All the questions HBO’s Game of Thrones never answered
Warning: spoilers ahead for all of Game of Thrones, including the finale.
After eight seasons and 73 episodes, Game of Thrones has come to an end with the finale, “The Iron Throne.” It’s been a long road to the end, even with an abbreviated final season that felt like it was blowing through plot points at a mile a minute.
The final episode did answer many of the bigger questions surrounding the series, including the fate of the Iron Throne, the Seven Kingdoms, and nearly all the main characters. But the show has been airing for been almost a decade, and over the course of its broad sweep and interwoven plotlines, some details were bound to get lost along the way. Here are the biggest unanswered questions we have left after the finale.
At least the characters are asking this question too. He just flies off with Daenerys’ body, and that’s all we know. Bran asks his Small Council about the missing dragon, but no one’s seen him — although Bran muses that he might be able to find Drogon himself, which certainly seems possible, given his powers. Since Drogon is the last dragon alive, though, it seems likely that Westeros won’t be graced with any more of the magical creatures going forward.
Why did Jon Snow go north with the wildlings?
Where’s Jon going at the end of the episode? Isn’t he supposed to be serving with the Night’s Watch at Castle Black? Well, for one thing, Jon Snow is terrible at his job. No matter what that job is at any given moment, he can’t seem to keep to it. Two, given that the White Walkers have been destroyed, and the wildlings are on nominally good terms with Westeros now, there isn’t a whole lot for the Night’s Watch to do. And you’re feeling romantic, you could imagine that Jon wants to spend some time away from the politics of Westeros to go live free — the sort of thing he had told his first love, Ygritte, all those seasons ago.
Can Bran see the future?
Bran’s powers are never really fully defined — it seems clear that he’s the “memory’ of mankind, and can see basically all of history, in addition to his ability to enter other creatures’ bodies. But based on season 8, it seems like he might actually be able to view the future with some amount of accuracy too. Things like setting up Arya’s kill by giving her a Valyrian steel dagger, then baiting the Night King into place for her to kill him, suggest he has more foresight than he’s admitted. And then he comments that he only came all the way to King’s Landing because he knew he would be offered the crown, which seems to indicate he does have some level of precognition. That should be useful for a king, but it does raise a lot of questions about all the times he didn’t intervene in the story.
Where did the Dothraki go?
Unclear. There’s a clear shot of some Dothraki just chilling by the docks in King’s Landing while Jon makes his sad walk to his boat, but while there’s some clear information about why the Unsullied didn’t riot, kill Jon Snow, and take the city themselves, the same courtesy isn’t given the Dothraki, who were apparently pretty chill about their queen being murdered. Given that they only came to Westeros to serve Dany and help her kill the men in metal suits and break their stone houses, it’s not clear what they have to do now, especially with their Khaleesi dead. Still, for a Dothraki fighter, the whole Westeros trip was probably a pretty successful vacation, given those goals.
What about the Unsullied?
While Tyrion does offer them land in the Reach and the chance to become a house of Westeros, we see Grey Worm captaining a ship of Unsullied later in the episode, alongside a fleet of similarly black-sailed ships. It’s not entirely clear whether the entire band of Unsullied is joining Grey Worm as he sails to Naath, presumably to liberate Missandei’s people. But it does seem likely that they’re going collectively. It seems that with or without Daenerys to lead them, the Unsullied will continue to fight to liberate people — a fitting ending for the freed slaves.
Why does the North just get to stay independent?
It’s a little strange that Sansa casually breaks the North away from the rest of the Seven (now Six) Kingdoms in accordance with the North’s well-established independent streak, and the lords of the Vale, the Riverlands, Casterly Rock, Storm’s End, the Reach, and Dorne don’t have the faintest word to say about their own status.
Honestly, there’s no real reason why the North should get its independence — especially since, say, Dorne is a far more independent kingdom, which joined the Seven Kingdoms two centuries after Aegon conquered the others. Dorne has historically been far more independently minded than the North, even though the North’s rebellion against the Iron Throne got a lot more air time on the show.
But it’s certainly possible that the new Dornish prince is weak and looking for allies, or biding his time. Or that he just didn’t think to press the point about independence until Sansa did. And arguably, the North has earned its independence by protecting all the realms from the threat of the White Walkers.
Lastly, Bran is still a Stark, and may simply have given the special privilege to his former home and family out of loyalty to the North and House Stark. Or he just knows he’s not going to win against Sansa at this point. And he’s probably aware that like Jon Snow before her, she’d come under attack in the North if she bent the knee to King’s Landing. Granting the North independence is the best way to keep her rule stable — something the country desperately needs at this point.
What’s the deal with Dorne?
Oh, Dorne. Everyone’s least favorite subplot, one that consumed hours of time on this series and ultimately went nowhere, but that somehow still feels oddly unresolved as a part of the show. Even though the last few seasons of Game of Thrones basically saw the entirety of House Martell get killed, Varys just off-handedly mentions in season 8 that there’s a new Prince of Dorne. And he shows up in the finale for the vote for the new ruler! We just never find out who exactly he is.
But given the way viewers roundly expressed hatred for the series’ Dornish vacation, it never seemed too likely we’d get those answers anyway. Honestly, that’s probably a good thing.
Nymeria is Arya’s direwolf, and along with Ghost, the only other Stark direwolf still alive. All the way back in season 1, Arya sends Nymeria away after the direwolf bites Joffrey in the arm, and then she vanishes for the next several seasons. In season 7, Arya meets a much bigger Nymeria while making her way north. The direwolf is now leading a pack of regular wolves. Arya asks Nymeria to come home to Winterfell with her, and Nymeria… walks away. And that’s the last we see or hear of her. Ultimately, though, it’s likely that Nymeria’s non-prominence is for the same reason as Ghost’s — the CGI for the direwolves was just really, really expensive.
