If you are currently watching the Game of Thrones HBO series, then you should have already finished the sixth season and are eagerly awaiting the seventh. If you have not seen the sixth season, please note massive spoilers ahead.
I have watched every current episode of Game of Thrones, but have not read any of the books at this point. So please note that this article and the discussion to follow are based solely on the show. It’s okay to have a discussion without taking the books into account because it’s already been publicly stated by HBO that the show deviates and will continue to deviate from the books to a certain degree. The show is also obviously paced much differently than the novels to hold the attention of the audience, so certain things happen in a certain order while other things are glossed over or left out altogether. Please understand what I’m writing here makes perfect sense when looking at the show, but may very well be ridiculous when looking at the novels.
While there are literally hundreds if not thousands of theories about how Game of Thrones will end, Mr. Martin has said that one theory he’s personally read is in fact the correct theory. While it’s unrealistic to necessarily say that there is consensus about which theory he was referring to, many people, myself included, believe the true ending will be the “Royal Marriage Theory.” That’s not the official name, but rather what I will be calling it for this post in absence of an actual, official name existing. To sum it up, this theory states that ultimately Daenerys Targaryen will arrive in Westeros and help Jon Snow. At this point Jon will be the King of the North and defeat the White Walkers. Eventually Daenerys will marry him after it’s revealed that he’s also a Targaryen. The royal bloodlines are merged and ascend to the Iron Throne together ushering in a new age of peace where the North and South are finally unified, the White Walkers are no longer a threat, and everyone lives happily ever after. Now personally I think that’s a bad ending . . . for this particular show. While such an ending makes perfect sense, closes all the loose ends nicely enough once certain finer points are addressed, and leaves everyone (audience and characters) happy more or less, I do not feel that it is an appropriate or thematically consistent ending with the rest of the show. It’s an ending we’ve seen countless times in countless other works. That’s one of the main reasons I don’t think it’s appropriate here. Game of Thrones has always been a show that gave the bulk of viewers something new and unexpected. So unless you were to argue that because we didn’t expect such a white washed happy ending that’s the perfect ending to go with, it’s actually a pretty lame idea. I also think it’s inconsistent with the tone of the show because up until this point such an occurrence has never worked out.
Think of all the political marriages we’ve seen take place on this show. I can’t recall a single one of them that was of any consequence working out. Daenerys Targaryen to Khal Drogo, unless you count her getting dragon eggs as a wedding gift as working out. Sansa Stark to Joffrey Baratheon, Tyrion Lannister, or Ramsay Bolton. Cersei Lannister to Robert Baratheon. Edmure Tully to Roslin Frey. Margaery Tyrell to Renly Baratheon, Joffrey Baratheon, or Tommen Baratheon. Roose Bolton to Walda Frey. None of these marriages ended in happiness or political stability. Technically all these pairings have at least one member dead by the end of the sixth season with the exception of Edmure Tully’s marriage which leaves him rotting in a prison. Sansa and Tyrion’s marriage was never officially consummated, and both still live. From a political standpoint neither of those marriages worked out well either. Even the proposed marriages in this show don’t happen or don’t end well. Cersei Lannister to Loras Tyrell is a good example, but I won’t take the time to list off the rest. The point is that Game of Thrones is not a show where political marriages ultimately end with positive results, and that’s not a bad thing. But to end the show with a political marriage that just happens to work out after so many seasons of them not working out seems inconsistent from a thematic standpoint. And while I have accepted that ending as being what will ultimately happen, I am in no way happy about it or in support of it. It’s for that reason that I’ve decided to write my own ending to Game of Thrones, the TV show.
