‘Winds Of Winter’ Spoilers: Why All The Dragons Might Die In The End

Drogon HBO

What’s the endgame for magic in A Song of Ice and Fire? For almost a century and a half, since the last of the dragons died off, Westeros has been without magic, but that powerful and dangerous force has returned. The Others are coming; the children of the forest have reappeared to some; blood magic and the power of the Lord of Light is manifest in the land. And the dragons are coming back, with fire and blood. Question is—will it all stay that way? Will magic survive? Or will the dragons all die?

Don’t Assume The Dragons Will Live

Drogon Photo: HBO

Daenerys isn’t meant to be a ruler. Earlier in this season of Game of Thrones, Daario told her as much, told her that she was born to be a conqueror. But this isn’t the whole story either. As archmaester Marwyn will tell her in Winds of Winter, her true role isn’t conqueror, but savior. Her dragons will do what the Wall alone cannot: Turn back and defeat the Others and the Night’s King, hopefully forever. She may not succeed, but trying to defeat the dead is her destiny.

Magic in Game of Thrones and A Song of Ice and Fire is intimately tied into the dragons and the Others. With the rebirth of the former and reappearance of the latter, magic started trickling back into the world. Ancient spells worked again. The maesters of the Citadel hate this (and maybe killed off hopes of the dragons reviving a century earlier with this one neat trick), as do men like Varys. There are forces arrayed against magic as a whole.

But more pressing are the forces arrayed against the dragons. Namely the Others themselves, and whatever dread forces they have yet to muster. Do you think defeating them will be easy? A straightforward jaunt to the Wall, like Queen Alysanne’s, a conflagration, and turning around again? I don’t think so. It will be a grinding and deadly war. The death of a dragon is an ultimate way to show the stakes of the conflict, to show that victory isn’t guaranteed.

We have reason to believe that the dragons won’t survive, or at least that Daenerys won’t survive. What is her future? She is barren and cannot restore the Targaryen dynasty. Maybe Jon Snow or Aegon can, and with the dragons, the people would have no choice. But the return of the Targaryens is no great thing. A good half of them—including Daenerys—were terrible tyrants. They ruled through force. Daenerys will do the same. She’ll forge the Seven Kingdoms into one, but probably only for long enough to save it from endless winter. And along the way, at least one of her dragons may be stolen— probably by Euron Greyjoy.

If the Others kill one, two or three of the dragons—or if the maesters do, or if Euron does—magic will fade again from the world. And wouldn’t that be the only way to ensure a truly lasting peace between the living and the dead?

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