Warning: The following contains spoilers for “Game of Thrones”
The fantasy series epic, HBO’s “Game of Thrones,” airs its highly anticipated final season on April 14. Based on George R. R. Martin’s “A Song of Ice and Fire” series, “Game of Thrones” has enthralled dedicated viewers for the past eight years. With each season ramping up the intensity, the series finale is sure to enthuse and infuriate fans more than ever. To get ready for the season premiere, writers at The Daily Utah Chronicle share their hopes, dreams and wild theories for the show’s conclusion.
Who will end up on the Iron Throne?
Chris: The previous seven seasons of “Game of Thrones” brought us to the point where we have three competing forces: Cersei with the Lannister and Greyjoy armies, Daenerys with the Targaryen and Stark forces and then the Army of the Dead and the Night King himself. Given this series’ tendency for ambiguous and grey endings, I don’t think there’s any way we will see Daenerys victorious on the throne any more than I think the Night King will sweep all of Westeros away. However, there’s a very real possibility that humanity will win and Cersei will be the last queen standing. Personally, I’m predicting something slightly more optimistic: all the current rulers are slain in the conflict and Gendry ascends to the Iron Throne as the sole heir to House Baratheon.
Alaikia: I love the idea of a relatively small character ending up on the Iron Throne as opposed to the major players, and Gendry is a great choice. Although I can’t help but hope for the Starks to come out on top. Jon Snow, now a confirmed legitimate Targaryen, is rightful heir to the throne. Jon on the throne would mean a Stark on the throne. Sansa, rightful heir to Winterfell, would serve as Warden of the North with Jon as king. Really, I just want the surviving members of this family — who we are meant to side with from the beginning — to come out of the war unscathed and happy. The shocking twists and sharp turns the show has taken over the last eight years have taught me not to be hopeful, but in my perfect world the Stark children win against dragons and lions.
Which fan theory do you most want to come true in the final season?
Alaikia: I fluctuate between how seriously I take this theory, but I want to see Bran warg into one of the dragons. The previous Three-Eyed Raven told Bran in season four “You will never walk again, Bran, but you will fly.” Sure, this could just mean birds, which we see Bran easily do at the end of last season. But the Three-Eyed Raven could have also meant dragons. Maybe Bran won’t even warg into the dragon, maybe he’ll straight up ride one, who knows. I also don’t really subscribe to the “everything is Bran’s fault” theory — otherwise known as the “Bran is the Night King” theory — but I’m all about our Bran also being Bran the Builder, so I’d love to see a reveal there. I’m just generally looking forward to more Bran the Three-Eyed Raven shenanigans.
Chris: One fan theory puts Jon Snow as Azor Ahai — the Prince promised by Melisandre’s god, R’hllor — come to stop the armies of the Other. This isn’t as unfounded as most other fan theories, since Melisandre repeatedly sees Snow when she tries to see Azor in her flames and other prophecies about the prince fall in line with Snow’s backstory. But if this turns out to be true it will be interesting to see what this means for Snow’s character. According to “Game of Thrones” lore, Azor Ahai wielded a magical sword — Lightbringer — which only gained its power when the original Azor thrust the blade through the heart of his lover. Jon Snow’s most recent lover was the dragon queen herself, so there’s plenty of room for some wild conjecturing here.
Who do you hope makes it to the end?
Chris: Plenty of characters have earned a special place in my heart, and I truly hope they all survive this season. However, I would sacrifice every last one of them if it guaranteed Tormund Giantsbane and Brienne of Tarth would be the last two standing. Tormund won me over the first moment I saw his fiery red beard and rugged charm. He’s proven himself as an able warrior, a strong leader and a loyal friend. Then, there’s Brienne. Her commitment to honor and loyalty verge on manic, but nobody can deny her righteousness and all around capability. She’s every bit as fearsome a fighter as Tormund, and her quest with Jamie revealed surprising complexity within her character. The show gave a hint of a potential romance between the two in season six, and now that’s all I want out of this next season.
