Game of Thrones has quickly become an incredible success story for Television. Rarely is a show so incredibly controversial and popular at the same time.
Before I go anywhere with this topic, I am going to talk about characters and events from the first 4-5 seasons. If you haven’t watched it yet, this post will be more or less meaningless to you anyway. So go away and watch it, or move on to the next post as this one is a waste of your time. Oh, then I am going to throw out some speculation around where the show is headed based on nothing more than my own imagination and the sense I have of George R R Martin’s style of storytelling, perhaps influenced by some of the more popular theories floating around (R+L=J). If any of that bugs you, you were warned. Proceed at your own risk.
Season 5 has at the time of writing commenced airing, but as a result of my own hatred of commercial television, I have yet to see any episode from it. Thanks to the media’s disgusting habit of posting details about an episode right after it has aired (seriously – either people watched it meaning they already know what happened and the media are informing nobody about anything – or they are just posting spoilers. Talk about your blatant attempts to glom onto pop culture for the sake of circulation – rage rage rage). Anyway, thanks to that I am at least aware of the controversial rape scene from mid season 5.
I started to read the books but gave up after having found the early books so close to the TV series that it added no value and I found no enjoyment in from my efforts.
I fell for the show from the opening scene of the pilot. Ironically, that scene introduced the threat of the White Walkers which was a story thread essentially ignored for almost 2 full seasons before it got any traction. In the meantime, the gritty characterisation, daring and often controversial twists were enough to hook me in as a follower of the plot.
First up, I would not put it past Martin to wind up the finale with Daenerys finally claiming the iron throne, clamouring over the corpses of her enemies having claimed a final victory with the support of armies and her dragons. As she does this, her dragons find the skulls of their predecessors in Kings Landing and go feral. Chomp her to bits and as they burn Kings Landing to the ground, the camera pans to a nearby location where George R.R Martin himself appears in peasant costume doing a screw you dance at the demise of the assorted tyrants who have brought nothing but violence and misery to their peoples for so long, while also conceptually flipping the bird at the audience one last time. If nothing else, it would make an entertaining alternate ending feature for the DVD.
Perhaps a less silly set of speculation in some broad strokes.
Stanis claims King’s Landing with Jon at his side, with Jon having pledged support on the condition that Stanis will then help him turn out the half sister raping mongrel holding the North. While Stanis would prefer to pursue the retreating Lanisters rather than allow them to regroup and be a further threat in the future, he is an honourable man and keeps his word. After claiming King’s Landing, he turns with Jon to reclaim the North. An intense battle that sees Jon not only fight to the death against his one time ally, the minion formerly known and Theon. Ramsay, finding himself cornered and facing his own death, in a final shocking act of douchbaggery, murders Sansa to the outcry of large segments of the shows audience. Bran catches up with Jon around here, and teaches him about Wargs. Jon is stoked, but once again, Jon returns to King’s Landing to try and again convince Stanis that the White Walkers are probably not something that can continue to be put on the back burner, as without the support of a much larger army he cannot stand against them alone.
Meanwhile, Daenerys finally gets her act together and enters the 7 kingdoms, perhaps at the final cost of many of the surviving Lannister clan, thanks to a betrayal by Lord Baelysh that surpises exactly nobody. Jamie Lannister in particular dies badly, perhaps right after declaring feelings unbecoming a Lannister for Brienne.
Denerys prepares an army, and with her dragons at her back looks set to easily take the Iron Throne for herself. Epic battle time, only before things can really get going, we discover something shocking. Jon goes Warg, proving his blood connection to the house of Stark, and takes control of one of the dragons. Something none of the other surviving Wargs could ever do (also feeding in to the R+L=J theory, but not explicitly proving it yet). Under his control, one dragon kills one of its kin.
But there is more to this battle. Melisandra manipulates Stanis to bring his daughter to King’s Landing fully intending to have her murdered and use that death to motivate Stanis in to becoming the worst tyrant yet. One whose anger will drive him to restore the 7 kingdoms to fall under the rule of the iron throne, or to destroy them and rebuild from their ashes. Stanis discovers Melisandra too late, and slays her with his own hand. Yet, with madness in his eyes, he still embraces the path Melisandra had laid out for him, feeling that becoming that tyrant is now his ultimate destiny.
Shocked beyond the telling at the loss of a dragon, Daenerys retreats and her armies scatter. Suddenly she goes from frontrunner favourite to the throne to being on the run and hunted by Stanis.
Meanwhile, Stanis’ madness causes him to turn against Jon Snow and the House of Stark. They too must bend the knee or be destroyed. Jon is of course also freaked out beyond belief at his Warg awakening, so he also does a runner, secretly aided by Lord Baelysh who needs Stanis focused on hunting down his remaining enemies while Baelysh continues his own machinations.
Jon and Daenerys follow separate paths, both now sensing the importance of the other. Even Jon Snow who knows nothing cannot ignore the potential value of controlling dragons against the White Walkers (or perhaps he runs in to Tyrion who points that fairly obvious fact out to him). While Daenerys begins putting together the clues from R+L=J herself and thus seeks out Jon for separate purposes. Eventually the two meet and agree to join forces against both Stanis and what is now the more pressing concern of the White Walkers who are by now finally making their presence properly known south of the Wall.
In yet another climactic battle, this one being between Stanis and the forces that rally behind combined might of Jon and Daenerys, Stanis’ doom comes at the hand of none other than Arya Stark, who has now returned to the 7 kingdoms with a good quantity of assassins training under her belt.
Jon, Daenerys, Tyrion, Arya and whatever few others manage to survive to this point go to war against the White Walkers with the full support of the 7 kingdoms behind them. Things are looking good for happy endings if they can claim victory. In the battle, Baelysh betrays the couple ahd in doing so the lives of Jon and Daenerys are both lost, but not before a consumation and the birth of an heir being the child of Jon and Daenerys.
Amongst all this death, Baelysh at last presses his claim on the Iron Throne, believing that all opposition has at last been removed. Only to find that Tyrion has somehow managed to keep himself alive. While Baelysh is celebrating his own cunning, Tyrion cuts his throat invoking the death of Jamie and stating one last time that “A Lannister always pays his debts”, before being himself slain by Baelysh’s guards.
In the ultimate final scene, Bran is named the Hand of the King and given wardship over King’s Landing until the child of Jon and Daenerys comes of age. Arya claims Winterfell by right of blood and the final scene is Arya warning Bran to keep the peace in the 7 kingdoms, for should she need to return to King’s Landing again, nobody would see her coming.
Arya turns and walks away from Bran, who is sitting on the Iron Throne holding Jon and Daenerys’ child. Unseen to any but the audience as she does, she changes her face as did the Faceless Man. Peace is restored to the 7 Kingdoms through no other mechanism that there is no tyrant left to cause trouble.
And the entire audience goes in to therapy. THE END.
Way way off the mark? This was just an exercise in the imagination. For all I know, everything here may have already been proven impossible by events I am just not caught up on. Think I’m being too harsh? I honestly think anyone that still imagines there will be a happy ending at the end of all this underestimates George R R Martin. And I think Martin loves those audience members, especially he loves traumatising them.
(edit) And if you managed to get this far, here is a bit of genius put together for Red Nose Day for your entertainment.