Well, the white walkers and the army of the dead are south of the wall, or, more accurately, south of a spot where part of the wall used to be, before the Night King mounted Viserion and melted the fucker with blue ice fire. We’ve got six episodes left, and an entire internet’s worth of theories as to how it’s all going to end. So now that we’ve got up to a year-and-a-half to catch our breath, we thought it’d be good to put together a massive compendium of where the major Game of Thrones theories stand with season seven in the books. Study hard…
THEORIES THAT WERE CONFIRMED IN SEASON 7
Gendry is alive and will return.
We weren’t sure we’d ever see the talented Flea Bottom blacksmith (and Robert Baratheon’s bastard/heir to the throne) again after he rowed off into the fog way back in season three. But rumors began percolating when fans spotted Joe Dempsie, the actor who portrays Gendry, around the set. As it happened, Ser Davos made a trip to King’s Landing to fetch the lad, and Gendry went on to send the clutchest raven of season seven from Eastwatch.
Nymeria will return.
Arya set her direwolf free into the woods way back in the first season to save it from being slaughtered by the Lannisters. Since then, fans have awaited the majestic beast’s return. And return she did, albeit briefly, and only to serve as a reminder to Arya that you can’t fight nature.
R + L = J
After last season’s Tower of Joy flashback, we knew with 99.9% certainty that Jon Snow was not Ned Stark’s bastard, but the bastard of Rhaegar Targaryen, born of Lyanna Stark. A couple weeks ago, we became even surer, and learned that Jon may not be a bastard at all, when Gilly stumbled upon an old High Septon’s diary entry chronicling the annulment of Rhaegar’s first marriage, and his subsequent secret remarriage. Tonight, thanks to Sam and Bran putting their heads and time-traveling powers together, the fact of Jon’s parentage and legitimacy was finally spoken aloud. Jon Snow is Aegon Targaryen, the rightful heir to the Iron Throne. And so Robert’s Rebellion was based on a lie.
THEORIES THAT DIED IN SEASON 7
Sansa and Arya saw to it that, in the end, all of Lord Baelish’s foresight and scheming added up to nothing but an unceremonious death on a cold stone floor in The North.
Mira Reed and Jon Snow are Twins.
The theory was that Lyanna gave birth to two babies in the Tower of Joy, and that, while Ned Stark took Jon Snow (nee Aegon Targaryen), a female child was given to Howland Reed, the only other man to survive the battle that day. Unless Bran just decided to leave that part out of his TOJ flashback sesh with Sam, it looks like this theory is buried. Probably for the best, as it was never based on anything but a similar hairstyle anyway.
There’s an ice dragon frozen in the wall.
One weird theory went that part of the magic half-zombie Benjen spoke to Bran of that kept the white walkers from coming south of the wall was a dragon actually buried inside of it. I suppose that’s technically still possible, but it seems like narrative overkill now that a different ice dragon has just laid waste to a big chunk of it.
Longclaw has been brought to life.
This one was born and killed in the span of just a few days. A slow-motion screen capture and tight zoom-in of Longclaw, Jon Snow’s sword, after it emerges from the icy water in Beyond the Wall, appears to show the eyes of the wolf on the sword’s pommel flashing, as if they’ve been given life. People were really into that idea. The episode’s director, Alan Taylor, however, shot it down quickly.
THEORIES THAT WERE BORN IN SEASON 7
The Hound is Azor Ahai.
There are many theories regarding the identity of Azor Ahai, or, The Prince That Was Promised—a hero that, legend has it, defeated the white walkers to end the last Long Night, and who is prophesied to be reborn so as to defeat the darkness again. We’ll get to some of the more common Azor Ahai theories later, but in the first episode of this season The Hound drew some consideration for the title when he had his first flame vision, wherein he saw thousands of the dead coming south where the Wall meets the sea. Fans say that the Hound was reborn when, after being left for dead by Arya, he recovers and becomes a kinder, gentler giant. At the very least, it looks like Sandor Celgane has got some mad fire-seeing skills.
Killing the Night King will kill the entire army.