Please understand that this is not meant to be a theory. I do not in any way, shape, or form believe that what you’re about to read will actually happen in the show or novels. I am flat out saying that it won’t happen. So please don’t leave stupid comments like “this will never be the ending”. I’m saying right now that it’s not going to be the ending. My goal here is to write a better, as in more thematically consistent and appropriate, ending than what is currently being projected as the actual ending to the Game of Thrones television show. Again I want to reiterate that I have not read the books and that I am unable to comment on how appropriate this ending would be for the book series. This is the ending that I currently believe would be the best possible ending for the HBO TV series based on all the currently aired episodes. It is very possible that a number of things will change drastically between the season six finale and the series finale that will make this ending impossible or nonsensical. But for right now I believe this would be a much better ending than the “Royal Marriage Theory”. So assume that this ending starts right after the events of the season six finale. Also note that this is not meant to be a full-fledged script or treatment. I will only be addressing main plot points and ignoring most characters regardless of how much impact they’ve had or may yet to have such as, but not limited to, Davos Seaworth, Brienne of Tarth, and Petyr Baelish. If you would like me to expound on what I think should happen to any specific unmentioned characters within this narrative, I would be happy to do so in the comments section upon request.
Game of Thrones
A Conclusion by DJMMT
Jon Snow, now having been “democratically” (in the current American Presidential definition of the word) elected King of the North, is now referred to as Jon Stark. He was not issued an official edict removing his bastard title from King’s Landing like Ramsay Bolton had, but the controlling houses of the North have chosen to recognize him as a Stark henceforth. Jon is spending the bulk of his time trying to unify the North, not so he can be king and not so he can make war with the South, but so he can prepare to face the White Walkers. While some Northern houses still don’t recognize him and a few small skirmishes have or will take place, he is de facto ruler of the North. Eventually all of the North does fall into line under his command. Arya Stark at the same time is sweeping through Westeros secretly killing the enemies of House Stark and silently working to support the rise of her believed to be only remaining siblings. At this point it is believed by everyone who knew her, including her siblings, that she is dead. Queen Cersei (and Jaime) is not happy with the North’s new found unity and self-rule, but they are currently not in a position to openly start a war over it.
Cersei is not loved as Queen. The South is on the brink of civil war over the fact that the Iron Throne is currently occupied by a woman who murdered a daughter-in-law, father-in-law, and future husband while simultaneously destroying an entire religious sect/cult that she put into power. While no one can prove that it was her, many people believe it was. Between the political unrest in the South and the fact that House Lannister is not as financially sound as they would have everyone believe (this was expressed all the way back when Tywin Lannister was still alive), there is no way for her to actually do anything about the North currently. But because Jon Stark has no designs on expanding south and wishes only to defeat the White Walkers, which the bulk of Southerners still don’t believe to be real, Cersei currently isn’t too worried about them. Her bigger concern is the reports that Daenerys Targaryen is sailing from Meereen with a fleet of ships and a gigantic army of pirates, wild horsemen, and three dragons. That and the fact that her brother, whom she tried to have wrongfully executed, is acting as the lead advisor to the head of this army is making Cersei shit bricks. The South as a whole is worried about the coming invasion and that’s essentially the only thing holding back the civil war over the current Queen. While many people may not like having Cersei on the Iron Throne, no one wants to go back to the days of mad Targaryen rule.
