Three Reasons Why ‘Game of Thrones’ Had The Best Ending Possible

After eight seasons, the show stuck the landing.


Philip Ellis |

It took eight seasons, a two year hiatus, and countless gory deaths, but Game of Thrones finally reached the end of its story. There are still spinoff TV shows and future instalments of George R.R Martin’s A Song of Ice and Fire novels to come, but this is the last time we’ll see our favourite characters on-screen. And for the most part, “The Iron Throne” managed to deliver a satisfying conclusion to a long and convoluted story. Here’s why.

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Neither Dany nor Jon ended up on the Iron Throne

We’ve been on Daenerys Targaryen’s side in her quest for the throne ever since season one, when she finally stepped out of her abusive brother’s shadow and showed that she had the inner strength of a queen. Over the next several years we watched her liberate slaves and rain down fiery retribution on the oppressors of Essos, but it was only in this truncated final season that we saw how that doesn’t necessarily make for a fit ruler.

Dany went from an underdog to the kind of freedom fighter who ends up being exactly the kind of dictator they claim to despise. Her final scene was a perfect bookend to the tragedy of Daenerys Targaryen; she reached the throne, and even reached out to touch it, but never sat on it as queen.

Similarly, Jon has been heralded as the true-born heir to the throne ever since his heritage was revealed in season seven — but he has never once been tempted by the title of ruler, only taking on the mantle of King in the North out of necessity. Seeing him kill the woman he loves, not to take the throne for himself but to save countless lives from her wrath, and condemning himself to a life of exile in the process, is exactly the kind of honourable act we’d expect to see from Ned Stark’s son.

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As for who ends up on the throne, well. Bran Stark might have been a left-field choice, but who better to help the people of Westeros avoid the mistakes of the past than the one person in existence who can actually remember them all?

There were no more weddings

Weddings have a tendency to go horribly awry in Westeros, and so it was probably for the best that the long-predicted union of Jon and Dany never took place. Nor did any other characters get hitched; maybe they’re taking their cues from Arya’s rejection of Gendry’s proposal. Series finales are often fond of marrying off pairings in the name of closure and giving them children that they name after dead characters (we’re looking at you, J.K. Rowling), which made it all the more refreshing to see Sansa, Arya and Jon each end their respective arcs by striking out on their own.

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In the end, nobody was Azor Ahai

The prophecy of the Prince That Was Promised has been a major plot point in the original books and throughout the series, but was left unresolved in the finale, and that’s not entirely a bad thing. Having Jon’s decision to kill Dany be his own, rather than the fulfilment of an ancient prophecy, was much more in keeping with the themes of Game of Thrones, first and foremost that we must be willing to live with the consequences of our actions. After eight seasons of witches, warlocks and wights, Game of Thrones stepped away from all of its mystical elements in the finale to focus solely on what makes the show so compelling: its characters.

Originally published on menshealth.com

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