Game of Thrones season 8 finale: Who survived and where did they end up?
Who made it through the great Game and where are they headed next? The fate of every character revealed.
Jackson RyanFormer Science Editor
Jackson Ryan was CNET's science editor, and a multiple award-winning one at that. Earlier, he'd been a scientist, but he realized he wasn't very happy sitting at a lab bench all day. Science writing, he realized, was the best job in the world -- it let him tell stories about space, the planet, climate change and the people working at the frontiers of human knowledge. He also owns a lot of ugly Christmas sweaters.
Having been engrossed in the narrative for eight years, we'd heard a lot of theories about how Game of Thrones would ultimately finish. Dany and Jon would share the rule. Arya would kill Cersei. Cleganebowl is all that matters. Hot Pie deserves the throne. We're not too sure many of the theories came close to what actually transpired. There was death, there was a new King and there were some happy endings, too. In fact, the Game of Thrones ended like a game of Monopoly, really: We picked up the board and threw it across the room, demanding to start all over again.
So as the credits rolled on TV's biggest show ever, where did all your faves finally finish up?
Spoilers, of course, follow.
The Iron Throne
Let's get this one out of the way first. The Iron Throne is gone. It's nothing but a heap of crumpled, molten metal. Kind of sad to see the iconic Throne topple.
She had many wonderful titles, but after burning King's Landing to the ground in Thrones' penultimate episode, Dany was not long for this world. The "Mad Queen" arc may have seemed a little abrupt. She did not get the ending she has been chasing her entire life but, instead, was betrayed one last time by the man she loved -- her nephew, Jon "Aegon Targaryen" Snow.
Jon Snow (Aegon Targaryen)
After Sam revealed Jon's true parentage early in the final season, the cracks between him and his Aunt began to show. Jon almost seemed like he was going to let Dany live and he would serve her. A real case of Stockholm syndrome. Ultimately, after a heart-to-heart with Tyrion, he acquiesced and plunged a dagger into her heart as tears filled his eyes.
For that crime, he was "sentenced" to head back to the Night's Watch, an organization that really need not exist anymore because, yo, the Night King is dead, remember? Arriving at Castle Black at the end of the final episode, Jon reunites with Tormund and thankfully Ghost, before he heads out beyond the Wall to live with the free folk. After everybody kept prodding Jon, begging him to be king and Jon parroting "I dun want eet" hundreds of times, he got his wish.
Drogon is alive and well. After Dany was knifed, Drogon picked up her body and flew into the graying skies with her corpse. He was never seen again. At the small council meeting that ends the episode, Bran mentions finding Drogon -- presumably with his warging abilities -- and just keeping an eye on him. For mine, having the most powerful dragon just disappear is not good news for Westeros. I mean, we've seen how powerful Drogon can be and that kind of unchecked power disappearing into the night. Bad news.
Watch this: Game of Thrones season 8 finale: Our watch has ended
"Bran the Broken" arguably made the biggest rise in the entire series. He went from cripple to King, from bed to throne, from Hodor's back to the Realm's top. He finished the series as the new King and with that "won" the Game of Thrones. Who honestly picked that? If you're wondering what happened to Podrick, he's squiring for Bran and helping him get around King's Landing's various steps and staircases.
Arya is following in the footsteps of… well, no-one. She's sailing west of Westeros, to a land which has never been documented on the maps. Arya Stark, arguably the most skilled assassin in the Seven Kingdoms and the woman who defeated Death incarnate is off to enjoy her time as the realm's Marco Polo or Christopher Columbus. Is there potential for a sequel here? Honestly, it won't be the same without the Hound to follow her 'round.
No word on that poor white horse that Arya rode at the end of episode 5.
After learning basically every trick in the book from some real unsavory characters like Littlefinger and Ramsay Bolton, Sansa was a lock to ascend to power. She said it herself -- she's no longer a little bird. The question that remained heading into the finale was would she rule the North or would she rule the entire realm?
Her final scene had her take up the crown in Winterfell, as Northmen bowed down around her before raising their swords and chanting "Queen in the North." Sansa's final two seasons were perhaps the most expertly plotted in the entire show and her rise to "most intelligent person in the world" was well done. She will do a good job up there.
With Jaime and Cersei Lannister sharing a tomb at the conclusion of episode 5, House Lannister was basically in ruins. Their children,Myrcella and Joffreywere dispatched by poison and Tommen came to meet his maker after meet the ground at high velocity. Tywin is long gone and poor uncle Kevan was blown to smithereens in Cersei's mad Sept bombing. As we hit the finale, the biggest hope for House Lannister came from the smallest man, one Tyrion Lannister.
