The Game of Thrones finale may have left fans with a clear hint that the Great War of Westeros is still not over.
Warning! Spoilers for the Game of Thrones series finale lie ahead!
The ending of Game of Thrones got mixed reviews from many fans this season, mostly for pacing and development issues. In terms of plot points, it is likely the same or extremely similar to the outcome we can expect in the books, and in terms of theme, it tied everything up pretty neatly, all things considered.
That includes a sense of narrative symmetry that has always persisted in the show and in the books. In fact, some fans have noticed that the very last scene of the show perfectly mirrors the opening sequence of the pilot episode. To some, this indicates that ice magic which animated the Night King and the White Walkers is still alive, and could always come back.
In the pilot episode, a group of rangers from the Night's Watch head out beyond the wall, just as Jon and the wildlings do in the end. They walk across the same icy plain and into the same forest. A shot later, all but one of them are slaughtered by a White Walker.
This parallel is no accident, and speaks to the endless nature of the series — both the show and the books, A Song of Ice and Fire. The story is one of duality, balance and conflict. Despite the show's decisive ending to the War for the Dawn, these themes go beyond one Night King figure and one dragon riding queen. As Melisandre often said: "Everywhere, the war."
As far as the show is concerned, the Night King is gone, and all the White Walkers with him. However, even there the northern magic persists in Bran, who just so happens to be the most powerful person in the Seven Kingdoms now. To many fans, it seems more likely that Bran has nefarious intentions than good ones.
Meanwhile, as the ice magic persists so does the fire magic. When Daenerys died, her last living dragon, Drogon, raged and melted the Iron Throne. Having fulfilled his mother's dream of "breaking the wheel," he scooped up her remains and flew off. Later, we hear that the dragon is flying east, and Bran is trying to use his greenseering to follow him.
There is plenty to unpack here, and it will likely feature more heavily in the books when they come out. Many fans suspect that Bran is trying to skinchange with Drogon, taking control of him for his own agenda. Others believe that Drogon is returning to the mysterious land of Valyria, where dragonriders first emerged around 14 massive volcanoes.
There is no telling what he could find there. A few fan theorists have even noted that throughout the series, we have seen fire magic bring people back to life just as ice magic did, in the form of Beric Dondarrion and Jon Snow. If Drogon and the power in Old Valyria could somehow do the same, Daenerys could be the next version of the Night King, powered by fire rather than ice. Next time, the world might face an endless summer instead of a Long Night, and get scorched rather than frozen.
For now, all of this is pure speculation as fans await the final two volumes of George R.R. Martin's books. The author promised that the next novel, The Winds of Winter, is on its way in his latest blog post, but no release date has been announced yet.