Spoiler alert! The following contains spoilers from the series finale of "Game of Thrones."
When the credits rolled on the final episode of "Game of Thrones" on Sunday, fans may have been a little angry, but they also may have been a little shocked and confused about how it all shook out.
In the final episode, Jon Snow (Kit Harington) kills Daenerys Targaryen (Emilia Clarke) to save Westeros from her tyrannical rule, and her dragon Drogon melts the Iron Throne. The remaining lords and ladies meet and decide, after Tyrion's (Peter Dinklage) urging, to elect Bran Stark (Isaac Hempstead Wright) king of the Six Kingdoms, since Sansa (Sophie Turner) negotiated an independent North.
The series leaves us with Bran as king, with Tyrion his hand and a small council that includes Brienne (Gwendoline Christie), Bronn (Jerome Flynn), Sam (John Bradley) and Davos (Liam Cunningham). Sansa is crowned Queen in the North. Arya (Maisie Williams) sets off on a new adventure to find what's west of Westeros.
Listen to this week's episode of USA TODAY's podcast, The Mothership, to hear our Film and TV Critic rate the "Game of Thrones" series finale.
As punishment for killing Dany, Jon is sent to the Night's Watch once again, but in the final shot of the series we see him riding north of the wall with Tormund (Kristofer Hivju) and the wildlings, possibly to join the free folk for good.
For those of us who spent years imagining who would sit on the Iron Throne, it seemed logical that the throne itself might not survive, but we never imagined Bran might be the eventual king. But there have been a few clues along the way.
Bran had prominent placement at the start of the books and the show
In the "Song of Ice and Fire" books on which the series is based, the first perspective chapter is Bran's. And in the first episode of the series, Bran is prominently featured, and some adroit fans have even noticed that the camera lingers on the young future king when his father Ned (Sean Bean) is carrying out an execution and says it's in the name of the "king of the Andals and the first men."
In that same episode, Ned tells Arya "when the snows fall and the white winds blow, the lone wolf dies, but the pack survives," referring to the Stark sigil of the direwolf.
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Sophie Turner got a tattoo that says "the pack survives" in June of 2018
Turner's tattoo possibly spoiled for fans that the remaining Starks (Sansa, Arya, Bran and Jon, sort of), would make it through the end of the show.
Jon Snow's role was hinted at back in Season 6
Many fans have also pointed out that Jon's role in the finale was at least partially foreshadowed by his resurrection in Season 6. We know the Lord of Light only brings people back from the dead for a purpose, and we learned in Episode 3 of this season that Beric Dondarrion (Richard Dormer) was brought back so many times so he could help Arya kill the Night King. Jon's resurrection was likely so he could kill Dany and save Westeros from fire (Arya took care of the ice threat).
So much for the rest of those fan theories
The ending also means many theories and Easter eggs that fans were holding on to for years didn't come to pass. Bran was not the Night King or all the Brans of history. Jon didn't sit on the Iron Throne. Dany didn't have Jon's baby. But, perhaps, those fan theories will come into play again if and when George R.R. Martin publishes the final books.
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This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: 'Game of Thrones': There were clues to the surprise finale all along