Some spoilers ahead from season eight, episode one.
After two exceedingly long years since the finale of season seven, the first episode of the six-part final season of “Game of Thrones” aired last night. Many of The Federalist’s writers, as well as millions of people around the globe, have had plenty of time to develop theories about what will happen as the beloved fantasy drama draws to a close.
Now that the last season is officially underway, here are some of the favorite theories floated by several Federalist writers. After just one episode with minimal foreshadowing, there are still many more questions than answers, but all of these theories, however unlikely, are still technically possible.
- Daenerys becomes pregnant with Jon Snow’s baby, but shortly after giving birth succumbs to the Targaryen crazy gene, and Jon Snow is forced to kill her. Jon is subsequently killed by one of the dragons. The baby will inherit the throne.
- After a decisive defeat of the Army of the Dead, the remaining allied armies of Daenerys and Winterfell go to King’s Landing to defeat Cersei Lannister. She will be nearly rescued but ultimately killed by her brother, Jaime, in one of the final scenes of the season after he finally accepts that she is truly evil. This will also satisfy Jamie’s nearly dead sense of honor. He will feel responsible for the sad state the kingdom is in and recognize his hand in allowing it to happen, as well as causing much of the decay when he threw Bran Stark out of a tower.
- Jon, Daenerys, Cersei, and Jamie are all killed. Sansa Stark, the current lady of Winterfell, is killed by some deus ex machina. Her sister Arya ends up as the temporary ruler of the Seven Kingdoms with Tyrion Lannister as her right hand, waiting for Daenerys and Jon’s baby to grow up and rightfully sit on the Iron Throne.
- Tyrion is a secret, illegitimate Targaryen who was fathered by the Mad King, Aerys Targaryen. This explains why he has almost nothing in common with his scheming family. Tyrion is also drawn to dragons and is never afraid to touch them. The dragons seem to like him too.
- The Iron Throne is torn down to make swords to kill the Army of the Dead. The series ends with no Iron Throne and all those who could claim it are dead. (Jamie has to kill Cersei because she refuses to relent). Jon Snow discovers his heritage but definitely doesn’t stop sleeping with Daenerys.
- Daenerys and Jon Snow will secure a complicated alliance that will see stability over the realm, but at least one of them will die. The most likely case is that neither will survive the season. Their relationship could produce a child, who would be seen as the last, legitimate claimant to the Iron Throne. Tyrion Lannister will serve as regent, and the show ends with all seven kingdoms well on their way to modern sociopolitical norms. The dragons will all die, because fantastical magical creatures will not have a place in the new world that will exist after the apocalypse that is about to occur.
- The Iron Bank will have to default on all its outstanding loans to various pretenders to the Iron Throne. This will cause a collapse in the Bravos economy that will see a new age of piracy and looting across Essos. Hopefully someone invents gunpowder soon—they’re going to need it.
- Bran is either going to die or sublimate into the world of the Three-Eyed Raven, unable to return to his human life. Before that happens, he’ll be instrumental in some way to defeating the Night King and by extension the White Walkers. Maybe he’ll transpose his dreamscape to when the Night King was made and inhabit him to sort of make him uniquely vulnerable while someone who’s close to Bran has to kill him after he has changed places with the Night King. This person could possibly be Jamie Lannister, who almost poetically redeems himself for injuring Bran in season one by killing him in the final season.
- Brienne of Tarth will get to lead the new King/Queen’s Guard. This would be most fitting if Sansa were to become regent, or even the rightful queen. Sansa would be a satisfying queen, as she has come on the longest journey from “dumb and useless” to “strong and competent.” Sansa finishing her growth quest by becoming the most competent and beloved ruler of Westeros in 300 years would be really neat.
- Now that Theon Greyjoy has rescued his sister, Yara, the immediate plan is to return her to the Iron Islands as the rightful ruler on the Salt Throne. Theon wants to fight with Daenerys and Jon Snow, but before either are able to achieve their goals they will be forced to defeat their awful uncle, Euron. This will likely be in some Viking-style pirate battle, where Theon likely sacrifices himself to save his sister, redeeming him for his previous cowardice.
- Syrio Forel, the “Dance Master” from the first season, is actually the same person as Jaqen H’Ghar, a leader of The Faceless Men and dedicated servant of the Many-Faced God. Syrio’s death was implied in season one but not shown. Meanwhile, despite his impact on Arya’s journey, Jaqen’s story was never officially tied up. Both men gave Arya very similar-sounding advice, seemingly supporting her in a form she needed most at the time she knew them.
- Davos either kills Melisandre or arrives with the intention of killing her as she is being killed by something else, like the manifestation of her hubris. Davos is a favored character, so his death would be disappointing, but would be an easy dramatic moment during the absolute chaos that will consume these final five episodes. Varys’s death is likely to come just before this as a final manifestation of Melisandre’s dark predictions in service of the supremely shady Lord of Light.
- Tyrion will live or die in the last few scenes. What would be worth betting on is whether he gets a big brain redemption. For supposedly being one of the most clever and strategic minds in the story, he got outplayed three separate times by his sister last season, more if you count his falling for her peace offering. Sansa confronts his stupidity right off the bat in the season eight premiere. He has to prove to everyone that his clever mind still works and cook up a good plan, but his challenge will be getting Daenerys to accept it after he has been so keen to forgive his siblings’ terror and blind to their true intentions.
- When all the bad people are finally dead, Arya and Gendry will go on a quest to the sea and explore worlds unknown. She’s done with Westeros and all its nonsense, and once her family is safe and their future is secured, it’s time for adventure. She and Gendry will fall in love. The Brotherhood Without Banners is completely wiped out with the exception of the Hound, who defeats his brother, The Mountain, shortly before Jamie kills Cersei. After everyone he knows is dead, The Hound considers suicide but is invited by Arya and Gendry to accompany them on their adventures, which he accepts. He feigns reluctance but is actually delighted to join his friends.
- Sam Tarly and Gilly live happily ever after with Little Sam. Sam comes to terms with his intelligence and ability to lead and discovers the way to permanently defeat the White Walkers. He’ll end up starting a college, not a maestery, a proper academic institution where people seek out new knowledge, not just read about forgotten lore. His contributions will help usher in a new era of science, medicine, and knowledge, possibly leading this world out of the Dark Ages.