It might be wishful thinking to hold out hope that "Game of Thrones" will have a happy ending, but "A Song of Ice and Fire" author George R.R. Martin says things will turn out alright for at least some characters in his books and on the HBO series. In a recent interview the fantasy writer teased that, while winter is definitely still coming, he hoped to bring the saga to a "bittersweet" finish.
Speaking to the Observer, Martin revealed his thought process on how the story should conclude as he continues to work on the book series' sixth installment, "The Winds of Winter."
“I haven’t written the ending yet,” said Martin. “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.'”
Martin later clarified his Tolkein comparison.
“['The Lord of the Rings'] 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,” Martin explained. “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.”
So who will be the Frodo of Westeros and claim that "bittersweet victory?" Here are 4 possibilities:
1. Arya Stark
Currently, Arya Stark (Maisie Williams) is in Braavos training to become one of the Faceless Men. If she successfully transforms herself into an identity-stealing assassin it would not be hard for her to extract revenge on the remaining names left on her death list -- a.k.a. victory. However, it will be a little sad if in the process she goes from an idealistic, Northern princess to a ruthless, remorseless killer -- a.k.a. bitter. Could the fate of Westeros rest in Arya's hands?
2. Daenerys Targaryen
Daenerys' (Emilia Clarke) quest to be a ruler of free people has been plagued by the bittersweet. On one hand the ruler has freed multiple cities from the shackles of slavers, but on the other hand she has had to watch those cities descend into hard-to-govern chaos (a symptom of their newfound freedom), forcing her to make some difficult decisions, such as reopening the fighting pits in Meereen. Taking back the Iron Throne and restoring "peace" to the seven kingdoms might require a few more compromises to her idealistic vision.
3. Tyrion Lannister
Last fans saw of Tyrion (Peter Dinklage) on the HBO series he was the de facto leader of Meereen in the wake of Daenerys' unexpected, dragon-assisted vacation. It looks the black sheep Lannister is once again primed to be a big time player in seven kingdoms politics. However, any success Tyrion has now would appear to be in spite of his family, not alongside of them, depriving him of the acceptance he has always craved. A lonely climb to the top of the Westeros food chain would be a bittersweet, if deserved, victory for Tyrion indeed.
4. Jon Snow
Jon Snow (Kit Harington) might, in fact, return to show in Season 6 (and Martin's upcoming "Winds of Winter" novel), but the nature of his return could be suspect. Even if, as one popular theory suggests, Melisandre (Carice Van Houten) brought Jon Snow back to life, that reanimation could come with some unexpected caveats or side effects. The Lord Commander might return to save the day from the White Walkers, but he might never be the same.
Production on new episodes of “Game of Thrones” is currently underway in Northern Ireland. The show will return to HBO for Season 6 in the spring of 2016.