If you never watched Game of Thrones or read any of the books, that is fine. I really don’t understand how many people think that gives them something to brag about, but there does seem to be an American tendency to applaud your own ignorance for some reason. More on that another time.
Those of us who have be-spoiled ourselves have mixed feelings about the ending of the series on HBO, to say the least. I know it is popular to blame the writers, but remember when they set out to make the series, everyone thought that George R.R. Martin would produce the final two volumes before the show got that far.
That of course never happened, and IMHO it will never happen. I just don’t believe finishing the work is a priority for the author any longer. And before all the Fanboys start screaming “You have no right to demand that he writes” (which, incidentally, said Fanboys have done to me in the past) let me also state that this too, is fine. As a writer myself, I understand that it is actually much harder work than people imagine.
But also as a writer, I can’t help but think about other ways that things could have turned out.
For myself, I enjoyed the entire eight-season run. Although it did seem to me like the quality of the dialogue and plotting dropped off once it shot past the source material and I have some different ideas (as you will see), I think there was another factor that hurt the show’s ending. This summer, the Marvel series ALSO concluded. Like GoT, it was an ambitious product, spread over a decade or so, involving a complex cast of characters and intersecting plot lines. Unfortunately for HBO, Marvel managed to nail the ending, and I think GoT suffered from the comparisons.
Anyway, in the spirit of lighting a friggin’ candle instead of cursing the darkness, I thought it would be fun to come up with my own personal ending scenario, starting from the end of the Battle for Winterfell. So here goes!
Jaime and Brienne each have two of perhaps the most heroic story arcs in the story. In my head they do hook up, but instead of running back to his sister and leaving Brienne blubbering in the dark in a robe, he tells her he loves her and wants to stay with her but thinks he is the only one with a chance of convincing Cersei she cannot win and has to give up. Brienne of course insists on going with him to protect him.
They arrive in King’s Landing before the battle starts, and J&B manage to fight and sneak their way in to see Cersei, possibly with Tyrion’s help, allowing that great last scene between them. J tries his best to convince her to step down and flee, but learns her fallback plan is to destroy most of the city with green fire if it looks like she is going to lose to cover her escape. To me, this is much more in keeping with her character than to just stare out over her defeat trying to convince herself it isn’t happening.
Heartbroken Jaime is now faced with a Mad Queen, and sees no way out but to kill her, choking her (as prophesied) and now becoming both a King and Queen Slayer.
J&B fight their way to the bell tower to signal the death (helped by the Hound’s timely arrival to begin his epic battle with his brother), and manage to ring them – but, they are both mortally wounded along the way and die in each others arms thinking they have saved King’s Landing.
Daenerys either thinks it is a trap, or angered over being cheated out of killing Cersei herself, flames *part* of the town before coming to her senses. She has a history of over-reacting, but pulling back.
During the dragon attack, the Hound and his brother complete their showdown. Arya arrives too late for Cersei, but is in time to see the Hound triumph over his brother. As he turns to her and salutes, Dany cruises by and flames him in front of her. Seeing this and the rest of Dany’s senseless attack, Arya adds Dany to her list.
At Dany’s big show in front of all of the troops, she is trying to reassure everyone that she isn’t really that crazy, oops my bad, never happen again. The crowd seems to be wavering, when one of the Unsullied bringing her the crown suddenly draws a knife instead and plunges it into her heart. We see the face-tear-off thing, and find it was Arya using the actual skills she’s spent the last 8 years learning.
The dragon is enraged, and turns to flame Arya – Jon, who was struggling to still support Dany, drops the dying Queen and leaps in front of Arya to block her from the dragon.
The whole assembly of troops, etc. sees the dragon backdown and obey Jon, making it obvious to all his Targaryen blood and his rightful claim to the throne.
Jon is once again forced to take on a position of leadership he doesn’t want because he knows it has to be done, and accepts the Iron Throne. Arya is exiled for her regicide, or else manages to escape. Either way, she continues out in the world someplace as a mysterious assassin.
Jon appoints Tyrion as Hand, and Bran goes back to live with the Children of the Forest like the last 3-eyed Raven.
So that’s mine – how would yours go?