[Editor’s Note: The following contains spoilers from “Game of Thrones” Season 8, Episode 6, “The Iron Throne.”]
The “Game of Thrones” finale has aired, and now our watch has ended… until the documentary, prequel series, and sequels, anyway. The long-awaited series ender wrapped up about a decade’s worth of work and countless hours cross-referencing Reddit for theories and clues. In the end, showrunners David Benioff and D.B. Weiss did see fit to answer two of the biggest questions looming over the final season.
The first — Who will kill Daenerys Targareyn (Emilia Clarke)? — only became a concern after she went full Mad Queen and destroyed King’s Landing. And despite everyone having a strong motives or nifty assassin skills to do the job, in the end, the task would always belong to Jon Snow (Kit Harington) since he’s the face of duty on the show.
As for the series-long question of who will sit on the Iron Throne, that’s a bit of a trick. After Jon cradles his dying beloved in his arms, Drogon arrives to melt down the Iron Throne with a few well-placed streams of dragonfire, rending the symbol of rule a molten puddle that can no longer be fought over. A group of lords and ladies from around Westeros unanimously vote in as their new king Bran the Broken, the First of His Name (Isaac Hempstead Wright), nominated by Tyrion Lannister (Peter Dinklage), former Hand of the Queen and soon-to-be Hand of the King.
And while many characters find relatively happy endings — if you didn’t die or have to kill a loved one/see them die — the series leaves plenty of open-ended questions. George R.R. Martin’s world is vast, extending thousands of miles across seas and thousands of years into the past. No one’s story is ever fully told, even if it’s recorded in a book by Maester Ebrose.
Here are some of the bigger burning questions that finale left for its viewers — and since Benioff and Weiss are presumably nursing hangovers very far from the Internet right now, these answers won’t be forthcoming anytime soon. What research can be done has been done with the help of Sam and the Citadel of Google:
Did Jaime and Cersei die from standing in the wrong place?
Tyrion has a far too easy time walking downstairs and finding his siblings’ not-so-buried corpses, which are next open areas in the cellar. It seems that they could have avoided their tragic fates if they had just moved a few feet away? The only logical explanation — that nevertheless sounds unlikely — is that some of the rubble had already been cleared away by others. But why would they stop their work when a gold hand was clearly peeking through? Nope. Chalk this up to plot contrivance.
Who the hell is Torgo Nudho?
Daenerys says this name in “The Bells,” then again in the finale, and finally Ser Davos (Liam Cunningham) also mangles the name. “Torgo Nudho” is Grey Worm (Jacob Anderson) in High Valyrian, and it seems that he only reverted to his name in his native tongue after the death of Missandei (Nathalie Emmanuel), who was a polyglot.
Why does Drogon go dracarys on the Iron Throne and not Jon?
Oh, to go inside the mind of a dragon. Wait, Bran can do that! Alas, viewers don’t have warging skills, so there’s no real way of knowing, but Drogon was always the smartest of Daenerys’ three dragons. (He never got caught by an airborne harpoon at least.) Sparing Jon may have just been a dragon recognizing anyone with Targaryen blood — and Jon did ride Drogon’s brother — so there’s familiarity there. But is Drogon wise enough to know the symbolism behind the Iron Throne and what it cost his mother? Maybe, maybe not. But it is made of the swords of fallen Targaryen enemies, and maybe he senses that?
Where does Drogon go with Dany’s corpse?
Drogon was last spotted flying East, which makes sense since Essos is where he was born and where the Targaryens hail from, and where the men from Valyria first learned to ride dragons. Although Drogon is believed to be the last of the dragons, there’s no guarantee that there aren’t other eggs hidden somewhere, ready to be hatched. Besides, there are ways to resurrect the dead in the East. Maybe Dany will ride again?
How do the Unsullied know that Jon killed Daenerys?
As soon as Drogon flew off with his mom’s body, he removed the evidence of Jon’s misdeeds. There’s really no reason for the Unsullied to assume that aunt-tricide took place. But knowing Jon and his blasted morality, he probably just confessed.
Who are all of those Westerosi lords and ladies voting for Bran?
Macall B. Polay/HBO
Although viewers could recognize a few main characters sitting on this electoral council, a couple faces were blasts from the past, and others were complete strangers. Here are all the ones that could be identified:
- Sansa Stark (Sophie Turner): The Lady of Winterfell and now the new Queen in the North
- Arya Stark (Maisie Williams): Assassin and world traveler
- Bran Stark: Three-Eyed Raven and King of the SevenSix Kingdoms
- Samwell Tarly (John Bradley): Grandmaester and Inventor of Democracy and Apparently Plastic Water Bottles
- Ser Brienne of Tarth (Gwendoline Christie): The first but hopefully not last female knight in Westeros.
