The penultimate episode of “Game of Thrones” was a pressure cooker that exploded into lurid flames. Daenerys Targaryen — the renowned “Breaker of Chains” — showed none of her mercy on the innocent citizens of King’s Landing once the bell of surrender rang. Laying the capital to smoldering waste with Drogon breathing fire onto petrified people, the sanity of a seemingly benevolent queen was vanquished in seconds. What remains are ashes and a tyrant who demands unwavering loyalty. How will the Seven Kingdoms fare? Below are five extensive endgame theories for how this saga will conclude.
1The Starks will govern Westeros and Daenerys will go back to rule Essos
In this ending, the Starks — partnering with Tyrion, and the remainder of the Golden Company and Wildlings — will stage a coup to oust the Mother of Dragons from power. Out of love and his merciful nature, Jon will spare Dany’s life on the agreement that she returns to Essos and never set foot in Westeros again.
King’s Landing will be no more, with no plans to rebuild the city. Sansa will be named Queen of the Seven Kingdoms, while Jon Snow will be elected Protector of the Realm. Neither will sit on the Iron Throne as it is either buried or burnt under the rubble of the Red Keep. All titles are symbolic and merely there for tradition’s sake. With all his past atrocities weighing on him, Tyrion agrees to become the Lord Commander of a newly established Night’s Watch. Arya might yet seek out Dany, but she could also become the messianic successor of Azor Ahai. Bran will become Maester of the Citadel yet continue utilizing his Warg and clairvoyant powers in case of the White Walkers return.
2Daenerys will sentence all her enemies to death
After torching King’s Landing and declaring her birthright rule of Westeros, Dany will double down on her tyranny by calling for a mass execution of any who dare oppose her. Tyrion will be the first example of her wrath to those who betray her trust. Even that evil deed won’t perturb Jon Snow into action. It’s only when the Dothraki and sellswords — including Bronn — round up the Starks for a public final execution that Snow will realize he fell into the same ignorant trap as his surrogate father, Ned Stark.
The show will end with the Stark family’s beheading or immolation. However, the girl who was burned alive, thought to be Arya, is actually a lowborn. The final scene is Arya taking the face of one of Dany’s attendants, and then revealing her identity after delivering the death blow to the Mad Queen. Melisandre’s prophecy of Arya’s last kill will be fulfilled, as Dany has green eyes in the television series as opposed to purple in the novels.
3Daenerys is executed and Jon Snow sacrifices himself
This conclusion finds the two characters most assumed would reign over Westeros meeting tragic ends. After scorching the capital, Tyrion wastes no time leading a mutiny — with Sansa and Bronn’s help — to place the Breaker of Chains in captivity. Out on the beaches of Dragonstone, Dany is beheaded for her crimes against the innocent Westerosi. Plagued with remorse and knowing he caused so much of this dark tiding, Jon Snow is able to somehow tame Drogon and ride as far north as possible. In the skies above at the northernmost part of the world, Jon and Drogon freeze to death and subsequently plummet into the white abyss. The Bastard of Winterfell ensures the cessation of the Targaryen bloodline. Thus ends a Song of Fire and Ice.
4The Dragon Wedding
The only way to keep the peace after the hellish obliteration of King’s Landing is via matrimonial accord between Stark and Targaryen. Despite their protests, Sansa and Arya accept this “dragon wedding” upon discovering Dany is pregnant with Jon’s heir. But after a time, Dany’s fear of betrayal coaxes another instance of temporary insanity. She has Sansa and Tyrion assassinated, while Jon Snow dies naturally of suspect means before he can retaliate against his wife’s paranoid scheme. With Arya and Bran the only Starks remaining, the two separate so that their lineage can be protected if one perishes. Arya will be a woman of the people and amass a rebellion, while Bran will do something of treacherous risk: wield his magic to create new White Walkers. The show will end on a cliffhanger, with the final showdown to be left to the writings of creator George R.R. Martin.
5Drogon burns the remaining dynasties of Westeros in one location
A mass revolution across Westeros is incited immediately following Daenerys’ heinous actions. Feigning their fealty, Tyrion, Sansa, and several Northern Lords conspire to arrest the Dragon Queen. Jon reluctantly agrees, but at the last minute he warns Daenerys, and she flees with Drogon to Essos and the eastern continents.
A few months later, Daenerys goes into labor but dies after giving birth to Jon’s offspring. Word spreads to the west of the Mad Queen’s death. Celebrating a year without war, all Houses gather together in Winterfell to commemorate the occasion. There is no one ruler of Westeros, merely a council of lords from various Houses that meet every few moons at Dragonstone. Taking them all by surprise, Drogon breathes lethal fire on Winterfell, destroying the sacred castle and all but one of its inhabitants. With his dying breath, Bran provides Jon with his son’s exact whereabouts. Surviving the flames, Jon puts aside his anger, quells the vengeful rage of Drogon, and rides him to an unmarked location. Upon meeting his son for the first time, Jon finds the infant is protected by a circle of baby dragons.