Bad news White Walker truthers: fan theories, the Game of Thrones series finale, “The Iron Throne,” confirmed that Bran is not and never will be the Night King. But the sole surviving biological son of Ned Stark is, improbably,the King of the Six Kingdoms. So sayeth the heads of Westeros’s still-standing Houses, who picked the continent’s new ruler by votes instead of a prolonged war. King Bran the Broken, first of his name—and also the last since he won’t be spawning any children—now takes his place in the King’s Landing throne room, but significantly not on the titular throne, which has been melted down into so much scrap metal. Bran’s unlikely rise from accidental peeping tom to mystic warg-er to theoretically great ruler may be the stuff of a Joseph Campbell’s hero’s journey, but Twitter is greeting his coronation with a decidedly mixed reaction. While some of his subjects are hailing the new king.
Bran’s ascension to the throne is proving to be the final controversial nail in the coffin of a controversial final season, one that’s transformed social media into a battleground between those eager to keep the faith in showrunners David Benioff and D.B. Weiss and those who just threw up their hands at missteps ranging from the duo’s often cringe-inducing treatment of the show’s female characters and skipping over burning questions that have kept fans up late at night spinning wild theories. Expect that fight to continue playing out on Twitter for weeks, if not years.
Overall, House Stark emerged as the biggest winner in the finale, which has gotta put a smile on Papa Ned’s head—wherever it happens to be. Sansa declared her independence from Bran and rules as the Queen in the North, while Arya took off for parts unknown.
Queenslayer Jon Snow’s ending falls somewhere in between. While he loses Daenerys, he does win the life he’s repeatedly said he’s wanted: leaving civilization behind for the frozen frontier beyond the wall. (Although a telling final shot of grass rising through the snow suggests that winter may be on its way out even in the arctic parts of Westeros.) It’s the ending Jon desires, but not necessarily the one his die-hard fans desire for him.