Much like the Red Woman looking into Arya’s future, much death seems likely in the season finale — but in what form might we expect it? There are plenty of theories out there as to what might transpire in “The Dragon and the Wolf.” The one guarantee: There will probably be a dragon and a wolf involved, at least on a metaphorical level. Beyond that, here are some additional thoughts.
The Snow Job
In order for a previous prediction for the “Game of Thrones” series finale to pan out, there needs to be some traction on the Dany/Tyrion romance. Pair that with my demand for meaningful blood to be spilt, and there’s only one thing that can happen Sunday night:
Jon Snow will die.
I know, I know. He’s died already, and, worse yet, it’s felt like he’s died 1,000 times. Even mentioning Jon Snow dying feels like a tired, outdated reference. But does that mean it won’t happen?
If anything, it means that it should. “Game of Thrones” thrives on unexpected deaths. Moreover, the creators seem intent on building up the White Walkers’ ego to Trumpian levels, as we become more and more afraid of the blue-eyed spear throwers every week.
So my prediction is as such: Jon Snow will face off against the Night King and… lose. His death will be violent in order to emphasize its permanence, and — worse yet — it will be the turned dragon that finishes him off. This will be the final emotional push Dany needs to kill her own kin, and she’ll destroy the dragon that just ate her would-be King.
This would accomplish three critical things for the final season: The White Walkers will still be an immensely imposing force. A major character will die, sending theorists spinning as to who will rule the Iron Throne. Finally and most importantly, Tyrion will be the shoulder Dany turns to with Jon out of the way, and the single best ending can be realized.
— Ben Travers, TV Critic
What to expect, in one word: Cleganebowl
— Michael Nordine, Weekend Edtior
While I would really like someone to be revealed as Azor Ahai so that they can battle the Night King midair on the backs of dragons with a fire sword, I highly doubt that would happen so soon. But since the Night King has marked Bran, it would be interesting to see if Bran can feel what the Night King is up to also. Would he be aware of where the Night King is? Bran has been underutilized this season as he adjusts to Three-Eyed Ravening so if he was going to enter the fray anytime, the finale would be perfect to rally other mythical creatures like long-lost giants to their side. He can do that after he confers with Sam and then tells Jon Snow about his true parents.
As for deaths, between the two human villains — Cersei or Littlefinger — I predict the latter will die so that Cersei can be the big human bad of Season 8. She still has two brothers to deal with, so that’s just richer storytelling. Of course that would mean Arya and Sansa would have to get their Stark sister act together and actually talk and listen to each other. A huge ploy in which Arya tricks Littlefinger by wearing another face would be great, and since Sansa is so wily, she can be in on the ruse.
Also, Tormund and Brienne need to fight side by side. I don’t know how this will happen since Brienne is down south in King’s Landing (and I didn’t see the Hound in the trailer), but travel and time don’t seem to be a factor, and the episode is 76+ minutes long anyway, so she can get back up north pretty easily.
And finally, Jon will realize that he’s missed Ghost, apologize for neglecting hims faithful direwolf the whole season, and then Ghost will meet Rhaegal and totally hit it off. They’ll be an unstoppable force, and Ghost will ride Rhaegal (they can adjust the design on the harness that Bran used to ride Hodor) into battle against Viserion that will end in a cliffhanger that will only be resolved in Season 8.
— Hanh Nguyen, Senior Editor
Revenge of the Greyjoys
Even before Season 7, “Game of Thrones” has effectively reached beyond its central cast of characters and given some peripheral characters some vital, important business. So naturally, my assumption is that this final episode will hinge on the Greyjoys, the one major family that’s been sidelined as things on the show have literally and metaphorically heated up. Like Bronn coming from out of nowhere to tackle Jaime from horseback or the Deus Ex Benjena that whisked Jon away to safety in last week’s wight battle, it’s hard not to imagine that the re-Reekified Theon, the crafty Yara, and the homicidally boisterous Euron won’t figure out some way to become the out-of-nowhere vital piece to this King’s Landing puzzle.
There’s something about the “Fingers and Neck” potential clue (at the risk of spoiling more, I’ll direct you to Joanna Robinson’s explanation), one of the first ones to pop up from this season, that seems too irresistible to not come to fruition. Given the overwhelming outside forces descending on this finale, I’d be disappointed if the show squeezes that major development in amongst the White Walker version of Yalta that the show’s managed to work toward. But given that this season has largely been about the waning influence of those two characters on the world at large, I wouldn’t put it past Benioff and Weiss to plunge into the hiatus with the splashy death they’ve been forestalling for an entire season.
— Steve Greene, Special Projects Editor
Death in the North
Given the players gathering in the south, the biggest drama of the finale might come from a relatively unexpected place: Winterfell seems poised for an epic battle, an epic betrayal, and/or an epic tragedy.
While big fights have waged elsewhere, the remaining Stark siblings have reunited, but it’s not exactly a happy reunion, given how much Sansa, Arya, and Bran have all changed in the years since they were separated. (All the way back in Season 1, in case you’ve forgotten.) Bran is now largely consumed by his new role as the Three-Eyed Raven. Arya is now a killer. And Sansa is finding herself in the position of becoming a real ruler of the North.
Beyond their interpersonal worries come two major threats: the ever-present concern over the White Walkers descending from the North (yes, there’s a Wall, but there’s also now a dragon wight) and, perhaps the most urgent, the looming presence of Lord Baelish in the shadows of Winterfell’s halls. We’ve already seen him drive a wedge between Arya and Sansa with that hidden letter, and we know his interest in Sansa borders on the obsessive. Exactly what shape his power play takes isn’t clear, but Littlefinger’s always been pretty transparent about always wanting more.
The season has been playing the long game with Winterfell and Littlefinger for six episodes now — the finale is most likely where that changes. And whether Winterfell faces attack from without or within (or both!) what happens there will end up setting a major part of the tone for Season 8. The question is, who ends up paying the price? If Season 7 is to end on an optimistic note, then Littlefinger and anyone allied with him are likely doomed. But because this is “Game of Thrones,” it’s worth getting worried about some of the more beloved characters in position there.
— Liz Shannon Miller, TV Editor
The “Game of Thrones” finale airs Sunday, Aug. 27 at 9 p.m. on HBO and will run for an extended 79 minutes and 43 seconds.