GIANT SPOILERS AHEAD, PROCEED WITH CAUTION
Okay, I’m trusting that having scrolled past that picture, you’re cool with spoilers. So lets talk about the Game of Thrones Season 6 finale. Well, the final two episodes. It’s been a spectacular end to a marvellous season, in my view. But I’ve seen a complaint levelled at these last two episodes, and heard it echoed within the four walls of my living room by my other half. Game of Thrones is getting predictable.
I can sort of see the argument here. Nothing was ever going to top the shock twist of Ned Stark’s beheading in season one, but subsequent seasons have seen further twists and surprises. Just not so much this season.
But there’s a reason for that. Ned Stark’s death was so shocking in Season One because we believed in the lie that Cersei had control over her son, that when she suggested mercy and the Night’s Watch for Ned, that Joffrey would listen to her. Cersei is as surprised as the audience when the vile little shite turns round and demands Ned’s head.
But the thing is, once that shock has been delivered, once we know that about the character, we aren’t surprised by anything he does any more. We know the depths of depravity he will stoop to.
The Fiancé’s chief complaints about the penultimate episode was that a) Rickon Stark had to die, and b) that Jon and Ramsay didn’t have some climactic sword fight showdown. Rickon dying was too obvious.
Well, of course. We knew Ramsay would kill Rickon as well we knew that Roose’s death would be quickly followed by the death of his wife and true born son. Ramsay is sadistic and cruel and loves to torture people. As Sansa was quite correct to point out, Rickon was doomed the moment Ramsay took him as prisoner.
And as for Ramsay and Jon not ending it with a sword fight… Well, Ramsay is not a warrior. He’s always used a bow and arrow, preferring to let other people (or animals) do his dirty work. For him to suddenly pick up a sword and fight would be to utterly change his character.
And that’s why these latter seasons of Game of Thrones have lost the ability to truly shock and surprise us. Because we know these characters so well. They are such defined, realistic and believable people, that we can guess what they’re going to do. To have the characters do something truly shocking now would be to undermine the storytelling and character development that has made Game of Thrones such compelling television for the last six years.
Did anyone really doubt that Cersei would have cooked up some terrible revenge for the High Sparrow? Perhaps her callous destruction of just about everybody else along with him was a little shocking, but we know Cersei is prepared to do whatever it takes to protect herself and her children – we’ve known it from the moment she had Jamie push Bran out of the window in Season 1, and she’s proved her commitment to that line over and over again. It backfires on her spectacularly in perhaps the best death of the season – the brilliantly understated suicide of Tommen. But even this – while shocking – isn’t particularly surprising. Tommen has always been a bit of a drip, and having his love Margaery killed, and all those other people, by his own mother no less, is absolutely plausible motivation for him to throw himself out of a window.
With things coming to a head at the end of the episode, Danaerys on her way to Westeros, Jon Snow declared King in the North (by the magnificent Lady Mormont – someone stick that kid on the Iron Throne, seriously) and Cersei on the Iron Throne, everything is gearing up for the final resolution of the story. Which means Game of Thrones is no longer in the business of introducing new characters for the audience to learn and be surprised by. It’s going to be dedicated to tying up the loose ends, bringing together the story threads in a satisfying, but realistic way. It’s unlikely that there will be another Ned Stark beheading moment, and we may as an audience be able to predict a lot of what will happen. But that’s the beauty of a well crafted story, with well written characters – if it feels inevitable, it’s because it is.
I, for one, am planning to thoroughly enjoy the ride to the conclusion. And for what it’s worth, here are a few of my predictions (desires) for the conclusion of the epic tale:
- Jon Snow and Danaerys form some sort of allegiance, probably through marriage, to fight against the White Walkers.
- Jamie Lannister, horrified by what his sister has become, finally becomes the good man he’s always tried to be. Dies fighting, preferably to save Brienne.
- Davos survives and returns to Bear Island with Lyanna Mormont, where he can be her advisor. It’s the least he deserves after what happened to Shireen.
- Tyrion is reinstated as Hand of the Queen/King and Bronn reinstated as Captain of the Guard. They have much good banter.
- Sansa is installed as Lady of Winterfell. While being protected by Brienne, Sansa falls for Pod’s awkward charm. Poor Sansa had a terrible time with Ramsay, and Pod has the mad skillz in the bedroom. You know it makes sense.
- Brienne and Tormund both live happily ever after and have lots of very tall, ginger children. (no, seriously GOT writers, please let this happen.)