Anticipating Game of Thrones: Popular Theories

Image Courtesy of HBO

Image Courtesy of HBO

By Ryan Coleman

With the final season of Game of Thrones closing in, fans everywhere are beginning to speculate on what will happen. Some theories are popping up on a daily basis while others have existed since the beginning of the series. Below I have hashed out some of the most popular and likely theories, as well as indicated the percentage likelihood of each one happening. Warning, spoilers ahead up until the end of season seven.

Valonqar Prophecy

In the first scene of episode five, we see a young Cersei visit Maggie the Frog to learn her prophecy. Everything that Maggie said has come true so far, including Cersei becoming queen, Robert having multiple bastards, and Cersei having three children with Jaime who would all die…“gold will be their crowns, gold their shrouds.” But one vital part of the prophecy was not included in the show. In the books, Maggie concludes with: “And when your tears have drowned you, the valonqar shall wrap his hands about your pale white throat and choke the life from you.”

Valonqar in High Valyrian is translated to “little brother.” Naturally, Cersei thinks this means Tyrion but a lot of fans are speculating that it will be Jaime. Now, of course, it might be difficult for Jaime to “wrap his hands around” her throat with only one hand, but I do not think this quote should be taken quite so literally. The main reason I believe this theory to be most likely is because who else would kill Cersei? The death of Cersei is one that is going to be satisfactory, like the moment Jon finally beat up Ramsey, or the scene where Arya and Sansa tag-teamed slitting Littlefinger’s throat. If Cersei dies, which she most likely will, it is going to be at the hands, or hand, of someone who will make her death that much more significant. My number one option? Jaime Lannister.

Chance of happening: 60%

Bran is the Night King

This is my personal favorite theory and the one I would like to see happen most. It is obvious that Bran and the Night King already have some sort of connection. With Bran getting touched when he was in a vision, as well as seeing how he was created, it is apparent that they already share a bond. When watching through the series again, there is significant foreshadowing to this theory coming true. Multiple times as Bran is making his way to the Three-Eyed Raven and when he is with the Three-Eyed Raven, it is alluded that if he spends too much time warging or in his visions, then he will forget whom he truly is, and be stuck forever.

We have already seen what happened with Hodor. Bran did not really affect the past, he was just already a part of it, while in the future. It’s confusing, yes, but basically, it’s possible for Bran to go back in time and have a presence. He caused Hodor to become Hodor, and his dad heard him when he yelled his name at the Tower of Joy. This leads up to a possible scenario where Bran is the Night King.

Imagine this...The Night King and his army are charging against Winterfell and seem to have the battle won. In a last effort hope, Bran tries to go back in time to stop the White Walkers from even existing. First, he goes to the reign of Aerys Targaryen and advises him to “burn them all,” but that backfires and causes the Mad King to become the Mad King. Once that fails, he goes back further to put up the Wall to stop the White Walkers from marching, assuming the role as Bran the Builder. Since that does not work he tries to go further to the creation of the White Walkers with the Children of the Forest but that is the final straw and he is stuck in the body of the man he wargs into, the one that gets a Dragonglass dagger driven through his heart. Bran is trapped in his body and has forgotten who he is, thus taking the role as The Night King.

Checks out right? The biggest setback would be the overwhelming complexity of the situation, so if it were to happen, the showrunners would have to do a pretty careful and elaborate job of explaining it all. But we currently know very little about the White Walkers. Why are they coming south? What are their motives? Can they communicate with the living? If Bran is the Night King, that would be a pretty significant piece of information and its impact on the plot would be very exciting to watch.

Chance of happening: 40%

Tyrion Made a Deal with Cersei and Betrayed Danny/Jon

At the end of season seven we saw Cersei and Tyrion talk to one another but we never saw them reach an agreement. Afterwords, Cersei announced how she would join in the fight against life and death, only for us to learn that she was not being honest, and sent Euron to get sellswords from the Golden Company. The question is, what did the two agree upon? Does Tyrion actually think that Cersei is holding onto this fragile alliance or is it something deeper?

When Jon and Danny were getting it on, there was a shot of a sulken Tyrion looking on. He seemed incredibly sad, but for what reason? Perhaps it was because he loves Danny and is jealous, or maybe he knows that, when Danny loves someone, it has never worked out. Or maybe it’s because he struck a deal with Cersei and is upset at the idea of these two individuals’ respective deaths. Whatever the reason, Tyrion was definitely not happy.

