After nearly two years of waiting, we’ve got a measly six episodes of Game of Thrones left. Which means that writers must have spent a lot of time figuring out how to tie up the countless loose ends plot-wise, and how to do the dozens of phenomenal characters justice.
Or at least everyone on the Internet did. Myself included. Which is how we landed here, with the 15 biggest, most interesting, and plausible predictions and theories about Game of Thrones, Season Eight.
1. Arya kills Cersei (As Jaime…or Littlefinger)
Remember Arya’s kill list and face-switching ability? These are loose ends that must be tied up in the final season. Multiple fan theories predict that Arya will kill Cersei, and much of the evidence rests on something Maisie Williams said in a TVGuide interview in 2011: “I’m right-handed, and when Mom was reading the first book, she told me about Arya being left-handed”
Reddit user TaraTinker19 explains that Thrones showrunners insisted Maisie learn to sword with her left hand rather than her dominant right. Considering how liberal they have been about making changes big and small from book to screen, there must be a reason for this demand.
Some are saying Arya will take Jaime Lannister’s identity (who lost his right hand in Season Three) to get close to the queen, while others believe she’ll don the deceased Littlefinger’s appearance, who she killed in the Season Seven finale. (This latter one hinges on Westeros’ ignorance of Littlefinger’s demise.)
2. The REAL Jaime will kill Cersei
For Jaime, the final straw that broke the proverbial camel’s back regarding his twin sister came in the Season Seven finale, when Cersei told him that she was going to betray Dany and Jon even though it would mean the destruction of the human race. So Jaime got the hell out of dodge and headed to Winterfell, to join J + D in the fight against the White Walkers.
It would make a tragic kind of sense that Jaime would be the one to kill Cersei now that the two are on opposing teams. Let us not forget the oft-referenced prophecy given to the queen by Maggy the Frog: “And when your tears have drowned you, the valonqar [High Valyrian for ‘little brother’] shall wrap his hands about your pale white throat and choke the life from you.”
Cersei always assumed that little brother would be Tyrion. But Jaime, having exited the womb after his twin sister is more likely as a contender (Tyrion already killed their dad, after all, and he’s one of the least bloodthirsty characters in the series.)
3. Ned Stark returns
This one sounds crazy, but hear us out: Arya mentor and Faceless Man Jaqen H’ghar was being held as prisoner in the Red Keep at the same time as Winterfell patriarch Ned Stark. Arya first meets Jaqen in Season One, when he is being transported out of the castle—which is strange, isn’t it, that a Faceless Man could so easily be imprisoned and held. More likely, Jaqen was captured and purposefully, publicly seen leaving “willingly.”
According to the theory, Varys payed Jaqen to replace Ned Stark at his execution. The real Ned has been biding his time far away from Westeros, keeping a low profile and repaying his debt of life to Varys and/or The Faceless Men.
This theory would also explain why Ned looked at Arya in his final moments, and is also supported by a long-held fan belief that the words Ned whispered during his final moments were “Valar Morghulis”—High Valyrian for “All Men Must Die.”
In an early report from Season Eight’s set, EW wrote that they had seen numerous characters they didn’t expect to see ever again. Who could possibly be more unexpected than Ned Stark?
4. Bran is the Night King
We saw Bran time travel to the moment the Children of the Forest stabbed a First Man through the heart with dragonglass, creating the first White Walker—the Night King. This theory posits that Bran, who is capable not only of warging and time-traveling but of changing the past while doing so, went back in time to prevent the creation of this First-Man-Turned-Night-King, but somehow f—ked up and accidentally became the Night King.
The similarities between the two are eerie—particularly the way the Night King changes in appearance after the Battle of Hardhome.
“I personally think the Night King theoryis a bit far-fetched, but I would have said the same thing about the Hodor theory,” he told Esquire following the previous season. “And when I saw that on paper, I was like, ‘What! No way!’ But this is Game of Thrones, and anything is possible. I’d love to be the Night King. That would be so fun to be like, ‘It was me all along.'”
5. Bran is the Prince That Was Promised and the Night King is his ancient enemy
In a recent interview with EW, Night King actor Vladimir Furdik revealed the White Walker leader “has a target he wants to kill, and you will find out who that is. There’s also that moment [in “Hardhome”] when Jon Snow was on the boat and the Night King looked at him and raised his arms — there’s a similar and even stronger moment between Jon and the Night King this time.”
Besides Jon Snow, the Night King has never had much of a ~connection~ with anyone in the Thrones universe except for Bran Stark. (After the NK grabs Bran unexpectedly in his vision, leaving a scar, Benjen Reed tells Bran “he touched you! He knows your here! He’ll come for you!”)
