game of thrones

Our Lingering Questions About the Game of Thrones Series Finale

Photo: HBO

And now, our watch has ended. After many years, eight seasons, and countless words written and theories spun as to how it would all wrap up, we’ve heard the final bars of the Song of Ice and Fire. But that doesn’t mean everything has been wrapped up all nice and neat — oh no! That wouldn’t be Game of Thrones’ style. But like a resident survivor of Flea Bottom, we’ve got to keep buggering on. So here are our lingering questions about “The Iron Throne” — some of them have answers, others do not, but regardless, they’re all we have left to cling to as we find ourselves at the end of one of the biggest cultural phenomena of all time.

Wait, so Bran is really king now?
Did you not just watch the show? And that’s Bran the Broken to you.

Does that make any sense?
If you think about it, kind of, yeah! Who else knows all the past, present, and future of the Known Realm in exhaustive detail? Who else has been on this ride all along? To say nothing of the fact that, in the George R.R. Martin telling of the story, the first point-of-view chapter we get is Bran’s. Whether it makes you happy or not is another thing entirely, but that’s not something we can evaluate.

Okay, but they couldn’t come up with a better nickname for Bran?
Right? It’s not great, but it is super in line with the sort of nicknaming that happens in Westeros. Just browse through A Wiki of Ice and Fire — lots of rude-ass nicknames there!

How did Grey Worm reach Dany before Jon, even though Jon left while Grey Worm was still busy killing prisoners?
Clearly, he took the same shortcut Arya did to get up the Red Keep’s steps quicker than Jon Snow. Of course Jon Snow wouldn’t know the shortcut.

Wait, that was the Red Keep Dany was standing on when she delivered her terrifying speech?
Yes! Pretty scary and downright, uh, Star Wars–ian, was it not? Wonder if that was a coincidence. Guess Dany’s dream in the House of the Undying was way less intense than reality — who knew?

Why did Jon kill Dany, instead of Arya closing her green eyes forever?
It was a callback to Jon’s own death, for one: being stabbed in the heart in the middle of a mutiny, which made the scene especially heartbreaking (not to mention, you know, all the love stuff). It also helped to solidify Jon’s place as the most dutiful bastard on the show, being the finale’s honorable stand-in for Ned Stark. As for Arya not closing any of the green eyes Melisandre prophesied for her? Maybe it’ll still happen when she goes west of Westeros — or maybe it’s just because she decided to choose life. Or maybe it’s because most prophecies are garbage. And on that note …

So is the power of religion and magic totally meaningless?
Are the gods not actually playing a game of thrones with the realms of the living? Is magic not an allegory for anything? Does religion not control anything, then? To all of which the answer would seem to be: no. Sure, they’re all helpful tools that can be used to make life easier or better — and when you have access to magic it certainly makes you powerful. But it doesn’t make you better or more fit to rule anything. Unless, I guess, you’re Brandon Stark.

Is this the ending George R.R. Martin wanted?
Last we heard, Martin said the series’ endgame is still the same one he was writing toward. But will he like how it’s all wrapped up? That’s not a question we can answer, but bet on him making some sort of statement on all of it soon.

Was there a time jump in there? How was there suddenly no ash on the ground?
Yes! Based on Jon Snow’s and Tyrion’s prison beards, it seems they spent several weeks, possibly even months, in captivity following Dany’s death.

Are we really obligated to call what was on Jon Snow’s chin a beard?
I think so. I don’t make the rules.

Who all was at the dragonpit meeting?
As Samwell pointed out, the remaining heads of the great houses of Westeros. So in addition to the Winterfell contingent of Sansa, Arya, and Bran, you have Samwell Tarly, Edmure Tully, Robin “Milk Boy” Arryn, Yohn Royce, Yara Greyjoy, the new Prince of Dorne, and two other folks we haven’t met.

Where is Grey Worm going? What is Naath?
Grey Worm and some of his Unsullied are headed to Missandei’s island hometown. Why? Probably to open up a couple bed and breakfasts. They just better watch out for butterfly fever.

Where is Arya going? What’s west of Westeros?
Short answer: No one knows. At the end of the series, we watch Arya Stark on a boat heading west on the Sunset Sea. But where is she headed? Several people have journeyed west of Westeros … never to return. There are rumors that it is never winter there and nobody dies. Seems like an interesting place to send Arya “murderperson” Stark, no?

Could a series featuring Arya heading west of Westeros be one of the three spinoffs in production?
Honestly, we wouldn’t be mad about it. But all signs point toward HBO’s spinoff series’ all being prequels, so don’t hold your breath.

Who wrote the A Song of Ice and Fire book Samwell gave to Tyrion?
That would be one Archmaester Ambrose — played in season seven by Jim Broadbent — with an assist from Samwell on the title.

What was Samwell wearing, by the way?
Archmaesters’ robes! It looks like he’s become the new Archmaester to King Bran, meaning he’s got a lot more reading and learning to do. Good thing he’s employed by a king who can see and know literally everything with a flick of his warg skills.

And what’s up with Brienne’s and Podrick’s fancy new armor?
It means they’re in the Kingsguard, and Brienne’s in particular means she’s in charge of it. She has Jaime’s old job! That’s why she wrote the end of his story in the great big book of old Westerosi knights.

Did Ser Davos’s long-suffering wife get to upgrade to a fancy castle?
She better have. The show failed to mention which house Ser Davos took over, but we can assume he’s a lord now, given that he is on the King’s Council. Maybe he got Harrenhal? Feels like a sad but ultimately appropriate place for our Onion Knight to call home.

What’s the significance of Tyrion’s “honeycomb and a jackass” joke to the council?
Well! It’s a joke that, twice now, Tyrion has started but never been able to finish. Once in season one (with Lisa Arryn and Catelyn Stark in the Vale) and once again in season six (in Meereen with Grey Worm and Missandei). It’s a nice little callback to a long-standing gag.

So Jon’s back in the North with the Night’s Watch, but what exactly is the point of the Night’s Watch now?
Great question. The last shot of the finale indicates that Jon (along with Tormund — hi, Tormund!) is leading the Free Folk back to their homes, now that the threat of White Walkers is gone. So what’s left for Jon and his brothers in black to guard the realms of men against? Hey, north of the Wall is a big place.

Our Lingering Questions About the Game of Thrones Finale