Valar Morghulis. We’re approaching the eighth and final season of Game of Thrones, and we’ve seen so many deaths over the years. Your Starks, your Lannisters, your zombie babies. And now we’re down to a trim, core cast of characters. Except not really. There are still so many people alive on this show who could die in season eight.
Even though we’ve had dozens of notable deaths on Game of Thrones, we’re still left with about 40 key characters. I would know. I counted them. I didn’t include all the random lords scattered around Westeros and Essos—they’re walker fodder, who cares. I’m talking about the people who matter. So please enjoy my predictions on who will live or die in the final season of Game of Thrones.
Out of 40 characters, I ended up with 16 I think will make it to the end. That’s right, only 16. Not a lot of people. While I did conduct some polls on Twitter, most of these predictions come from me, Beth Elderkin, as a person who watches HBO’s Game of Thrones. And while I’m feeling confident in many of these, I’m sure the show is going to surprise me. I didn’t include the dragons and direwolves either—but in short, they’re going to be fine. Except that ice dragon. He’s ice toast.
Reason: Daenerys Targaryen and Jon Snow are the center of Game of Thrones, and the ultimate victory will be theirs. Joined together as aunt and nephew—I mean husband and wife. I don’t see a reality where one of them dies and the other survives. Game of Thrones might surprise us at times, but it’s also rather conventional. They’re the power couple, and the power couple always lives.
Reason: Same as Daenerys Targaryen. They’re a matching set now. Now get ready for that incest baby.
Reason: Out of every character I polled on Twitter, Sansa Stark was the one whom everyone believed had the best odds of survival. And you know what, I get it. If everything that’s been hurled Sansa’s way hasn’t killed her yet, the White Walkers aren’t going to either.
Cause: He’s going to die this season, but also kind of not. I believe Bran Stark is going to transcend the mortal plane, fully embracing his destiny as the Three-Eyed Raven by turning into some immortal tree god or something. Anything to get him to stop talking about the fact that he’s the goddamn Three-Eyed Raven.
Cause: She’s not going to make it, folks. I know you all want her to, so badly. But it’s not going to happen. Arya Stark is going to be killed fighting the White Walkers. I wouldn’t be surprised if she re-emerged as a walker herself, forcing Jon Snow—her beloved brother—to face off against a girl who has truly become No One. It’s kind of poetic, if you think about it.
Cause: Just as my Twitter polls suggested Sansa was most likely to survive, Cersei was the one most likely to die. Of course she is, folks. It’s part of an actual prophecy. There are two big options for her totally obvious demise here. First is at the hands of Arya Stark. Cersei Lannister is the last name on Arya’s list, and that girl is owed that life. The second option, I will describe below.
Cause: Jaime Lannister’s legacy is as the Kingslayer, the man who stabbed his own king in the back in order to do the right thing. Will he do it again, this time to his Queen, killing his twin/lover and the mother of his unborn son? I can’t imagine what would happen to him after that, but there’s no way he would survive that kind of tragedy. Of course, if that doesn’t happen, he’s still doomed. Villains don’t get happy endings, not even somewhat-reformed ones.
Reason: At first, I felt like Tyrion was destined to die. It would come as a shock to audiences—making it a very George R.R. Martin move—and you can’t have anyone getting in the way of Daenerys and Jon’s love caboose. But then I realized how much Tyrion is needed in this new world. If Jon is the heart of Westeros, and Daenerys is the strength, Tyrion is the mind. And as we well know, the dragon has three heads.
Plus, I knew all of you would murder me if I dared suggest that Tyrion wasn’t going to survive the final season of Game of Thrones. I did it for you, people.
Cause: Throughout the series, Theon’s main struggle has been his fear of inadequacy. His constant need to prove himself has led to bad choices and years of pain. As we’re entering the final season, with his push to reunite the Iron Islands in pursuit of Yara, he’s finally come to realize that it’s not his destiny to be the Special One that everybody cares about. He will end up sacrificing himself for the sake of his family, and his home, and he will die a hero.
Cause: This was a tough one. On one hand, I could see Yara taking over as ruler of the Iron Islands, working with her BFF Daenerys. But I think she’s not going to survive—whether it be during the final White Walker battle or a confrontation with Euron Greyjoy. For all we know, given how Euron has captured her and knows she’s a threat to his rule, Yara could be dead already.
Cause: I love Brienne so much, but there’s no way she’s coming out of his without becoming a walker. Brienne puts herself in harm’s way without a second thought to protect her charges, and that’s going to put her face-to-face with a giant undead army. She’s gonna look awesome as a zombie, though.
Reason: Westeros is going to need repopulation after suffering so many losses, and a dick like Podrick’s can’t go to waste.
(This is a joke, he’s probably going to die.)
Reason: There are several reasons to believe that Samwell is going to make it out of Game of Thrones alive. Samwell is strong and resilient, and he’s already survived two—count them, two—encounters with the White Walkers. We need someone to record the events of the series after the fact, and there would be no one better than Samwell himself. There’s even a theory that Sam has been the narrator of A Song of Ice and Fire this entire time. That’s because he’s pretty much a stand-in for George R.R. Martin himself. George might love killing off his characters, but he’s certainly not going to kill his avatar. Who would finish The Winds of Winter?
Reason: I could see Gilly dying, but I really don’t like the idea of fridging Samwell’s love interest, leaving him to take care of Little Sam alone. And we’ve seen a resolve in her that’s only grown over the years, so I don’t think we should count her out. I’m banking/hoping on her survival, but I’m skeptical.
