MANILA, Philippines – While Game of Thrones tells the story of, well, the game of thrones aka conflict between Westeros’ most powerful as they jostle for even more power, there’s one family that’s been front and center amid all the different locations and subplots – the Starks.
Here’s what happened to your favorite family during the series finale:
A brief background
The game has not been kind to the Starks, with patriarch Ned losing his head during the Season 1 finale (the very first of expectation subversions). The clan was cut down further in Season 3 during “The Rains of Castamere,” when Walder Frey murdered Ned’s eldest son Robb and wife Catelyn, along with a handful of the Stark bannermen. Rickon, the youngest of the Starks, was killed by Ramsey Bolton during “The Battle of the Bastards” in Season 6.
That leaves 4 Starks – or 3 and a half, depending on how you count them – alive by the season finale.
Jon Snow, first introduced as Ned’s bastard but later revealed to be Lyanna Stark and Rhaegar Targaryen’s legitimate son and therefore heir to the Iron Throne, has pledged loyalty and allegiance to Daenerys Targaryen, his lover-slash-aunt.
Sansa, who has endured both sexual and psychological torture at the hands of Ramsey Bolton and Little Finger, has matured to become the de facto leader at Winterfell. While the title is Bran’s, it’s Sansa who makes sure their people are fed.
Arya has also toughened up quite a lot – not everyone knows it, but she’s arguably the most skilled assassin in the realm. This, after intense training over several seasons under different mentors.
Oh, and she’s the one who kills the Night King.
Bran is… a very different person now – something he always make a point of reminding people. He’s the 3-eyed raven now and, for the most part, is devoid of personality and human empathy. He is, on paper, the Lord of Winterfell. He’s also a cripple, never having recovered from being pushed out a window in Season 1 (gee thanks, Jaime).
Only Jon and Arya go to King’s Landing (the penultimate episode) for the war and in the process, bear witness to the ruthlessness of Dany in what’ll be known as the sacking of King’s Landing.
Jon looks in horror as Dany’s forces (the Unsullied and the Dothraki) lead the sacking of King’s Landing, Winterfell forces beside them. Arya is almost a victim of the rampage herself and her survival is nothing short of a miracle, made even prettier thanks to a white horse.
In the final episode, Jon tries – in vain – to stop Grey Worm from executive Lannister men, ostensibly under the orders of Dany herself.
As Daenerys Stormborn of House Targaryen, the First of Her Name, Queen of the Andals and the First Men, Protector of the Seven Kingdoms, the Mother of Dragons, the Khaleesi of the Great Grass Sea, the Unburnt, the Breaker of Chains delivers a rousing speech before her army, it’s clear the rampage has only just begun.
Tyrion, who had just discovered his late twin siblings’ bodies, has seemingly made up his mind about Dany and resigns as the Hand of the Queen just as she points out that he committed treason by helping his brother Jaime escape. As he’s escorted away by Dany’s guards, he throws a meaningful gaze towards Jon. Arya shows up and tells Jon to be careful around Dany – a killer, after all, knows a killer when she sees one.
Tyrion convinces Jon that Dany isn’t quite the same queen they’d pledged their loyalty to, but he insists that she’s still his queen.
Jon later chances upon Dany as she recalls the stories she’d been told about the Iron Throne. But just as we thought she’d remain loyal to the Khaleesi, he stabs her in front of the Iron Throne. The bastard of Winterfell (who isn’t a bastard after all) is now the Queenslayer.
Jon is imprisoned for his acts – but not before a grieving Drogon burns the very thing everyone’s been fighting over, the Iron Throne.
Weeks later, Westeros’ heads of house meet at King’s Landing to figure things out – who will rule now that Dany is dead? Tyrion, still technically a prisoner, says it must be Bran – he who is crippled, who cannot bear heirs, whose purpose (truthfully) had been a question mark since the season began.
“Why do you think I came all this way?” answers Bran, when he’s asked if he’s willing to take on the role. Bran is now Bran the Broken, Lord of the Six Kingdoms. Sansa asks – nay, assets – that Winterfell secede from the 7 Kingdoms.
Arya asks: What’s beyond Westeros? And that’s precisely what she’s set to answer as she sails off – perfectly laying the premise for a spinoff.
Jon is back in the Night’s Watch as a compromise (although it’s unclear who they’re protecting Westeros from this time). Keeping him prisoner would anger the North while setting him free would anger Dany’s surviving forces.
He finally reunites with – and pats – Ghost, the lone direwolf still with its Stark owner (all Stark kids were given a direwolf in the very first episode of the series).
Sansa is now, officially, Queen of the North – outliving all her oppressors and outsmarting everyone who underestimated her.
The series ends with Jon Snow and the Freefolk venturing off into the wilderness, Ghost in tow. The Starks are finally alright. For now, at least.
Game of Thrones is based on the book series A Song of Ice and Fire by George RR Martin. – Rappler.com
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