The only good thing about food poisoning yourself is all the time you can spend laying in bed trying to think about anything other than the apocalyptic dehydration ravaging your digestive system. I could think of no better way to distract myself than to rewatch some earlier seasons of Game of Thrones, as I have not fully accepted the fact that it’s going to be another 10 months or more until the next. And let me tell you something, there is no worse way to spend those hours of agony than watching a show as intense and violent as Game of Thrones, it’s just a bad idea, don’t do it. Because as your mind starts to reel and waver in and out of consciousness all kinds of horrible details start to seep in and god forbid you fall asleep during a Ramsay Bolton torture session, it’s not a positive experience. But because I have judgment bad enough to food poison myself, I’ve done this, for you, and some delirious but interesting ideas occurred that I thought I’d share somewhere only a few people will judge me.
There’s no feasible way of summing up how many wild theories exist on the interwebs for how the show will end but they are many and, often, dumb and since I can’t begin to outnumber those theories I decided maybe I can out-dumb them. As someone who actually enjoyed the last two films I saw in theaters (Warcraft and Independence Day: Resurgence) I believe I am the man for that particular job. This will contain some spoilers for what has already transpired but nothing too in-depth and I am going to try and ground them in some semblance of logic or reference rather than wander off into obscure lore and trivia.
Or maybe I will, I haven’t eaten anything but rice and jello in three days. Enjoy!
Theory #1: It’s all taking place in Bran’s MIND, man!
So there was this show in the 80s called St. Elsewhere that I don’t remember paying attention to as much as Doogie Howser, M.D. but from what I recall it was like what E.R. is today. What? That’s not relevant? It’s what Grey’s Anatomy is like today. That’s still on the air?! Whatever. It’s like *insert medical procedural* with a massive cast of actors who went on to greater success elsewhere (heh). But it was unique in its series finale for implying that the five or six years of intertwining complex characters and relationships had all actually transpired within the mind of a young autistic child staring at a snow globe. Obviously, the internet didn’t exist back then so there were no message boards or “tweeters” for people to express their half-formed inarticulate atavistic thoughts instantaneously so it’s hard to gauge how this may have affected St. Elsewhere’s audience.
However. Call it a social experiment or sociological curiosity or, perhaps what it is, pure evil, I would like to see what would happen to the pop culture consciousness if David Benioff and D.B. Weiss orchestrated an epic showdown between the forces of good and evil, between a united Jon Snow and Daenerys Targaryen against the Night King and when all the ash and blood settles and the kingdom is saved and bittersweet endings abound, we pull back into darkness and out of the iris of Brandon Stark. Who is laying in bed, paralyzed from his fall from a tower in Winterfell. But perfectly safe. The whole Stark family, in fact, are all accounted for like the end of The Wizard of Oz. Especially the part where everything is in black and white because have you seen Winterfell? I have a feeling that social media would shake itself down to its apoplectic foundations and, even as a fan of the show myself, it would be worth it. Plus it would be another reason to hate Bran.
1.5 out of 10, some things should remain in the mind of an addled sleep-deprived maniac. Not to mention this ending would imply that Bran has one sick fucking imagination for an eight year old.
Theory #2: Jon Snow and Daenerys Targaryen will fall in LOOOOOVE!
So this might not seem so bad for anyone who doesn’t read a box score. In fact, if you’re a super casual fan this might even seem like an ideal situation, the stuff of fairy tale. Well. Kind of. But more like the old school, un-edited by Disney fairy tales that are as creepy and horrifying as most mainstream horror these days. As confirmed by the finale of season six, Jon is actually the son of Lyanna Stark and Rheagar Targaryen, who was by all accounts a good guy, as well as the big brother of Daenerys, which makes her Jon’s aunt. Which presents a quandary. I’ve lived all over the place and even in the most podunk places first cousins are generally considered to be a bridge too far. Aunt and nephew, well, that’s just weird. The bigger problem is, how would they even know?
