- This article is about the episode. For the throne, see: Iron Throne
"The Iron Throne" is the sixth and final episode of the eighth season of Game of Thrones. It is the seventy-third and final episode of the series overall. It premiered on May 19, 2019. It was written and directed by David Benioff & D.B. Weiss.
- 1 Plot
- 2 Summary
- 3 Appearances
- 4 Cast
- 5 Notes
- 6 In the books
- 7 Memorable quotes
- 8 Gallery
- 9 See also
- 10 References
Queen of the ashes
Jon, Davos, and Tyrion walks through the ash-covered devastation, with charred bodies of civilians and soldiers everywhere. Tyrion leaves them and walks alone towards the Red Keep. Once inside, he heads towards the cellar and takes the same escape route Jaime had taken him through on the eve of his scheduled beheading courtesy of their father's sentencing, when Tyrion was falsely accused of killing Joffrey. Tyrion walks through the rubble and remains of the Red Keep, searching for his siblings. He spots Jaime's golden hand under the rubble. Devastated by this sign, Tyrion clears away the rubble stone by stone to find the corpse of his sister, and is visibly shaken by it. Knowing his brother is next to her under the debris, Tyrion painfully continues to clear away broken rock and begins to cry when he finds Jaime. His dead brother's death-wish has been fulfilled: Jaime "died in the arms of the woman he loved."
Meanwhile, Jon finds Grey Worm about to execute the remainder of the Lannister forces and tries to stop him, telling him it's over. Grey Worm says it won't be over until Daenerys's enemies are defeated, but Davos asks him, "How much more defeated do you need them to be? They're on their knees!" Grey Worm tells Davos he only obeys the queen's commands; Jon asks Grey Worm what are those commands. Grey Worm replies he has orders to kill all who follow Cersei Lannister and that these men chose to fight for her. Grey Worm takes out his knife to execute the men, and Jon tries to stop him. Immediately, all of Daenerys's soldiers take aim at Jon, while the Northerners accompanying Jon draw their swords. Davos diffuses the confrontation, telling Jon they should speak with Daenerys. As Jon and Davos leave, Grey Worm starts to slit the prisoners' throats one by one.
Outside the gates of the city, the Dothraki are celebrating their victory. A stony-faced Arya appears from the ruined city covered in ash, blood, and grime. Jon pushes his way through the crowd of Dothraki and goes toward the gate, upon which a huge Targaryen banner is hanging. As Jon reaches the top, Grey Worm also appears and they exchange a tense look. Drogon appears with Daenerys and lands behind them. She walks out to address her army, amidst much cheering from them. "You tore down their stone houses, you gave me the Seven Kingdoms," she tells the Dothraki. Daenerys promotes Grey Worm as the Commander of all her forces and the Master of War. She also praises the Unsullied and calls her forces 'liberators' for 'freeing' the people of King's Landing. Jon watches this, concerned. Tyrion comes to the scene, looking devastated by his brother's death. Daenerys now wants to break the wheel and enlists her army to aid her in 'liberating' not only all of Westeros, but the world: "From Winterfell to Dorne, from Lannisport to Qarth, from the Summer Isles to the Jade Sea," destroying the tyrants of the world. From behind the cheering armies, Arya looks up balefully at Daenerys. When Daenerys sees Tyrion, she accuses him of treason since he freed Jaime. He replies, "I freed my brother, and you slaughtered a city," with a look of disgust, throwing away his "Hand of the Queen" brooch. Outraged by this show of defiance, Daenerys tells her men to take him away. Perturbed, Jon and Tyrion make eye contact before Jon turns to face Daenerys. They share a tense silence before she leaves.
Arya silently appears beside Jon while he watches Daenerys leave. Jon is surprised that his sister is in King's Landing; when he notices her bloody face, he asks what happened to her. Arya tells him that she came to kill Cersei, but Daenerys got to her first. She says that Sansa won't bend the knee to Daenerys. Jon responds that Daenerys is the queen now, and asks Arya to wait for him outside the city gates. Arya warns Jon that Daenerys knows who he really is and will view him as a threat due to his claim on the Iron Throne. Before she leaves, Arya tells Jon in reference to Daenerys, "I know a killer when I see one."
