7 predictions for 'Game of Thrones' season 8
Who will make it to see the end of the great game? We read the tea leaves on the final season of HBO's epic fantasy series.
Warning! Spoilers ahead!
Did you enjoy the epic and epically short 7 episodes of the seventh season of HBO's global phenomenon "Game of Thrones?" Curious to know what happens with Jon and Dany, the White Walkers, and if Brandon Stark will ever crack a smile again? We have good news and bad news.
The good news is that showrunners David Benioff and D.B. Weiss fully plan to tie up as many loose ends as possible into what promises to be one of the most-watched series finales in television history. Even better, according to Vanity Fair, all of these episodes may run 80 minutes or longer, placing them squarely in feature length territory.
The bad news? There will only be six episodes, and it's possible that season 8 will not even premiere until 2019.
"Our production people are trying to figure out a timeline for the shoot and how much time the special effects take," HBO programming president Casey Bloys told Entertainment Weekly. "The shooting is complicated enough – on different continents, with all the technical aspects – and the special effects are a whole other production period that we're trying to figure out. That is a big factor in all of this."
What all of this means is that HBO has mercifully granted us an extended amount of time to gossip and fawn over every possible rumor and plot point for season 8. With no more "Thrones" to ponder after this one, we're going to savor every month leading up to big event like the unending courses of a Lannister feast.
Ready for some first bites of speculation? Dig in below.
A return of the red priestesses
Despite leaving Westeros upon declaring that her days of "whispering in the ears of kings" are over, the red priestess Melisandre will most certainly return for season 8.
"I will return, dear Spider, one last time," the sorceress, played by Dutch actress Carice van Houten, told Varys in season 7. "I have to die in this strange country, just like you."
When Melisandre does in fact return, will she bring with her additional firepower to help the armies of Westeros defeat the White Walkers? One priestess of the Lord of Light we certainly wouldn't mind seeing again is Kinvara. Played by actress Ania Bukstein, a rising Israeli star of the stage and cinema (and television), Kinvara appeared earlier in season 6 to help Tyrion Lannister quiet turmoil in Meereen.
If Kinvara does return with Melisandre, don't expect Varys to be thrilled with the reunion. Fans will likely remember her haunting words that shook the conniving advisor in season 6.
"Knowledge has made you powerful but there's still so much you don't know," she said. "Do you remember what you heard that night when the sorcerer tossed your parts in the fire? You heard a voice call out from the flames, do you remember? Should I tell you what the voice said? Should I tell you the name of the one who spoke?"
Chances are good that Varys will not be welcoming Kinvara with open arms.
Jon Snow will ride a dragon
While Jon Snow's Targaryen roots sparked fan theories that he might one day get a crack at riding one of Daenerys' dragons, the writers all but guaranteed this coupling with a meet and greet in season 7.
After Daenerys returns from reducing to ash a sizable portion of the Lannister armies, she lands before Snow on Drogon. Rather than back down, Snow, played by British actor Kit Harington, calmly approaches the beast and carefully lays a hand upon its snout. This scene is rather incredible because no one besides Daenerys in all seven previous seasons has ever touched one of her dragons and lived to talk about it.
With Viserion reborn as a White Walker, we'll likely have three riders aloft on wings for season 8 – Daenerys, Jon Snow and the Night King. Whether they'll all be fighting on the same side is another question entirely...
A battle of dragons
We've enjoyed witnessing Dany's dragons unleash flame and fury on various enemies over the course of seven seasons, but now it's likely we'll get one epic battle in the sky between the monsters themselves.
The Night King's expert aim with a spear in season 7 means that the final season will most definitely feature a violent reunion between the undead Viserion and her siblings Drogo and Rhaegal.
Also of particular interest to those of us with a love for all things dragons is the apparent upgrade Viserion received when she was zombified by the Night King. Speculation is mounting that the blue flame she now exhales is much more powerful than a standard dragon blast. The folks at Motherboard even speculate that this "Ice Dragon" is juicing on dicyanoacetylene.
"Oxygen is highly flammable, making gas molecules within a flame much hotter and more excitable," they write. "That in turn generates a blue tint. Compared with standard yellow flames, which burn at around 1,000 °C (1,800 °F), the hottest blue flames can reach temperatures of 4,000 °C (9,000 °F) when fed by the extremely combustible substance dicyanoacetylene."