Granted, this is still just a theory, but I have no doubt in my mind that Jon and Dany are going to cross paths in one way or another, on this I’d bet real money. So unless one or the other encounters someone half as awesome as they are on the way to that fateful meeting, it only seems natural that they are going to be the literal song of Ice and Fire that George was writing about. Unfortunately, the only living soul that apparently knows his actual parentage is a paralyzed Bran who is still north of the Wall. Who I don’t believe is coming back over it, by the way. I think he’s going to set up camp and become the new tree mystic, with Meera to keep him company. So how is this fact going to be relevant to the rest of the story? If Jon and Dany do hook up are we just supposed to clap and look the other way awkwardly? Or am I wrong and Bran will show up at the last minute and ruin their aesthetically pleasing but gross love affair with the awful news? My money is on the latter because that’s just what Bran is all about.
5.0 out of 10, I think this might actually have legs, assuming one of the two (and I think we all know who it would be) doesn’t sacrifice himself in some epic fashion for the other. Stop trying to outdo JC, Jon Snow. Ya heathen!
Theory #3: The forces of good prevail with the help of The Lord of Light who turns out to be the goddamn devil incarnate
There are clearly two very different supernatural forces vying for control of Westeros, excluding the Seven who do not appear to have any influence or grant people special powers outside of the ability to act like complete fundamentalist assholes. The Wights, the White Walkers, and the zombies from the north appear to be remnants of the Children’s magic but where does that magic come from? Maybe it’s the Old Gods who haven’t been introduced or elaborated on and they don’t seem to have an agenda that is shared with anything that has a pulse or a narrative. On the other hand The Lord of Light is basically the Chatty Cathy of higher powers, resurrecting people and deploying shadow demons like it’s going out of style. He’s reliable and as accessible as hell which should be deeply troubling to anyone who has experienced his particular brand of magic. You know what else is so reliable and accessible? Wal-Mart. Pay day cash advance loans. Apple products. All certifiably evil.
It’s hard to believe anyone who subscribes to the Lord of Light isn’t a little bit taken aback by the actual methods employed to accomplish his miracles. No one has sat down and thought, “Well, clearly the magic works but…burning people alive to do it? I’m not sure the ends justify the means, or if that idiom has even been invented yet.” Everything about this god seems to scream evil. And I think Melisandre, as vile as she had been up until recently, is the only character with a real sense of what happens when you follow this thing all the way down the rabbit hole. Her and Stannis, of course. So if the good guys win only to turn around and find themselves taking victory laps in Hell, my hair isn’t exactly going to be blown back. I don’t actually think this would be that horrible of an ending to the series, if it turns out that the whole thing was a big chess game between two superpowered beings, neither benevolent. Depressing. But epic as shit.
3.5 out of 10, this isn’t going to happen in the series, it’s just way too high level for a television audience. And that’s not a slight on GoT’s audience, it’s just not what anyone is looking for and Benioff and Weiss make a concerted effort to downplay a lot of the more fantasty elements of the novels. The books, however, I don’t know, I would not put it past GRRM to try and add something grander to distinguish himself from the show.
Theory #4: Everybody Dies
Did anyone ever see that movie The Alamo? It’s not good. Great production value and some neat moments but not good. The idea is romantic and inspiring and at least they knew to end the film appropriately, unlike certain dumbbells who missed the point so severely they thought it would be a good idea to give a film called Pearl Harbor a happy fucking ending. I’m starting to think that Game of Thrones has slowly but surely been turning me to the Dark Side because as the seasons wear on I find myself longing for this damn Winter to finally show up. I want to see the Wall come down and the awful, amoral, backward primitives scattered from coastline to coastline by the zombie hordes. Now, I’m not saying I want our reluctant or fearless heroes to die, I love Arya and Pod and a few others but while the show and the books have done an incredible job making me understand and sympathize with these brilliantly written characters, I don’t much care for the common folk. They are easily frightened, easily swayed, and too often rape-y. I know this is accurate for a story set in basically the Dark Ages but I dunno, *shrug*, fuck ’em. Maybe they do need to get chased around Westeros by a bunch of zambies for a little while so that they can take stock of their lives, maybe set up a parliamentary system and you know, rape less.