Jon visits Tyrion in prison. After asking Jon if he brought wine, Tyrion says that their queen doesn't keep prisoners for long, "I suppose there's a crude kind of justice. I betrayed my closest friend and watched him burn. Now Varys's ashes can tell my ashes, 'See? I told you so.'" He knows his death is certain and asks Jon if there is life after death. Jon tells him, "Not that I've seen." Grimly noting that oblivion is the best he could hope for, Tyrion goes over his past sins, including murdering his lover and father and betraying their queen. When Jon tries to tell Tyrion he didn't, Tyrion says he did... and he'd do it again, now he's seen what Daenerys is truly capable of, telling Jon, "I chose my fate, the people of King's Landing did not." Jon is disturbed by what Daenerys did and is unable to justify it, but believes the war is over now. Tyrion questions Jon, "Is it? When you heard her talking to her soldiers, did she sound like someone who's done fighting?" He goes on to say, "She liberated the people of Slaver's Bay. She 'liberated' the people of King's Landing. And she'll go on liberating until the people of the world are free and she rules them all". Jon angrily responds that Tyrion has been counseling her, and Tyrion agrees, "Varys was right. I was wrong. It was vanity to think I could guide her. Our queen's nature is fire and blood." Jon is upset by the notion that blood defines who they are, saying Daenerys is not her father as Tyrion is not his father. Tyrion admits that Tywin and Cersei were both evil, but reminds Jon that Daenerys has killed more people than Tywin, Cersei and any of the evil people they know. Jon tries to defend Daenerys, going over her various traumas (Missandei's murder, Rhaegal's death) and Cersei's actions, but Tyrion reminds Jon, "And she burned down a city for it." He forces Jon to pause when he asks, "Would you have done it?"; he tries to make Jon see that, if he had been in the same place, knowing what it's like to be on dragonback with that power, Jon wouldn't have done the same thing. Tyrion realizes Jon doesn't want to betray Daenerys. He goes over Daenerys's history of killing evil men, and how everyone supported her for it, but she grew more and more powerful, more convinced of her rightness. Tyrion says that Daenerys is convinced it is her destiny to make the world better for everyone and will do whatever it takes to build the ideal world she wants, no matter how many must die to make it reality.
Tyrion reasons with a tortured Jon, "I know you love her. I love her too. Not as successfully as you. But I believed in her with all my heart. Love is more powerful than reason." Recalling Maester Aemon's words, Jon reflects, "Love is the death of duty." Tyrion agrees and says that sometimes, duty must be the death of love, "You are the shield that guards the realms of men. You've already tried to do the right thing, no matter the cost. You've tried to protect the people. Who is the greatest threat to the people now?" Tyrion acknowledges assassinating Daenerys is a terrible thing he's asking Jon to do, but says it's also the right thing. As Jon struggles with the idea of killing the woman he loves, Tyrion says he won't be the last man she executes and asks, "Who is more dangerous than the rightful heir to the Iron Throne?" Jon accepts being executed by Daenerys if that is her choice. He apologizes to Tyrion that it came to this, but Tyrion tries again, "And your sisters? Do you see them bending their knee?" Jon says his sisters will be loyal to the throne, but Tyrion responds that the reason Sansa told him about Jon's parentage is because she doesn't want Daenerys to be queen. Jon says that's not up to Sansa; Tyrion agrees, but tells Jon he needs to make a choice, "And you have to choose now." Jon looks rattled as he leaves.
Troubled, Jon walks through the ruins of the Red Keep. From under the snow, Drogon appears, comes face to face with Jon, and goes back to sleep.
Daenerys comes to the throne room and sees the Iron Throne for the first time in her life, the same thing that she saw in the House of the Undying years ago. She is visibly overwhelmed by her emotions since to conquer this throne has been her lifelong dream. In awe, she goes to touch the throne as Jon appears. Daenerys tells him that when she was a child, her brother would tell her that it was made from the thousand swords of Aegon's fallen enemies, "What do a thousand swords look like in the mind of a little girl who can't count to twenty? I imagined a mountain of swords too high to climb. So many fallen enemies, you could only see the soles of Aegon's feet." Jon confronts her over Grey Worm executing the Lannister prisoners in the streets but Daenerys defends it is necessary. Jon protests, "Necessary? Have you been down there? Have you seen? Children! Little children, burned!" Daenerys says she tried to make peace with Cersei, but she used their innocence against her, "She thought it would cripple me." Jon urges her to forgive Tyrion and the people of King's Landing, who she's ordered to be executed. He pleads with Daenerys to make them see they made a mistake, make them understand she isn't this person, "Please, Dany." However, Daenerys says she can't and is resolved, "We can't give in to small mercies," she rallies. Jon urges her that they need a world of mercy, but Daenerys tries to convince Jon that her way is the way to the better world. A distressed Jon asks her how she knows, and Daenerys assures him it's because she knows what is good and gently tells him that so does he. Jon tearfully says he doesn't know and asks, "What about everyone else? All the other people who think they know what's good?" Daenerys simply replies, "They don't get to choose." Daenerys embraces Jon and, sincere, she tells him to join her and that she wants him to help her break the wheel, trying to convince him of her new vision. Heartbroken, Jon declares, "You are my queen, now and always." They kiss and as they do so, an anguished Jon drives his dagger through her heart. Stunned, Daenerys collapses as Jon catches her. She dies in Jon's arms as he weeps over her body.
Drogon arrives behind him as a grieving Jon holds Daenerys, while the snow falls. When Drogon approaches, Jon carefully lays Daenerys down; Drogon tries to wake his mother to no avail. Drogon faces Jon, and Jon prepares for Drogon's flames, waiting for his impending death as Drogon roars in grief. However, Drogon does not kill Jon; instead, he channels his rage towards the Iron Throne and melts it down. He proceeds to gently pick up his mother's body and flies away in the gloomy sky, still bellowing in grief.