However, this theory does not seem particularly likely. What could Cersei possibly offer Tyrion that he would want badly enough to betray Jon and Daenerys? Tyrion has never really had a desire to rule, generally preferring to advise. Furthermore, he and his sister have never gotten along and even if Cersei offered him the world and the opportunity to bring back Shae from the dead for them to be happily married, Tyrion would be skeptical and most likely deny it. Tyrion is one of, if not the smartest man in Westeros; he chooses his spots wisely and there is a reason he is still alive. I do not think him taking the side of Cersei, who has sworn to kill him on multiple different occasions, would be a move he would make.

Chance of happening: 15%

Cleganebowl

This isn’t so much a theory as it is just something fans want to see happen. The competition between the Clegane brothers has been built up over the entirety of the show, and fans have been itching to see a battle.

There was a brief stunt between the two back in season one but that was not so much a fight as it was an encounter. There is no big reason not to include the Cleganebowl in the final season, and the showrunners know that it will make fans happy. I am sure that they won’t go out of their way just to have Sandor and whatever is left of Gregor clash, but if the opportunity presents itself, I am pretty confident we will see two of the best knights go at each other.

Chance of happening: 65%.

Varys is Targaryen

This theory is one of the more recent ones I have seen but it has been gaining popularity. First of all, let me ask you a question: what is Varys’ last name? The answer is that we don’t know. Nearly every single character has a last name except Varys, and Hodor I guess. Furthermore, he serves Danny as his queen and he has a bald head - maybe to hide the classic platinum blonde Targaryen hair. Varys has always been a secretive man with a past no one really knows about and I believe we are going to learn more about this Master of Whispers in season eight.

Everyone knows that Vary is a eunuch, but why? Maybe his stones were thrown into a fire because he had royal blood, as that’s all we’ve seen happen with Melisandre and her burnings. There was also the encounter with the priestess Kinvara where she knew what the voice from the flames said that night he became a eunuch. Maybe we will learn what the voice said and that will be the third “holy shit” moment of the season. Or maybe it’s nothing.

The biggest setback to this theory is why. Why would they throw this in there when there is already so much going on, and what would it mean? How would Varys being Targaryen significantly change anything? And who would he even be? The entire Targaryen family tree has been explained already so he would either be an unknown child or maybe secretly Rhaegar back from the dead. Either way, it would pile on more to what’s stacking up to be a complex and convoluted season, so I don’t think this is likely. I am sure we will learn more of Varys’ backstory, but not that he is Targaryen.

Chance of happening: 20%

Arya Takes Littlefinger’s Face

We all clearly remember the death of Littlefinger - it may have been one of the best death’s of the series so far - but what are the chances that Aiden Gillen is back as Arya using Littlefinger’s face? We know that Arya has Cersei on her list, but are unsure about how willing she is to go to cross that name off. If Arya takes Littlefinger’s face, it will be the perfect way to get into King’s Landing and have a chance at a one-on-one with Cersei herself. The only thing is that word seems to travel fast in the Game of Thrones world so it might look a little suspicious to have Peter walking around when everyone knows he’s dead.

Arya will almost absolutely take someone’s face this season, it’s just a matter of who’s. There’s a chance she takes Jaime’s face to go kill Cersei. Then it’s revealed after she kills her that it is in fact her and not Jaime. That would be a huge blow with Cersei and Jaime basically dying at the same time (also a reference to the books), the Valonqar Prophecy being fulfilled, and Arya knocking another name off her list. Arya has become a badass assassin who I am excited to see at her full potential. We will see, if and when she takes a face, who’s it will be. Taking Littlefinger’s though? Not likely.

Chance of happening: 17%

Other Theories

There are hundreds of theories out there and I won’t be going into all of them, but I think the ones above are the more significant theories that have the most likelihood of happening and would have the most impact on the show. I have included some of the other theories below as well as what I think the chances of those happening are.

Sam is the one telling the story: 25%

Westeros is just Westworldoros: 1%

Jon is Azor Ahai: 23%

Danny is Azor Ahai: 20%

am is Azor Ahai: 10%

Nymeria will come with a wolf army to save the day: 13%

Cersei will turn to the “Mad Queen” and blow up the entire city: 22%

Jon Snow will become the Night King: 14%

Tyrion is a Targaryen: 8%

Ned Stark is alive and will return: 3%

The White Walkers win and the Night King ends up on the Iron Throne: 11%

Everyone is actually just a faceless man: <1%

Arya will end up travelling the world: 18%

Danny will have a child: 30%

Brienne and Tormund will get married and have babies who take over the world: 20%

Steven Norwalk