Game of Thrones ended with its trademark shock and awe, and also with a little bit of that bittersweet energy George R.R. Martin has teased all along. It’s safe to bet that we’ll be arguing for years about how things played out in the show’s final season, and final moments especially. But there’s one thing I think we can all agree on: The real hero of this story is Daenerys’ dragon, Drogon.
Poor Drogon. He spent these final episodes as a pawn in Dany’s decimation of King’s Landing, manipulated so that he behaved as a nuclear weapon; he destroyed willingly, of course, but he’s an animal following his mother’s orders. And as we’ve observed over the course of the series, Dany and Drogon have a near-symbiotic relationship, as if he’s able to read her mind and behave as such.
That close relationship is why the final episode is marred with a sort of poetic tragedy. Jon, whose love for Dany and stubborn honor have kept him near her side, is finally convinced to do the unthinkable when Tyrion reminds him that his sisters will never bow to the Queen of Ashes. He stabs Dany to death in the throne room of the Red Keep as the soot from Dany’s destruction rains over them. The death of his mother alerts Drogon, who flies into the room and nudges her body, mournfully. Realizing his mother is dead, Drogon does something that sets the end in motion and alters the future of Westeros: He melts the Iron Throne with fire and flies away with Dany’s body in tow.
The destruction of the Iron Throne is symbolic, of course, but it represents what Dany always wanted to do. It broke the wheel, something Tyrion references later as the houses of Westeros attempt to rebuild their world. In devastating King’s Landing, Dany inadvertently gave reason to the idea of electing monarchs instead of bloodlines designating control. Drogon destroying the throne means that there is no throne to sit atop, and likely points to a more ordered way of ruling. The people of Westeros won’t be governed by fear—which is what that throne made of swords represented—but by reason, historical awareness, and purpose. Maybe it’s silly to ascribe all of that to Drogon, but he is quite literally the reason the throne is gone.
What’s more, we can infer from the end of the series that Bran will continue to track Drogon. At his small council meeting, he says he can “find” Drogon, who has been spotted in faraway places since flying off with Dany’s body. This means that Bran will either look into himself, where the memories of the world lie, or warg into the dragon, something we know he’s capable of. Maybe Bran as Drogon will come back to Westeros or go to Jon at the Wall. Or maybe Bran will let him live out his days in peace, away from the ruckus of war and rulers. Like Jon, maybe Drogon will get some version of freedom.
Regardless of where we think he ends up, Drogon was a hero in “The Iron Throne” and long before it, too. He’s been dutiful, brave, and represented the attempted rise and fall of the Targaryen dynasty. Like Jon, he’s the last vestiges of a bloodline that was probably better off dead. And he seems to know that, at last.