Ash falls. The bitter flakes of stone, wood, and human taste bitter in Jon Snow’s mouth and sting his already sleep-deprived eyes. Everything feels broken, the world mostly. He gave her his pledge. Granted it was a pledge he long ago sullied with a beautiful wildling girl named Ygritte, but still, he bent the knee. He, the true king of the Seven Kingdom’s, bent the knee.
He goes to make good on that mistake and when he reaches the top of what once was the Iron Throne room, The Mother of Dragons is promoting Grey Worm to commander of her murderous army.
Jon finds himself wanting to try the man on, see how he would fare against that style of combat, maybe before he dies he’ll have the pleasure of killing the bloodthirsty warrior.
It will likely be a quick fight. His shoulders feel dead and have he is having trouble even holding his hand up to grab his dagger; his back, every joint feels bent in the wrong direction. Years of war, of fighting endless battles, has destroyed him. He wants to find something soft and lay down and never wake up, but instead, he walks toward his queen and the last deed he will ever commit himself to.
The Mother of Dragon’s speech is impassioned, “the world will know freedom or perish.” she bellows and her thousands and thousands of soldier bellow their approval back. And Jon cringes because he knows what dead children look like, what men and women look like who have been roasted by a dragon. The sickening smell of a body beginning to rot under a pile of stone fallen from this ancient city, the pride of Westeros, an unrecoverable artifact built by human hands and destroyed by a false queen. His hand shakes as he tightens his grip on the pommel of his dagger.
A simple weapon fashioned by a rapist’s hands committed to the black and only suitable to sweat over a forge. It’s not worthy of entering the body of his queen yet when she turns around to face him, it does just that.
Her soft flesh yields easily.
Flesh incapable of being burnt, that has come so close to dying, that survived to kill slave lord, noble and queen all in her quest to free the Seven Kingdoms of a tyrant dies on a lowly rapist’s blade. A shame really.
She tries to talk, but Jon is no summer-child to killing. He found the place between her ribs that would sever her heart in two. Her death, almost instant.
So it seems is Drago’s response, bellowing in sadness and rage as his mother’s body sinks to the ground. Jon knows what’s about to happen; he is prepared to be killed for his choice and stands waiting. The Dothraki come first, as the Unsullied organize. But the stupid horsemen forgot about one thing as they reach the queen-slayer.
Being immune to flame, a gift passed down from the Targaryen line.
Drogon’s font of fire liquifies the approaching Dothraki as Jon stands in its middle, confused as to why he is not dying. He should be. He has been dead since he himself was stabbed in the heart. He knows there is nothing there. Sleep and rest, oblivion, it’s what he wants. Yet the fire feels no different than warm air as it passes around him melting the flesh of the barbarians and even melting his own armor and sword into a glowing puddle. The flame even melts the sacred throne and its thousands of rusty swords.
Naked, he turns to face the dragon. What now? Dany lies lifeless and naked also from the fire by the blade shielded- untouched as she cradled it as if it were a newborn baby. He rips it from her chest as the dragon circles him, aware its breath is worthless against Jon. Instead, it opts for a tail swing but Jon leaps and somehow manages to grab onto the appendage.
With the blade stained with the blood of his queen, he stabs into the scales running up the dragon’s back. He gains leverage and climbs, intending to take the beast’s eyes as it launches itself into the air.
Behind him, horde roars with rage as Jon escapes with the dragon into the sky. Some even run looking for cover thinking Jon has control and will be circling around any moment to finish them off.
Instead, Drogon dashes himself against a rocky cliff, freeing the burden of the baked rage-filled king of the Seven Kingdoms.
Jon Snow falls, bouncing as he goes toward the ground below which he reaches in a broken bleeding puddle.
Drogon, unhurt, blows a stream of fire at the prone body, roars in fury and launches himself eastward across the ocean maybe aware he was now free also.
As Jon Snow dies, the lords and ladies vote to make Sansa Queen. She rules fair and right, as do her line for generations.
Jon though finds himself exhausted and on horseback. The air is cold. He feels like he must have fallen asleep but can’t quite place where it is he may be going. Longclaw bounces whole again against his hip as he rides. He is wearing his best black leathers.
He rides hardly noticing the other horse riders. He goes with the flow sure at the end is another battle.
Instead, through the cold snowy mist, a black gate emerges. To Jon, it looks ancient. Giant and looming, decorated with an infinities worth of smiling skulls.
Through it, a never-ending line of people move. Some walk, ride horses, or other animals, some in trundle along in wagons.
Aware now how crowded the road is he tries to pay closer attention.
The mount next to him bumps him and he finds himself looking it to the smiling face of a well-aged Tormund Giantsbane.
The Wildling roars with laughter and claps Jon on the back, “and to think a king like me gets killed fucking a bear for the privilege of nursing from a giant’s teat.”
Jon realizes for the first time in years he doesn’t hurt. That the people riding around him were all the people from his life. Ned turns and faces him from several horses up. The man he knew as father smiles before turning back to ride through the gate and into the white fog beyond.
“Dead, aye,” Tormund says launching a booming laugh that bounces off the wall that stretches off from the gate into endlessness on both sides.
“And through there is…”
“The Forest of the Old Gods I believe, but I don’t know though, have never died before.”
Just then Robb races by on a black mare and Jon knows he was wrong.
“Hero in life can’t ride for spit in death.”
And Jon smiles for what he thinks must be the first time since he was forced to kill Ygritte and spurs his horse, not to beat his brother but to ride with him through the gates and into the afterlife.