Monday, April 15, 2019

Mr. Thrones

And so it begins! That one TV show based on a fantasy series that I really liked has just started its eighth and final season, firmly leaving the books in its dust. My enthusiasm for Game Of Thrones has waned somewhat during its run, and I'm not quite as plugged into the fan community these days, but it remains one of my favorite shows and I'm eagerly looking forward to the remaining episodes.

One small little fan thing I did participate in was the /r/gameofthrones pool. The question this asks is "Who do you want to win the Iron Throne?" Notably, it did not ask who you think will win. There are a lot of names I like on there, but only one honest answer for me: Lyanna Mormont. As incredibly unlikely as it would be, it would be awesome to end the series with her in charge.

The question of who will win is a lot harder, and honestly I don't have great confidence in any particular theory. So here is my personal ranking of what I view as the most-likely to least-likely outcome of the show.

  1. Nobody. I'm more confident that the books will end this way, and there's a decent chance the series will as well. This might include the Throne itself being burnt by dragonfire, or blown up with wildfire, or everyone in the series dying or fleeing to Essos.
  2. Night King. Even if some of our heroes survive, I think there's a fair chance he will win. I don't know if the throne means anything in particular to the White Walkers, but it could be a trophy for them.
  3. Daenerys Targaryen. She's the only person on this list who actually wants the throne at this point besides Cersei. She isn't especially cutthroat, but her ambition and resources and nascent alliances could put her on top.
  4. Jon Snow. He seems a very likely compromise candidate in the same way Robert Baratheon was, with a claim to the throne and strong ties to important factions.
  5. Cersei Lannister.
  6. Tyrion Lannister. I have a hard time seeing him openly sit on the Throne, but (if you subscribe to certain book theories) he may have a strong claim, and he seems like he would be a good ruler. He's much more likely to be Hand again, though.
  7. Sansa Stark. This name and all the remaining ones are significantly less likely.
  8. Bran Stark. Only if everyone above him on this list dies. OR if he wargs into someone above him!
  9. Gendry. Arguably the heir to Robert!
  10. Jaime Lannister.
  11. Arya Stark. She's capable, but I don't see her wanting it. She would make an intriguing Master of Whispers, though.
  12. Lyanna Mormont.
  13. Sam Tarly.
  14. Missandei. She's #2 in my "want to win", but has no faction.
  15. Euron Greyjoy. Realistically he should be much higher since he has ambition, resources, and ruthlessness; but narratively he's a late player and I don't see the TV series building to this.
  16. Theon Greyjoy. Kind of the opposite as Euron: There would be huge narrative satisfaction in his redemption arc ending on the throne, but he definitely doesn't want it.

A few other names that aren't on the list and may be worth considering:
  1. Young Griff. OK, almost definitely not, but it is interesting that they bothered to introduce the Golden Company in the TV show, so there's at least a small chance we're getting a late delivery of that plot.
  2. Jaqn H'ghar. Possibly in the guise of one of the other characters; if so, probably in service to a third character.

Pretty crazy to think of all this speculation building up and then ending in just a few months. I'll be gone on vacation when the series finale drops and am already wondering how I can remain unspoiled until I safely return. 

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