The Great Council
- Main article: Great Council of 305 AC
Weeks later, Grey Worm escorts a disheveled and grimy Tyrion to the pit. Sansa, Bran, Arya, Yara Greyjoy, Brienne, Davos, Gendry, Sam, Yohn Royce, Robin Arryn, Edmure Tully and the new prince of Dorne all are present there. Jon is also imprisoned for regicide, but he's not brought forth along with Tyrion. When Sansa asks where Jon is, that he was to be brought along with Tyrion, but Grey Worm replies that he decides what to do with their prisoners and it is their city now. Sansa is not appeased, explaining there are thousands of Northmen outside the city gate and as a result, harming Jon wouldn't be in Grey Worm's interest. However, Grey Worm replies there are also thousands of Unsullied as well. Yara sides with Grey Worm because the ironborn agreed to follow Daenerys. Sansa states Yara agreed to follow a tyrant, and Yara responds Daenerys freed them from a tyrant, that Cersei is gone because of Daenerys and Jon Snow put a knife through her heart. Yara wants Jon executed, but Arya warns her not to say another word about killing her brother or she'll cut her throat. Davos defuses the situation, saying they've had enough of cutting each other's throats. He gives Grey Worm's men credit for their aid in the war against the undead and if it weren't for them, they would have lost. He suggests Grey Worm take land in the Reach and start their own house, "We've had enough war. Thousands of you, thousands of them. You know how it ends. We need to find a better way."
Grey Worm says they do not need payment, they need justice for Daenerys's assassination and insists Jon cannot go free. Tyrion reminds him that he does not get to decide that, the power rests with their new queen/king. When it's pointed out there isn't one, Tyrion says that as the most powerful lords and ladies gathered, they can pick one from their number. Grey Worm relents and tells the assembly of lords and ladies to decide the new ruler. They start looking at each other. Edmure Tully rises from his seat and starts to give a speech putting himself forward for the position, but is cut short by Sansa who asks him to sit down. Edmure is visibly embarrassed by this and sits down. Sam, familiar with the voting system for the Lord Commander of the Night's Watch, suggests that the new ruler should be chosen by "everyone" - not only lords but all the people of the kingdom. This is met with scornful laughter from almost everyone, with Edmure and Lord Yohn comparing the idea of giving votes to the smallfolk with giving votes to horses and dogs.
When Tyrion is told that perhaps he wants the crown himself, Tyrion disagrees as he is hated by half the people for serving Daenerys and the other half for betraying her. When Davos asks who he thinks should be king, Tyrion responds that stories unite people and are powerful things. Proposing an elective monarchy, he concludes, "And who has a better story than Bran the Broken? A boy, pushed from the tower, who couldn't walk but learned to fly. The crippled boy who crossed the wall and became the Three-Eyed Raven. He's all our memory. Who better to lead us to the future?" Sansa objects by mentioning that Bran cannot father any children. Tyrion replies that it is good since sons of kings are often vain and cruel as she well knows, referring to Joffrey’s cruelty. Tyrion asks Bran whether he will accept the crown, even though he does not want it. Bran replies, "Why do you think I came all this way?" Tyrion waits for the reactions of the other leaders. All of them slowly start saying "aye" one by one. Sansa is hesitant about this and says that she believes Bran will be a good king, but the North will once again be an independent kingdom. Bran gives his assent to her demand. Bran wants Tyrion to be his Hand but Grey Worm objects to it. He says Tyrion has to atone for his sins. King Bran says Tyrion has made a lot of mistakes and he will spend the rest of his life rectifying them; this will be his atonement, but Grey Worm is still unsatisfied.
Tyrion pays a visit to a dejected Jon in prison. He informs him that to placate everyone, a compromise has been reached and he is going to the Night's Watch, which Jon had presumed was disbanded following the extinction of the White Walkers. Tyrion explains that while the purpose of the Night's Watch was served, it continues to serve a quarantine for the banished, poor and unfortunate. Sansa and Arya wanted Jon to be pardoned, while the Unsullied wanted his head. The compromise makes neither party happy but both have accepted it, Sansa and Arya understanding that Bran needs to make peace. Jon shakily asks, "Was it right? What I did?" Tyrion corrects Jon, "What we did." However, Jon responds that killing Daenerys doesn't feel right. Tyrion tells him to ask him again in ten years. Jon believes they won't ever see each other again, but Tyrion is not so sure, "A few years as Hand of the King would make anyone want to piss off the edge of the world."
A dream of spring
A defeated Jon is shown leaving King's Landing. As he is brought to the port so he can set sail for Castle Black, the city is bustling with people again with much of the city having been rebuilt. As Jon passes Grey Worm's ship, their eyes meet as Grey Worm gives him a fierce look. Grey Worm takes the Unsullied and sails for the island of Naath, keeping his promise to Missandei of protecting the people of the Island of Naath.
Sansa, Arya, and King Bran meet Jon before he leaves. Sansa asks for Jon's forgiveness, but Jon hesitates. He then responds that Sansa has gained independence for the North. However, Sansa replies the North has lost its king. Jon tells her, "Ned Stark's daughter will speak for them. She's the best they could ask for." The siblings share an emotional hug. Jon tells Arya she can come and see him at Castle Black, but Arya gives him a sad smile when she tells him she's not coming back North. Sansa asks her where she's going. Arya's going west, "What's west of Westeros?" Jon returns her sad smile, "I don't know," and Arya tells him, "No one knows. It's where all the maps stop. That's where I'm going." Jon asks, "You have your Needle?" Arya tells him she has it right here and starts to cry. Jon wipes away Arya's tear. They share a long hug. Jon turns to Bran and kneels, "Your Grace, I'm sorry I wasn't there where you needed me." However, Bran responds, "You were exactly where you needed to be," in his usual quizzical fashion.
