'Game of Thrones' Final Season Battle Details Raise Deadly Stakes

Who will survive the battle for Winterfell?
Helen Sloan/HBO

Over seven seasons, Game of Thrones has delivered some of the biggest bombshell battle sequences in television history: "Blackwater," "Watchers on the Wall," "Hardhome," "Battle of the Bastards," "The Spoils of War" and "Beyond the Wall," to name the episodes that come most readily to mind, in order of appearance and escalation. But the final battle, the one that's yet to come, will be the biggest one yet — and some new details about the episode-long sequence yields some good and bad news for fans of certain heroes and villains.

Let's start with the good news: Jon Snow (Kit Harington), Daenerys Targaryen (Emilia Clarke), Arya and Sansa Stark (Maisie Williams and Sophie Turner), Brienne of Tarth (Gwendoline Christie) and Tyrion Lannister (Peter Dinklage) will all be alive long enough to experience this battle — at least according to a report published by EW. The bad news? Some or many of them — heck, potentially even all of them — won't make it out of the battle of Winterfell alive, based on the description of "beloved heroes [lying] dead outside the castle gates."

Described as a standoff against the Night King and the Army of the Dead, the battle at Winterfell will arrived at an unspecified point in the final season, currently featuring an unspecified episode title. It comes from Miguel Sapochnik, the man who directed the aforementioned "Hardhome" and "Battle of the Bastards." Speaking previously with THR, creators David Benioff and Dan Weiss have suggested the battle tops anything Sapochnik has directed before.

"In terms of sheer scope," they said, "there is a lot in this season that outstrips the 'Battle of the Bastards' sequence so expertly directed by Miguel Sapochnik. We can say this without feeling bad, since most of it was also expertly directed by Miguel Sapochnik."

The new report suggests much the same, with various perspectives from the players involved. In addition to the aforementioned actors, folks who weigh in on filming the Winterfell battle include Rory McCann ("The Hound"), Liam Cunningham ("Davos"), Iain Glen ("Jorah Mormont") and John Bradley ("Samwell Tarly"). Indeed, an exciting detail about Sam: it's said he will wield a sword during the battle. He's the proud owner of Heartsbane, House Tarly's ancestral Valyrian sword. Time to put another point on the board for Sam the Slayer.

All of this sounds like good news on the surface, right? So many fan-favorite characters who are still in active action as of this huge final battle, a strong bet to fall toward the end of the series. What happens to them next? It's hard to be quite as optimistic. It's also not hard to imagine that one or more of these actors could be playing undead versions of their characters. Who's to say that an undead Arya isn't stalking after Sansa during the battle of Winterfell? In fact, that's such a horrifying premise, that it might be worth amending our Arya Stark predictions.

For posterity, as a gut-check with weeks still standing before the episode arrives, here's who we expect to lose in this final battle sequence based solely on the above mentioned characters:

• Jorah
• Davos
• The Hound
• Brienne
• Arya
• Sam
• Jon
• Daenerys
• Tyrion
• Sansa

Wait... that's all of the aforementioned characters. Brutal. On second thought, final Game of Thrones season? Feel free to take your time before bringing us your last winds of winter.

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