Here's Where All of Your Favorite Game of Thrones Characters End Up in the Finale
Warning: heartbreaking spoilers ahead, so grab some tissues before reading.
It almost doesn't feel real to type the words "Game of Thrones is officially over." The show has been on for so long now that we've practically seen most of the characters (and their real-life counterparts) grow up before our very eyes. And now, in season eight's final episode, "The Iron Throne," their stories all come to an end. While we had plenty of theories about how it would all wrap up, we were completely blown away by the decisions that showrunners David Benioff and D.B. Weiss chose to make in the HBO fantasy series's final bow. What was up with that death? Is the Night's Watch back? How can that dude possibly be king?! We're breaking down where all the major characters in the series land in the finale ahead.
What Happens to Daenerys (and Drogon)?
If you've been a long-suffering member of #TeamDany, then we have some bad news: the Dragon Queen is no more. What's worse? She's murdered by her nephew/boyfriend, Jon Snow.
In the aftermath of her fiery reign of terror in King's Landing, Daenerys orders her men to kill all the remaining Lannister soldiers in the city, regardless of if they've surrendered or not. While Jon and Tyrion oppose this tyrannical course of action, Grey Worm eagerly carries out her orders. Dany later makes a speech boasting about how she's freed the people of King's Landing, and now intends to free those imprisoned throughout the rest of the world so she can further "break the wheel." And then, because all bets are off, she tosses Tyrion in prison for treason (for helping Jaime escape). Kind of ironic when you consider he just did the same to Varys, but we digress.
Seeing the ruthless extent of Dany's power now that she's claimed the Iron Throne — and knowing that he and his family will always be in danger because he threatens her legitimacy — Jon decides to visit his former boo while she's exploring the throne room all by her lonesome and set her straight . . . and by that, of course, we mean he straight-up stabs her after he begs her to end the madness and she refuses. Needless to say, it's an extremely disappointing end to Daenerys Targaryen. The fact that Dany, one of the show's few female characters (and also one of its most badass characters in general), goes out in such a lame, anticlimactic fashion at the hands of a man (who claimed to love her, FYI) is just . . . well, lame.
Drogon saunters over and proceeds to melt the Iron Throne, then carries Dany's lifeless body away with him. Where does he take her? Well, it's unclear. Bran does mention later on in the episode that he'll "find" Drogon, so we assume that he'll keep an eye on the creature in case he decides to start munching on the good people of Westeros in retaliation for his mother's murder.
What Happens to Tyrion Lannister?
At the beginning of the episode, Daenerys throws Tyrion in prison for treason because of his whole plan to help Jaime escape the city with Cersei. He defends himself by saying that his moment of weakness for his siblings is nothing compared to her choice to murder thousands of innocent people and throws his Hand of the Queen pin on the ground. ("I freed my brother, but you slaughtered a city.") Obviously Dany doesn't give a flying f*ck about that, to put it lightly, and has Grey Worm lock him up.
Tyrion is held in jail for what seems like weeks as a newly formed council (which includes the show's baddest b*tch, Sansa Stark) is created to figure out how to solve the problem of the rudderless leadership in Westeros, as well as Jon's decision to kill his aunt.
So, the council proceeds to elect Bran Stark the new king — yes, the same Bran Stark who hasn't said a single helpful sentence all season and who also can't produce any heirs — and Tyrion is named his Hand. Tyrion is the one who comes up with Jon's punishment — being banished to the Wall as a member of the Night's Watch — and then goes on to lead the small council for Bran.
What Happens to Jon Snow?
So, after Jon murders his queen, he's thrown in prison along with Tyrion and left to powerlessly wait to hear his sentencing. Grey Worm, filled with vengeance, wants him to be killed for what he did. Sansa tells the council that she thinks he should be allowed to return to Winterfell, especially now that Bran is King of Westeros. But, in the end, Tyrion suggests that Jon should go back to the Wall to join whatever remains of the Night's Watch and to "take no wife, hold no lands, father no children." Tyrion says that since it's a compromise that "pleases no one," it therefore must be fair (I guess?!).
While we can see the "full circle" nature of this ending for Jon, since that's where he's originally stationed in season one, it also (to put it bluntly) doesn't make any freakin' sense. Who's even left in the Night's Watch at this point? Also, is there even a point to the Night's Watch considering the Night King has been defeated and everyone is chill about the Free Folk now, or . . . ?! During the show's flash-forward montage, we see Jon accepting his punishment and heading to the Wall. There he reunites with Tormund and Ghost, and presumably heads further North with the Free Folk for a life of snowball fights, hypothermia, and frostbite.
