How ‘Game of Thrones’ Predicted Every Major Character’s Final Fate Ages Ago
*Warning: Spoilers ahead*
Game of Thrones is over. Last night, the dust settled on King’s Landing, and now we’re left to sift through the ashes, so to speak.
I think it’s safe to say that the show certainly didn’t stick the landing with these final six episodes or accomplish the Breaking Bad–caliber ending the showrunners were hoping for. Regardless, I think this episode put a fairly neat bow on some of the major players with callbacks to the very beginning of the series.
Look, the honest truth is Jon Snow has been the hero of this series ever since Ned Stark was beheaded in season one. So naturally (whether we want to admit it or not), we all wanted to see him “win.” We wanted Jon to live happily ever after and, in a way, he did. The happiest we ever saw Jon was during his time with Ygritte north of the Wall, and now he’s going back to that cave that he once wished he could stay in for the rest of his life. Two episodes ago, Jon told Tormund that Ghost wasn’t fit for life on this side of the wall, but it seems that Jon was really talking about himself.
So how did Jon’s story line this week get us to this “happy” ending for him? To start, he was forced to confront the single moment in the series that affected him most: his death. Jon’s character transformed when the men who had elected him Lord Commander betrayed him and stabbed him in the heart. Call him naive, but Jon couldn’t understand how these men whom he’d protected and trusted with his life could turn on him. Now, when put in a similar situation to those men, Jon was forced to do exactly the same thing to the woman he had sworn to obey and fight beside. Jon’s character grew and began to understand the human condition as he saw someone he had trusted and believed in make decisions he disagreed with, just as his men were toward the end of season five.
By killing Daenerys, Jon proved himself to be Azor Ahai, the prophesied “Prince That Was Promised,” who forged his sword three times: First, by plunging it into water (the White Walkers), then, by plunging it into the heart of a lion (the Lannister army), and finally, by plunging it into the heart of the woman he loved (Daenerys). Jon’s murder of Daenerys was tragic, but also inevitable. He was doing what was right for the realm, knowing the personal cost for himself, just as his uncle Ned did in season one when he refused to keep the knowledge he’d uncovered about Joffrey’s birth a secret.
Ned’s original sentence, before Joffrey went rogue and had him beheaded, was to go up North and serve the rest of his life as a member of the Night’s Watch. Jon was given the same sentence and given the opportunity to see that sentence out. So, in many ways, his story is the conclusion of Ned Stark’s.
Daenerys Targaryen’s father The Mad King was obsessed with burning King’s Landing, and ended up being stabbed to death in the throne room by a man sworn to serve and protect him. Sound familiar?
My biggest problem with this latest season is—unquestionably—the transformation of Daenerys from liberator and hero of the common people to genocidal maniac. It never felt authentic or believable. The motivation behind it was weak. But regardless of how it came to be, it seemed destined to occur from the beginning of this story. She was never going to have a happy ending because her happiness was never really on the table. As she proved in this latest episode, the war wasn’t over when she won the Iron Throne. She wasn’t satisfied with her victory because it was never really her victory. She set her sights on Westeros because others told her she should. She never really wanted the Iron Throne, she simply thought she did, and hoped that once she succeeded she’d be fulfilled. But when she succeeded and found that she didn’t feel anything, she set herself and the world on the only course she has ever known: conquest.
Daenerys’s identity has always been in flux. It’s always been a source of confusion for her and us, the audience. The easiest way to explain it is by simply looking at her title: “Queen Daenerys Stormborn of the House Targaryen, the First of Her Name, Queen of the Andals, the Rhoynar and the First Men, Lady of the Seven Kingdoms and Protector of the Realm, Lady of Dragonstone, Queen of Meereen, Khaleesi of the Great Grass Sea, the Unburnt, Breaker of Chains and Mother of Dragons.”
Throughout the show, she’s transformed over and over again, redefining who she is and what she stands for all along the way. She’s always been searching for her identity, and sadly, the woman with the most titles and names could never find it. She lived as the Mother of Dragons, Breaker of Chains, and Khaleesi of the Great Grass Sea, but she died as “Dany,” a girl who could never find her place in the world.
From the beginning of the show, Sansa has dreamt of being queen. She always assumed that would mean marrying a king, but as her intelligence and strength grew with every season, it became clear that she didn’t need a man beside her as a source of strength. She’s become the most competent leader of all the characters on the show. Now, for her to be the advocate for the North, after seasons of wishing she was anywhere but the North, is a great full-circle journey for her character.
After all of this, Tyrion is back where he essentially started, as Hand of the King in King’s Landing. In season two, Tyrion took his place beside Joffrey as Hand, and all the chaos and treachery and treason led him back to the exact same place he started: advising a boy King and trying to repair the realm.
The difference between Tyrion now and Tyrion then, however, is that Tyrion has lost all faith in his own mind. His failures over the course of the past two seasons have given him humility, and he’s finally serving a King whom he knows is smarter than himself.
Despite his position in the world as a dwarf, Tyrion’s ego has always been huge. He considered himself smarter and wittier than everyone, and in many ways, that was the cause of his failure these past two seasons. He underestimated the world around him, assumed his own mind superior to everyone else’s. And finally, in the end, he learned that he was wrong. And that will likely be the secret to unlocking the best version of Tyrion the world could ever have hoped for.
In the end, the major characters of this show ended up in the only places that really made sense for them. We can argue about how they got there, and wish the show had taken a different course. But to me, it’s hard to argue the logic and sense of where everyone ended up.
Sure, I wish Jon Snow was king. And I wish Gendry and Arya lived happily ever after at Storm’s End. And I wish I didn’t have this unsatisfied feeling of defeat in the pit of my stomach now that the show is over, but maybe that’s the point: Nothing in life you care about as much as we all cared about Game of Thrones can ever end in a satisfying way. It can only end with a dagger to the heart.