The 8th and final season of Game of Thrones is upon us. In less than 12 hours, millions will be glued to their screens to find out the answers to all the big questions which have been surrounding the finale of this exceptionally engaging plotline, rooting for their favourite characters and desired outcomes.
If you know me, you know that I’m a die-hard GoT fan and, fittingly, I have been dwelling night and day for quite some time considering the possibilities of this coming season. So, without further ado, here are my thoughts and theories for Game of Thrones season 8:
The True Gods
There are many mentions of different deities in Game of Thrones. The Dothraki worship the ‘Great Stallion’, and the Ironborn worship the ‘Drowned God’. The first men worship the Old Gods, whereas the bulk of the remaining Westerosi worship the ‘Seven’.
The prevalent faith of Essos is said to be the faith of the ‘Red God’ (the Lord of Light, or ‘R’hllor’), and it seems evident from the occurrences of the TV show that this Red God does indeed exist. He raises men from the dead and allows the lady Melissandre to birth a demon made of shadows. R’hllor is the god of life, light, and love, and he is eternally at war with another, who is referred to as ‘The Great Other’ (his true name can not be spoken), the god of death, darkness, and fear. These Gods work vicariously through chosen servants – warriors of life and death respectively.
The Old Gods were originally worshipped by the Children of the Forest, and this faith was taken on by the First Men after they banded together with the Children to face their common enemy. The Old Gods are responsible for the magic which the Children possess, and the creation of the ‘3-eyed Raven’ – a sort of demi-deity who has the power to travel through time to gather knowledge. This faith is implicative of a sort of Mother Nature – we see people ‘warging’ into animals, and the roots of the great weirwood tree growing through the 3-eyed Raven.
I believe that these two faiths are one and the same. All living nature in this fantasy world are followers of the Old God, who is the Lord of Light; and those who are undead or demonic are followers of the Great Other. The main chosen warriors of light are the 3-eyed Raven, Bran Stark, and the prince(ss) who was promised, known as ‘Azor Ahai’. There is much dispute over the identity of this individual, but it seems most likely to be either Daenerys Targaryen or Jon Snow (I wouldn’t put it past the GoT writers, but there would have to be quite a few plot twists for it to be anyone else). Azor Ahai is prophesised to end the long night and bring the dawn using a weapon known as “lightbringer”, which will require them to make a terrible sacrifice. Lightbringer is said to be a sword for heroes, born in fire. This may be a significant sword in the storyline, such as Jon’s sword ‘Longclaw’, or it may refer to something entirely different, such as the dragons themselves. The Great Other’s main servant appears to be the ‘Night King’, leader of the White Walkers and Army of the Dead. Another servant of the Great Other could be the drowned god, who is prophesised to come out of the sea and destroy Aegon the conqueror (perhaps a metaphor for Euron killing Jon or Daenerys).
I believe that the destruction of the Sept of Baelor is foreshadowing the downfall of the ‘Faith of the Seven’, the leading faith in Westeros. These idols are now believed to be false, but perhaps their existence has some sort of meaning on another level. For example, it would be very poetic if these 7 identities literally referred to 7 of the main characters, and that these characters may be the Lord of Light’s chosen warriors. The Father may be Jon Snow; The Mother may be Daenerys; The Maiden may be Sansa Stark; The Stranger may be Aria Stark; The Smith may be Gendry; The Crone may be Bran Stark; and The Warrior may be Jaime Lannister. Alternatively, The Father could be Tyrion and The Warrior Jon.
Furthermore, some interesting theories have cropped up regarding Jon Snow’s lineage. His mother was Lyanna Stark (ice) and his father Rhaegar Targaryen (fire). We know already that Rhaegar was a romantic and a musician, and it is theorised that the book series title ‘A Song of Ice and Fire’ is literally a love song he wrote for Lyanna about their son (Jon Snow, or ‘Aemon Targaryen’), and may be a source of evidence (if found) that Jon Snow is the true heir to the Iron Throne.