So let’s assume NK is after Bran, who has now inhabited the essence of his ancient enemy, the Three-Eyed-Raven. This makes Bran Stark Azor Ahai AKA The Last Hero (who helped the Children end The Long Night),and the only one with the ability to defeat the Night King.
As Reddit user DaughtersOfTheHarpy writes:
So the last hero and the children ban together and create something that can defeat the NK. They gave this man the power he needs to put a stop to the NK. That’s why the NK has tried to stop any three eyed ravens from being trained. That’s why the NK killed Bloodraven and tried to kill Bran. That’s why he is coming after Bran. That’s why the NK and three eyed raven are ancient enemies!
Dan and Dave toldus that the three eyed raven is not entirely human. Just like the NK. Both of them are not human because they were created by the children! All of the ancient past three eyed ravens, went inside of Bran when he uploaded all of the history of the world. All of the souls of the past three eyed ravens are now in Bran. So Bran is not Bran anymore he is all of the three eyed ravens in one mind. He’s not exactly human anymore.
It would make for a fitting ending to have the final battle in the Game of Thrones universe come down to two Children-Of-The-Forest entities—Bran the first Three-Eyed Raven, and Night King, the first White Walker.
6. CLEGANEBOWL (!!!)
The showdown between Gregor and Sandor Clegane is without a doubt going to go down this season. At one point during the Season Seven finale, The Hound delivers a memorable threat to The Mountain: “Remember me? Yeah, you do. You’re even f—king uglier than I am now. What did they do to you? It doesn’t matter. That’s not how it ends for you, brother. You know who’s coming for you. You’ve always known.”
(If you recall, the two have hated one another ever since they were children when The Mountain shoved The Hound into a fire for playing with his toys and permanently disfigured his face.)
The Cleganebowl—a beloved Thrones fan theory that has been around since the very first season—describes the upcoming battle between the brothers, who haven’t taken arms against one another since their swords crossed that first season.
Thrones showrunners have purposefully, over the course of 8 seasons, built up the tension between the brothers. Consider their character arcs: The Mountain was killed by Oberyn Martell’s poison, only to be brought back to life as a monster by Qyburn. Meanwhile, The Hound came so close to death, he was reborn a new man—one who we can’t help but root for, and who has proven his metamorphosis by joining Jon Snow in the coming battle against the Night King.
The Hound may not be a Good Guy—he’s far too cynical for that—but if he’s going down at the hands of the White Walkers, you’re damn sure he’s taking The Mountain down first.
7. Gendry will sit on the Iron Throne
Gendry, for those who have forgotten, is almost definitely the bastard son of former ruler Robert Baratheon. But could he not be a bastard—and instead be the legitimate son of Cersei and Robert Baratheon, and rightful heir to the Throne? We learned in Season One that Cersei actually did have a child with her husband, Robert Baratheon, but that it died shortly after birth.
According to the theory, Cersei couldn’t bear to kill her son, nor could she bear to not have a pure-blooded Lannister sitting on the throne. So she instead faked little Gendry’s death and hid him away in Flea Bottom for his entire life.
Cersei also claims to have lost her first boy, “a little black-haired beauty,” while Gendry explains that all he remembers of his mother is her “yellow hair.”
Outside of the Thrones universe, HBO’s marketing team conspicuously left Gendry out of promotional materials, though showrunners made a point of bringing him back last season. And, as one Twitter user pointed out, “the only part of the opening sequence to never change is the Stag on the throne”—the Baratheon sigil.
Conspiracy Time: #GameOfThrones didn't give #Gendry an emote because he's the real king the big list of emotes are red herrings to make us think it's one of them.— Crispy Gin (@CrispyGin_CGE13) February 28, 2019
Support: The only part of the opening sequence to never change is the Stag on the thrown and he is the last Stag.
Gendry’s poor-kid upbringing and kind heart would make him a just and fair ruler. And if his relationship with Arya continues to blossom, then…that would make for a pretty fitting ending.
8. Dany will become the Night Queen
The theory that Dany will become the Night Queen has more validity than is readily apparent. During a Season Two vision, Dany envisions herself in the throne room at the Red Keep. But the room is destroyed and the Iron Throne completely covered in ice and snow, as the White Walker theme music plays in the background.
In this vision, Dany leaves Khal Drogo and their son to tend to her crying dragons—which, according to u/marisaann26, has already happened IRL—and a warlock says, “The mother is reunited with her babies, and you’ll be with them through winter, summer, then winter again.”
marisaann26 predicts that the Night King will claim Dany’s remaining dragons and she will end up choosing these “children” of hers as foretold in the vision by joining the White Walker leader as his Night Queen.
