Winter is here, and so too is Game of Thrones season 8 (FINALLY!). Who will die first? Who will be the prince or princess who was promised? And who will sit on the Iron Throne when the dust settles? We’ve trundled through the facts, dug up the prophecies and formed a mental mind map. Matched with our understanding of plotting and effective storytelling, we will share with you our top Game of Thrones season 8 theories.
***This post is brimming with spoilers throughout the Game of Thrones TV series, as well as the books by George R. R. Martin***
Where it ended in Season 7
No doubt you’ll remember the reawakened Viserion being ridden by the Night King and burning down the wall at Eastwatch, but you’ll be forgiven for not remembering what else happened in the final episode: The Dragon and the Wolf. Here’s a quick summary:
- Cersei is pregnant (contrary to fan theories, we’re certain she is. She may have reason to lie to Jaime, but not to Tyrion, who picked it up when she grabbed her belly.)
- Euron Greyjoy appeared to flee back to Pyke, but according to Cersei, he is fleeting to Essos to collect the Golden Company, a group of mercenary soldiers who will be part of Cersei’s new army.
- Jaime defies his sister and travels to Casterly Rock to help his army fight with the north.
- Theon sails with his band of Iron Islanders to save Yara.
- Sansa sentences Littlefinger (Lord Baelish) to death, with Arya carrying out the sentence.
- Danaerys and Jon copulate, and we also discover that he is not a bastard to Eddard Stark, but the baby of Lyanna Stark and Rhaeger Targaryan. Which means Danaerys is his Auntie. Also, Jon’s real name is Aegon Targaryen.
Who will die first?
“When you play the game of thrones, you win or you die.” – Cersei Lannister
We do not believe that someone will die in the opening scene, or at least not one of the major characters. The likeliest character to die first considering the current events would be Varys. Those who shouldn’t die – at least in the first episode – are Cersei, Sansa, Arya, Daenerys and Jon. Euron and Theon are expected to battle on the seas and it would be wise, according to plotting, to have Theon win. It would be callous to let him die considering all he has been through. As for Jaime, we think he will be around a little longer since storytelling dictates it would be Cersei who should kill him, which explains why she is crying and smiling in the season 8 trailer. Melisandre has said she will meet Arya again, which means Melisandre will return to Westeros following her trip to Volantis, so we doubt she’ll die anytime soon. And with the Greyjoy’s impending civil war, it would be highly likely Varys will die first since he was promised death by Melisandre in the final episode of season 7.
Who is the prince or princess that was promised?
“Lannister, Targaryen, Baratheon, Stark, Tyrell… they’re all just spokes on a wheel. This one’s on top, then that one’s on top, and on and on it spins, crushing those on the ground.” – Daenerys Targaryen
First, we must make an important point here: The prince or princess that was promised will not necessarily be the one who sits on the Iron Throne. In the book, Song of Ice and Fire, the prince or princess that was promised will be born among salt and smoke and will wield a sword called Lightbringer. This should mean that Danaerys is the princess promised since she was (re)born among salt and smoke, but she has never wielded a sword so this theory doesn’t work. The only known blacksmith in the list of Game of Thrones characters is Gendry, who is technically the heir to the Iron Throne as Robert Baratheon is his father. He will forge the sword Lightbringer from the Valyrian steel dagger that Arya holds, turning it into another version of Needle, and Arya will be the princess that was promised. However, (sorry to say) she will probably die in the process.
“The day will come when you think you are safe and happy, and your joy will turn to ashes in your mouth.” – Tyrion Lannister
When Cersei was in her youth, she and one of her friends visited a witch called Maggy the Frog who granted her three questions. Cersei was told she will wed the king, she’ll become queen until another casts her down, she’ll have three children who will be wrapped in gold cloaks and (this part is according to the books) the ‘valonqar’ (little brother in High Valyrian) “shall wrap his hands about your pale white throat and choke the life from you.” The prophecies have mostly come true: she wedded the king and she had three children who died. But ‘valonqar’ is a little contested since Jaime and Tyrion are both younger than her. But with emphasis on the little, it will be Tyrion who will do the honours. Our theory here is that Jaime will be killed by Cersei, which explains why she is seen crying in the trailer, and that Tyrion will strangle her to death. But given that the ‘valonqar’ moment wasn’t added to the TV series, we will wager that it’s for a reason and that she will be killed by someone else. If it’s not Tyrion, it will most likely be Jaime instead. Ain’t that fitting?
