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Game of Thrones’ game seems to suggest big things for Gendry



Confession: I probably know more about the geographies of Westeros than the United States — you know, the real-world country I actually live in. 

I’m a creature of the r/asoiaf subreddit (not just r/GoT — which is mostly for filthy casuals). I mean, a good chunk of my job is to read, investigate, dig up, and analyze Game of Thrones theories. 

So you can call me Khaleesi of the Tinfoil Wearers when it comes to imagining how Game of Thrones will end. But the newly launched iOS game Reigns: GoT gave me a run for that title. 

Yet despite foiling me at nearly every attempt to use my useless knowledge as strategy, Reigns: GoT made certain flickers in the flames of theorizing very clear.

We wanted to acknowledge that richness, from the totally bonkers theory to the most intriguing,” said the game’s lead designer Francois Alliot, from studio game Nerial. “In a way, Reigns: GoT is some sort of fan theory generator.”

Reigns: GoT made certain flickers in the flames of theorizing very clear.

Framed as Melisandre looking into the often vague (and incorrect) flames of the Red God, the card game allows players to influence the survival of Westeros by influencing the reign of eight different characters as rulers of the throne: Daenerys, Jon, Cersei, Sansa, Tyrion, Arya, Jaime, Gendry, and finally the Three-Eyed Raven.

Of course, the game of thrones between houses is always interrupted after a certain amount of time (or moons) by the arrival of winter.

“I’m familiar with the world of Ice and Fire enough to play with the various storylines and bring variations to known events,” continued Alliot. “For example, Melisandre’s untrustworthy visions are a good way to convey all the lore of the Seven Kingdoms without the need to follow the canon in details.”

So while it was tough to balance the dense and overwhelmingly extensive lore of the Game of Thrones, the plethora of fan theories allowed for more playing room to give the player freedom to make wild choices and meet crazy end games. 

daenerys game of thrones reigns game

Like how I almost immediately died as Daenerys when I let the Faith Militant run out of check.

Understandably, though, Alliot is staying tight lipped on exactly which of these potential endgames is more likely than others in the franchise.

“The team worked closely with HBO during the game’s development, but we have no comment on influences or coming content,” he said.

Fair enough. Certainly, the game isn’t trying to pretend it’s an oracle for what’s to come. And it’s also first and foremost a game, with your choices not just impacting the narrative. It’s about keeping your four bars of ruling (power, religion, people, and time) in check mostly.

There’s a pure joy as a fan to play inside a well-researched Game of Thrones theory sandbox

But there’s a pure joy as a fan to play inside a well-researched Game of Thrones theory sandbox. And Reigns: GoT‘s final end game does offer several overarching takeaways to preparing for winter successfully.

For one, the game leans in hard on Sansa as a strategic mastermind, more capable of uniting the realms than either Daenerys or Jon. This reads like exactly what she’s been positioned to do in the final season, having outwitted Baelish and Jon in the past two seasons.

Having a world-renowned assassin for a sister doesn’t hurt either.  

But there’s a notable lack of faceless men even mentioned in the game, and it’s fair to predict that their role seems to have run its course of importance in the story. Outside of giving Arya her most badass powers, of course.

 By far the most telling character-specific prediction the game implies, though, is Gendry. 

Mainstream audiences all but discounted him, having been left to row in the sea for several seasons. But the combination of his inclusion in the game, and his conspicuous return in Season 7, and hints from his actor all indicate that he’ll have a much bigger role to play than we imagined in the final battle. 

gendry game of thrones reigns melisandre

gendry game of thrones reigns melisandre

After all, Melisandre sensed that he had some power in his blood. And it looks like, unlike what some theories speculate, that wasn’t just more smoke and mirrors. He’s the last Baratheon, and that stag is still present in the show’s opening credits.

The takeaway from how things shake down in the Three Eyed Raven playthrough is telling in a more general sense.

Basically, we’d say it’s a safe bet to put all your stock in magic. Particularly, the ancient magic of dragons and of the North.

Ultimately what the game tells us is that surviving winter is, indeed, a team effort.

Apparently, after you successfully survive winter as all the characters, the cards form a Weirwood tree from the Children of the Forest. There’s a lot of theories about exactly how the Children and weirwoods — these last remaining links between now and the first time the White Walkers came — will be important. 

Most likely, it will have something to do with the pact that the Children and First Men made to defeat the White Walkers all those centuries ago in the first Battle for the Dawn.

That’s all to say that magic is the way forward now, because the game of thrones that gives the series its title was always a misdirect. In both Reigns: GoT and the fictional world, the characters only needed to survive the game of ruling houses long enough to gather the powers, resources, and allies needed to survive winter.

After that, chaos and magic reign.

Regardless of who reigns, winter always comes

Regardless of who reigns, winter always comes

So honestly, not looking great for characters like Cersei, who might very well become the Night Queen who rules over a wasteland of the undead due to her inability to accept the magic. That’s been a popular recent theory, and felt totally appropriate when it happened in one of my many failed plathroughs.

Ultimately what the game tells us is that surviving winter is, indeed, a team effort.

It won’t just be Dany, or Jon, or Sansa, or Tyrion who are the saviors or Azor Ahai sent down to save the world. Melisandre’s Red God religion is probably another false flag, or a misinterpretation of what is really needed in order to defeat the army of the dead.

It’ll come down to two main things: sacrifices from everybody, and unity. 

But in the end, knowing all these theories didn’t help me win Reigns: GoT, and it probably won’t help us predict the precise end game for the series. But let’s not spoil the fun while we can still play.

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