‘Game of Thrones’: What We Want—and Need—from Season 8
Thank the gods, the day is nearly upon us. Winter has (almost) come. Kick the squires and light the fires: The final season of Game of Thrones is about to begin. It’s all come down to this, and now this show that so many people have dedicated hours of their lives to will fulfill each and every one of their expectations. LoL. Just kidding. It’ll fulfill, like, one-eighth of those expectations. Regardless, it’s going to try. The point, however, is that people—including members of the WIRED staff—want a lot out of these final six episodes. Like what? We assembled the biggest Game of Thrones fans from amongst our ranks to hash out what we desire most from Game of Thrones and to talk about our pipe dreams for the future of Westeros.
(Spoiler Alert: There will be plot details for all previous seasons of Game of Thrones included below. You’ve been warned.)
Angela Watercutter: OK, I’ll start. I want Jon Snow and Daenerys Targaryen to find out they’re related and keep right on boning. There, I said it. That felt good.
I also want Jon and Dany (they don’t even have to worry about who takes whose last name when they get married!) to rule the Seven Kingdoms as king and queen, but I’ve been watching Game of Thrones long enough to know that it would never give us that tidy of an ending.
Anyway, I’m sure everyone else here has something deeper to talk about than Targaryen incest. What say you?
Emily Dreyfuss: Honestly, I’m in total agreement. Jon and Dany have already boned, and they have too much to deal with to worry about guilt and shame on top of everything, so I hope they are just like, “Huh, interesting! Let’s never have babies but keep boning and move on!”Though you know the incest thing is going to be a huge deal—even last season, their whole boning session happened to the soundtrack of Bran’s voice revealing they were related.
I hope Arya kills Cersei. If she doesn’t, I’m going to be devastated. I hope she makes Cersei suffer, and extracts an apology from her, and then right as it seems like maybe Arya will actually show Cersei mercy, boom, she murders her in an exceedingly painful and slow manner.
I also hope the direwolves play a much bigger part this season. And honestly—sorry again, everyone!—I hope that if another Stark has to die, it’s Sansa. I know she’s been through a lot, and she’s sorry for how she abandoned her family to be with the evil child-king Joffrey, but I don’t forgive her. Call me petty, but I don’t.
Watercutter: Emily, to your point about Jon and Dany never having kids, hasn’t she claimed she can’t? She seems to think she’s still cursed after what she went through to save Khal Drogo—whether or not that’s true, though, remains to be seen. Regardless, you’re right, they should continue to sex.
Dreyfuss: There’s a moment in the last season where Jon addresses the curse directly and is like, “Yo, Dany, why would you assume that witch was telling the truth?” and she looks at him, like, “Whoa, you’re wise, maybe she was lying?” I feel like that exchange opened the door.
Watercutter: Yes, good point. As for hating on Sansa, I get it, I do, but I don’t want her to die. I think most of the reasons people don’t like her have to do with how underwritten she was in the early seasons. Her defining characteristic early on was that she could survive suffering—at the hands of Joffrey and the Lannisters, at the hands of Ramsay Bolton. She was very rarely the person of action in her own narrative, she was just acted upon. (Yes, she abandoned her family, but if Arya understands and forgives her, I do.) It was just poor writing, and she only really got a chance to step into her strength in Season 7, and I’d hate to see that cut short.
I do hope Arya kills Cersei, though.
Andrea Valdez: Hi, I’d like to throw in some predictions fed to me by mom, a septuagenarian fan of the show, who shared with me various scenarios she read “on Google,” that great arbiter of truth. First, the prediction that there’s one more Targaryen: Tyrion. The theory, a pretty well-trod one, is that the Mad King (father to Dany and uncle to Jon) and Joanna Lannister had a child: Tyrion. All of Tywin’s grumbling about Tyrion “not being my son” would consequently make sense. That would leave three living Targaryens, somewhat fitting given that the number seems significant to the Targaryens (or at least to Daenerys, who has three dragons). Of course, that would make Tyrion the rightful heir to the Iron Throne. And Sansa is still his wife, so she would, after all these years of wishing it so, become queen after all.
The second prediction is that Arya will kill Cersei, perhaps by wearing the face of Jaime Lannister. How delightful it would be to see Cersei’s face in that moment Arya peels her brother’s face away from her own.
And one more Arya prediction: She still needs to kill the Hound and the Mountain. But her affection for the former complicates things. The twist would be that the Hound and the Mountain fight their own epic battle, wherein the Hound is so mortally wounded that Arya mercifully dispatches him. Then she wears the face of the Hound to kill the Mountain.
Watercutter: Andrea, where has your mom been this whole time?! Can she join this discussion personally? I would be overjoyed to see any of these predictions come true.
I’m also really pulling for Theon Greyjoy to rescue his sister, Yara, from their uncle Euron, so she can unleash holy hell on him. That dude’s the worst.
Emma Grey Ellis: I would love to see Yara destroy Euron, too. He feels to me like maybe the last of a particular kind of Game of Thrones monster: That Horrible Guy. You know, the one with no redeeming qualities but lots of violence or manipulativeness or emotional trauma to dole out. The Joffreys and Ramsays, the guys strapping pails of rats to people’s chests, the Mountain, Littlefinger, (arguably) Cersei.
