BEIRUT: With only two episodes left before the series that has captured audiences across the globe ends and leaves us seeking the next best series, many have started to question whether the seven-season build up to the final six episodes has been worth it.
Some were dissatisfied with the premiere, while others complained that the second episode was slow and filler, which lead to more criticism of the battle of Winterfell episode being either too dark, or too illogical.
The fourth episode entitled “The Last of the Starks,” now following the trend of dissatisfying some audience members, is further proof that you can’t please everyone. Yet, accolades have to go out to the showrunners for sticking to their guns and telling the story they want to tell regardless of how the audience is going to react.
“The Last of the Starks,” with a running time of 78 minutes, actually takes the time to properly follow through on many character arcs, though the criticism here has been that it does so way too fast.
With the Battle of Winterfell over, our heroes mourn, yes - mourn their fallen brothers and sisters, then what starts as a glum feast turns into a celebratory alcohol induced night. Some hearts are broken, while unions are made, and while many crowd around the King of the North, one Dragon Queen sits alone as she slowly realizes how much of an outsider she truly is.
The episode is filled with political intrigue and moving pieces - characters plotting behind closed doors - a massive game of chess, and this is what makes this series what it is. But how will it end?
Well, with all these pieces moving in different directions there are many ways that the series could end, and with the net being dark and full of theories, the possibilities are endless. Utilizing clues given to us from the show alone, here is a break-down of the finale that Weiss and Benioff could be leading us to.
SANSA - THE ONE TRUE PLAYER
If one thing is certain, it’s that there is only one true player of the Game of Thrones and that player is Sansa Stark, Lady of Winterfell. This season has made it clear, and so have the series showrunners, that Sansa has learned, and if it weren’t for all her hardships (Cersei, Joffrey, Ramsay, Littlefinger), she would have stayed the same naive Little Dove forever.
This is not a justification of her hardship but a truth of her survival, and a banner of her truth - she is the strong powerful politician that she is because of all of the lessons she learned, and in spite of her scars. Sansa is the only one thinking ahead, the only one focusing on the much larger picture, and the one to shed light on that picture to the other two players in the Game, Tyrion and more importantly Varys.
Her betrayal of Jon, yes - it is a betrayal, is done so for the realm, and more importantly for the North. This proves that Sansa can in fact be a winner by series end, though her relationship with Jon might not end so harmoniously.
ARYA & THE HOUND - UNFINISHED BUSINESS
After Arya refused Gendry’s proposal, this shouldn’t be a shock as she has made it clear from the very beginning that she is not a lady, she finds herself heading down to King’s Landing with the Hound, with no plan to return. The reason behind their journey is unfinished business.
The Hound needs to put an end to whatever is left of his brother The Mountain, and Arya to cross one final name off of her list: Cersei. This has been theorized for a while, especially after the third episode of this season reminded us of Melissandre’s prophecy that Arya will forever shut brown eyes, blue eyes, and green eyes.
Cersei has green eyes. Yet, Arya taking down another series villain is not likely, leaving us questioning what is Arya’s unfinished business? There is another character that Arya could take down, a character that seems to be a threat to her family, as well as the realm: Daenarys Targaryen.
If you have yet to notice, Daenarys also has green eyes and Arya could be the assassin hired by Varys to take down the Mad Dragon Queen, if we all the breadcrumbs that the showrunners have laid before us. This would also pay off all the training that Arya had in the House of Black and White.
JAIME, TYRION, CERSEI - THE FALL OF HOUSE LANNISTER
Cersei’s downfall has to be at the hands of one of her brothers to fulfill the Valonqar prophecy which states, “And when your tears have drowned you, the valonqar shall wrap his hands about your pale white throat and choke the life from you.” Valonqar in High Valyrian means “little brother”, and Cersei was born before her twin brother Jaime.
Events in episode four led to Jaime deciding not to stay in Winterfell with the love of his life but to head back to King’s Landing and face Cersei head on. The clash between the Lannister siblings is inevitable, and whether they will all fall or not remains to be seen.
Only two things are certain: the first is that if there are survivors House Lannister will never be the same again, and the second is the as much as there are many Cersei fans out there, her reign is over and her death is around the corner.
JON & DAENARYS - THE TRAGIC LOVE STORY
From the moment Jon and Daenarys began their love story, it had tragedy written all over it, and nay-sayers need to dock their ship and get out of denial. If one was to look at Daenarys’s journey, it would be rather easy to notice the hints of Mad Queen within her actions and decisions.
She has spent her entire life trying to not follow in her father’s footsteps only to indirectly end up on that same path. In past few episodes and during the events of season seven, Daenarys has had one thing on her mind, and that was to remind all those she comes in contact with that she is the Queen.
This is relevant because of a particular line that Tywin Lannister told his grandson Joeffrey during the events of season three, “A man who says I am the king is no true king.” If we compare her with Jon, who is constantly refusing the throne, all becomes clear. Even Varys in last week’s episode tells Tyrion, “Have you considered that the best ruler might be someone who doesn’t want to rule?”
All signs point to Daenarys’s demise, and something resonates with this very much being how the wheel of life turns and events repeat, echoes of the past haunt the present and the future. But what of Jon? Well, Jon’s ending could be one of three: he either dies, or he rules alone, or he does in fact refuse the crown and gives it to someone else, Gendry Baratheon perhaps, and Jon retires to Winterfell, or maybe further North where he is reunited with Tormund and Ghost.
BRAN & SAMWELL - THE STORYTELLERS
Here is where the end of George R.R. Martin’s world and his idol J.R.R. Tolkien’s world merge in some way. Bran and Samwell are the storytellers: Bran has the tales, while Samwell has the ability to navigate through them and write them down for history. These two characters have a much larger purpose in this tale, and theirs is a purpose of preserving the memory of all that has happened and all that will happen.
Without Bran all would have been lost, and without Samwell to help guide Bran through his world-wide-godsweb of information many revelations would still be hidden. It is not by chance that these characters have survived as long as they have, but by destiny and purpose. For what is life without memory, and what are stories without those capable of telling them and those willing to listen? Bran and Samwell are the two who will keep record of all that has occurred in order for future generations to know what came before an
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