The final season of Game of Thrones was polarising, to say the least. From the Night King dying at the hands of not John and Dany, but Arya in a single battle episode to Varys approaching Jon by the beach and suggesting treason, to Daenerys’ heel turn, there are plenty of moments in season 8 that didn’t sit right with a portion of the fanbase. The same can be said about the final episode which saw Bran become the new king of the Six Kingdoms (The North remains an independent kingdom).
It certainly rubbed a lot of people the wrong way. While some brought up valid criticisms of the rushed nature of the final season, others simply labelled showrunners David Benioff and D.B. Weiss “horrible writers who butchered George R.R. Martin’s epic story.” Many are under the impression that the books will have a completely different ending from the show — the so-called “proper ending.” However, this cannot be further from the truth. In an interview with HBO, Isaac Hempstead Wright, the actor who plays Bran said that his coronation came directly from the genius mind of George R.R. Martin.
“[Creators] David [Benioff] and Dan [Weiss] told me there were two things [author] George R.R. Martin had planned for Bran, and that was the Hodor revelation, and that he would be king. So that’s pretty special to be directly involved in something that is part of George’s vision. It was a really nice way to wrap it up.”
This is in line with what George R.R. Martin himself mentioned recently on his blog. In regards to the ending of Game of Thrones, Martin mentioned that it is somewhat similar to his book, especially where it concerns major plot points. The main differences would be the fate of many of the supporting characters as well as the depth and length of the journey.
Isaac Hempstead Wright also mentioned in the HBO interview that he was beyond shocked when he found out that the series would close out with him as the king.
“I had to physically get up and walk around my flat. I said, “What?! You’re joking.” It was the very last thing I expected to happen. I was convinced they had sent a script to everyone in which they become king or queen, so I still didn’t believe it until the read-through.
But I think he is a great character to take on that role. You never thought of him in that way, but what more could you ask for in a king than to have no personal attachments, no agenda, but have a calm understanding of the entire universe? He’s the ideal person to be in charge.”
While Bran sudden coronation does come as a major shock, it certainly is in line with one of the major themes of the series. Right from the first episode of season 1, we get the impression that Game of Thrones is a tale about ‘bastards, cripples and broken things’ just as much as it is about kings and queens. Through Tyrion, Bran and Jon Snow, the series has shown us that greatness can come from the unlikeliest of places and people. Not to mention, Jamie pushing Bran out of the window indirectly kick-started the War of the Five Kings. Bran is also the first POV chapter in Martin’s books.