WARNING: The following article contains spoilers for the finale of HBO's Game of Thrones.
Few characters left alive in the finale of Game of Thrones bear much resemblance to those introduced so many seasons earlier. They've grown into the next generation of rulers and, in some cases, explorers. Each has undergone tragedy and loss -- all except for one unlikely man, who not only survived the War of the Five Kings, but thrived.
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Bronn is arguably the biggest winner of the game of thrones, as the former sellsword endured eight seasons of war, shifting allegiances and outright betrayals to rise from obscurity to become commander of the City Watch (if only briefly) and a knight, and, ultimately, as the Lord of Highgarden, Lord Paramount of the Reach, and Master of Coin, the wealthiest man in Westeros. In short, the cutthroat did pretty well for himself.
An Honest Day's Living (For A Dishonest Man)
It's important to remember that when we met Bronn in Season 1, he's a simple sellsword from the North. He helps Catelyn Stark capture Tyrion Lannister so he can be placed on trial. When Tyrion requests a trial by combat in The Eyrie, Bronn agrees to fight in his place, in exchange for the promise of riches. That's when we're introduced to Bronn's pragmatism, as his quick-thinking and dishonorable tactics help him to dispatch his skilled opponent. That trait defines much of Bronn's character arc, leading him to eventually accompany Tyrion to King's Landing. There, his fortunes only improve.
Bronn is served well by his practicality over the course of the series, keeping him alive while those around him fall. He ignites the wildfire that saves King's Landing during Stannis' seige, and in the process avoids much of the battle. For his service, he's knighted Ser Bronn of the Blackwater, even as Tyrion's invaluable role in saving the city is ignored. He's then recruited by Jaime Lannister to teach him how to swordfight with his left hand, which earns Bronn another boon from the wealthy family. Bronn's refusal to fight the Mountain on behalf of Tyrion earns him marriage that would make him a noble. He's a man willing to sell out his friends while avoiding making enemies.
Bronn joins up alongside Jamie, traveling to Dorne with him and eventually working with him to lead the siege against Riverrun. It's only in this time that Bronn doesn't actually rise in station, but sits comfortably as a chief advisor and ally to the royal family. He doesn't lose standing even in his lowest moments. His quick thinking keeps him alive during Daenerys' attack on the Lannister forces, and he almost manages to shoot down Dany and Drogon with the ballista. Even given a final assignment to assassinate Tyrion and Jamie by Cersei, he decides to play it smart and just wait it out. This way, he can kill them if Cersei wins or be handsomely rewarded for his restraint if Daenerys wins. This plan works out in the end, with Bronn becoming the Lord of Highgarden and Lord Paramount of the Reach as well as being named the new Master of Coin. From such simple beginnings, he now has a castle, a lordship and all the money he could ever want. And to make matters even better, he's perfectly suited for his new job.
The Master Of Coin
In the new order that arises after the brief reign of Queen Daenerys, Bronn proves himself to be a surprisingly frugal lord. The newly styled Lord of Highgarden and Master of Coin is not unwilling to help reestablish King's Landing and a navy, but he wants to make sure there's enough money. Unlike the Lannisters, who freely threw around coin, Bronn is careful with funds. But even as he disagrees with other members of King Bran's Small Council, he's not actively scheming against Davos, his apparent rival. The two bicker, more playfully than aggressively; this is a council more focused on the business of the Six Kingdoms than on power plays.
Throughout the series, Bronn has shown an aptitude for planning ahead, as a good Master of Coin should. During preparations for Stannis' siege, he rounded up all the known thieves and had them executed, to prevent them from stealing food once supplies inevitably dwindled. He's willing to hear any offer, even when he knows which one he'll probably choose. He's purely focused on his own survival. He's not going to start any wars or risk the home he finally procured. He appreciates the power of gold, having lived so long without it; he's an ideal Master of Coin. Bronn has proved his worth 10 times over, and now he has the chance to do Westeros some good, all while living the best life for himself. If this really was a game of thrones, then Bronn played it better than virtually anyone.
Game of Thrones stars Peter Dinklage as Tyrion Lannister, Nikolaj Coster-Waldau as Jaime Lannister, Lena Headey as Cersei Lannister, Emilia Clarke as Daenerys Targaryen, Sophie Turner as Sansa Stark, Maisie Williams as Arya Stark and Kit Harington as Jon Snow.