A hotter flame could explain how Viserion managed to bring down the wall with explosive force and very little meltwater. It could also portend some very bad news for Daenerys, her dragons and the rest of the armies of Westeros.
Things will get awkward between Jon and Daenerys
Fans happy about the physical connection between Jon Snow and Daenerys Targaryen at the end of season 7 should not expect the romance to last. Whenever Snow gets back to Winterfell, Brandon Stark has already made clear that he intends to let him know that he is a Targaryen and rightful heir to the Iron Throne. Not only would this make the woman he just slept with his aunt, but it would also drive a wedge in Dany's plans to take the throne for herself.
"I’ve worked so hard, I don’t want to share that throne," British actress Emilia Clarke told Entertainment Weekly of her character's intentions. "No. The throne’s big enough for one dragon bum, and that’s mine. That’s it!"
With only six episodes in season 8, we're pretty sure the awkwardness between these two will strike relatively early. As usual, we're pretty sure Dany's fashion choices will reflect the ever-shifting drama.
Jamie will put an end to Cersei's reign
The split we predicted between these two before last season has finally come to pass, leaving everyone, including Danish actor Nikolaj Coster-Waldau, breathing a sign of relief.
"We’ve been waiting for that moment a long time," Coster-Waldau, who plays Jaime Lannister, told the Huffington Post. "There were so many other times when I thought that would be it, time for him to pack his bags, but I guess she finally took it one step too far . . . I don’t know why it took him so long to realize what the rest of the world always knew – that she is a crazy monster – but he finally did. And then he left."
Our next prediction is far grimmer and involves Jamie being responsible for Cersei's death. This one is actually tied to a prophecy told to Cersei when she was but a young girl by the fortune teller Maggy. According to the books, after Maggy was asked by Cersei if she would ever have children with the King, she responded in the affirmative but added this macabre warning.
"Gold shall be their crowns and gold their shrouds," she said. "And when your tears have drowned you, the valonqar shall wrap his hands about your pale white throat and choke the life from you."
With all of Cersei's children now dead, there is only one part left of the prophecy to pass.
The word "valonqar" is High Valerian means "younger brother." While many assumed Tyrion would exact his revenge on Cersei, it's quite possible that Jamie, born only a few minutes after his twin sister, will once more save the kingdom by disposing of a tyrant gone mad.
Theon Greyjoy will finally find redemption
The long, conflicted character arc of Theon Greyjoy, played by British actor Alfie Allen, will finally come to an end in season 8. Unlike the doom and gloom facing other characters, we're pretty sure Greyjoy will find some redemption and possibly even live to lead the Iron Islands as King. We know for certain that the early episodes of season 8 will find Greyjoy seeking out to rescue Yara and murder Euron. Where things go from there is anyone's guess, but we wouldn't mind having this former villain find some kind of redemption in the end.
Tormund and Beric are alive
Despite what appeared to be a "crushing" end to their lives during the season 7 finale, we're pretty certain that Tormund and Beric are going to live to fight again. There are a couple reasons to be hopeful, the first of which is that no one actually sees them die. For a show that prides itself on showing some of the most ghastly deaths in showbiz, this is significant.
The second reason to believe these two are dusting ice off their furs and hanging low until the White Walkers pass comes to us from Canadian director Jeremy Podeswa, the man behind the epic season finale.
"I can honestly tell you that I don’t know," he cryptically told IGN. "I’ve also chosen not to know. I’m sure Dan [Weiss, EP] and David [Benioff, EP] know and the other people working on the next season know, but we certainly wanted to keep it open by the end of the episode. Open to interpretation. We didn’t put a fine point on it about who survived and who didn’t. It certainly doesn’t look great for those who were on the Wall, though."
If Beric is indeed dead, don't expect the God of Light to come to his rescue and revive him yet again. With the red priest Thoros of Myr, played by British actor and comedian Paul Kaye, having perished in an earlier episode, Beric's mortality is now set in stone. Like others on "Thrones," the end of season 8 may find this Lord of Blackhaven no longer drawing breath.
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