Daenerys, being the inexperienced and arrogant leader she is, wants to make landfall directly at King’s Landing. She eventually decides not to at the advising of Tyrion, who explains that you can’t take the most heavily guarded city in all of Westeros by sea with an army of horsemen. You’ll never be able to get the ships unloaded in time. He also says that rather than lead with open war, they should try to reason with houses first and see if they can make a smooth transition into power. Daenerys agrees to dock somewhere away from King’s Landing and unload the Dothraki, but will not agree to try and take the Iron Throne peacefully. She has been planning this invasion for years and her army of cutthroats and raiders did not sail across the world for a sit down with tea and crumpets. There will be blood. How much blood depends on those who try to fight back. It’s decided that they will split the Dothraki into two armies. One goes with Daenerys to invade King’s Landing by land. At the same time, Theon and Yara take their ships and will invade King’s Landing from the sea at the same time. For some reason it’s assumed that the Wildfire plan won’t be used again like it was when Stannis tried to invade King’s Landing. Let’s assume some was produced but there wasn’t enough time to make enough to destroy a significant portion of the fleet after Cersei used a ton of it blowing up the Temple of the Seven. The other Dothraki force will attack Casterly Rock so the Lannisters will not be able to help Cersei and King’s Landing during the invasion. This plan goes off almost flawlessly and Daenerys does forcibly take the Iron Throne, but Rhaegal (Daenerys’ green dragon) is killed during the siege. In my ideal scenario, this is somehow accomplished by zombie Gregor “The Mountain” Clegane who is also killed in the process. Daenerys is enraged at the loss of one of her dragons and she takes it out on Cersei with torture, rather than just executing her. Jaime was going to be executed but Tyrion talks Daenerys into throwing him in prison instead, citing the fact that Tyrion is only alive to advise her because Jaime helped him escape.
After all this, Daenerys has finally taken the Iron Throne. But she wants full control of Westeros which means she needs to get the North in line. Before she can do this she has a few tasks to accomplish. She has to get full, unified control of the South, figure out what to do with all these Dothraki who now need a place to live, and fulfill her promise to Theon and Yara by helping kill their uncle, Euron Greyjoy, so Yara can ascend the throne of the Iron Islands. She also has to reiterate the fact that the Iron Born are no longer allowed to essentially be Iron Born and must figure out a way to survive without raiding the mainland. While she is dealing with all these problems, she has yet to make an appearance in the true North, not counting the Iron Islands obviously. She has sent emissaries to King Stark, demanding the North bow down to the true ruler of Westeros, but to no avail. The truth is that Jon doesn’t actually want to be king. He would love to bow down to Daenerys and be named Warden of the North if that means getting Southern assistance and help from Daenerys’ dragons to fight the White Walkers. Those dead ice dudes are so close now that the Night’s Watch can smell them in the forest above the wall.
Jon has done everything he can to muster a force strong enough to defeat the White Walkers. Samwell Tarly, now an official chain carrying Maester, has read every book on the subject of White Walkers and has done his best to help Jon arm the North. But dragon glass is hard to make when you don’t actually have any dragons and Valyrian steel is no less hard to come by. Not only does Daenerys and the rest of the South not believe in the White Walkers, but she refuses to send any help or risk losing another dragon until the North has completely bent to her will and recognized her as the only true ruler in Westeros. (Of course this means ignoring the existence of the King/Queen of the Iron Islands altogether, as is tradition.) The North, though afraid of the White Walkers, will not budge. Jon is forced to retain rule in order to keep the North unified, and the Northern houses refuse to bow down to another Southern king after the all the various problems that the Southerners have caused. They still remember Southern betrayal such as the Boltons taking Winterfell, Ned Stark being wrongfully executed, and the War of the Usurper over the kidnapping of Lyanna Stark which started it all. The North remembers. As such they will not willingly be plunged into another Targaryen dynasty of rule. So basically the North and South are at a stalemate and neither side will budge, but the North are the ones who will have to deal with the White Walkers first, while the South doesn’t even believe they exist at this point.
The White Walkers attack and though the North is fending them off in what is essentially a war of attrition; they are losing massive numbers of people at a fairly alarming rate and slowly losing ground. King Jon is on the front lines fighting and his constituency sees this and rallies behind their king who is not afraid to put his own life at risk to protect his people. Finally reports make it South and Tyrion convinces Daenerys that the only way she is going to get the North to bend the knee is to go save them and by extension all of Westeros from the White Walkers. She will need to make a personal appearance with both her dragons in tow. It must be valiant, flashy, and grand so that all the North can see it and know who saved them from the undead threat. Daenerys agrees and musters the Dothraki horde. She plans on marching to the North in a great show of power even though time appears to be an important factor here. Tyrion tells her that there’s no time to waste and that she should send the Dothraki North under the command of her generals but should fly ahead on her own to assess and hopefully deal with the situation. Daenerys agrees against her own judgement.
