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Photo: Courtesy of HBO

After eight seasons, the world's favorite TV show is coming to an end this Sunday, writes Flipboard's Mia Quagliarello. (Warning: spoilers ahead.)

Why it matters: The 80-minute series finale still must tackle the show's biggest question: who will take the Iron Throne? Daenerys Targaryen no longer has to worry about enemies like Jaime and Cersei Lannister and the Night King, so now only Tyrion, Arya, Sansa, and Jon stand in her way. Theorists and bookies are seeing a rush of bets on Bran Stark.

Between the lines: Fans have been howling about nonsensical plot lines, sloppy editing and a "woman problem" that's plagued the show from the start. Turning Daenerys "not just into a Mad Queen, but into a crazy ex-girlfriend [was] the laziest of sexist tropes," wrote The Daily Beast.

  • "Cersei and Sansa didn't make much sense this year, either."— USA TODAY

The bottom line: None of this will stop the finale from being a ratings juggernaut. A new survey predicts 10.7 million people will skip work the day after the airing.

Go deeper:

This pop culture report is brought to you in collaboration with Flipboard, a content discovery platform. Discover more entertainment news in Flipboard's The Culturist.

Go deeper

Updated 3 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Supreme Court backs religious groups on New York coronavirus restrictions

Photo: Saul Loeb/AFP via Getty Images

The U.S. Supreme Court ruled late Wednesday that restrictions previously imposed on New York places of worship by Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) during the coronavirus pandemic violated the First Amendment.

Why it matters: The decision in a 5-4 vote heralds the first significant action by the new President Trump-appointed conservative Justice Amy Coney Barrett, who cast the deciding vote in favor of the Catholic Church and Orthodox Jewish synagogues.

USAID chief tests positive for coronavirus

An Air Force cargo jet delivers USAID supplies to Russia earlier this year. Photo: Mikhail Metzel/TASS via Getty Images

The acting administrator of the United States Agency for International Development informed senior staff Wednesday he has tested positive for coronavirus, two sources familiar with the call tell Axios.

Why it matters: John Barsa, who staffers say rarely wears a mask in their office, is the latest in a series of senior administration officials to contract the virus. His positive diagnosis comes amid broader turmoil at the agency following the election.

Bryan Walsh, author of Future
11 hours ago - Health

COVID-19 shows a bright future for vaccines

Illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios

Promising results from COVID-19 vaccine trials offer hope not just that the pandemic could be ended sooner than expected, but that medicine itself may have a powerful new weapon.

Why it matters: Vaccines are, in the words of one expert, "the single most life-saving innovation ever," but progress had slowed in recent years. New gene-based technology that sped the arrival of the COVID vaccine will boost the overall field, and could even extend to mass killers like cancer.