16 haunting questions the 'Game of Thrones' finale left unanswered

Alex Van Mecl/HBO
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Game of Thrones has come to an end, and while “The Iron Throne” wrapped up a number of long-simmering storylines, there were several plot threads left dangling even after the episode's closing credits rolled. Some of the unanswered questions Game of Thrones fans have after the finale have been on our minds for awhile, while others arose only after the show's final hour concluded. We might never get real answers to most of these (unless George R.R. Martin steps in with the book series' last installment), but that doesn't mean we won't always be frustrated that the series left them unresolved. First up:

1. Did any of those prophecies matter?

From the beginning, Game of Thrones has been enthralled by the notions of prophecy and destiny, with fans predicting that the final episodes would see many of the show's magical predictions come true. Yet when the series ended, most of its central prophecies either hadn't been addressed at all (Arya shutting "green eyes," for instance) or were almost completely thwarted (Azor Ahai and the valonqar prophecy, anyone?). Despite the seven seasons Thrones spent establishing that yes, the prophecies are real and should be taken seriously, it turns out that they were mostly just a bunch of red herrings.

2. Where did all those Dothraki come from? And where did they go?

It really looked like all of the Dothraki's flaming swords went out at the Battle of Winterfell. A few scattered soldiers came riding back with Jorah, but there weren't enough of them left to fill out a baseball roster, let alone sack a city. Yet in the finale, Daenerys had an entire army made up of hundreds of Dothraki.

It’s also unclear where they all went after Daenerys was assassinated. We saw that the Unsullied took over the city, but the Dothraki appeared to have mostly vanished. Did they just shrug their shoulders and get to work settling the rubble of King’s Landing, unconcerned with who's in charge? Did they hop on the ships with the Unsullied to head to Naath? Did they Fast Travel somewhere entirely new? We may never know.

3. Why didn’t Drogon burn Jon?

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After Jon killed Daenerys, Drogon was understandably upset. After a truly heartbreaking moment where he nudged Dany’s lifeless body with his nose, the dragon turned toward Jon, fixing him with a red, murderous stare — and melted the Iron Throne instead. Perhaps this restraint was meant to show that Drogon (who has apparently been moonlighting as an undergrad at Westeros Community College) realized that the real killer was Dany’s unquenchable thirst for power, or maybe he just knew we’d all been wondering for seasons whether Jon is fireproof. Still, it seems odd that Drogon let Jon go free during that moment of rage and grief, even if Jon is a Targaryen.

4. Why did Grey Worm let Jon live?

You just know that the second a guilt-ridden Jon walked into the Great Hall following Dany's death, he went full Olenna Tyrell and started hollering, “IT WAS ME.” So why didn't Grey Worm kill him on the spot? Earlier in the episode, it was established that the soldier didn't believe in mercy for Daenerys' enemies, and surely the man who assassinated her would fall into that category.

Yet instead of plunging a spear through Jon’s heart right then and there, Grey Worm threw him in a cell while he waited for the nobles to show up and tell him what to do. Once they arrived, though, Grey Worm refused to bring them Jon. It’s like he kept the guy alive just so he could look the Stark siblings in the eye and tell them, “No, you can’t see him, so there.” That seems a little petty, but hey, Grey Worm's been through a lot.

5. Did Varys’ ravens ever reach their destinations?

Just one episode ago, Varys was executed for treason, caught sending out ravens with the message that Jon was the legitimate heir of Rhaegar Targaryen and Lyanna Stark. Yet based on the zero people who brought up that important piece of information at the council meeting to determine the future of Westeros, Varys’ birds either didn’t make it to their destinations, or they did, and no one cared.

Both options are unlikely. It's not very realistic that Varys would've sent out an entire batch of incompetent ravens, nor does it make sense that not a single member of Westeros' ruling elite noted that the person who killed the genocidal usurper of the throne actually had a better claim to it than she did. Perhaps there's a third option — that Bran warged into Varys’ ravens and sent them all plummeting headfirst into the river, because he’d been hoodwinking everyone and really had been gunning for the throne the whole time. Actually...

6. Was the throne really Bran’s plan all along?

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When Tyrion asked Bran if he’d accept the crown, Bran said, “Why do you think I came all this way?” If being crowned King actually was Bran’s ultimate goal, it means that the whole time he and Sam were whispering about the implications of Jon being the true heir to the Iron Throne, Bran was gaming everyone. He knew that Jon’s Starkian sense of honor wouldn’t allow him to stand by and watch if Dany was abusing her power, and he needed Jon to believe it was his responsibility as heir to the Iron Throne to take her out, regardless of the consequences for himself. Bran knew, while no one else did, that because of this duty, Jon would never actually get a chance to claim the throne himself.

This theory isn't confirmed, but it seems that not only was Bran apparently trying to become king for years, but he was willing to throw his own brother under the bus to get it. If this is the case, that's way more cutthroat than we were led to believe Bran was capable of being.

