I am honestly shocked at how bad season 8 episode 4 of Game of Thrones was. I heard the complaints about episode 3 and thought, “Whatever, it’s still an incredible spectacle. Best zombie battle ever.” But this was just… awful. Like the Sand Snakes awful. Like twenty scenes of Theon getting tortured awful. Forced plots, bad dialogue, characters we care deeply about acting in ways completely inconsistent with everything that’s gone before. How can a show that cost hundreds of millions – billions? – to produce lose all sense of itself right at the climax? What the hell happened in that room of screenwriters?
So, I’m going to do us all a favor and rewrite the ending. Fan fiction FTW! Here’s what should have happened from episode 3 onward (sort-of-spoilers abound):
The Battle of Winterfell begins much the same, but at least some of the Dothraki horde have been held back, because wouldn’t they be? Some of those other White Walkers actually fight and get pleasingly shattered for it. Jon and Daenaerys fight the Night King on their dragons, but Drogon is killed. Dany ends up on the ground and Sir Jorah dies protecting her.
Now here’s where we depart to the realm of could-have-been. The Night King comes and plunges a dragonglass blade into Dany’s chest. RIP Dany. The audience is legit shocked. Like, did you think Dany would make it? Ha! Guess you forgot which show you were watching.
The Night King turns to find Bran where Bran’s chilling in the Godswood. But surprise! Bran isn’t Bran, he’s Arya, because that’s the whole point of her wearing people’s faces. And yes, Bran has died (in an earlier scene); but being able to warg into animals, his spirit’s still hanging out in that cloud of ravens, perched in the weirwood tree above his own wheelchair.
Arya uses her knifey skills and down goes the Night King and most of the dead. But there’s still one White Walker left, a new one: Daenaerys, who has been transformed into a Night Queen. Resurrecting Drogon and all the newly dead, she demolishes the castle and most everyone in it.
The Battle of Winterfell is lost. The survivors scatter to the ten directions on whatever transportation they can find – Sansa and Tyrion via some escape tunnels out of the crypts, Jaime, the Hound, Arya, Jon on the injured Rhaegal, providing cover for the retreat. Brienne dies heroically next to Jaime on the battlefield, because her arc is thoroughly, utterly exhausted with her being knighted in episode 2.
They regroup further south, as planned (because they’re Starks, and they know very well that things can always, always get worse), at Moat Cailin. With only a few thousand survivors, and the dead hot on their tails, they head the only direction they can: toward King’s Landing. With Rhaegal they hope to force Cersei’s hand – as we know, a single dragon can reduce a city to slag, and turn the Golden Company into the Melted Company. To demonstrate, Jon and his dragon annihilate Euron and the Iron Fleet, which no one is sad about.
But Cersei laughs and refuses to surrender, daring Jon to kill all these innocents, which he won’t. Jaime and the Hound (and Arya, naturally, again in disguise) enter King’s Landing to talk of truce; Cersei, with still a vestige of love for Jaime in her breast, lets them in.
She won’t yield, however; she’s incapable of it. Arya attempts to kill her, but is stopped by the Mountain. To save her, the Hound steps in, killing his brother and dying in the process; Arya is badly injured, dying or maimed. Having seen the armies of the dead firsthand, seeing also that his sister is truly a monster, Jaime sticks a sword in his beloved, becoming the Queenslayer.
No one much liked Cersei anyway, and they’re happy to yield the throne to Jaime, who in turn yields it to Jon. Now it’s time for one more climactic battle of The Dead vs. King’s Landing, with the Golden Company on the good guys’ side. Wildfire and dragonfire alike abound. Jon and Dany kill each other, and both dragons die as well, ending an age in Westeros.
Final occupant of the Iron Throne: Tyrion Lannister, now revealed as Tyrion Targaryen, or whatever his bastard surname would be. He’s already wedded to Sansa Stark, the ultimate survivor. Together they rule the Seven Kingdoms happily ever after, or at least until the next damn war.
There. Was that so hard? It took me all of an hour to type up. Big sigh.
There is still, however, one last hope for a satisfying conclusion to Game of Thrones: FOR GEORGE R.R. MARTIN TO FINISH HIS FUCKING BOOKS! Damn it, George! Where were you when Westeros needed you most?