***Spoiler Warning: This post contains Spoilers for Game of Thrones through Season 7 and may contain A Song of Ice and Fire Spoilers through A Dance with Dragons. Spoilers***
This Sunday Game of Thrones returns to HBO with its final six supersized episodes, so what better time to throw out all our predictions, sane and crazy? Though showrunners David Benioff and Dan Weiss usually keep things close to the vest, they have thrown out as near a clue as they ever will by saying this Spotify playlist has “the answer to the ending” hidden within:
Honestly, using those songs we could make the case for almost anything happening, so that’s NOT MUCH HELP, dudes.
Perhaps we’ll reddit-brain that list another time but for now, Craig, Nadine and I have cobbled together our best predictions for this final season. Feel free to share your own in the comments.
Who Will Survive?
The question of who makes it to the end I think depends on whether you think that the White Walker invasion is magic’s last stand in the Seven Kingdoms and beyond … or not. Think back over the seasons; magic has been inherently bad across the board. Even the resurrections of Jon and Beric have left the men as something less than they were before. So if this is the end of magic, then it stands to reason that all the characters touched by magic will not survive either. That means secondary characters like Varys and Melisandre are on the block, as are primary characters like Jon, Dany, the dragons, Arya and Bran. That would make for a grim ending to the show and not one fans would accept without furor. — Craig Wack
Certain to Live/Certain to Die
I have one character on my 100 percent will live list, and one on by 100 percent is dead list. Sam is sure to live because he has to be the one to write a chronicle of the rise of this new dynasty after the fall of Robert Baratheon, and he’s one of the avatars for series author George R.R. Martin (Tyrion is the other). Cersei is 100 percent going to die, partly due to the prophecy, and also because even though it takes a while, every evil a-hole on this show has been served their just desserts sooner or later. — CW
Ships (Not the Iron Fleet Division)
As much as people want to see who wins the Game of Thrones, they also want to see who hooks up at the end. Here’s my wish list of Season 8 pairings:
- Sansa and Podrick: She deserves a sensitive man with a magic cock after all she’s been through.
- Arya and Gendry: Arya’s fate is the toughest nut to crack. She could be the realm’s spymaster when all is said and done. She could be killed by a disguised Jaqen H’gar in some random hallway. The happiest ending would be Arya and her old traveling companion Gendry get together and spend their days as wardens of the Riverlands or something.
- Brienne of Tarth and Tormund: Sorry Bri and Jamie shippers, the thought of this pairing makes me smile so much it has to come true. — CW
Way Wild Theory
Dany is pregnant with Jon’s baby. And she may be pregnant with triplets, which would match the three dragons she brought into the world and fulfill the “dragon has three heads” vision Dany had in the books. This would open the door for Dany and Jon to die some kind of noble death, while having their children be taught how to be a good ruler by Tyrion and to break the wheel by creating a ruling council with representatives from each of the seven kingdoms of Westeros. The triplets thing is a stretch, but I feel quite strong that Dany is pregnant and that child will ultimately win the throne and the series will close with Tyrion raising the child as Regent and Hand. – CW
Jaime Will Kill Cersei
There is now almost no doubt in my mind it’s Jaime who’ll fulfill Maggy the Frog’s little brother prophecy — “… the valonqar shall wrap his hands about your pale white throat and choke the life from you.” — and not Tyrion (who I’m still hoping turns out to be a Targaryen). Though previously I’d pondered Cersei’s not-lover-brother would do the dirty deed, the look of pure disdain Jaime gave Cersei when last he saw her assured me that he’d lost his feelings for the mother of their children. I think he was finally pushed past his breaking point when he reminded the queen they had no children left to pass on a dynasty to, and Cersei quickly asserted they’d have it for themselves. Jaime’s come a long way toward redemption from that Season 1 asshole who pushed Bran out a window, while his sister has gone in the opposite direction, and I don’t think he can even abide the sight of her anymore. — Cindy Davis
Lady Stoneheart Will Finally Make Her Appearance
Yes, I’ve pretty much predicted this every season since Catelyn Stark died and yes, I’m doing it again. It’s just SO BENIOFF AND WEISS that I can’t let go the idea that they’ll pull out Lady Stoneheart as the surprise book fans never thought they’d get. And there’s that trailer scene where Arya’s running from someone (something?) in the crypts — there could be Wights chasing her, and that would be the absolute perfect moment for mum to pop in and save her daughter. Alternatively, it might be that Arya is running from She-Who-Used-To-Be-Catelyn, thinking she’s being chased by a random undead personthing.
