We are in the endgame now and after one of the most divisive episodes yet the rush to the finish enters its final chapter. While we may not agree with how the storytelling has developed, the conclusion could set all that right. King’s Landing has been destroyed and Dany has what she always wanted, are there any more twists left?
- Closure. With so many loose ends to tie up, the final ever episode has to bring about the end. What that now looks like and represents is up in the air following ‘The Bells’. Coming into the final season, many fans would have thought Dany would be the ideal candidate to end on the Iron Throne. She seemed like a just queen yet that all changed when she went full Dracarys on the innocent civilians of the capital. This may have always been an outlined bullet point of her story yet the rush to the end negated to include that one final trigger to push her over the edge that the moment really needed. The tension towards the Lannister army’s surrender was superbly crafted, all that remained was a final shot at Dany to set her off, a rogue scorpion bolt after the bells had rung. Having said that, the moment Dany snapped did not look to be a spontaneous decision, rather years of suffering being bottled up and released after even more betrayals. Having lost her trusted advisors she’s now alone and a Targaryen alone is something to be truly feared. She wasn’t always like this but having lost Jon’s love and the best claim to the throne, having lost Jorah, Rhaegal, Viserion, Missandei, Drogo and Barristan Selmy you can see where her sharp, villainous turn originated and developed. Amidst the fire and blood soaked carnage there was a moment when Jon realised his Northern troops had wrested from his command to bludgeon, rape and pillage. Jon was now fighting for the bad guys, Dany was the tyrant and even Cersei garnered some sympathy. Even the most honourable characters like Jon Snow remain good until the end; you either die a hero or you live long enough to see yourself become the villain. Subversion has been the story’s trump card and though this flip to the dark side has been foreshadowed, few wanted to believe that Dany could fulfil her father’s final wishes and burn them all. Similarly, her father truly descended into madness when he realised his Hand had betrayed him, one Tywin Lannister. The story has now come full circle with a Mad Queen and the thought of Dany ending on the throne has a typically bittersweet, ashen taste to it. Perhaps this is George R.R. Martin telling us that humans were the true threat all along and not the White Walkers. Power corrupts after all and Dany now rules through fear. How the story ends will tell us a lot about what we were supposed to learn.
- Someone on the Iron Throne. Further subversion would be that no-one ends up on the Iron Throne, even if it remains intact. If Dany was to ‘break the wheel’, Drogon could be ordered to melt the throne and end the whole feudal system that it represents. There are echoes to this in British history with the formation of Parliament to sate the changing desire of the Royal Family. Thrones could follow a similar path with the end of one overarching ruler in favour of kingdoms being self-governed and overseen by a council. Should the bittersweet ending be someone becoming a Queenslayer then Jon would naturally assume the throne. He’s said repeatedly that he doesn’t want it so there is the thought that he could decree a new order, a new power structure and a new way forward for The Realm. Bran could become Prime Minister, Sansa Queen of The North, Sam Grand Maester etc. Yet with Dany gone, you have to wonder what would become of The Unsullied and The Dothraki, would they meekly return home? Also, how would you deal with Drogon?
- Gendry to land a telling blow with his warhammer. Still waiting.
Jon Snow rides Rhaegon.
- Revealed: Tyrion is also a Targaryen.
- Revealed: The identity and motive of The Night King. Likely to be included in the prequel which is under development.
The Valonqar prophecy comes true.Cersei did die with Jaime’s hands around her throat but he wasn’t wresting the life from her. CLEGANEBOWLLLLLLL.And it was glorious.
- Arya ticks off her kill list. And that’s everyone, she could still add The Mad Queen. She is also yet to use her face-swapping talents in this season.
Theon’s redemption against Euron Happy endings.As Ramsay said, “If you think this has a happy ending, you haven’t been paying attention” Bran warging into Viserion. Bran has barely used his warging capabilities this season and if he is to truly fly perhaps his destiny is to warg into Drogon and placate the dragon while someone else kills Dany. He also has form in calming potentially volatile characters as we saw with his warging into Hodor.
- Samwell Tarly becomes George R.R. Martin. In the final scene I can now envisage him penning the Story of Ice and Fire then reading it to even littler Sam as if he was George R.R. Martin. He kinda looks like him too, maybe that was the plan all along.
- The Prince That Was Promised. While I did think this was Arya for ending The Night King I now think this could be Jon for killing Dany. If so, it would confirm Rhaegar’s lineage as being responsible for the prophecy.
Jon somehow manages to either keep the secret that he’s True King of The Seven Kingdoms under wraps or tells the relevant people and still gets to keep everyone onside.Even though Dany has claimed the throne by brute force and flame, the secret of Jon’s lineage has been unleashed. Whether Jon wants it or not, few can truly stomach Dany’s claim now they’ve seen how corrupted by power and bloodlust she has become. However, now she has shown her true hand it’s doubtful anyone could perform treason without being burned, that’s the effect of ruling through fear. How the remaining characters deal with her tyranny should bring this whole story to a close. Cersei denies that the Battle of Winterfell ever actually happened and claims fake news.
And some bonuses –
Starks coming back as wights in the crypts. Ghost somehow getting through the battle alive. Cersei lets people believe that the baby is Euron’s and not Jaime’s. Just to mess with people. No Lannister troops are heading up North. They never were. Sansa comes to realise that she has to back Dany or risk losing the Last War before it’s even begun. Jaime fights for the living then teams up with Tyrion to defeat Cersei, both of them know her and King’s Landing far too well to let this opportunity slip.And in the latest installment of how character development doesn’t matter anymore, Jaime is truly a fuckboy.
- Bronn has a crisis of conscience when faced with aiming a crossbow at either Jaime or Tyrion. If he does want Highgarden he needs to aim at Drogon.
Daario persuades The Golden Company to fight against Cersei.Ha, the Golden Company. What good they were. Danaery’s fulfils her father’s intent and burns down King’s Landing. Drogon has given birth to triplets.
- Tyrion finally redeems himself with some wise decisions. He’s proven ineffectual at persuading his Queen. When she finds out he betrayed her to free his brother he’ll have to work very hard just to avoid becoming toast.
No cavalry to the rescue.There are few armies left yet there’s still a chance for someone to become a hero.