Astronautica Is Making The EDM Scene Less Of A Boys’ Club

Photographed by Jack Strutz

Meet the dreamy, West Coast producer

Astronautica, also known as Edrina Martinez, has already proven to be a powerful force on the electronic music scene—and she's only 24 years old. From regular appearances at EDM hub Low End Theory to producing her distinct style of lush electronica as a one-(wo)man band, the L.A.-based DJ is showing no signs of slowing down.

Martinez used her latest album Gemini as an outlet to revolutionize her typical approach to producing music. "I’ll be somewhere and hear some sound on the street and record it on my phone and then go and play it into the song and add that as a texture to whatever I’m working on," she explained.

This refreshingly raw technique is just one facet of the album's back-to-basics vibe. For anyone in search of a satisfying summer soundtrack, look no more. Gemini's upbeat fusion of infectious R&B, charged with house beats, sinewy vocals, and intricate guitar riffs, is it. 

We caught up with Martinez to talk about her sophomore albumthe importance of female empowerment in the music industry, and how artistic inspiration is always within reach. 

Where did you grow up and what you were like as a teenager?
I grew up in the suburbs of L.A. County in a little city called San Dimas. In high school, I was really big on going to shows and stuff. Music always played an important role in my life. Growing up, I was surrounded by a lot of different types of music from my parents, my grandparents, from friends.
How did you get into the type of music that you like and produce now? Was it always EDM or did you just stumble upon that?
I got into the EDM scene in high school, and then I went to school up in San Francisco for a year. When I moved back to L.A., I got really into the L.A. beat scene and that whole genre and subculture. So, I started going to Low End Theory every week and was just really influenced by being there and seeing all the music going on there. Like I said, I was always kind of a musical kid growing up. I was like, “I like this music. Why not try to make it?”
You can sing, play guitar, and produce your own music. How did you learn to master all of these different skills?
Oh man, lots of practice! As a kid, I would take guitar lessons and stuff, but I never really learned to read music. I think when you’re a kid, you can develop skills a lot easier—they just stick. So now, I can pick up a guitar and kind of just play by ear, and that’s what’s really helped out with my production. It just makes it that much easier for me to produce, like knowing how to play that. I’m also using a program called Ableton so it’s cool because I can just record everything into there and then pick out certain parts of what I recorded—like on the guitar, what I sing —and kind of sample that, which is cool because it’s kind of like a mix of live music as well as visually engineered music. They are kind of going hand in hand. 
Your music typically deals with lust, love, and loss. Why do you find yourself gravitating toward these themes?
To me, it’s like a story that I’m telling, and it’s something that I’ve been through. When I’m looking to write lyrics, that’s where I can tap into because it’s an experience that I can write about. I also want to try to be relatable to my audience and love, of course, is the number one thing that people can just relate to as a group. I find that writing about my experiences lets my listeners into a little part of my life that otherwise they wouldn’t really have any insight in.
How did you get into becoming a DJ?
I feel like I just really put myself out there. I started putting music online just for myself, just to see if other people would be into it, and then I just started getting plays. On SoundCloud, you can see where they’re coming from so it was crazy. I was like, “Oh my gosh, people from Thailand are listening to this,” which is super cool about the Internet. It kind of brings the world closer together, you know? So, I was putting all my music up online, and I got an email from Daddy Kev, who runs the label I’m with as well as Low End Theory, and he just said, “Astronautica at Low End Theory.” So I was freaking out because I was a huge fan. I would go to Low End Theory every Wednesday, so to perform there was a trip. I also opened up for one of my favorite artists, Bath, so it was just really cool being up there. That night, Daddy Kev was like, “Hey, I really like what you’re doing. Do you have any other songs? Are you looking to work on an album?” And then from there, I put an album out a few months later, and I just started getting booked for different shows and started playing with all of the artists that I was really inspired by. I think seeing that and being involved in that is what kept me going, like, “Oh, this is cool. People are really responding well and I’m getting to do what I love.” By putting myself out there, it opened up a lot more doors.
How much has your experience, growing up on the West Coast, influenced your music?
In L.A., it’s just kind of like a hodgepodge of culture. There are lots of different types of music here because there are lots of different types of people here. Like my grandparents are really big salsa listeners—that definitely had an influence. My mom really loves hip-hop and R&B, so that also had a big influence. Just being surrounded by all these different types of genres of music always resonated well with me. Going into the L.A. beat scene, I think the reason I was so in love with it was because I saw that it was all of these different genres in the scene. It was kind of jazzy, it was kind of hip-hoppy, it was kind of club-house-dance. There are a lot of similarities in that scene to the types of music I was listening to growing up. I also think growing up out here made me appreciate all types of music. 
The title of your latest album, Gemini, is a reflection of your astrological sign. How deeply do you identify with that?