Daenerys flies North with her two remaining dragons and swoops in right over the final battle against the White Walkers. This is everything the North has left. Jon Snow has rallied a final assault and the Night King has brought all his generals, the blue eyed babies, and everything else he has. One of these two kings will fall this day. The North is losing, but Daenerys brings the dragon fire and destroys the White Walkers. She burns the entire army like a hot knife through butter. There’s no dramatic death scene for the Night King or anything like that. This is just massive dragon carnage. The North rallies and kills off any stragglers, ending the threat of the White Walkers once and for all.
Daenerys sets down with her two dragons right in front of Jon Stark and introduces herself in all her grandiose as “Queen Daenerys Stormborn, the Unburnt, of House Targaryen, the First of Her Name, Queen of Meereen, Queen of the Andals and the First Men, Lord of the Seven Kingdoms, Protector of the Realm, Khaleesi of the Great Grass Sea, Mother of Dragons.” Yes she says it all. She declares that she has saved the North and that now they must bow to her in gratitude. Jon thanks her for her help, but says that he must speak with the leaders of all the houses of the North before he will consent to relinquishing his throne and title. King Jon is not a tyrant and will never be one. The Northern bystanders unexpectedly give Daenerys the finger. They boo and yell that a Targaryen will never be their king again because the North remembers. They question why it took their “great protector” so long to arrive. If she had come sooner, thousands of lives could have been saved. And if she had arrived just a little later there might not have been a North left to save. The North serves Jon Stark, King of the North and they will serve no one else. Daenerys is enraged at the blatant lack of respect shown by the Northerners and considers torching those present as a show of power, but decides against it because she is not Aerys Targaryen and does not want to be thought of as “The Mad Queen”. She says she will be back with an army and make the North will surrender, then flies away with her two dragons.
Westeros breaks into civil war, referred to as the Southern Aggression. This is not the easy victory that Daenerys was hoping for. Many southern houses stand with the North against Daenerys and a resurgence of Targaryen rule. Many people didn’t want her to ascend the Iron Throne to begin with but weren’t powerful enough to fight against her with any hope of succeeding. But now that it’s a battle on two fronts with a large, unruly Northern force helping them, some houses are happy to openly rebel. The North does not aggress forward like Rob Stark tried to do. They keep to the North and wish only to hold their lands and sovereignty. If you will remember from the end of season six, we are officially in winter for an undisclosed amount of time. The defeat of the White Walkers didn’t change weather patterns or bring an end to winter. It merely made the wall and the Night’s Watch unnecessary, making them reestablish into the Northern King’s Guard in full support of King Jon. Turns out the Dothraki are not suited to the cold of winters in the North and though they attempt to fight valiantly are not much use once they start to enter the colder regions of Westeros. Many of them freeze to death or contract illnesses such as the Game of Thrones equivalent of pneumonia. Their horses, being from a warmer climate, die off in hundreds if not thousands. Tyrion is now counseling Daenerys to consider giving up the North altogether and offering a treaty of cease fire. Daenerys will not budge on this and has now started to go mad in her quest for power and inability to obtain it. Arya has continued to keep to the shadows and has been assassinating her generals and higher ranking counselors. The only reason she hasn’t targeted Tyrion is because she found out that he treated Sansa respectfully during their brief, unconsummated marriage. Daenerys decides that she has had enough and is now working towards the ultimate goal of killing “The Bastard King” as she refers to him.
