5 Things We Learned After the Game of Thrones Finale
By Jake Rossen
It’s been more than a year since Game of Thrones fans tuned in to the series's finale—concluding both the eighth season of the HBO epic and the overall saga conceived by author George R.R. Martin. The final season, and the last episode in particular, answered many burning fan questions—including the fate of characters like Jon Snow (Kit Harington), Daenerys Targaryen (Emilia Clarke), and Tyrion Lannister (Peter Dinklage)—and finally named a new ruler of Westeros.
As with many other hit properties with a long and complicated backstory (think Harry Potter), even though the show is over for now (a prequel series is coming—eventually), a few new details have trickled out since the series wrapped, which may inform a re-watch. Take a look at five things we’ve discovered, but beware: Spoilers are coming for anyone who hasn't watch the series in its entirety.
1. The poster for the first season of Game of Thrones revealed the ending.
When Game of Thrones premiered back in 2011, it was considered a risky and expensive gamble for HBO. Based on George R.R. Martin's A Song of Ice and Fire books, the series attempted to chronicle the sprawling land of Westeros and beyond as the rulers (and aspiring rules) of all Seven Kingdoms vied for control of the Iron Throne. In the series finale, we learned that Bran Stark, a.k.a. the Three-Eyed Raven, would be named king. The official poster for the first season depicts Ned Stark (Bran's father) sitting on the throne, but look closer and you'll see a raven perched off to his right.
2. Daenerys Targaryen's decision to destroy King’s Landing on Game of Thrones was probably spontaneous.
In "The Bells," the fifth episode of season 8, Daenerys rejects Cersei Lannister’s signal of surrender and continues to pummel a city of innocents with fire. While some have speculated her decision was planned, showrunners David Benioff and D.B. Weiss later confirmed that her appetite for destruction was sparked when she saw the Red Keep, the castle in King’s Landing built by her Targaryen ancestors. That, the duo said, made the entire battle very personal to Daenerys, causing her to abandon any thought of mercy.
3. Jon Snow didn’t commit premeditated murder when he killed Daenerys Targaryen on Game of Thrones.
Once it became clear that Daenerys couldn't be trusted to rule without inflicting mass murder, Jon Snow confronted her and ended up stabbing her. According to actor Kit Harington, Jon didn’t know he would stick the knife in until the two met up. “He doesn’t know he’s going to betray her until right at the end,” Harington said on the DVD commentary for the final episode, adding that with Daenerys likely to kill Jon’s sisters, “it becomes [my] family versus her.”
4. Drogon didn’t mean to burn down the Iron Throne on Game of Thrones.
After Jon Snow feels forced to kill his aunt/lover Daenerys Targaryen for being a homicidal maniac, her dragon, Drogon, is so anguished that he sends out a blast of fire, which destroys the Iron Throne. While it was a literal destruction of the thing that ultimately cost Daenerys her life, it wasn’t necessarily meant to be intentional on the dragon’s part. According to the script, the Throne was “not the target” of Drogon’s wrath but was “just a dumb bystander caught up in the conflagration.” In other words, Drogon melted the Throne by accident.
5. There were unspoken reasons Bran Stark was named king on Game of Thrones.
Game of Thrones concluded with Bran Stark (Isaac Hempstead Wright) being named King of the Six Kingdoms of Westeros, with Tyrion and others voicing their support. The script for the episode also provides reasons why others in attendance were in agreement. Lord Edmure Tully (Tobias Menzies), Bran’s uncle, believes he’ll be able to influence his nephew; Lord Gendry Baratheon (Joe Dempsie) wanted to follow what everyone else was doing; Ser Brienne of Tarth (Gwendoline Christie) was loyal to the Starks; and Yara Greyjoy (Gemma Whelan) knew her brother Theon (Alfie Allen) had died protecting Bran. She thought Bran being named king would make Theon happy.