How Will The New 'Game Of Thrones' Books End? 9 Theories About George R. R. Martin's Series
After eight long years of waiting, HBO finally revealed the winner of the Iron Throne in Sunday night's Game of Thrones series finale — but readers still don't know what will happen in the books. I've got nine theories about how the new Game of Thrones books will end, for those of you who are still waiting in agony for The Winds of Winter and A Dream of Spring. This article contains major spoilers for both HBO's Game of Thrones and the five released books in George R.R. Martin's A Song of Ice and Fire series, so proceed with caution if you aren't up-to-date.
It's safe to say that Game of Thrones ended with... considerably less intrigue than when it began. By the time the collected lords and ladies of Westeros crown King Brandon I Stark over the Six Kingdoms — Winterfell having withdrawn itself to independence under the Queen Sansa Stark — everyone seems tired of the long years of fighting and just wants to go home. They name the Three-Eyed Raven as the new king, and then they all part ways to get a little peace and quiet.
There's hardly any peace and quiet for A Song of Ice and Fire (ASOIAF) fans, however. George R.R. Martin's readers have been waiting nearly eight years for The Winds of Winter, the sixth book in his epic fantasy series. Martin recently had to shut down rumors that both The Winds of Winter and the final ASOIAF book, A Dream of Spring, were already completed and he was waiting until after the HBO adaptation had finished airing to release them.
With no sign of The Winds of Winter coming out this year, fans will have to cling to their theories about how the books will end, while hoping that Martin comes through for them soon. If you're already experiencing Game of Thrones withdrawal, here are nine potential endings to consider while you wait for the next ASOIAF book to come out.
ASOIAF Could End Exactly Like the Show
Due to time constraints and the need to maintain a less-convoluted series of events on-screen, Game of Thrones left out many fans' favorite plotlines, such as those concerning Lady Stoneheart, Young Griff, and Jeyne Westerling. Given that the series surpassed the events of the books at the end of its fifth season, one could rightly assume that the books will go in a completely different direction than the one chosen by showrunners David Benioff and D.B. Weiss.
Will they, though? During an April 13 interview with 60 Minutes, George R.R. Martin told Anderson Cooper that the ending readers would find in A Dream of Spring wouldn't be that much different from the ending of HBO's Game of Thrones. “I don’t think Dan and Dave’s ending is going to be that different from my ending," Martin said, conceding that, "on certain secondary characters, there may be differences." Maybe this was all going to happen, all along.
Bran Stark May Be All Brans
Brandon Stark's character arc in HBO's adaptation has taken him from a curious kid who was almost murdered by Jaime Lannister, to King of the Six Kingdoms of Westeros. In a way, it's incredibly fitting — Bran is the first point-of-view character in A Game of Thrones, and the HBO series followed him closely in its first episode. But one fan theory holds that Bran has a darker destiny than to become King Brandon I Stark.
It's possible that Bran may, in fact, be behind every major event in Westeros's history. Some fans to theorize that Bran is actually everyone with his name who ever lived. Others even go so far as to say that Bran's abilities to warg into animals and to see the future have allowed him to influence the past in interesting ways.
Those theories credit Brandon Stark with building the Wall and driving the Mad King Aerys II Targaryen mad, among other things. Although they don't always align, theories about Bran usually go hand-in-hand with speculations that he is evil and/or that he is the Night King. Whether you subscribe to any of these fan theories or not, there's a lot of Bran's story left to tell in The Winds of Winter and A Dream of Spring.
Jon Snow Could Be Azor Ahai
According to the priests and priestesses of R'hllor, Azor Ahai — AKA "the prince that was promised" — was a legendary warrior king who ended a reign of darkness with his fiery sword, Lightbringer. Many fans believe that the darkness Azor Ahai ended was the Long Night, the first reign of the White Walkers. It is said that the prince that was promised will return "[w]hen the red star bleeds and the darkness gathers, ... to wake dragons out of stone."
What does all this have to do with Jon Snow? Well, the prince that was promised is said to have had "a song of ice and fire," which might be exactly what you get when you're the son of Rhaegar "Fire and Blood" Targaryen and Lyanna "Winter Is Coming" Stark. In order to forge Lightbringer, Azor Ahai tempered the blade in the heart of his living wife — a moment that Game of Thrones recreated when Jon killed Danaerys in the series finale.
Although Arya Stark was the one who brought an end to the White Walkers on the HBO show, some readers speculate that it will be Jon Snow who wields Lightbringer to end the Others, once and for all, in the books. At the very least, we'll probably have a much more dramatic Danaerys death to look forward to in A Dream of Spring.
Cersei Lannister's Death Will Probably Be Different
As a girl, Cersei Lannister learned from the seer Maggy the Frog that she would have three children, cheery news that was followed by this revelation: "Gold shall be their crowns and gold their shrouds, she said. And when your tears have drowned you, the valonqar shall wrap his hands about your pale white throat and choke the life from you." That word, valonqar, is the High Valyrian for "little brother," and Maggy's prophecy has left a lot of readers wondering if Benioff and Weiss got Cersei's death wrong.
Although Cersei has long believed that Tyrion Lannister is the "little brother" who would kill her, the ASOIAF books have left the valonqar's true identity largely up in the air. It's likely that Jaime will kill his beloved sister, who is his senior by a few minutes, or that Tommen Baratheon — still alive in the books — will die and be revived as a wight to strangle his mother to death, as wights do. It's also possible that the valonqar isn't related to Cersei at all, and that the "little brother" is actually a sister, thanks to the weirdness of gender in translation.