Reason: We’ve had enough Craster Baby deaths on this show, you monsters.
Reason: If everyone in Westeros died at the hands of the White Walkers, Lyanna Mormont would still be around. The Lady of Bear Island cannot be stopped. All hail the future leader of the Seven Kingdoms.
Cause: No one remembers who this guy is, a sure sign that he’s doomed.
Cause: Jorah Mormont might have survived greyscale, but he’s not going to survive the walker invasion. It’s too bad, because I’ve grown relatively fond of Jorah in recent years. I couldn’t stand him in the first couple of seasons, always staring creepily at Daenerys. But he’s proven that he’s more than “Friendzone Jo”—especially in the seventh season when he went to find a cure for his greyscale...and succeeded. But just because he’s survived before doesn’t mean he’s going to survive now. He’ll go down fighting, but he’ll still go down.
Reason: There’s no reason for this other than I want him to survive. I know he won’t, but it’s my list and I’m allowed one freebie. Davos lives. I’m calling it.
Reason: Another character I really would love to see survive, but know probably won’t. I do think he’s going to make it to the final battle. He may have been at The Wall when the White Walkers came roaring through, but that probably didn’t kill him. Someone’s got to be the “Walkers Are Coming!” messenger.
However, if he does live, I could see him becoming the new leader Beyond the Wall, forging an alliance with Jon and Daenerys. That’s if he survives, which he probably won’t.
Cause: This is another tough one. Like Yara, I could see this going either way. But this character has already been through so much, survived many near-death experiences, that I think he’s going to make it out alive. He’s clearly protected by something, or possibly someone (meaning the Lord of Light).
Cause: I like Bronn, all of us do. Even when he’s shooting at Daenerys’ dragons like an asshole, we still like him. But he’s not a character who’s destined to come out the other side. Given how he brought Tyrion and Jaime together for a secret meeting, I wouldn’t be surprised if he eventually faces Cersei’s wrath. You don’t double-cross the Queen of the Seven Kingdoms.
Reason: Varys dwells in the space between spaces. You cannot kill someone who does not exist.
Reason: The last we left Ellaria Sand, she was locked in Cersei’s dungeon, fated to watch her daughter die and decompose in front of her. Cersei promised that Ellaria would not be allowed to die, even if her guards had to force feed her. As long as Cersei lives, I believe Ellaria will too. But that leaves the question of what would happen to her once Cersei was gone. Would the guards forget about her and she’d simply starve to death? It’s hard to say, mostly because the actress has confirmed we won’t be seeing Ellaria again.
Cause: Another imprisoned victim who we know is likely not coming back in the final season. In this case, he’s probably starved to death in his cell, since Arya killed Walder Frey and his entire family.
Cause: He’s an amazing fighter and a beautiful soul, but he’s done for. I’m guessing he and his forces will die during a struggle with the Golden Company.
Reason: The main reason I think Missandei is going to survive is because I believe she’s going to become the democratically elected ruler of Meereen. She’s proven herself to be an intelligent, insightful, and capable leader. Not to mention having a former slave rise to the rank of ruler—chosen at the hands of the people—would be kismet. A perfect ending to Missandei’s journey.
Cause: In season six, Daario and his Second Sons were left behind in Meereen as Daenerys made her way to Westeros. But I don’t think it’s the last we’ve seen of him. At the end of last season, Cersei had enlisted the services of the Golden Company, meaning a new army from the East is going to come in and change the game. The Second Sons wouldn’t let the Golden Company invade Westeros unchallenged, and I think Daario will join the fray with his own band of mercenaries. He wouldn’t survive it, but he’d help even the odds.
Reason: If Jaqen is no one, how can he be killed?
Reason: I wrestled back and forth on this one, but her survival comes down to how she’s endured and what she’s accomplished. This young women fought off walkers and brought Bran to the outer reaches Beyond the Wall, doing what no one else could...all for the sake of her devotion to her now-deceased brother. Actress Ellie Kendrick has indicated that we won’t see Meera in season eight, and in this case I’m guessing she’ll survive...even offscreen.
Cause: Another character we probably won’t see in season eight, but one that would likely die offscreen. He’ll be one of the many casualties of the White Walker army coming down from the North. The undead army is going to ravage villages during its rampage, and Hot Pie will be right there in the thick of it. It’s okay, though, the actor playing him has his own business making direwolf bread, so he’ll be fine.
Reason: He’s chilling in one of the safest places in the world. He’ll be fine.
Cause: I still don’t know why this guy isn’t dead already. Because he’s got a cool flaming sword? I think we’re all waiting for the day when Beric kicks the final bucket, and this season is going to be it.
Cause: As we saw when she took off her glamour, Melisandre is near-death anyway, and she’s a horrible person who’s done terrible, terrible things. This is a woman who ordered a man to sacrifice his own daughter so he could win a stupid war, one he still ended up losing. She’s been trying to redeem herself ever since, but we all know that Melisandre is too far gone. The Lord of Light can’t protect her from the darkness forever.
Cause: This guy looks like my first boyfriend and it bugs the crap out of me. He’ll die because he’s a villain, but I also don’t want to look at him anymore
Cause: And the award for most-obvious death goes to...
Reason: There’s no way season eight ends without someone (likely Jon) killing the Night King once and for all. But I don’t think that’s going to signal the end of the White Walkers. They may diminish in numbers, even almost completely dissipate, but they’re a plague that will never be fully eradicated. Someday, somewhere, they will return.