Tasty Morsels for Writers
In case the title wasn’t a give away, there are totally going to be spoilers for Seasons 1 to 7. If that is a problem, stop reading now…
Like many people, I have hit the end of Season 7 and am now idly filling in the time trying to predict what is coming in Season 8, supposedly the finale Season. I thought I’d do a fun post with some of my predictions, and some of my thoughts on other people’s predictions.
Prediction 1: Tyrion will be revealed as a Targaryen
There have been exactly four characters in this series who have touched dragons and lived. Daenerys, Jon Snow, Tyrion, and the Night King. Daenerys and Jon Snow are definitely Targaryens, and Daenerys’ amazement at Jon’s bonding with Drogon on the cliffs strongly suggests that those who can touch dragons are Targaryens. Between Tyrion’s moment of connection with the dragons, Tywin’s proclamation Tyrion is not his son, and Tyrion’s childhood obsession with dragons, and some details in the books which indicate Mad King Aerys slept with Tyrion’s mother roughly around the time of Tyrion’s conception, it’s hard to imagine Tyrion will not turn out to be a Targaryen.
( I do not think the Night King is a Targaryen. My timeline is a bit hazy but my understanding is that the Night King was created well before the Targaryens were anywhere near Westeros. The Night King’s substantial magic over dead things is explanation enough for why he can ride a dragon.)
Likelihood: Highly, very, extremely likely.
Prediction 2: Cersei will miscarry
For sure. The prophecy about the children she and Robert will have has been pretty spot on. Also, I read they shot a miscarriage scene for Season 7 but did not include it. Either they’ve bumped it to Episode 1 of Season 8, or they’re going to use it early in Season 8 to heighten Cersei’s reaction to something.
Likelihood: Highly likely.
Prediction 3: Tyrion and Cersei cut a deal where Cersei’s unborn child could inherit
Many were mystified as to why Tyrion stood outside Daenerys’ door looking troubled as she and Jon shagged. Theories started up that Tyrion fell in love with Daenerys. I don’t think so. It’s repetitive (who isn’t in love with Dany?) and she’s not his type. Politically, Tyrion has no reason not to support an alliance between Jon and Daenerys. Some people have suggested that Tyrion disapproves of Dany getting distracted in this way. Really? Tyrion? Constant fan of wine, women, and song? That makes no sense. Nope, there has to be another reason. There is only one thing that Cersei cares about more than her own power and it’s her children, and the show made a point of noting that Tyrion realised she was pregnant. We know she didn’t really change her mind, but something convinced Tyrion that she did. He’s smart. It would need to be convincing, and he would believe this. This will lead Tyrion to miscalculate and trust Cersei where he shouldn’t.
Likelihood: I give it a better than even chance.
Prediction 4: Neither Cersei nor Daenerys will die in childbirth
There are a lot of people predicting this will happen for one or both characters. Um… no. All major characters in Game of Throne without exception die poetically as a result of their own actions – their mistakes or character flaws (as viewed by GRRM). The deaths are sometimes shocking because they subvert story tropes, but they are never random. Minor characters sometimes die less poetically to illustrate what evil arseholes major characters are (eg. Princess Shereen, Rickon, Marcella), but major characters never die this way. A death in childbirth has zero connection to Cersei or Daenerys’ personalities, choices, or character flaws. It would be completely unclimactic. It’s a boring, stereotypical death for a woman and a complete waste of 8 seasons of developing these characters.
Likelihood: Of death in childbirth? Nope. It is possible we might see Cersei miscarry shortly before she dies, as that would indeed be dramatic, but it won’t be the miscarriage itself that kills her.
Prediction 5: Cersei will die in a satisfying, poetically just way
The problem with predicting how is that she has been so horrifically awful to so many people. But a poetic death is more than a death of vengeance. Sansa didn’t just kill Ramsay – she killed him with the dogs he used to kill people, and in exactly the same horrific way.
