Does ‘Game of Thrones’ Season 8 Have an Alternate Ending?

By now, it’s hardly a secret that Game of Thrones didn’t end the way people really wanted it to unless their names are David Benioff and DB Weiss. An IMDB ranking of the Game of Thrones episodes shows the finale coming in dead last, with many other season 8 episodes grouped around it.

So how should Game of Thrones have ended? There are probably at least as many ideas as there are episodes of the show, which number 73, to be exact. And very few of them had — SPOILER ALERT — Bran coming out on top.

Could there be an alternate ending? That’s unlikely unless you’re talking about some other medium besides television. As literary types will tell you, the books are always better anyway.

What George R.R. Martin has in mind

Maisie Williams as Arya, Isaac Hempstead Wright as Bran, Sophie Turner as Sansa
Maisie Williams as Arya, Isaac Hempstead Wright as Bran, Sophie Turner as Sansa | Macall B. Polay/HBO

Many fans have noted that the TV show had already moved past the books, so once there was no more Martin source material, Benioff and Weiss struggled to come up with original material. Still, Benioff and Weiss weren’t flying completely blind. Martin gave them an outline of how he intended to continue the story.

How much they followed that outline is anyone’s guess, but on his blog, the Song of Fire and Ice author details his own plans for Westeros. Sort of.

He wrote: “How will it all end? I hear people asking. The same ending as the show?  Different? Well… yes. And no. And yes. And no. And yes. And no. And yes.”

“I am working in a very different medium than David and Dan, never forget. They had six hours for this final season. I expect these last two books of mine will fill 3000 manuscript pages between them before I’m done… and if more pages and chapters and scenes are needed, I’ll add them,” Martin wrote on his blog.

So we’ll get another ending to Game of Thrones that will by its nature be very different, or at least much more detailed. And who knows? Maybe someone will adapt that once it’s ready. It almost certainly won’t be adapted by Benioff and Weiss. They had to almost completely re-do the pilot, so they’re not about to re-do the finale, no matter how many petitions displeased fans sign. Besides, they’ve got Star Wars in their future.

How fans wanted ‘Game of Thrones’ to end

The staff at the website The Lily had several different ideas. One said that the ending either should have shown the futility of war, with the Night King running roughshod over the living. Alternately, she suggested Danaerys should have won the Iron Throne, with Jon as her hand. Cut to a group of toddler White Walkers in the forest.

A Lily reader suggested the series could have ended with the penultimate episode, The Long Night, although with a different script: Sansa stands with  Daenerys and yields the north to her. In that scenario, revenge would not be necessary, the bells of King’s Landing would ring, and weapons would be dropped.

Betting men and women would have gotten lucky had they followed Sports Insider. They correctly predicted Bran as the ruler and Jon as the killer of Dany. So maybe Benioff and Weiss were onto something after all.

How to cope after the ‘Game of Thrones’ ending

There’s at least one cast member who will make certain that the final season won’t get a remake: the newly crowned queen of the North. “So many people worked so, so hard on it, and for people to just rubbish it because it’s not what they want to see is just disrespectful,” said Sophie Turner.  

Still, this is hardly the first time a series finale has disappointed fans. For every Newhart that delights viewers, you have a Seinfeld that frustrates them. Jason Alexander knows this firsthand.

On Twitter, the Seinfeld star had a message for the Game of Thrones cast: “Live in joy that you are part of something that moves people so. You were all magnificent. My family and I loved it all. Thanks.”