Game of Thrones (Jon and Daenerys)
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Credit: HBO

Every potential Game of Thrones ending, from absolutely impossible to probable

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May 18, 2019

The end of the game is almost upon us. After eight seasons of fire and ice, Game of Thrones will show its final hand. With developments coming so fast and furious over the last two seasons, how can anybody know exactly what to expect?

At this point, we really don't know what they're gonna do. Rarely do the endings of huge genre shows like this stick the landing for every single fan. They often prove to be divisive, with fans arguing about them for years to come. Look no further than the finale (and the entire final season) of Lost, which is still the subject of bickering. And if the last few episodes of Thrones are anything to go by, then this finale will make the Lost arguments look like an afternoon tea where someone had a slight concern over a cucumber sandwich, only to resolve the issue before bothering to bring it up.

No matter how the series ends, it's almost certainly going to be a major talking point in fandom for years to come. So, what are some possible ways that David Benioff and D.B. Weiss might end things? We know that they've received certain information from series author George R.R. Martin, but whether they actually used it remains to be seen (and may never be known). It's time to take a look at all of the various possibilities for the Thrones finale, going in order of how likely they actually are. We'll start with the "absolutely nots" and venture forth into "put money on it."

**SPOILER WARNING: From this point on, spoilers for Game of Thrones will be coming like a relentless army of wights**

THE FINALE IS ACTUALLY THE SNYDER CUT

No main characters appear, and the episode has nothing to do with the Game of Thrones story. The episode is just three hours of Zack Snyder’s "original cut" of — or plan for — Justice League.

Probability: Computer says no.

THE NEWHART/BOROMIR/LOTR CUT SCENE ENDING

A shipload of stuff goes down, a lot of it is weird, unexplained, and will come out of nowhere. There's roughly an hour and half of this, until ...

... we cut to the woods of Lothlorien in the latter half of The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring. Boromir (Sean Bean, aka Ned Stark) wakes up, having dreamt the entire Thrones series. He turns to Aragorn and says, “See, I told you I would find no rest here!” The rest of Fellowship proceeds as is.

Probability: Zero.

HOT PIE TAKES THE IRON THRONE, AKA THE POWDERED SUGAR ENDING

Hot Pie's baking abilities have now become so incredible that no one in Westeros or Essos can resist them. The entire realm is united by his baked goods, and he is placed on the Iron Throne. Arya ceremonially sticks a sweet roll on each pointy end of it. All thoughts of revenge, fire, and blood vanish as every character eats themselves into a diabetic coma.

When everybody wakes up, winter is over. The realms celebrate spring by helping Hot Pie create the largest funnel cake ever made. Daenerys realizes that it wasn’t snow or ash in the vision she received in the House of the Undying — it was powdered sugar.

Probability: Close to zero, but be honest ... doesn't a small piece of you actually want this?

DAENERYS ABDICATES, TAKES THE BLACK, REBUILDS THE NIGHT’S WATCH, AND FIXES THE WALL WITH DROGON

Either Tyrion, Jon, or both manage to get through to Daenerys. She has gone too far. Horrified by what she's done, she abdicates the throne that she has taken. She is given the option to take the black, and she does.

She flies Drogon to the wall, possibly with Jon as well, and they start a new Night's Watch with Tormund. Ghost is there, and he gets a lot of attention. Eventually, Jon and Dany fall back in love. Drogon helps Dany and Jon to fix the wall. The new Night's Watch has no celibacy clause, so Jon and Dany get back to their aunt/nephew bedtime antics. Someone else takes the Iron Throne. Love ... wins?

Probability: Slim to none. 

DAENERYS TAKES POWER AND KEEPS IT, JON FORGIVES HER

Daenerys takes the Iron Throne, and Jon loves her so much that he overlooks the genocide that he witnessed. He stands by her, she rules all seven kingdoms, and he becomes her house boy.

Probability: Jon knows nothing, so slight possibility.