Elsewhere, Brienne is going through the annals of the Kingsguard and finishes the record for Jaime. Reluctantly she adds, "Died protecting his Queen," with tears in her eyes.
Tyrion, at the small council chambers, is met by Davos and Bronn, now the Lord of Highgarden. Samwell also arrives, now appearing to be the Grand Maester, and presents a book called "A Song of Ice and Fire," written by Sam and Archmaester Ebrose, about the wars after Robert's Rebellion. Tyrion asks whether he is mentioned in a positive or negative light. Samwell informs him that he is not mentioned at all, much to everyone's amusement. Brienne and the new King also arrive. Bran enlists his advisors to find Masters of Whisperers, War and Law, while he himself will look for Drogon, who was last spotted flying East. He leaves the room with Podrick who is now a knight. Tyrion asks Bronn, who is also the Master of Coin, to provide food supplies from Highgarden, to which Bronn assents. Davos asks for funds for rebuilding the navy. Tyrion talks about building a good sewer system to improve the hygiene of the city. Bronn talks about rebuilding brothels and they start squabbling with each other, apparently signaling a return to normalcy.
Wearing the black garb of the Night's Watch, Jon reaches Castle Black and sees Tormund on the castle walls, who gives Jon a sympathetic look. Jon reunites with his direwolf, Ghost, with Ghost now missing an ear and visibly scarred like Jon. Sansa takes on the mantle of Queen in the North at Winterfell.
Arya stands looking contented on the bow of her own ship which flies the Stark banner; she sails forth towards unknown lands and an uncertain fate. Jon and Tormund lead the wildlings outside the gates of Castle Black. As they walk beyond the Wall, Jon silently watches the gate closing behind them and then, looking at the wildling men, women, and children as they make their way, has a brief look of peace. He rides among the group as they progress to the true North, the wildling people finally free from what has haunted them for thousands of years. As they walk by, a piece of grass can be seen emerging from the thawing snow as the first signs of spring begin slowly appear in Westeros.
- 15 of 16 starring cast members appear in this episode.
- Hannah Murray (Gilly) is the only starring cast member who is not credited and does not appear in this episode.
- Starring cast members Nikolaj Coster-Waldau (Jaime Lannister) and Lena Headey (Cersei Lannister) appear only as corpses, due to the death of their characters in the previous episode.
- Kristina Baskett, Richard Bradshaw, Yusuf Chaudhri, Nick Chopping, David Cronnelly, Matt Crook, Levan Doran, Dom Dumaresq, Josh Dyer, Dan Euston, David Grant, Dan Griffiths, Richard Hansen, Rob Hayns, Rowley Irlam, Leona McCarron, Nikita Mitchell, Chris Newton, David Newton, Jason Oettlé, Paul Shapcott, Ben Wright, Adam Behan, Andrew Burford, Carlos Castillo, Matt Da Silva, Pete Ford, Jarrell Hall, Michael Homick, Jonny James and Andy Wareham were stunt performers in this episode.
- The episode title refers to the royal seat of the King of the Andals, the Rhoynar, and the First Men, which was forged at the order of Aegon I Targaryen following the War of Conquest.
- The Title sequence has been updated to show evidence of the damage in King's Landing, including holes in the walls and the Lannister sigil gone from the throne room. Last Hearth appears in the sequence despite not appearing in the episode. The opposite is true for Castle Black: it appears in the episode but not in the title sequence (the Wall appears, but the sequences focuses on the eastern part where Eastwatch-by-the-Sea used to be instead of the central portion where Castle Black is).
- This episode marks the return of Edmure Tully and Robin Arryn, both of whom have not been seen since Season 6 ("No One" and "Book of the Stranger", respectively).
- When Brienne is updating Jaime Lannister's entry in the White Book, she writes that he fought in the "Battle of the Goldroad" - a name invented by Game of Thrones Wiki itself. In behind the scenes videos from Season 7, the showrunners didn't give this battle a formal, in-universe name, and referred to it as "the Loot Train Attack" (capitalized) in production materials. After several rounds of discussion, the Game of Thrones Wiki Administrators invented on their own the in-universe name "Battle of the Goldroad" - on the logic that they were stated to be crossing the Blackwater River, but were not within sight of King's Landing, and the only other crossing is farther upstream from the city, where the Goldroad crosses over it.
- The attire of the Kingsguard changes once again upon Bran's ascension to the throne, and now features a picture of the Three-eyed raven on the breastplate.
- Podrick has been promoted from a squire to a knight (a wish he expressed to Brienne in "High Sparrow") and is a member of the new Kingsguard.
- Tyrion addresses Bronn as Lord Paramount of the Reach, the first time the title has ever been mentioned in the show as well as the first and last time, in fact, any Lord Paramount title has been mentioned.
- The Iron Throne is destroyed by fire from a black dragon. It was created using the dragonfire of another black dragon.