7. Why wasn't Gendry or Sansa declared leader of Westeros?

Even if you buy that no one would propose Jon lead because he killed Dany (despite his royal lineage being all anyone could talk about), it's ridiculous that no one brought up Gendry or Sansa. The newly legitimized Baratheon may not know how to use a fork, but Westeros has been ruled by royal bloodlines for thousands of years, and tradition is a powerful drug. As for Sansa, she's a capable leader who was also the only one doing practical things like shoring up food for the winter while everyone else was galavanting around conquering cities. Sure, she might've turned down the offer — she'd made it clear that she had no desire to move away from Winterfell again — but why wasn't she nominated?

Only after the above options were exhausted would “I dunno, maybe Bran?” possibly come up. Even if you buy Tyrion’s bizarre justification of “it’s all about the stories, man,” Bran never exhibited any noteworthy leadership skills, and he spends a not-insignificant amount of time warging into birds, which, even if not disqualifying, should at least have been a thing the council discussed before placing a crown on his head.

8. Why wasn't Bran’s first act as King to put the kibosh on that nickname?

Seriously, why did Tyrion think it was appropriate to call the new King of Westeros “Bran the Broken” over and over, as part of his official title? It was bad enough during the meeting, but even by the end of the episode, presumably weeks or months later, Tyrion still referred to Bran as “Broken” in the Small Council meeting. Sure, Bran has bigger fish to fry, but you’d think even he might eventually have gotten exasperated and told everyone to focus on his powers, not whether or not his legs worked. And on the subject of bad Tyrion moves...

9. Why is anyone still listening to Tyrion?

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Before being imprisoned for treason, Tyrion was known as the Hand to the Queen Who Burned a City Full of Innocent People, and prior to that, Convicted Murderer of a Different King Who Was Also His Own Nephew. He made bad calls and chose poor alliances all series long, and yet he somehow still convinced the council that Bran should be king. It's questionable that anyone took his advice considering his history; you'd think someone would have taken him aside to be like, “Listen, my dude, you’re a smart guy, but you’re talking nonsense. How about you take a nap and drink some herbal tea while we figure this thing out?”

10. Why didn’t Dorne and the Iron Islands also leave the Six Kingdoms?

After Sansa broke the news that the North would remain an independent nation, it would’ve made sense for Yara Greyjoy and what’s-his-name from Dorne to follow suit. Yara had been frustrated with the shenanigans in King’s Landing for ages, and considering that the city's armies had murdered many Dorne citizens, Dorne also had zero incentive to ever want to submit to the Crown. Once it was clear that opting out of the Kingdoms was possible, you'd think those nations would have chosen to be self-governed, too.

11. Why is there still a Night’s Watch?

Jon seemed surprised to hear that the Night’s Watch still existed, and for good reason. Not only were the White Walkers wiped out, negating the entire purpose for the Watch, but there was a hole in the Wall the size of an aircraft carrier. Yes, White Walkers could come back eventually, but until that day (probably not for thousands of years), the Night’s Watch's only purpose is a destination to exile men. Speaking of...

12. Why did Bran send Jon to the Wall?

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Yes, everyone agreed to send Jon to the Night's Watch, but once the Unsullied left on their ships, what was to stop Bran from not following through? Grey Worm would never have known. Alternatively, what was to keep Jon from making a pit stop at Winterfell and refusing to continue on the journey? The North controls the Wall, so it would’ve been completely within Sansa’s power to offer Jon asylum at the now-independent Stark family holding.

Then again, maybe Jon actually wanted to return to the relative comfort and monotony of Castle Black, after all the drama down south. Or maybe he couldn’t shake his guilt for not petting Ghost, The Goodest Boy, when he had the chance and was grateful for the opportunity to finally make things right.

13. What did Bran hope to do when he found Drogon?

At the Small Council meeting, Sam said that Drogon was last spotted heading east — perhaps to Essos, where the dragon was born. Bran said that he was going to try to locate Drogon, but was he merely attempting to find him, or use him? There's a long-accepted understanding that only Targaryens can strategically utilize dragons, but never underestimate the power of a king who can take over the consciousness of another living creature.

14. Whose bright idea was it to make Bronn the Master of Coin, and why did no one ask Arya to be the Master of Whisperers?

Throughout Thrones, it's been made clear that Bronn is tremendously susceptible to bribery and is always out to line his own pockets above all else. As such, Tyrion putting him in charge of the royal coffers feels like a bankruptcy just waiting to happen. Of all the people in King’s Landing, was Mr. “Let’s Spend All Our Money Rebuilding Brothels Instead of Ships” really the best pick for Master of Coin?

Also, even though she probably would’ve turned the offer down if asked to fill the spot, Arya seems like the obvious choice for Master of Whisperers. What better fit for a position that trades in secrets than a girl who's trained to be anyone? Between Arya’s bag o’ faces and her ability to move so silently that not even a White Walker could hear her, collecting the secrets of King’s Landing would’ve been a piece of cake.

15. What happened with the White Walker baby?


The Night King was defeated at the Battle of Winterfell, taking all of his Army of the Dead with him, but fans were still hoping for some closure on Craster’s baby from Season 4, which was turned into a White Walker and then never seen again. What was the Night King doing with all those White Walker babies? Did they die when he and the army did? Or are they still toddling around up in the Land of Always Winter somewhere, just waiting for Jon and his new Wildling family to stumble across them? Also, what was up with that Night-Watch created spiral?!

16. Where is Jaqen H'ghar?

Everywhere. And nowhere.