After last week’s mid-season episode, in which we saw the Army of the Dead and the Night King defeated by Arya Stark, I’ve spent this week thinking about all the possibilities now that there are only three episodes left in the sweeping saga that is Game of Thrones. The exciting realisation is that I have no idea the direction the story will take and how it will end. It still seems as if anything is possible.
What is certain? Well, in 8.04, there’s bound to be a mourning of the dead and regrouping in the North, while preparations for war are made in the South. Episode 8.05 is directed by Miguel Sapochnik, so I’m assuming that will involve some form of battle at King’s Landing, leaving the finale to settle the ground for the future of the Seven Kingdoms. After all, the final book in this series, if it ever appears (we’re all still waiting for book 6 to be published first), is called The Promise of Spring, suggesting the story needs to have time left to look to what comes after the perils of winter and war.
Other than that, I’ve been thinking about my biggest questions. I don’t think I’m any nearer to knowing what will happen, but it’s fun to reflect on what we might see. Therefore, this post sets out the big questions I still have and how they may come in to play in the last few episodes of the show.
1. There has to be a twist and maybe it comes in 8.04……
Why do I say this? Well, George R.R Martin’s story has always managed to startle us when we least expected it, whether poor old Ned, the Red Wedding, the Purple Wedding, Tywin’s death being only a few examples. We haven’t had anything truly shock us in a while and it feels as if something needs to shift, to knock the characters off balance going in to the final battle. Plus, the creators have spoken about learning of three twists from the author about the future and only two have taken place so far, leaving one left…… There’s also the fact that Kit Harington has commented that he likes 8.04 because it’s quite Shakespearean, so a bit of betrayal and backstabbing is possible, leading in to 8.05’s fight in the South.
2. Will a betrayal / shifting of sides be such a twist?
Loyalties have shifted over the course of the series and perhaps another one is on the horizon. The most obvious possibility to me is Tyrion, who although surely unlikely to team up again with Cersei, may well side with Jon’s claim over Dany’s, something I’m betting he now knows after his fireside chat with Bran before the battle, especially as we’ve seen his continued affection towards Sansa, who herself isn’t a fan of the Dragon Queen. That talk he had with “Bran” fascinates me too, as I wonder what else he has learnt. There’s also the fact Bran/The Three-Eyed Raven has been turning his vacant, creepy stare on Tyrion quite a lot, during 8.01 from the courtyard and as he passed by him on his way to the Godswood last week. What does he sense about Tyrion’s role in events? I’m still not sure, but as Tyrion has always been one of my favourite characters, it’d certainly be a shock if he shifted loyalties at this stage.
Other possibilities are Varys, who’s been relatively inactive in the story in recent episodes. Melisandre suggested he’ll also die in Westeros, so will that be helping the Targaryens as has been his goal since season one, or could he face the wrath of Drogon for betraying Dany? As I’ve already mentioned, Sansa isn’t yet a fan of Dany and although I could see her standing firm for the rights of the North, I can’t see her siding with Cersei. Mind you, she did always admire her on some level, but this really would be a shock.
3. How do we know The Three-Eyed Raven is not really the villain?
I’ve been wondering this for some time. It seems the only reason we have to think this strange being is one of the good guys (as far as there are any in this show), is because he is now partly Bran Stark. Yet, I can’t help wondering if the biggest surprise would be if it turned out he was in fact more dangerous than anyone realised. Who knows, maybe the Night King has been trying to rid the Seven Kingdoms of this threat all this time! What was he up to during the battle in 8.03 when he disappeared? Maybe he has his own plan to put in place? We also know that George R.R Martin has said the ending (well, his ending for the books anyway) will be bittersweet. So not everyone will have a happy, or just end. Imagine if this being did turn out to be a villain, leaving Jon Snow in the position of having to effectively kill Bran. Sure, he’d save the world, but he’d never be able to forgive himself for that action.
4. Can Arya Stark play a significant role in the battle ahead after she defeated the Night King?
I love Arya, both on screen and on the page and although she’s on my deadpool for this season, I felt sure she’d go out having done something significant. Arguably she’s served that role now. She killed the Night King after all! Her travelling to the capital seems certain, as the last two names on her list are there. Maybe she’ll help her “friend” The Hound kill his brother The Mountain, striking out one more name, but I don’t see her helping to kill Cersei now. I’d quite like her to kill Euron, if only so she could wear his face, but even that seems unlikely after seeing her steal the show last week. Surely, she can’t do it again?
5. Where now for Jaime Lannister?
People who’ve read my reviews will know that Jaime is my favourite character. He’s one of the most complex, on screen and in the books and the way your attitude towards him shifts so dramatically has always fascinated me. Throw in the fact the relationship between Jaime and Brienne is, in my view, the most interesting and powerful one, when in comes to possible romantic pairings (no doubt helped by the chemistry between Nikolaj Coster Waldau and Gwendoline Christie) and it makes me truly care about his fate.