It’s funny because Gemini is known to be “the twins,” and even though I don’t think I have a split personality or anything, my first name’s Edrina and my middle name’s Kayla. Half of the people I know call me Edrina, the other half call me Kayla. It’s this funny dynamic. With the album, it all kind of ties in together because if you listen to it, it’s not just one genre or sound. It was inspired by a lot of different types of genres. That kind of goes into play with the whole idea of the Gemini being very dual, and the duality of all these different things coming together, so that fit perfectly with the entire project. I also worked on the album art —that little logo I have, I designe—and it was one of my paintings. It is kind of an abstract Gemini logo, so I wanted it all to be a packaged project. I put a lot into it.
What was your creative process for putting the album together?
It kind of took me a while to finish it; I think it took me a couple of years. Within those years, I was just working on a lot of songs. There are a lot of songs that also didn’t make it on to the album. One of the things I did was that I sat there one night with a bottle of wine, and I listened to every single song. I was like, “Okay, where can I find the story here? Where can it be a complete story?” You’re your biggest critic, so not critiquing it too much and just really letting it talk to me like it would to another person was a process in itself.
What makes this album different from your previous works?
My first album was a little bit more down tempo. There were a lot of things I was doing differently. I still wanted to maintain my sound while also experimenting with new sounds, so this album is a little more upbeat, a little more dancey. I’m also sampling my own voice on the whole album whereas before, I was using other types of samples. I’m playing more guitar as the guitarist. With my previous work, I was manipulating the guitar sounds to make it sound like something different whereas with this one, I really just wanted it to be like, “Oh, I can distinguish that that’s a guitar.” With my earlier work, it’s like, “Oh, what is that? It could be a guitar, it could be a different instrument.” I wanted to highlight the guitar and my voice in this record, as well as play around with creating more upbeat beats. 
Are there any artists that you look up to and are inspired by?
Oh man, there are a lot of artists. I think going into the scene, I was really inspired by old-school hip-hop, old-school R&B. One of my all-time favorites is A Tribe Called Quest. Missy Elliott and Timbaland were my favorite producers, so hearing the way they would produce their beats and sample certain things definitely influenced the way I started out early on. I feel like I’m even inspired every day by my friends who produce and doing what they love as well. I’m really inspired just by the whole creative scene.
The electronic music industry has this tendency of being thought of as a boys' club despite the fact that there are so many talented women in the scene. What has your experience been like in the field?
It definitely is. You definitely see a lot of guys doing this, but not recently. I feel like more female-orientated groups, organizations, and clubs are coming out supporting female artists. I think they’re getting a lot more recognition whereas a few years ago, even if it was out there, I didn’t notice it as much. But now, I’m really starting to take notice. My friend dot, Kate Ellwanger, she has a female collective called Unspeakable, and it’s not just females. It’s not singling out females like a girls-only club at all, but females need the recognition and I think it’s awesome that certain groups and artists are starting to talk more about that. There was even a group from Norway who came out here called KOSO, and we all had brunch at the Ace and just talked to other females who are doing the same thing, who are also creative. I think it’s great to see that, especially for younger girls to see that there are females doing this because a lot of times, I think the reason why there aren’t as many females in the scene is because it’s not out there. These girls don’t have anyone to look up to because it is all boys. But I think there’s definitely a change coming with all of these female-empowerment groups in the industry coming more to the surface. It’s cool because I’ve also been seeing—aside from the artist aspect—I’m seeing more females on the business side of things, taking on more leadership-type roles and being badasses. I think as time goes on, there’s definitely more female empowerment in this industry. 
What are some of your favorite types of shows to play?
I really like playing in cities I haven’t played in before because I like seeing the vibe everywhere else. It’s always cool to me to see that even though I’m in a different city, there’s always that consistent feeling that people are just there to hear the music. It’s that unifying thing that kind of brings everyone together, which is cool because it’s everywhere. I can play in L.A. or New York, and I feel like everyone’s just there for the music. That’s one of my favorite things about performing. My favorite types of shows to play are here in L.A. at Low End Theory because that’s where I started and what inspired me in the first place to start doing this. Whenever I play there, it’s like I’m playing at home. I know I can play something I’ve never played out before and I can premiere it there, and the crowd is always so receptive in a positive way. It’s such a tight space, like literally really small, so you can really feel the energy coming off of everyone. It’s cool that I’m not forced to play super club music there; I can just play the most down-tempo song that I have and really feel people’s energies bouncing off the walls to it. 
What do you have coming up?
I’m going to be going on tour in June on the West Coast, so we’ll be hitting a few dates out here. It’s San Diego, L.A., San Francisco, Sacramento, Seattle, Portland, and Santa Cruz. Be on the lookout for that; it’ll be pretty cool. I’m going on tour with Eureka The Butcher, Gypsy Mamba, and Elusive.