“Power resides where men believe it resides. It’s a trick; a shadow on the wall.” – Lord Varys
This prophecy is not in the TV series, but it follows both the TV and book versions quite well. When Daenerys was in the House of the Undying, saving her dragons, whispers gave her a prophecy: “three fires must you light… one for life and one for death and one to love… Her own heart was beating in unison to the one that floated before her, blue and corrupt… three mounts must you ride… one to bed and one to dread and one to love… The voices were growing louder, she realized, and it seemed her heart was slowing, and even her breath… three treasons will you know… once for blood and once for gold and once for love…”
We know the first two of three fires that Daenerys lights: the first was for Khal Drogo, where her dragon eggs bore life to real dragons, the second at Vaes Dothrak, where she killed the Dothraki masters and won the affection of the locals. The third, for love, has not been seen yet.
As for the three mounts, they are well known already. To bed: Daario Naharis. To dread: Hizdahr zo Loraq. To love: Jon Snow
And for treasons. Once for blood: either Mirri the witch who failed to heal Khal Drogo, but it could also be matched with Sons of the Harpy. For gold: obviously Jorah for his earlier spying on the Daenerys. For love is still uncertain.
Considering each of the three prophecies ends on love, we’d wager that Jon falls into all three finales. The prediction is that Daenerys will light a fire to burn Jon Snow’s dead body. For treason, it will most likely be because Jon Snow is Daenerys’ nephew, and he slept with her, but this is highly doubtful. The final treason would probably be his claim to the throne when he realises his heritage.
Who will sit on the Iron Throne?
“When the snows fall and the white winds blow, the lone wolf dies, but the pack survives.” – Ned Stark
It will be Sansa. But before we launch into our theory on it, it’s best to share why the others will not claim the throne.
Jon Snow will not, since he has already died in the series. He is also a contender for the throne, and Daenerys could see it as a betrayal. And because Jon has died before, he should die again, according to plot theory.
Arya will not, since she is a grown soldier and killer. She will very likely die before the end.
Cersei will not, since she has been prophesied to die at the hand of one of her brothers.
The Night King will not, since it is clear that he is not after the throne. He is after Bran, the newly appointed three-eyed raven who is tasked to help stop the Army of the Dead.
Tyrion will not, since he makes a better Hand than a ruler.
That leaves, minus the minor characters, Sansa and Daenerys. As much as we all would like to see Daenerys on the throne, there is too much of a possibility she will die, betrayed by the love from Jon Snow. Her role in the series is not to take the Iron Throne but to defeat the Army of the Dead. While Jon and Daenerys battle the dead, Sansa has the North and rules the North. Cersei will try to take the North, but with Jaime gone, it will be hard, especially if he means to take the army at Casterly Rock too. Cersei will likely wait for the Golden Company to come via the sea, and as we see in the trailer, the Golden Company do indeed come by sea. In one glimpse, the golden company is travelling in a fleet of ships, but in another glimpse, there are three ships. It seems that Theon will not reach Euron in time before he reaches Essos. Instead, Theon will catch the Golden Company on the way back. It would be awful for Theon to die at the hands of Euron or the Golden Company, but he probably will, and Yara will avenge him. The Golden Company will continue its sail towards Kings Landing to help in the war. The troops will travel north to rear end Jon and Daenerys in their war against the Night King.
Skipping all the deaths that will arise from this scenario, including a possible saviour from Daario Naharis who runs Dragons Bay (formerly known as Slaver’s Bay), one must wonder what will happen when all the dust settles. As the great biblical quote says: “Blessed are the meek: for they shall inherit the earth.” Sansa will defend her home with the help of Bran. She will wait out the storm in a castle that is hard to penetrate. When Jon dies, she will become queen of Winterfell and the North. And then Cersei will die, strangled by her brother Tyrion, the same man who grew fond of Sansa. Sansa will see her moment and will march south to Kings Landing. She will probably marry Gendry, the rightful heir to the throne, and Tyrion will serve as Hand of the King. And hopefully, as a nod towards Daenerys and her dream of breaking the wheel, Sansa will destroy the Iron Throne. Thus ending the series.