The last episode of Game of Thrones ever airs on Sunday, May 19. The final season has been nothing but twists and turns, with contenders for the Iron Throne suddenly becoming a much hotter commodity than who kills the Night King. Many viewers have started to look beyond the traditional answers of Jon Snow, aka Aegon Targaryen, or Daenerys, the assumed winner for so many years. Instead, the bookies in Vegas say a new contender has risen to the top of the betting. Will Bran get the Iron Throne?
This may seem like a shocking conclusion, but this is Game of Thrones. The entire point of the series is to turn the expected on its head. If viewers assume the main male character, who is a virtual cliché of the honorable good man, will be the hero, then the show will kill him off. If the viewer expects the woman from across the Narrow Sea to be the savior everyone's been secretly waiting for, she'll murder everyone in sight in a self-righteous rage.
If fans expect the boy raised by the honorable man to be the one to take the leadership position over the country when it's all said and done, despite being socially shunned because he was different... it will be the other son who winds up ruling.
Even better, it won't be due to his bloodline or his highborn status. It will be because he was elected.
There has always been a sneaking suspicion around certain corners of the fandom that the end of A Song of Ice and Fire will be a democracy of some kind. After three hundred years of playing this game, and seeing hundreds die over who holds power in the Realm, the real outcome of Daenerys' return to Westeros is that there will no longer be a king or a queen. The Seven Kingdoms will each rule themselves, or perhaps form some sort of proto-council made up of leaders from each part of the continent, a Senate if you will. Maybe Daenerys would preside over it benevolently, perhaps Jon Snow would.
But after the events of the penultimate episode of Season 8, "The Bells," Daenerys is obviously no longer a contender. Chances are Jon Snow isn't either, because him landing on the Iron Throne would just be more of the same.
Jon's best bet is to take the black and return to the Wall, becoming the 1,000th Lord Commander of the Night's Watch. This is what Maester Aemon did all those years ago, to remove himself from the board, and it's a lesson I believe Jon will remember and follow.
Maester Aemon removed himself from being a pawn for others so that his brother, Aegon V (known as Aegon The Unlikely) could rule because Aemon recognized Aegon would be a better leader. One can see Jon totally do that for Bran, especially if a council of representatives from the different parts of the Seven Kingdoms elects his brother to lead them.
Could the ending of the show be a form of constitutional monarchy? Fans are betting on it.