In Beyond the Wall, Jon kills a white walker, prompting a chain reaction of nearly all the wights around said walker to collapse and die as well. This leads us to believe that there’s some kind of connection between the walkers and the bodies they reanimate. Later in the episode, Beric Dondarian, a man who has died and been reborn multiple times, suggests that it was the Night King who turned all the white walkers, who turned all the wights. Ipso facto, kill the Night King, kill the whole damn army.
Daenerys will end up the Mad Queen.
There’ve been whispers of this since way back when Dany took bloody revenge on the slavemasters after the Siege of Mereen, but Dany’s fraught conversations with Varys and Tyrion this season, as well as her Tarly family bonfire, ramped up the notion that the Mother of Dragons will eventually lose her grip and use her awesome power to bring terror to the seven kingdoms.
Euron Greyjoy has the power to control dragons.
Euron was really talked up as a big bad in the lead-up to this season, and that didn’t really pan out. He’s mostly just been an obnoxious Ewan McGregor lookalike with bad eyeliner and a comical evil laugh. He’s got a chance to be a more substantial factor in the final season though, if Dragonbinder, the man-sized, potentially dragon-controlling horn he has in the books, makes an appearance. He didn’t seem much impressed by Dany in the pit, and we’ve already seen one dragon fall under the control of someone/thing else. This one might have legs.
The Iron Bank will betray Cersei.
There’s an old financial saying with a few variations, but the jist is, “if you owe the bank a million dollars, the bank owns you. If you owe the bank a billion dollars, you own the bank.” Cersie paid off her debt to the Iron Bank, then promptly paid the bank in straight Highgarden gold for the use of 20,000 men from the Golden Company of Essos. What’s the incentive for the bank to keep helping her out. Army of the dead aside, if the bank were to make an investment in one of the two warring sides in the battle for the seven kingdoms, it seems that the smart bet would be on the side with the dragons and the vastly superior army.
THEORIES THAT SURVIVED SEASON 7
The battle between The Hound and what’s left of The Mountain looked like it might happen in the finale, but didn’t. Sandor all but threw down the gantlet though at his Frankenstein brother, telling him, basically, he’s coming for him. It’s hard to tell exactly how or why this will play out with so little time left, but we’re willing to forgive a little narrative laziness to see it happen.
Jaime Lannister and the Valonqar Prophecy
Back in season five, a young Cersei was told by a local psychic that she’d be queen, have three children, and, obliquely, that they would all die. In the books however, this seer also tells her, “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, translates to “younger sibling.” If the prophecy were to come true, Tyrion would be the obvious choice. However, as Cersei gets eviler and Jaime more distant, it’s theorized that maybe he adds Queenslayer to his resume before all’s said and done. On one hand, this is more likely after the last night’s finale, now that Jaime appears to have reached the end of his rope with Cersei. On the other hand, it seems less likely now that he’ll be putting distance between himself and her as he rides north. It’s impossible to believe that’s the last they’ve seen of each other though.
Ned Stark is alive.
There’s a whole convoluted theory recently making the rounds after several seasons of obscurity. It uses an interpretation of the book version of Ned’s death to posit that the Ned that was executed was actually either Syrio Forel (Arya’s sword instructor), a random prisoner substituted in by Jaqen H'ghar (the main Faceless Man), or Jaqen himself. While it can’t be officially ruled out, it’s pretty ridiculous, and if it turns out to be true, it will mean the show ended horribly.
Tyrion is a Targaryen.
It was known that the Mad King was inappropriately infatuated with Joanna Lannister, and it’s insinuated that he may have raped her, leading to the conception of Tyrion. Tyrion claims to have always been fascinated by dragons, and is the first human aside from Daenerys to appear to have built a bond with them. Combine this with Tywin’s eternal disdain for him (he even says “you’re not my son” at one point), and you’ve got yourself a go theory.
The Azor Ahai Candidates
Okay let’s quickly go over the important parts of the prophecy concerning The Prince That Was Promised: 1) this being will appear “when the red star bleeds and the darkness gathers.” 2) This being will be born “amid smoke and salt.” 3) This being will “wake dragons out of stone.” 4) This being will come into possession of a world-saving sword called Lightbringer, the original version of which was created when the first Azor Ahai killed his own wife with the blade.
