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Game of Thrones Ending Explainer: Here's where everything stands

Of course, this post is made out of spoilers for Game of Thrones Season 8, Episode 6, "The Iron Throne." We discuss everything about the series finals, so now is your chance to stop reading and flee effortlessly.

The last moments of the Game of Thrones last episode brought some great shakeups from what the viewers expected. The destruction of the king's landing has apparently led to something of a better world, but not the one that some characters have been working on for years. In season 8, Westeros does not move forward through conquest, but through at least a small part of democracy. And hi, it's better than where things were back in season 1


A lot of repackaging was handled in Episode 6, "The Iron Throne", the last of the show. First of all, we saw the end of Daenery's Targary. After she destroyed King's Landing, she finally lost the support of some of her best allies (but not all of them). Jon asked Dany to show the mercy of Tyrion, and when she refused, he sought to kill Daenerys for stopping her from ruling the seven kingdoms (and beyond) with fear and drag. After her death, Drogon showed a few seconds later to melt down the iron throne (which was more symbolic than a moment that was sensible, but anything), then flew away with Daenery's body dressed in his claw. Our only clue to where he went, came a little later into the episode when it was mentioned that he had last seen flying east towards Essos, the continent, which includes the towns of Dany and her dragons free of slavery, and Valeryia, the ruined land from which dragons and Targaryens originally hailed.

The unclean took Jon into custody, but without a leader to tell them what to do with him, they just kept him unlocked for a while. Then they convened a council for the rulers and ladies of Westeros at the Dragon Cave in King's Landing, to determine who was to lead the seven kingdoms, and what would happen to Jon and Tyrion. (It included a few well-known faces, including one that had a totally glow.) By Tyrion's suggestion, the most powerful people in Westeros voted for their new monarch: Bran Stark.

In part, Daenery's influence really helped "break the wheel," ending part of the system of hereditary power in the country. Bran took the throne because he was the wisest of the strong people in Westeros, thanks to his abilities as the Three Eyed Ravens, and his disability means he cannot father his own children. This means that when Bran finally dies, there will be no eldest son to inherit his title, and no one will be forced to live under a king's thumb just because he was lucky enough to be born prince. Instead, the gentlemen and ladies of Westeros will convene again and vote for a new king. Of course, it's not a perfect system – the big houses are still good because they have money and land, and they still retain that power in their families forever – but at least there is some expression of the representative democracy in Westeros that will probably make life a little better for ordinary people, at least for a while.

Bran immediately used his new authority to name Tyrion King's Hand, essentially apologizing to him for betraying Daenerys. The idea is that Tyrion's sentence for betrayal will be a lifetime of service, trying to compensate for its past mistakes by being a good ruler.

Things seem a little less good for Jon. The Unsullied and Sansa Stark are willing to go to war against their destiny – the unclean will have justice for their queen, while Sansa will save his brother and the man who is once called King of the North. They compromise, with Jon exiled back to the wall to become a member of Night's Watch. It's not much of a real phrase as there is no Night's watch anymore. "The world will always need a home for bastards and broken men," Tyrion says of the organization. When Jon comes to Slot Black, he finds Tormund and the rest of Wildlings and decides to leave the guard and go over the wall with them. You can interpret this when Jon continues to become King Beyond the Wall, but it seems much more likely that he will just live his life in freedom with his buddy Ghost.

There is no new king in the north, but there is a queen: Sansa Stark. During the council, Sansa refused to let the North rule of a South King again, even though the king was her brother. Bran allowed the Nordic countries to maintain their independence and transform the seven kingdoms into six. This makes Westeros technically two countries, rather than a united (although one cannot wonder how Dorne feels about all this, as it has also been quite independent). Who knows how it will change the political situation in Westeros in the future.

Bran created a new little advice with a few critical survivors. With Tyrion as his hand, Ser Davos became his master, and Bronn of Blackwater – now Lord Highgarden, who, according to his agreement with Tyrion and Jaime Lannister back in season 8, episode 4 – was named champion of coins. And even though he did not finish his Maester training at the Citadel, Samwell Tarly became Grand Maester. Seeing Brienne called Lord Commander of the Kingsguard, her long-standing faithful fate, Podrick Payne, is also the knight and joins the order.

The episode also bound a few other loose ends. After things settled down, Gray Worm and the liberated Unsullied ships headed back east (presumably also with Dothraki). Gray Worm's destination was Isle of Naath, reminiscent of his previous conversation with Missandei back in Season 8, Episode 2. The couple had planned what they would do after beating Night King and winning the Iron Throne for Daenerys: returning to Naath where the unclean would protect the island's peaceful people, as Grayworm said. Although Cersei had killed Missandei, Gray Worm is still planning a home for Naath and protecting his people.

On board a ship was Arya Stark, who decided that she would not return to Winterfell or live her life as a high-born lady. Instead, she means exploring the world by finding out what is west of Westeros, a task she mentioned that she might want to try her hand back in season 6 when she was still in Faceless Man training in Braavos. We don't know what can be out there, but if anyone can handle what she finds, it's Arya.

Oh, and Drogon is still out there. Apparently, Bran will use his Three Eyed Raven powers to perhaps try to track down the dragon. In any case, dragons still live in the world, and that means that one day there could be more of them.

And that's it. Finally, the war is over in Westeros, and the fate of its people is in the hands of a group that seems to want to make life better for everyone in general. Whether they succeed, it is quite literally a different story. As Tyrion told Jon, we have to check back in 10 years to see if the couple made the right decisions.

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