Dragonfire can't melt steel memes

I'm not quite ready to talk about the amount of time I wasted hoping Game of Thrones would live up to its drawn out hype with the series finale, but I am ready to dive into all the memery that came out of the disappointment. And I'm not alone: Maisie Williams—aka Arya Stark—summed up what we were all thinking in one single tweet: "just here for the memes."

After Daenerys had almost as lackluster a death as Cersei, dying with a quick stab wound, it was pretty clear that it would all be downhill. But hey, at least she's reunited with her BFFs Missandei and Jorah in the afterlife.

That opened up the question of who exactly would be king or queen of the seven kingdoms. Poor precious Samwell thinks we should try democracy, but it's not Game of Popular Vote, it's Game of Thrones.

Apparently, everyone at this point had totally forgotten about the fact that Jon Snow actually was a Targaryen, and the rightful heir to the throne. All the characters who, up until this point in the season, had been obsessed with this fact totally pretended it never happened, and never considered him for the new ruler because he... killed the mad queen.

So what do they do? Choose the one person who always said they never wanted throne and that he never even wanted anything: Bran Stark. Arya didn't save everyone's ass from the Night King to be disrespected like this!

And, with all his pre-existing knowledge and newfound power, Bran still just chilled in his chair. Arya is going into uncharted waters, no idea what danger lies ahead? Nah, don't share the information you have on it. Jon is sent off to the Watchers on the Wall just as his younger brother gains absolute power? Forget about pardoning him, Bran doesn't care.

And who would've guessed that Ser Brienne of Tarth would just go and become a blogger, writing anonymous glowing messages about the dude that screwed her over. I'm not a huge fan of the editorial decisions she made while finishing Jaime's story, but I am a fan of the memes made out of the scene.

And back to Jon Snow: All this potential, all this hype on his real name, and once he kills Dany he's shipped off to the Night's Watch like a sad, discarded puppy. There's not even a real reason for the Night's Watch anymore, so he's basically just being sent off to be out of sight, out of mind, for the rest of time.

But hey, at least they finally made right with Ghost. The goodest boy in all of the Seven... or, rather, Six Kingdoms deserved all the pats, and he finally got them when he was reunited with Jon in the North. It almost made me forget all the nonsense that happened throughout the rest of the episode... almost.

Photos via Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week Australia/Getty Images

Our favorite collections from 2019's Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week Australia

It's hard not to love Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week Australia, an annual exhibition of some of the best in resort dressing, that has Sydney's various cityscapes and beaches serving as its backdrop. For five days, we hopped all over the Australian city to check out the Resort 2020 collections from some of Australia's most established designers and emerging newcomers through an assortment of runway shows, presentations, and parties. The result? An extravagant display of beach-ready fashion, elevated streetwear, and signature Australian style.

For those of you not familiar with the resort season—sometimes referred to as cruise or holiday—it's the in-between seasonal offerings of summer garb that typically hits stores in time for the winter months (you know, right about when we're ready to take those vacations we've been dreaming about). And while we're gearing up to head into summer over in America, these collections also serve as the perfect inspiration for warm-weather dressing—even if we won't be seeing them hit stores until much later this year.

From Aussie staples like Double Rainbouu and Alice McCall to emerging brands like P.E Nation, we rounded up the best Aussie collections we saw this week. Take a closer look at each of them, below.


Photos via Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week Australia/Getty Images

Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week Australia kicked off with a bang, the bang being Aje and its glorious Bloomscape collection. Whimsical pieces inspired by the native flora and natural landscape of Australia made their way down the runway, from billowing, sculptural dresses with hand-painted floral prints to rugged, masculine tailoring inspired by the soil, the trees, and the nation's rocky wonders.

Alice McCall

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Alice McCall has been a longtime favorite in the U.S., known for its whimsical and quirky pieces that never skimp on sequins, feathers, and tulle. For Resort 2020, McCall was inspired by the treasures once found in her mother's "dress-up box" of the late '70s, creating her own take on vintage silhouettes but modernizing them and making them new. The result? Romantic, feminine, and glitzy pieces that are sure to turn heads.

