(This post contains big spoilers for the series finale of “Game of Thrones”)
Fans of the “A Song of Ice and Fire” books have spent decades and fans of “Game of Thrones” have spent one decade trying to guess who’s going to sit on the Iron Throne and rule Westeros at the end of the crazy sprawling story. And now that “Game of Thrones” is over, we have an answer. And it turned out to be two different answers, once all was said and done in the eventful finale episode.
Jon killed Daenerys, the Iron Throne got melted down, Bran became king of the Six Kingdoms with Sansa as (the newly-named) Queen in the (newly-independent) North, the Unsullied went to Naath, Tyrion became Hand of the King, again, with Brienne, Bronn and Sam on the small council, Arya sailed west off the end of the map, and Jon took the black again and then went beyond the Wall with the wildlings and dearest Ghost.
So we got an ending, but it’s not the end. Not really. There’s no “happily ever after” for these folks. It’s just the conclusion of one chapter of their lives and the beginning of another. It’s essentially the type of ending that the author of the “A Song of Ice and Fire” books, George R.R. Martin, has always suggested is his intention — one that considers the realistic future for Westeros rather than acting like what we’ve just experienced is the last meaningful thing that will happen for any of these people.
So we don’t get a montage explaining how Jon and Arya and Tyrion and Sansa all went on to live normal lives and die of old age. Instead we get a glimpse of what they’re doing next, and we’re left to wonder what will happen to them now as they continue living in circumstances that are just as perilous, if not moreso, than the circumstances they were in when “Game of Thrones” began.
And under normal circumstances for our world, the real world, we would probably just assume that’s it and we’re never going to find out anything more about what’s going on with these people who we’ve followed so closely for so long. But HBO isn’t content with letting the “Game of Thrones” universe fade away — the network is instead working on a number of spinoff series that will delve further into that world and tell us more stories we’ve never heard before.
HBO is currently pressing forward in earnest on three of these series, according to Martin. We only have details on one of them, a show to be helmed by Jane Goldman that will explore some of the ancient history of Westeros. The other two we have absolutely no details on, but we can’t dismiss the possibility that one or both of them could actually serve as sequels to “Game of Thrones” rather than spinoffs or side stories.
Complicating that idea, though, is that Kit Harington has specifically shot down the idea that he will ever return to the “Game of Thrones” universe, even in a cameo role, and so it’s unlikely that Jon Snow could ever figure into such a series. Though Harington could change his mind down the road, that sentiment would appear to preclude any of the projects in development from touching on Jon Snow.
(Though given that “Game of Thrones” ends with Jon heading to the far north of Westeros with Ghost and Tormund and all the other wildlings presumably to live out their days up there, it’s conceivable that he could simply be out of the picture in such a sequel.)
Another sequel possibility that would neatly dodge not just Jon Snow but all of Westeros could tell the story of Arya Stark’s journey west across the Sunset Sea. Arya’s adventures through previously uncharted territory could make for a compelling tale that sheds new light on the “Game of Thrones” universe. Particularly if that journey simply takes her around the globe to the far east of Essos, places we’ve never seen like Yi Ti and Asshai.
But all that’s just guesswork, because we really, truly just don’t know anything about what’s coming in those mysterious spinoffs. But if I were forced to make a bet, I’d say that none of them will ever go beyond the end of “Game of Thrones” — maybe we’ll see a story that runs in parallel in a new location, but I’d be surprised if we get more about these same characters in the currently planned shows.
But I could be completely wrong about that, because you know as much about this as I do. So only time will tell.