The Night King Winning Is the Only Way 'Game Of Thrones' Should End
THIS ARTICLE CONTAINS POTENTIAL SPOILERS
Jaime kills Cersei. The Clegane brothers face off. Dany realises she’s boning her nephew. Meh. These are so preordained they border on fan service.
The final season of Game of Thrones should be judged solely on one character’s arc: the Night King.
From the opening scene of the first season, the White Walkers had served as an hourglass of existential dread providing urgency to the mortals fighting for power. Seldom more than a convenient narrative device.
That was until the Night King’s phenomenal flex in season five’s Hardholme, raising the dead in front of a near catatonic Jon Snow. Then season six's The Door revealed his origin story as a WMD for the Children of the Forest in their resistance to the First Men.
Since, the Night King has claimed a dragon, reverse-Trumped The Wall, and will now send his army to attack Winterfell, according to season eight trailers.
Why did the Night King cancel the Three-Eyed Raven (definitely) and all of his Children of The Forest creators (maybe)? Why does he like f*cking with Jon? Essentially: why does the Night King do anything? Simply ‘being evil’ is not going be an acceptable reason for his antagonism.
Bigger picture -- Game Of Thrones as a franchise is only a success if the Night King wins
The good guys always win. Harry Potter defeated Voldemort. Luke Skywalker saved Darth Vader and raged on with Ewoks. The Lord Of The Rings had invincible deus ex machina ghosts with guilty consciences float in to save the day.
Game of Thrones’ uniqueness and enduring appeal is the subversion of fantasy motifs. Prince Charming (Jaime Lannister) had incest with his twin sister and pushed an innocent kid out of a window IN THE FIRST EPISODE. Ned Stark, the traditional hero, who was literally on the poster, didn’t make it out of season one with a head. A dwarf, a supposed bastard and a tomboy with a hit-list go from secondary characters to our biggest heroes. With a happy ending, Game of Thrones would subvert itself.
Jon’s resurrection was undeniably thrilling. However, it also served to blunt the stakes of both his reckless Leroy Jenkins charge in The Battle Of The Bastards, and his fool’s errand in Beyond The Wall. The audience never feared he’d die a second time.
Now with his Targaryen parentage finally revealed, it appears he’s the prophesied Azor Ahai and the Prince That Was Promised. Jon has become Aragorn, Harry and Luke; the stereotypical chosen one. Yawn.
Game Of Thrones gave us THE RED WEDDING. Nothing would be truer to form than building Jon Snow into a mythical figure, only to have him fall. Again.
As Davos warned in The Queen’s Justice: “If we don’t put aside our enmities and band together, we will die. And then it doesn’t matter whose skeleton sits on the Iron Throne.”
The only satisfactory outcome is the Night King sitting on the Iron Throne. Literally a magical ice skeleton.
Give us the Night King as an allegory for humans getting their comeuppance for destroying the environment. Give us Bran is the Night King, poetically book-ending his unfair crippling, which was the catalyst for this entire narrative.
Just don't give us a happy ending.
Main Image: HBO