Winter is here. The Night King is the real villain. Nothing else matters…right?
According to Duncan Lay from the Daily Telegraph, George R. R. Martin may have already indicated that’s not the case.
Instead, the Night King is merely a stepping stone to the final battle – against Cersei.
Just hear us out on this one, because we think he could be on to something.
In a ‘Game of Moans’ blog post, Lay gives background by outlining his view that Game of Thrones will follow three major storylines in the final season: Theon trying to kill Euron and save Yara; Sansa, Arya and Jaime facing off against Cersei; and Jon and Daenerys taking on the Night King.
But while the battle with the mysterious Night King looms as the big ‘un, Lay argues an interview with Martin in 2015 reveals the truth.
It’s important to note the author was speaking about the book series, A Song of Ice and Fire, but it could hold equal significance for the TV show.
Here’s an excerpt from the interview in question, sourced from the New York Observer.
“I’ve said before that the tone of the ending that I’m going for is bittersweet. I mean, it’s no secret that Tolkien has been a huge influence on me, and I love the way he ended Lord Of The Rings. It ends with victory, but it’s a bittersweet victory. Frodo is never whole again, and he goes away to the Undying Lands, and the other people live their lives. And the scouring of the Shire — brilliant piece of work, which I didn’t understand when I was 13 years old: “Why is this here? The story’s over?” But every time I read it I understand the brilliance of that segment more and more. All I can say is that’s the kind of tone I will be aiming for. Whether I achieve it or not, that will be up to people like you and my readers to judge.”
In his blog, Lay highlights the scouring of the Shire as the major clue. The scouring of the Shire is an event which takes place in the books (it was cut from the films) following Frodo and Sam’s success in Mordor.
After achieving the major goal of the entire trilogy, the pair return to their home only to discover the wizard Saruman has taken over and they must fight to get it back.
Lay compares the character of Saruman, who is evil but ultimately less powerful than the already defeated Sauron, to Cersei.
Cersei, being the evil but ultimately less powerful villain than the Night King.
Do you see? Lay believes George R. R. Martin will pay tribute to Tolkien, one of his greatest influences, by having his own “scouring of the Shire” in Westeros.
In other words, the Night King is killed and everyone appears to be saved – but Cersei is the final, symbolic hurdle.
We’re pretty heavily into this theory, especially since Game of Thrones has been suspiciously predictable of late when compared with the chaotic early seasons.
Unfortunately, we’ll have to wait until 2019 to find out.