Tyrion, after seeing Dany's wrath as she burned the men, women and children of King's Landing, admitted his treason and handed back his Hand of the King pin early in the final episode. But our guy, the man who drinks and knows things, was spared Death-by-Dracarys after convincing Jon that Dany had to die. After being locked away by the Unsullied, he suggested a new King -- Bran the Broken -- and was spared by the new ruler.
Not only that, he ended up as Hand of the King. Again. Tyrion is the man for that job and before a meeting with the small council at the end of the episode, Tyrion shuffles a few chairs around. He's in the right place.
With Bran named leader and Tyrion named Hand of the King, one of the lingering questions would be "Who serves on the King's Small Council?" and honestly, if you asked anyone this 6 episodes ago, I doubt you would have got all of these correct.
Samwell Tarley: Grand Maester
No matter who ruled, Sam always seemed destined to be the Grand Maester. In his final scenes he delivers a book called "A Song of Ice and Fire" he has written about the events that have transpired, in what seems like a pretty obvious callback to one of the other biggest fantasy franchises that have ever existed.
Bronn: Master of Coin
Bronn's final season was kind of a garbage fire of rushed writing but in the end he got what he wanted. A nice big castle. He also has a position on the Small Council and, as Master of Coin, he knows where all the money is flowing. Seems like a good spot for Bronn -- I am just sad that the show did him dirty before getting to this place.
Ser Brienne of Tarth: Lord Commander of the Kingsguard
Brienne taking her seat at the Small Council is one of the show's small wins, in our books. She is the most capable knight who remains and she fulfilled her duty to protect the Stark kids as well as she ever could. Despite having her heart broken by Jaime Lannister, she even penned a positive tribute to his life and deeds. She's got the best heart and found her place in the world. It's nice.
Ser Davos Seaworth: Master of Ships
Well, this makes sense, for sure. Davos is a seafaring man and a great smuggler. However, I am worried about his wife who he mentions in passing and hasn't spoken of for years. Did she come to King's Landing with him? Please tell me Marya Seaworth is OK.
The titles of Master of War, Master of Whisperers and Master of Laws were all vacant at the end of the show.
The man who served Dany valiantly for most of her reign and was basically unkillable somehow survived long enough to sail away. In what is a fitting end for his character after all the trials and tribulations he encountered during serving the Mother of Dragons, Grey Worm (and his forces) found a way to Naath. Importantly, this is the same place Missandei grew up and before the Battle of Winterfell, she told Grey Worm it's where she wanted to end up when all was said and done.
Her head was lopped off by the Mountain, but Grey Worm made his way across the seas to Sothoryos, where Naath lies. Did he take the Unsullied as his banner men? Davos certainly told him to, so here's to Grey Worm and love.
After Daenerys meets her end, we get a meeting between all the major lords and ladies of the kingdoms in the dragon pit. Yohn Royce, Robin Arryn, a new Prince of Dorne and a couple of unnamed lords all sit around debating who will be king. They are never seen again.
Gendry Baratheon, his thirst and unrequited love for Arya aside, finished up pretty well. In the penultimate episode, Dany makes him Lord of Storm's End and he's seen in the final meeting just sort of hanging out and agreeing to the proposition of Bran as king. At least he finally got off that row boat.
Yara Greyjoy, the lady reaper of Pyke,appears to have assumed the mantle of Queen of the Iron Islands. She doesn't get much of a say in the final episode, except to demand some sort of justice. She's the last living Greyjoy.
Maester Wolkan is also credited in this episode. He made the chair for Bran. He goes on to create more of Westeros' most amazing devices.
Unbelievably, against all odds, Edmure Tully made it through to the very end. This is a man held captive by the Freys for who even knows how long (spacetime in this show gets bent really hard) and subject to some pretty severe torture. Fortunately, he makes it to the final meeting as, he says, "one of the senior lords in the country." He lucked out but when he tries to make his case at the Dragonpit, he's told to sit down by his niece, Sansa. Ouch.
Game of Thrones stars, from season 1 through today
Hot Pie, unseen since season 7, is Game of Thrones' most wholesome character. We know that he stayed at the Inn at the Crossroads and baked amazing Direwolf bread. He will live out his days as the world's best cook, going on to win season 3 of Westeros Masterchef. We stan the Pie.
Is this truly the end for all of these characters? As of right now, it would seem to be. However, Game of Thrones will be receiving a prequel series at some point in the future. We've got all the details about that right here but will they also spin it out into a number of sequels? There's certainly enough survivors to suggest it a possibility.