1. Daenerys Targaryen
She’s always been the lead candidate, given that she…literally woke dragons out of stone. There was also a red comet in the sky when that happened, and it happened out of a smoking funeral pyre. This season though, Missandei informed us that the word for “prince” in High Valyrian is gender-neutral, eliminating that objection.
2. Jon Snow
He was reborn by the hand of a fire-worshipping priestess, who seems to think he’s the man for the job. He also is a dragon, family-wise, so it’s possible his finding that out is akin to “waking dragons out of stone.” And there’s really no one that screams, “I’ll be the guy who tragically sacrifices someone I love with a sword,” more than the King in the North.
The dragon has three heads.
The idea here is basically, there are three dragons, so there must be three riders. Who are the riders? Well, we know Dany is one, and now we know the Night King is another. And now we also know that Jon Snow is actually Aegon Targaryen, son of Rhaegar, who should probably ride Rhaegal, and who, with his wolf heritage and extensive time beyond the wall, may have some kind of power over the ice dragon, for all we know.
Bran is Bran the Builder, his own ancestor and namesake, who built The Wall 8000 years ago.
Given Bran’s time-hopping abilities, this theory posits that Bran Stark attempts to go back in time, gets stuck (as he’s been warned could happen), and builds The Wall in an attempt to stave off human extinction for as long as possible.
Bran is the Night King.
Remember that fellow who was stabbed by the Children of the Forest in season six and made into the first white walker? The idea here is that Bran eventually goes back in time to prevent that from happening, wargs into the guy’s body, and somehow fails to prevent that from happening. And so, yadda, yadda, yadda, time loop, time loop, Bran actually is the Night King.
Bran made the Mad King go mad.
Once Bran started white-eyeing his way back in time, spooking his young father and creating a time loop in which Hodor both became Hodor and died to save Bran, a theory was born that the whispers Aerys, the Mad King was hearing—the ones making him insane—were or will be Bran going back in time, trying to affect change. This one’s still alive, though I’m not sure how credible with just six episodes left in the series.
The whole thing is a story being told by Samwell Tarly.
…and it’s all taking place in a snow globe. No, no one’s suggesting that part, but Martin himself has said that Sam is essentially his stand-in in the story, and there’s no concrete reason this couldn’t be the case.
A FEW OF OUR OWN BATSHIT THEORIES
Arya will die.
It looks like the writers have put her in a more fairytale-esque position—one of love and mutual respect with her sister and a nice warm Winterfell bed to retire to each night. But Arya Stark’s arc is one of a tragic figure, and, ultimately, a psychopath. She kills people and peels their faces off. She bakes men into pies and feeds them to their fathers. She’s a mass murderer who’s lost a signification portion of her family and many of her friends. She’s seen some shit. We all love Arya, because she’s badass, and we can’t imagine her dying, because she was a young tomboy when we first met her, but now she’s a stone-cold killer. There just usually aren’t happy endings for people who bake other people into pies.
Related: Arya actually does have beef with Sansa.
Part of Arya and Sansa’s heartwarming post-Baelish-murdering conversation at Winterell included an interesting line by Arya, “I’m just the executioner. You passed the sentence.” We’re meant to think it’s a note of admiration for Sansa’s leadership, but it rubs up against a credo Ned Stark espouses in the very first episode of the series: “The man who passes the sentence should swing the sword.” There is absolutely something there.
Littlefinger will have his revenge, from beyond the grave.
Was his ho-hum death kind of a disappointment to anyone else? His entire existence on the show was a very long, very elaborate plot that lead exactly nowhere. Thanks to Sansa’s pre-execution speech, we’re reminded that Petyr Baelish was the one who set all the tragic events of this story in motion, and so it seems impossible that he didn’t have other plans in motion at the time of his death.
Cersei’s baby, if it’s real, will be born a dwarf.
She’ll die in childbirth. Jaime will be left to raise the child.
Westeros is actually the largest, newest park in Westworld, and we just don’t know who’s human and who’s robot.