In doing this series of posts about Game of Thrones I have read and watched enough theories on Reddit and YouTube that my head is likely to explode before Season Eight premieres on April 14. What I have finally decided after all that “research” is that there are some theories that are more plausible than others but that more than likely my streak of correct predictions (i.e., Harry Potter, Left Behind, etc.) will be broken.
That’s because George R. R. Martin has filled his books, echoed in the series by writers/producers D. B. Weiss and David Benioff, with multiple red herrings and false trails that raise more questions than they give answers.
Not all of the clues that have been thrown at us can be right, though there are some things that watchers and readers have guessed correctly, me among them: Jon Snow came back to life after he was stabbed, and he is the legitimate son of Rhaegar Targaryen and Lyanna Stark. So it is perhaps possible to make some correct predictions.
Yet there are also many things that I could never have predicted, the top two being the revelation about Hodor and the death and resurrection of the dragon Viserion.
Of course, part of our collective delight in this series is Martin’s ability to surprise. There’s nothing boringly predictable about any of it.
Warning: Possible SPOILERS ahead.
Guess #5: Cersei will die during Season Eight.
This eventuality has been foreshadowed for a long time:
(Book 4, Maggy the Frog to young 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.”
(Book 4, Cersei to Qyburn) “Tyrion is the valonqar,” she said. “Do you use that word in Myr? It’s High Valyrian, it means little brother.”
Discussion: If there’s a red herring here, it probably isn’t that the “little brother” will choke Cersei to death, it’s that the little brother may not be Tyrion. There are other candidates for her murderer, including her twin Jaime, since Cersei was born first. But the prophecy doesn’t specifically state that the valonqar is Cersei’s little brother, so we could expand the list to others. For example, Euron Greyjoy is a younger brother.
And is Cersei an expert in High Valyrian? Does it really mean little brother? Arya is a little sister, and Cersei has been on her assassin’s list for a very long time.
There’s still another possibility. Previous events and foreshadowing indicate that Cersei would rather kill herself and the innocents around her than suffer being captured (see Season 2, Episode 9, “Blackwater,” written by Martin). If there’s an army at the gates ready to take King’s Landing, I think it’s possible that she could use the wildfire caches all over the city to destroy it with an “if I can’t have it, no one will” mentality.
That’s not to say that the valonqar (whoever that might be) couldn’t come in and choke her as she’s waiting for the wildfire to ignite. Why not? That way both instances of foreshadowing come true.
Which brings up another interesting possibility: that no one will ever sit on the iron throne again.
Guess #6: We will see one of the Season Eight characters ride the dragon Rhaegal.
But who will it be? The most likely candidate seems to be Jon Snow, a.k.a. Aegon Targaryen. But there has been some foreshadowing that allows for the possibility of Tyrion, or even Bran.
Ever since Bran first met the three-eyed raven (see Season 4, Episode 10, “The Children”), and the three-eyed raven told Bran, “You will never walk again, but you will fly,” I have wondered if that meant that Bran would become a dragon rider. Even though he’s not a Targaryen, he is a powerful warg, which might allow him to do it. Yet there are some difficulties with this possibility. He has already been able to fly in his green dreams (with the three-eyed raven’s guidance). And even if a saddle was constructed that would allow him to ride a dragon, someone would always have to help Bran on and off it. And Bran is now the three-eyed raven, with different abilities that will be needed more.
Another candidate would be Tyrion, given his fascination with dragons and his ability to handle them (see Season 6, Episode 2, “Home”), but that’s only likely if he truly has Targaryen blood, as many have theorized (including me).
Guess # 7: Samwell Tarly and Bran Stark together will discover the secret of winning the Great War.
Many have assumed that it will take killing the Night King to win the war, and it may. Yet there is another theory that once the secret of the Night King is discovered someone will use green dragonglass to heal the Night King and the White Walkers, changing them back to men. This is based on the discovery by some clever fans who zoomed in on one of Sam’s texts from the Citadel. I like the idea of it, but I think it’s actually unlikely (Martin’s tale is typically just too violent). More likely, green dragonglass will be needed to heal some of our heroes who have died in the battle against the Others.
Next time: I’ll be doing a couple of additional posts about GOT before the Season Eight premiere. One will focus on what I’d like to see happen and whether those things will actually occur. One will be a series of quotes from the books about the history and legends of Westeros that may give some insight into the upcoming season.