- Jon's return to the North ironically fulfills a wish he expresses to Tormund during their farewell in "The Last of the Starks": when Jon says to Tormund that Ghost will be happier in the North, Tormund replies that so will Jon. Jon says "I wish I was going with you." After Jon says, "This is farewell then," Tormund responds, "You never know. You've got the North in you: the real North" (meaning beyond the wall with the free folk). This exchange foreshadows Jon's return to the North (as a life sentence for killing his Queen, Daenerys) his reunion with Tormund and Ghost, and his venturing out beyond the wall. It is ironic because when he had a chance to go to the North, he chose not to, instead choosing to fight at King's Landing; the punishment for the assassination of Daenerys is to be sent to the North against his will.
- It fits that Bronn, as the new Master of Coin, values the importance of brothels since one of his predecessors, Petyr Baelish, was the infamous owner of many brothels, while another predecessor, Tyrion himself, was known to be a frequent patron of brothels.
- It would have been ironic had the new Master of Coin been opposed to brothels, since the reason they are valued so highly is they are a guaranteed
- The ensuing movements and the current whereabouts of the surviving 50,000 Dothraki riders, who followed Danaerys to Westeros, are unknown.
- The Night's Watch still exists, although the army of the dead has been destroyed. When Jon asks "There's still a Night's Watch?", Tyrion replies "The world will always need a home for bastards and broken men. You shall take no wife, hold no lands, father no children", so the organization's secondary purpose—of serving as a lifetime prison for criminals and exiles from the rest of Westeros—continues.
- The final scene of the show mirrors its first scene: The door in the Wall opens, and members of the Night's Watch go out into the wild.
- Of the six Stark children (including Jon, although he bears the Targaryen name), four—Robb, Jon, Sansa and Bran—have been monarchs; three King/Queen in the North.
- Jon's fate is very similar to Maester Aemon's: each of them was a Targaryen and the true heir to the Iron Throne, waived his titles and served at the Night's Watch; the only difference is that Aemon acted willingly, while Jon was banished as a punishment.
- Houses Stark, Tully, and Lannister are now the only great houses with multiple members known to be alive: The Starks - Sansa, Arya, and Bran; the Tullys - Edmure and his unnamed son, and the Lannisters, only Tyrion in the episodes, but other members referenced in props. The other great houses have been reduced to one living member apiece: Jon (Aegon Targaryen), Robin Arryn, Yara Greyjoy, Gendry Baratheon and the unnamed Prince of Dorne are presumably the sole surviving members of their respective houses.
- The new Prince of Dorne, who appears in this episode only, was briefly mentioned by Varys in "The Last of the Starks".
- It is not mentioned on-screen that Brienne has been appointed as the Lord Commander of the Kingsguard, and no one addresses her as such. It can be deduced from two facts: first, she attends the small council; second, she updates The Book of Brothers, which is the responsibility of Lord Commander of the Kingsguard.
- After bidding farewell to Sansa and Arya, Jon kneels to Bran. While the circumstances are different, this depicts a reversal of Torrhen Stark bending the knee to Aegon I Targaryen. In this scene, another Aegon - Jon Snow, born Aegon Targaryen - bends the knee to a Stark, Bran.
- With the climax of the series, the only main characters who were introduced in "Winter Is Coming" and who are shown to be still alive are Tyrion Lannister, Sansa Stark, Arya Stark, and Bran Stark; Jon Snow may qualify, even though he was killed in "Mother's Mercy" and resurrected in "Home".
- Season 8 continues the show tradition of killing off at least one monarch per season (except Season 7): Season 1 - Robert; Season 2 - Renly; Season 3 - Robb; Season 4 - Joffrey; Season 5 - Mance Rayder and Stannis; Season 6 - Balon Greyjoy and Tommen; Season 8 - Daenerys, Cersei, and Euron (and maybe the Night King).
- For the first time in the show:
- More than two monarchs are killed in the current season.
- There are queens among the killed monarchs.
- There is a non-human monarch among the killed monarchs (if the Night King counts).
- For the first time in the show:
Daenerys and Jon
- Daenerys Targaryen is the only named character to die in this episode, and the last character to die in Game of Thrones.
- Daenerys's death, by coincidence or design, is somewhat similar to the death of Alexander the Great. It has been suggested by both contemporary and later writers that Alexander was poisoned by his generals to prevent him from launching an invasion of the Arabian Peninsula. Unlike Jon, Alexander's generals were not so much bothered by the promise of death and destruction; rather, they were tired of living their entire lives on campaign. Like Daenerys however, it was becoming apparent that Alexander was obsessed with conquering rather than ruling.
- By killing Daenerys, who was both his aunt and queen, to whom he swore fealty, Jon has become a kinslayer, queenslayer, and an oathbreaker.
- Jon's act of killing Daenerys, the woman he loves, to save the world from more destruction is perhaps a reference to the legendary Azor Ahai, who killed his beloved wife Nissa Nissa by stabbing her in the heart to fight the darkness.
- The prophecy about Azor Ahai has been arguably fulfilled, though not the sense Melisandre meant: by killing Daenerys, Jon saved the world from her plan of destruction, and it had nothing to do with the army of the dead.
- Interestingly, both Jon Snow's two love interests throughout the series - Ygritte and Daenerys - share various similarities:
- Both start off as Jon's enemies, then become his allies and lovers, and finally end up on opposing sides from him again.
