For seven seasons and 1000’s upon 1000’s of pages, Game of Thrones has been devoted to subverting expectations. Will a personality meet a horrible loss of life? Oh, most assuredly. Will loyalties shift based mostly on the whims of lesser males? Yeah, that checks out. Few reveals encourage fan theories as obsessive and intricately detailed as Game of Thrones. That type of hypothesis is born out of wealthy mythology; we’ve been given a lot, so clearly, that data will seep into our brains till we’re reciting home phrases in our sleep.
With the discharge of the total trailer for the ultimate season, persons are confronted with the chance that their favorites will possible meet premature ends. Make your peace with it now, guys. Valar morghulis. Coming after a collection of posters that envisioned each main character on the Iron Throne — including gas to my “Brienne Wins It All” pipe dream — it’s secure to say that followers are at the moment in principle overdrive.
However, staring down the barrel of an precise ending, we’re confronted with a really actual query that will not have a solution: how will we even need this all to finish? Even although fandom lives on lengthy after reveals finish (particularly with prequel collection and spinoffs on the way in which), all of our theories will probably be both validated or proven to be complete codswallop. Do we need to be confirmed proper, or will we need to be shocked?
With a fantasy ending, there are actually three normal outcomes: complete annihilation, the fairy story customary, or somewhat little bit of each.
So, complete annihilation. Despite the very best efforts of the remaining homes — an more and more tiny quantity — the White Walkers win. Even with their dragon glass and the desire to outlive, we watch all of our heroes fall to countless winter’s icy fist. The Night King ascends to the Iron Throne as bones pile up round him. It was actually all for naught. No matter how laborious our heroes fought, they have been discovered wanting.
For a collection as bleak as Thrones, this isn’t an unbelievable consequence by any means. Since the loss of life of Ned Stark, the purpose that anybody can die, no matter how beloved they’re, has been hammered residence many times. And once more. And once more for good measure. Showrunners David Benioff and D.B. Weiss have been adamant that Game of Thrones won’t ever take the “stereotypical” route for fantasy. There won’t ever be a second the place the land is made lovely once more, the Red Bull is pushed into the ocean, the hobbits are considered saviors, and many others. and many others. and many others.
Now, there are many individuals who suppose that that is the way it all ought to finish. A grim finish to a grim collection. Anything happier would really feel dishonest within the face of the ugliness that we’ve endured. Ramsay Bolton, might he rot in seven hells, advised us outright: “If you think this has a happy ending, you haven’t been paying attention.” That second was the last word fourth wall break: certain, he was informing Theon of his situation, however he was additionally letting viewers know precisely what sort of present they have been watching.
Is that actually what we need to occur? To have the concept nothing you do can cease the onslaught of ache round you pushed residence once more? While that is typically not the way in which that tales wrap up, this nonetheless feels predictable. This is the present that had a father burn his solely little one on the stake with a purpose to appease gods that weren’t listening, in any case. After dedicating years of loyal fandom to a present that always jeers at you for having any hope in any respect, this consequence would really feel a bit like an inexpensive trick. You really cared about this stuff? F*ck you. Here’s one closing spherical of nasty drugs to sear that optimism out of you for good.
At the other finish of the ache spectrum, there may be the stereotypical joyful fantasy ending. Jon and Dany rule as king and queen benevolently till the top of their days and everybody conveniently forgets about that complete incest factor. All of the remaining Starks survive and get a second probability at a life that dealt them a tough hand. Brienne and Tyrion get the respect that they deserve and have been lengthy denied. After a very magnificent character arc over the seasons, Jaime will get the possibility to die a hero in Brienne’s arms (Jaime dies in each state of affairs. Sorry, of us. This is one practice that may’t be stopped.). Each and each prophecy and dangling storyline is tied up in a tidy bow. We lastly get Lady Stoneheart! All of the direwolves are magically alive once more!
Now, OK, deliberately ridiculous examples apart, this might additionally really feel improper. Fantasy is usually a spot to work out tropes of excellent and evil, and whereas it could have been heavy-handed at instances, Game of Thrones has by no means been about clear reduce black-and-white morality. Everyone has made moral compromises or betrayed somebody they care about, and everybody has been deeply human, with the entire complexity that comes together with it. This is to not denigrate tales which have joyful endings and eternally noble characters (my love for Samwise Gamgee will dwell on previous the fiery loss of life of the universe), however that’s not the story that Game of Thrones has been telling all alongside. That doesn’t make it higher or worse, simply completely different. Different tales can and will have completely different targets.
I’ll name it optimism as an alternative of misguided religion, however I’m hoping for a little bit of each. If they need to circumvent expectations, they might hold Cersei on the throne (#ImWithHersei). In a approach, that may characterize “evil” profitable and throw out the white knight narrative that fantasy likes to fall again upon. Sure, there’s the entire concern of the Valonqar prophecy to cope with, however prophecies have been improper or misunderstood earlier than. There are loads of methods to convey a darkish message with out going full-on finish of days.
I don’t suppose that leaving followers with a number of seeds of hope would go utterly amiss both. As bleak as Game of Thrones has been, it hasn’t been utterly with out hope. Arya and Sansa discovered their approach again to one another and are on the trail of mending sisterly wounds. Jorah Mormont went by means of revolting, peeling hell to rid himself of dragonscale and was healed. Hot Pie managed to remain alive and spends his time baking wolf bread. Dany tragically misplaced a dragon final season, however the truth that they’re round in any respect is a miracle. Jon Snow actually rose from the lifeless. Sometimes, for a quick second, issues in Westeros can look somewhat brighter.
I don’t envy the crew tasked with wrapping up Game of Thrones. Fans can get fairly rabid when their expectations aren’t met — simply take a look at the bitterness that also permeates the Lost fandom — and to say that expectations are excessive about this closing season could be the understatement of the century. Game of Thrones has secured these expectations by means of tales masterfully executed, leading to occasion tv the likes of which will not be seen once more within the present age of streaming and Peak TV. It’s unimaginable to jot down an consequence that can fulfill everybody and it’s unfair to anticipate such a feat from them. At this level, I’m simply hoping for one thing that isn’t an utter betrayal.
Kit Harington claims that he “blubbed his eyes out” in regards to the ending. That’s tremendous.
They can break my coronary heart. They’ve earned the correct. Just do it in a approach that feels true.