Waring: Major Game of Thrones finale spoilers are ahead. YOU HAVE BEEN WARNED.
All along, we knew that someone was going to win the Game of Thrones and someone was going to lose, but in the end it’s a little bit more complicated than that. Yes, there’s a new ruler in Westeros, but no, they don’t get to sit on the Iron Throne. Also, there are no longer seven kingdoms, even though there are no more white walkers the North is still being defended, and also one major character is dead. When you play the game of thrones you either win or you die, but now there’s a new a new option: You form a democracy.
To cut right to the chase, our new King of Westeros is Bran. Brandon Stark the Broken, to be exact. After Jon Snow kills Daenerys Targaryen, it’s decided that in her place Jon can’t rule since he killed the queen. The lords and ladies of Westeros all gather in King’s Landing where they bicker back and forth about who should rule, when Tyrion poses the idea of a vote. With Sam’s backing — and Tyrion’s monologue to the court about ruling and stories — it’s decided that Bran is the most fit to be King. But, he is wheelchair-bound and can’t have children, and hey, that’s okay! As Tyrion points out, maybe it’s better that way because the songs and daughters of kings and queens are often often not the best rulers in the first place.
So, Bran’s in charge. But, he’s not actually the only one who won in the end.
Everyone Wins: The Iron Throne is gone
Ninety-percent of the series was about someone taking the Iron Throne in the end, but the seat made out of a thousand swords is destroyed. After Jon stabs and kills Dany (!!), Drogon is so distraught that he turns his fiery breath on the throne and destroys it, melting it back to nothing more than molten metal. No one gets to sit on the Iron Throne ever again — and Dany never actually did, either. She approached it, and touched it, but never actually sat — just like we saw in her visions.
Bran Wins: He is the king and still figuring stuff out
He doesn’t want the throne, which obviously makes Bran the most fit to rule. He decides that Tyrion will be his hand (as punishment), and the two set to forming a new ruling system in King’s Landing, completely with Bron, Davos, Brienne, and Sam helping him out. More allies will be added to the table as time goes on, and their first order of business: rebuild the brothels.
Sansa Wins: She is Queen of the North
Out of everyone, Sansa might have been the best fit for the throne in King’s Landing, but her fate is forever going to be intertwined with the North. When it comes time for her to vote for Bran, she explains that she supports her brother and he’ll be a great king, but the North can’t go through anything like this again. So, they’re going to secede from Westeros and become a free territory once again — with her ruling.
The series ends for Sansa with her taking her seat at the table in the North, her rightful place.
Broken Men & Bastards Of The World Win: Jon re-ups the Night's Watch
Even though he’s the rightful heir to the throne, Jon is never going to rule over Westeros. Instead, he’s banished to Castle Black, the former home of the Night’s Watch. Because… the Night’s Watch is... back? Yes and no. As Tyrion tells Jon while he’s locked up, the world always needs a place for broken men and bastards, and that’s Castle Black. The only thing is that all the men there are gone (remember the white walkers?) and instead the Wildlings seem to have moved in. But, not for long. Instead of staying at the castle, they head off into what’s beyond the Wall, with Jon giving the giant gate in icy Wall one last look before they head into the forest.
Arya Wins: She is off to uncharted territories, aka her true destiny
With her killing days behind her (because she didn’t kill Cersei or Dany), Arya decides to head further west than anyone has ever traveled before. Now Arya is an explorer, and her happy ending is just the wind in her hair and uncharted lands ahead of her. Our happy ending will be HBO ordering an Arya spin-off series (please) where we see this happen.