Isaac Hempstead-Wright on Game of Thrones Finale: "Life Doesn't Have Neat, Happy Endings"

There's a new ruler in Westeros after the divisive final episode

By Chris Harnick May 20, 2019 6:25 PMTags
Game of Thrones FinaleHBO

Bran Stark: The boy nobody thought would be king, let alone survive the whole series. But Game of Thrones did that.

In the series finale, Bran (Isaac Hempstead-Wright) was appointed king of the Six Kingdoms—Sansa Stark (Sophie Turner) spun off the North into its own kingdom—by the heads of the great houses of Westeros. It was an unexpected move, and one that left fans divided. Tyrion Lannister (Peter Dinklage) said Bran had the best story, which is debatable depending on who you ask, but here we are. Bran the Broken, king of the Andals. Hempstead-Wright opened up about the ending, saying he was "thrilled with the way the show ends," in an essay for The Hollywood Reporter.

"I find it an extraordinary character arc to see him go from a vulnerable character totally dependent on others to the one person who holds all the keys to understanding the world," he wrote. "Bran becoming king is a victory for the still and considered people of this world, who too often get side-lined by the commotion of those who are louder and more reactionary. He doesn't shout to make himself heard, but instead waits and chooses his words and actions very carefully. In that, I think Bran presents a valuable reminder to us all in this day and age where sensationalism is rife and anybody can voice an opinion to millions, to sit and consider things a little more carefully."

In his essay, Hempstead-Wright touched on the controversy surrounding Daenerys Targaryen's (Emilia Clarke) rampage through King's Landing and said, "I can see why people took it to heart."


"But Thrones is at its best when it does things that hurt us — Hodor's death, for example — and episodes five and six of the final season are no different. There is perhaps no harder scene to watch than when Jon kills the woman he loves in the hope that it might save the kingdom. It is an impossibly difficult decision to make, and the jury is out on whether it was the right thing to do — and we will never know," he wrote.

Hempstead-Wright praised the ending of the show, specifically that "nothing is tied up neatly, and we are instead forced to ponder what the fate of this once great kingdom will be after everything has gone so wrong."

"Life doesn't have neat, happy endings; it is ambiguous and ultimately inconsequential. To end Game of Thrones with uncertainty is perhaps the most honest way to end a story so vast and complex — and that uncertainty is what we all feel as we begin our life after Thrones," he wrote.

In an interview with EW, Hempstead-Wright said he assumed his scripts for the final season were a prank.

"When I got to the [Dragonpit scene] in the last episode and they're like, ‘What about Bran?' I had to get up and pace around the room," he told EW. "I genuinely thought it was a joke script and that [co-creators David Benioff and D.B. Weiss] sent to everyone a script with their own character ends up on the Iron Throne. ‘Yeah, good one guys. Oh s--t, it's actually real?'"

Yep, it did happen.