TV Critic’s Corner

‘Game of Thrones’ and an instinct for order

Maisie Williams (as Arya Stark) and Kit Harington (as Jon Snow) in “Game of Thrones.”
Helen Sloan/HBO via AP
Maisie Williams (as Arya Stark) and Kit Harington (as Jon Snow) in “Game of Thrones.”

The series finale of “Game of Thrones” is coming Sunday night, in case you haven’t heard, and fans are debating which character will take the Iron Throne and become the Ruler of Westeros. Who will win the big game on Sunday, and by game I mean the epic eight-season struggle that has been littered with mass deaths, brutal rapes, stealth poisonings, and public beheadings?

Now that the Night King and his army are gone, popped like an ice balloon by Arya Stark, the idea of an apocalyptic finish has faded away. Armageddon lost the fight halfway through the last season, and the possibility of a nihilistic finale went along with it. Instead, most of the viewers I read online or talk to are convinced the show will have some kind of happyish ending on Sunday night.

Oh, at least one beloved character — Jon, Tyrion, Arya, Brienne — will have to die, of course, the death of major characters being a signature “Game of Thrones” move. The ending will have to be bittersweet. But still, a new leader will be installed, and he or she will take over as monarch, most likely with a trusty Hand at his or her side. According to the website BetOnline, the list for the winner includes Bran Stark, Jon Snow, Sansa Stark, Daenerys Targaryen, and even Jon and Dany’s baby.


I am one of the people who, now that the walking dead are gone, prefer to think that everything will wind up in order. My personal fantasy has Tyrion in the endgame as Hand, and one of the Starks in the top position. They will rule fairly, at least until some new threat emerges.

Naturally, I’m probably going to be proven wrong. These days, nice and neat endings are rare, except in comedy. But I love this quaint hunger for a peaceful resolution, for the story to wrap up neatly with a nod to goodness. It seems like a human instinct, to hope for some kind of order after all the chaos.

Matthew Gilbert can be reached at Follow him on Twitter @MatthewGilbert.