At this point it’s safe to say that a *lot* of fans were thoroughly disappointed with the final season of HBO’s Game of Thrones. In the weeks since the show has wrapped, there have been a slew of highly critical responses from both fans and industry critics alike, and even a petition for a Game of Thrones season 8 remake, which has netted more than 1.5 million signatures!
There are a lot of hurt feelings out there about how Game of Thrones ended – and it’s clearly not just about how showrunners David Benioff, D.B. Weiss, and their creative team executed the events of the final season. Fans have been vocal in their displeasure with the choice of plot and character developments that were revealed in the final season’s arc – and one Game of Thrones fans has gone so far as to write what he thinks is an entirely better ending to the series.
The fan-made rewrite of Game of Thrones final season from screenwriter Daniel Whidden has now blown up and gone viral on YouTube; you can watch the full breakdown of the rewrite in the video above – or get the best and most interesting changes in the breakdown, below.
NOTE: This rewrite is designed to fit in the actual time constraints of GoT season 8: six episodes, no extensions or extra seasons, just different use of the time, pacing, and character arcs.
One of the most upsetting moments for Game of Thrones fans was “The Long Night” episode that chronicled the Battle of Winterfell between Jon Snow and Daenerys Targaryen’s armies, and the White Walkers led by the Night King. Fans hated the silly decision to place the civilians of Winterfell in a crypt where the Night King could obviously raise the dead.
REWRITE: Whidden writes the civilians of Winterfell as taking refuge in the Great Hall of the fortress, and only being forced down into the crypts when Winterfell is overrun by the White Walkers. Tyrion and Sansa would’ve been presented as brave figures, leading and defending civilians, knowing that the dead would be waiting for them in the crypts.
Like many fans, Whidden was not satisfied by how the battle with the Night King played out – especially with Jon Snow not being a key figure in the victory.
REWRITE: In Whidden’s rewrite, Jon Snow would’ve been lured into direct conflict with the Night King, fearing for his men’s safety. Jon would’ve shown up in the Godswood clearing when Theon is killed by the Night King, and Jon and the evil lord would’ve had a properly epic sword duel. The twist would’ve come when Jon eventually stabbed the Night King with dragonglass, only to learn it had no effect on the villain!
The dragons were a major disappointment for a lot of Game of Thrones fans, who had been waiting since the end of season 1 to see the big beasts grow to full fruition, and turn the tide in the battle for Westeros. Ultimately, two of the dragons died (twice in once case) without significant purpose, while the final dragon earned controversy for burning King’s Landing, and flying off with Daenerys’ dead body.
REWRITE: This fan-made ending would see the White Walker dragon Viserion play a much more pivotal role in the Battle of Winterfell, as Bran used his warg powers (remember those?) to possess the dragon, only to find that its blue flame couldn’t destroy the Night King. The Night King would instead use a dragonglass spear to stab Viserion, causing a feedback that trapped Bran in a catatonic state, unable to be awakened.
A lot of Game of Thrones fans thought the final season really stumbled in the rushed movement from the Battle of Winterfell to the Fall of King’s Landing. Time and again, you hear critiques of how little development or impact was found between the two battles, and before we knew it, Daenerys was going full “Mad Queen” on everyone…
REWRITE: Whidden would’ve had humanity lose the Battle of Winterfell, forcing Jon, Daenerys, Bran, and what was left of their army to come to King’s Landing seeking refuge and re-enforcements. Jaime Lannister would’ve played the pivotal role of convincing Cersei to let the refugees in, while Cersei would’ve pulled a classic Cersei move, using the occasion to force Dany to bend the knee. Dany would’ve swallowed her pride and done so, to save her people.
Most Game of Thrones fans who hated season 8 identify episode 6 as the moment the series “Jumped the Shark.” The Fall of King’s Landing saw Daenerys take a dramatic turn, refusing peace in place of burning Cersei’s empire to the crowd – innocent people be damned.
REWRITE: In Whidden’s version, episode 5 (not 6) would’ve been the major battle for King’s Landing – except it would’ve been all of the living characters (Daenerys, Jon, Cersei, etc.) battling the Night King and White Walkers. It would’ve been an epic battle, but humanity would again fall before the might of the dead. But just when it all seemed lost, Bran would finally awaken from his catatonic state!
