How long will "the Long Night" last?
Season 8 will only offer a few more episodes to the Game of Thrones saga. Pacing will be everything, and it's easy to imagine the conflict between man and White Walker taking up most of the runtime. Then again, what do Jon and Dany really have to accomplish? Kill The Night King, kill the horde. I wonder if Season 8 might go a little more like Season 7: Like the massive "Spoils of War," the Long Night conflict could end by the fourth episode, leaving room for the North-vs-South conflict Cersei's dreaming of. And after the bodies fall, the fire smolders, and Dany inevitably claims Westeros for herself, there'll be questions about the continuation of her regime. Years ago, in a critique of The Lord of the Rings during a Rolling Stone interview, Martin addressed concerns about a fantasy story simply ending with a bunch of winners:
"Ruling is hard. This was maybe my answer to Tolkien, whom, as much as I admire him, I do quibble with. Lord of the Rings had a very medieval philosophy: that if the king was a good man, the land would prosper. We look at real history and it’s not that simple. Tolkien can say that Aragorn became king and reigned for a hundred years, and he was wise and good. But Tolkien doesn’t ask the question: What was Aragorn’s tax policy? Did he maintain a standing army? What did he do in times of flood and famine? And what about all these orcs? By the end of the war, Sauron is gone but all of the orcs aren’t gone -- they’re in the mountains. Did Aragorn pursue a policy of systematic genocide and kill them? Even the little baby orcs, in their little orc cradles?"
The burning question: Just how far into the future will Game of Thrones go in the end?