Hansen and Gretel

Photos via Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week Australia/Getty Images

Good news for anyone who's into the whole sea nymph thing: This trend is not going anywhere, anytime soon, according to label Hansen and Gretel. The Aussie brand's Resort 2020 collection, Venus, celebrated femininity and womanhood while nodding to this very trend with seashell knit crop tops, slinky slips, pastel summer knits, and plenty of shimmery pearlescent fabrics.

Lee Mathew

Photos via Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week Australia/Getty Images

Lee Mathews Resort 2020 runway show was a special one: a celebration of the brand's 20th year. And, with that came a retrospective collection taking inspiration from the brand's archives over the past two decades. The collection presented the perfect mix of feminine and tomboyish pieces, mixed and matched and layered with extravagance. Ruffled, tulle skirts were paired with tailored shirting, while in-your-face prints such as polka dots, brush strokes, and bold stripes were used throughout, showing up on flowing silk dresses and structured, oversized shirting and separates.

Bondi Born

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Resort 2020 saw Bondi Born, the ever-chic sustainable swimwear line based in Sydney, debut its first full resort capsule collection. The brand saw its sustainably produced fabrics take the form of knotted and bow-adorned swimwear, breezy seaside dresses and separates, and clean, simple eveningwear—all stunningly timeless, surpassing fashion trends and to be worn for seasons to come.

Double Rainbouu

Photos via Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week Australia/Getty Images

In just a few short years, everybody's favorite Hawaiian shirt brand Double Rainbouu has grown beyond its playful shirting assortment with apparel, accessories, and more. For Resort 2020, design duo Mike Nolan and Toby Jones were inspired by the hippie travelers of the '60s and '70s, and a utopia where all creatures live together harmoniously. Set in Sydney's gorgeous Chinese Garden of Friendship, the brand's show featured model "tourists" who wore worldly prints, hippie tie-dyes, and plenty of linen alongside colorful zebra prints, sporty polos, chambray jumpsuits, and classic hoodies, making for a playfully diverse, yet wearable, collection.

P.E Nation

Photos via Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week Australia/Getty Images

This season saw emerging Aussie label P.E. Nation present its first solo runway show, Physical Education, for Resort 2020. The brand took its signature spin on sporty '90s activewear and elevated it, incorporating bold, oversized silhouettes, denim, and all of the bold neons we covet. Bonus? The brand announced a killer new collab with Speedo, presenting its vintage-inspired swimwear at the very end of the show. Even bigger bonus? The brand's been upping its sustainability efforts, debuting its first-ever recycled active set, using recycled yarns and organic cotton. It will also be moving to biodegradable packaging by July.

Leo & Lin

Photos via Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week Australia/Getty Images

One of our favorite collection this season came courtesy of Leo & Lin. Celebrating the designer's love of history, the romantic "Imperial" collection was a nod at both ancient Rome and the Victorian era, which saw sweeping, bulb-sleeved and high-necked floral dresses and suiting walking alongside flowing, draped Roman-inspired frocks. A modern flair was also sprinkled in, seen in the form of vinyl trench coats and fishnet fabrics.

Ten Pieces

Photos via Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week Australia/Getty Images

One of the most buzzed about shows this season was Ten Pieces, the contemporary sportswear collection born from the collaboration between founders Maurice Terzini and Lucy Hinckfuss and designer Allan Marshall. For Resort 2020, Terzini was inspired by his time as a teen in Italy in the late '70s and the disco freak era. A bit punky, a bit hippie, and set in the drained pool of Sydney's iconic Icebergs Club with Bondi Beach as its backdrop, the collection's sporty streetwear pieces—unisex, and meant to be mixed, matched, and layered to its wearer's delight—felt more apt for the beach than a bustling city.

Photo by Ari Perilstein/Getty Images for ASCAP

"It makes my ears fucking steam out of my head"

Billie Eilish isn't taking Alabama's abortion ban lightly. Speaking to Variety, the singer said that she has "no words for the bitches in the fucking White House." She continued: "Honestly, I can't even look at my phone," because the news is always so distressing.

Eilish doesn't call out any legislators specifically, but she doesn't have to in order to get her point across, namely, that it's outrageous that people don't get to have control over their own bodies. "It's so unbelievable," Eilish said. "It makes me, like, red. It makes my ears fucking steam out of my head. Women should say, should do, and feel, and be exactly what they want."

