As we slowly move towards 2019, possibly the most anticipated event will be Season 8 of Game of Thrones. There have been “leaks” and rumors for months regarding the new season. Thus far though, there has not been any solid leaks in terms of the actual overall plot. All we have are pieces from gorilla shots and the general information one can guess from the various source material. But given the actual evidence, what are real possibilities in how the season plays out and ends?
The first half of the season will obviously address the upcoming War of the Dawn (i.e. the living vs the dead). I expect at least 4-5 episodes being dedicated to resolving that plot line, culminating in at least one major battle and/or reveal. Up until that point though, we will have at the true core what Game of Thrones is all about: the conflict of humans.
With Jon Snow returning alongside Daenerys to Winterfell, I think we should see a great amount of unease with the Northern lords for Jon Snow’s fealty towards the Dragon Queen. In this regard, Sansa herself might be reminded and remind Jon Snow of Robb Stark’s own downfall in marrying Talisa rather than performing obligation to House Frey. Here, the circumstances aren’t exactly the same but the memory would still be fresh.
Part of Jon Snow and Daenerys’ job is to put at ease the Northern lords in thrumming up support to fight the incoming invasion of the White Walkers. While Littlefinger himself is no longer around to plant seeds of doubt in the Northern kingdoms, Sansa might see her own position being compromised by Daenerys.
I expect Daenerys to make irrational and harsh decisions which will put off the Northern lords, especially Sansa who will see her own power diminish. More importantly, her family might stop listening to her altogether with Arya aligning herself with Jon and especially Daenerys (since she, afterall, possesses Dragons).
She might though find an unlikely ally in Tyrion who sees similar issues in the romantic political relationship between Jon Snow and Daenerys as its own growing threat. Tyrion though would have his own agenda as he might have a pact with Cersei to stymie any threat from the Northern-Targaryen alliance in invading the south. He might even know or even have suggested to Cersei to have the Golden Company march later.
I think as the north prepares, Cersei will be plotting to march at the right moment. I figure that she might want to appear as a hero similar to how Tywin came at the last second to receive credit as a critical participant in King Robert’s Rebellion and the Battle of Blackwater. I figure she’ll do her best to stay away from the north personally for most of the season.
Regardless, despite all the preparation that the North attempts to do ahead of time, it’s not enough because of the squabbling and petty politics that prevent them from having a united front. The result is that the White Walkers and Army of the Dead will show up on their doorstep without warning and annihilate a good chunk of the living. At this point, the living finally band together, realizing that the threat is real and rally.
But the thing about the White Walkers is that they will eventually reveal their purpose. Actually, their purpose has already been revealed back in season 6 where Bran first sees their origin and Leaf tells him that the White Walkers were created to protect the Children of the Forest against men themselves. From what it seems, their purpose had gotten out of control from the Children of the Forest, but we don’t really see the bigger picture.
Here’s where we need to return to the start of the show and recall the first few critical scenes. Probably, the most important one is the unveiling of the theta symbol of bodies that the three rangers discover. Others have interpreted the symbol to mean “the end”. The thing is that we see two of the rangers killed while the third is “allowed” to live. But why was that done?
Because the deserter never had a chance to disclose all that he knew and that people downplayed what he saw, people in Westeros never had a chance to fully investigate and understand what happened. So here’s where my basic thesis comes into play: the symbol of the theta was a warning to the living.
Of what though? Basically, the coming of the dragons and the possible end of time. If we comb through some of the dialogue about dragons in the show, one thing that comes up is that we never know just how big they can grow. There was a Doth’raki prophecy that talked about the “stallion that mounts the world.” These images seem to imply that eventually a dragon could grow so huge that it can eventually destroy the entire planet.
One thing that’s clear is that the dragons continue to grow throughout the series. Daenerys seems fine in allowing them to remain unchecked because they allow her to gain power through sheer force. Most likely, when we see the two living dragons in Season 8, they’ll be even bigger (perhaps the size of a football stadium).
To Dany (using her childish name that implies her immature side), she most likely does not see the issues of allowing these creatures to remain uncontrolled. Her lack of a certain self-awareness and her own arrogance (as described by others who are critical of her) may make her believe that she has the ability to control the dragons just because of her supposed connection as a Targaryen. However, we have seen instances where Drogon refuses to obey her.
Worse yet, she has too strong of an emotional connection in her own mind to her dragons. She will always consider them her “babies” (which is pretty fucked up if you really think about it). Thus, she will constantly have a motherly sense of protection for them, even when they behave poorly.
However, I expect that the White Walkers know about how the Targaryens once treated dragons and conquered the land (especially due to the Children of the Forest providing them this knowledge). So their purpose has been to build up enough of an army to defeat the dragons and the forces under them. They are the counterbalance to the dragons.
The thing about the White Walkers is that we simply assume that they are evil because they have not been given the ability to speak nor have we any insight into their mindset. As with the rest of the story, we cannot take things at face value and assume things based on appearance.
