Game of Thrones Finale Was The Final Piece of a Beautiful Puzzle

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A Song of Ice and Fire. For many people, including myself, we thought that meant Jon and Dany would rule the Seven Kingdoms together, happily ever after. A fairytale ending for a fantasy series. Even though nearly every episode in the series bludgeoned us with the idea that there is no truly happy ending.

In reality, this show has done everything to show us there is no "happily ever after" and yet we still held out hope it would happen. There are real consequences to the conquest of a kingdom. Robert Baratheon rose an army to stop the "mad king" and ended up sitting on a throne that was less than rewarding. He hated politics. He was a soldier, a lover, a hunter, a drinker, and was never fit for the throne. However, the Lannister's had other ideas as they saw him as a pawn to have their family sitting on the Iron Throne for all time.

We watched how the Lannister's slowly fell apart. Anyone who craved power ultimately had it stripped away, violently. From Peter “Littlefinger” Balish, to the Night King, to Cersei, and finally, Dany. Each one of them had designs on ruling over everyone. Dany's story began as one of sympathy. We all wept for her circumstances as she grew before our eyes. First suffering at the hands of her brother and a barbaric husband. She would go on to defeat her oppressor's and liberate the oppressed, everywhere she went.

But with her rise, also came a thirst for power. Something the Iron Throne excels at doing to people, with a few exceptions. Jon Snow's story of being the bastard of Ned Stark, to being the rightful heir to the throne was beautifully played out as we watched him stay true to himself no matter the consequences. When you put the entire show together and connect all the pieces, what you have is a beautiful portrait of an ugly world.

As is the case with all shows that comes to an end, especially one as popular as Game of Thrones, the cool thing to do is dumb down important events and look cool by saying it makes no sense. Unfortunately that only works on people who follow without questioning for themselves. People who aren't paying attention and easily forget the intricate web that has been woven.

I don’t mean to be insulting, I’m just saying that there’s so much left forgotten about the series that people should peel back the layers and enjoy everything it has to offer. Let’s take a look at some of the biggest complaints that I’ve seen so far.

“Jon being Aegon Targaryen, the true heir, meant nothing.”

A reminder that Tyrion sought compromise to end the violence. Had he named Jon King, the Unsullied and Dothraki would have revolted against them. They have no need for the royals of Westeros or the pleasantries of court. Not to mention, after talking with Jon he knew that, while Jon may be the heir, he wasn't fit to rule. Jon was affected greatly by every decision he ever had to make. The burden took its toll on him and Tyrion knew it. Aside from all of that, Jon didn't want it and said as much quite often.

His honor meant more to him than playing politics. Much like Ned Stark.

After making one last attempt to reason with her, but she was too far gone and he had to do the unthinkable. For honor and duty. To protect the lives of millions. Being that he was a Targaryen, it allowed him to take Dany's life without being reduced to ash by Drogon. Instead, realizing the real enemy, Drogon melted down the Iron Throne as it was the very thing that drove his mother to madness. Being angry that Jon isn't sitting on the throne when he saved all of Westeros from being "liberated" seems a bit short-sighted. Now, he is free to leave all of those worries behind as he lives with the free folk beyond the wall.

Being the true heir meant everything and nothing all at once. He refused his right to the throne and used the power of his heritage to save Westeros.

“Bran didn't do anything so he shouldn't be King.”

Just because he didn't swing a sword and needed to be carted around everywhere he goes, doesn't mean he's not deserving of the throne. His visions allowed things to take shape. He was detrimental in stopping the Night King, as Bran was the bait they needed to draw him out. Bran's visions of the future and knowledge of the past allow him to make decisions that will benefit the realm for decades. Not being able to father a child, institutes the beginning of a term limit on a person's reign. They will eventually need to elect a new ruler, much like they did with Bran. And while a general election was scoffed at, having Lords and Ladies decide through democracy is a step in the right direction.

Bran has no thirst for power. No desire for conquest. No greed for money. He has an understanding of what’s to come and the patience to understand the shortcomings of those around him.