- Ser Davos Seaworth: He makes a joke that he really doesn’t get a vote since he’s not a lord or anything. But as a former Hand to Stannis Baratheon, we’ll allow it.
- Yara Greyjoy (Gemma Whelan): Queen of the Iron Islands
- Gendry Baratheon (Joe Dempsie): The newly legitimized blacksmith is now Lord of Storm’s End
- Edmure Tully (Tobias Menzies): Catelyn’s rather bumbling blowhard brother, the Lord Paramount of the Trident, isn’t dead after all, even though he was last seen in a Frey cell. But then Arya massacred all the Freys with poisoned wine, so presumably Edmure was freed?
Macall B. Polay/HBO
- Robin Arryn (Lino Facioili): Hey, remember him? Sansa’s young and whiny cousin who wanted to see men “fly” out the Moon Door has survived thanks to all of that breast milk. He’s apparently grown into his haircut and voting for his cousin Bran. He’s also Lord of the Eyrie, Defender of the Vale, and Warden of the East.
- Yohn Royce (Rupert Vansittart): A loyal Stark bannerman.
- Maester Wolkan (Richard Rycroft): Formerly serving House Bolton, he more than happily switched allegiances to House Stark after Ramsay’s death.
- Unnamed Prince of Dorne (Toby Osmond): It was announced earlier this season that they’re a new prince in Dorne. His colorful robes are a dead giveaway as to his identity.
The rest of the council cannot be identified at this time.
Why is Brienne writing Jaime’s history?
Back in Season 4, Jaime Lannister (Nikolaj Coster-Waldau) is chagrined when he realizes the entry for his knightly deeds is quite short in The Book of Brothers, aka The White Book. Brienne also reads the entry, and in her last act of love for Jaime, she finishes his entry after his death. (In the books, Jaime is the one who is filling out the page himself.)
Of course, Ser Brienne herself could start her own page, and perhaps she’s saved this for another day.
'i couldn't help but wonder… by writing him even further into the historical record, was i accidentally writing *myself* OUT?' pic.twitter.com/foZqllfSEt
— Bim Adewunmi (@bimadew) May 20, 2019
Did Ghost know that Jon would return?
Ghost sure didn’t act surprised or hurt when his master returned up North. Perhaps their psychic bond is greater than the show let on? At least the budget allowed for one instance of direwolf petting in this episode, making up for that heinous ghosting two episodes ago.
Who knighted Podrick Payne (Daniel Portman)?
King Bran is within his rights to knight anyone, but our money is on Brienne, who recently learned that knights have this power.
Shouldn’t Bran know where Drogon is?
Bran knows anything that has happened and will happen and is happening. He really doesn’t need to ask where Drogon is. He just needs to access his Raven clairvoyance. Also, Bran is channeling Doctor Strange somewhat here, knowing the outcome of the war all along, and yet, allowing it to follow its course. It’s a little infuriating.
Does Jon abandon the Night’s Watch? And did the Wall get rebuilt?
As a compromise for not letting the Unsullied execute Jon for killing their queen, Jon is once again sent to the Night’s Watch to guard the realms of men. But in the last moments, he’s seen going beyond the Wall along with Tormund and the other wildlings, and a last look back makes it appear that he’s not going to stay with the Night’s Watch.
Now that the Night King has been defeated, and there’s a giant portion of the Wall that was melted down, the Night’s Watch’s duties might be different. Perhaps Jon Snow leaving with the wildlings — who helped the Northerners in the War of Winterfell — is forging a new alliance?
Does the show hint at the other two spinoffs?
Right now, there are three spinoffs in the works, but only one plot is known, and it takes place thousands of years in the past during the Age of Heroes. The other two plots have not been revealed yet, and the finale of “Game of Thrones” certainly makes it seem the at least one spinoff could continue one of these stories.
At one point when Jon asks if killing Daenerys was right, Tyrion says, “Ask me again in 10 years.” That sounds like a promise that can be edited into any spinoff casting announcement.
And while there are plenty of open storylines — Grey Worm’s journey to Naath, anyone’s life in the Small Council, Sam doing Maester things, Sansa ruling the North — it certainly feels as if Arya’s story is the most viable. After she killed the Night King, the show kept her around for no discernible purpose — she went to King’s Landing and didn’t kill either of the queens? — except to possibly keep her in viewers’ minds. In her last scene, Arya is seen aboard a ship to explore what’s West of Westeros. After the excellent fighting skills that Maisie Williams displayed at Winterfell, she can’t let that go to waste now, can she? It would also be a great way to balance the scale when it comes to women-driven stories in the “Thrones” universe. Please make this happen, HBO.
The “Game of Thrones: The Last Watch” behind-the-scenes documentary will air Sunday, May 26 at 9 p.m. ET on HBO.