The battles have ended, the smoke has cleared, and Game of Thrones is over. For better or for worse, people will be talking about Game of Thrones‘ eighth and final season for years to come, but the end of HBO’s hit fantasy series also means the conclusion to one of fans’ favorite activities: Trying to guess what will happen to the citizens of Westeros, and theorizing about who will sit on the Iron Throne.
Theories about how the show ran the gamut, from the Cleganebowl (which ruled) to Bran being responsible for King Aerys’ madness (didn’t happen) to time travel (nope). Here’s how some of the most popular Game of Thrones fan theories panned out, but if you haven’t watched the finale yet, watch out:There are some major spoilers for all eight seasons of Game of Thrones ahead.
Daenerys will become the real villain and Jon Snow will kill her
True. In Game of Thrones‘ first-to-last episode, Daenerys lost her temper and her mind and burned King’s Landing and many of its residents to a crisp. That was enough for Jon — with some difficulty — to realize that Dany had truly gone off the deep end. In the finale, he stabbed Daenerys with a dagger instead of ruling by her side, ending the Mother of Dragons’ reign as queen before it even really started.
The Night King isn’t really dead
False. After eight seasons of build-up, the White Walkers and their menacing, silent leader were dispatched in a single episode. The zombie army barely warranted a mention as the characters returned to their political squabbles, and fans who thought that the Night King’s spiral pattern held the secret to his return — or who wanted his story to matter at all — ended up disappointed.
Bran becomes the Night King
False. Bran did become a king, but not the one that everyone expected. At Game of Thrones‘ conclusion, Bran the Broken is ruler of the seven — sorry, six — kingdoms, while his special powers provided the answer to the question of Jon’s true ancestry and not much else.
Jamie will kill Cersei (or Arya will kill Cersei wearing Jamie’s face)
False. The Lannister twins met their end among the dragon skeletons in King’s Landing as Daenerys brought the entire Red Keep (or a thin smattering of bricks, at least) down on top of them. Jamie gave up a happy ending with Brienne to keep Cersei company while they died, and Arya’s face-switching abilities didn’t even play a minor role in Westeros’ ultimate fate.
Jon Snow will melt the Iron Throne, disband the Seven Kingdoms, and return to the North
Sort of true. Many of these beats happen, but it’s hard to say that Jon’s really responsible for them. The Iron Throne melts after Daenerys dies, but only because a grieving dragon lashes out in anger. The North absconds from the kingdom, but there’s still a king. Jon ends up spending the rest of his days among the wildlings, but only because he’s condemned to the Wall for killing Daenerys, leaving him without much of a choice.
Tyrion is actually a Targaryen
False. The theory goes that Tyrion was actually conceived when the Mad King, who apparently lusted after his mother, raped her. Tywin has known all along but covered it up. How else, after all, could Tyrion have removed the chains from the caged dragons without them seeing him as anything more than a light snack? But no, Tyrion survives as the last Lannister, stuck in a job that he hates: He’s Hand of the King yet again.
Arya, not Jon or Daenerys, is the Prince Who Was Promised
Maybe true? Arya’s big triumph over the Night King had many Game of Thrones viewers wondering if they had the show’s big prophecy all wrong. Maybe it was Arya, not Jon or Daenerys, who was the reincarnation of Azor Ahai, the one destined to deliver the world from darkness. Who knows? Game of Thrones never explained to whom the prophecy referred. It could’ve been Jon, it could’ve been Arya, or it could’ve been a load of hooey. After all, Melisandre has been wrong before.
Samwell wrote A Song of Ice and Fire
Sort of true. George R. R. Martin has said that if he were any character in Game of Thrones, he’d be Sam, and fans wondered if Samwell would end up being the in-world character who actually wrote the story, similar to how Bilbo Baggins allegedly wrote The Hobbit. During the Game of Thrones finale, Sam presents the completed A Song of Ice and Fire to Tyrion, but he’s not the author — Jim Broadbent’s character, Archmaester Ebrose, is. Still, Sam helped: As he proudly says, he came up with the title.
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