We can all humbly agree that Game of Thrones season eight was terribly rushed. This is weird since it took well over a year to produce it. I mean, two extra episodes would have stretched the season to a more palatable storyline and ending.
On top of this, there was definitely poor storytelling going on, including the complete disregard for one character arch and the complete abandonment of another. But, dare I say, not everything needed to change.
Before I get into how Game of Thrones season eight should have ended, here’s what they got right.
What Went Right
I still cannot understand why so many people rebuke Daenerys’ final character arch. Did you not get all the references and foreshadowing of the last several seasons? She killed people with dragon fire simply for not bending the knee. She smothered herself with power. She revelled in it. And the final season showed her true colours because she was beginning to lose it all. She lost her Dothraki horde to the Night King, failed to gain respect from Sansa and the North, and lost her claim to the Iron Throne to what we all thought was the bastard of Winterfell.
But, most of all, it was her storyline destiny. What was the point of Robert Baratheon’s concerns and conspiring to kill her as a child if she were to just be the one on the Iron Throne? Her father was the Mad King. He went crazy over it. And when she burnt King’s Landing to the ground, did you not see the legacy he left for her? All the wildfire placed underneath the entire city by the Mad King, going off thanks to her.
Although dare I say, they could have given a better catalyst than “The Bells”.
Another thing that went right was Sansa remaining Queen of the North and Lady of Winterfell. Once Jon bent the knee to Daenerys, he lost his claim to the North. And that also includes his reign over it if he were to sit on the Iron Throne, but I’ll get to that later. Trust me, even I know he shouldn’t have gone back to the wall. What the hell was there left to defend?
And finally, Arya Stark not killing Cersei is simply a perfect character arch. It’s what The Hound was trying to drill into her, that revenge is a never-ending game. Killing people is a part of life, but there’s more to life than killing people. And that’s why I smiled when she hopped on a boat later and sailed to whatever is west of Westeros.
But, all-in-all Game of Thrones season eight was a terrible season finale, and there was so much that needed changing.
How It Should Have Ended
First things first, Jamie Lannister should have stayed with Brienne until he truly realised his mistake. Leaving so suddenly after the battle against the Night King was so unlike him. We all know his character arch was going to betray his good intentions because he loved his sister, and always loved her. But the way it was handled was far too brutal and unbelievable. This would also have contributed to the best death for Cersei: alone and treacherously long, possibly pinned down by a massive boulder underneath the Red Keep.
Meanwhile, as Jamie eventually scuttles back to Kings Landing to save his sister, Bronn of the Blackwater follows close behind him. When he sees the ensuing war, with Daenerys smothering Kings Landing with dragon fire, he teams up with Jamie to save the city. But they would both be too late to save Cersei, where Jamie should have died by a wildfire explosion bursting from the ground as Daenerys did her father’s bidding. Ain’t that symbolic!
Brienne would hear about this later and then come to fix his biography.
Also, Bronn dies too, dropping his crossbow which he was trying to use against the Mad Queen flying above.
Daenerys, of course, should have been killed following the destruction of Kings Landing. But it should have been done by Tyrion Lannister. This would have been after finding his brother’s golden hand in the rubble of Kings Landing, along with the dropped crossbow by Bronn.
While her Unsullied army continues to wreak havoc across Kings Landing, Daenerys approaches the Iron Throne with Drogon hovering above. Tyrion should have carried the crossbow to the Red Keep and confronted her about what she did. Daenerys would be too consumed by the Iron Throne to notice Tyrion coming in with a loaded crossbow. Tyrion gets to the steps, keeping the crossbow low, and then Daenerys finally turns and notices him. Then he removes the hand pendant from his coat, tossing it on the floor. Daenerys stands in front of the Iron Throne and screams dracarys. And while Drogon lines up for attack, Tyrion shoots her in the heart. Drogon burns him alive as Daenerys falls forward onto the steps of the Iron Throne. As she does, Drogon sees this and stammers, then burns the Iron Throne to the ground before collecting her and flying away.
It would be Tyrion’s way of saying, I don’t want to play the game anymore and neither should you. This would have also been perfect symbolism for the true proper ending, which I’ll get into shortly.
Of course, before Daenerys’ death and in the midst of her rampage, Jon should have escaped Kings Landing thanks to Arya. Arya should have found him struggling and collected him on her way out on the white horse. While he’s retreated (and equally dazed and confused about his girlfriend’s craziness), Tyrion carries out his final act. An act of mercy for the realm.
The Unsullied will hold onto Kings Landing (well, what’s left of it), while Arya and Jon ride to Storm’s End, where Gendry was made a lord by the late Daenerys Targaryen.
Sansa eventually receives word of Jon and Arya’s safety via a raven, then forwards it to Tormund and those returning to the wall. Tormund, who is truly fond of Jon, marches his tribe back to Winterfell, and, with the rest of the North, marches onto Kings Landing. The leftover Unsullied are killed, and Kings Landing is taken back by Jon, who renounces his Targaryen name – since Jon is what everyone knows him as. He becomes King of Kings Landing, but, with the help of the realm, breaks the wheel that Daenerys wanted to break. Kings Landing will never rule the seven kingdoms anymore, only the land on which it’s on. Sansa will rule the North, Bran becomes Jon’s hand, Brienne becomes the captain of the Kingsgaurd and Arya goes west of Westeros.
I’m very likely missing a lot of plot points, so please fill in the gaps below!