- Both are associated with fire: the redhead Ygritte is regarded by wildlings as "kissed by fire"; Daenerys is a member of House Targaryen, whose words are "fire and blood" and its sigil is a dragon, and she is the Mother of Dragons.
- Jon gets to know each of them better inside a cave ("Kissed by Fire", "The Spoils of War").
- Both die in Jon's arms.
- Normally, if someone attempted to harm Daenerys Drogon would kill him on the spot. It is unknown why Drogon did not harm Jon as a payback for killing his "mother".
- Jon's act is similar to Jaime's act of killing Aerys: both killed a Targaryen monarch, to whom they swore fealty, in order to prevent mass killing of innocent people.
- Both Tyrion and Sam have become what their fathers did not want them to, and did their best to foil them: Tyrion is now the Lord of Casterly Rock, and Sam is the Grand Maester.
The Great Council
- At most, 14 houses are represented at the meeting at the Dragonpit (assuming the Starks are the only ones with multiple members present). While many houses (e.g., Tyrell, Bolton, etc.) have (seemingly) been driven into extinction over the course of the show, there are still more than 14 houses remaining, especially if one counts minor houses and knightly houses. Then again, all great houses are represented, so presumably, the subservient houses would follow the choice of their liege-lords. The lack of representatives of more houses, and the presence of nobility not powerful in their own right (for instance, Arya Stark, Samwell Tarly and Brienne of Tarth do not have any titles of their own) can be explained by the meeting at the Dragonpit not originally having been intended to act as an election of a new monarch, but as the trial of Tyrion and Jon.
- Davos Seaworth is unsure if he gets a vote. In the books, Stannis does raise Davos to lordship, naming him Lord of the Rainwood. However, no mention of this has appeared on the show, and Davos has consistently been referred to as "Ser Davos" instead of "Lord Davos" or "Lord Seaworth." The small council meeting following the Great Council, in which Davos sits as Master of Ships, is the first and only time Davos is called "Lord Davos" (by Tyrion).
- Samwell suggests the idea of "letting everyone decide who gets to rule everyone" (ie. democracy). This is deemed hysterically funny, with Yohn Royce even saying he would ask his horse. This illustrates the intellectual leap required to go from feudal societies to democratic ones.
- Sansa correctly states that the North was once an independent kingdom and that the Northmen tried in the War of the Five Kings to regain that independence. Left unsaid is that all the other regions of the Seven Kingdoms were also once independent kingdoms, save for the Riverlands and the Crownlands, which were carved out of other kingdoms. Three of those other regions had also fought for independence from the Iron Throne in recent memory: The Iron Islands fought for independence in the War of the Five Kings and the Greyjoy Rebellion, the Riverlands had attempted to join with the North under Robb Stark, and the Vale had joined with the North under Jon Snow. Only the North demands independence at the Great Council.
- It seems that Yara has, off-screen, decided to remain loyal to Daenerys, even though the deal they struck was for an independent Iron Islands.
- Yohn Royce appears to retain a degree of control over Robin Arryn, so the Vale remaining in the Six Kingdoms might be his decision. This still doesn't explain why he doesn't continue to support Sansa, however.
- It's not surprising that a Stark is chosen as king given the makeup of the council: Three Starks, their uncle Edmure Tully, their cousin Robin Arryn, at least one Stark bannerman, at least one of Robin Arryn's bannermen (who himself had previously declared for House Stark), Arya Stark's friend and former lover Gendry Baratheon, Brienne of Tarth who had sworn an oath of loyalty to Sansa Stark, Davos Seaworth who had followed the Starks' cousin Jon Snow, and Jon Snow's friend Samwell Tarly.
- Although the realm will now be known as the Six Kingdoms, the name is still a misnomer as there are eight regions remaining: the six kingdoms are the Vale, the Iron Islands, the Westerlands, the Stormlands, the Reach, and Dorne, while the Crownlands and the Riverlands remain within the realm.
- The moniker "Seven Kingdoms" actually predates Aegon's Conquest, and historically referred to the kingdoms of Westeros even when they were all independent, and when there were more or less than seven kingdoms in total. Indeed, the Targaryens still used the title "Lord of the Seven Kingdoms" when in reality they only ruled over six, as Dorne had yet to be conquered. Thus the change of name to "Six Kingdoms" is a bit striking, but it could be argued that the name is meant to affirm the independence of the North and the relinquishment of any claim on the North by the ruler of the remaining kingdoms - whereas the Targaryens used "Seven Kingdoms" in order to assert their claim on Dorne, Bran uses "Six Kingdoms" to show his respect for the North's independence.
- Daenerys thanks the Dothraki for helping her slay her enemies in their "iron suits" and tearing down their "stone houses". This echoes Khal Drogo's promise to conquer the Seven Kingdoms in "You Win or You Die," which Daenerys herself later repeated in "Blood of My Blood."
- For obvious reasons, Daenerys has omitted on both occasions the part of Drogo's speech which regards raping women and taking children as slaves. On the other hand, her Dothraki riders seem to have engaged in the mass murder of innocent women and children during the fall of King's Landing.
- Daenerys grants Grey Worm the title "Master of War", the title Cersei invented in "The House of Black and White".
