Is Tyrion the Real Winner of Game of Thrones?

Author George R.R. Martin launched his "A Song of Ice and Fire" series of novels in 1991 with Game of Thrones, which served as the inspiration for the HBO series which adopted that novel's name. Martin's name for the overall narrative was much vaguer than the TV series' title, with the name implying that, at some point, one character could "win" such a game. Over the series' eight seasons, the concept of winning the throne was a prevailing theme in much of its marketing campaign, with the series finale offering some of the answers audiences have been waiting for over the past decade. While Tyrion wasn't depicted as the "winner," the events of the series could confirm he became the most powerful figure in the kingdom going forward.

WARNING: Spoilers below for Game of Thrones

The events of the series finale led towards a scene in which some of the most powerful people in Westeros decided who would become the ruler of the six kingdoms, ultimately leading towards Bran being announced as king while Tyrion was set to serve as the Hand of the King. While this result inspired conflicting responses from fans, many viewers are more focused on who holds the title of king while ignoring who will truly be the most powerful person in Westeros.

Despite the character being referred to as "Bran the Broken," it's difficult to consider him the child of Ned and Catelyn Stark. Bran's Season Six journey involved him meeting the Three-Eyed Raven, a being with magical abilities to see the past, present, and future of Westeros. bran himself ended up adopting these abilities, with Bran became less of a character with autonomy and more of a neutral observer to the events that unfolded around him from that point on.

Tyrion, meanwhile, was confirmed as Bran's Hand, making him the key figure in a number of important decisions. The Lannister held a similar position with Daenerys Targaryen, until she razed King's Landing, with the ruler having previously considered him her most trusted adviser. A key difference between Daenerys and Bran is that, no matter what was at stake, Daenerys followed her own instincts and made decisions that she believed to be right, regardless of what anyone else thought. Bran, however, denied making nearly any decision as the Three-Eyed Raven, though offered vague insight into a number of situations.

In addition to determining that Bran would be king, it was decided that future kings would be decided by a committee, rather than inheriting it through one bloodline. In that regard, one interpretation of the finale is that Bran would merely sit upon the throne as a relatively neutral adviser, as he can see the good and bad decisions of the past and the future to help make sure nothing happens that could potentially have catastrophic consequences. Westeros shouldn't anticipate any major changes in the kingdom while Bran sits on the throne, with the former Stark reluctantly accepting the position merely as a placeholder until a worthy successor emerges.

The series finale offered audiences one scene featuring Tyrion embracing his new role as the Hand of the King and meeting with the various members of the Westeros' new council, with Bran showing up and opting to track down a dragon through his magical abilities rather than squabble with any actual pertinent matters for the kingdom. While Tyrion's new title might not come with the glamour of being a king, it's clear that he's prepared to do the work, no matter how tedious or difficult it becomes.

Another pivotal moment in the series finale saw Drogon destroy the Iron Throne, completely eradicating the seat that countless people died for over the years. With this seat now destroyed, and with no implication that a new one would be built, it's possible that the future of Westeros will rely less on one individual who perches atop the coveted seat and will instead rely on the decisions of multiple individuals to determine what was best for the kingdom.

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Multiple spinoff and prequel series have been teased, yet no word has emerged on whether we'll ever see the adventures of Westeros' future, possibly confirming that, while Bran is the leader of the six kingdoms in title, Tyrion has emerged as the actual key leader in forming the future of the land.

Do you think Tyrion is the real winner on the show? Let us know in the comments below!