Warning: This story contains spoilers for Game of Thrones.
The final episode of Game of Thrones answered the one question that fans had been desperate to determine since the very first episode: Who would win and who would die? The answers were Bran Stark, who was named King of the Six Kingdoms, and Daenerys Targaryen, who was stabbed by her lover-slash-nephew Jon Snow.
But the show left plenty of dangling plot threads. The finale failed to answer questions about some mysteries — like what voice Varys heard in the fire all those years ago — and introduced others — like why the Night’s Watch still exists now that the White Walkers are seemingly extinct. Plus, the showrunners had hinted at some plots like a pregnancy for Daenerys or a clash between whoever came to rule King’s Landing and the Iron Bank that were simply dropped.
Some of these questions about the laws established by the new monarchy are of little consequence, but others, like whether Bran can or cannot see the future, could influence how fans interpret the show’s final message.
Here are all the questions we still have after the season finale of Game of Thrones.
Why did Drogon melt the Iron Throne?
I understand symbolically why Drogon melted the Iron Throne: Daenerys’ unwavering pursuit of that single seat of power turned her from a ruler with a kind heart (as Jorah Mormont so often reminded her) into the Queen of the Ashes. Drogon destroying the throne paved the way for Tyrion and Bran to usher in a slightly different version of monarchy to Westeros.
But was this Drogon’s actual intention? Or was he just venting because Jon just murdered his mom and left him all alone in the world? Dragons are supposed to be smart, perhaps smarter than humans, but Drogon hadn’t previously demonstrated an interest in deploying fire as metaphor.
A related question: Where is Drogon going with Dany’s body? Likely he’s headed back to Valyria to put the queen to rest with her ancestors and take a well-earned nap after burning up a whole kingdom. Bran says that he’s going to try to find the dragon, possibly by warging into him — which of course begs yet another question: Why didn’t Bran warg into Drogon in the penultimate episode and stop the slaughter of thousands of innocent people?
Can Bran see the future?
The show frustrated some fans by failing to define the extent of Bran’s greenseeing powers. The showrunners have offered hints that Bran definitely can see the future. He saw one dragon flying over Westeros in his vision, and that came to pass. He seemingly knew that Arya would kill the Night King with the Valyrian steel dagger and gave the weapon to her a season prior for that very reason. At the end of the series, when Tyrion asks Bran if he would serve as the King of Westeros, Bran responds, “Why do you think I came all this way?”
If Bran can, in fact, predict the future, should he really be King of the Six Kingdoms? Again, why didn’t he intervene other times in the story to save lives — like, say, when Daenerys burnt thousands of people to a crisp? And did he let a series of terrible things happen just so he could wind up on the throne?
Bran’s powers also raise existential questions about the show’s position on choice vs. fate. Bran briefly addresses this issue when he tells Theon that every choice (and mistake) Theon made led him to where he was during the Battle of Winterfell, guarding Bran from the Night King. But for many seasons, characters like Tyrion and Daenerys and Jon struggled against the legacies of their families, making choices that would differentiate them from their past.
What was the point if those characters had a fixed destiny? Bran’s final words to Jon are that he is “exactly where [he was] supposed to be.” We have no free will. Nothing matters. Have a nice trip north, Jon!
Why does the Night’s Watch still exist?
The Night’s Watch was founded to protect the realm from threats from the North, namely Wildlings and White Walkers. Thanks to Jon, the Westerosi made peace with the Wildlings, and thanks to Arya every single White Walker shattered and their entire zombie army fell. So the Night’s Watch is without a mission.
Jon himself has this question for Tyrion when the new Hand of the King sentences Jon to exile on the Wall. “The world will always need a place for bastards and broken men,” Tyrion tells him. So, essentially, the Night’s Watch is just a place to exile people? But what do they actually do there?
A related question: Where is Jon headed at the end of the show when he rides north with Tormund, Ghost and a host of Wildlings? Is he abandoning the Night’s Watch? Is he acting as some sort of ambassador between the Wildlings and Westeros? Is he seeking some other threat? I kept waiting for a hint of a White Walker (or even an ice spider — RIP the chance of us seeing ice spiders) to appear, but no. It looks like Jon is going to live out a rather quiet, possibly lonely life wandering around North of the Wall.
What is going to happen to Meereen and Slaver’s Bay?
Daenerys left Daario and the Second Sons in charge of Meereen when she sailed West. It seemed strange that Daenerys, when facing “distressingly even” odds against Cersei, did not call upon her ex-lover and loyal servant Daario for backup.
Now that Daenerys is dead, does that make Daario the ruler of Meereen? Of all of Slaver’s Bay? He certainly controls an entire army of mercenaries. Would he try to exact revenge on Jon Snow? (I couldn’t help but wonder if Jon would meet his end at the hands of one of Daenerys’ former lovers while he wandered alone in the North at the end of the show, The Departed style.)
