The saga comes to a close in what promises to be an epic finale. But who will kill Daenerys, will Bran warg again – and are the White Walkers gone for good?
Warning: this article contains spoilers.
Many of the big season eight questions have already been answered, like how the White Walkers are defeated, how Cersei bites the dust, and whether or not the showrunners knew where they were going all along. After a, shall we say, divisive penultimate episode, we are left with a deeply twisted happily-ever-after – the exiled ‘rightful’ queen Daenerys has claimed the throne, ready to rid Westeros of tyrants. Unfortunately, she blew everything up in the process. Where does that leave us for the finale? Here are the questions that still need to be answered.
Who will end up on the Iron Throne?
After the scorching of King’s Landing, there’s a good chance the Iron Throne is just a deformed lump of metal, but the symbolism of it stands. Given Daenerys’ actions in The Bells, there will be strong resistance to her taking the throne. She still has a dragon, of course, and a (diminished) army of loyal Unsullied soldiers, so taking her out of the equation will not be an easy task, but it’ll be one that Jon, Tyrion, Arya and Sansa in particular will be keen on achieving.
At this point, those with a claim to the throne are Jon (the Targaryen heir), Daenerys (second in the Targaryen line, but she has a massive dragon so she leapfrogs Jon), Tyrion (potentially Cersei’s heir), and the newly-legitimised Gendry (Robert Baratheon’s heir). Sansa has no real claim, genetically speaking, but is one of the savviest players in the game, so we shouldn’t rule her out.
Can Daenerys survive this?
It’s possible that the show will end with a tyrannical Daenerys on the throne – we wouldn’t put it past Game of Thrones to go for the bleak ending. The more conventional denouement would be for Jon to wind up as king, though a happy ending would go against everything Game of Thrones has stood for for eight emotionally rough seasons. Right now, Jon is the only person who stands a chance of rallying forces against Daenerys – which is surely a suicide mission.
Will Arya shut any green eyes?
Melisandre’s prophecy stated that Arya would close blue eyes, brown eyes and green eyes. The first two have been ticked off in epic ways – Walder Frey and the Night King – so will Arya kill a green-eyed person in the finale?
To be fair, she has probably already killed someone with green eyes somewhere along her murder spree, so the prophecy could already be fulfilled, but that would fall flat. Cersei was the main green-eyed contender, until The Hound talked Arya out of her ill-fated revenge mission, which leaves Daenerys. With the penultimate episode ending with Arya riding out of the ruins of King’s Landing on a pale horse, death could be coming for Daenerys in a very literal way.
Will anyone be revealed as Azor Ahai, the Prince That Was Promised?
Less has been made of Azor Ahai in the show than in the books, so they might just dismiss this as Melisandre’s fanatical ravings, but the Prince That Was Promised is still prophesied to return. Melisandre initially believed this was Stannis, before switching her faith to Jon following his resurrection. Daenerys is the character who fits the prophecy most accurately, but, well, she’s a maniac now.
It’s also worth noting that Jon isn’t the only character to survive multiple stabbings – Arya did back in season six, and she’s also proven to be weirdly unkillable this season, surviving both the Battle for Winterfell and the razing of King’s Landing. Could she be the Prince That Was Promised?
Will any of the Bran theories come to pass?
Since revealing Jon’s parentage, Bran’s Three-Eyed Raven powers haven’t had much to do, which is strange considering the number of fan theories centred around him. At one point, it was thought he could be the Night King, which is why the White Walkers had such an interest in him. Bran explained it away as the White Walkers simply wanting to extinguish all memory of human history in Westeros, but that feels like hammering in an ill-fitting puzzle piece. With the White Walkers apparently gone, though, it might be the best explanation we get.
The other Bran theory – that due to the same sort of time-travelling paradox that created Hodor, Bran could be the ancient figure Bran the Builder – could still come true. And remember, just because Bran isn’t on screen, it doesn’t mean he isn’t watching, or manipulating, events from the sidelines. He is still a powerful warg, after all. Speaking of which – will we ever get to see him warg into a dragon?
Is everyone in the North safe?
With the White Walkers gone and Daenerys (currently) concentrating her scorched-earth policy on the south, the northern characters have gone from being the most imperilled people in Westeros to the safest. Tormund and Ghost are heading even further north, making them possibly the first characters to get out alive. There’s a chance that Daenerys will fly back north to take out Sansa, who is one of the biggest political threats to her rule, but for now the North is sitting pretty.
Will Tyrion be punished for his disobedience?
Daenerys is unlikely to be pleased when she realises Jaime is gone, and she’ll know who to blame. She’s not one to let it slide, and indeed had already told Tyrion he was on his last warning. But even if Daenerys kills Tyrion, she can’t punish him more than he is undoubtedly punishing himself for not acting against Daenerys when he had the chance, and for leading his siblings to their death. It’s been a tough couple of episodes for Tyrion, full of uncharacteristically terrible decision-making. Will the finale adopt the show-not-tell approach to his fabled strategic intelligence, and will he prove to be Daenerys’ downfall?
Will the wheel ever be broken?
Daenerys talks a good game, but she’s never had any intention of breaking the wheel – she just wanted it to turn in her favour, then use it to crush her enemies. A ‘happy’ ending for Game of Thrones would see the wheel smashed to pieces, with no one on the Iron Throne, the abolishment of monarchy and the implementation of democratic governance. But these things are cyclical, and the human race is destined to make the same mistakes on loop, so the wheel is likely to keep on rolling.
If that is the case, will a supernatural threat arise again? Will the White Walkers survive, in some form, or will a new threat emerge? Will we be left with dragon eggs undiscovered and lying in wait for the next mad ruler? After all, this is Westeros, a place where happy endings don’t exist – or at least not for long.
Tuning in for the finale? Watch along livewith Stuart Heritage’s liveblog