But what if it’s all too late to save the day and the stories we’re following in Game of Thrones are the names of heroes and villains that are all going to die and pass into legend, like some Westerosi Old Testament. And Sam is the scribe that will record all of it and leave a record that turns into a myth no one believes anymore. From what I’ve read the final two seasons are going to be shortened. Season seven is going to be seven episodes and season eight is looking like it will be six episodes long. Why? I think it’s because there are going to be fewer and fewer characters to follow. Less story to tell. And when everyone has been wiped out and no one is left, one man will finally appear out of the mist…
Plausibility Scale: 6.5 out of 10, unfortunately, this is this looking like the most plausible of them all. And again, even if the show doesn’t go there, I’d bet reasonable money GRRM will if he ever finishes the books.
Theory #5: Cersei Wins
One thing I have noticed on my delirious, fevered rewatch of Game of Thrones is that Cersei Lannister is, without a doubt, the biggest asshole in the entire canon. Granted, Ramsay is a cruel sadist and Joffrey was a spoiled monster, but Cersei is something else entirely. I realized around the fifth season or so, when she resurrects the Faith Militant, that she doesn’t have a sympathetic bone in her body. That she has never at any point been remotely kind or considerate to anyone at any point in the story, ever, and goes out of her way only when the opportunity to cut someone down or make them feel small presents itself. I might have felt a thin semblance of pity for her when Tommen did what he did at the end of season six but in retrospect, as Olenna pointed out, it’s all her fault. Tommen was a sweet kid and an ineffective but good-natured king. And he was happy with Margaery, who was happy right back and everything was fine. What was the worst that could have happened to Cersei as long has her kid was happy? That she would become irrelevant or lose influence over him? So she blows the whole thing up (figuratively, first) and has the Tyrell’s arrested for obscenity and smirks arrogantly at her son’s indignation. And thankfully karma catches up to her for this but if there was a lesson to be learned from the experience, Cersei didn’t catch it. Because she is a narcissist, pure and simple, soup to nuts. There is no self-reflection, or ‘how did I get myself into this’, only ‘I’m going to get what I want no matter what’.
That kind of selfishness is what wins more often than not. It’s why you don’t see the guy in the brand new Lexus politely letting people merge, instead he’s driving like the only person who has a purpose in life. How will she do it? I have no fucking clue. How has she survived this long without a servant bashing her upside the head out of principle, because, really, who would object? I have a feeling that this ending, with her miraculously retaining rule to the end, would be too infuriating for everyone involved, and now that Ramsay Bolton is nothing but a human Beggin’ Strip (it’s BACON!), Cersei is not only the Queen of King’s Landing and the Seven Kingdoms, she’s the Last Asshole Standing and about to be the bacon in a Jon and Dany BLT.
Plausibility Scale: 6.0 out of 10, Cersei is going to be around until the end, I think. There aren’t any other worthy antagonists left and they are going to need someone to balance things out since all the good guys won this season and the White Walkers are about as verbose as a dead Hodor after he dies protecting th- DAMN YOU, BRAN.
Conclusion: I ended up taking this a little more seriously than I intended but it is what it is. I did also have a theory that Bran and the Three Eyed Raven played by Max Von Sydow are the same person, just at different ages and I stand by that because they look just like each other. But I also theorized that he wasn’t really there in the first place and that Bran was having a Tyler Durden moment talking to tree for however many days. But on my rewatch I noticed that Meera does, in fact, look right at Captain Tree-Pants and talk to him when they first arrive, so this has somewhat lessened my conspiratorial hoodoo. But I still think it’s true.
Ultimately, I find it wearying when George describes the ending of his epic series as ‘bittersweet’. My guard goes up. I get cagey. Personally, and I mean this with all the love I have for Tyrion, Davos, Missandei, and Jon Snow, I don’t care if the whole places burns to the ground or is converted into a ice zombie slave colony, just give me this one thing, Dave and D.B., just this one thing.