Other Redditors have pointed out how Dany’s skin and hair already physically looks like the Night Queen of lore (though we’ll note that these are Targaryen characteristics of well), as well as the fact that in another vision, Dany’s eyes blaze blue as she exits the House of the Undying.
There’s also actress Emilia Clarke’s own comments about her character in a Vanity Fair interview from last summer: “It f***ked me up,” Clarke said. “Knowing that is going to be a lasting flavor in someone’s mouth of what Daenerys is….”
9. Dany will turn into the big baddie, the Mad Queen
Though Dany is frequently portrayed (and considers herself) a just and moral leader, many of her actions prove otherwise. Her father Mad King Aerys—whose actions she says cannot be held against her—burned alive all disloyal to him. Dany last season showed us she’s capable of doing the same thing when she torched two Tarlys unwilling to bend the knee.
As we’ve seen with increasing frequency over the past seven seasons, Dany is utterly blind to her own weaknesses. She refuses to listen to her most trusted advisors, Varys and Tyrion, accusing the latter of disloyalty whenever they were in disagreement. None of her actions have been utterly selfless (she “freed” the Unsullied and got them as an army, she “freed” the Meereen slaves so she could lay siege to the city). But she’s also, undoubtedly, a hero.
And, as Reddit user nanoelite points out, both the HBO show and the book series, Dany makes for a far more interesting (and more importantly, realistic) Big Baddie above all else because she lives in that gray area between “good guy” and “bad guy,” much like the rest of us.
“I don’t think that either the Night King (a supernatural entity with absolutely no characterization) or Cersei (a comically evil despot) will be the big bads. Both characters are too easy to root against…Daenerys Targaryen will end as the big bad, because she would be an interesting, and dangerous villain. She is extremely powerful, possessing the largest army as well as dragons. She is sympathetic, having been abused and hunted her whole life, punished for the sins of her family, yet still being generous to those closest to her. And she has great moral arguments, seeking to abolish slavery, end the chaos in Westeros, stop the Dothraki and the Ironborn from raiding and raping, and become a queen in a world dominated by men.”
10. Tyrion is a Targaryen
We know Jon Snow is a Targaryen, but a flood of evidence points to Tyrion also claiming the last name (doesn’t ‘Tyrion Targaryen’ just flow off the tongue?) This is born of the hugely popular A + J = T theory, or Aerys + Joanna = Tyrion.
The Mad King’s obsession with Tywin Lannister’s wife and Tyrion’s mom Joanna is well documented. The theory suggests that Aerys impregnated Joanna, who died giving birth to Tyrion (oddly enough, two other Targaryen siblings also lost their mothers on their way out of the womb—Dany and Jon).
This would explain why Tywin’s always had so much disdain for Tyrion, and it might give meaning to his final words to his son: “you’re no son of mine.” After Tyrion saved King’s Landing from Stannis and confronted his dad, Tywin rewarded him by saying:
“You are an ill-made, spiteful little creature, full of envy, lust, and low cunning. Men’s laws give you the right to bear my name and display my colors, since I cannot prove that you are not mine. And to teach me humility the gods have condemned me to watch you waddle about wearing that proud lion that was my father’s sigil and his father’s before him.”
In the books, Tyrion also has decidedly un-Lannister black and blonde hair and two-different colored eyes—much like Jon Snow.
Also, Drogon let Tyrion pet him in Season Six, Episode Two. WE’VE COVERED THIS: ONLY TARGARYENS GET TO TOUCH DRAGONS.
11. Tyrion is the Prince that Was Promised
We’re still no closer to finding out the identity of Azor Ahai/The Prince That Was Promised, but Tyrion is a strong contender.
According to canon, Azor Ahai was a legendary warrior who had defeated the White Walkers generations ago, bringing the Long Night to an end.
Prophecies state Azor Ahai “shall be born again amidst smoke and salt to wake dragons out of stone,” and they will wield Lightbringer, the “Red Sword of Heroes.”
Melisandre, if you remember, was hellbent on Stannis Baratheon being the promised prince. But then he proved to be a mere man—and a cowardly, weak one at that—and in Season Seven she declared that both Jon and Dany could play a role in the prophecy; hence, Dany waking dragons and Jon wielding Longclaw, a weapon proven deadly against White Walkers.
And if we keep in mind Dany’s obsession with the “three heads of the dragon”—where she is one, and Jon is two—it only seems to reason that Tyrion Targaryen is the third, bringing full circle this notion that The Prince That Was Promised and the Three-Headed Dragon are the same entity.