She musters every solider she can and marches the entire force North. Many Dothraki die on the way from conditions but she doesn’t care. She knows the endgame and believes that once she kills Jon, the North and Southern rebels will bow before her. There’s an epic standoff and they could do battle but Jon, now sporting an eyepatch because he finally took an actual serious injury at some point, has had enough. He does not want to see any more Northern blood spilled. He challenges Daenerys to single combat, knowing full well that it’s dishonorable for him to challenge a woman. He marches dead center of the battlefield with Ghost, the last of the Stark dire wolves, and calls Daenerys out. He says that rather than spilling any more innocent Westeros blood let them battle in the old way and end this conflict once and for all. Daenerys swoops in with both dragons and lands right in his face. She refuses the single combat and demands Jon relinquish his throne and title on pain of public execution by dragon fire. Recalling Mance Raider and how he refused to be intimidated and lose face with his people, Jon declines her offer. Daenerys screams “Dracarys” and Drogon lets loose. In an instinctual act of love, Jon throws his body in front of Ghost in order to give him a chance to run away. Ghost escapes but Drogon does not let off. The fire is so big and so hot that no one, including Daenerys, can see anything. When the fire stops it’s just smoke and steam, because snow plus dragon fire equals steam. When it clears, we see a figure standing. His clothes completely burned off, Jon stands naked and eye missing for Daenerys and both armies to see. It’s at this point that everyone realizes that he was not Ned Stark’s bastard son, but was actually the child of Lyanna Stark and Rhaegar Targaryen. He has the Targaryen ability to not be harmed by fire. Daenerys’ jaw drops. Both armies are stunned. And even Jon has just realized who he truly is. Thinking quickly, he recalls a conversation he had with Samwell about dragons in the midst of this civil war. Sam had been researching dragons in order to fight them and discovered that they can be controlled with the right commands and realized that Daenerys was doing this the entire time. Jon remembers the Valyrian word(s) for “join me” and says them not to Drogon, but to Viserion, Daenerys’ white and gold dragon.
Now at this point, you may be saying: GTFO! Why the hell would one of Daenerys’ dragons rebel against her? That makes no sense” I disagree and here’s why. The first thing we have to realize is that if Daenerys is in fact “the mother of dragons” then she’s a bad mother. She clearly plays favorites, only ever riding Drogon. She chained up Viserion and Rhaegal under the pyramid in Meereen for a very long time and then abandoned them for an extended period of time. The dragons almost starve to death because they weren’t eating due to their conditions. She has always treated her other two dragons badly by comparison to Drogon, who would obviously never betray her. Also take into account the fact that in my ending, Rhaegal is now dead. And he’s dead because Daenerys plunged these last three dragons in existence into a war that they may not have wanted to take part in. Remember that in season six, right before unchaining Rhaegal and Viserion, Tyrion plainly states that “dragons are intelligent”. They are aware of their surroundings and situation. They are capable of making decisions, processing at least semi-complex thoughts, and recognize friends from foes. Let’s also assume that a dragon would only ever serve a Targaryen because obviously they can’t be burned, but also they have the ability to bond with and ride dragons. Up until this point, Viserion would have had no other possible bonding partners because all other Targaryens were thought to be dead. So he had basically accepted his position as second dragon never to have a rider and never to be the favorite. If suddenly another Targaryen comes along with no other dragons to compete with, why wouldn’t he defect to Jon? That would be the best possible outcome for him assuming they could defeat Drogon. And if dragons are intelligent and protective, there is a good chance that they also have human emotions such as hubris, which I would argue Drogon displays on multiple occasions throughout the course of the show. Brothers tend to have rivalries. I see no problem with making the argument that Viserion would not only resent his brother dragon for being the favorite of Daenerys, but also have the pride to believe he could best him in battle and want to prove it. Now back to the story.
Viserion moves towards Jon slowly. Daenerys is still in shock from finding out he’s a true Targaryen like her and has yet to even begin to process that she’s about to lose her second dragon. Viserion lowers his head to Jon. He strokes him gently and tells him that he shall be his brother, not his slave or pet. Viserion bends down and allows Jon, who yes is still naked, to mount him and flies away towards the Northern camp. Daenerys finally comes to and is now enraged past the point of control. She flies back to her camp and starts raging at everyone. She locks up Tyrion, blaming him for his bad council, and says she’s going to torch the entire North from end to end. Not a single man, woman, or child will be left alive. She will have Jon’s head on a pike and feed it to Drogon. She’s even turned on her own dragon and says she’s gonna skin Viserion and use his scales to build a set of armor for Drogon and her to wear. She has now hit “The Mad Queen” status.