If this is a thing that happens, I truly have no idea how Arya will at first react though, in the end, I believe she’d think Lady Stoneheart is pretty damned kickass. — CD
Bran Wargs into the Night King
I don’t mean this in the way that most of the Bran theorists do — Bran’s not all the Brans who ever existed, and I don’t believe he’s been the Night King for a time already. In the “Aftermath” trailer, there’s a shot of Bran’s empty chair (along with a lot of other remnants from beloved characters) and my thought is that despite Jon and Co. having gathered every available force, the Night King’s army will decimate Winterfell during the final battle. With humanity on the verge of being entirely wiped out, Bran will at nearly the last minute warg into the King to stop him from finishing the job, allowing whatever few characters are left to escape. —CD
Jon Snow Will Die
Speaking of the Battle at Winterfell, I believe that is where we will see Jon aka Aegon Targaryen at his most heroic (which is saying something after “Battle of the Bastards” and “Hardhome“), defending his family and Dany (redundant, I know). I have no doubt he and every last beloved warrior we’ve seen make it through all these horrific fights will give it their all, and I also have no doubt they will lose (causing Bran to do the aforementioned warging). What they will all accomplish, though, is to give at least a couple of the last remaining characters a chance to get away — to go somewhere safe and start anew. Jon was always meant to die, but he was brought back to fulfill his purpose of fighting the army of the dead and most of all, to help protect Daenerys — who I believe is the (gender neutral) “Prince who was promised”. Jon will suffer his permanent death this final season. — CD
Sansa, Arya and Dany Will Live
The final three shall be women, OF COURSE. With Daenerys marked as Azor Ahai returned — perhaps she’ll have to take out one of her remaining dragons (possibly the last, if the Night King’s aim is true) to forge the weapon that kills the Night King (aka Bran by that point), or perhaps she puts down a mortally wounded Jon. Either way, and whether or not she’s pregnant with her nephew’s baby (blech), Daenerys will finally rule over the Seven Kingdoms as she was meant to do.
Sansa will somehow be kept safe, perhaps in the crypts, or she may spirit herself away — I don’t see her partaking in the battle.
Sansa and Arya, the strongest of the Stark lineage, will also survive the horrific Battle at Winterfell, though I think Arya’s story could have a little twist. Just as Jon was meant to die, I believe so was Arya. When the Waifinator stabbed her, Arry inexplicably carried on, even running a long distance and making some crazy jumps, even though she’d suffered what appeared to be very severe wounds. Part of me has always wondered if the Arya that came back truly was our Arya.
Far fetched: Could Jaqen H’Ghar have taken her place? Could Arya and Jaqen be working in concert? (Tom Wlaschiha was apparently seen in the area as Season 8 filmed.) And finally, might some other character be fooled by either Arya or Jaqen in this last batch of episodes, leading to an unexpected death (can a Faceless man take the place of a Wight?). — CD
I’m going to miss Game of Thrones. I’m going to miss Arya Stark being in my life more than I miss actual living people I have lost contact with. It’s weird how much I relate to that darling murder-child but I honestly do. I’m from a big, close Northern family, the middle child of five, the tomboyish, morbid one (with huge eyebrows) to my graceful, poised sister, the one who doesn’t look like my parents or siblings but a female relative, leading to years of me genuinely wondering where I fit in until over time I realised I always had. My family hasn’t started a war over that one time ‘ar kid got bullied by them swish southern bastards (… yet) but I can relate to the girl in a powerful way.
Game of Thrones is ending. It’s been excellent. It’s been, occasionally, crap. But it’s never been a waste. But what will happen to my soul twin Arya, Sansa who I have always adored so much, Jon who has fought so hard, Dany, who has come so far? — Nadine Morgan
The Final Showdown Will Not Destroy Winterfell
The Northern/Essos Alliance and the troops from Kings Landing versus the Wights and Night King will happen in and around Winterfell, but they are not the events that see Winterfell destroyed. The fire from the trailers is part of some defence against the Wights. The good guys will take some casualties in this fight, at least one named character will perish. No one too major, though enough it’ll begin the heartbreak fest. Jon will slay the Night King with some kind of assist from Bran — either a full warg into the Night King or a dragon. I would love to see Arya come in at the end with her Valyrian dagger to deliver the killing blow, but I should be so lucky. Unknown to Jon and others, Cersei will have her secret mercenary army in waiting nearby. — NM
On the Chopping Block
When the battle is won, everyone is exhausted, civilians are coming out of hiding, is when the mercenary army will ride on Winterfell and with the already present Southern soldiers, proceed to wreak havoc. This second slaughter will be a huge massacre and because it starts from within there will be almost no defence. I think major, long term characters will be at great risk here. Davos, Gendry, Jorah, Jaime, Pod, Tyrion, Wyrm, Sam, Tormund, The Hound, the big beloved men we all adore, maybe even Jon, could all be on the chopping board, especially Jon, who is a man without a future right now. — NM
Sansa and Arya Will Make a Sacrifice
I seriously believe Arya was actually running away from something in the trailer, likely this massacre and more soldiers. I can see Winterfell being allowed to be destroyed, a decision Arya and Sansa make (I hope, anyway) to trap and devastate Cersei’s forces and allow survivors to escape, but this will be when Winterfell burns.