THE MONARCHY IS ABOLISHED, TYRION FINDS A BETTER WAY

Tyrion's faith in Daenerys is gone. His faith in any ruler is gone as well. He no longer trusts a monarch of any kind, so he envisions a better way for power to exist in Westeros. Daenerys is removed somehow (in various potential ways which we'll get to), and Tyrion uses all of his considerable smarts (which we've heard about and sometimes seen) to create a better system of government. The Iron Throne itself is destroyed, and for all intents and purposes Tyrion "invents" democracy.

Probability: It’s a little too modern, but it would give Tyrion a great arc and a huge payoff. It veers on the positive side, though, and that's not this show. Slight possibility.

BRIENNE GIVES TORMUND A CHANCE

She could change her mind, and he'd be first in line. Baby he's still free, so take a chance on Tormund Giantsbane.

It would be nice, but nice isn't usually the way of things.

Probability: Maybe?

DAENERYS AND DROGON BURN WINTERFELL

Why burn one castle when you can burn two? She's been spurned by Jon, and has an enemy in Sansa. She could very well just steer Drogon north and take care of business once and for all.

Probability: At this point? Sadly, it's probably on the table. It would be the final insult to the Starks, and Targaryens do love to burn members of that family.

SANSA AND TYRION JOIN FORCES, SANSA TAKES THE THRONE, JON GOES BACK TO THE NORTH

They've been pushing Sansa/Tyrion at us this season, and there could be a reason why. With his faith in Daenerys shattered, Tyrion could seek solace in the smartest person he knows: Sansa.

Sansa has learned from the best schemers and plotters that Westeros had to offer. Somehow she takes the Iron Throne, and Tyrion is either her husband or Hand of the Queen. Jon could possibly be King in the North again.

Probability: Possible. Sansa's been playing the game better than anyone and, um, she has no great love for Daenerys.

DAENERYS TAKES POWER AND KEEPS IT, JON DOES NOT FORGIVE HER

Daenerys has taken the throne with fire and blood. Jon cannot forgive her, so he trucks off back North. Daenerys rules Westeros through fear. Sansa rules the North, and Jon goes to live in the true North with Tormund and Ghost.

Probability: Some version (or part) of this is possible. If Dany keeps the throne, I don't see Jon being totes cool while she sits on it.

ARYA KILLS DAENERYS

If there's going to be a regime change, then someone has to take out the (braces for pain in the soul) Mad Queen. Arya would be one of two logical candidates, especially because Daenerys has green eyes.

Probability: Possible. If this happens, then …

JON KILLS GREY WORM

To clear the way for Arya, Daenerys' only loyal servant will have to be dealt with. It would give Jon something to do, but we'd really hate watching it.

Probability: This will happen if the former happens.

ARYA KILLS GREY WORM

If the show goes a more predictable route for Jon and Dany, then someone still has to deal with Grey Worm, and Arya will now need something to do. An insane duel between these two would be next-level, and again, very hard to watch.

Probability: Very likely, especially if …

JON KILLS DAENERYS

It almost seems inevitable. Jon Snow having to kill his aunt, who is also his lover? That's how Jon's crazy-ass arc could totally end up.

Probability: Very likely, especially if he is somehow the one to pass sentence. The one who passes sentence should swing the sword, after all. It would be nice if they brought that old chestnut back. It would slightly (very slightly) ease the pain that watching this moment would cause.

DAENERYS TURNS INTO THE NIGHT QUEEN

If Jon swings the sword, and the sword is Longclaw, then Daenerys' Targaryen blood might cause something weird to happen. If Arya ends up killing her, then perhaps it's Needle, suddenly on fire, that causes something weird to happen. Either way, the weirdness would result in Dany turning into the Night Queen. I can totally see a reborn White Walker threat ending the series, and unfortunately Daenerys would be candidate #1 to take the job of leading them. She would end the show, literally, in fire and ice.

Probability: It would bring things back to the existential threat that the show has had since moment one. If Daenerys goes down, then this is definitely on the table. Also, it's a little basic and obvious ... and therefore even more likely.

