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And so … the end is near.
Well, near-ish. It’s not impossible that viewers will have to wait until 2019 for the final season of Game of Thrones, which will clock in at a mere six episodes. Given where the story left off in the season seven finale, “The Dragon and the Wolf,” it makes sense that there’s only a limited amount of time before we check out of the Seven Kingdoms for good, or at least check out of them until the successor shows start to roll out. With White Walkers on the march against the land of the living, the stage is set for a final season so action-packed that it will make this past season look positively talky in comparison.
As we head back into the Game of Thrones offseason, there’s nothing left to do except speculate on the fates in store for some of our favorite characters. With that in mind, here are seven predictions about the final run of Game of Thrones we’re comfortable making just a few days removed from the season seven finale.
1. Winterfell Will Fall
The Wall is ruined. The White Walkers are in Westeros, with an undead dragon on their side. With their collective eye firmly on destroying mankind, the Army of the Dead are positioned to wreak untold amounts of havoc upon the Seven Kingdoms — starting with the closest high-value target, Winterfell. It won’t be the first time we’ve seen House Stark’s stronghold come under attack, but it will very likely be the most painful version of such an assault. Given the proximity of the Night King’s wrecking crew to the iconic Northern castle, expect to see Winterfell fall as soon as the end of the final season premiere.
2. Littlefinger Will Rise
The chaotic climber died a sad and lonely death in the season seven finale, but is that really the end of the road for Aidan Gillen’s work on the show? Not by a long shot. Arya Stark (Maisie Williams) possesses the ability to wear the faces of the people she’s killed, and the motive to apply that treatment to the recently deceased Lord Baelish. Imagine the scenario in which Arya as Littlefinger strolls down to King’s Landing to cozy up to Cersei Lannister (Lena Headey), in desperate need of any allies she can get her hands on. That would be one highly inventive way to satisfy the prophecy of the “valonqar,” which states that Cersei will be killed by the “younger sibling.” Most people think the prophecy refers to Jaime (Nikolaj Coster-Waldau) or Tyrion (Peter Dinklage), but why can’t it apply to the youngest Stark sister — especially if she’s wearing the face of an enemy?
3. Bran Stark Will Fly
Never forget the Three-Eyed Raven’s promise to Bran (Isaac Hempstead Wright) at the end of season four: “You will never walk again … but you will fly.” Unless you want to count Bran’s travels through time, or his warging into a flock of ravens, as “flying,” then the original Three-Eyed Raven’s promise to Bran remains unfulfilled. Good thing there’s a very clean opportunity for Bran to fly in the final season: warging into the rotting body of the undead Viserion, and hijacking the dragon away from the vicious Night King. The dragon has three heads, indeed.
4. The Night King Will Die
Feels like an easy prediction to make, right? Game of Thrones is a story steeped in brutality, but it’s not so brutal that it will end with a White Walker win. The scenario writes itself: Bran steals Viserion back from the Night King, forcing the enemy to fight on the ground in single combat against Jon Snow (Kit Harington). We’ve seen the King in the North kill two White Walkers now. How hard can it be to kill a third? What’s more, based on the information we learned in “Beyond the Wall,” killing White Walkers also kills the wights under their control. If the Night King dies, all of the wights should drop as a result. Look for that to happen in the final episode or two.
5. Jon Snow Will Also Die
He died once before, and he’s going to die again: Jon Snow simply cannot walk away from Game of Thrones with his life intact. Yes, he’s the rightful heir to the Iron Throne, which sounds like the very last job on the planet Jon could ever want. From my viewpoint, the fact that Jon is the son of Rhaegar and Lyanna doesn’t speak to his destiny as the next king of Westeros. Instead, it serves as added fuel in the tank for a man with so many accomplishments and so much destiny driving him forward, shaping the mythical narrative around the hero who saves humanity from extinction — albeit at the expense of his own life. In order for the majority of the Game of Thrones cast to live, Jon must die, likely in battle against the Night King.
6. Jon Snow Will Live!
Heading into season seven, I floated out a crackpot theory about Beric Dondarrion (Richard Dormer) sacrificing his last life to resurrect a fallen Jon Snow. It didn’t happen. But it still might! It assumes that Beric survived the fall of the Wall, and given that we didn’t see him or Tormund (Kristofer Hivju) directly die in the attack, it feels safe to say they’re still alive. Jon’s second death and second revival would only further serve the predestined narrative around the young man secretly known as Aegon Targaryen — you know, right before he dies for good.
7. The Cleganebowl Is Real
Consider what the Hound tells the Mountain in the season seven finale, when they meet for the first time in ages: “Remember me? Yeah, you do. You’re even fucking uglier than I am now. What did they do to you? Doesn’t matter. It’s not how it ends for you, brother. You know whose coming for you. You’ve always known.” Is this Game of Thrones, or is this smack talk before a WWE brawl? Can’t it be both? More than anything else, I’m sure about this: the final season of Game of Thrones will feature a final battle between the brothers Clegane. As Lord Billy of House Fuccillo would say, “It’s gonna be huge.”
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