What are the Unsullied and Dothraki planning to do?
Tyrion offers Grey Worm and the Unsullied land in the Reach and the opportunity to become a House in Westeros. But Grey Worm instead tells his men to set sail for Naath, where he once promised Missandei the two would travel before she died. Are they going to liberate and settle that land? The Unsullied can’t have children, so they are seemingly venturing to Naath in order to live out the rest of their lives and eventually die out.
And are they bringing the Dothraki with them? We see a few Dothraki on the docks of King’s Landing as Grey Worm prepares to set sail. Are all of Daenerys’ soldiers just chill with the fact that the man who told Jon Snow to murder their queen set up a new government and is running it?
Who is going to repay the Iron Bank?
The Iron Bank bet big on Cersei Lannister to win, funding her Golden Company forces and various other expenses. Daenerys demolished the Golden Company in about 10 seconds during the Battle of King’s Landing. As the bankers loved to remind Cersei, “The Iron Bank will have its due.” So who is going to pay up? It’s likely that Bronn, the new Master of Coin, will be on the hook for this cost. That may interfere with his brothel-building plans.
Why didn’t Dorne or the Iron Islands ask to be independent too?
When Bran becomes king, Sansa requests that the North remain independent, and Bran happily agrees. But then why wouldn’t every lord and lady at that meeting request the same?
When Daenerys’ ancestors tried to conquer Dorne, the Dornish resisted for years, and the Martells earned their house motto, “Unbowed, unbent, unbroken.” Dorne did eventually become part of the Seven Kingdoms, but retained their laws, traditions and the right to call their rulers “princes” and “princesses.” Surely, if the North could be independent, the Prince of Dorne would request the same for his land?
And don’t forget that Daenerys cut a deal with Yara that would allow the Iron Islands to remain free from Dany’s purview once she became queen. Why would’t Yara make the same request from Bran?
Where are all the following characters? We need closure!
Howlen & Meera Reed
Howlen Reed and his daughter Meera were conspicuously missing from both the Battle of Winterfell and the small council of men and women who decided the fate of Westeros in the final episode. The Reeds are loyal to House Stark — so loyal that Meera schlepped Bran all around the North for several seasons and didn’t receive so much as a hug from the man who is now king when she departed.
Their final exchange was incredibly disturbing. Bran was unable to show one ounce of compassion the the woman who lost her brother and almost lost her life trying to protect him. Meera tells Bran in that scene that Bran “died in that cave,” i.e. that he lost every ounce of humanity when he became the Three-Eyed Raven. I wonder what she would have to say about the fact that Westeros is now ruled by a souped-up version of Siri instead of the boy she once knew.
Nymeria the direwolf
Last we saw Arya’s beloved direwolf she was leading a pack of wolves in the North. We’re supposed to assume that the pup, like Arya, is a free spirit who needs to roam free and explore. But she would have come in handy during the Battle of Winterfell.
Last we saw her she was imprisoned in the Red Keep by Cersei. It stands to reason that she was crushed by the rubble during Daenerys’ destruction of King’s Landing. But the small council should really do a death count.
Remember how Arya learned to swap faces with dead people and then didn’t deploy that skill a single time while facing apocalyptic stakes in the final season? That was odd. Stranger still, Arya never faced any sort of consequences for refusing to give up her true identity when she trained to become “no one.” Jaqen H’ghar, the faceless man who acted as her mentor, is presumably still hanging out in the House of Black and White, even though some fans hoped that he would show up again before the end of the show.
This guy executed Ned Stark and held a prominent place on Arya’s kill list for awhile. It would have been nice for Arya to confirm that this Lannister lackey was, in fact, dead before she headed west of Westeros.
Game of Thrones introduced a High Priestess in Meeren in season 6. The woman essentially convinced Daenerys that she was the Princess That Was Promised, and arguably is partially responsible for Dany’s messiah complex and ultimate fate. And yet she disappeared at the end of that season never to be heard from again.
Why didn’t the Night King kill Jon Snow?
The Night King proved to have the aim of an Olympic javelin-thrower. Yet he never tried to take a shot at Jon Snow, despite multiple chances at Hardhome, North of the Wall, and during the Battle of Winterfell.
Why? The army of the living surely would have fallen apart if Jon was not running around Westeros raising the alarm about the White Walker threat. The Night King could have waltzed down to King’s Landing.
Some fans speculated that the Night King himself might have thought that Jon was the Prince That Was Promised (more on that in a second) and thus avoided direct confrontation with him. But we never found out for sure.
Who was Azor Ahai?
Throughout the show several characters who followed the Lord of Light, including Melisandre, guessed that either Jon Snow or Daenerys Targaryen represented the second coming of Azor Ahai, the Prince or Princess That Was Promised. In the Azor Ahai prophecy, the hero is born amid salt and smoke. Both characters’ births fit the descriptions well.