One of Cersei’s distinctive behaviours is that she surrounds herself with amoral, sadistic people in order to aim them as weapons at her enemies. She got a taste of this backfiring with the High Sparrow, but she has not learned. Hanging out with Qyburn and the undead Mountain might have protected her so far, but it seems like the kind of strategy that is likely to burn her at some point. But I do not think either the Mountain or Qyburn is likely to kill Cersei themselves. That would be karmic but not sufficiently satisfying (akin to if Ramsay’s dogs had just randomly turned on him while he was out hunting).
Cersei’s death has to be a cathartic moment.
It is hard to believe Jaime won’t be involved. A final betrayal by Jaime is the one thing left that could emotionally hurt Cersei, and it resonates so well with their journeys. He started by pushing Bran out a window for Cersei – and she’s been his giant blind spot for 7 seasons. Surrounding herself with only monsters who serve her rather than someone like Jaime who might ‘check her worst impulses’ as Tyrion proposes, is Cersei’s fatal flaw. She will rule at any cost, including the cost of all that makes anyone’s life worth living and ultimately, life itself. Cersei is also the character most likely to kill Jaime (given said blind spot).
Therefore, I predict it may be something like: Jaime comes back to protect Cersei, knowing that there is a plan to kill her. Cersei, cold and paranoid, chooses to push him away, opening the way for her killer to take her out. He will probably also die as a result of the dubious decision to come back to protect Cersei.
Likelihood: I may have the details wrong but I feel this is probably in the ball park.
Prediction 6: Arya and the Hound will take on the Mountain together, but Arya will kill Cersei wearing the faces of everyone she’s ever wronged or loved
Arya probably will go to King’s Landing, given Cersei and the Mountain are both high on her list, and I don’t think a face switcheroo is likely to help much in the fight against White Walkers. Both Arya and the Hound have particular reason to the kill the Mountain, and it is quite likely it will take both of them to do it. It would be unsatisfying if the Hound didn’t get some kind of vengeance on his brother, and equally unsatisfying if Arya also didn’t.
I was chatting with someone who said one of the faces in Arya’s bag is Eddard Stark. If she has his face, she could have anyone’s face. I therefore predict that when Arya kills Cersei, she will corner her (after the Mountain, Qyburn, and Jaime are out of the way), but she will not have her own face. She will have Joffrey’s face, and Maergery’s, and Tommen’s, and Ellaria Sand’s, and Ned Stark etc., and in doing so she will re-enact vengeance for everyone who Cersei has wronged. She won’t even reveal her own face to Cersei, pulling off the final mask only after Cersei is dead.
Likelihood: Come on, can you think of a more satisfyingly poetic way for Cersei to go? And can you think of a better, more climactic use of Arya’s powers for Season 8, given that it has to top what she already did to the Freys?
Prediction 7: We are going to learn what the Night King wants, and it will not be something evil, but it will relate to what GRRM thinks life and death is all about.
The story very much adheres to a notion of balance. Death and rebirth. Fire and Ice. Winter and Summer. It makes the point many times that death comes to us all, and that death must be paid for with life. But presumably this works in reverse. Death pays for life. Death itself is not evil in GoT. Being a sadistic arse is evil, but death itself is something to be comprehended, accepted, transcended. Death comes for us all. No matter how terrifying and dramatic they are, in this story an implacable undead army is ultimately not going to be ‘evil’.
Likelihood: Very high. GRRM is on record as repeatedly saying he doesn’t like the notion of a Big Bad.
Prediction 8: The Night King wants to drive back winter by growing some trees from dead people.
All those undead the White Walkers are gathering have to have some purpose. Can they, for example, grow into weir wood trees, or into the heart trees in particular? The floor of the weir wood tree where Bran meets the Three Eyed Raven is literally covered with bones. What were those bones and how did they get there? The children of the forest create the white walkers because of a war where they are chiefly cross because people are cutting down weir wood trees. We are told they created the walkers because they were losing the war, and the assumption is they were created to fight men. But what if their function is not to fight men but rather to grow the forest? The death is just incidental to that process, like composting.
We have already seen the white walkers leave body parts in designs identical to those that span out from a heart tree.
