PROCEED WITH CAUTION: SPOILERS FOR GAME OF THRONES FINALE AHEAD
If there was one question which had gripped fan imagination before the release of Game of Thrones season 8, it was the underlying question of which character would ultimately end up sitting on the Iron Throne and rule the Seven Kingdoms of Westeros. In the finale, the acclaimed HBO fantasy drama, at last, did give an answer following some surprising twists and turns. But in the end, a surprising new regent was installed for a new age.
A Recap Of The Finale Of Game Of Thrones
In the aftermath of “The Bells”, Daenerys Targaryen proclaimed herself as the rightful Queen to her assembled Dothraki horde and the Unsullied amid the ruins of King’s Landing.
After a heart-to-heart talk with Tyrion Lannister, Jon Snow feigns to pledge loyalty only to kill Dany in front of the Iron Throne. The lovers and blood relatives had seen their relationship steadily deteriorating over the course of the season, with Daenery’s threatened by Jon’s secret claim to the throne as the son of her older brother Rhaegar Targaryen.
Faithful to the will of the people and distrustful of power, Jon’s move was not entirely unexpected, although it dashed speculation that Arya Stark might have a hand in swiftly ending the Mad Queen’s reign.
However, it’s not Jon who becomes King of the ashes; he’s imprisoned by the Unsullied for his crime. So instead at the urging of Tyrion Lannister, the lords and ladies of the great house of Westeros select Bran Stark, or Bran the Broken, as king and he, in turn, chooses Tyrion as his Hand.
With all of human history living within him as the Three-Eyed Raven, Bran’s ascension to the throne is certainly an inspired choice and one which most fans didn’t see coming.
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Even with a Stark as Westeros’ new ruler, Sansa’s longstanding wish for North to become a sovereign kingdom is honored by her younger brother. Sansa and Arya had chafed under the assumption that the North would be forced to serve as vassals under Daenerys, especially once Jon pledged the kingdom’s fealty without their consent.
Now with Daenerys dead, Sansa and Arya’s fears have been laid to rest. Sansa is crowned Queen in the North, while Jon is sent to the Night’s Watch, never to marry or have children, as a concession to the Unsullied.
So Who Is The Final Winner?
With Westeros becoming a representative oligarchy rather than an absolute monarchy, and the North its own kingdom again, Bran and Sansa are the clear winners by the end of Game of Thrones. There was a lot of speculation that either Daenerys or Jon Snow would sit on the Iron Throne, but for better or for worse those expectations were subverted by the show.
So while it was a sad ending overall, the series did end on a hopeful note with the most unlikely candidate sitting on the throne while Sansa not only retained her freedom but also rose to a greater position of power herself. This is the happiest, these characters will ever get on Game of Thrones.