AOC's 'Game of Thrones' Season 8 Theory Is Very on Brand — I'm Here for It
Everyone and their mother thinks Game of Thrones will end with somebody important sitting on the Iron Throne. But Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y., has a radical idea: What if no one took the Throne, and instead, they instituted to a constitutional democracy? Laugh all you want, but with each passing day, Ocasio-Cortez’s theory looks more and more plausible.
On Sunday, the day HBO premiered the final season premiere of its smash-hit fantasy series, Ocasio-Cortez appeared as a guest on Yahoo’s Skullduggery podcast, hosted by Michael Isikoff and Daniel Klaidman. When asked who she thinks will win the Iron Throne, the congresswoman responded, “Could you imagine if no one ends up on the throne and they transition to democracy?”
She added, “Wouldn’t that be badass?”
Not only would that indeed be badass, because down with monarchies forever, but the “Empty Throne” theory has actually gained some ground as the show marches towards its final episode.
Furthermore, I also want to thank AOC for saying her theory out loud, because I can officially propose my own version that I’ve been kicking around for weeks: Game of Thrones will end with the destruction of the Iron Throne.
First, AOC is not alone in her thinking that the Iron Throne will end with “no one” on it. Over the last few weeks, Mashable, Pajiba, and Forbes have all put forward arguments that no one will take the Iron Throne in the end.
Some ideas differ. Pajiba’s Genevieve Burgess suggested in a piece published on April 10 that no one has a rightful claim. And if they did, that person is probably dead because Westeros is a super messed up place to make a living.
“The most pressing problem in Westeros these days isn’t a crisis of succession,” wrote Burgess, “it’s that large swaths of the country are in open rebellion, there’s an invasion of the undead, AND a climate disaster looming.”
Meanwhile, Mashable’s Alexis Nedd pretty much shares my theory that the Throne will be destroyed.
“No one should end up on the Iron Throne at the end of Game of Thrones,” Nedd argued. “The Iron Throne and the notion of centralized power should be abolished by the time the final credits roll on the show’s last episode. Maybe the scattered survivors of the final war will roam around Westeros as itinerant hunter-gatherers, or the seven kingdoms will shut each other off and become seven separately ruled states. Maybe literally everyone will be dead.”
And preceding all these writers and AOC, fans on Reddit has already speculated on the abolishment of the Throne.
Let me now add: All of these people are smart and right. Game of Thrones simply cannot end with Jon or Daenerys or Arya or Cersei or Sansa or the Night King or Varys or Littlefinger or Samwell goddamn Tarly on the Iron Throne. None of them. Like all good narrative epics, the show’s dramatic question (and attractive marketing hook) of “Who will take the Throne?” is infinitely more interesting than any single answer you can come up with.
From the very beginning, Game of Thrones has been about two things: Power and survival. Everyone wants power, because everyone wants to survive. With those motivations in a show with total extinction as the stakes, Jon Snow sitting on 800 melted swords because it belongs to him is the equivalent of a burrito fart: It feels good, but you’ve just about soiled everything.
The characters of GRRM’s universe have never seen the forrest for the trees. So maybe they will just let someone sit on the throne for yet another cycle of rule.
But to continue the succession in the finale does no service to a story that’s spent eight seasons and (eventually) seven books explaining, in extreme grisly detail, why the Iron Throne is the dumbest and most toxic form of governance. While the characters of Westeros may not implement a democracy exactly as AOC theorizes, it’s not so crazy to think revolution isn’t also in their blood. Maybe a different winter is coming.
Game of Thrones airs Sundays at 8 p.m. Eastern on HBO.