It’s finally here. It’s taken us 9 years, a war of five kings, two weddings and the fall of one very big wall but alas we can say, as sure as night, that winter has arrived! We have seen the gathering clouds in episodes like “Hardhome” and “The Door”. The icy winds of death rising in Season 7’s “Beyond The Wall” and the wings they ride on in the finale “The Dragon and the Wolf”. Holy direwolf! We are pumped as all hell for Season 8. We are about to bear witness to one of the most iconic moments in television history. I haven’t been this excited since the series finale of Breaking Bad. Game of Thrones is coming to an end, people!
And much like the rest of the fan community, we have our fair share of ideas on how Game of Thrones will wrap up its ultimate season. Of course, the ending is a closely guarded secret safe for the cast and creators of the show but that definitely won’t deter us from giving it the old college try. So grab every Weirwood Tree you can find and head on over to Oldtown (yes, we’re geeking out about this) as we figure out how HBO’s Game of Thrones will most likely end. Oh, and in case you’re not caught up with everything that’s gone down so far…it goes without saying…spoilers ahead.
I’m serious, if you’ve missed a single episode or season you better get on your HBO Go account and catch up. You’ve been warned.
Alright, here we go.
The Classic Ending
Over the years, Game of Thrones has built a reputation for delivering some of the most shocking and unexpected moments we’ve ever seen in a fantasy series or film. A majority of them stemming from the sudden and brutal deaths of beloved fan favourites. From the royal massacre of Robb and Catelyn Stark at the Red Wedding to Oberyn Martell getting his face caved in (I swear it was like watching an exploding watermelon) to the Night King’s horrifying attack on Hardhome. The series has made itself clear on one thing: no one is safe. That was until we got to season 6 onwards when the series began departing from George R.R. Martin’s books.
Things began to seem a lot more…hopeful. We saw Jon Snow come back from the dead to take back Winterfell from that evil bastard Ramsay Bolton. Daenerys took control of a Dothraki horde before bringing justice to the slavers invading Meeren. Arya got her vengeance on the Freys and the surviving Starks were reunited. Apart from a few major incidents like Cersei blowing up the Sept and killing off the Tyrells and maybe the death of the Dornish royals, I mean if you care, most of our heroes are still in tack.
Furthermore, we’ve been seeing quite a fair bit of deus ex machinas throughout season 6 and 7. Sansa arriving just in time to deliver the Knights of the Eyrie to aid a beleaguered Jon, Bronn saving Jaime Lannister from certain death at the flames of Drogon and then there’s Daenerys and her trip beyond the wall. Come on! She got there faster than modern day express flights! So with all that in mind, would it be so far fetched to believe that maybe, just maybe, we could get a classic happy ending akin The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King?
So here’s the best case scenario. The Night King is defeated. Cersei and the Golden Company are defeated. Essentially, the good guys win. In the aftermath, Jon and Dany say screw it to genetics and decide to co-rule Westeros as twin monarchs with Tyrion serving as Hand of the King (and Queen). Both of them name Sansa Warden of the North, finally giving the Starks full independence.
Arya and Gendry get together. Tormund and Brienne get together. Bran is off doing Three-Eyed Raven crap. Theon and Yara take over the Iron Islands from their usurper uncle Euron, reforming the nation’s culture to being one of peace and toil. Varys and Daario Naharis rule the lands of Essos in peace with Grey Worm and Missandei living together by the shores of Volantis. Westeros is at peace and harmony, singing a song of ice and fire.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m sure we’d see some losses like Jorah, Samwell Tarly or Davos Seaworth but none of the major fan favourites. A classic fairy tale ending to a revolutionary, gritty medieval caper turned epic fantasy drama. I’m sure George would be livid but the rest of the world, may be pleasantly surprised. I mean, what’s more shocking than a happy ending in Game of Thrones?
The Logical Ending
Then again, it is possible that the showrunners are getting our hopes up with the recent string of fortunate saves just so they can knock it all down. I mean that is the quintessential nature of Game of Thrones. The sheer randomness of reality and indifference of death that our heroes and villains must contend with. Perhaps we can find the answer with regards to the end within the context of the show’s structure and themes. Perhaps, the answer has been staring at us in the face all this while. Perhaps the correct answer is the simplest one: everyone we know and love will die.
I can hear it now, “Everyone? What do you mean EVERYONE?” Well think about it, all of our heroes are joining up in the North to face the Night King. The only ones staying behind are Cersei, Euron and their armies. Jon Snow, Daenerys, Jorah, Davos, Jaime, Tyrion and even the Hound are making their final stand at the castle of Winterfell. They’re the last thing standing between the Night King and the rest of Westeros. The Wildlings beyond the Wall are dead and made to join the undead horde. Jon and company face insurmountable odds.
