SPOILERS AHEAD! The final season of “Game of Thrones” airs Sunday night, and anticipation is at a fever pitch. In light of this, I would like to make a few speculations.
Along with some of its more memorable catchphrases, characters and scenes, “Game of Thrones” became famous for its unflinching willingness to kill off major characters in ways that often defy narrative convention. Characters who have plot armor, those we typically assume can’t die because they are too important, are not protected in “Game of Thrones” like they are in most shows.
With only six episodes remaining, it is anticipated that many, most or even all of the major characters who remain will be killed by the show’s conclusion. It is also worth noting that, as for the past two seasons, the show has gone beyond the content of George R.R. Martin’s original book series, leaving even the most devoted fans essentially in the dark. In a show like “Game of Thrones,” it is incredibly difficult to guess what twists might come our way. Several predictions have been made on the internet about which characters will survive to the end or have to die.
However, I am hesitant to buy into such predictions, because the fact that fans expect something to happen almost makes it less likely to happen in a show like this. Obviously, David Benioff and D.B. Weiss will try to deliver a satisfactory ending to arguably the best television show ever, but I’m not sure it will tie things up all nice and neat.
Westeros is a place where good doesn’t have to prevail, where the noble are often punished in place of the despicable, where achieving a goal is not linear and isn’t even necessarily a good thing, where even a resurrected Jon Snow could still meet his demise and where the Night King could be the one to sit the Iron Throne. Whereas people going to see the equally grand-scale “Avengers: Endgame” in a couple weeks know intuitively that their heroes will win the day and maybe suffer a couple of losses, I think “Game of Thrones” fans should expect an ending that feels more like a compromise than anything else.
Personally, I have always thought of “Game of Thrones” as a metaphor for how climate change is going to force all of the other issues that we are dealing with right now to take a backseat. The White Walkers have been a rapidly growing danger for six frickin’ seasons now, but most of our characters have only just now started to truly confront it. Why? Because it took seven seasons for most of them to put aside their goals and acknowledge that this is a threat that needs to be dealt with.
Many of those conflicts have yet to be resolved, and the amount of betrayal and conflict within Westeros that has occurred in the show to this point might mean that it’s already too late. Maybe the best that the remaining powers of Westeros have to throw at their ultimate threat won’t be enough. And even if it is, there is plenty of conflict that will probably still have to be resolved. I can’t wait to see.