Either way, whoever dies, the impact will be massive and the survivors will rally and set out to get revenge against Cersei once and for all. This, ultimately, will cost a few more lives and see most of Kings Landing destroyed by wildfire in an explosion that destroys the Iron Throne. (or, even cooler, dragons melt the throne). —NM
Daenerys and Jon Will Not End Up Together
I might even suggest that, since this is the game of thrones, if Dany comes to power it won’t be … totally clean and honest. Her people know Kings Landing still probably won’t accept her rule just like that. But if they, say, made it look like Cersei went mad and set off the explosions — she does have a form they can build on. They’ll use this to damn her and somehow angle it in Dany’s favour. I can see Varys and Tyrion just understanding this is how it has to be.
This will cause a rift between her and — if he survives that long — Jon, whereby he’ll see it as stealing the crown rather than honestly winning it and won’t understand that they did honestly win it, they’re just playing a game to keep it safe. With his identity revealed to at least he and Dany, he’ll pull rank the one time he can and basically decree that he will rule as King in the North; Dany will rule everything else and if she doesn’t agree to it, he’ll out himself as Targaryen and usurp her claim by rank and gender. And he’ll be able to because Game of Thrones. So, she will agree to it. I don’t see them as ending up together in the long term, whatever happens. —NM
Jon Will Die
It’s far more likely Jon may die. I think he probably will. I have this gorgeous picture in my head of older King Jon Stark (because I think he’ll claim Ned’s name whatever happens), maybe with a family of his own, but I don’t think it’s possible. Jon is a Legend, he’s going to die heroically and young, he has to. He is a wartime king, and the war is ending … but he will be laid to rest a Stark, in what’s left of the Winterfell tombs. —NM
Sansa Will Survive
I don’t see her at any level of risk of death. I’d love to see her rule in the North. I think it’s almost a given she will end up with Gendry. It’s in the stars. Politically it makes sense for them to be paired up Lady Stark, Lady of the Eyrie and his status as the last Baratheon, but also as characters, I can see them meeting and falling pretty quickly and hard in love and wanting to marry anyway. It just fits, and for different reasons, both have earned a happy ending.
Brienne will either stay with Sansa, or she’ll return home and assume her own Ladyship there, leaving many of the great houses now ruled over by women. — NM
Arya Will Also Survive
Arya … a lot of people think Arya is marked for death (or already dead) but I’ve never gotten that vibe. I think Arya is destined for a bittersweet sort of ending in which she survives but does not stay with her family. I want, yearn, hope and pray that she stays with Sansa, wherever Sansa ends up, but I can see it being impossible for her. She’s deeply broken and traumatised and like Jon, she exists — thrives — in conflict. She doesn’t have a place in the world after. There’s a chance that perhaps she could find somewhere, say with Lady Mormont’s court, where she can come home when she wants but is able to have some distance, though when all is said and done, I don’t see her being able to truly come home. All I have wanted for many years is that in the end, Arya’s death is faked, so her family gets a chance to believe her dead, mourn her, get their closure, while in reality she and the Hound, and Nymeria, who she can go and retrieve now she’s done what she set out to do, find a farm together and he teaches her how to find peace the way he did. —NM
The Rest of the Best
As for the others, Cersei will die before any possible explosion in Kings Landing. I think Arya will do it, I really do. Jaime arguably should but if Arya has earned anything it’s taking Cersei’s life. Arya doesn’t want the glory, so she’ll let Jaime or someone else take credit.
Tyrion and Varys will survive. Bronn will survive but be badly injured, losing a limb or two and Tyrion will be the one to help him adjust to his life like he did Bran.
Lady Mormont will continue to wreck everyone because they are weak, and beneath her. (my wildest theory is that when the dust settles, Lady Mormont is all that’s left to be Queen, but the world isn’t that kind)
I think ultimately the ending is going to be about the women who assume power and usher in a new era. The majority of the houses will only have women left to take over, and the surviving men are all either too low on the social scale or have had their eyes opened to the power of the women around them to argue. —NM
Game of Thrones returns to HBO with Episode 8.1, directed by David Nutter (“The Rains of Castamere, The Dance of Dragons”) Sunday April 14th.