If we’re adhering to the rules of the series, then it would be perfectly logical for everyone up North to be utterly annihilated by the Night King’s forces. I mean look at what they did in Hardhome, the Night’s Watch barely held their ground against the White Walkers. They have a freaking ice dragon that can tear a gigantic gash between a 700-foot wall. Honestly, they don’t stand a chance even with Daenerys’ two dragons. All their doing is giving the guy more cannon fodder.
The Night King and his White Walkers are the fantasy equivalent of a nuclear bomb. A weapon of sheer power and death, that will crush anything that stands in their way. After he’s done with Winterfell, he’ll make his way down south to King’s Landing. There, Cersei will throw everything she has against him and fall short. The Long Night has come once more but this time, there are no heroes to save the people of Westeros. A winter that will never end. Bleak, ain’t it? I guess Euron Greyjoy and his stupid fleet of salt people would find a way to survive but most of the continent would be devastated.
If Game of Thrones does decide to go down this route, it would undoubtedly be the biggest middle finger to the fantasy genre. All that setup about Jon’s (I mean Aegon Targaryen’s) lineage would be for nothing. All the wars fought would be for nothing. All that pain and misery would be meaningless in the face of the Night King. Personally, I’m not a fan of this ending but if this is how D.B. Weiss and David Benioff choose to end the series, I wouldn’t really complain. If there’s one thing we’ve learned about George R.R. Martin’s world of Game of Thrones is that it’s a cold, cruel world out there.
The Bittersweet Ending
We’ve seen the best and worst case scenario so far but now let’s get some Hegelian dialectics up in this bitch. Maybe the ending isn’t quite so jovial or so grim but rather somewhere in between the two spaces. Right, I’ll explain. You see there’s a prophecy in the series about a legendary hero called Azor Ahai. Long ago, in the Age of Heroes, Azor Ahai defeated the White Walkers and brought an end to the Long Night.
Red priest and priestesses who worship the Lord of Light like Melisandre and Beric Dondarrion believe that Azor Ahai would come again in the form of a reincarnated person to once more beat back the darkness. It just so happens that Daenerys Stormborn and Jon Snow have both been identified at some point to be the legendary Azor Ahai. I have a hunch that it’s probably one of the two but don’t cheer just yet.
In the legends, the hero Azor Ahai wielded a flaming sword known as Lightbringer which was key to defeating the White Walkers. The only way he could get the sword to stay lit was by stabbing it through the heart of his wife and lover Nissa Nissa. She willingly gave her life so that Azor Ahai may achieve his victory against the White Walkers. I believe history will repeat itself once more.
Azor Ahai, being either Daenerys or Jon, will have to sacrifice one or the other to defeat the Night King and truly become the saviour of Westeros. But how do we know this prophecy is not bullshit? The Red Priests so far have thoroughly demonstrated that their Lord of Light is certainly real with all the shadow demon babies and flaming swords popping up in the series. It stands to reason that the prophecy is probably legit.
The most likely outcome is Jon or Dany defeating the Night King through an act of painful sacrifice before returning to King’s Landing to rid the world of Cersei. If it turns out that Jon is Azor Ahai, then he’ll most likely renounce the Iron Throne and declare a democratic council to rule Westeros.
He’ll live out his days in his home of Winterfell and once in a while, he’ll visit an old grotto to relive the memories of his lost love. Never knowing what life would have been like if he and Ygritte had remained in that cave (hold on, there’s something in my eye).
If it’s Daenerys however, she’ll return to King’s Landing with a vengeance. She’ll decimate Cersei’s army and the Golden Company but just as she’s about to give in to her bloodlust and finish Cersei off, she remembers Jon. The kind of man he was and the kind of world she dreamed off not too long ago. She chooses to end the cycle of violence and hate. She spares Cersei’s life and puts her on trial. She takes her place as the rightful Queen of Westeros. Peace and order are restored to Westeros. The wheel is broken.
Either one of these two endings would be a satisfying conclusion to the series and a fine compromise between the earlier two options. If I was a betting man, I’d definitely lay all my chips down on Game of Thrones having a bittersweet ending. A sombre end that leaves us with the hope for a better world to follow after so much strife and sorrow.
But what do you guys think? Which ending do you think Game of Thrones would go for? Or is there some super, secret obscure clue that we missed that could give us the TRUE ending to the show? In any case, be sure to let us know in the comments down below and remember to catch the first episode of Game of Thrones season 8 on the 14 April on HBO (Astro Ch 411/431)!