What Happens to Bran Stark?
For reasons that make absolutely no sense no matter how many rousing speeches Tyrion gives, the council that's formed after Daenerys's death decides to crown Bran Stark king. I'm not sure if it's the worst decision that's ever been made in the history of Game of Thrones, but it's definitely the lowest point in the finale.
"Who has a better story than Bran the Broken? He is our memory. He is the keeper of all our stories," Tyrion says. "Wars, weddings, births, massacres, famines, triumphs, our defeats, our past. Who better to lead us into the future?" When Sansa points out that he can't father any heirs, Tyrion continues. "Good. Sons of kings can be cruel and stupid as you well know . . . that is the wheel our Queen wanted to break. From now on rulers will not be born, they'll be chosen on this spot by the lords and ladies of Westeros to serve the realm."
What Happens to Sansa Stark?
Although we think Sansa would've made an excellent ruler of Westeros, the continuously clever little bird decides to go back to her roots by ruling the North. After her brother is crowned king, she turns to him and says that despite respecting his rule, she also refuses to let her people continue to suffer in the Seven Kingdoms.
"The North will remain an independent kingdom as it was for thousands of years," she declares, with Bran's approval. He undoubtedly knows that there's no one more suited to carrying out their mother and father's legacy of protecting the people of the North.
What Happens to Arya Stark?
Yes, we'd be lying if we said a small part of us didn't wish for Arya to join Gendry at Riverrun and live happily ever after. But that type of life is not in the cards for our young assassin. After Bran becomes king, Jon is sentenced to a life at the Wall, and Sansa goes home to rule the North, Arya sets out on a brand-new adventure. As she tells her siblings, she's going to explore whatever lands and people are west of Westeros — "That's where all the maps stop. That's where I'm going." The last we see of her, she's on board a ship on her way to do just that.
What Happens to Grey Worm?
Did we think Grey Worm would survive until the very end of the series? Hell no! We thought he was a goner in the Battle of Winterfell for sure. So, no one was more surprised than we were to see the Unsullied warrior make it to the series finale in one piece. And, for any Grey Worm stans out there, he also makes it out of the finale alive, too. As mentioned previously, Grey Worm is the one who picks up where Daenerys left off in terms of enforcing strict rule, especially since she names him her Master of War at the start of the finale. He fiercely argues for Jon's demise, but is sated by the compromise that Tyrion comes up with for the council and votes to send him to the Wall, instead.
With his queen murdered, the betrayals of Jon and Tyrion settled, and the love of his life dead and gone, Grey Worm realizes there's nothing left for him in King's Landing. After refusing to bend the knee to King Bran, he and the rest of the Unsullied and Dothraki troops board ships headed for the Isle of Naath. There he will hopefully continue Daenerys's original mission of breaking chains.
What Happens to Ser Davos Seaworth?
With Bran as King and Tyrion as his Hand, the Onion Knight is obviously kept around to help run the remains of King's Landing. Ser Davos becomes the Master of Ships, and he's last seen bickering with Bronn, the Master of Coin, about getting enough money for his rebuilding projects.
What Happens to Samwell Tarly?
Sam achieves his dream of becoming the Grand Maester in the finale, when he arrives to the small council's meeting dressed in the standard white robes. He proceeds to tell Tyrion that he and Archmaester Ebrose collaborated on a book of their history, titled — wait for it — A Song of Ice and Fire. We would've preferred a shot of his newborn baby with Gilly, to be honest.
What Happens to Ser Brienne of Tarth?
Brienne follows Sansa down to King's Landing and is a part of the council that decides who should be the new king. She's also seen opening a book that contains a history of each knight who served in the Kingsguard and filling out the rest of Jaime's page. (Ugh, cue the tears.) The last we see of Brienne, she's protecting King Bran from any potential threats, so we can assume that she's now the leader of the Kingsguard. Bravo, Brienne!
What Happens to Ser Bronn?
Last, but not least, is Ser Bronn, who also somehow makes it to the end of the show without a scratch. Tyrion makes him Master of Coin on top of being Lord of Highgarden, so Bronn reluctantly notes that the Lannisters' debt to him has "indeed" been paid. In typical Bronn fashion, his last scene sees him arguing about the need to rebuild all the burned-down brothels.