- Tyrion, disgusted by Daenerys's murderous actions, removes and throws away the badge of Hand of the King, similarly to what Ned Stark did in "The Wolf and the Lion".
- According to the novels, Qarlton Chelsted, who served as one of Aerys's Hands, did a very similar thing: after trying in vain to dissuade Aerys of his diabolic plan to destroy King's Landing, he disgustedly took off his chain of office and flung it down on the floor. Aerys burnt him alive for that.
- Arya surprises Jon by silently appearing next to him, just like she did in "Winterfell".
- Jon mentions the deaths of Missandei and Rhaegal ("The Last of the Starks").
- Whilst incarcerated, Tyrion recalls strangling his lover, as well as shooting his father in "The Children".
- Tyrion tells Jon "I'm talking to the only man alive who knows where I'm going" - indirectly referring to Jon's death ("Mother's Mercy").
- Tyrion says that Daenerys murdered the slavers of Astapor ("And Now His Watch Is Ended"), crucified hundreds of Meereenese nobles ("Breaker of Chains"), and burned alive Dothraki Khals ("Book of the Stranger").
- Tyrion tells Jon "You are the shield that guards the realms of men" - referring to the oath of the Night's Watch.
- Jon recalls Maester Aemon's words to him in "Baelor": "Love is the death of duty." Aemon also told this to Sam in "The Watchers on the Wall".
- When Tyrion urges Jon to kill Daenerys for the sake of the people, peace in the realm, and to save himself, Jon finds he can't do this. Tyrion invokes Jon's sisters, Sansa and Arya, as a final attempt to convince him. In "Baelor", Varys urges Ned to acquiesce to Cersei's demands for the sake of peace in the realm and to save himself. Like Jon, Ned is unswayed by the argument to save his own life, but Varys invokes the life of Ned's daughter Sansa, as a final attempt to convince him.
- Daenerys enters the ruins of the Great Hall, covered in ash, recalling a vision she had in the House of the Undying, in "Valar Morghulis".
- Daenerys says Viserys told her once the Iron Throne was made from Aegon's fallen enemies. It is similar to what Viserys told Doreah in "Cripples, Bastards, and Broken Things", though he said the throne was made from "the swords of the vanquished", without mentioning Aegon's name.
- Daenerys asks Jon "How have you treated people who've done the same to you, even when it broke your heart?" - referring to the execution of those who conspired against him and murdered him ("Oathbreaker").
- Daenerys mentions to Jon her vision of breaking the wheel of the great families, something she initially shared with Tyrion in "Hardhome".
- Jon cradles Daenerys's body in a similar way to how he cradled Ygritte when she died in "The Watchers on the Wall".
- Sansa returns to King's Landing for the first time since she left in "Breaker of Chains". In accordance to what Sansa told Brienne in "Beyond the Wall", she only returns to the capital after Cersei is no longer Queen.
- At the Great Council, Tyrion tells the attending people that Bran fell from a high tower and survived ("Winter Is Coming"), and became the Three-Eyed Raven ("The Winds of Winter").
- Tyrion says "Sons of kings can be cruel and stupid", undoubtedly referring to Joffrey and the line he said in "The Old Gods and the New": "We've had vicious kings and we've had idiot kings, but I don't know if we've ever been cursed with a vicious idiot for a king!"
- In Season 1 episode "Cripples, Bastards, and Broken Things", while discussing Bran's disability, Arya laments to her father that he will never achieve his ambition to be a knight of the Kingsguard. While Eddard concedes that this is true, he reassures Arya that there are other ways for Bran to rise to a high station in life; speculating that he might become a great lord in his own right, raise castles like Bran the Builder, or even sit on the small council. With Bran's accession as king, and the Red Keep in the process of being reconstructed - all three of these things have come to pass.
- Tyrion tells Jon "The world will always need a home for bastards and broken men", referring to his words about "cripples, bastards and broken things".
- When Jon believes he and Tyrion will never see each other again, Tyrion seems less sure, saying: "A few years as Hand of the King would make anyone want to piss off the edge of the world." This is a callback to "Lord Snow", where he does just that; in "The Kingsroad" he said to the other Lannisters "l just want to stand on top of the Wall and piss off the edge of the world".
- Grey Worm sails to Naath, the place he and Missandei planned to go to in "A Knight of the Seven Kingdoms".
- Brienne updates Jaime's entry in the Book of Brothers, which was first seen in "Two Swords".
- Joffrey commented that Jaime's entry was brief, but by the time Brienne filled it in, there was much more to it.
- Samwell Tarly shows the council members A Song of Ice and Fire, the book Ebrose told him about in "Stormborn"; Sam tells Tyrion that the book does not mention him, a callback to Varys telling Tyrion that the histories would not mention him in "Valar Morghulis."
- The fact that Tyrion isn't mentioned in the in-universe A Song of Ice and Fire book is ironic, since he is the character with the most chapters than any other of the viewpoint characters in the actual novels (48 chapters, by the point the novels and the sample chapters reached), and also appears in many more chapters of other POV characters (Jon, Catelyn, Sansa); he appears in 67 episodes of the TV show, more than any other show character. This meta-reference could have been intentional by the writers of the show. Also, it is quite strange that Ebrose would not mention Tyrion Lannister in his book, considering that he plays a huge part in the War of the Five Kings: his abduction by Catelyn caused the early engagements between Houses Stark and Lannister; his defense of Blackwater Bay caused Stannis to fail to conquer King's Landing; the assassination of his father started the downfall of House Lannister.
