Tomorrow is the beginning of the end for the television sensation that is Game of Thrones. I’ve been looking forward to it for a very long time, and I certainly hope that the ending is satisfying – but I can’t shake the nagging feeling that it’s going to disappoint me in the end, just like most of the shows I have loved before it. Now, it’s better than a show not getting an ending because it was cancelled… Stargate Universe, Colony, Firefly, I could go on for quite awhile I’m sure, those are the first 3 that came to mind for me. But then we’ve also got shows like Lost or How I Met Your Mother – shows that I loved pretty much all the way through, but that kind of went to crap in the final season.
The only show that I can think of off the top of my head that had a better than “meh” ending is Breaking Bad. I’m sure there are others, but my point is, they are the exception, not the rule. It’s hard to wrap up a long running story in a satisfying way… and if I’m honest, I don’t know how you wrap up Game of Thrones in another 8 hours or so (I haven’t done the math on the runtimes, nor do I know if the numbers that came out with finalized, but I know all 6 are generally under 90 minutes).
So I’m trying to tone down my own hype for the end. Lowered expectations are met much more easily. To be sure, I’m hoping not to be disappointed, but, I also think that’s the most likely scenario. Especially when I read articles making predictions about how things will end and all the proposed endings sound rather lame to me. Also, everyone seems to be obsessed on the idea of who will end up in the Iron Throne, and I can’t help but feel like that’s missing the point. If the ending involves the importance of some individual occupying the throne, I feel like it will be very uninteresting.
I like to think that George RR Martin came up with some brilliant ending years ago that no one else has been able to imagine and that we’re all going to be blown away by it. How likely is that? I don’t know.
But, I do have my own idea of what I think an interesting (if perhaps depressing) way to end the series would be: they lose. Despite their efforts to band together in the eleventh hour and fight off the army of the dead, Westeros is wiped out, or at least all the structures that exist there. Perhaps the seeds of some new civilization are planted, but the end of the world as they know it would seem interesting to me, and it goes against what an audience expects in the story.
Part of the reason why I think this would be better is I can’t imagine them beating the White Walkers in a way that doesn’t feel contrived in the time left – but perhaps there is a way. If we just end up with Dany or Jon or Jon and Dany ruling the 7 kingdoms with the White Walkers having been kicked off back up to the north and life in Westeros continues on with the Targareans back on the throne and they all live happily ever after, what sort of a conclusion is that to the story?
I don’t call my proposed ending a prediction – I don’t know that I have any reason to think it will happen – other than that the whole storyline seems to have been the people of Westeros fighting about things that don’t really matter whilst ignoring the thing that matters most of all… and it seems like there should be consequences for that – but, I do know that the happy ending doesn’t seem like a fitting one for this story – especially as Martin has posited this series as a bit of a critique on Lord of the Rings… which ends with the return of the king and a happy ending now that the rightful king has returned and evil has been defeated. So is he really going to end his story in the same (not to mention expected) way? It would seem an odd choice to me.
We’ll find out soon enough. Maybe it will become a bit clearer even after tomorrow’s episode. But I wanted to write down some thoughts before the season began.