All the Ones That Have to Do with the War(s)
There are a lot of skirmishes to be had this season. Dead versus living. Cersei versus everyone. We’ve got our beer helmets and foam fingers at the ready.
Cleganebowl [Probability: High]
It’s a question of when not if at this point. Especially after Gregor and the Hound squared each other up at the dragon pit. Let them fight.
Someone figures out how to forge new Valyrian steel [Probability: High]
Valyrian steel insta-kills the Others and the Wights so more Valyrian weapons oughta even the odds. The process likely has something to do with melting dragon glass with dragon fire. Our money’s on Gendry as being the smartypants who connects the dots. If not, it’ll probably be Sam and his stolen Citadel books, in which case our blacksmith boy will probably still be the one to actually make the stuff.
Visenya Targaryen blade “Dark Sister” will come into play [Probability: Low]
Arya mentioned Dark Sister to Tywin while she served as his cupbearer. It also comes up in a book during Shireen’s reading lessons with Davos. Considering how other Westerosi legends and heroes have come back in plot-relevant ways (see: the Rat Cook story), it feels like Visenya’s story could come back somehow. Or maybe her sword? George R. R. Martin has said that Dark Sister wound up at the Wall—but here’s hoping it finds its way into Arya’s hands in time for her to do some damage. Then again, she does have Littlefinger’s Valyrian steel dagger, and she’s more of a close-quarters fighter anyway.
Melisandre returns from Volantis with an army of red priests [Probability: High]
Last we saw her, Melisandre was popping off to Volantis for an unknown purpose, promising to return (she has to die in this strange country). Volantis’ Red Temple is protected by the Fiery Hand, an army 1000 men strong. We know the followers of the Lord of Light stump for Daenerys. If the Fiery Hand are partial to flame swords like Thoros and Beric, the Army of the Dead has another thing coming.
Beric Dondarrion will do…something important [Probability: Medium]
The Lord of Light has a plan for him? Like, he’s been brought back from the dead six times and Thoros isn’t even supposed to be all that good at his job, so Beric’s got to, y’know, do something. But… what is it? We don’t know. And oddly enough, the internet doesn’t seem to have that many ideas either. Or maybe the sigil of House Dondarrion should be a giant red herring instead of a purple lightning bolt. Maybe the whole point of Beric’s existence is to confuse us and then die in a very anticlimactic way. We’ll see.
Jon’s superior blood-right will put tension on his allegiance with Daenerys…at an inconvenient time [Probability: High]
Bran and Sam are going to reveal Jon’s true Targaryen roots to him. The question is when. This theory supposes that they clue Jon in on the eve before the last stand at Winterfell against the Army of the Dead. Who knows, maybe Meera and her dad turn up for some eyewitness testimony. Daenerys probably won’t be too happy to hear that her fuckbuddy is her nephew, or that after spending most of Season seven trying to get Jon to bend the knee to her, in terms of blood-right, she’s the one that should be bending the knee to him. This shift in their dynamic will threaten their much-needed united front and add some spicy interpersonal stakes to an end-of-all-things faceoff.
Nymeria and her wolf army will swoop in for some much-needed backup [Probability: Medium]
Who doesn’t want to see a pack of dogs rip through a bunch of beef jerky skeletons? The pack is loitering around Winterfell, so here’s hoping they make themselves useful. Bonus points if Nymeria and Arya share a Fantastic Mr. Fox fist-raise of understanding. Or it could end up becoming a slaughterhouse like when Summer sacrificed himself and took down approximately zero wights in the process. We’re rooting for the first scenario.
The showdown with the Army of the Dead will take place in Winterfell (before the War of the Two Queens) [Probability: High]
There are two big bads to be fought in Season 8: the Night King and Cersei. This theory has it that the former has to go down before the first. We’re pretty sure Jon and Daenerys will go to Winterfell rather than head the Army off. There’s drama to be had in reunions and reveals. Plus, facing the Dead down at Winterfell raises the stakes and brings us full-circle to the happier times of Season 1. The Winterfell standoff also probably has to happen first because the emotional beats we’ve been sitting with throughout the series are more tied to the conflict with Cersei, the big bad we care and know more about. The fallout from duking it out with the Army (such as…oh we don’t know…Daenerys losing all three of her dragons and Jon Snow) will make the attack on Cersei a lot more interesting.
Jon is going to ride Rhaegal [Probability: High]
We’re extra sure that Jon (and Daenerys) will learn about Jon’s Targaryen roots right before some big important battle because it would mean that Jon could ride Rhaegal. Which would be strategically advantageous and rad as fuck. Heck, we’ve already seen that the dragons like him. Rhaegal is his dad’s namesake after all—and, you know, since the dragon is Daenerys’ kiddo and she’s Jon’s aunt, that makes them cousins, so family bonding!
Bran’s going to warg into Viserion [Probability: Medium]
Sure, we’ve never seen Bran warg into a dead thing but has he tried? Back in Season 4, the Three-Eyed Raven promised that while he’d never walk again, “he’ll fly.” Sure that could have been a reference to Bran’s proclivity for warging into flocks of birds, or, it could be a hat tip to the fact that bran’s going to commandeer an ice dragon. Bran taking over Viserion might be the only way puny little Winterfell survives being turned into a crater.
Jon duels the Night King with Longclaw, and wins, causing the Army of the Dead to evaporate [Probability: High]
This faceoff has been a long time coming. Jon will kill the Night King, turning all those he raised to ash (convenient!). We saw as much when Jon slashed up that long-haired White on last season’s no-good-very-bad mission to capture the proof zombie.
Cersei is going to take the Mad King path [Probability: High]
Look, we stan a full circle. Cersei’s descent into bat shit tyranny has been in the stars for a long time. Throughout the series, her strategy when she’s cornered has been to take everyone down with her rather than submit to her enemies. She’s always the first one to whip out the poison when the outcome of a siege is unclear; and she’s willing to take others, including her own children, down with her. This, coupled with the fact that she knows of and has made use of Aerys’ unused wildfire stores spells trouble. Should Cersei feel like she has nothing to lose there’s a good chance she’d rather “burn them all” than be conquered. Here’s hoping her cool, calm, collected front chips away too. Seeing her wild-eyed and out of control would be a true treat.
Cersei’s Golden Company plan will backfire because of their Targaryen connections [Probability: Low]
So Euron’s plan to retrieve the Golden Company, a force of 20,000 sellswords and an unknown number of war elephants, might not be as straightforward as it sounds. First off, the Golden Company was founded by Aegon Targaryen IV’s exiled bastard Aegor. Further complicating things, some have been wondering if the return of the Golden Company will include the return of Daenerys’ lover Daario Naharis, who might have become restless keeping the peace in Essos and returned to his sellsword ways. Are mercenaries made up of exiled, rebellious Westerosi trustworthy? Will they flip? Maybe!
Jaqen (or at least his face) returns [Probability: Medium]
There was a rumor that Tom Wlaschiha was spotted near filming locations. To what end? Unclear! Maybe the Faceless Men join the fight against the wights because they kinda sorta undermine the Many-Faced God? Tbd.