We know the pact that ended the long night occurred on an island filled with heart trees. What if the white walkers do not bring the winter, but they bring the dead that will pay to grow the trees that drive the winter back? In the books, the godswood near Winterfell is warm. Indeed, I guess Winterfell is called Winterfell, because Winter literally fell / ended there with the creation of the godswood.
The white walkers have as much moral compunction in killing humans as humans have for killing trees, so their death army is not in their eyes any more amoral than chopping up firewood.
So this is my theory, the white walkers are not bringing the winter. They are bringing the ability to grow the trees that will bring the spring, albeit at massive cost of human life.
Likelihood: No idea, really, but to me it seems a more likely way to go than the Night King simply being after vengeance. Not does it really seem consistent to his implacable, indiscriminate advance.
Prediction 9: Dany will have to choose between returning magic to the stable state it was in before the white walkers were created (and in the process killing her dragons and the resurrected Jon Snow, who are animated by this magic) or simply repeating the cycle of surviving extreme fire/ice events like the Long Winter and the Valyrian Doom. She will decide to ‘break the wheel’.
There are lots of odd connections between dragons and white walkers. Dragonglass (which, presumably, has something to do with dragons) created white walkers. It also destroys them. Valyrian steel kills white walkers, and given that comes from Valyria it probably has something to do with dragons as well.
I think when the children created the first white walker, they destabilised the fire and ice magic in the world. This magic started manifesting in the world in unpredictable clusters. The Long Winter is an example of unbalanced ice magic. The Valyrian doom is an example of the unbalance becoming too fiery. This is essentially the same basic magic that runs the GoT world, but the rhythm of it has been disturbed.
Dragonglass is a conduit for this magic. Stabbing a white walker with dragon glass creates a sudden surge of magical energy which disrupts the magic in them, killing them. Valyrian steel is somehow infused with this same magic and so has a similar effect. Burning the dead stops them being re-animated with ice magic.
The ending of the series is going to involve one of:
Dany will somehow get a role in choosing, and her character has been well set up to be capable of making that tough choice to sacrifice everything she loves in order to break the wheel. The means through which she does this probably have something to do with a pregnancy.
We know Daenerys is prophesied to have a ‘prince’ (or child – the term is actually gender neutral) that will deliver the world from darkness. This is somehow done by the child being associated with a ‘song of ice and fire’. The indications tend to point to a child of Jon and Danaerys, but this is a little baffling, because Danaerys is prophesied not to have more children and any child of theirs is not going to be able to do much during Season 8.
This tends to suggest that the child will not be a human child. This is consistent with Danaerys ‘mothering’ non-humans so far. In addition to the three dragons, her child by Drogo was described something like a literal dragon foetus. There is an assumption that the witch caused it to be deformed, but it is possible that it was already non-human and the witch just killed it. That was a child she managed to have with a regular bloke. What kind of child would she have with a Targaryen/Stark who has been infused with so much magic from the Lord of Light that he’s come back from the dead? I’m guessing that baby is pretty magical, and it’s exactly the right kind of magical fusion that might be able to re-unite the magic into a stable balance.
This will be the first time that the fire magic and the ice magic can potentially meet up. The Targaryens originated from a distant land and they have only come to Valyria since the last long winter, so this is the first time the Targaryens or the dragons have encountered the white walkers. This suggests maybe there’s an opportunity to break the cycle that hasn’t existed before.
Likelihood: Also, no idea. But very little in this series seems unplanned or pointless. This ‘breaking the wheel’ concept has been raised several times. There is really no possibility in one season to set up anything resembling a credible democracy to replace the void, so that kind of traditional notion of breaking the wheel seems unlikely (also, I suspect GRRM would be somewhat cynical about democracy as a panacea). What other kind of cycle is there to break except the magical one that keeps bringing back the long winter?
Prediction 10: Jon Snow is not going to survive Season 8.
Whether or not the above crazy theory is right, I find it hard to believe Jon Snow will survive, or will survive to live anything like a normal human life. People who get brought back from the dead are living on borrowed time. And Jon is set up to be such tragic hero. He’s always doing the right thing but he will never get the life free from fighting that he longs for. If he doesn’t outright die, he will be transformed in some way that he is not really Jon any more. There’s no point putting him on the Iron Throne at the end (if there is an Iron Throne). He is a fighter / commander, not a ruler.
