Game of Thrones will go down in history for many reasons. It will go down for being one of the most shocking and enthralling television shows ever to make it to air. It will go down as being a series that defined a generation and brought fantasy back into the mainstream. It will also go down as probably being one of the most disappointing endings to a series of all time.
Season eight has finished, and boy do we have some Game of Thrones finale questions to ask. The reaction has been far from the outcry of both joy and heartbreak that HBO were most likely hoping for. Instead, the series sort of wallowed and fizzled out. The God of internet reviews, Rotten Tomatoes, has season eight languish at 67%, where previously the lowest score was a far-from-disappointing 91%.
People just did not get onboard with the final stages of Westeros’ epic conflict. From Euron Greyjoy’s mad archery skillz to the Mad Queen Daenerys going just a little too mad, season eight didn’t capture people like those that came before it.
What is to blame for this?
Could it be that Winds of Winter didn’t actually end up being a new fantasy book out in 2019, like we were promised, leaving the writers to flounder? Could it be that the ending was rushed, and that we needed more seasons to finish off the saga? Or could it be that we just expected too much from the show?
Whatever killed Game of Thrones for you (or maybe you loved it) for us at FinalBoss, the biggest heartache came from all the wasted storylines and plot potential. The series had set up so many ideas beautifully, all for them to be pushed aside and left to rot like the corpse of the Butcher’s boy.
So, as we mourn the slow and unsatisfying death of HBO’s once greatest triumph, we look at the Game of Thrones finale questions we’ve been left with.
Was Littlefinger Actually Killed?
In an early scene in season seven, Littlefinger hands a woman something in a shady back alley. There is no explanation for this scene, and it appears that he gives her a Braavosi coin similar to that which Arya uses to gain passage to Braavos itself. Not long after, Littlefinger has his throat slit.
His death is uncharacteristic, given how he’s always been so sly and devious. He never puts himself in a bad position yet finds he is trapped and beyond help. He breaks all his own rules, especially since he knows Bran has knowledge of his deeds after the ‘chaos is a ladder’ bombshell. It makes no sense for him to be so vulnerable, and that scene with the coin makes us all very suspicious.
This idea behind this is that Littlefinger used the coin to escape his fate and hide away from the Starks, having a faceless man replace him — which would also explain his pathetic attempt at survival. The man of a thousand words, lost for them in when he needed them most. Alive and well, he’d then be free to carry on climbing that ladder, which was especially chaotic in the final season. A return of Littlefinger would have been exactly the kind of twist we’d have loved to see; the return of a truly powerful gameplayer.
But this is one of the major Game of Thrones finale questions we had: Why didn’t he show up? Instead of pulling off a mind-blowing twist, it appears Littlefinger was just slain in a weird and unfitting way.
That, or he’s done something absolutely incredible: convinced even the writers he’s dead. You sneaky bastard, Petyr
What Happened to The Dragon Has Three Heads & Tyrion the Targaryen?
One of the major prophecies of Game of Thrones is that ‘the dragon must have three heads’.
Like all things Game of Thrones — except for the final season, of course — it’s fleshed out and complicated. We won’t go into all the gory details here, but essentially, the idea is that there were supposed to be three Targaryens. Jon turned out to be the second, but where was the third? It is known that the Mad King used to have his way Tywin’s wife, Joanna, which led to speculation that Tyrion could potentially be a Targaryen as well.
This would make sense. It would explain:
- His dwarfism, given the genetic issues with incest that come from the Targs
- His appearance is very different to that of his siblings
- Why he appears to have a good relationship with dragons
- Why Tywin always despised him, having suspicions of his true parentage
- Why Tywin states: Men’s laws give you the right to bear my name and display my colors, since I cannot prove that you are not mine.
Having Tyrion turn out to be a Targaryen would likely have had some very interesting fallout, but in another Game of Thrones series finale question, why find ourselves asking, where was the third dragon?
And What About The Prophecy of Cersei Lannister?
On a personal level, Cersei’s demise is probably the most upsetting part of Game of Thrones season eight. My favourite, ruthless and cunning character, this titan of Westeros was ignored all season and went out in a hopelessly tragic and unfittingly romantic way. Not kicking, screaming and tearing off heads like she should have.
And it could have been, and should have been, so different.
The prophecy of Cersei Lannister is one we’re all aware of. That her children would all die, and that she would be replaced by another Queen, finally to have the life choked from her by the Valonqar; which translates to little brother.
Cersei has two little brothers, technically. Tyrion and her younger twin Jaime. Given that the other elements of the prophecy came true (she was replaced by Margery, before.. well.. you know) it seems weird and frustrating that this didn’t actually go anywhere.
Can We Talk About The Lord of Light?
Jon Snow was resurrected by the Lord of Light. So was Beric Dondarrion. Melisandre was obsessed with the God, and was kept alive by his magic. She even gave birth to a bloody spirit assassin. We also have an encounter with another Red Priestess earlier in the series, with more discussion of great wars and the like, where she reveals truths she shouldn’t know about Varys. Stannis, the madman, actually sacrificed his only daughter to this God, for the love of, well, God.
This guy was a pretty big deal.
Yet, as the story closes, we know nothing of the Lord of Light. We have no idea what this God’s game plan was, why he would get involved in the whims of men and why he would bring people back from the dead — or give women the ability to birth shadow children…
This is one of the more frustrating Game of Thrones finale questions, as the Lord of Light seems to play fairly well as a ying to the Night King’s yang. Both are strange and mysterious magically entities. Both have the power to resurrect the dead. Both are playing God for reasons beyond the pure pursuit of power; we assume. But both get nothing in the way of explanation. Both just sort of exist to move things forward with a defined purpose.
