During the recent Television Critics Association winter press tour, HBO president of programing Casey Bloys spoke to The Hollywood Reporter about the final season of Game Of Thrones, and while he was trying not to give away anything meaningful, he should know there is no comment small enough that Game Of Thrones fans won’t read way too much into it. For example: When you string together his comments, they point toward how the Great War between the living and the dead will end.
When asked if he has read the show’s final six scripts and if he knows how it will end, Bloys said, “It’s fantastic,” adding, “The fans are going to be very, very happy.” He also addressed the possibility of the series leaving an opening for a reboot or revival some day by saying, “That’s not happening. This story, A Song Of Fire And Ice [sic], is done. There’s no revival, reboot, spin-off talk.”
Those two statements are potentially far more revealing than he meant them to be, because he specifically defined “this story” as being “A Song Of Fire And Ice” (not Ice And Fire—sigh), and said it will be completely over, without question. Despite the TV adaptation of George R.R. Martin’s fantasy saga being called Game Of Thrones, ice and fire have nothing to do with the Iron Throne. It’s about the war between the living and the White Walkers.
Which would point toward the show definitively and forever ending that struggle, which dates back 8,000 years in Westeros, to the first Long Night. There are countless theories and possibilities about “how” that could happen (like if Jon has to sacrifice Daenerys by putting a sword through her heart so he can kill the Night King). But there are only three clear answers as to “what” it will look like if the Great War ends forever.
The first is the White Walkers win and destroy the living, an ending which would be stunning. The second is mutual destruction, with neither the White Walkers nor the living still standing when it ends. But Bloys’ comment that “fans are going to be very, very happy” makes it hard to think either of those things will happen. The show’s ending will almost definitely include lots of pain for fans, with the deaths of major, beloved characters, but a complete White Walker victory and the end of all life in the known world doesn’t sound like a crowd-pleaser.
Which leaves option three: the White Walkers and the Night King will be defeated. That would probably make most fans “very, very happy,” and it would even let the show end with a final showdown for the Iron Throne that Cersei is still clinging to, which would befit the Game Of Thrones title.
But this option could also tell us which major, beloved characters might die while winning that game, because a definitive end to a war between fire and ice has another side to it. In addition to all White Walkers and the Night King being killed, we could see the death of all dragons and Targaryens too. Dragons are thought to have come into the world right around the time the First Men and the Children Of The Forest defeated the White Walkers (the prehistory timeline is murky). There were no dragonlords to help in that fight, which might have been why the Night King was able to retreat, leading to this second invasion and the ultimate showdown between the light and dark.
But can the “song of ice and fire” truly end without both ice and fire being totally snuffed out? Dragons have terrorized mankind from the first time the Valyrian sheep-herders found them, killing untold scores of people over thousands of years. We saw firsthand just how terrible they are during the loot train attack. They aren’t any less destructive than the White Walkers. And the last dragonlords left capable of riding them—or hatching any remaining eggs—are Targaryens. Does that mean, in a “definitive” ending, both Jon and Daenerys die? And what if the theory that Tyrion himself is also the son of the Mad King proves true? He could have to meet his end too.
Every dragon, along with Jon, Daenerys, and Tyrion, could be the price to end the White Walkers threat forever. It would be an easy price to pay for the people of Westeros (and probably a best case scenario since it rids them of dragons), but it would be a brutal one for viewers.
Especially because any ending like this might also mean Bran doesn’t survive. The Three-Eyed Raven can influence events in the past, so if he were to live after the Great War ended, he could possibly go back and screw that up, say in an attempt to save Jon Snow. The most definitive definitive ending would include Bran dying as well.
But hey, it’s not all bad. In such an ending the Wall might finally come down, since there would be no need to protect the realm of the living from the dead. All those nice wildlings who were on the wrong side when it went up could finally move to warmer climates. And maybe the frozen wastelands beyond the Wall will disappear entirely once the White Walkers are done. It’s possible their presence brings the cold in the first place.
That would open up plenty of new land for people to fight over as soon as they forget the lessons learned from the Great War. And make no mistake, if mankind wins and defeats the White Walkers, they won’t stop fighting among themselves. That fight isn’t about ice and fire, it’s about a game of thrones, and Bloys didn’t say anything about that story ending. Of course he didn’t need to, because the war for power over each other will never have a definitive ending.