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Warning: HUGE SPOILERS AHEAD for the series finale of Game of Thrones, called "The Iron Throne."
Game of Thrones has come to an end after eight seasons, 73 episodes, and nearly ten years. The series finale featured some seriously unexpected twists, and not all of them were great. After episodes like "The Long Night" with the Battle of Winterfell and "The Bells" with the burning of King's Landing, many viewers almost certainly expected the series finale to be an intense affair, perhaps with another big battle and a bunch of big deaths with emotional speeches.
There was only one big death, no battles, and more exposition than emotion that did tie off a bunch of loose ends, but the finale also raised some big questions that need to somehow be answered, despite the fact that the series is over. Check them out:
Why Is There Still A Night's Watch?
The Night's Watch was "the shield that guards the realms of men" when first introduced, tasked with defending the Seven Kingdoms from wildlings and the colder, more deadly things that came from far beyond The Wall. Now that the Night King has been destroyed along with all of his White Walker generals and hundreds of thousands of wights, the ice zombie threat is gone, and the peace Jon made with the wildlings seems likely to last.
So why is there still a Night's Watch? Are they basically gatekeepers now, or is the remnants of The Wall a place to send people like Jon who are too important to execute but have crossed too many lines to wander freely in the Six Kingdoms or North? Well, at least Jon seems happy to be back with Ghost and his friends among the free folk.
What's Left Of The Noble Houses?
After The War of the Five Kings, the Battle of the Bastards, the Battle of Winterfell, and the burning of King's Landing, Westeros at the end of Season 8 barely resembles the Westeros of the beginning of Season 1, and the noble houses are in jeopardy. House Baratheon is holding on by a technicality who -- though very endearing -- probably can't read and is wildly unqualified to be lord of Storm's End. If Jon really does father no children, then House Targaryen ends with him.
The same is true for Tyrion, now that Jaime and Cersei are confirmed dead. Ser Brienne may be expected not to have children either as Lord Commander of the Kingsguard, which knocks House Tarth down for the count. Sansa and/or Arya can keep House Stark going, and Robin Arryn surprisingly seems strong enough that he could live to continue the line of Vale lords. Yara is the last major Greyjoy, and Sam has a baby on the way with Gilly for the future of House Tarly.
The Tyrells are gone with Bronn of all people now in control of the Reach. Against all odds, House Tully may be in the strongest standing to continue. Edmure is in pretty good shape despite being imprisoned by the Freys for years, and his heir may still be alive somewhere, as the youngster wouldn't have been drinking Arya's poisoned wine with all the Red Wedding murderers. Who of the noble houses will be left after the current generation dies?
Where Did Drogon Go?
One of the most heartbreaking scenes of "The Iron Throne" came when Drogon seemingly sensed that something had happened to Daenerys. Swooping into the ruined Red Keep, he tried to nudge Dany awake several times before realizing she was dead. After melting the Iron Throne rather than barbecuing Jon, Drogon scooped up his mom and flew away, never to be seen on the show again.
Did he fly off to the ruins of Valyria in Essos? Or return to wherever he went when he was MIA from Meereen back in Season 5? Bran and the small council learned that he was last seen "east," and Bran went off to use his Three-Eyed Raven skills to find him, but the show never revealed where Dany's last surviving dragon took her body.
What Happened After Jon Killed Dany?
The whole sequence in the throne room in "The Iron Throne" is bound to be one of the most iconic of the entire series, with Jon killing Dany, Drogon melting the Iron Throne but leaving Jon alive, and then Drogon flying off with Dany's lifeless body. The question is what happened immediately after. Dany and Drogon were gone, and I didn't see any massive pools of blood on the ground.
Did Jon tell the Unsullied and Dothraki that he killed Daenerys? Did they find him there and somehow realize despite the lack of a body that he'd taken out their queen? And why didn't they kill him when they realized he had killed Daenerys? How did Jon go from killing Grey Worm's beloved queen to just locked up to grow a beard while the high lords and ladies of Westeros traveled to King's Landing?
Did The Wheel Really Break?
Although Dany died, her dream of breaking the wheel of Westeros did not. Admittedly, Tyrion did figure out a potential way to do that without conquering the entire world and burning cities as part of a crazed quest to free them, but it was still her original idea, right? Well, the move to select a ruler was certainly different that the throne being handed down from parent to child; is the wheel really broken?
Bran may be the Three-Eyed Raven, but he's also the last living trueborn son of Ned Stark, and he was selected by a bunch of other trueborn sons and daughters of noble houses. (And also Gendry.) Is it really breaking the wheel if the highborns are still in control? And is the noble house system going to continue, with houses standing as leaders of regions?