First, the White Walkers in the books are described as “the Other.” This is a critical literary device being used very intentionally (and obviously if you’re into literary theory). The Other is a term used for essentially objectifying that which we don’t understand into an exotic/oriental thing that creates a dialetic between ourselves and something else. Here, the White Walkers are essentially given a great deal of prejudice through children’s tales, which tend to be devices that enforce our ideals of the world early on.
The fact that Jon Snow is the one leading the charge in creating a front against the White Walkers/Army of the Dead also is a very critical plot device. One can never forget that Ygritte constantly would tell Jon Snow “you know nothing.” This isn’t a coincidence. It’s essentially saying this guy is a fucking idiot. While Jon Snow has good intentions, he never makes rational decisions.
I see Jon Snow, as partly implied by his overly simplistic first name, that he is a sort of “every man” type. In some ways, he reminds me of Luke Wilson’s character “Average” Joe Bauers in Mike Judge’s movie, Idiocracy. Besides, being brought back from the dead and his heritage, there really isn’t all that much special about him. Yet due to him acting on his heart and being the one that charges head first, he resonates with people.
Yet the fact that you have essentially a moron making bad decisions and having people follow him is pretty funny when you think about it. But I’m getting a bit off course here. The main point is that hopefully in the potential revelation of the White Walker’s ultimate purpose, Jon Snow will have an epiphany about himself that will lead to a decision down the road to deny himself the kingdom.
Going back to the purpose of the White Walkers, if their intention is to at least remove the vestiges of dragons from the land, then Daenerys will be incredulous. I expect that her motherly instinct will compel her to deny having her children killed. Maybe Jon Snow will support her in this since he may still believe that they need to end the White Walkers.
This is where the much rumored Tyrion betrayal might come into play. I expect that the two existing dragons will be destroyed as part of an agreement. But Tyrion and Varys will uncover Daenerys’ pregnancy. In fact, I think Tyrion will discover much more than that aspect but also Jon Snow’s heritage.
Fearing that a new dragon capable of decimating the world may be born, Tyrion might attempt to convince Jon Snow to have the child slain. Jon Snow will have an impossible time deciding what to do but eventually deny the motion due to his love for Daenerys. That infuriates Tyrion to the point where he decides to take action himself. I think Tyrion might attempt to poison Daenerys and perhaps even succeed. Thereafter, he might try to escape back to King’s Landing where Cersei may forgive him for this act.
That launches Jon Snow into a fury where he gathers the forces and unveils himself to be the actual heir to the Iron Throne. In turn, he turns his newfound army against the Lannisters, who are ready with the Golden Company (btw, I think the Lannisters will only send enough at the end of the War of the Dawn to show that they participated and were the ones who repelled the dead).
While the forces are at the gates of the Red Keep, Jamie Lannister will probably attempt to negotiate with Cersei since most likely she has a trick up her sleeve (along with Tyrion). Here, Cersei anticipates a scene similar to the one with the Mad King and she has the Mountain kill Jamie, fulfilling her own oath to him. While that happens, Tyrion has the remaining Wild Fire lit and most of King’s Landing goes up.
As the city burns, both Tyrion and Cersei attempt to escape but I think Tyrion gets caught (since it’s easy to distinguish him while Cersei assumes a disguise of a peasant and flees, possibly even throwing him under the bus for the last time). That leads to his much rumored trial where he has The Mountain act on his behalf for a Trial By Combat (although I did hear that he wasn’t allowed one, which makes sense as Tommen bans it. We never head if Cersei lifts that ban though). The Hound will do the honors for Jon Snow and the two end up killing each other (although I think Sansa may show affection for the dying knight, thus giving him true peace).
Because the trial ended by draw, they decide to throw out Trial By Combat and Tyrion is convicted. Jon Snow may not be part of this scene (as rumors have it floating about) as he might simply relinquish the decision to be the executioner and live a life as a simple person. The kingdoms are split up to rule for themselves. One thing I will say is that I think Tyrion may be given the option of going to the Wall but after his speech in season 1 to Jon Snow, he decides to be executed instead.
I already discussed Cersei’s possible fate in another blog. But the general idea is that most likely she’ll run to Braavos as a beggar similar to the real life character she’s based partly on. I think we’ll see a much older version of her, living in austere conditions, pondering her existence similar to how Michael Corleone reminisced over his life at the end of Godfather 2. She might end up at the House of Black and White where she begs for the mercy of death. We’ll see Arya show up and examine her, pitying her existence and saying that Cersei already is dead because she’s no one now. That last statement frees up Arya while makes Cersei go into a catatonic type of state where she’s forced to review all the mistakes of her life, what she lost and perhaps what she could’ve done to be a slightly better person.
One last thing. I think Jon Snow ends up keeping his name as Jon Snow (it’s his identity) and lives with the Freefolk (it’s where his heart is). He doesn’t rule them (maybe Tormund might?) but finds a new red haired girl to have a simple family with.