The Mailbag Of Thrones on the series finale, what Bran knew, Jon's fate, and what it all means for the books

The Mailbag Of Thrones on the series finale, what Bran knew, Jon's fate, and what it all means for the books

We learned a lot from Game Of Thrones’ series finale, “The Iron Throne,” like how there is literally no failure too big to get Tyrion fired, dragons have an uncanny understanding of symbolism, and the Citadel is a four-month college. But the show’s last episode raised plenty of questions, too, and in the final Mailbag Of Thrones we’re answering yours about ambiguous endings, what the final season might tell us about George R.R. Martin’s books, and when we should expect a reboot.

Carina asks: So, can Bran see the future or what? Or is there maybe a bowl made of weirwood in Tyrion’s pantry prison that showed Bran how he worked through this all?

We know he has brief flashes of future events, like when he saw Cersei blowing up the Sept of Baelor and Drogon flying over King’s Landing, but the show never indicated he can clearly see future events the way Maggy the Frog foresaw Cersei’s fate. And that’s the problem with him telling Tyrion he traveled all that way to King’s Landing to become king. Why? How? Was he a 17-level-chess genius who anticipated that exact sequence of events would happen? Or did Bran know everything that was going to happen before it did?

If it was the latter, uh, he’s super evil. With that ability couldn’t he have stopped Daenerys before she murdered all those innocent people? Or maybe did more to prevent the Night King from killing so many at Winterfell? If so, the only reason not to mention any of this beforehand was that he was playing the long game of thrones and knew he’d end up ruling.

Either Bran was the secret big bad all along or the show did a bad job explaining his powers, making it unclear what he knew and when. The former is pretty cool. The latter, unfortunately, is the right answer.

Jim asks: What was a crueler yada yada: Bran talking about finding Drogon with his powers (possibly warging into him), or Dorne and the Iron Islands calmly accepting they’re still part of the Six Kingdoms (given their well-documented history of rebellions) even after the council and Bran let Sansa and the North secede with little more than a shoulder shrug?

Maybe the new Prince of Dorne, who is not a Martell (unless he was an unmentioned bastard) is a putz who has no stomach for conflict, so we can ignore the silliness of a kingdom that managed to remain independent for 187 years after Aegon became king as the failings of one man. But in what universe would Yara Greyjoy allow a Northerner to be her king while the North gets to be independent? It was absurd, as though Sansa outsmarted them by waiting until they all said yes and there were no take-backs.

The Yara we know would have either laughed at that whole inane sequence or revolted, like she did when the Iron Island’s Kingsmoot didn’t go her way.

At least with Bran he might have only meant he was going to “look” for Drogon, not that he was going to warg into him. It’s still bullshit he never even tried to warg into a dragon, but the final season aggressively thumbed its nose at almost every major fan theory, so by the finale it wasn’t unexpected.

Mark asks: Would the outcome have been better received if the same story beats had been allowed to develop over two 10-episode seasons?

If they had used those episodes to better establish the motivations of its characters, especially the abrupt change in Daenerys from protector of the downtrodden to tyrant, then yes, absolutely. The last two seasons were rushed, incoherent, and lacked internal logic. They were really stupid, and taking some time to have things make sense would have fixed many issues.

If they had been 10-episode seasons of the same quality of what we did get they would have been even worse nightmares that lasted a few more terrible weeks.

Ryan asks: Is Daario ever going to find out about Dany’s fate? Will he take an army and wage war against Westeros?

Not if he’s smart. Until Daenerys, an Essos force hadn’t invaded mainland Westeros since the Andals thousands of years ago, and for a reason: It’s really a huge pain in the ass. Even the Valyrians didn’t bother until Aegon the Conqueror, and the Targaryens had been on Dragonstone for a century by that point.

Daario should declare himself King in the Bay of Dragons and live in the Meereen pyramid penthouse until he’s murdered in his sleep, which he definitely will be.

