How 'Game of Thrones' ended with 11 surprising character twists

HBOSansa, Arya, and Bran saying goodbye to Jon Snow.
  • Warning: Spoilers ahead for ” Game of Thrones” season eight, episode six, “The Iron Throne.”
  • Sunday’s episode of the HBO show served as the series finale.
  • The final season featured a number of surprises for the surviving characters, as well as some shocking deaths.
  • Visit INSIDER’s homepage for more stories.

The eighth and final season of “Game of Thrones” was full of devastating battles, shocking deaths, and surprise twists.

Sunday’s episode of the HBO series, titled “The Iron Throne,” served as the show’s series finale and fans were shocked to learn who would ultimately rule Westeros. The episode featured Jon Snow murdering Daenerys Targaryen, while Bran Stark was voted the new king. Those two surprises are just some of the twists that happened during season eight.

Here are 11 surprises from the final season of “Game of Thrones.”


Arya killed the Night King.

HBOArya stabs the Night King.

Fans expected Jon Snow to defeat the Night King. After all, he faced White Walkers multiple times before and saw the full force of the villain. Killing the Night King to end the war was even his own idea, but ultimately, it was Arya Stark who leapt from the dark and took on the Night King.

Though the undead leader grabbed her by the neck to stop her, she dropped her dagger into her other hand and stabbed him, destroying his entire army with him.


Read more:


How Arya’s major moment at the Battle of Winterfell was foreshadowed last season


Melisandre returned to Winterfell.

Helen Sloan/HBOMelisandre speaks to Arya Stark.

Melisandre arrived before the Battle of Winterfell and uttered a spell that lit the Dothraki’s blades before they went to battle with the Army of the Dead. Though Davos wanted to kill her once he saw her, Melisandre told him she would be dead by morning. Before she died, though, she continued to help during the battle.

She uttered a spell again to light the wooden fortification around the castle. And when Arya, the Hound, and Beric found her, she gave Arya a hint of her face-off with the Night King by recalling a conversation they had before about Arya closing “brown eyes, blue eyes, and green eyes.”

As the sun rose, Melisandre left the castle walls, removed her magical necklace, and died.


Read more:


15 details you might have missed on the latest episode of ‘Game of Thrones’


There were some surprise casualties during the Battle of Winterfell.

HBOLyanna faced a giant.

Though many fans anticipated Theon’s death as he swore to protect Bran against the Night King, a few other causalities were unexpected. Lyanna Mormont died standing up to a wight giant, Edd Tollett died protecting Sam Tarly, Jorah Mormont gave his life protecting Daenerys, and Beric Dondarrion finally died after rescuing Arya from an onslaught of wights.


Read more:


All the ‘Game of Thrones’ characters who died in the battle at Winterfell


Queen Cersei executed Missandei.

HBOMissandei on the wall with Cersei.

Daenerys was caught off guard when she first arrived in King’s Landing and saw her dragon, Rhaegal, die and her ships decimated. The final shock for Daenerys came with the capture of Missandei. Dany tried to get Cersei to surrender but Cersei chose to execute Missandei in front of Dany and her troops. Before dying, Missandei said, “Dracarys.”


Read more:


‘Game of Thrones’ went to extreme lengths to keep the latest character death secret, and you’d never notice the extra visual effects


Daenerys destroyed King’s Landing.

HBODaenerys rode on Drogon’s back.

Tyrion told Dany that should she hear the bells ringing in King’s Landing, it meant that the city was surrendering and she wouldn’t need to destroy it. But as she listened to the bells and saw the Red Keep in the distance, Dany grew angry and decided to unleash the full extent of Drogon’s fire on the city. She burned thousands of innocent people and destroyed nearly the entire city before setting her sights on the Red Keep.


Read more:


‘Game of Thrones’ fully leaned into a popular theory about Daenerys, and fans are severely disappointed


Cersei and Jaime were crushed together.

HBOJaime and Cersei under rocks.

Jaime could’ve stayed in Winterfell with Brienne and survived, but he instead was drawn back to his sister Cersei. While some fans thought that Jaime was travelling to King’s Landing to kill her and fulfil the valonqar prophecy, he instead truly just wanted to save her life. As the two tried to exit through an underground passage, they found their way blocked. They held each other as the Red Keep crumbled around them and crushed them to death.


Read more:
Every major character who died on Sunday’s ‘Game of Thrones’ battle in King’s Landing


Jon snow stabbed Daenerys.

HBOJon Snow holding Dany’s body in his arms.

Jon was warned by both Arya and Tyrion that his life would be in danger if Daenerys stayed in power, but he was committed to letting her be. But when Tyrion mentioned his sisters (cousins, rather), Jon came to a new conclusion. Upon finding Dany in the throne room, he kissed her and then stabbed her. Drogon scooped her body up in his talons and flew away after melting the Iron Throne.


Read more:
How Daenerys Targaryen’s season 2 vision accidentally laid the groundwork for the ‘Game of Thrones’ finale twist


Bran Stark was voted the new king of Westeros.

HBOSer Podrick Payne wheels King Bran away.

With Dany dead, Westeros was in need of a new leader. During a meeting of gathered lords and ladies, Sam Tarly proposes that the surviving leaders vote for a new ruler. Tyrion proposes Bran Stark and he is chosen. As king, Bran has a new council consisting of: Tyrion Lannister, Hand of the King; Davos Seaworth, Master of Ships; Ser Brienne of Tarth, Lord Commander of the Kingsguard; Samwell Tarly, Grand Maester; and Bronn, Master of Coin. Also, with her new title, Brienne made Podrick a knight and member of the Kingsguard.


Read more:


Here’s every ‘Game of Thrones’ character on the Westeros council, the ones responsible for that game-changing decision on the series finale


Sansa Stark was named Queen in the North.

HBOSansa is crowned.

Despite her brother being named king, Sansa decides to claim independence for the North. In doing so, she was named Queen in the North and rules from Winterfell.


Arya Stark set sail.

HBOArya Stark sailing to what’s ‘west of Westeros’ on the ‘Game of Thrones’ series finale.

Arya Stark once asked what was west of Westeros as the maps all ended there and decided to find out for herself. She left her family behind in Westeros and set sail on the open sea with a crew all her own.


Jon rode North with Tormund and the other Free Folk.

HBOTormund and Jon ride North.

Bran sentenced Jon to the Night’s Watch, or what was left of it, for his murder of Daenerys. Jon was then reunited with Tormund and Ghost and decided to head North of the Wall once again to explore the North that’s now free of White Walkers.

Business Insider Emails & Alerts

Site highlights each day to your inbox.

Follow Business Insider Australia on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Instagram.