Arya Stark’s ending is very much the same. Tired of the whole game of thrones, Arya decides to pack her things and sail west to discover what lies beyond Westeros. (Has nobody ever tried doing that?) It goes unsaid that her family—Sansa, Jon, and Bran—may never see her again. She is off on a new adventure, one she must take alone.

Jon Snow’s ending is quite Frodoesque as well. He retreats to the North—the true North, beyond the wall—to begin a new life, in the place where he’s always felt that he’s belonged. Like Frodo, Jon was always an unwitting hero. The weight of the world was thrust upon him, and he, bastard son of Ned Stark, did the best that he could. Snow was Martin’s version of the everyman hero—the ordinary person who can do great things when called upon. While we eventually find out Snow was actually much more than ordinary, at the end he becomes Snow once again—anonymous, but this time reborn, a lone wolf leaving the perils of Westeros behind him. And his family assembles at a serene dock to see him off.

“A Song of Ice and Fire” provides a recap

Fans predicted this plot development years ago—that Martin’s book series would exist within the world of the TV show, written by a character recapping the previous eight seasons. In the finale, Samwell Tarly presents a book, “A Song of Ice and Fire,” essentially an outline of everything that we’ve seen happen on the HBO series. Fans thought the author might be Sam himself, and while he remarked that he “helped with the title,” the book’s author was in fact Archmaester Ebrose, Sam’s former boss at the Citadel.

This happened in The Lord of the Rings, too. Bilbo and Frodo both write memoirs recounting their experiences in the story; Frodo’s calls a section of his “The Lord of the Rings” before passing it onto Samwise Gamgee to finish.

There were numerous more parallels in the last few episodes: The Battle of Winterfell was clearly indebted to The Battle of Helm’s Deep in The Two Towers. Tyrion Lannister choosing to release a prisoner (his brother, Jaime) despite the knowledge that it would likely cost him his life was akin to what Faramir did for Frodo and Sam. And that’s still to say nothing of the obvious Samwell-Samwise similarities—Martin could barely even be bothered to change the name.

So if you were disappointed by the Game of Thrones TV finale, it’s probably time to read Tolkien’s books and watch Jackson’s movies. The Lord of the Rings depicted more fulfilling character arcs in nine hours than what Game of Thrones could muster in more than 70.

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