Sean asks: Did Jon return to the Night’s Watch? Or did he run off with the free folk? The final shot confused me a bit.

There was no reason for him to escort the wildlings past the Wall, but he clearly wasn’t expecting the gate to shut behind him. His little smile when it did is why I’m fully convinced the Night’s Watch freed him without letting him know beforehand. They rewarded him for his service to the Realm by letting him walk away from it and any responsibilities.

Plus, what was he going to do on the Wall? Protect the Realm from all of the wildlings they had become friends with?

Colby asks: What was the point of Jon being a Targaryen? Did everyone forget in the last episode he was technically the rightful heir? Or did they not care? No one even mentioned it.

Jon’s birth, which was a huge deal from day one of the story, only really mattered because it made Daenerys furious and threatened, which contributed to her burning King’s Landing.

Otherwise there was really no point to him being Aegon Targaryen. It still should have come up during the Dragonpit council though. Someone definitely should have at least mentioned it. Seemed relevant that a great hero and respected leader was also the legal son of Rhaegar Targaryen and Lyanna Stark.

The discovery that Jon Snow was really Aegon Targaryen was as irrelevant to the story as the White Walkers, whose presence and defeat didn’t matter to anyone. Genuinely insane how little both of those stories ultimately mattered.

Lewis asks: MVP of the show? My votes are for Drogon and Ghost, ’cause at least I cared about their story arcs.

Brienne, who went from an insecure laughingstock to Lord Commander, has a good case. Arya became a Faceless Man and killed the freaking Night King, so I would definitely put her on my ballot too. Even Sam, who killed a White Walker, became a dad, and rose to Grand Maester so fast he might have paid an Oldtown sailing coach for his degree, had a pretty good run too.

But I’m going with Bronn. He was a nobody sellsword when we first met him, and now he’s the Lord of Highgarden, which should make him the richest man in Westeros in short order. Plus, he’s on the Small Council where he’ll likely do a terrible job but keep his position forever (we call this the “Tyrion Principle).

My LVP? The Night King. Nice job waiting thousands of years to return, all so you could lose focus at the very end, in a story that ultimately meant nothing and left everyone feeling empty, you stupid blue-eyed goober.

Christie asks: Do you think George R. R. Martin already knows how he plans to end the book series? Or do you think he’s taking into consideration some of the negative feedback the last few episodes have received?

Martin says he’s had the “major beats” of his ending planned for years, and what happened on the show, or fans correctly predicting what will happen in the last two books, won’t alter them. He’s also repeatedly said it would be a “mistake” to change “midstream” how his story ends after laying all the groundwork for it, so he won’t be swayed by negative feedback to the show, except it might convince him he really should take as much time as he needs to finish them correctly.

And that’s not wrong, but I don’t have to like it.

Raymond asks: What do you expect from that ending will actually be in the books?

Daenerys burning King’s Landing to the ground. How the show got there didn’t make a whole lot of sense, but it feels like a Martin-like twist that fits his story,

I trust he’ll take his time developing her journey to that moment, so I’m actually looking forward to it, even if it’s tragic.

Gregory asks: How long until Netflix/Amazon/Hulu/Disney reboots Game Of Thrones to be closer to the books? One year? Two years? Within my lifetime? I’m sure we’ll see a new Spider-Man cast take over and do it right this time.

I’m setting the over/under at 15 years (assuming the novels are even done by then), but the new show will be animated. The cost of doing an even bigger, more sprawling version of A Song Of Ice And Fire won’t ever be feasible. There won’t be any mysteries left, and without that and all of the fan theories to help drive interest, it seems impossible a remake/reboot will ever generate the same kind of craze.

But an animated series would still have major appeal, especially to fans who want to see Martin’s version of the story come to the screen.

And if it does I hope I’m here to answer your questions about it. I loved doing this column, and it was only possible because all of you, so thank you.

I wish you good fortune in the next television phenomenon to come. Which will hopefully be a Game Of Thrones prequel so we can do this again.

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