Alaikia: Podrick Payne is sort of a minor, comic relief type character. He’s easily lovable but also incredibly brave. Pod is loyal and kind, happy serving and learning from people he admires. Best of all, he doesn’t judge or mock people for being different. Pod has no less respect for Tyrion because he’s a dwarf or for Brienne because she’s a woman. He just sees remarkable people and that makes Pod kind of remarkable. For me, killing off Pod is a Fred Weasley-level betrayal.
Who do you hope doesn’t?
Alaikia: If there is anyone still alive who deserves to die the most, it’s obviously Cersei. I’m just hoping the prophecy about her death from the books is honored. We see Cersei visit the witch who predicts the death of her three children in a flashback at the beginning of season five. In the books, the witch also tells Cersei “And when your tears have drowned you, the Valonqar shall wrap his hands about your pale white throat and choke the life from you.” In Valerian, Valonqar means “little brother,” leaving fans to assume Cersei’s little brother will kill her. Since both Jaime and Tyrion are younger than Cersei, either could end Cersei’s life. I think Cersei believes this prophecy means the brother who is literally little, Tyrion, further reason for her lifelong hatred. After the way Cersei and Jaime left their relationship at the end of last season, Jaime may also be a legitimate candidate, which would be poetic in so many ways. He would have to kill the love of his life, the person he came into the world with.
Then there’s also his “Kingslayer” title. Once again he would have ended the life of his monarch. The arc of the story would essentially start and end with Jaime killing the king or queen he was sworn to protect. Regardless of who kills Cersei, I definitely think she’s going die. If Cersei doesn’t die, she has to at least lose her baby. I’d like to assume the writers won’t just completely disregard prophecies and the witch is very clear that Cersei will only have three children. Cersei needs to either lose the baby and win the game of thrones, or she needs to die.
Chris: Call me petty, but I really don’t want Bran to make it through to the end. For one, he’s become such an immensely powerful character overnight and poses a serious imbalance to the rest of the show’s world. More importantly, however, Hodor’s death — and, for that matter, Hodor’s entire history of mental shortcomings — rests squarely on Bran’s shoulders. Sure, Cersei blew up a house of worship and single-handedly ended the Tyrell bloodline. And maybe Euron Greyjoy is an all-around jerk who interrupted Daenerys’ plans, and who’s been ruining the lives of Theon and Yara for a while now. I’m simply not ready to forgive Bran for his transgressions quite yet.
If Cleganebowl, the long awaited battle between brothers the Hound and the Mountain, happens, who wins?
Alaikia: With the Hound already north, ready to fight the war between the living and the dead, I honestly don’t know if we’ll see what would no doubt be an epic showdown between the Hound and the Mountain. The Mountain is definitely scary, but we know he is not unbeatable. If it hadn’t been for Oberyn Martell’s cocky need for vengeance and Qyburn’s experiments, Oberyn would have won Tyrion’s trial-by-combat and left the Mountain dead. We also know the Hound is one hell of a fighter. If Cleganebowl does happen — I’ll have my fingers crossed and popcorn ready in case it does — I honestly think the Hound will pull out a win.
Chris: I strongly suspect that the directors of this show will not ignore the hype that’s been building around the idea of Cleganebowl all these years now. I expect we will see the Hound and the Mountain face off when Cersei brings her armies north to attack Daenerys from behind. However, I’m equally convinced that the show will not give us the resolution we all want. The Mountain can’t win because it could never live up to that surprising twist in his battle with Oberyn Martell. The Hound can’t win because that would be too much of what we want to happen. Instead, I predict they will either both be killed in the conflict or, more likely, the tides of battle will sweep them apart or kill one of them before they can finish the fight.
Keep the conversation going in the comments and tell us your theories for the final episodes of HBO’s “Game of Thrones.”