It would’ve been impossible for Game of Thrones to satisfy every loose end in its final season, even if it was bulked up to 10 episodes. And while Sunday night’s finale did offer some moving and thematically appropriate codas for the Stark family and a few other principal characters—and showed just enough of many secondary characters to leave an impression of what they’ll do next; enjoy the Iron Islands, Yara Greyjoy!—there are plenty of characters from the show’s run who never got an appropriate send-off. For that, we humbly mourn the Thrones characters we never had a chance to bid farewell to. Hopefully, some of them have better days ahead than Daenerys Targaryen and the inhabitants of King’s Landing.
Bran Stark couldn’t have become the Three-Eyed Raven or Bran the Broken (first of his name, etc.) without help from Jojen, Meera, Summer, and Hodor. Unfortunately, only Meera survived that trek beyond the Wall—and for her troubles, Bran gave her a curt thank you and sent her on her way. Bran told Theon Greyjoy he was a good man before he ran to his death, but he couldn’t muster an emotional response to the person who dragged him on a sled for several seasons to achieve his destiny?
This is a serious butterfly effect: None of this would’ve been possible without Meera’s thankless sacrifice. And while it’s probably nice that House Reed sat this season out—all the better to avoid the fighting against the White Walkers—she deserved a better ending, or even just an ending. I’d be livid if I opened up my morning raven’s scroll to find out that after all of my hard work, the ungrateful asshole who spent a gap year in a tree is on the throne and I’m now his subject. Hopefully Meera can take a much-deserved vacation to the Isle of Naath after Grey Worm rehabs its beachfront real estate.
While Sam reappears in the finale and gets a fancy promotion on the new Small Council, Gilly is nowhere to be seen. Surely she’s raising Little Sam (and Little Jon, a.k.a. Lil Queenslayer?) somewhere, but it’s unclear where, exactly, she’s situated. Is Sam allowed to continue his relationship with Gilly after becoming a maester? Has he even been appointed an official maester, and if he isn’t, is this another sign of Bran the Broken’s incompetence? Does he avoid punishment for not breaking the Citadel’s rules and stealing library books? Was he allowed to marry Gilly? Or is she back in the North or back at Horn Hill without him?
Leaving Gilly off-screen for Sam’s final moments—like Brienne’s ending being tied to writing Jaime Lannister’s Wikipedia entry—is a disservice to her character. She was the one who initially uncovered Jon’s realm-changing parentage—and she never got the credit when Sam revealed this information to Bran. Gilly, more than most characters on Thrones, deserved a proper send-off. A spare shot of Gilly and the Sams happy and together in the finale would’ve sufficed, but alas. At least we can take some solace in knowing that, wherever Gilly is, it’s a huge upgrade over Craster’s Keep.
“Finally a girl is No One” is the last piece of dialogue Jaqen H’ghar has in the series, directed at Arya at the end of the sixth season. She refutes his take, reclaims her identity as a Stark, and says she’s heading back to Westeros. He gives her an approving nod—and that’s it, the last of our screentime with the Faceless Men.
The motivations of the Faceless Men remain a mystery, as do Jaqen’s intentions with Arya. When he showed up in the second season, he was weird, yes, but also charismatic; you could see why the Faceless Men piqued Arya’s interest. But when they reunited in the fifth season in Braavos, he was wearing tattered spa clothes and appeared to have lost all of the personality he once had. Maybe it wasn’t that Jaqen, just someone wearing the same face. But the lack of Faceless Men closure is emblematic of the show’s treatment of its fantasy elements: cast aside with casual indifference, with No One seeming fine that another would-be No One prefers to be Arya Stark of Winterfell. A Man is bummed out.
Before she set sail for Dragonstone, Dany left her ex-lover Daario in charge of Meereen—he and the Second Sons were to preside over the former slave city in her stead. This was a clever way for Dany to ghost Daario and find a proper match in Westeros on her quest to the throne. (Congrats, the new boo turned out to be pretty handsome! Unfortunately, he was also your nephew and killed you after you incinerated a city.)
Bringing back Daario in the finale probably would’ve felt tonally out of place, but still, what the hell is going to happen to Meereen? If Daario maintained his promise to be the city’s caretaker under Team Dany—a big if in the long-term, considering his shifty allegiances as a sellsword—what’s to stop him from giving it up when he hears what happened to his queen? And beyond that, how would he personally react to the love of his life being slain? (Imagine a quick shot of Drogon flying over Meereen as Daario knowingly, sorrowfully looks on.) But regardless of what Daario ends up doing back in Essos, Meereen likely remains in perpetual turmoil. Even if he was parsing a Governance for Dummies text, Daario never quite exuded real leadership qualities. At least Meereen’s no longer a slave state? Or, I guess, it could be back to being one now. But that short period when a benevolent queen who had dragons she didn’t use to murder thousands of civilians sure was good!
Arya’s former traveling companion, artisanal baker, and potential harbinger of death, Hot Pie, was last seen at the Crossroads Inn in the seventh season, perfecting his signature bread. (As his reunion with Arya demonstrated, he’s become more proficient with bread shapes and browning the butter.) Hot Pie isn’t part of any serious prophecies or endgame-related matters, but it still would’ve been nice to get an update on a fan favorite’s whereabouts.
