Emotionally thrilling. That’s what the final season of "Game of Thrones" will be, according to HBO programming president Casey Bloys at the Television Critics Association press tour in January.
Fans of the cult show, which is based on "A Song of Fire & Ice" books by George R R Martin, have been waiting since 2017 for the final season and, judging by comments on social media, the wait has nearly killed them.
When the official trailer was finally released on last week, fans were beside themselves, to the extent that the trailer had more than 24 million views in under 12 hours.
Before the final games begin and our favourite remaining characters face off one more time for the throne, let’s indulge in our favourite pastime: the theories as to who will end up on the iron throne.
Jon Snow (what some would call the obvious choice)
In a perfect world where happy endings are a norm, Jon Snow would end up on the iron throne. Even though he does not know this yet, the throne is his birthright. The only thing is that, even though Jon has a lot of qualities that would make him an honourable king, he has never displayed an interest in the iron throne. He has always cared more about defending the wall and ensuring that humans win the “real war” against the whitewalkers. Jon’s good heart makes him a fan favourite for the throne, but such an ending would not be that much fun to watch.
Daenerys Targaryen (Mother of Dragons)
For Khaleesi to finally end up on the iron throne would be righteous after everything she has been through. Her journey has been paved with hardships, but she overcame them with the sole purpose of claiming the iron throne. She is a Targaryen after all. And through her challenges, she’s proven to be the epitome of power, keeping all her promises except for one, ruling the seven kingdoms, which might be what she does in the final season.
Gendry (remember him?)
Gendry is basically the dark horse in this race. Most people don’t expect him to claim the throne, even though he is the last known son of King Robert Baratheon. The Baratheon claim to the throne can be argued, but you never know with "Game of Thrones". The young blacksmith could be seen swinging his hammer all the way to the iron throne. He was kept out of the season 8 posters, which showed many of the characters sitting on the throne. What if he was kept out because he actually ends up on the throne? Crazier things have happened.
Sansa Stark (the underdog)
Most people (not me) believe Lady Sansa possesses the qualities needed to rule the iron throne. Sure, she has a good profile and has come a long way from being the girl who dreamed of living happily ever after in a castle. But can she handle the throne? She has proven that she can be a team player and learnt the hard way to stand up for herself, so maybe she could rule the seven kingdoms. We will have to wait and see.
Cersei is a strong contender for the iron throne as she has kept the seat warm for some time. But is she a good queen? If a feared, selfish queen is what you want, she is the best. Cersei might have all the hallmarks of a mad queen, but faced with difficulties she knows how to step up. Still, she could meet her match in Daenerys or any of the Starks, which would be beautiful to watch.
Do you remember Beric’s flaming sword trick when he joined Jon on the trip beyond the wall? He has the Lord of light on his side. He is not an obvious choice for the throne, but he has died and come back to life more times than anyone else on the show, which must count for something. It might be a stretch, but let’s not rule him out just yet.
The Night King (fingers crossed)
In my head, the Night King will be the one who walks away with it all. I can just see him, walking slowly towards the iron throne. He turns around, sits down carefully, almost as if taking care not to break a bone. His accomplices join him, two on each side, and he has all three (undead) dragons chilling outside of a now very cold Westeros.
The world is in an ice age and right before the credits fill the screen, the camera zooms into the Night King’s face. The camera stops right on his face and I imagine him trying to form a smile. Blue eyes pierce the screen and I imagine him saying something to the effect of “The eternal winter has come”. Cue the credits, cue the tears.
Tyrion (I drink and I know things)
Tyrion Lannister is the youngest child of Lord Tywin Lannister and younger brother of Cersei and Jaime Lannister. A dwarf, he uses his wit and intellect to overcome the prejudice he faces. He also murdered his father and has proven to be resilient and is currently the hand of Daenerys Stormborn of the House Targaryen, First of Her Name, the Unburnt, Queen of the Andals and the First Men, Khaleesi of the Great Grass Sea, Breaker of Chains, and Mother of Dragons.
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What if no one ends up on the throne? Khaleesi has been vocal about wanting to change the world order and Jon is no fan of the iron throne and what it represents, so what if the ending is a new world order in which there is no iron throne?
As for Arya and Bran, Arya has always seemed more interested in avenging those who did her and her family wrong and makes a better faceless assassin than a queen...
...while Bran has been rumoured to be a lot of things (including the Night King) but I’m not convinced.
Even if the Night King, Khaleesi, Jon and Sansa don’t take the throne, the ending will be one to remember because, after all, it has been the best show made to date.