For me to feel totally satisfied at the end, our heroes have got to take gratuitous horribleness down to zero percent. Watching Arya deliver some Cersei-catharsis would help.
Maybe this is super naïve (actually, I know it is) but I’d like to see some nice stuff, too! Agreed, Emily, more direwolves would be good. So would uncomplicated fan-favorites like child-badass Lyanna Mormont. So would some family time with the Starks, none of whom I will permit to die. If this season is all just slogging across bloodied grounds towards destiny, I’m going to need a lot of ales between episodes.
Dreyfuss: Ugh, yes, no more slogging, please. I don’t want any more misfires like last season. There was that one episode when Jon Snow was on Dragonstone trying to convince Dany to fight for the living against the dead and the writers kept trying to turn their banter into a comedy routine. Um, wrong time for humor, guys, this is supposed to be about as serious as it gets. And then there was the first half of the second-to-last episode, where all the characters just walked and talked, and it was all boring exposition and backstory. The writers flailed, at times, to ground dialogue in action last season. We don’t have time for any more of that. Every single final episode better be tight and exciting and devastating or I’m going to be pissed AF.
Watercutter: That actually brings up something I wanted to ask everyone: How many big battle episodes do you guys expect? What do you think those battles might mean?
I’ll put it another way: It’s pretty much a given that there will be a monstrous fight between the living and the dead. We know that. But will there then need to be a battle for the Iron Throne itself? Will Dany, presuming that she survives, fly a dragon to King’s Landing and take what she’s wanted this whole show, either with Jon or without him? Or will she try to conquer diplomatically? Our friends on the Citadel Dropouts podcast believe, and I agree, that how this show ends will send a message about what the showrunners believe is ultimately right when it comes to politics, war, and morality. So I’m curious if you all think it will end with a final battle amongst the living or if there will be some other conclusion, and—if so—what that might say.
Ellis: So much of the marketing for this season has been about the Iron Throne: It’s all over the posters and promos, and they’ve sent fans on quests to find it all over the world. To me, it almost seems like they’re trying to remind us that the battle for the Iron Throne is the whole point of the show. Given all the fuss, I expect some kind of battle, and I expect it to be the final one. But that does feel at odds with the quasi-political message the showrunners have been communicating through Jon Snow all along: the stakes of inter-human squabblings are pitifully low when compared to the looming threat of the dead.
The showrunners have taken a less definitive stance on what good human leadership looks like. The push-pull between despotic Dany and democratic Dany has been interesting to watch over the last few seasons. Especially since relatively high-minded characters in her orbit, like Tyrion, aren’t thrilled with her “join me or get dragon roasted” platform.
I’d hate/love to see it end in fire and blood. Dany soaring into King’s Landing with dragons blazing feels true to the story and to the medieval European political context they’re fictionalizing, but also pretty bleak for 2019. The most optimistic vision I can conjure is everyone suddenly being able to see themselves in context after defeating the army of the dead, and agreeing to a peaceful transition of power. But does that seem like an absurd ending to a show that made Ned Stark’s trust and innate goodness the thing that ultimately doomed him?
Dreyfuss: Imagine if at the end, Cersei is dead and Dany invents … democracy. Whenever I watch the show I’m struck by how they are all arguing over which kind of despotism is better—the one where the dictator is cruel, or the one where the dictator hates slavery? Like, uh, y’all: that’s the same political system, just led by different people.
To be clear, I do not think democracy will be invented in the final moments of GoT, but oh my god would I laugh. It would be like that time on Law and Order when the ADA was fired and out of nowhere she asked, “Is this because I’m a lesbian?” even though for all the seasons she’d been on we’d never known a single thing about her personal life. Just throwing in a little dramatic twist!
But y’all, I wanted to ask, who do you honestly expect to die? Cuz I am going with Jon Snow. Love him. Clearly the Lord of Light loves him, too, but it might be too convenient to assume both he and Dany survive, and of the two I am thinking he dies (after impregnating Dany with his progeny). What do you think?
Ellis: I think of the two, Dany is more likely to die. Dany’s awesome and powerful and sometimes a great leader, but our girl has drama. It’s harder to imagine her reign being stable, which I think is what the writers are working towards. That said, if she does live, I wouldn’t be surprised if dear Jon died in some noble but ultimately goofy way. It does feel a little too neat to assume they’ll both survive.
Watercutter: I also think that’s a longshot. I also believe Sansa and Cersei are pretty high up on the About to Get Whacked list, even if I want Sansa to live. All I know is that Arya better make it.
Ellis: But then there’s all the fan theories about Targaryens flying in threes, so maybe it ends with Jon, Dany, and that hypothetical baby all making it? I’ve also seen theories that Tyrion is the secret third Targaryen for reasons that confuse me. Speaking of: Tyrion and Jaime are high on my expected losses list. Now that he’s spurned Cersei, Jaime’s storyline is basically played out. And for some reason, I can just see Tyrion getting a tragic-yet-inspiring death scene, even though George R.R. Martin definitely said he’d be one of the survivors at one point. Granted, I can also see him on the Iron Throne if Dany and Jon both died.
OK, new prediction: Everybody dies but Tyrion, and Westeros becomes a bacchanalian democracy with a great education system. It’ll never happen, but if it did, I’d vacation there.
Watercutter: I can think of no better ending than that.
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