Imagine if A Song of Ice and Fire had the ending everyone assumes it will. Imagine Jon Snow and Daenerys got married and became king and queen of Westeros after defeating the evil zombies and overthrowing the evil Queen Cersei, and everyone lived happily ever after. Pretty boring, and a huge waste of time, don’t you think? We’ve already had The Lord of the Rings with its predictable ending. The classics have already been written. A Song of Ice and Fire is a new classic, not a rehash of the old ones.
It can’t be that simple. This story is not simple, so why would it have a simple ending? Maybe the good guys win, but so what if they do? What would be the point of it all if they just … win? Why would George bother writing such long, complex books about a mythical land where, when it ends, there aren’t any drastic changes? Westeros is not Middle Earth, where the only evil beings are a certain type of creature and evil will be defeated for all time once they’re killed. The characters of this story have made it abundantly clear that there is good and evil in everyone. The author has outright said this. So, what ending is most likely?
The world starts doing things differently.
Just knowing things about George R.R. Martin, like the fact he’s a hippie, should reveal the ending on its own. Liberal principles will be the new beginning for this story. No more feudal system; no more kings who can go mad with power; no more cultures like the Ironborn, that pillage, slaughter, and rape as they please; no more patriarchal society; and perhaps, just perhaps, a century or two of no wars whatsoever, like Switzerland.
George could have picked any other time period from that world. He could have written 7 novels about Robert’s Rebellion, or 7 novels about the Long Night, or 7 novels about the war between the First Men and the Children of the Forest. But he chose this specific time. Why? Because the biggest and most important change is coming to that world. Reformation.
Jon Snow and Daenerys may still get together, but it’s also likely that Jon, a former brother of the Night’s Watch, will implement a new type of government for Westeros: democracy, like how the Night’s Watch gets its leaders. Perhaps Daenerys will not sit on the throne ever, either because King’s Landing will be destroyed, or because she wants to restore the old empire Valyria to its former glory and have Valyria forbid slavery everywhere, establish democracy everywhere, etc. Perhaps Daenerys will rid the world of magic entirely (because magic, like religion did for the real world, has kept that world feudal and primitive for thousands of years).
The books and TV show have a clear anti-war message to them. We see wars starting for nothing, and we see how it leads to the slaughter of good people every time. This is why I believe it’s very likely that most great things in the land, such as great houses and great cities, will first be destroyed; a bittersweet way to make room for the new world.
The war to end all wars.
Who knows? It’s only a theory. But I am more convinced than not that the entire Song of Ice and Fire story is about more than just the good guys defeating the bad guys.