As it turns out, Drogon is the most intelligent character on Game of Thrones. After Daenerys (Emilia Clarke), is stabbed through the heart (Jon Snow’s to blame), Drogon burns the Iron Throne instead of her more obvious killer. Who knew dragons have such a tremendous capacity for metaphor? Drogon seemed to know that a hot-blooded pursuit for the throne, and for all its associated power, is what killed his mother and hatcher.
So, the Iron Throne is no more. But how about the power struggle that fueled the entirety of Game of Thrones, and before then? Will the noble families' tug-of-war for the throne emerge like an old, unshakable habit? Though the finale of Game of Thrones ends with peace in the Seven Kingdoms — err, now six with an independent North — the new structure doesn’t guarantee for lasting peace — even if Tyrion Lannister (Peter Dinklage) says otherwise in his rousing trial speech.
After eight seasons, the show concludes with Bran "the Broken" Stark (Isaac Hempstead Wright) as King of the Melted Heap of Metal — a young man who, until the finale, was barely a contender for the throne. The decision to elect Bran ruler of the Six Kingdoms takes place in the. A bunch of noble men and women say "aye," and it's done.
After all that bloodshed and prophecy and smoke babies, Westeros is now a...benevolent oligarchy. While perhaps an improvement on hereditary monarchy, it’s far from the radical shift in government Danaerys Targaryen (Emilia Clarke) had envisioned. In season 5, Daenerys lays out her plan for stopping the cycle: "Lannister, Targaryen, Baratheon, Stark, Tyrell, they're all just spokes on a wheel. This one's on top, then that one's on top, and on and on it spins, crushing those on the ground...I'm not going to stop the wheel, I'm going to break it."
Daenerys went berserk, but her intentions to reshape the kingdom remained valid and admirable. Throughout the show, she was the only character who actually communicated with the people — saw them as something other than teeming masses, but as individuals. That's what makes her character arc so devastating: With Daenerys dead, there's really nobody speaking for the people.
The people, naturally, have no idea that the country is re-spliced together. They don't know why why Bran the Broken's "story" makes him a fit king, or that the North has seceded into an independent kingdom. They have other concerns. Outside, it's raining the ashes of the men, women, children, and buildings of King's Landing. The people of Westeros are either a) in the dark or b) dead.
Say what you will about the show's (flawed) penultimate episode “The Bells:” It’s still the only episode of Game of Thrones this season that showed the price that everyday Westerosi pay for our main characters’ decisions. They pay in blood. The tragedy, of course, is that Daenerys — their once-champion — is who made them bleed.
Ultimately, it's obvious the main characters of Game of Thrones, our buddies and pals, don’t really care about the people. Or, put it like this: If we lived in Westeros, then this Dragonpit crew definitely wouldn't be our buddies and pals. Samwell Tarly (John Bradley) is laughed off the stage when he suggests instituting a democracy: "We represent all the great houses, but whomever we choose, they won't just rule over lords and ladies. Maybe the decision about what's best for everyone should be left to, well, everyone."
No, that wouldn’t do. There are no normies in decision-making positions in Westeros. Even Bronn (Jerome Flynn), who was long the show’s sole emissary from the lower classes, is now Lord of Highgarden and Bran’s Mr. Monopoly.
Odds are, the daily lives of the (remaining) citizens Westeros won’t be much different under this new system. Aside from the Northern houses decimated in the war, they don’t know about White Walkers. Aside from the poor folk of King's Landing, they haven't seen dragons. In few years, the Night King and Dany's dragons will become legends told by the nobles to explain why they’re still in power. Look what we vanquished! Look what we protected you from!
And look how good things are now. Game of Thrones really wants us to take this as a happy ending. Tyrion and his crew of respectable characters will guide Westeros towards a more equitable future, while Bran the Weirdo stares at birds and tracks down Drogon.
And it might be happy for a while. But is Tyrion's benevolent oligarchy an upgrade from the old monarchy system? Imagine: Every few decades, noble men and women will gather to elect their next ruler. Knowing the ministrations that happened in Game of Thrones, these votes will be just as manipulated as House of Cards. Power will remain in the hands of the few. When the dominion of Tyrion "the Only Good" Lannister ends, the same old families will make the same old self-interested decisions.
So, until the inevitable peasant insurrection happens, the "circle" will remain unbroken. Someone call Drogon back — he only burned the throne, not the system.