“The Iron Throne” script gives more insight into why Bran was chosen as king

The script for the Game of Thrones series finale, “The Iron Throne,” is nominated for an Emmy for Outstanding Writing in a Drama Series. That means you can read the whole thing online!

We’ve already been busy mining the script for further insights into the final season, but there’s still more to do. In particular, I was interested in the parts of the script that gave explanations for some scenes where the intent wasn’t fully clear onstage. The best example of this, I think, is the scene at the Dragonpit where Bran is chosen as king.

On the show, the Great Lords of Westeros — including Yara Greyjoy, Edmure Tully and Gendry Baratheon — just kind of vote Bran as their leader after Tyrion gives a speech about how Bran has the best “story,” which…that’s it? That’s the basis on which a new king is chosen? On a show that made a lot of the political back-and-forth behind the scenes of great events, it felt lacking. In the script, we get a little more insight into why some of these characters are okay with Bran getting the top spot:

Edmure is still be miffed he wasn’t given serious consideration, but he expects he’ll have influence at court if his crippled nephew is ruling.

EDMURE: Aye.

Gendry is happy to go along.

GENDRY: Aye.

Yara has heard that her brother died defending Bran. She knows this choice would make Theon happy.

YARA: Aye.

Now, this doesn’t solve the problem completely — we have no idea why someone like Robin Arryn would vote for Bran, to say nothing of the unnamed new Prince of Dorne, but it would have been nice if some of this made it onscreen, because as played, it kind of looks like everyone is voting for Bran purely because the script wants them to.

The script also gives us a few new angles on the crucial scene where Jon Snow kills Daenerys Targaryen and Drogon burns the Iron Throne. To start, the script confirms that the white stuff in the throne room is indeed snow and not ash, which I don’t think the episode did a good job of selling; why wasn’t there any snow during “The Bells,” then?

But whatever. There’s also this bit of cut dialogue from Daenerys to Jon, right after she talks about how she imagined the Iron Throne to look as a young girl:

DANY: But many years later, I saw it. The real thing.

JON: How?

DANY: In a vision. The roof, the snow, the throne… (beat) It all looked exactly like this.

Daenerys is referring, of course, to the vision of the snow-covered Iron Throne room she had back in “Valar Morghulis,” the season 2 finale:

Why did they cut this bit? Maybe they thought didn’t need to be reminded of that earlier scene and would get there on their own — which, fair — or maybe they figured it wouldn’t make a lot of sense for Jon to inquire after Daenerys’ experiences in Qarth when what was really on his mind was her massacre of a city.

Moving on to Drogon, his burning of the Iron Throne always seemed deliberate, like on some gut level he was burning the object that put his mother on the path to her ruin. But in the script, it’s more like happenstance:

He looks down at Jon. We see the fire build up in his throat.

Jon sees it as well. He prepares to die.

But the blast is not for him. Drogon wants to burn the world but he will not kill Jon.

He breathes fire on the back wall, blasting down what remains of the great red blocks of stone. We look over Jon’s shoulder as the fire sweeps toward the throne– not the target of Drogon’s wrath, just a dumb bystander caught up in the conflagration.

We look through the blades of the throne as the flames engulf it, and blast the wall behind it.

Yeah, I’ll say right up front that I do not like this interpretation. Drogon burning the Iron Throne on purpose is the most interesting thing his character — such as it is — has ever done; reducing the throne to collateral damages robs the scene of much of its power, in my view. And if he wasn’t burning the thing on purpose, then you have to ask how it was that he sprayed fire randomly and just happened to concentrate it on the Iron Throne.

No. Boot.

Happily, the script isn’t the episode, just a blueprint. The episode itself is the text, and I’m free to stick my fingers in my ears, sing loudly, and keep interpreting this scene in the way that suits me.

Finally, although I could be wading into dangerous waters, I’ve got to comment on the part of the script where Arya asks Jon and Sansa “What’s West of Westers”?

Jon and Sansa look at each other. They both failed geography.

This bit has stirred up some ire online, with fans interpreting it as inconsistent with the rest of the show, or as insulting to the characters. Here are some of the funnier, gentler takes:

I know people are mostly just having fun here, but there’s some genuine incredulity, too, which I think is disingenuous at best. C’mon, internet: the line is obviously a joke, a cue to Sophie Turner and Kit Harington on what kind of facial expressions to make, written in a tongue-in-cheek style that is very much in keeping with the way Benioff and Weiss write. The script isn’t actually suggesting that Jon and Sansa took geography classes, or that they failed them, or that they’re stupid.

Okay, now that I’ve wagged my finger at you, please go back to making memes.

Next: HBO and Insight Editions present: ‘The Art of Game of Thrones’

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