As Season 8’s premiere grows ever nearer, there are, as always, a multitude of rumours and fan-theories swirling around. So I thought one of my pre-season articles would take a look at which theories are plausible, and which are a load of BS.
Also – some of these theories are pretty outlandish. But remember Hodor, Shireen and the Red Wedding? George RR Martin promised there would be one more big shock right at the end of the series – it could be one of these…
Obviously, some spoilers for Seasons 1-7 and Books 1-5.
1. Jon Snow will sacrifice Daenerys to defeat the White Walkers: This theory is based off the books, particularly the bits that refer to the first time the White Walkers were defeated. The first ‘Long Night’ basically ends with Azor Azai sacrificing his wife Nissa Nissa to forge a blade capable of defeating the White Walkers (or something to that effect – it’s very clouded in mystery, partially because we haven’t had books 6 and 7 yet!). A lot of readers see Jon Snow and Daenerys as modern day parallels of those two, and believe Jon will have to make a similar sacrifice to see off the White Walkers. There is stuff on the show which makes this seem plausible as well (mainly from Melisandre – who remember told Daenerys that both she and Jon would have a part to play…). There’s whole reams about this theory on reddit and other places, so I won’t go into more depth here. But given how George R.R. Martin promised the ending would be ‘bittersweet’ it might not be far off the money…
2. The ‘little brother’ will kill Cersei: This is arguably the oldest Game of Thrones theory. It is heavily set up both by the books and Jaime and Tyrion’s character arcs that one of them will kill Cersei (Jaime is also technically her little brother as he was born straight after her). There is a whole ‘Valonqar’ (little brother) prophecy that is responsible for this, but as with all prophecies, characters and fans can misread them. There are a lot of ‘little brothers’ on the show (though most of them, like Sandor Clegane and Bran, wouldn’t make much sense as Cersei’s executioner). Either way, Jaime killing Cersei would be the perfect way of finishing his character arc, so hopefully this is how it goes down.
3. Littlefinger is still alive: This is an interesting one. It theorises that Littlefinger is actually working with the faceless men and faked his own death in Season 7. While it did seem a bit odd to see Littlefinger so completely caught unawares, there’s not a lot of in-show evidence to support this, nor has any link between the two ever been made in the books. However, you can never discount Littlefinger, and this would be one hell of a twist. If it is true, I think either Sansa or Arya might not survive…
4. Tyrion is actually a Targaryen: This is a book theory that was very popular a few years ago. The main gist of it is that Tyrion’s father was actually the Mad King, and this is why Tywin hated him so much (it would make that ‘you’re no son of mine’ line from Tywin have even more heft to it). There’s a lot of stuff in the books that supports the possibility, but there’s only really one thing on the show that fans picked up – Tyrion’s ability to release Viserion and Rhaegal without getting roasted or eaten. However, the fact that the show has in no way set this up makes it a very unlikely theory (for the show at least. When Martin releases a Dream of Spring in 2039, who knows whether it will come good) and I can’t see the show rushing through all the necessary build-up in 6 episodes.
5. Sansa will end up on the Iron Throne: More of a prediction than a theory, but she seems the most likely candidate at this point and a lot of people online tend to put weight behind her (Jon wouldn’t want it, Daenerys will probably die, Cersei will definitely die). Given all her lessons on power from Cersei and Littlefinger, Sansa is probably one of the few characters who would be a good ruler of the Seven Kingdoms once everything is settled. Unless of course the White Walkers win or that Littlefinger theory is true. Then she’ll be far too dead to care.
6. R+L=J+M: An expansion on the theory about Jon’s parents, which became very popular in season 6. After the whole ‘Tower of Joy’ battle, there were only two survivors: Ned Stark and Howland Reed (Meera and Jojen’s father). This theory suggests that just as Ned took Jon as his son, Howland actually adopted Meera as his daughter, and that she is also another Targaryen. However much I like this theory, I think its now quite unlikely for a lot of practical reasons – there’s no sign Meera will even be in Season 8, and unless a lot of Bran’s visions have been edited/made up to deceive the viewers, the show has already debunked the theory by only showing one child in the Tower of Joy flashbacks.
7. Jorah will become the 1000th Commander of the Night’s Watch: Only saw this one a few days ago, but it has a nice kind of symbolism to it, with Jorah finally being a man his late father would have been proud of. Given that Jorah can’t really have a happy ending (Daenerys will never return his affections and there’s no place for him back on Bear Island) this might be a likely role for him once the war is over. However, all this supposes that Jorah (and indeed, the Night’s Watch itself) survives the season, which i’m not too sure will be the case. Plausible theory, but we’ll have to wait and see.
8. Bran created the Night’s King: We’ve already seen Bran witness the White Walker’s creation in that Hold the Door episode. But this theory takes things one step further and suggests that Bran ends up being in some way responsible for the Night’s King’s creation. The biggest reason to believe this theory is that the actor who plays the Night’s King let slip in an interview that the Night’s King has a ‘target’ he wants to destroy in Season 8. Given that the White Walkers head straight for Winterfell, there’s a limited number of characters it could be. While Jon and Daenerys are possible after their previous encounters with him, my money is on Bran. Given that the Night’s King marked him in a previous episode, might Bran be acting as a beacon the white walkers are following? We’ll have to find out, but things aren’t looking promising for the last Stark boy…
9. Bran IS the Night’s King: This version of the theory goes one step further. The idea is that Bran accidentally wargs into the Night’s King, connecting them both together. While a bit out of left field, this idea does explain the White Walkers’ behaviour for the past couple of seasons. Think about it: if the Night’s King has access to the same sight Bran has, he might have foreseen that Jon and Daenerys would come North and that he could kill Viserion and gain a way past the wall (explaining why the Walker’s made no earlier attempt despite already having dealt with the wildlings and the Three-eyed Raven). It’s a mad theory, but who knows? This is Game of Thrones after all…
10: Bran made Aerys Targaryen become the ‘Mad King’: Yes, yet ANOTHER Bran theory, but this is arguably the best of them. The Mad King spent his final day just muttering ‘Burn them All’ – could this have actually been a Hodor esque moment caused by Bran accidentally warging into him? Given that ‘burn them all’ is a statement you might apply to wights or white walkers, it seems plausible. What makes this theory great though, is how it would ultimately mean Bran was responsible for Jaime killing Aerys and becoming the reviled Kingslayer of Seasons 1 and 2 (and lest we forget, he was the man who threw Bran out the window in the first place). This would have a nice kind of symmetry to it and seems like something that could realistically happen.
And there it is. There are certainly more theories out there, but these are the ones I know/care about the most, so I’ll leave it there. If there’s any good ones you’ve heard of that I missed, feel free to comment below.
Next time, I’ll be adding my predictions for Season 8, including who lives, who dies and who ends up on the Iron Throne. See you then!