While it remains to be seen – possibly in the very distant future – how the HBO adaptation of Game of Thrones matches up with George R. R. Martin’s novels, the fact of the matter is that in just four weeks, the story will be over. Considering that I’ve read the books since their initial release in, what, 1996?, this is a big deal.
The first two episodes of the final season have been mostly free of action, as the characters generally gather together at Winterfell to await the Night’s King and the epic battle expected to ensue.
This post contains spoilers for the final season of GOT, through episode 2. The rest of the post is just me making up stuff.
Though we finally got some nice payoffs like Brienne being knighted and Arya deciding that life can be more than just revenge, the first two episodes were rather quiet. I’d like to hope that, seen together, they make for a great lead-in to the mayhem to come.
Game of Thrones is a massive story arc, with an almost ridiculous number of significant characters. Martin has already written more than 1.7 million words in the first five novels alone. (Who knows how many more words await us in novels six and seven?) It’s obviously been distilled for TV, but even so, there is a lot to wrap up in the remaining four episodes.
From an overall narrative arc, my guess would be that the final episode is a long goodbye. There are too many beloved characters to have some massive final battle end five minutes before the credits roll and feel rewarded at how things wrap up. Perhaps if the final episode runs exceptionally long, it will begin with the final conflict resolution before turning into that long goodbye, but I’d still expect quite a bit of air time for calm reflection, for whomever is left.
That leaves us with three episodes to resolve the fight with the Night King AND the fight with Cersei for the Iron Throne. Sure, those two fights might easily morph into one, but for now they are distinct things.
And now, on to my silly predictions, by character:
- He hides. He lives. It’s what people like him do.
- He fights. He dies. It’s what people like him do. Most likely saving his Queen.
- This is a harder one. Based on finally becoming a knight, it would make sense for her to die nobly, such as sacrificing herself for Jaime. But I think she almost dies to save Jaime, then Tormund Giantsbane comes to her rescue. This act finally makes her open to his clear interest. I predict these two make it to the “final goodbye” of the series.
- Well, ol’ Reek has been through a lot, but he was kind of deserving of it at the time. Granted, Ramsay Bolton took everything way too far, way too sadistic, but Theon often got what he deserved. So now Theon should get what he deserves again… but what is that? He most recently rescued his sister and now he wants to fight to redeem his name at Winterfell, but is that enough? I think it is. I think sis Yara (novel version: Asha) will conquer the Iron Islands, and after he survives the attack of the Night King, Theon will rejoin her there.
- All those not fighting will hide in the crypts. The crypts contain the honored Stark dead. The Night King resurrects the dead. What could go wrong? Oh yeah, that. The Stark dead will rise to fight for the Night King, and that cute little girl with greyscale, so clearly reminiscent of Shireen, will try to defend everyone. Davos will come to her rescue, and die in the effort.
- Showing up at the scene of an apocalyptic battle with a dubious hit contract and a crossbow does not seem like a wise idea. Bronn finally decides it’s easier to simply walk away.
- As the story’s Samwise Gamgee character, it’s almost his duty to live through to the end. He has a wife and a kid to raise, for heaven’s sake. He will help defend the crypt, once more showing a moment of bravery. Later, he and Gilly will strike off for some remote cabin in the north where Sam will read books to his heart’s content until the end of his days.
Bran Stark / The Three-Eyed Raven
- Here’s where things get rocky. S8, Episode 2 made it clear that the Night King wants to kill Bran (the Three-Eyed Raven) in order to erase humanity’s memory. I think the Night King succeeds. Bran dies next to Winterfell’s weirwood tree. Sorry, fans of weird staring. He’s gone.
- Really? You need to think about it? Dead. In the very next battle. Do not make fanciful HEA plans as death incarnate approaches.
Sandor Clegane / The Hound
- Yet another path of redemption. Everyone is waiting for him to kill his weirdo zombie brother in CleganeBowl, and yeah, that seems like it will happen. He survives the Night King, kills the Mountain at great cost, then dies happily with Arya beside him in the final episode.
- Well now. Her death list seems to have been fading in her mind. She and Gendry might have a future. Yet… Nah, I’m not cruel. Arya lives to the final goodbye.
- I feel like Sansa’s arc is already complete. That might mean she lives, or that she dies. I think she lives to the final goodbye, and becomes the Queen in the North, despite the fact that Dany wasn’t so keen on that idea.
- Returns as Lady Stoneheart to kill both the Night King and Cersei Lannister. Sorry, what? Lady Stoneheart didn’t make the cut for the shows? Ah, well, sorry. Never mind. She’s just dead.
Jon Snow / Aegon Targaryen
- There are two problems with Jon surviving. First, he is almost pathetically noble. Second, he has a good reason to sit on the Iron Throne. But he’s the same guy. He will relinquish his position and allow Dany to become queen. Will he die? Will he commit to a romantic life with his royal auntie? No. Jon dies as the ultimate sacrifice. Whatever has to happen to thwart the Night King, it’s Jon who does it. Even if the remaining army is in shambles and still has to face Cersei in the south.
- Jaime pretends to come back to his sister. Knowing it is his child in her womb, and knowing she will destroy the Seven Kingdoms, he kills her. Then kills himself.
- See above.
- Dany seems destined to become the one who sits on the Iron Throne, but I think the world is a more complicated place than that. In the battle against Cersei at King’s Landing, Dany’s dragons breathe fire and melt the Iron Throne to nothing but a puddle of molten metal. Though she defeats the Night King and Cersei, Dany is left nothing but an empty hall from which to rule. She finally realizes the inherent sadness of her megalomaniacal quest.
- I think more people care what becomes of Tyrion than any other character, and for good reason. Tyrion is not only smart and funny, he is the avatar of writer George R. R. Martin in the story. What would GRRM do with himself in this context? Win battles? Become king? Or maybe… be more than all that. Be the ultimate storyteller. When Bran is slain by the Night King, all hope is lost that humanity’s memory has been erased, until we learn that Tyrion has become the new Three-Eyed Raven!
So that’s it – my completely wild suggestions on how it all ends. I’ll be watching the next few weeks to culminate a story I’ve loved for 20+ years. None of the above should be taken too seriously, unless of course I prove to be right. Then you heard it here first, haha.