What happened to the warlocks of Qarth?
The warlocks of Qarth were a group of magic users living in Qarth (hence the name) that clashed with Daenerys. (The warlocks wanted to kidnap Dany and her dragons, since the dragons make magic stronger, another plot point the show seems to have largely forgotten.) Daenerys has the dragons burn some of the Warlocks at the end of season 2. In the beginning of season 3, one of the Warlocks tries to assassinate her, and then… that’s it. We never see or hear from the faction again.
Where have the prophecies gone?
Fans of the books in particular know there are a lot of prophecies swirling around the Game of Thrones world. Chief amongst those is the idea of Azor Ahai, a mythical figure from the religion of R’hllor, the Lord of Light. Azor Ahai once wielded a magical flaming sword called Lightbringer, and saved the world from darkness. There’s been a lot of talk about who on the show would fulfill the prophecy of Azor Ahai being reborn — everyone from Dany to Jon to Ser Pounce has been considered at this point.
The idea of Azor Ahai never made it into the TV series, although the show does set up most of the mythology around the Lord of Light, with his priestess Melisandre and servant Stannis, and the war against the White Walkers — the literal evil ice to combat the Lord of Light’s fire. But the show never brings the Lord of Light subplot full circle, outside of sacrificing his servant Beric to save Arya. The question remains open: was the Lord of Light real? What was its plan?
Similarly, there’s the prophecy around Cersei, given to her by Maggie the Frog, which states that she would have three children who would die, and that “the valonqar” — Valyrian for “little brother” — “shall wrap his hands about your pale white throat and choke the life from you.” That ending portion of the valonqar prophecy also never made it into the show, in spite of all the fan theories. But the series writers did use all the prophecy setup.
And the prophecy explains Cersei’s hatred for Tyrion: in the book, she thinks he killed their mother, who died birthing him, and that he’s destined to kill Cersei, too. The prophecy also sets up the comeuppance for Jaime to potentially kill her instead, which would have fit with his arc of realising she’s a terrible person. But the show doesn’t run with that idea. Instead, it has Jaime reconciling with Cersei, leaving her history with Tyrion unresolved, and giving the siblings a fairly trite ending.
Is Ellaria Sand alive?
Probably not, given that when we last saw her in season 7, she was chained up in the dungeons in Westeros. But Cersei vowed to keep Ellaria alive, so she would have to suffer the way Cersei did because of Ellaria’s actions, watching her daughter die, powerless to stop it. Cersei is vindictive enough to keep Ellaria alive up until season 8, but given that most of the Red Keep has been reduced to rubble, thanks to Drogon’s attack on King’s Landing, it seems unlikely that she’ll be popping up again.
Is Syrio Forel still alive?
Arya’s “water dancing” teacher, who first instructs her to use a sword, has long been a fan-favorite character, in no small part to Miltos Yerolemou’s charismatic performance, and Syrio’s iconic catchphrases, which live on to this day. Last seen defending Arya from Lannister soldiers back in season 1, Syrio has been assumed dead for seasons now. But his Faceless Man-sounding lines and impressive combat skills have had fans holding out hope that he might have somehow escaped his seemingly fatal duel. Plus, we were never shown a body. Sadly, though, his fate has probably been sealed for years. As Syrio himself told us back then, “The first sword of Bravos does not run.”
What’s Daario up to?
Daario Naharis was part of the Mereen subplot on the show. He eventually led the Second Sons, a mercenary company, and was one of Daenerys’ paramours, as well as part of her inner circle when she led the city. But when Daenerys leaves for Westeros at the end of the sixth season, she leaves Daario behind in Meereen alongside the Second Sons, and we haven’t seen him since. Given his importance to Daenerys and the large military force he commands, it’s possible that the show could have brought him back for the war against Cersei, but it seems like Daario is still stuck in Mereen.
Where are the Reeds?
Howland Reed is the Lord of Greywater Watch, father to Jojen (RIP) and Meera Reed, who traveled with Bran for a few seasons. Howland was a close friend to Ned Stark, as evidenced by his children’s loyalty, but he’s never shown up outside of flashbacks, despite the Battle of the Bastards (when the Starks badly needed allies) or the Battle of Winterfell (when all humanity badly needed allies.) Similarly, Meera has vanished from the show since delivering Bran to Winterfell, and hasn’t shown up since, despite the cataclysmic battles.
What were Robin Arryn and Edmure Tully up to all this time?
Did you remember that Robin Arryn is still the ruler of the Vale and Lord of House Arryn? Or that he’s the lord and heir to Riverrun? Game of Thrones did, and it brought them both back for the finale, as part of the lords’ council that votes in King Bran.
Robin was last seen in season 6, sending the knights of the Vale north to help Sansa (and Jon) fight Ramsay Bolton in the Battle of the Bastards, but he hasn’t shown up since. Similarly, we last heard of Edmure as a prisoner to Walder Frey a few seasons back. But apparently, both survived and are now recognized as lords of their houses.
What did happen when Tyrion brought a honeycomb and a jackass into a brothel?
Three times now in Game of Thrones — including as his parting words in the finale — Tyrion has tried to tell a joke about the time he once brought a jackass and a honeycomb into a brothel, but he’s always cut off from telling the punchline. Will the world never know how this story came out?
July 13, 2020
July 13, 2020