Tyrion, after all, was also “reborn” amid smoke and salt at the Battle of the Blackwater—and, as we’ve seen, he’s certainly proven himself worthy of Dany’s dragons.
12. Jon and Dany go to war
Five separate plot lines and characters support the likelihood of this theory, as outline by Redditor Nosefouratoo. Bear with me.
Though Varys and Tyrion are Dany’s top advisors, they have both expressed concerns about her leadership—to her face and behind her back. Every time Tyrion has raised these concerns to the MOD, she has replied with vitriol and questioned his loyalty.
In the preview forS8E2, we hear Dany bringing up the fact that Jaime—newly arrived at Winterfell, if you recall—killed her father. She also says, “He (Tyrion) should’ve never trusted Cersei” before we see a shot of a pissed Dany walking away from a sad Tyrion. Dany’s fury could lead her to imprison/kill Jaime, which might in turn cause Tyrion (and, as a result, Varys) to abandon his loyalty. ESPECIALLY when he learns of Jon Snow’s heritage.
But that’s just one piece that’ll contribute to Dany’s downfall. The second is Sam Tarly, who is Jon Snow’s closest friend and advisor, and who just learned that Dany killed his father and brother.
If Dany decides to imprison Jaime, or intends to execute him but is talked out of it, this may very well be the last straw for Tyrion in being able to think Dany is a just ruler. Sam will continue to encourage Jon to take up his position as the One True King. If Sam decides to tell Sansa, the pressure on Jon to “betray” Dany and sit on the Iron Throne will multiply exponentially.
And how do you expect Dany to respond to losing the Iron Throne?
The third addresses the dynamic between Dany and Sansa. The former in the premiere episode warns Jon that Sansa “doesn’t have to be my friend, but if she can’t respect me…”. Dany didn’t finish the sentence, but the meaning was clear.
And the fourth piece of the proverbial puzzle sealing Dany’s fate will be…dragons.
I think we can all agree that Jon’s heritage is the only reason Dany’s dragon Rhaegal lets him clamber on for a ride in the Season Eigh premiere (only Targaryens can wield dragons!). But as Nosefouratoo suggests, this means Jon has ridden Rhaegal (named after his father, Rhaegar, no less) while Dany never has.
“Could it be possible that now Rhaegal could be more partial to Jon than he is to Dany? Could he decide to bind himself to Jon? Has he already done so?” asks Nosefouratoo, adding that if this theory turns out to be true, each of the now three “sides” will have a dragon fighting for them: Rhaegal for Jon Snow, Drogon for Dany, and White-Walker-Viserion for the Night King.
13. Jon or Daeneys is the Prince(ss) Who Was Promised
The legend of Azor Ahai describes “a hero who fought against (the darkness) with a red sword” and “arose to give courage to the race of men and lead the virtuous into battle with his blazing sword Lightbringer.”
His prophecy reads: “When the red star bleeds and the darkness gathers, Azor Ahai shall be born again amidst smoke and salt to wake dragons out of stone.”
Red Priestess Melisandre, upon realizing that Stannis Baratheon was not this fated hero, is certain to turn her attention to either Dany or Jon—who she resurrected in the Season Six finale. The following season, Missandei points out that the word for “prince” in Melisandre’s prophecy is actually genderless, meaning The Princess That Was Promised is just as viable a possibility.
Plus, it sounds better.
14. Sansa is pregnant with Ramsay Bolton’s baby
We dearly hope this one isn’t true (hasn’t Sansa suffered enough???), but it is largely pulled from something Sansa says to Littlefinger about her wedding to the psycho-rapist Ramsay Bolton:
“I can still feel it. I don’t mean ‘in my tender heart it still pains me so’ — I can still feel what he did in my body standing here right now.”
Of course, this theory hinges entirely on how much time has actually passed between Seasons Seven and Eight. Ramsay died in Season Six, so unless the Thrones timeline is hella compressed, Sansa’s pregnancy/birth would probably have already happened.
15. The Night King will turn the dead Starks underneath Winterfell into White Walkers
Recall that HBO teaser trailer featuring Arya, Sansa, and Jon walking through the Winterfell crypts past the faces of the long-dead and buried Starks. The trailer ends with a creeping frost and Jon drawing his sword: Winter has quite literally appeared in the crypts.
In the first official trailer for Season Eight, we also catch a glimpse of a blood-covered, terrified Arya sprinting from someone beneath Winterfell. What if that someone was her father Ned Stark, brought back from the dead as a wight? What if it was her mother Catelyn Stark, who in the books appears as the undead Lady Stoneheart?
And what better way for the Night King to lay siege to Winterfell than to attack from within?