“What is dead may never die,” goes the saying on the Iron Islands, and that certainly appears to hold true on “Game of Thrones.” After the game-changing resurrection of Jon Snow a couple seasons back, the series has firmly established a world where death is not necessarily the end. Now that “Game of Thrones” is coming to a close, it’s the show’s last chance to bring back some beloved or not-so-beloved characters.
The fantasy series has a few built-in ways for people to return from the dead or at least become undead, which is, you know, a return of sorts. Priests of the Red God R’hllor has seen fit to resurrect both Jon Snow and Beric Dondarrion (Richard Dormer), the latter a total of six times, although they were slightly changed afterward. Down south in King’s Landing, disgraced maester Qyburn (Anton Lesser) took the putrefying body of Gregor “The Mountain” Clegane (Hafþór Júlíus Björnsson) and reanimated it through mysterious means. Even Khal Drogo (Jason Momoa) returned in a limited, vegetative state through dark magic.
Humans aren’t the only ones who can bring back the deceased. The creepy White Walkers can resurrect the dead with a touch, making them into the mindless, blue-eyed wights that comprise the undead army heading toward Winterfell. On a related note, Jon’s uncle Benjen Stark (Joseph Mawle) was on the road to becoming a wight when the Children of the Forest intervened, arresting that process with a dragonglass blade to the heart.
For this final stretch, “Game of Thrones” could throw in wild card resurrections to keep viewers — and the heroes — on their toes. But with the many, many, many dead people the show has killed off over the years, who should come back? Below are IndieWire’s picks for the characters who would make the most welcome or at least most dramatic return to the series this season:
Ned Stark (Sean Bean)
Every Stark family member whose body in the Winterfell crypts could possibly come back, but the original Stark to be betrayed on the show holds more significance than any other (sorry, Rickon!) Ned was the moral compass for the Stark clan, and his beheading clued in the world that this was not mere political maneuvering; this was life and death.
Something to note, however, is that only a skeleton is left of Ned’s body since it was transported to the Winterfell crypts long after decomposition had its way. According to the book series, the skull was reattached to the body using silver wire. Therefore, if Ned Stark did come back, he would look more like a Ray Harryhausen creation than Ned, which would still be pretty awesome though.
Hodor (Kristian Nairn)
The loyal Stark retainer had the most heartbreaking death ever, after it’s revealed that his name, based on the one word he would always say, is a messed-up cross-time translation of “Hold the door.” These are his last words before a horde of wights kill him as he’s literally holding the door shut on them to allow Bran (Isaac Hempstead Wright) to flee.
Unlike Jojen Reed (Thomas Brodie-Sangster) and Ygritte (Rose Leslie), who died up North but had their bodies destroyed or burned to prevent reanimation, Hodor was left alone. Therefore, the White Walkers could have resurrected him as a wight, which would be horrifying partly because he was torn apart physically but also because of his meaning to the Starks.
Catelyn Stark (Michelle Fairley)
The Stark matriarch had one of the most tragic deaths on the show ever. Not only is she ambushed at the Red Wedding, but she also has to watch her firstborn son Robb (Richard Madden) get murdered before her own throat is slit. If some follower of R’hllor could bring Catelyn back, she could exact revenge for the massive Stark losses. And she would be absolutely ruthless, some would say stone-hearted.
The Direwolves Lady, Grey Wind, Summer, and Shaggydog
Of the six direwolves that the Starks adopted, only two remain alive: Ghost with Jon Snow, and the roaming Nymeria, whom Arya Stark (Maisie Williams) had set free to save her. Although everyone has made much of Daenerys’ dragons, the Starks’ direwolves also had a supernatural bond with their human companions, a throughline that was sadly dropped on the show. Think of what havoc resurrected direwolves could wreak — the North remembers? How about the North dismembers?
Wun Weg Wun Dar Wun, aka Wun Wun
The giant was killed when Ramsay Bolton’s forces took Winterfell, and it’s never revealed what happened to his body. He could have been changed into a wight, since a few giant wights have been seen among the White Walkers’ horde, but if his body was preserved (there’s all that snow up there!) he have a proper resurrection so he can fight alongside his free folk pals. Having two dragons and a giant on their side could make a difference.
Tommen’s beloved cat experienced an off-screen death. According to the showrunners, Cersei (Lena Headey) had the pet executed in a “horrible” but unspecified way. The feline’s resurrection could be the real game-changer though. Let’s say that Qyburn took a shine to the cat and decided to keep him alive in some way (Qyburn could never resist experimenting on bodies.) Ser Pounce could be just biding his time, waiting to, er, pounce on Queen Cersei when she least expects it to exact furry vengeance. And everyone knows what cats do when one gives up their seat: take it. Yes, Ser Pounce, the first of his name, could sit upon the Iron Throne. George R.R. Martin couldn’t have written a more surprising ending.
”Game of Thrones” airs Sundays at 9 p.m. ET on HBO.