Game of Thrones Season 8 Daenerys

Photo: Helen Sloan/HBO

BRAN DOES SOMETHING

By something, I mean anything. Literally anything. Bran Stark will do something in the finale, even if it's just saying some creepy s**t to a dog.

What would be more interesting is if Bran somehow proved pivotal to whatever happens in the finale. I still like the idea of him warging into a dragon, and if Jon and Arya are going to go against Dany and Grey Worm, then there's the not-so-small matter of Drogon to worry about. Bran warging into Drogon to clear the way would be interesting.

Bran actually using the saddle that Tyrion designed for him in Season 1 to then ride on the back of the warged Drogon? Even better.

I could potentially see this moment combined with one from earlier on this list — if Daenerys decides to burn Winterfell down, Bran might be able to stop her by warging into Drogon and turning his fiery butt around.

Probability: Bran will definitely do something. Whether it contributes anything to his arc (or the arc of the show) is still up in the air.

SANSA BECOMES QUEEN IN THE NORTH

If she's not dead or on the Iron Throne, then Sansa will definitely rule the North.

Probability: High.

Sansa Stark Season 8

Credit: HBO

THE SUPER COOL VALUE MEAL COMBO ENDING

Why not combine all of this stuff into one big ending?

Daenerys takes the Iron Throne and rules through fear. Jon and Tyrion turn away from her after witnessing her actions. Sansa becomes the head of an anti-Dany squad comprised of Jon, Arya, Tyrion, Davos, Brienne, Samwell, and Bran. Most of this stealth contingent get to King’s Landing around the time of Dany's coronation, and they do so thanks to ships from Yara Greyjoy, and some smuggling from Davos.

Bran wargs himself into Drogon, and rides him using the saddle design that Tyrion made. He possibly uses Drogon to take out Dany's remaining Dothraki and Unsullied. Arya has an epic battle with Grey Worm and kills him. Dany realizes that she’s gone too far and has lost too much. She gives up.

Jon's lineage is now known because of letters that Varys did actually send out. King's Landing looks to him to deal with the mess. He passes a death sentence on Dany, and Arya is ready to kill her. Jon stops her before she does, because the one who passes the sentence should swing the sword. He stabs Dany with his Valyrian Longclaw, and Dany seemingly “dies” in frozen fire.

Jon then rejects the Iron Throne. Tyrion finally shows his smarts by creating a new system where the monarchy is discarded. Sansa becomes Queen in the North, Arya has had her fill of violence and joins Gendry at Storm’s End, Bronn does indeed take Highgarden, a rescued Ellaria Sand takes Dorne, and Yara takes the Iron Islands. The Iron Throne is destroyed. Tyrion “invents” democracy — or at least some kind of republic — for Westeros, and it kind of works.

Jon goes back North. He takes Dany’s frozen body and buries it close to Ygritte because he’s Jon. Tormund and Brienne get it on constantly. After a vision of an undead Dany, Jon starts to fix the wall with the help of Bran and Drogon. Tormund, somehow pregnant with Brienne’s babies, helps as best he can. Jon pets Ghost constantly. He recreates the Night’s Watch under Tyrion and Sansa’s guidance. His watch begins again.

Samwell writes the tale. He either calls it “A Game of Thrones,” “A Song of Ice and Fire,” or “Batman Forever 2.” The book goes on the shelf at the Citadel, and the maesters give him a five-book deal and try to get the movie rights.

Many years later, the kingdom is flourishing. Winter has come and gone. Beyond the rebuilt wall, one of Jon’s scouting parties is ambushed by new White Walkers. Dany arrives behind them, reborn from ice and fire. She is now the Night Queen. She turns the scouts into undead wights. She has already begun to grow a new army.

Probability: Call it my own dream of spring, which would have gone very differently before this season began. Something in here is definitely going to happen. What's even more likely, though, is ...

AN ENDING THAT SPLITS FANDOM, CAUSES REAL-LIFE FISTFIGHTS AT CONVENTIONS, THAT WILL LIVE IN INFAMY, AND CAUSE A NEVER-ENDING BOILING SEA OF HOT TAKES AND RAGE

Probability: An inevitable certainty.


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