In 37 days, Game of Thrones will finally return. And 35 days after that, Throneswill end. In less time than it seemingly takes Littlefinger to zip around to every corner of Westeros, showrunners David Benioff and D.B. Weiss will deliver a conclusion to the story George R.R. Martin first introduced 23 years ago—and in that precious time they’ll have to answer half a hundred pressing questions: Who will live? Who will die? Who will tell Jon he’s doing it with his aunt?
Separate from those series-shaping questions are countless smaller but still crucial details that the show may or may not explore in the final season. These areThrones’ loose ends: the characters, places, events, prophecies and more that the story has made audiences wonder about over the past seven seasons but has yet to satisfyingly wrap up. In the run-up to the final season’s April 14 premiere, we’ll be digging through these loose ends, looking at why they matter and how they could affect the endgame as we count down the days to Thrones’ long-awaited conclusion.
The Loose End
Ser Bronn of the Blackwater might be the most successful sellsword in the history of the Seven Kingdoms. His family name is so unimportant that we’ve never heard it spoken aloud. All that’s known about his early life is that he grew up in an abusive home, killed a woman in an act of self defense before he was 12, and once ventured beyond the Wall for “work.” And yet, thanks to his penchant for, in his own words, killing “the right people,” he’s seen his status rise from mercenary, to commander of the City Watch, to anointed knight, and eventually to the de facto second-in-command of the Lannister army.
Are his motivations pure? Does he fight for the good of the realm? Not a chance. My man just wants to cash these checks, find a nice lady, and retire to a grand old castle. But will Bronn get the home and wife he was promised?
Why This Loose End Matters
Bronn has shown us what he values since he first graced our screens in Season 1, when he’s quick to offer Tyrion his room at an inn in the Riverlands in return for a gold coin. This is the first example of Bronn’s law: Anything can be done for the right price.
Each of Bronn’s steps up the social ladder comes as payment from a Lannister in need. He is first promised gold by Tyrion in return for his protection. Whatever others might offer him for his services, Tyrion doubles it. When the former Hand of the King is wrongly imprisoned for his nephew’s murder, Bronn ventures to the dungeons to let his friend know that he can’t be his champion; the Mountain is too intimidating an opponent, and Cersei had bribed Bronn with an arranged marriage to Lollys Stokeworth. Lollys is second in the line of succession to Castle Stokeworth, putting her older sister in between Bronn and a castle, though this was no concern of his, as “ladies fall from their horses and snap their pretty necks all the time.”
And so Bronn leaves the capital to wed his unexciting, but soon-to-be very wealthy lady. In just five seasons, he’d accomplished everything he’d hoped to, and could shortly retire to Castle Stokeworth unbothered by the petty squabbles of the realm. But his peaceful future never came to pass. Cersei reneges on her agreement, instead setting up Lollys with Ser Wyllis Bracken, and Jaime soon arrives to retrieve him for a mission in the south. Bronn protests, but agrees to come when the Kingslayer offers him a bigger castle and a more attractive bride.
When Jaime later asks for his help in subduing the Blackfish and returning Riverrun to the Freys, Bronn complains that he’d been promised a castle and a wife, which Jaime yet again tells him will come soon. After the sack of Highgarden, Bronn once again points out that he’s yet to receive his compensation, and asks for the seat of the Reach as his prize, only to be snubbed.
If it’s true that Lannisters always pay their debts, Bronn will soon be set to inherit Casterly Rock itself. Given that he’ll likely be asked for more favors as the White Walkers march south and the living need every hand they can get, he could even get the Red Keep itself.
How Season 8 Could Address It
At the moment, we’re not entirely sure where Bronn is. His last appearance on screen comes just before the dragon pit summit in the Season 7 finale, when he leads Podrick out of the arena for reasons. Bronn says it’s because the two characters have “no place” attending the accords. More likely, his absence had something to do with reports that actors Jerome Flynn and Lena Headey can’t be in the same room together and aren’t on speaking terms following a particularly sour breakup in the early 2000s.
And while their frosty relationship may not seem important to Bronn’s in-universe future, it leaves some mystery surrounding his character. The former sellsword wasn’t with Jaime when the Kingslayer stormed out of the capital, so Bronn is presumably still in King’s Landing—but it would be difficult to envision him leading the Lannister army, given that he can’t share screen time with Cersei. This even makes sense in the universe: Cersei wouldn’t trust a man who was a close confidant to the two brothers that betrayed her. Flynn has been noticeably absent from Season 8 promotional material and didn’t appear in the trailer released Tuesday. So where the hell is he?
Assuming King’s Landing’s many brothels were reestablished after the High Sparrow was, erm, retired, he could be lounging in one of them, staying occupied as he waits out the coming storm. He’s made it clear he has no intention of hanging around if (or when) Dany decides to unleash her dragons on the capital.
But that doesn’t mean Bronn will be sidelined for the final season. The last time he was faced with a choice between self and service was during the Loot Train Attack, when he proved uncharacteristically honorable, deciding to stay and fight rather than absconding with his gold. He might be similarly compelled to join the brothers Lannister in the North in the fight against the dead. It’s a big ask, but it’ll surely come with its rewards. When Aegon the Conqueror took over the continent, he gave those loyal to him dominions to rule over as thanks for their sacrifices. Assuming the living win the Great War, whoever ends up on the Iron Throne may have to do the same, as half the realm is already without a sitting lord. And if Bronn survives, there’ll be no stopping him from getting what he’s been promised. As he told Jaime: “Till I get what I’m owed, a dragon doesn’t get to kill you. You don’t get to kill you. Only I get to kill you.”
Disclosure: HBO is an initial investor in The Ringer.