The Lord of Light is a major part of the series, but in yet another burning Game of Thrones finale question, we are left to wonder: what was all that about?
No Such Thing as Good vs Evil, Eh?
G.R.R Martin’s Song of Ice and Fire, and by extension the show, is built on this idea that there isn’t a good or evil. That everyone and everything is grey and nuanced. Light and dark.
For a long time, the series handled this rather well.
Tywin was a vicious man, but he did all that he did for his family and his house. Cersei was a vicious woman, but she loved her children and survived for them. Jon was a good old bloke, but he messed up sometimes, got angry, broke his vows, and he also hung a child.
Anyway, things were never just black and white.
Even when Dany gives her speech in the finale, echoing the mental General Hux in Force Awakens for sheer crazy bullshit, she herself believes she is in the right. That she is a gift to the people of Westeros.
So… where did this whole concept go with the Night King? The White Walkers do nothing but move forward, crushing all in their path. Bran’s explanation for this is that he wants to destroy all remnants of man; even the very memory of them. But why? We know nothing of this. We don’t know what his motives are. From the standpoint of the viewer, he was just a merciless and vindictive creature that marched south to kill everyone for no reason other than that is what he wanted to do.
In essence: he was evil. He was Sauron. He was Voldemort. He was a frosty T-1000. He was exactly what G.R.R Martin said he didn’t like about traditional narratives.
What happened to this idea of subtly? What happened to the concept of light and dark?
To find out more about Night King, and why he was doing what he was doing would have likely been incredibly interesting and a revelation that the last series needed. Instead, we got a creepy smile, a lot of hacking and slashing in a very dimly lit Winterfell, a sudden death that left so much wasted potential spread across the floor in shards of ice, and some big Game of Thrones finale questions.
Bran: The Master of Fate?
There are some truly shocking moments in Game of Thrones, but for many, none were more profound that the death of Hodor. In this heartbreaking scene, we understood the character on a new level. More importantly, though, this whole thing set up the idea that Bran can influence the past. Finally, we realised the depths of his powers.
Well, at least, it could have been important.
This revelation meant that Bran had the potential to impact serious change upon the events that were currently unfolding by directly having a way to manipulate the past. Theories and speculation were rife at this point, with suggestions from Bran actually being Bran the Builder and having built the wall to try and keep out the White Walkers, to driving the Mad King, well, mad, while attempting to warn him of the impending cataclysm.
Whatever crackpot theory you subscribe to, maybe even that Bran was the one who inspired Aegon the Conqueror to invade Westeros or that he was somehow involved in the creation of the White Walkers, it doesn’t matter anymore.
While the whole concept of Bran’s ability to influence past events is fascinating and had the potential to create superb plot threads, the plant that he could do this never came with a payoff.
What we were left with what the Game of Thrones finale question: what was the point in Bran becoming the third-eyed raven? Not everything in life has a point, of course, and Game of Thrones always strived to provide true-to-life storylines that echoed how the real world truly is, just on a fantasy stage. Still, when it comes to magical elements like this, surely there was something more to it?
Who the F*** was Qyburn?
Qyburn was always a bit of an enigma. Fiercely loyal to Queen Cersei, he did some gnarly things over his time in King’s Landing. Obviously, the re-animation of a basically dead Mountain was one of them, but he also messed with Wildfire, created a dragon-killing weapon and basically did any unspeakable thing requested of him. He seemed to be a man without limits, or a moral compass.
He is also without a backstory or explanation of existence.
Don’t get us wrong, we know that not every character needs a highly developed backstory, but Qyburn is far too much of player in the Game of Thrones to just slink on in without a word and go out without any either.
He turns up half-dead in Harrenhal, we don’t know where from, except that he was cast out The Citadel for human experimentation. We don’t know how he survived the slaughter that left him wounded either, nor do we know exactly what kind of experiments got him kicked out of The Citadel. Then we have the fact that at first he seems loyal to Cersei because she gives him power, but even after she is taken prisoner, he still stands by her. This could have just been a gamble, but his motives are odd to say the least, and his abilities even more so.
He’s a serious intriguing mystery, but one that was more or less forgotten about. A functional cog in the Game of Thrones system, and nothing more. Lost potential that left us with a lot of Game of Thrones finale questions, like how was he able to keep The Mountain alive? Did he use wight magic?
Why Was Arya Faceless?
Arya’s training as an assassin for the Many-Faced God certainly did have its payoff, when she struck down what appeared to be the ultimate threat to anyone drawing breath. But, while that whole storyline seemed to at least lead somewhere, a part of it was very much lost to the shadows.
The fact that Arya could steal faces.
This is not your standard gift. This is not something that is to be used lightly. And it is not something to be forgotten about, either. A major part of Arya’s story was her newfound ability to become one of the faceless. However, she never used it outside of her exploits in Braavos, except for the killing of Walder Frey. A fun reveal, but nothing more.
The whole concept of Arya potentially being anyone; being anywhere; led to some very interesting ideas about what she could end up doing — and who she could end up doing in. But it was totally forgotten about. At no point does anything of consequence or significance happen because of her strange magical ability. It could have led to a shocking and dramatic twist that nobody saw coming. But it didn’t.
It didn’t lead to anything.