SPOILER ALERT: If you are one of the few people who have not seen the Game of Thrones Finale yet, read at your own risk.
Disability advocacy rarely gets the attention it deserves. But in a true sign of the times, one of the most iconic symbols in a decade – the Iron Throne – was literally replaced with a wheelchair as a result of the Game of Thrones finale. The death of the Mother of Dragons in the throne room led her remaining dragon to torch the Iron Throne until literally melted in a pool of hot magma. Whoever was left to sit on the throne would need a new throne.
As the leaders of Westeros convened to determine the future of the seven kingdoms, it was suggested that Brandon Stark be elected by the lords to be the new king. He reluctantly accepted the position, but only after his weaknesses as paraplegic were openly discussed. Henceforth in Game of Thrones lore, the new king of the six kingdoms (the North remained independent) is known as Brandon the Broken, First of His Name. In a modern world, he would be known as Brandon the Handi-Capable King.
Being disabled does not me being “lesser than,” even though that was the way society has portrayed people with disabilities in the past. Even FDR, our modern version of Bandon the Broken, was keen not to be photographed in a wheelchair for fear of the negative stigma of weakness it would convey to the public.
Game of Thrones showed that even a paraplegic, in the world of brute force, can ascend to the highest throne in the land. And with the Iron Throne reduced to nothing, it’s good that the new king of Westeros doesn’t need a throne. He comes with one in the form of a wheelchair. Of course, it’s not likely that King’s Landing is WDA (Westeros Disability Act) compliant. So the upside to the Mad Queen torching the city is that new reconstruction of King’s Landing can include long overdue wheelchair ramps, bathrooms and doors wide enough for a wheel chair to fit through, and maybe even a new elevator to help King Brandon get to the upper spires of the rebuilt Red Keep.
As one of the highest watched shows in history, Game of Thrones has now in one quick instance become the most pro-disability show ever. And to everyone struggling with a disability who feels like the world does not work easily for them as it does others, they can remember that if Bran the Broken can replace the Iron Throne with a wheelchair … so can anyone else.