All men must die, so the ancient Valyrian saying goes, and the same is true for the Game of Thrones series (although if I had my way it would run until Season 25, when it would be nothing but Reek crawling around the burning embers of Westeros on all fours, occasionally being roasted by a dragon).
Speaking to Variety this week, creator/writer duo David Benioff and D.B. Weiss announced that, beyond Season 6, there probably won't be any more full-length seasons of Thrones:
“I think we’re down to our final 13 episodes [split across Seasons 7 and 8] after this season. We’re heading into the final lap. That’s the guess, though nothing is yet set in stone, but that’s what we’re looking at.”
HBO programming president Michael Lombardo did clarify that discussions are ongoing and that he believes "we'll figure this out," which sounds like a polite way of saying that HBO will double the budget and give Benioff and Weiss enough money to buy some prime King's Landing real estate if they reconsider.
That said, if the showrunners stand firm, perhaps we need to ask the question...
How Will 'Game Of Thrones' End?
Now that the show has overtaken the books, with George R. R. Martin too busy attending fantasy conventions and frequenting his favorite hat store to actually complete what he began, it's in uncharted territory, meaning it's basically all guesswork at this point. But here are three (somewhat) likely possibilities...
The Stark children have had pretty shitty lives, even by Game of Thrones standards. Bran lost his legs. Robb and his mother were slaughtered at his own Uncle's wedding. Arya got blinded. Sansa got raped. And Rickon — well, Rickon just stood around and watched. He's probably a spy for House Lannister.
But at the beginning, the Starks were our heroes, and these things do have a habit of coming full circle. Good guys win out. With Ser Davos seemingly at her side in Season 6, perhaps Sansa could invert some of that badassery and take back the North.
Well, it's more likely than that Friends movie. But is there really anything Game of Thrones can do on the big screen that it can't on TV? We might get to see The Hound tear The Mountain limb from limb in glorious 3D, but even with an enormous budget, a movie to wrap things up would feel like a cheap trick. Which leaves...
Daenerys Wins Everything
We all know that the writers have their favorites. There are C-characters like the Tyrells, who pop up a few times a season if we're lucky, and there are B-characters like Melisandre and Ser Davos who are in a greater number of episodes but seem destined not to win the "great game."
And then there are the A-listers, the unkillable: Jon Snow, Tyrion, Daenerys. One of these characters will have the last laugh — or, if you subscribe to the Three Heads of the Dragon theory, they all might, because they all might share Targaryen blood. The great game started with the Targaryens being overthrown, and it will probably end with them reclaiming it.
Check out the pant-wettingly epic Season 6 trailer below, and then tell me...