Thankfully, the answer oughta be pretty transparent: When given the opportunity to join Arya and Gendry with the Brotherhood Without Banners, he was like, “Actually, I’m needed in the kitchens.” Doubtless, Hot Pie is still making some hot-ass pies, and any character who makes a detour at the Crossroads Inn on the way to Winterfell (or vice versa) will be treated to a five-star meal. And who said Thrones doesn’t give characters happy endings?
The Iron Bank
The amorphous institution—represented in the show by the banker Tycho Nestoris—was last seen backing Cersei’s claim to the Iron Throne by providing her the Golden Company’s 20,000 sellswords in Season 7. They considered it a wise investment; clearly, they never saw Harry Strickland’s sorry ass in a fight.
Does the Iron Bank want to have its debt repaid, and does it have any means to recoup those huge losses? The Golden Company was wiped out, and they were the best sellsword army money could buy, so unless they get their hands on that magical dragon horn the show never introduced, payback seems unlikely. But still, it’s odd: The Iron Bank constantly loomed over the series—a source of great worry to important people like Littlefinger and Tywin Lannister—but their main import in the end was merely providing 20,000 MacGuffins to slaughter. Maybe it’s for the best they don’t come knocking in Westeros: If Bronn is the new Master of Coin, I think he’d go full Attack of the Clones and engage in aggressive negotiations.
Ellaria Sand’s ill-fated rebellion against Cersei Lannister ended with her trapped in the Red Keep’s dungeons, forced to slowly watch her daughter succumb to the same poison that killed Myrcella. Cersei, who’s always one for evil creativity, insisted she would live out the rest of her days down there. Does that change now?
It’s safe to surmise that whoever was still trapped in the dungeons probably perished after Dany’s attack—especially knowing what happened to Cersei and Jaime in the bowels of the castle. That would mean Ellaria—and other characters who were trapped in the Red Keep’s dungeons and subject to Cersei’s torment, like the “Shame!” queen Septa Unella—are likely dead. Considering that Cersei’s final punishment to Ellaria was a lifetime of torment, death by rubble might seem like a mercy. It’s probably for the best: Ellaria would’ve reemerged only to try and kill the new, unnamed, totally chill Prince of Dorne.
The Children of the Forest
The Children of the Forest certainly do not have the same reproductive benefits as the Unsullied or the Dothraki, who seemed to multiply and regenerate with each passing week this season. Since the Night King attacked the Three-Eyed Raven’s cave in the sixth season, it’s been implied that the Children of the Forest have effectively gone extinct. That’s a shame, if only because they could’ve provided clarity on the White Walkers’ underlying motivations—though, at the same time, perhaps extinction is the proper comeuppance for creating those undead creatures in the first place.
This likely won’t be the last we see of the Children, considering the Thrones prequel should center on the events of the first Long Night that nearly wiped out Westeros. And who knows? Maybe in his climactic trek beyond the Wall, Jon will find that there are a few more remaining Children of the Forest than we’ve been led to believe.
The original Horny Pirate of Thrones (sorry, Euron), Salladhor Saan hasn’t been seen since he and Davos reunited in Braavos during the fourth season. In classic Salladhor-Davos fashion, the conversation centered on whether the pirate would align himself with Stannis Baratheon; he wasn’t so sure that was a gambit worth making. (Obviously, my dude’s intuition was on point.)
There could’ve been ways to reintroduce Salladhor in the series, like when Jon and Dany were looking for some naval allies for their cause. But in the end, we never got to see the famed pirate in battle, which feels like a wasted opportunity. It’s not hard to picture what awaits Salladhor off-screen at the moment: pursuing riches in Essos and trying to sleep with as many beautiful women as he has his eye on. Maybe he could send a raven to King’s Landing, congratulate Davos on the promotion, and remind his buddy that his wife really misses him.
Quaithe’s usage rate was shockingly low given how cryptic and tantalizing her prophecies are in George R.R. Martin’s books—her presence in the series amounted to telling Jorah where Dany’s missing dragons were located in the second season. (Shockingly, they were with the creepy bald dude who looked like he collected skin lamps.) There was perhaps no logical way to bring Quaithe back into the fold, but it’s fun to envision an alternate version of late-era Thrones where she returns to warn Dany of her tragic future, all of which she still can’t avoid. (Much like Anakin Skywalker having visions that Padme dies in childbirth, only for it to actually happen. Sorry for referencing the Star Wars prequels twice, but alas, they are clearly masterpieces.)
The “character obsessed with prophecies” void was filled ably by Melisandre, so Quaithe’s absence wasn’t as big as other characters on this list. But perhaps nothing else embodies the stark (pun unintended) divide between book and show than how both series have approached—or avoided—her character.
A brief reunion with Arya during the seventh season aside, Nymeria spent most of the series off-screen in the wilderness. Expecting her to return this season was unreasonable given the show’s history with direwolves (apologies to Ghost). However, it’s hard not to feel a bit wistful about the prospect of the swole direwolf and her pack of normal-sized wolves coming to the defense of Winterfell and fighting off the White Walkers in the third episode.
While a Nymeria-less final season will hurt the show’s dog-loving contingent (sorry, Mallory Rubin!), Arya’s own ending is a nice thematic tie-in to what happened with her pup. Like Nymeria, Arya is roaming free—giving in to her innate curiosity and sailing west of Westeros. Both of them are wandering so far from home, but as their reunion last season intimated, no matter where they are, home still isn’t far from their hearts.