A lot of Game of Thrones fans were as disappointed in Bran’s arc as the Three-eyed Raven as they were in the dragons. These mystical elements of the series seemed so important early on (and especially in later seasons), but ultimately were not that crucial at all.
REWRITE: Whidden’s climatic arc would’ve seen Bran emerge form his warg catatonia with an important piece of knowledge: The Night King was created at a Wierwood tree in the God’s Eye lake, which is located in the central part of Westeros (southeast of the Riverlands). To kill the Night King, they would have to burn this Wierwood try with dragon fire; but because the Night King and Bran are connected, the evil villain would’ve known humanity’s plan, setting up a race to get to this all-important MacGuffin. If that wasn’t thrilling enough: Whideen states that destroying that powerful Wierwood (and the pinnacle of the magic once held by the Children of the Forest) would destroy all magic in Westeros - including the Lord of Light’s magic, which restored Jon Snow to life. It would be revealed that Dany is pregnant with Jon’s baby, setting up a major ‘Sophie’s Choice’ for Daenerys.
One of the biggest blows to Game of Thrones fans was seeing Daenerys Targaryen’s arc go from one of empowerment and heroism to a sudden downward spiral into cruelty and villainy. Well, this fan-made ending has a fix for that, too:
REWRITE: Whidden would’ve had the climatic fight with the Night King go down at the God’s Eye, where Dany would end up on the ground facing the Night King in battle. Her last dragon, Drogon, would save the day by unleashing his fire on the Wierwood Tree that created the Night King, with Dany and the Night King both caught in the inferno. The burning tree would leave the Night King vulnerable enough for Dany to stab him in the heart with a Valyrian Steel sword, finally destroying his power. The Night King would melt, the Wierwood would burn, but Dany would emerge from the flames for a third time in the series, living up to her name “The Unburnt.” Jon would of course die in sacrifice for the greater good of defeating the Night King, with Dany carrying on his legacy in the form of their baby.
Game of Thrones fans were even upset at how the characters outside the Jon/Dany/Bran/Night King group saw their stories end. Well, the fan-made ending doesn’t get his one completely right or fully covered, but here’s what we do get:
REWRITE: Side characters like Euron Greyjoy would’ve died during the Battle for King’s Landing; the Clegane Bowl would’ve still happened (in a different venue), and Arya’s arc would’ve been disguising herself as Jaime Lannister and attempting to assassinate Cersei - only to be thwarted by Elaria Sand, who would escape during the battle and want to finish Cersei herself. Arya would be set free from the cycle of vengeance, much like she was in the actual show.
After the assassination attempts on her, Cersei would demand the deaths of every single person loyal to Daenerys as a way of holding on to her power, and when confronted by Jaime, she would admit her pregnancy was a fake, meant to control him. Jaime would seek to protect the people from Cersei’s madness, killing her like he did the Mad King Aerys Targaryen, fulfilling both the prophecy Cersei feared for years, and Jaime’s own arc as a kingslayer and queenslayer/kinslayer who is in fact much more noble than he will be remembered for.
Daenerys would return to King’s Landing battered and emotionally bruised, but would summon the strength to take her place on the Iron Throne.
Game of Thrones epilogue was a very bittersweet experience. In it, characters shift into new roles of power (Bran is king, Tyrion The Hand, Brienne head of the Kingsguard), but it’s shown that the wheels of politics continue to turn in clunky and often questionable ways, and that as much as things change they didn’t really change that much. Jon Snow gets the bitter fate fo returning to the Night’s Watch and roaming the true North alongside the Wildlings, enjoying none of the honor and power of either House Stark or Targaryen, after murdering Daenerys.
REWRITE: Jon would die a hero in Whidden’s version, and an epilogue scene would’ve shown him buried in the crypts of Winterfell next to Ned Stark. A final scene set 5 years later would’ve seen Daenerys visit Jon’s grave with their son (also named Jon) and the direwolf Ghost in tow, hinting that their son was destined to be king of Westeros one day.
How do you like this alternate ending to Game of Thrones? Let us know in the comments!
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