, I owe you so much thanks, for your steady gaze at what we’ve made and what I’ve done with a character that was already in the hearts of many before I slipped on the platinum wig of dreams. Without you there is no us. And now our watch has ended. @gameofthrones @hbo #love #motherofdragonsoverandout