One thing's for certain in all this: Cersei Lannister probably won't be killed by falling bricks in the bowels of the Red Keep when Martin finishes telling the story.
Tyrion Lannister Might Be a Secret Targaryen
This theory holds that Tyrion Lannister isn't actually a Lannister at all, but the product of the Mad King's rape of his mother, Joanna. There's some evidence in Tyrion's character description to support this theory, primarily the fact that his hair is much paler than that of the blonde Lannisters — much closer, in fact, to the color of Targaryens' silvery locks. There's also Tyrion's longtime fascination with dragons and fire, which could indicate that he has Targaryen ancestry. His father, Tywin, maintained a bitter distaste for his youngest son, up to the moment of his death, which could point to the fact that Tyrion was not his biological son.
Perhaps the most convincing evidence that Tyrion is a secret Targaryen is Danaerys's still unresolved vision of Rhaegar in the House of the Undying. In that prophetic dream, Rhaegar said that his newborn son, Aegon, "is the prince that was promised, and his is the song of ice and fire," before adding that "there must be one more," because "the dragon has three heads." If Aegon — AKA Jon Snow — and Danaerys are two of the three prophesied Targaryens, then it stands to reason that the dragon-obsessed Tyrion Lannister could be the third.
There Could Be Two Aegon Targaryens
Then again, maybe Tyrion isn't a Targaryen at all. The meaning of Danaerys's vision in the House of the Undying is muddied by the fact that Rhaegar had two sons named Aegon. The first, born to Elia Martell, was a baby whom the Mountain supposedly killed — in a gruesome fashion that left his face unidentifiable — during the Sack of King's Landing. The second, born in secret to Lyanna Stark, was renamed Jon Snow — a theory the show canonized, and which has been all but confirmed in the ASOIAF books.
As we saw in Game of Thrones, Jon's lineage complicates Danaerys's claim to the Iron Throne, but if the other, older Aegon Targaryen had survived Robert's Rebellion, then the fight for rightful control of Westeros would be even more complex. And, in the ASOIAF books, Elia Martell's youngest son may actually be alive, thanks to some careful meddling from Varys. In A Dance with Dragons, Tyrion learns that the eunuch may have swapped Aegon with the child of a laborer before the coup, and that the real Aegon Targaryen is currently living in disguise as "Young Griff," but plans to make his own bid for the Iron Throne.
Although there's always the possibility that Varys, Young Griff, or anyone else involved with the story may be lying about the boy's parentage, it's pretty clear that the Targaryen tug-of-war will play out much differently in Martin's final ASOIAF books.
Jon Snow May Have a Twin Sister
As if this game of Spot the Targaryen couldn't get any more convoluted, there's the fan theory about Jon Snow's birth. Assuming that Jon really is the son of Rhaegar Targaryen and Lyanna Stark — which, again, is almost certainly where the books are headed — there is another, connected theory that Jon was not the couple's only child.
Meera Reed, the sister of the greensight-gifted Jojen Reed, just so happens to be the same age as Jon and Robb Stark. Her father, Howland, was present when Ned Stark rescued his sister Lyanna from the Tower of Joy. Could she be the third head of the dragon? Although Meera lacks the Targaryen-esque features shared by Tyrion and Young Griff, proponents of the R + L = J + M fan theory argue that that's just Martin's way of throwing readers off of her Targaryen trail.
Someone Could Steal Danaerys's Dragons
When Euron Greyjoy came onto the Game of Thrones scene in the show's sixth season, ASOIAF readers knew they were in for a treat. In the books, Euron secures his claim to rule the Iron Islands with Dragonbinder, a legendary, magical horn that is said to be able to control dragons with its song. Dragonbinder never made an appearance in Game of Thrones, but the artifact is still in play in Martin's books.
In fact, in the books, the dragon horn is currently on its way to Danaerys Targaryen as part of a marriage proposal from Euron. In A Storm of Swords, the King of the Iron Islands sends his younger brother, Victarion Greyjoy, to Essos, where he is to offer Dragonbinder to Danaerys in exchange for her marriage to Euron. Since marriages don't really seem to work out for Danaerys, however, readers are left to wonder whether someone else might use the dragon horn to steal Drogon, Rhaegal, and Viserion away from the Khaleesi.
Sansa Stark Has a Chance to Win the Iron Throne
Game of Thrones ended with Sansa Stark crowned as Queen in the North, the rightful ruler of a newly independent Winterfell. In Martin's original plans for the series, Sansa was not one of the five major characters who survived the titular game, but, if the show is any indication, the ASOIAF author now has big plans for the "little bird."
Although it may seem unlikely, it's possible that Sansa could make a claim for the Iron Throne in The Winds of Winter and A Dream of Spring. At the close of A Dance with Dragons, Sansa is living in the Eyrie as Alayne Stone, the supposed bastard daughter of Petyr Baelish, and is set to win Winterfell back by becoming the Lady of the Vale. She could very well decide that she wants to be in control of more than just the North.
Much is still uncertain about Sansa's fate in the books, and it's hard to say where the Starks' eldest daughter will wind up, given the show's departure from her character's arc in its fifth season. If she gains any of Lord Baelish's ambition, however, Sansa will be well placed to vie for the Iron Throne in the remaining ASOIAF books.