An alternate ending was filmed ahead of the conclusion of Game of Thrones, according to actor Kristofer Hivju, who played ginger man mountain Tormund Giantsbane.
The finale of the show saw Jon Snow kill Daenerys upon realizing she’d descended into madness, witnessing her dragon-borne rampage immolating King’s Landing and its people. Afterwards, the surviving heads of the great houses declared Bran their king, and we didn’t stick around to see them come to realize what a terrible idea it was to elect as ruler an omniscient immortal who’s devoid of empathy and views life through a prism of nihilistic determinism.
Regarding the different set of events though, Hivju stated that: “We shot an alternative ending that was mostly for fun, but I don’t know if I’m allowed to tell you about that.” He didn’t elaborate any further, not mentioning who was involved or what kind of difference it would have made to events, leaving a window for speculation and inevitable snarky comments from people declaring that anything else would have been better than what we got.
Also not elaborated upon was the purpose behind filming an ending that was never intended to be used. It become apparent in the last days just how rushed the final season of the series was though, with much of the criticism for the various technical issues and narrative problems being directed at showrunners David Benioff and D. B. Weiss, and even some cast members retrospectively being clearly unhappy with the inconsistent direction in which their characters were taken. As such, filming something not intended for use seems of limited purpose.
It’s most likely to have been just as Hivju said – for fun – but with Game of Thrones having such a tight window to wrap things up, it seems odd there was time to film something that had no possibility of airing. It may well be included on a home release as an extra, and if it comes off as fun as Hivju states, it may leave people with a more positive feeling about the show than what they currently have.