If you haven’t seen episode sixth in Game of Thrones’ eighth and final season and don’t want to know what happens, stop reading now.
With just one episode of Game of Thrones left, the question on everyone’s lips is who is going to end up on that iron, er, Alexa what’s a synonym for throne? That iron seat of kings? Anyway, the bulk of theorising interrogates who will make it out on top by the end of the sixth episode.
And after this season’s plot twists, many believe that person will be Sansa.
A fine choice, a fine choice. Sansa has been through more than almost anyone on this cursed show, and she learnt how to play the game from two of the best: Cersei and Littlefinger.
She’s proven herself when it comes to strategy, and she has a loyal contingent who will follow her anywhere.
But what if the throne is a giant, seat-of-kings-shaped red herring? What if there’s no Iron Throne left at the end of Game Of Thrones to sit on? What then?
I know it’s in the title, but I think that Game of Thrones has never actually been a series about the throne itself, and this last episode will prove that.
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The rise of the Night King reinforced the narrative that there’s more to life than squabbling over regal titles, and the unravelling of King’s Landing is a metaphor for the poisonous nature of power.
What if there was another solution? What if there was a way for a surviving group of Westerosians to rule together in a democratic republic? What if, instead of stopping the wheel they could break it?
First things first, let’s take a look at the clues. Both stars Emilia Clarke and Aidan Gillen have revealed that Game of Thrones is about the corruption of power.
“Ultimately, if you get on the throne, what are you really getting?” Clarke told The New York Times.
Gillen took it one step further: “I think initially (the throne) was the thing, there was a quest for an ultimate winner who was going to rule from the Iron Throne. But it doesn’t feel that’s what it’s about anymore.”
In episode five, we saw Daenerys, Grey Worm and her army go full scorched earth on King’s Landing. The Red Keep is burning, and everything in it potentially destroyed.
We know that dragon fire can melt steel — the kind of steel that makes up the Iron Throne, for example. We know that major sets during the filming of Game of Thrones were set on fire. We also know, courtesy of Vanity Fair’s Still Watching Game of Thrones podcast that the show’s production designer scouted, created and filmed in an entirely new location, one that has never been used on the series before.
Could that location be the site of a new parliament, perhaps?
So who might those people be? We have a theory about that as well, too.
One of the biggest pieces of Game of Thrones lore involves the faith of the Seven Gods: Father, Smith, Warrior, Mother, Maiden, Crone and Stranger.
These Seven Gods make up the backbone of Westerosian society, the seven figures in whom faith is placed. It is their names that are uttered during marriage ceremonies. And it is in them that fealty is sworn (“I swear it by the Old Gods and the New”).
But they’re also starting to closely resemble some of the remaining characters on the series. We’ve talked about this before, but Smith could stand for Gendry.
There’s a certain symmetry to Arya taking her place next to Gendry as Warrior, but we think she could be Stranger. Who else is left?
Father? Samwell. (Congratulations to you and Gilly, by the way!) Warrior? Jon. Mother we thought might be Daenerys, but she’s gone a bit Mad Queen lately. What about Gilly, pregnant with baby Jon? Maiden is Sansa. Crone? Wise Tyrion or potentially even Davos. Samwell, Gendry, Jon, Gilly, Sansa, Tyrion, Arya … Not a bad little democratic government, isn’t it?
If the throne is proven obsolete, as we believe that it will, then the Seven Kingdoms will be looking for a new way of rule and, potentially, a new home too.
Might this group of seven survivors, each of them with a direct line to nobility and each of them with their own specific set of skills, go about breaking the wheel in the final episode of Game of Thrones?
At this point, we’d like to see it. Both episodes four and five were disappointing hours of television that seemed to suggest that the series is stumbling down the path of pitting women against women when the series is patently better than that.
At the risk of coming off like Tyra Banks in America’s Next Top Model: C’mon Game of Thrones, we’re all rooting for you.
Pull this one out of the bag. Surprise us all by showing us that the power itself, especially power for power’s sake, isn’t the thing that matters. It’s what you do with power that matters. It’s not about being a spoke on the wheel that rises to the top each time it spins.
It’s not about stopping the wheel, as Daenerys said. It was never about that. It’s about breaking the wheel.
This story first appeared on whimn and was republished here with permission