As a stark, it is possible that Jon Snow possesses the blood of the white walkers, according to the book’s lore of the ‘Night’s King’: He was a stark, and lord commander of the Night’s Watch who fell in love with a female white walker, and they sacrificed their children to the ‘Great Other’, before being driven out of the north and beyond the wall by his brother, ‘Brandon the Breaker’ and the rest of the Starks. It is theorised that they found the baby of this ‘Night’s King’, and raised him at Winterfell, and that the blood of all Starks is descended from him, meaning they share blood with White Walkers. Could this ‘Night’s King’ be the same as Jon’s nemesis in the TV series, whom he refers to as the ‘Night King’?
As the son of both ice and fire, it seems logical for Jon to not only be the prince who was promised, but also someone who is responsible for the outcome of the final battle of life and death, and perhaps sacrifice himself, or another, to save the living from the army of the dead if defeat becomes imminent. He may have to choose between love and duty to truly become Azor Ahai.
At the very start of season 5 we have a dramatic prologue where Cersei goes to a witch to learn the secrets of her future. Using blood magic, the witch tells her that she’ll have 3 children and they will all come to die. Obviously by the end of season 6 all of her 3 children had already lived and died, but it’s important to remember that nothing was prophesised about her first child who died at a young age. It’s also stated in the book’s prophecy, but not the show’s, that she will be killed by the ‘valonqar’ (‘little brother’). It is a popular opinion that Cersei will therefore die at the hands of either Jaime or Tyrion, but unless the show explicitly states that part of the prophecy which was omitted for the TV show, it could be anyone – or no one! Otherwise, it could refer to a different “little brother”, for example Sandor Clegane (the hound), little brother of Gregor “The Mountain” Clegane. Regardless of anything, it seems likely to me that her child will miscarriage, and she will be killed by either Aria, Jaime, Tyrion, the Hound, or Euron (who is also a little brother).
Furthermore, there was a very curious dialogue between Cersei and Tyrion in the last episode of season 7 which was hidden from the viewers, after which she agreed to march north to war alongside her enemies. This being immediately after his discovery of her pregnancy and coupled with his prior concern for Daenerys’ own ability to produce an heir, means that there is a good chance Tyrion is going to betray the dragon queen somehow.
Bran’s Journey Through Time
There have been several mentions of a theory where Brandon Stark literally is Brandon the builder from the old stories. Brandon the builder was the founder house Stark and was responsible for building the wall and raising Winterfell 8000 years before Game of Thrones is set. It has also been predicted that Bran will go back in time and warg into the Mad King, as he did to Hodor, which will be the cause of his supposed madness. If we’ve learned anything from the previous seasons of this show, it’s that there’s a massive theme of balance throughout the plot – lots of occurrences are mirrored. I believe that everything in the story may be cleverly tied together when Bran Stark goes on a journey through time, backwards, starting with the mad king, and ending with him raising the wall before history repeats itself in a sort of cycle of time.
I also think it may be a possibility that the entirety of the forces of life and of death will end up battling, including the animals – not just the men. Perhaps Bran will warg into all of nature, wolves, bears and all (including Nymeria and her superpack) to battle the army of the dead (which we already know contains animal wights), in a sort of James Cameron’s Avatar style finale.
‘Game of Thrones’ – by Samwell Tarly…?
Another popular theory, which I am very fond of, is that the book which the archmeister is writing in season 7 – ‘A Chronicle of the Wars Following the Death of King Robert I’ – (which Sam expresses isn’t an engaging title), is written in the end by Sam Tarly himself, and is titled ‘Game of Thrones’. This would mean that the entire storyline from season 1 until the bitter end, is from his perspective, just as The Lord of the Rings is written from the perspective of Frodo Baggins. It also suggests that Sam will survive to write the story, and therefore that life will win out.