“Bran was complicit in the murder of millions.”

Two things can be true. Bran was complicit but he couldn't stop it either. Much like Dr. Strange in Avengers: Infinity War/Endgame Bran saw the end of the story. He knew the fate of those at the Battle of Winterfell and King's Landing. That doesn't mean he was in a position to stop it. The point is, you can't change the future and those who see it, protect others from the horrible truths. It is a burden they carry. In order for the future to be seen it must be set in stone, the alternative would be far worse if one could just say a word and alter people's fate.

Let's imagine for a moment that Bran could change the future that he sees, remembering that once a change is made he can no longer predict what will happen until the ripple affect settles. So imagine for a moment he tells someone that Dany will reduce King's Landing to ashes. Who does he tell at that point in the story that will believe him? Tyrion most likely, possibly Jon. But we all know that Tyrion and Jon were both sold on the idea that Dany is the one who will save the Seven Kingdoms and most likely wouldn't be reasoned with. So then Varys would be the next possible candidate and we already know he was trying to poison her.

Which means the machinations were already in place for Dany to fail but it was never meant to be. Bran knew this. Had Varys' attempt been successful, the Dothraki and Unsullied would have revolted and demanded a martyr. The Northern Army would claim Jon rightful heir and a rebellion would break out, while Cersei watched her only opposition destroy itself.

Bran was complicit because attempting to change the future would create a ripple of unpredictable chaos.

“If Bran doesn't "want" anymore, why did he go to King's Landing?”

Bran doesn't want because he knows everything that is about to happen before it happens. Coming to King's Landing was inevitable as it has already been written. His statement wasn't meant to imply he wanted the throne so he wheeled down to take it. His statement implies that he knew the Lords would elect him. Bran had to make sure he was right where he needed to be, at the moment he needed to be there.

“The showrunners rushed through the plot.”

I didn't hear this complaint at all last season, which had a total runtime of 440 minutes over 7 episodes. This, the final season, was 432 minutes in total. Most of the complaints about things not being explained can be found in past episodes. If you go digging, you'll find all the foreshadowing you need. Heck, the ending allows a scene from the first episode to filed under "irony" when you put all the pieces together. Jaime Lannister, known as the "Kingslayer", literally tried to kill a boy who would go on to be king.

As we go along, things that would appear to be major plot points get mixed in with things that appear to be throwaway lines. Not everything is as important as it may seem and the showrunners did well to employ George R.R. Martin's way of thinking. It adds to replay value as people are already finding golden nuggets left behind in season's past. This season they spoon-fed some of them during the "previously on..." opening segment as it had been two years of waiting. But if you go back to analyze and take notes on events that happen early on, you will find information there that didn't seem important at the time.

Instead the "big" reveal jumps out at you as vital information. We hung on to the fact that Jon was Ned's bastard. Then we speculated. Then we learned the truth. That was the payoff. What they did with the information after that was a subplot to highlight the importance of Jon's decisions going forward. In contrast, when Dany learned of her heritage, she became focused on one goal in mind. When Jon learned of his lineage, he brushed it aside because he didn't care for it. They were as opposite as "Ice and Fire" and the clashing of the two reshaped Westeros for generations to come.

Dany's descent into madness was written into her character every season. It was a slow burn with a fiery payoff in the end as her council was all that stood in the way of her madness. And each member of her council slowly left her. Jorah died. Tyrion failed her. Varys betrayed her. Jon was a threat to her. She murdered all who opposed and if you didn't love her, she would make you fear her. To deny her the payoff of reducing the Red Keep to ashes is to be critical of Emilia Clark's tremendous acting. As the bells begin to ring, you see her face contort as all the emotion of the moment bubbles up inside her. These were the people who rose up against her father, denying her birthright.

There was no rushing through the plot. The season just had fewer episodes and feels over too quickly. Yes, they could have dragged out a great many things, but then the opposite would have been argued. The final season wasn't awful. The finale made perfect sense. You just have to put all the pieces together to appreciate the whole picture.