If the crown of the Six Kingdoms is no longer going to pass from parent to child, should the same practice be in place for the regional rulers? Sansa can do whatever she wants now that the North is independent, but perhaps there's change in store for House Tully and the like.
Who Gets Dragonstone?
The houses themselves would presumably still belong to the ancestral families who hold them, but House Targaryen is out of the game. Daenerys is dead, and Jon swore to hold no lands and father no children as a man of the Night's Watch. He seems pretty content with his future in the North anyway. So who gets Dragonstone?
Well, somewhat hilariously, the last surviving character with a blood tie to Daenerys and Jon is Gendry, as the Baratheons are related to the Targaryens through the maternal line. I'm not saying it would be super funny if a sequel series someday revealed that Gendry went from bastard blacksmith who doesn't know his own last name to rightful lord of two Westerosi strongholds, but I would definitely laugh.
Assuming Gendry doesn't get Dragonstone and Jon doesn't come back for it, would it stand vacant? Or gain a new lord/lady?
How Is Sam A Maester?
Sure, Sam was sent to the Citadel with the goal of becoming a maester and returning to The Wall, but that was never especially realistic considering how much time it takes to become a maester. In "The Iron Throne," Sam is dressed as a maester and filling the Grand Maester slot on the small council. His chain is admittedly different from the ones earned by Maester Luwin and Grand Maester Pycelle in their day.
Still, he's been working with the maesters of The Citadel, which suggests he's become a maester. How was the process sped along so much? Did he have to give up his plans for a family with Gilly and their unborn child, as maesters take no wives and father no children? Couldn't Game of Thrones have just added him to the council without dressing him like a maester? Tyrion and Co. were trying to break the wheel, after all. Then again, if sellsword Bronn can be Master of Coin, maybe anything is possible.
Will Arya Ever Come Home?
All four of the Starks somewhat surprisingly survived to the end of the series finale, but only three of them stayed in Westeros. Arya decided that she would resume traveling so she could find out "what's west of Westeros," where all the maps stop. She was set to sail in style, in a ship bedecked with Stark direwolf banners. She had a smile on her face in her final scene, and she'd told her siblings she didn't intend to return North.
Did she mean she didn't intend to return North ever, or just until she'd had her fill of adventuring? Is she saying she'd return to Westeros, but go elsewhere than Winterfell first? She could head to what remains of The Wall to try and visit Jon at some point, if she returns. Gendry would probably make room for her at Storm's End, and she might find the prospect more appealing if enough time has passed that the poor guy has mastered the use of a fork.
She would be an asset to Bran in King's Landing as well, and I have to hope that she and Yara don't meet at sea. Yara probably isn't Arya's biggest fan after Arya threatened to slit Yara's throat for talking about killing Bran. Or maybe they'll become best friends over their shared love of an unconventional lifestyle and sticking things with pointy ends.
Who Will Fill Out The Small Council?
The small council under King Brandon the Broken is comprised of Tyrion Lannister as Hand of the King, Lord Davos Seaworth as Master of Ships, Lord Bronn as Master of Coin, seemingly Maester Samwell Tarly, and Lord Commander Brienne of the Kingsguard. As Bran noted when he joined the meeting, the council was still missing Master of Whisperers, Master of Laws, and Master of War.
Grey Worm was meant to be the new Master of War, but he left for Naath with the rest of the Unsullied after Bran was named king. Varys was Master of Whisperers, and Tyrion will be hard-pressed to find somebody who matches the wiles of The Spider. Who will Tyrion and Bran find to fill these posts? I'm reasonably confident the reason the finale left these posts vacant is that the show was out of significant enough characters to justify the screentime. The question stands: who will fill the remaining three slots?
Where Did The Dothraki Go?
Many of the Dothraki who somehow didn't die in the Battle of Winterfell were still very much alive at the beginning of the series finale, and they were seriously pumped up at the prospect of Dany leading them on to more opportunities for war. The episode explained where the Unsullied were going after Daenerys' replacement was chosen and justice was served, but not the Dothraki who rejoiced in the destruction they wrought on King's Landing.
Did the remnants of the Dothraki horde stay in Westeros? If so, where? I don't see the survivors of King's Landing being too friendly to the Dothraki, and they're a nomadic people accustomed to raping, pillaging, and plundering their way across Essos. If they went back to Essos, how did they get there? Why didn't they kill Jon when they found out he killed Daenerys?
Will The Winds Of Winter Ever Come Out?
This question admittedly probably isn't burning any non-A Song of Ice and Fire book readers, but Game of Thrones fans who also love George R.R. Martin's source material have been waiting for The Winds of Winter since A Dance with Dragons came out in 2011. Although Martin has released some chapters, it's hard not to be discouraged when he said back in 2015 that he wanted to finish The Winds of Winter by 2016.