In the final poem of his Four Quartets, a rumination on the cyclical nature of war and the redemptive power of fire, T.S.

Eliot had this to say about the great ouroboros of beginnings and endings: that "the end of all our exploring will be to arrive where we began, and to know it for the first time."

When Game of Thrones began, nearly eight years ago today, it introduced us to Westeros through the eyes of the Stark children, as they clamored over ramparts and up wagons to catch a glimpse of the royal procession, dreamed of marrying golden princes or becoming noble knights, and believed in a world with an arc that bent inevitably towards justice and happy endings.

It was a rose-colored moment in a bottle, a romantic, prelapsarian fantasy that they would look back on, later, as a way to measure how much they had lost—and now, how far they have come.

While all of the surviving Starks have finally returned to to their home, no children remain, either because they are dead or because they stopped being children long ago.

Like Ned and Robb before him, Jon seems to have inherited the fatal flaw that spelled doom for so many Stark men: He sees the world not as it is, but as he is.

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