Likelihood: This series is bittersweet. Jon’s tragically fallen in love with his aunt. He’s already died. I can’t see him making it out of this alive.
Prediction 11: Bran is not the Night King but he will be crucial to understanding how to break the cycle.
I have to admit, I quite liked the Bran-goes-back-in-time-and-becomes-the-Night-King theory. But I feel that Bran isn’t really at the centre of this whole story. The two characters closest to the notion of a song of ice and fire are Daenerys and Jon, and I think the overarching mega white walker plot is going to hinge on them, not Bran. Bran will provide important information about the long-term issues.
Likelihood: Pretty good. Bran is a side character, and he already ‘died in that cave’.
Prediction 12: Beric Dondarrion can’t become a wight
Beric’s just gone down near the Night King’s army. But how is the Night King’s magic going to work on a man who’s died and been brought back to life so many times. I’m guessing we are going to learn something important about how fire magic and ice magic work together.
Likelihood: Super high. He can’t just have been around all this time to set up Jon’s resurrection. There must be more to it.
Prediction 13: Varys will die, probably thanks to Tyrion
The series is yet to account for how, in the process of an escape pre-arranged by Varys, Tyrion was bizarrely led directly to Shae and Tywin. Varys, I think, wanted to make sure Tyrion was forced to completely break his allegiance with the Lannisters so that he could join forces with Danaerys. Varys sees potential in Danaerys but sees she knows how to seize power but not how to rule. He arranges to bring Tyrion to her, given he is the most clever and ethical ruler in Westeros.
To this end, Varys set up the situation with Shae and Tywin. People have criticised this theory as being an overly complex plan with too many moving parts, but it’s not really, because the aim is not necessarily to kill Tywin, it’s just to ensure that Tyrion switches sides, and all that’s needed there is for Tyrion to see Shae in Tywin’s bed. Tywin and Shae would have been drugged to make sure neither was in a state to kill Tyrion.
Shae and Tywin may not have even slept together. It’s possible Tywin had been on that privy for a while, and Shae may have been collecting a reward for testifying against Tyrion, or maybe delivered to Tywin’s bed unconscious / drugged once he was on the privy. Maybe Varys expected her to stay unconscious and for Tyrion to only kill Tywin, or perhaps not even to kill him but to have been pushed into a place where he would betray the Lannisters and join Danaerys.
Likelihood: High. Partly because GRRM is quoted as saying ‘As to precisely what happened here that’s something I don’t really want to talk about because there’s still aspects of it I haven’t revealed that will be revealed in later books. But the role of Varys in all of this is also something to be considered.’
Prediction 14: Tyrion and Sansa will ally and redeclare their marriage, but most probably only as friends.
Between them, Tyrion and Sansa are capable of forming an alliance that could unite Westeros, and Tyrion and Sansa are the only two characters who have proved themselves capable of being good peacetime rulers. Having been abused by Joffrey and Ramsay, she is not going to sign herself up for a marriage where she doesn’t completely trust the person. Tyrion is one of the few male characters who has proven himself trustworthy to her and, technically, he’s already her husband. I think they will both survive Season 8, because having them both in charge represents a reasonably happy ending for the people of Westeros.
Given the age difference, the history, and whatever Ramsay physically did to Sansa, I can’t see her actually sleeping with Tyrion.
Prediction 15: Those I think are most likely to be living at the end of the series will be Tyrion, Sansa, Sam, Gilly, Arya, Bran (although as the three-eyed raven), Missandei, Grey Worm, and Yara Greyjoy.
Those definitely dying are: Cersei, Jaime, Varys, Melisandre, the Mountain, Qyburn, Euron Greyjoy, Jon Snow, Jorah Mormont.
Those probably dying are: Danaerys, Theon Greyjoy, Brienne, Gendry, Podric, Tormund, Davos, Danaerys, Lyanna Mormont, the Hound, Davos Seaworthy, that guy from the Iron Bank.