"There should be nobody else telling them how to live their life, how to do shit…" she continued. "It just makes me so mad that if I start talking about it, I won't stop." Eilish did conclude though with this simple, powerful statement: "Men should not make women's choices—that's all I have to say."

If you want to help the people who will be affected by the restrictive abortion bans that the "bitches in the fucking White House" are doing nothing about, these organizations could use your help.

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We talk to the pop star about her past, present, and future—and why she spoke out against R. Kelly

JoJo has been through it. Any casual music listener who lived through the 2000s knows what I'm talking about. The singer shot to instant stardom in 2004 with iconic hit "Leave (Get Out)" and released two albums, a self-titled debut and The High Road, which ended up being a fitting description of the journey she was forced to take.

Soon after, Blackground Records refrained from releasing JoJo's third album, resulting in a near decade-long period when she could only put out infrequent singles and mixtapes. She filed a lawsuit against the label in 2013, claiming that her contract was no longer valid under New York law, and when she was freed, her albums were taken off iTunes and streaming services, denying JoJo and her collaborators future earnings and disabling fans from accessing their beloved music. She was finally able to release her third album, Mad Love, in 2016, but there was still a huge part of her career that virtually disappeared—until she took matters into her own hands.

Late last year—on her 28th birthday, no less—JoJo surprised us by revealing that she re-recorded her first two albums and released them online for fans to enjoy once again. It was both the end of a chapter that needed to be closed long ago, and one of the most powerful moves by an artist in the music industry, especially a woman like JoJo who has dealt with a level of power struggles and politics we could only imagine. Below, she opens up about the process of this remarkable venture, her newfound freedom, and her next step.

How did you decide that re-recording these two albums was the right move?
My options were pretty limited. Since I had gotten out of that contract with Blackground, I just realized that I didn't want to reopen anything by trying to have any interaction with them. So I saw what my legal options were and that was to completely recreate these albums and basically cover myself.

How long did that process take? Take me through the process of basically putting everything back together.
My managers and I had been talking about it because we saw it in my comments on Twitter and Instagram a lot, and I just hate feeling helpless. When I saw that there was this demand from my fans of wanting to listen to the first two albums, we called my lawyer and saw what could be done legally from that perspective, and then we just started to brainstorm as to how we could recreate the tracks. I came to the conclusion that what my fans wanted was the nostalgia of the first two albums, of how they found it in 2004 and 2006, so we tried to keep it pretty true to that. The process took, I would say, nine months, from the first phone call to calling my musical directors and have them start the recreation of the tracks, sending them the YouTube link so they could refer back to the original songs, because that's what we had. I didn't have a physical copy of the first two albums.

Were there any songs that you were especially emotional about or ones you connected with when you revisited them?
I definitely got emotional re-cutting a lot of them, particularly "Keep On Keeping On," which I wrote when I was 12. That was one of the first songs that I ever recorded that I had written completely by myself. Just to go back and take in the lyrics that I had written then, it's just still a message that I need to hear. It was just emotional being like, Damn, my little 12-year-old self was an old soul. It was emotional redoing all of them for different reasons because I remembered those sessions so vividly. Especially with remaking "Leave (Get Out)," "Too Little, Too Late," and "Baby It's You," I was definitely freaking myself out with trying to stay true to them but also realizing that I'm a grown person now. I was intimidated by having to hit some of the notes that I hit when I was 12 and 14, like on "Too Little, Too Late," because I'm a different singer, your voice changes as you grow. That made me a little bit anxious [but] I just did it.

You recently spoke out about R. Kelly on Twitter and said you heard stories when you were younger and that people you worked with were also working with him. How did hearing this affect you at such a young age?
To be honest, the way that it was being spoken about in the studio normalized it. I'm looking back on it and realizing how perverse the stories that I was hearing were, about how he'd always have young girls around, how he'd be waiting outside of high schools or he'd be hanging out at the McDonald's. I didn't realize since I was so, so young how very much fucked up that is. He really was just in plain sight being a predator. I was such a huge fan of his. I mean his music is incredible, but at this point, there's just no fucking way to separate him from his crime, and it's just wild. It's just wild that he got away with it for so long, but I think we're in a new era of accountability and transparency and I just think it's definitely about time. But in my comment section, it was like, "Okay, so if you've heard these stories, then why didn't you come forward or say something?" I was a kid when I heard these stories, and I certainly didn't know what to do. I didn't even know how to follow that thought all the way through.