At the behest of Grey Worm, Tyrion from prison, and Missandei, Daenerys offers Jon and the North one more chance. They must come and meet on the same battlefield where her dragon was stolen from her and bow to her or she will burn the entire North starting with Winterfell. Jon musters all of the North. They all show up. Jon lands in the center of the battlefield mounted on Viserion. Daenerys lands opposite him on Drogon. The air is thick with anger. The dragons are hissing and roaring at each other. Daenerys’ eyes are blood red. “Will you bow before your queen,” she asks. Jon refuses and an epic aerial dragon duel ensues. Daenerys cannot defeat Jon. She is too enraged to think or fight strategically, while Jon, with his years of training and many battles worth of experience, is calm and collected. Daenerys goes for the army. She’s decided that instead of playing fair she’s just gonna start burning Northerners. Jon chases after her. She torches a group of people and flies up for another attack run. Suddenly she falls off Drogon and plummets to the Earth. She hits the ground. Jon lands and quickly dismounts Viserion. He approaches her body. Eyes still blood red and an arrow sticking out of her chest. Daenerys is coughing blood. She knows it’s over. In her final moments she says, “Thank you. Thank you for stopping me. I would have burned them all.” Then she dies. Jon examines the arrow. Pan away to reveal Theon Greyjoy holding the bow. He had defected from Daenerys’ camp when he heard that she was going to start mindlessly killing Northerners and burning their villages. His debt to House Stark for betraying Rob has finally been repaid. Drogon lands enraged by the loss of his mother. Viserion is ready to put him down. Jon raises his hands and commands them to stop. He tells Drogon to leave and find peace in freedom. Drogon gives a final roar and blast of fire into the air and then flies away. Jon tells Viserion he can be free too if he wants. Viserion lowers his head, offering Jon to mount. He does. Both armies bow down before the new and true king of Westeros. Jon Stark, the Unburnt, of House Stark and House Targaryen, the First of His Name, King of the Andals and the First Men, Lord of the Seven Kingdoms, Protector of the Realm, King of the North, Friend of Dragons.
Fast forward several years. A new capital city has been built that’s on the dead center line connecting the North and the South. A new house banner is posted all over showing a wolf with dragon wings. There is a grand ceremony in a large partially open amphitheater. This is Jon’s official coronation as King of Westeros. Samwell Tarly is the Maester presiding over the ceremony. The theater is filled with people of all types including Dothraki, Notherners, Ironborn, and all others. Jon is crowned King and sits down on the Iron Throne. Wrapped around the throne in a laying position is Viserion and standing next to it is Ghost. On the stage with him and Sam are Sansa, Arya, Bran, Tyrion, who has been named Hand of the King, Tormund Giantsbane, and a number of others. Thus ushers in a new era of peace and unity for all of Westeros. “A Song of Ice and Fire” is not the story of Ice (Stark) and Fire (Targaryen) wedded together in the forms of Jon Snow and Daenerys Targaryen. It’s the story of Ice (Stark) and Fire (Targaryen) dancing together in one body in the form of Jon Snow, the least likely person to ultimately take the Iron Throne.
I apologize for such a long story. But technically it’s appropriate considering how long the novels and by extension the show is/will end up being. If you made it this far, thank you for taking the time. Again, I do not believe this will be the ending. I am firmly in belief that the show will end with the “Royal Marriage Theory.” I would like to reiterate that I believe the ending that I have presented here is a better ending for specifically the HBO TV series because it is more thematically consistent with the show. If you want to have a discussion about the books, which I have not read, then I am not the correct person to talk to. But I’m happy to respond to any comments requiring a response that pertain to the TV series.