Game of Thrones's eighth season is finally getting its legs under it, and the war between the living and the dead is about to get underway. That only took seven and half seasons...
Unfortunately, that also means death, which has been pretty absent from the first two episodes of Season 8, is also coming to Winterfell, and it's sure to claim at least one or two major characters. Deciding which characters will live and which characters will die is fans' favorite pastime when it comes to this show, but this battle will be a doozy considering it's the final season and everyone is fair game. So who's got the highest odds of dying early in the final season? There are a few characters we know won't die given that they have to stick around for the final confrontation for the Iron Throne. Dany (Emilia Clarke), Jon (Kit Harington), and Tyrion (Peter Dinklage) are most likely safe since they all have a part to play in who eventually takes the throne from and Cersei (Lena Headey).
We're going to go ahead and say that Sansa (Sophie Turner) is also likely to survive. She won't be fighting in the battle to come, which minimizes her risk significantly, and her storyline seems to be positioning her to take on the role of Lady of Winterfell and Warden of the North -- especially if Jon ends up ruling the Seven Kingdoms. Finally, the Hound (Rory McCann) has to survive in order to face off against (and hopefully toss into a fire) his brother, the Mountain (Hafþór Júlíus Björnsson), so unless said zombie sibling appears at Winterfell, Sandor Clegane is safe.
Everyone else? Fair game. Here's who we think could bite it next week.
It's easy to assume Jaime would be part of the final battle with Cersei, but when you look at his character arc from a distance, you'll realize it's almost entirely played out. He's confronted Cersei about her wicked ways and finally abandoned her. He's made his peace with Tyrion and confronted Dany about killing her father. He even came to terms with pushing Bran (Isaac Hempstead Wright) out of a window in the pilot. Bran's ambiguous line about Jaime thinking there would be an "after" for him when the battles are done certainly makes us wonder whether Bran knows that Jaime won't survive his fight with the Night King's army. Plus, he told Bronn (Jerome Flynn) a long time ago that he plans to die in the arms of the woman he loves. Considering he truly does seem to love Brienne (and he'll be fighting under her command in this battle), chances are decent that he's going to kick the bucket.
Oh boy. This one's a hard possibility to process, but Brienne has also reached the conclusion of her character arc in the best way possible. She's completed her mission to return the surviving Stark children safely to Winterfell and she's fulfilled her life-long dream of becoming a knight of the Seven Kingdoms. Beyond being the single ray of light and honor in this cold, cruel world, there's not much else for her to or many more places for this character to go. Considering she'll be in the thick of the fighting, we wouldn't be surprised at all if Brienne fell at the hands of a wight or White Walker.
No one likes considering the possibility that Arya will die at all, let alone early on in the final season, but we can't deny the shots of her running, terrified and bloody, through the crypts of Winterfell are worrying. It's almost a given that a Stark will die during the battle, and given that we've already speculated that both Jon and Sansa are safe for the time being, that leaves Arya with a 50/50 chance of winding up dead. The argument against her dying in this battle is that she's still got to cross Cersei's name off her list, and it would feel anticlimactic to leave that storyline dangling.
Unfortunately, the other Stark with a 50/50 chance of survival is Bran, and if push came to shove, we'd put our money on him dying before Arya. He's bravely opted to use himself as bait to lure the Night King into the Godswood so he can be killed, but when have moves like this ever gone to plan on Game of Thrones? Story-wise, they paid a lot of attention to Bran's identity as the living record of Westerosi history in the latest episode, but there does seem to be a seismic shift on the horizon for Westeros. Just look at the facts: The North wants to remain independent, the Iron Islands are no longer part of the Seven Kingdoms, and House Baratheon, House Tyrell, and House Martel have all been wiped out. Westeros is about to enter a new era, and what better way to telegraph that than by killing the physical embodiment of its past?
Poor Ser Davos keeps bragging about how he, a totally untrained fighter, somehow manages to keep scraping by and surviving these major battles he takes part in. As if that wasn't calling out to the God of Death, "Take me now, I'm getting cocky so naturally tragedy must strike!" Also, Davos' storyline for the past few seasons has been solely devoted to preparing the people of Westeros for this battle with the dead, so it would be a fitting end for him to give his life in service of the fight he's devoted his life to.
Ghost made a short but revered cameo in Episode 2, where he basically sat atop the wall with Jon and what remains of the Night's Watch but didn't actually do much else or play a part in the scene. It doesn't take a genius to realize this little inclusion is basically an establishing shot so that when Ghost sacrifices himself to save Jon in the battle to come, he doesn't just come out of nowhere after being off-screen since the beginning of Season 6. Symbolically speaking, it's also important for Jon to trade his dire wolf in for a dragon if he's to claim the Iron Throne, meaning Ghost's days are surely numbered.
Honestly, the only reason we got that touching goodbye between Grey Worm and Missandei (Nathalie Emmanuel) in which they talked about returning to Narth and their life post-Daenerys was because one or both of them is not making it out of this fight alive. Grey Worm is obviously going to be in the thick of the fighting with his Unsullied brothers, so you might as well kiss him goodbye.
At this point does anyone care all that much if Theon dies? Yes, it was a little heartwarming to see him return to fight for Winterfell, especially the part where he declared that he'd die protecting Bran in the castle he once stole from him. Unfortunately, that also would be a fitting way to kill him off -- dying to defend Bran in his ancestral home. There's a small chance that those lovey-dovey eyes he was exchanging with Sansa mean that his fate is to marry his best bro's sister and help her rule the North, but the odds are not in his favor there.
Game of Thrones airs Sundays at 9/8c on HBO.
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