I wanted to talk about the new album you're currently working on. Is there a the direction you're going for?
I want to go back to what comes naturally to me which is R&B, but I think I could care less about genres. I just want to make dope music and release it, whether it's all in one album, one song at a time, however that may be. I'm being super choosy and making a bunch of songs and then narrowing it down from there. I've never been more excited about the music that I'm making. It feels really great, and I think a part of that has to do with closing that chapter of the first two albums, with anything that I did from that time of my career. Now I can move forward and just really be challenged and keep growing and breaking myself down and putting myself back together with the help of my collaborators. It's interesting.

Is your attitude about freedom influenced by the music climate and streaming today? The music world has changed so much since when you debuted.
I guess, but I think, for me, freedom is more of the mental and emotional state. I do think that artists have so many more choices now, whether to be independent, or to do a joint venture like I've done with Warner Bros, or sign to a major but on their terms. I think that there is a lot more flexibility and freedom for us, much of which we've demanded and some that the industry has just had to adapt to. But even when I got off of my former label and knew that I was able to move forward and release music, for many different reasons, I still didn't feel that freedom. I think I was in such a fighter mode that I still felt like I needed to fight things, whether it was myself or... mostly myself.

It's being really hateful toward myself and dealing with a lot of that. For me, this freedom that I'm feeling is just stepping into a new perspective of not recognizing things as obstacles but knocking on them as opportunities, and I think for those who are fortunate enough to be able to get some type of control over their mind, I'm trying to try to do that and to feel as free as possible. I'm excited.

Photo courtesy of HBO.

We made it

It's finally over. We had a great run—even if the eighth season felt more like a PowerPoint presentation of the show than an actual narrative. But perhaps the most frustrating thing about the show was that it left plenty of plot threads dangling. Still, some of the conclusions that the show left us with were shocking in their own right. Let's revisit.

Spoilers ahead...

Cersei actually being dead

I didn't want to believe it, but it's true. Cersei Lannister, the ruthless Queen that everyone sought to overthrow, is dead. Last week, she and her brother-lover Jaime held each other tight in the bowels of the Red Keep as rocks and bricks fell on top of them. I thought that Jaime would die, once again protecting Cersei, and that she would survive the collapse. This would have provided an opportunity for her to be personally killed by list-obsessed Arya Stark or a power hungry Daenerys Targaryen. But no, Cersei did not survive and I was shocked to see her dead face when it was uncovered by Tyrion.

Jon killing Daenerys

Cersei wasn't the only person whose death came under unexpected circumstances. Daenerys' long, epic journey came to an end at the hands of Jon (also known as Aegon Targaryen, and her nephew-lover). Despite following Daenerys all season, Jon was convinced that she had to go after a little pep talk from Tyrion. And so, what else would a Stark do, other than carrying out a death sentence himself? Jon did it with a blade through Dany's heart. At least it wasn't in her back.

Drogon killing the Iron Throne

If there is one character my heart absolutely breaks for, it's Drogon. Daenerys' death left the dragon motherless and brotherless. He took his grief out on the thing that drove her to the very end, the Iron Throne itself. Drogon melted it into boiling liquid metal before flying away with his mother's body.

Bran becoming King

Since the beginning of the show, viewers have made wagers on who would eventually take the Iron Throne for themselves. Through most of the series, Bran, who hasn't been able to walk since the first episode, was an extremely unlikely candidate. But alas, he was the King when the show ended, and he made a comment that seemed to suggest that he'd known this was his destiny. In other words, he let everyone battle it out while he sat and minded his business, knowing it was all for him to come out on top. A shady queen feels like a more fitting title.

Arya heading "West"

I get it, Arya has already been a free spirit and non-conformist. I also understand that she sent most of Game of Thrones motivated by revenge and with no more to be served, there was little left for her in Westeros. But to send her off exploring the world also felt... odd. Arya said goodbye to her siblings, setting her intentions on sailing to see what's "west of Westeros," so that she can find out what's there. It felt way too soon to assume that she wouldn't still be needed in her homeland, but Arya never was one to stick close to home.

Jon and Ghost reuniting

At the end of the fourth episode fans were furious when Jon Snow prepared to head South with Daenerys, bidding fond farewells to friends and fellow soldiers, but not bothering to pet his direwolf. The show runners said the reason for the impersonal sendoff was that interactions with the direwolves cost too much money to pull off and there wasn't enough budget. So we were all surprised to see Jon and Ghost reunite in the final episode when Jon was once against sent to Castle Black. It was a silver lining in an otherwise dreary episode.