Game of Thrones may be the story of the Hero’s Journey for Winterfell Itself

This post contains spoilers for GoT Seasons 1-7, if that wasn’t blindingly obvious.

I started to write an entirely different post about some theories for Season 8, and midway through it hit me. Game of Thrones isn’t about the Hero’s Journey for any singular character, it’s about that progression for Winterfell itself. George R.R. Martin loves to turn fantasy tropes on their heads, and what better fakeout would there be than to have a bunch of characters who are all expendable, because the main character is actually a place. With that spark, this suddenly all makes perfect sense.

Here’s the paragraph I started, and then stopped midway through:

At this point, I’m about 50/50 on there being dragons under Winterfell. It would make a great season opener to have someone digging around in the crypts and finding a whole bunch of dragon eggs, just waiting to be hatched by Jon. Winterfell is important as a character unto itself – it’s a special place in the same way that the Starks are a special family, so this would fit with a lot of the puzzle pieces. It wouldn’t be weird to suggest that Winterfell is the main character of the story – we start there, and the story i

I don’t know if this fits directly with Campbell’s 17 stage journey, but there is definitely a lot of interplay here. It’s taken a long time to build, and I think we’re seeing what might traditionally be at the beginning of the journey as we approach the end of the series. Some of the aspects of the journey are embodied in the Starks, but not all of it. There is probably more, but here’s my general train of thought:

  • At the beginning of the story, Winterfell is somewhat idyllic, and certainly regular and familiar.
  • It undergoes a separation, losing its lord in much the same way that Luke lost his adopted parents at the beginning of Star Wars.
  • There is for sure supernatural aid and rescue from without – I don’t think I need to even list examples here.
  • There’s a call to action – the army of the dead is marching on Westeros, and Winterfell is right in the path behind the Wall.
  • In this scenario, the Wall is also a character – Winterfell’s mentor against Winter. Losing the wall is about to spur Winterfell into action.
  • What will that action be? I think it’s going to be hatching a dragon, or many dragons.
  • Winterfell can never go home again, but at the end of the trials, it will flourish into something new.

There’s a lot more to chew on here. I’ll have to think about this.

Or maybe after all of everything, the army of the dead just wins and turns out to be unstoppable. GRRM does like his twists, and I wouldn’t put it past him. It doesn’t necessarily have to end with humanity saving the day.