On HBO, Game of Thrones’ final season subverted fans’ speculation in many storylines, from the Night King’s fate to Bran never warging a dragon.
Based on George R.R. Martin’s A Song of Ice and Fire novels, HBO’s Game of Thrones was a complex series rife with foreshadowing. Season 1 set up the events for House Stark’s war with the Lannisters. Future seasons depicted the bloody war for the Iron Throne and the conquest of Daenerys Targaryen, while all along the true threat lurked in the North beyond the Wall.
The GoT fandom spent years theorizing the fates of their favorite characters from prophecies and predictions in the series. The final season still managed to subvert expectations, however, with many anticipated moments never coming to pass.
10 Jaime Kills Cersei
One moment that many fans expected to see in Game of Thrones included Queen Cersei’s downfall at the hand of her brother and lover, Jaime. In the books, Maggy the Frog prophesizes that the Lioness of Lannister will be killed by the valonqar — meaning “little brother” in Valyrian.
Cersei believes that the prophecy refers to Tyrion. However, with Jaime as the younger twin, it was widely speculated in the fandom that the Kingslayer would be the one to put an end to the evil queen.
9 Jon And Daenerys Have A Baby
Cersei isn’t the only queen to meet an unexpected ending in the final season. Throughout season 7, it was foreshadowed that new lovers Jon and Daenerys would have a child. Jon challenges Mirri’s prophecy about Dany’s fertility, and Jorah tells the Northern king to keep Longclaw for his future children.
After Jon and Dany’s night of passion on the boat to Winterfell, many fans anticipated “Boat Baby” in the final season. The story instead took a significantly different path to depict the Dragon Queen’s downfall.
8 Jon Fights The Night King
After an intense staredown during season 5’s “Hardhome,” Jon Snow appeared destined for a final clash with the Night King. The secret Targaryen was the Lord Commander of the Night’s Watch and according to Melisandre, the prophesized “Prince That Was Promised.”
In a surprising turn of events, it was Arya Stark who defeated the Night King in season 8’s “The Long Night.” Jon’s anticipated sword fight with the leader of the White Walkers was cut short by the resurrection of slain Unsullied soldiers.
7 The Starks React To R+L=J
Since the shocking revelation of Jon Snow’s parentage, fans were eager to see how the rest of the Starks would react to the truth. In season 8’s “The Last of the Starks,” Jon meets with Arya and Sansa in the godswood for the big reveal… only for the camera to cut to another scene.
None of the Starks — including Jon — are given sufficient time to react to R+L=J. Instead, the revelation is used solely to destabilize Daenerys’ strength and sanity.
6 Daenerys Talks With Arya
Daenerys and Arya have a lot in common. Throughout the series, they both defy gender expectations, amass mystical power, and share a bond with otherworldly animals. Many fans anticipated their first meeting, but Dany and Arya never ended up sharing a conversation in the final season
Though they are present for the council meeting in “The Last of the Starks,” they don’t exchange a word. The two are divided until Dany’s fiery assault on King’s Landing in “The Bells.”
5 Direwolves In Battle
Another forecasted moment for the final season included the estranged direwolves of House Stark. The direwolves are as integral to the Starks’ stories as the dragons are to Dany’s. Many fans speculated that Nymeria and her wolf pack would reunite with Ghost at Winterfell.
But Nymeria was never seen again after her season 7 reunion with Arya. Ghost was shown briefly in “The Long Night” during the Dothraki’s initial charge at the army of wights.
4 Bran Wargs A Dragon
Bran’s role in the battle against the dead remains unclear. The Three-Eyed Raven is guarded against the Night King in Winterfell’s godswood and spends the majority of the fight warging into the bodies of birds to observe the battle from the skies.
Many fans expected to see Bran utilize his abilities differently in the fight against the dead. Popular theories suggested he would warg into a dragon to help defeat the Night King alongside Jon and Dany as the “third head of the dragon.”
3 What Melisandre Did In Volantis
Like the Three-Eyed Raven, Melisandre remains one of Game of Thrones‘ most mysterious characters. In season 7, she tells Varys that she is departing for Volantis after uniting Jon and Daenerys, only to return for “The Long Night” to fight and die in the final battle.
What the Red Priestess did in Volantis remains unknown. Many fans theorized that she would return with the Fiery Hand or other followers of R’hllor such as Kinvara.
2 Westeros During Winter
From the first episode, Game of Thrones made an ominous promise to its viewers — winter is coming. The series depicts the gradual decline of summer into autumn, with the wintery threat of the extended seasons heralding House Stark’s words.
Only the North was shown to have been hit by winter, however. Snow falls in King’s Landing during the season 7 finale, but the city appears sunnier in the final season.
1 What Varys Heard In The Flames
Season 8 featured many unexpected moments, including the abrupt demise of Lord Varys. After discovering the truth about Jon’s parentage, Varys betrays Daenerys in favor of supporting the Targaryen king. Dany discovers Varys’ disloyalty and executes him with Drogon on the shores of Dragonstone.
The sudden death of Varys leaves a major question about his character unanswered: what did he hear in the flames during the traumatic event in his childhood?
Many mysteries remain from the final season of HBO’s hit series. Though controversial, season 8 delivered several shocking moments that few fans saw coming.
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