So, as it turns out, prophecies don’t really matter on Game Of Thrones. Whether it’s the Lord Of Light, or the Valonqar prophecy, the show doesn’t seem concerned with the books’ lore.
Just in case you haven’t read George RR Martin’s novels, here’s what the original material said about how Cersei will die, which is the one part of the prophecy given by Maggy the Frog in the books that went unseen on the show.
“When your tears have drowned you, the Valonqar (little brother in Valyrian) shall wrap his hands about your pale white throat and choke the life from you.”
Yeah, that doesn’t really look like what happened to Cersei in ‘The Bells,’ does it?
From this original prophecy, approximately a million fan theories were born – some said Jaime would be the little brother, some agreed with Cersei that it would be Tyrion, others Euron, some Ghost. Some went deeper, and suggested it would be Arya, wearing Jaime’s face. None were right, because the show completely ignored it.
Appropriately for a show called ‘The Bells’ (two words turned catchphrase by the Hunchback of Notre Dame, another monster with humanity), Benioff and Weiss chose instead to send Cersei to her death with empathy, even sympathy. You can see why they did it, but book fans were baffled.
It was the same with all the nonsense about the Lord Of Light, established on the show, then completely ignored, with Tyrion practically looking at the camera to tell the audience not to worry about it last week.
That leads us to another reason prophecies don’t matter on HBO’s Game Of Thrones. It’s hard to predict what’s going to happen when even the show doesn’t stick to its own mythology, or even its own rules.
This week, Cersei said ‘the Red Keep has never fallen,’ seemingly forgetting that’s exactly what happened during Robert’s rebellion. You know, the sacking of the city led by her DEAD HUSBAND. And, given Robert’s temperament, there’s a chance he might have mentioned it once or twice to her.
As for the show’s rules, the series that chopped off Ned’s head for making a significant honour-based tactical error, sent a white horse bathed in sunlight to save Arya after she did the same. The rules of cause and effect have changed dramatically this season.
Still, we’re going to go ahead and predict what’s going to happen in the last ever episode, because we’re madder than the Mad King. We’re going to take one final gaze into the fire, and make our final prophecy of what’s going to come next.
The fun people have making guesses and predictions, based on the clues this show gives us, has been one of the defining elements of Game Of Thrones, and it’s been one of the secrets of its success. People look for answers in the earliest episodes, such is George RR Martin’s legendary foreshadowing.
However, we’re going to take a different tactic, and completely ignore everything that’s happened up to this point, and only focus on season 8. We’re going to go ahead and assume that’s what the showrunners are doing.
In episode 4 of season 8, Varys told Tyrion: “Have you considered the best ruler might be someone who doesn’t want to rule?” It’s something that was reiterated this week, with Jon saying he doesn’t want to rule, and Varys replying that he’ll be a great King anyway.
There’s someone else this show has gone out of its way to tell us doesn’t want to rule this season; Bran.
In ‘The Last Of The Starks’, Tyrion told Bran that as Ned Stark’s last trueborn son he should be the lawful heir to Winterfell and the North, but Bran replies he won’t ever be a lord. He lives mostly in the past now. That’s because he can observe the complete history of Westeros, which is probably pretty time-consuming.
Now, even season 8 Tyrion is smart enough to observe the adage, ‘those who don’t know history are destined to repeat it.’ He’ll use that to suggest Bran takes the Iron Throne.
Not only did Tyrion have a long offscreen conversation with Bran the night before the Battle Of Winterfell, so he knows the extent of Bran’s powers, Tyrion’s seen him pluck from the past to improve the future – his wheelchair is a product of the past, and is better than the saddle Tyrion designed for him.
We’ve seen history repeat in season 8, with Daenerys ‘burning them all’ in ‘The Bells’ to become the next mad ruler of the Seven Kingdoms. We saw villains on both sides, with the key message seemingly being that war makes monsters of us all.
Presumably the show won’t end with her on the Iron Throne, and we’re almost certain it’ll be Jon who stops her – probably fatally. He’ll either die doing it, or he’ll be exiled to join the Wildlings and – HOPEFULLY – Ghost. Jon’s also partly to blame for the carnage of King’s Landing, so no matter what happens, we can’t see him on the Iron Throne.
If the wheel is truly to be broken, and a new world order is to be installed that’s significantly different from what’s come before, we need Bran on the Iron Throne. Someone who has no desire to lead, so won’t be corrupted by power. Someone who knows so much about the specific mistakes of the past, he won’t make them in the future.
And, we know we promised we wouldn’t go back to the books, or the earlier seasons, but Bran on the Iron Throne would also make narrative sense – the child who lost his legs in the opening episode becomes the man on the Iron Throne in the final episode. George RR Martin’s ultimate underdog become the final ruler. It’s a perfect circular narrative.
If we’re wrong, well, that’s the thing about prophecies, they’re rarely accurate. Let’s hope that, whoever ends up ruling Westeros, the fans won’t rebel against them.