“There will come a day after a long summer when the stars bleed and the cold breath of darkness falls heavy on the world,” Melisandre tells Davos in A Clash of Kings, the second novel in the Song of Ice and Fire series. “In this dread hour a warrior shall draw from the fire a burning sword. And that sword shall be Lightbringer, the Red Sword of Heroes, and he who clasps it shall be Azor Ahai come again, and the darkness shall flee before him.”
Fans long assumed that the White Walkers were the so-called “darkness” that the hero must fight against. But since Arya, whose birth as far as we know does not fit the description of Azor Ahai, killed the Night King, it seemed perhaps the show could have been throwing out the prophecy all together.
But some fans are now arguing that it was Daenerys — or the flaws of humanity in general — who represented the true darkness encroaching on the realm. By killing his Queen, Jon may have become Azor Ahai. In the original Azor Ahai legend, the hero was forced to stab his beloved wife with a sword called Lighbringer in order to imbue the blade with power. Jon stabbing his lover while kissing her certainly parallels this legend.
Still, without Melissandre or any other Lord of Light disciples around to clarify, we will never know for sure if this prophecy was really fulfilled.
Did Varys succeed in alerting the realm to Jon’s true parentage?
Before Daenerys executed Varys for treason, the Master of Whispers was trying to tell anyone and everyone in Westeros that secret Targaryen Jon Snow was a viable alternative to Dany as Ruler of the Seven Kingdoms. We see him burning a letter he is writing before he is taken prisoner, but did he get any of those letters out? If he did, how did the lords of the realm react? Does Jon’s parentage, a plot point on which much of the show hinged, even matter anymore?
When one of the lords of Westeros becomes unhappy with Bran — or Bran dies — will they try to argue that Jon really ought to be on the Iron Throne and possibly start a war in the process? Jon moving north of the Wall does not negate this threat.
Was Daenerys unable to have children?
Though Daenerys believed she was incapable of bearing children, this was never actually confirmed on the show. When Mirri Maz Duur cursed Daenerys in season 1, she told her that Drogo, who was in a vegetative state, would return to normal “when the sun rises in the west, sets in the east. When the seas go dry. When the mountains blow in the wind like leaves.” In the A Song of Ice and Fire books she adds, “When your womb quickens again, and you bear a living child. Then he will return, and not before,” but this line is conspicuously missing from the show.
Still, Daenerys tells Tyrion, Jon and others that the dragons will be her “only children” and she cannot give birth to an heir. Dany may have based her reasoning on the fact that Mirri told her that the child Dany bore in Season 1 was a monster. But Daenerys never saw the baby, and Mirri isn’t exactly the most reliable source of information in this circumstance.
Many fans were convinced that Dany was pregnant in season 8: The character brought up her childlessness so many times, that the writers seemed to be foreshadowing some twist. Optimistic fans thought the show could end not with a murder, but with a baby that was the human manifestation of a union between Ice (Jon) and fire (Daenerys). We’ll never know if that would have even have been possible.
What happened to those White Walker babies?
Good ol’ Craster used to sacrifice his children to the White Walkers. We even saw the Night King turn a baby into a White Walker in Season 4. But we never learn what actually happens to these babies. Do they grow up into big White Walkers? Is this the only way to create new White Walkers — with live babies instead of dead bodies?
What voice did Varys hear in the fire?
Last season, Melisandre confronted Varys with the darkest moments of his past. “Do you remember what you heard that night when the sorcerer tossed your parts in the fire? You heard a voice call out from the flames, do you remember? Should I tell you what the voice said? Should I tell you the name of the one who spoke?” Varys had previously told Tyrion of dreaming about this voice and wondering who it was.
If Melisandre did know the source of the utterance, she never revealed the truth to Varys or anyone else. And Varys died without ever finding out where the voice came from, what it said or what it meant.
Wait — why isn’t Tyrion in the Song of Ice and Fire book?
Yes, it’s played for a joke that Tyrion is missing from the recent history of Westeros. But this just seems like irresponsible history writing: He has been Hand for three different rulers: Joffrey Baratheon, Daenerys Targaryen and Bran Stark!
Also how was Sam not the one to write this book? He needs to call his agent.
How is Sam allowed to have a baby and be a Maester?
Speaking of Samwell, he’s currently expecting a baby with Gilly. That’s great for Sam, but probably bad news for the other maesters who are sworn to celibacy. Having children is very much against the rules, but maybe the fight between the Living and the Dead put things in perspective for the Citadel, and they are slackening their bylaws.
What is West of Westeros?
Historically, anyone who has traveled West of Westeros has not returned. And yet that’s exactly where Arya wants to head at the end of Game of Thrones. What lies in this foreign land? Is it too naive for us to hope that we find out in a spinoff starring Arya as a pirate/ninja/assassin?