Who Won ‘Game of Thrones’? A Character By Character Breakdown
Game of Thrones has ended! This was a television show about which very few people had strong opinions and hardly anyone discussed on the internet. Weird, right?
Here's my take: It was great. You didn't like it? Make your own 73-episode multi-zillion dollar high fantasy series. More importantly, it felt like all the major characters ended up in the right spot, even if it was bittersweet. Let's run down everyone's final placement on the game board.
Daenerys Stormborn of the House Targaryen, First of Her Name, the Unburnt, Queen of the Andals and the First Men, Khaleesi of the Great Grass Sea, Breaker of Chains, and Mother of Dragons
She had to die after the insane act of mass murder she committed last week. We'll be arguing for some time whether her actions were in character or if the writers pulled a switcheroo, but I'm finding myself in the camp that thinks this act of narrative deception was good. For us (the audience) to root for Daenerys as we did gets us in the headspace of Tyrion and Jon Snow. We were dazzled by her might, not by her ideals. Such blind devotion in a leader, not necessarily a good idea.
Which brings us to who killed her.
He loved his Queen. (And Aunt.) Really he did. And he never wanted to sit on the Iron Throne. But he's always been a man of principal and of action. So he killed her, in cold blood, knowing he'd never truly get away with it.
After the dust (well, ash, really) settled, he was imprisoned by Grey Worm and became a political hot potato in the final post-war scenes of “The Iron Throne”. The surviving Unsullied and Dothraki wanted him dead. Sansa and the Northmen wanted him freed. So, a compromise: back to the Night's Watch, which, if you want to get technical, is where he was supposed to be this whole time.
Of course, do they even have a Night's Watch anymore? Is there even a Wall? When Jon gets up there, there's a small outpost, sure. But more importantly, there's Tormund Giantsbane, his ol' red-bearded buddy, and Ghost, his faithful pup. He leaves society behind to live with the Free Folk.
Long live John “Forever Living In The” Snow! A noble man, even if he was a little slow on the uptake!
The Hand of the Queen told Daenerys to take this job and shove it, and for that he was sentenced to die. Luckily Jon Snow killed her before the order ever took. Weeks later, when the assembled VIPs assembled in King's Landing, it was decided that he should now become Hand to the new King.
Of course, he doesn't want this position. And that's why it is great. It's a punishment to him, satisfying the Daenerys loyalists who think he is a traitor. Moreover, it's the will of the new King, the very one that Tyrion suggested. And that King is …
Ser Bran (Bran?!?)
The broken boy who ascended to become the Three-Eyed Raven is the only person who can unite the Seven Kingdoms, argues Tyrion. Why? Because he is the keeper of stories.
Let's pull back a bit. One need not be a George R.R. Martin scholar to recognize that Tyrion is and always has been an author's stand-in. So for Peter Dinklage to get on his Emmy qualifying soapbox to preach the importance of Tales is quite a self-serving (but well-earned) moment. We (the people of Westeros and the subscribers of HBO) are hopefully learning something from all this conniving and strategy.
Tyrion's pick of Bran is also important because he can have no heir. Hereafter, the ruler of the Seven Kingdoms will be decided by a committee. It's not quite a democracy (which Samwell floats as a concept, before being laughed down) but it's a start.
Wait did I say Seven Kingdoms? I actually meant six, because …
Sansa Stark, The Queen in the North
When the council has decided to stop the fighting and get the world back on its feet, Sansa turns to her brother, says he'll be a great King, then adds “but I'm out!”
And … that's all it takes to break free. After all that tumult! After Ned Stark's head on a spike! The North is independent once more. There is, of course, one other person to thank.
Well, not a person, but a dragon.
When Jon Snow killed Daenerys, Drogon sensed it (he was just outside, laying in the ash) and was pissed. He quickly sized up what was happened and looks like he was about to incinerate Jon Snow.
But Jon Snow does not become Jon Flame. Drogon directs his anger toward the physical embodiment of all this trouble: The Iron Throne!
He spews fire until it turns liquid, finally proving the theory that dragon's breath can melt iron thrones. Drogon hates the monarchy! Good to know. But it's one of the great moments in the whole series, and one that feels perfect even if no one saw it coming.
Last we hear of Drogon, he's flying east.
The Youngest Stark, however, is headed west. The destruction of King's Landing, hell, the last few years of her life, have changed her too much. Like Frodo and Gandalf, she can't live here any more. She needs to sail off into the West, to a land, hopefully, of officially licensed sequel fiction approved by George R.R. Martin (but not written by him, let's not kid ourselves.)
He and his men leave town, and head to Naath, where Missandei was from. Ser Davos mumbles something about a non-aggression pact then he kinda disappears. Frankly, they kinda sweep this under the rug a bit, failing this character a little bit.
I don't know what ends up with her. She's at the big meeting and gets a line or two. Maybe wait for the book for more details?
Edmure Tully and Some Dude From Dorne
They are at the big meeting, too, but who has time for them?
Brienne, Bronn, Podrick, Ser Davos and Samwell
We leave them in King's Landing, at a stressful senior staff meeting. They work for Tyrion now, and they need to figure out how to get the sewer systems working again. Earlier, Brienne was making adjustments to Jaime Lannister's page in the Annals of the Kingsguard. Their final scene feels like Frederick Wiseman documentary.
The best part is Sam presenting Archmaester Ebrose's history of the wars (A Song of Ice and Fire har har har) and Tyrion, our anchor character through all of this, doesn't even get mentioned.
It's a nice final joke, before a montage of the three surviving Starks assuming their new position in the world. None of them are really happy, but they are surviving.
Gallery — The Best-Dressed Game of Thrones Characters: