Ahead of the season finale premiere of the hit HBO show Game of Thrones tomorrow, VEENA BABULAL curates some of the most mind-blowing and enduring fan theories. - PIX COURTESY OF HBO

BE WARNED, there are spoilers ahead for those who have yet to watch Seasons 1 to 7 or has never read any of the fan theories “WINTER is here”. The return of the popular TV show Game of Thrones to local audiences, with same-day screening with the United States at 9am tomorrow (rerun at 10pm), was preceded by the show’s much-anticipated trailer. Released a month ago, the clip garnered 55 million views on YouTube.

Since then, fans’ excitement has gone into overdrive.

For years, tinfoilers have prophesied via the video-sharing platform and forums, such as Reddit, wild theories on deaths, betrayals and possible endings involving beloved and hated characters, so much so that in 2014, George R.R. Martin, the author of the fantasy book series A Song of Ice and Fire, on which the show is based, said one or two readers had picked up on the more obscure clues planted in the books to come to the right conclusion. That got tongues wagging.


Fans are divided on whether Dany or Jon has the rightful claim to the Iron Throne.

While this does not mean that the books may have the same ending as the show as Martin and showrunners David Benioff and D.B. Weiss are keeping their cards close to their chest, it cannot stop fans from setting social media sites on fire.

Below are the most wow-inducing fan theories gathered from the Game of Thrones fan universe. Lingering questions are also presented here.

HOUSE OF LANNISTERS

Tyrion

Will he betray Daenerys Targaryen (Dany)? There are a few scenes in Season 7 that foreshadowed Tyrion’s internal conflicts.

The first is in episode 5, when Dany bids Jon goodbye before his mission beyond the Wall to capture a Wight as proof of an impending doom to the Westeros rulers.

The edge of the frame shows Tryion looking at them and processing the exchange. The second is in the finale, where Jon enters Dany’s room as the camera pans to a dark corridor where Tyrion silently observes, with his face partially obscured by darkness.

The second could be due to his growing uneasiness over the lengths Dany goes to reclaim the Iron Throne. Despite his caution, Drogon was used to incinerate Samwell Tarly’s father and brother after the battle in the Reach (Season 7, Episode 5).

Also, the trauma of being judged and rejected by the people around him, by virtue of being a dwarf, could have raised its head again.

He eloquently said this during his trial for Joffrey’s murder (Season 4, Episode 6): “I am guilty of a far more monstrous crime. I am guilty of being a dwarf… I’ve been on trial for that my entire life.”

Is Tyrion a Targaryen? This is hinted when Tyrion releases dragons Rhaegal and Viserion from the catacombs under the Great Pyramid in Season 6 (Episode 2).

In GoT, dragons are known to be highly intelligent, with the ability to connect to friends of the guardians. But is Tyrion just a friend?

There is a whisper in the books that the Mad King (Aerys Targaryen) was romantically involved with his mother, Joanna Lannister, which would make him a Targaryen.

Then, there is the “three-headed dragon” fan theory, which is built on the understanding that each dragon is ridden by a Targaryen in their conquest of Westeros. The fact that his mother died after giving birth to him, similar to the way Jon and Dany were born, fuels this speculation.

But with Viserion claimed by the Night King and the Season 8’s trailer strongly suggesting that Jon will be riding Rhaegal and with only six episodes left, this could mean that the theory may be left hanging.

With some luck, there may be a GoT prequel to answer all posers.

Will he end of up on the Iron Throne? Tyrion is ranked third by Rolling Stone magazine in its 40 most memorable GoT characters’ list. So who knows? The spikey chair could ultimately be his. Although Martin is not averse to killing off fan favourites, the show has been said to be increasingly pandering to the fans since season 6, so it could cut both ways.

Cersei

Who gets to kill her? Her name is still on Arya’s list, so is she identified as the Valonqar as prophesied to be Cersei’s killer in the books? Tinfoilers have predicted that she may even use Jamie’s face (after killing him) to this end.

But Cersei can also be killed by Jamie or Tyrion. However poetic the sound of Jamie killing her is, it seems unlikely as when they parted ways at the end of Season 7, he seemed to be done with her. Jamie, who was born shortly after her, also appears to be no longer in her thrall.

However, it may not be the same for Tyrion. While he may have brokered a truce with her, he has threatened her in the past.

After Cersei mistook prostitute Ros to be his lover and subjected her to a beating, he warned her: “I will hurt you for this. I don’t know how yet, but give me time. A day will come when you think yourself safe and happy, and suddenly your joy will turn to ashes in your mouth, and you’ll know the debt is paid.” (Season 2, Episode 8)

Will she become the Mad Queen or broker a deal with the Night King? In this series, Cersei pretty much mirrors the Mad King. There is also a whisper that she and Jamie, or even together with Tyrion, were sired by him. Her predisposition to violence and her madness could be hereditary.

If so, she also reflects her father’s traits, a willingness to burn down entire cities so that she is spared the indignity of surrendering. This can be seen in how she was prepared to poison Tommen and herself so as to not face the sack of King’s Landing (Season 2, Episode 9).

As an extension to the Mad Queen theory, Dany’s desire to take over King’s Landing could make Cersei desperate.

She may use Qyburn to broker this deal and this is foreshadowed by Dany’s vision of the throne room in the House of the Undying (Season 2, Episode 10). In it, the roof and upper walls appear to be mostly gone, ravaged by what appears to be dragon fire. Snow has covered the floor of the desolate room.

Or will Cersei be killed by the Valanqor, as prophesised, only to be resurrected by either the Night King or Qyburn (who raised the Mountain from dead after his battle with Oberyn Martell).

Jamie

Does Jamie live or die? As far as story arc’s go, Jamie has had one of the most interesting ones. From an arrogant villain responsible for pushing Bran off a tower to cover up his illicit affair with Cersei (Season 1, Episode 1), he is proven to be an honourable knight when he left Cersei (Season 7 finale) to help defend Westeros against the army of the dead.

In the Season 8 trailer, Jamie appears to be in the thick of an inferno in Winterfell, so death is likely.

Jamie could also be a Targaryen, meaning that by killing the Mad King, he actually killed his own father.

But just when redemption is upon Jamie, he discovers that he didn’t just kill the Mad King to save the kingdom but also killed his own father. Also. if only he and Cersei were sired by Aerys instead of all three them, it ironically makes Tyrion — Tywin’s least-loved son — his only true-born heir. Gasp.

However, Reddit user LowerIntroduction said Jamie walking away from Cersei in Season 7 finale mirrored Ned Stark walking away from Robert Baratheon when he planned to murder Dany and her unborn child. As Ned died, does it mean Jamie will too?There is also a theory which states that although Jamie does not want the Iron Throne, he may end up sitting on it after he kills Cersei to stop her from committing mass destruction. Martin’s original plot outline in 1993 also had Jamie on the throne after destroying everyone in his path.

THE STARKS

Sansa

Will Sansa end up on the Iron Throne? The eldest among the surviving Stark children, she is among the top contenders for the throne, according to fans.

Sansa’s character development, from the spoiled brat wanting to be a princess to being a prisoner of sociopath Ramsay, adds to her appeal. She also shows a desire to lead, clashing with Jon Snow and Arya on multiple occasions.

While she has learnt a lot from other sociopaths, like Cersei and Littlefinger, she seems to have a better grasp of judgments due to her empathy.

Arya

What lies ahead for the Wolf girl, once she crosses out all the names on her people-to-kill list? Will she allow some people, like the Hound, live in peace? Arya will be instrumental in securing victory for whatever side she is by being a skilled spy and assassin.

Fans also look forward to her reunion with her pet dire wolf Nymeria to marshal the superpack (Season 7, Episode 2) to battle the Wights.

Bran

The theory that appears to have been originated from Reddit user turm0il26 is centred on Bran continuously going back in time to try and save mankind from the White Walkers and failing in each attempt, eventually causing him to end up stuck inside the Night King (Season 6, Episode 5).

After his fall, Bran woke up with greensight — the ability to see the past and future and travel back in time and influence it — as well as the ability to warg, or possess the bodies of animals (such as the ravens) and humans (Hodor).

The tragic life of Hodor/Wylis proves this. Viewers also saw how the young Ned turns around at the Tower of Joy as he heard someone calling his name (the time-travelling Bran yelling “father!” in Season 6, Episode 3).

So after knowing the effects of the great war, he goes back in time and builds the wall as Bran the Builder.

Then he goes back in time to stop the creation of the Walkers. However, the children of the forest, who are at war with man, stabs him with dragonglass and morphs him into the Night King (Season 6, Episode 5).

And he remains so for thousands of years.

Bran’s circuit of visions to the Mad King (Season 6, Episode 6) results in the latter’s resolution to burn them all to the ground. The theory also claims that the Night King did not kill Jon at Hardhome (Season 5, Episode 8) because he recognised him as his brother, so deep down somewhere, Bran’s consciousness has been activated.

As Martin had said, the ending would be bittersweet. The most likely outcome could possibly be Jon killing the Night King/Bran to put an end to winter.

The actor playing the Night King was also changed to Vladimir Furdik in Season 6 and now looks more like Isaac Hempstead Wright who plays Bran.

While Bran is now the new Three Eyed Raven, his consciousness has been absorbed into the complex network of memories and events in the Weirwood trees throughout Westeros. Proof of this is Meera telling Bran he had died in the cave before she leaves Winterfell (Season 7, Episode 4).

Jon Snow and Dany

Will Jon live? Is he Azor Ahai or the prince that was promised to kill his Nissa Nissa, symbolised by Dany?

Or is Dany the actual Azor Ahai, who will kill Jon after finding out that he is Rhaegar’s legitimate son with a greater claim to the throne? Could she also end up slaying her own dragons?

If Dany is pregnant now, this could lead to a bigger magnitude of the twists and tragedy to the prophecy.

Fans are divided over the rightful claim to the Iron Throne.

Some theories even conclude that they would both end up dead, giving birth to democracy to Westeros, although this doesn’t sound plausible.

Nevertheless, Tyrion’s thoughtful observation of the Night’s Watch practice of electing commanders (Season 7, Episode 6) could lead to something.

OTHER NOTABLE CHARACTERS

Jorah Mormont

Reddit user Oldnan has a theory that Jorah is Azor Ahai. Now that Jorah is seen with Heartsbane, the Tarly’s ancestral blade, it is easy to predict that he is the prince that was promised.

The name of the sword alone alludes to how Nissa Nissa or Azor Ahai’s was killed. He may be forced to kill Dany and her dragons under her command or otherwise to stop the Walkers.

Sam, Gilly and Baby Sam

Could Sam, of all people, be Azor Ahai? Reddit user Martin believes he is the hero that is promised. And what is Gilly and Baby Sam’s role? It’s speculated that Baby Sam has White Walker DNA, and may be the key to kill the army of the dead. Other users predict that the story may have a similar ending to The Lord of The Rings, where the author of the story that unfolds in Westeros is Sam.

Varys

While Melisandre foreshadowed that he, too, would meet his end in Westeros (Season 7, Episode 3), it may not be as clear as that.


Is Tyrion Lannister actually a Targaryen?

Varys is an expert at his role and his intentions are often enigmatic. He fled to Mereen with Tyrion to be at Dany’s side and pointed out that Tyrion (Season 7, Episode 5) needs to get the Dragonqueen heed his advice.

It has been theorised that he and Tyrion will betray her and Varys will claim that it’s for the good of the realm.

Melisandre

Most theorists say that she lives out her purpose and dies in Westeros. But will the truth of her identity (Season 6, Episode 1) be revealed and subsequently opening up bigger revelations? Fans seem think so.

Brienne of Tarth

Brienne could die while trying to save Podrick or Jamie. Conventional tropes follow men saving women, but Brienne is an embodiment of women’s empowerment, so her story is not likely to end soon.

Gendry

Since Gendry’s reunion with Arya is certain, fans are all in knots on whether he will live. Also will we find out if Cersei is his mother as she described the loss of her first child “a little black haired beauty” (S1E2) and if he somehow ends up on the iron throne.

Davos

I don’t think Davos will die as usually he is not in the field of battle. But there is a possibility that he dies saving someone like say Lyanna Mormont who is about to be killed while fighting or that he survives and serves as her advisor/guardian of sorts.

Tormund Giantsbane, Edd, Beric

We have listed all these three characters together as the last who cheated death during the collapse of the wall, chances of them dying are extremely high. All of them seem destined to be in the thick of fighting. Fans are however holding their breath to see if Tormund gets to hook up with Brienne before going down.

Bron

What happens to the sellsword after Jamie leaves Westeros? Does he become the defacto commander to the Lannister army or does he catch up with Jamie at some point.

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