I still think he’s not likely to survive (no matter how much I’d like him to sail away to Tarth to start a new life with Brienne away from his past), but will he really be ready to march down to King’s Landing on Team Targaryen to take on Cersei?! He didn’t go to the North to fight for Dany, but to keep a promise. Arguably now, he’d want to go back. Unless of course, his final confrontation at last opened his eyes to who she really is and he chooses to stand beside Brienne. Having said that Brienne herself is Team Sansa. Will she even feel any duty to go to King’s Landing? I’m assuming the Lannister brothers are destined for a showdown with their sister, but I still struggle to see Jaime being able to kill someone he loved for so long. It would take something serious happening for that…….which leads me to……..
6. How cruel is Cersei going to get?
Let’s face it, Cersei Lannister is a superb character. She’s horrid, but like Sansa, you can’t help but admire her ruthless determination to come out on top, no matter what it takes. We’ve already seen her blow up a good section of the capital to rid herself of her enemies, have no issue with chaining a mother up to watch her daughter die (not that I liked the Sandsnakes), not to mention the chilling way she dealt with Sept Unella.
So we know she’s capable of anything. She has the Scorpions (which have been highlighted in the opening credits too), so I’m assuming those will be used to try and bring down dragons, but what other cruelty awaits her enemies? Will she take some hostages with Euron’s help? Harm Brienne to finally push Jaime over the edge to kill her (I could see Brienne taking a crossbow bolt for him if it came to it, being just one example, although Jaime’s wish is to die in the arms of the woman he loves, so surely he has to die before Brienne?). Tell Jon it was Jaime that pushed Bran from that window to sow some anger? She’s always been great at creating conflicts between people, so combine that with her cruelty and I dread to think what awaits us………which leads on to my next big question…..
7. Who will kill Cersei?
I really would be shocked if she survived this series (heck, maybe that’s the twist!), but assuming Cersei’s days are numbered, the big question is, who will kill her? There are plenty of people keen to do the job: Arya, Dany, Tyrion to a lesser extent, but I’m still intrigued where the show will choose to go. Book readers have long focussed on the prophecy in the books that the Valonqar (little brother) will kill her. However, the series has yet to bring up that part of the witch’s prophecy. We’ve only seen in flashback her telling Cersei about her having three children who will die and that she’ll be queen, before being replaced by one younger and more beautiful. They didn’t show the next part, which was that the Valonqar would choke the life out of her. The general theories have been that it’ll be Jaime, as Tyrion is too obvious, but as this has never been raised on screen, maybe the creators are thinking of something else. I still struggle to see Jaime doing this, especially as he thinks she’s pregnant with his child (I still don’t quite buy that either), but I could yet be surprised.
8. Can Jon and Dany both live?
I still think the answer to this question is no. The story narrative just seems to suggest to me that only one of them will survive. As she seems more and more focussed on power and the throne, despite in early years speaking about breaking the wheel of power, will it be left to Jon to stop her doing something rash? He still seems to be the more logical leader, being someone who never sought out power, or wanted to lead and whose actions have mostly been for the good of others. Yet, this being Game of Thrones, the obvious choice is likely not going to be the person in charge at the end. I’ve always thought Jon would be the one to die, possibly protecting her, but as we move through season eight, I start to change my mind. I’ll be watching Dany’s attitude in 8.04, when they finally have to face Jon’s true lineage, very carefully, for signs of how their relationship and roles in the story could play out. Perhaps Meera Reed will reappear with her father, the only man alive who almost certainly knows the truth having been with Ned at the Tower of Joy.
9. Bronn wouldn’t use that crossbow……..would he…..???
Bronn has been such a fantastic character and much more interesting on screen than on the page. We saw in 8.01 that he’s been tasked with killing Tyrion and Jaime for Cersei, using the same weapon that was used to kill their father. Will he do it? I honestly can’t decide. He’s always been in it for the money. First serving Tyrion, then shifting away from him when he was no longer a reliable income stream. He also refused to be Tryion’s champion against the Mountain and seems to suggest he only continued to side with Jaime (and now Cersei) because there was money and status in it for him. Arguably, Cersei is the only Lannister left who can pay him what he feels he’s owed. So, all we’re relying on is his affection for the Lannister brothers. Maybe he’ll try and fail? Maybe he’ll kill someone else in the crossfire, or maybe he won’t, but I think something interesting is going to happen, with Joffrey’s favourite toy playing a key role.
10. The Hound has to defeat The Mountain right?!
Cleganebowl has become a huge item on many fan’s wishlist, but it’s never been guaranteed and just as we never had a battle between Jon and the Night King, maybe this won’t happen either. Having said that, 7.07, set up their showdown nicely and it seems certain The Hound will be making his way south. I’d love to see Arya help him take out his undead brother, but maybe it’s a fight that will see the end of both the Cleganes.
So, those are the questions at the top of my long list when it comes to Game of Thrones and how this will all play out. It’s hard to believe there are only three episodes left, albeit long ones. Regardless of the answers to these questions, all I really hope for is that the ending is a satisfying one. We need it. After all, it’s going to be a long wait until we can read the end on the page.
See you tomorrow for my review of 8.04!
Game of Thrones continues tonight in the USA on HBO at 9pm and on Monday on Sky Atlantic / NowTV in the UK, from 2am.
(All screenshots and images are the property of HBO/Game of Thrones)