- Davos corrects Bronn's grammar, something he learned from Stannis Baratheon and which he already did to Jon in "The Spoils of War".
- Tyrion mentions the sewers of Casterly Rock, which he talked about in "The Prince of Winterfell" and "The Queen's Justice".
- Tyrion once again tries to tell the story of bringing a jackass and a honeycomb into a brothel. He first attempted to tell the tale as part of his "confession" to Lysa ("A Golden Crown"), and again to Missandei and Grey Worm in "No One." Each time, he is interrupted and never finishes the story.
- Jon asks Arya if she has "her needle" - a callback to the sword which he gave her in "The Kingsroad".
- Arya fulfills her dream to explore the uncharted waters west of Westeros, a dream she told Lady Crane about in "No One". She repeats to Jon what she told Lady Crane, that nobody knows what's west of Westeros and that's where all the maps stop.
- Jon and Ghost's reunion plays out similarly to their reunion in "First of His Name."
- In "Winter Is Coming", Sansa said "I’d be queen someday"; her statement came true.
- Brienne mentions the following events in which Jaime was involved, in his entry of the Book of Brothers:
- His defeat at the Battle of the Whispering Wood ("Baelor").
- His maiming by Locke ("Walk of Punishment").
- The resolving of the Second Siege of Riverrun ("No One").
- The Fall of Casterly Rock and Sack of Highgarden ("The Queen's Justice").
- His brave conduct at the Battle of the Goldroad ("The Spoils of War").
- His participation at the Battle of Winterfell (Great War) ("The Long Night").
- His death at the Battle of King's Landing ("The Bells").
- When Bran Stark is elected King at the Dragonpit, a plastic water bottle can faintly be seen behind Samwell Tarly's left foot. Another bottle is behind Davos Seaworth's foot. The bottles have since been digitally removed from HBO Now - but have yet to be removed from several international streaming services.
- Tyrion and Jon both refer to Arya and Sansa as Jon's sisters, and Arya says Jon is her brother - although they know Arya and Sansa are Jon's cousins. Despite the revelation of Jon's true parentage, they still see themselves, and are seen by others, as siblings.
- Edmure says he is a veteran of two wars, although he is only known to have participated in the War of the Five Kings. It could be argued that he was flat-out lying to make himself appear as a more appealing candidate for the crown. It is alternatively possible that the second war referred to Robert's Rebellion, during which Edmure could have fought (though his activities at that time are unknown), or some hypothetical campaigns were he retook control of the Riverlands (it is not made clear how Edmure returned to power after the massacre of the Freys).
- According to Arthur Dayne's entry in the Book of Brothers, he is a member of House Gaunt instead of House Dayne.
- Robert Baratheon's surname is misspelled "Bara" in the aforementioned entry.
- Maelys Blackfyre's given name is misspelled "Madys" in Barristan Selmy's entry.
- In Arthur Dayne's entry, the name of the legendary sword Dawn is misspelled as Daww.
- Brienne closes the Book of Brothers very shortly after she finishes writing. She should have waited till the ink dried, or used an absorbent material to prevent the newly-added text from smudging.
- Brienne writes in the Book of Brothers that Jaime was "Set free by Lady Catelyn Stark in return for an oath to find and guard her two daughters." Jaime never promised to find and guard Sansa and Arya; as mentioned in six episodes ("The Bear and the Maiden Fair", "Two Swords", "Oathkeeper", "The Broken Man", "No One", and "A Knight of the Seven Kingdoms"), he promised to return Catelyn's daughters to her.
- Brienne writes in the Book of Brothers that Jaime "Took Riverrun from the Tully rebels, without loss of life". Actually, Brynden Tully was killed ("No One").
- According to Arthur Dayne's entry in the Book of Brothers, Jaime was knighted at fifteen; according to Jaime's entry, he was knighted at sixteen.
TV series vs book ending, & the upcoming prequels
- From the Game of Thrones Wiki Administrative staff:
The TV series has increasingly diverged from the novels, particularly from Season 5 onwards. It is impossible to know, therefore, if the fates of characters in the TV series will be at all similar to what will happen to them in future novels of the A Song of Ice and Fire series. Many storylines have been drastically changed. Conversely, it is entirely possible that the fates of several characters will end up being fairly similar, in broad strokes, to what happened in Season 8. Isaac Hempstead-Wright has said the showrunners told him Bran will become king in the books too.
Meanwhile, instead of going "dark" or fading away, HBO wants to keep the momentum of this franchise going, and is already considering three potential Game of Thrones prequel projects. One of them, about the Age of Heroes and the Long Night, filmed a pilot in June 2019, within a month after this series finale. Check back on these articles for regular updates on the upcoming prequels.
In the books
[This section will be updated with comparisons when the sixth and seventh novels are released.]
- The episode contains influences from the following chapter of A Storm of Swords:
Jon Snow: "You are my queen. Now and always."