We are nearing the final season of Game of Thrones, which will mark a monumental moment in pop culture as the world watches how one of the most popular and acclaimed TV series of all time brings nearly a decade of TV (and over 20 years of novels) to a cinematic end.
But, after a year and a half of waiting, it’s easy to forget who is who, where everyone is, and what we can expect. So, if you’re looking for a recap, or just trying to follow every nerd’s conversation for the next month, this is The Article that was Promised. We will go down through each major character, breaking down where they came from, and predicting where they are going. It should go without saying that this article will spoil all previous seasons of Game of Thrones. It will also contain some fanboy predictions fueled by the trailers HBO has released. I have not read any unofficial spoilers, so fear not, fellow spoiler-phobes.
Where Jon Started:
Where else is there to start other than with Jon Snow? Jon began the series at Winterfell, living as the bastard son of his father, Ned Stark (who dies.) He is far from struggling, but he is fairly ostracized from his family, cast out as the bastard reminder of Ned Stark’s infidelity. He is, however, close with his sister, Arya. When his father and sisters head south for King’s Landing, Jon takes the chance to go North to join The Night’s Watch, a once-great ancient order dedicated to protecting the northern border of Westeros, protected by a gigantic ice wall. Quickly, Jon learns of the real threat to the world of Game of Thrones: White Walkers and their army of undead wights, risen from the frozen north and bound to head south.
Where Jon is Now:
Jon attempted to make peace between Wildlings and the Watch to stand against the real threat, and for that he was betrayed and killed. After being resurrected by Melisandre, a fire priestess, Jon stands against Ramsay Bolton and is declared The King in the North. As king, he joins forces with Daenerys Targaryen, Tyrion Lannister, and the Brotherhood Without Banners. Together, these Northern forces for good are shakily united with a common enemy: The Dead, who are surely and quickly coming.
What Will Happen to Jon:
Jon, Dany and the gang are on their way to Winterfell. There, Jon will have the chance to cap off the Stark reunion, as Arya, Bran and Sansa are waiting for him. This will mark the first time these characters have shared a setting since the first episode, and is sure to be a great moment to anticipate, likely in the first episode. Jon Snow will also need to learn a shocking truth: he is not a Snow, and not even a bastard at all. He is in fact a Targaryen, born of Lyanna Stark and Rhaegar Targaryen. This poses interesting conflict, making Dany (the woman he just had sex with) his aunt.
However, Jon will have to turn his aim North quickly as a Battle of Winterfell against the White Walkers is likely to come somewhat early. I do not see Jon dying in this battle, especially if it comes as early as the 3rd episode. After the White Walkers are surely defeated, someone will need to help stabilize the far North. I believe Jon is likely to survive the entire series and by the end, serves as a King Beyond the Wall as a bridge between the Seven Kingdoms and the liberated wastes above. This would be a dramatic fulfillment for his character, as he also serves as bridge between several different groups: the living and the dead, The North and the South, Fire and Ice. Jon, himself, is the Song of Ice and Fire, and I do not expect that song to end.
Where Arya Started:
Arya begins the series at Winterfell as a rambunctious tomboy, much more interested in swords and bows than needles and dresses. When her father goes south to King’s Landing, she joins him and begins training her swordsmanship. Her training is cut short when he father is executed. Arya flees King’s Landing and has yet to return to the capital since. She goes on the run, fleeing between captors and continents, in a search for her place, her skills, and her identity.
Where Arya Is Now:
Arya threw herself into the Faceless Men cult, learning the ability to change her appearance and honing her skills as a fighter. She has gone from an energized and rebellious child to a hardened and skilled killer. Arya has found herself home and reunited with most of her remaining family members, though she has certainly changed significantly. How much her darkened worldview will impact the Stark family dynamic is yet to be seen entirely, though her role in the outsmarting of Littlefinger shows that she has not left her ruthlessness behind her.
What will Happen to Arya:
Arya’s combat and assassin skills are sure to be vital to the movements of the final season. Surely she will get the chance to cross another name or two off her list. Many have theorized that Arya will kill Cersei, however I do not think this will happen, as Arya and Cersei have been separated for so long that this would not be fully satisfying. I predict Arya will check another major name: Melisandre.
Arya met Mel previously, where she was told a prophecy of death and that they will meet again. Arya and Gendry are also sure to reunite after Gendry was previously kidnapped and almost murdered by Mel. I predict Mel is one major step away from Arya’s bad side, and that, by the end of the season, Mel will take that fateful step into Arya’s blade. By the end of the series, I believe Arya will survive, but she will leave the Seven Kingdoms. Arya once expressed interest in seeing what is west of Westeros, and I believe she will end the series heading out, alone, in search of a brave new world.
Where Tyrion Started:
Tyrion is one of the most popular characters of the series. He begins as a privileged yet hated, rich Lannister, without many true cares in the world. However, he is a dwarf, resulting in hatred from his father and sister, who blame him for the childbirth death of his mother and see him as mostly a problem child, more interested in drunkenly whoring his way across the kingdoms. Tyrion is also good-hearted and genuine, often calling out his family on their sins and asserting himself despite the political pushing against him. His family openly wonders where his loyalties lie, and, by the end, their suspicions may have been ironically warranted.
Where Tyrion Is Now:
Tyrion has had a dramatic rise, fall and return throughout Game of Thrones. After being rejected viciously by his family, he finds himself aligned with Daenerys Targaryen, the dragon queen of the eastm rebelling against them. He is her most trusted advisor, declared Hand of the Queen. Tyrion has gone from lazy drunk without a care to a respected leader advising a queen.
What Will Happen to Tyrion Next:
I am truly unsure where to see Tyrion next. Tyrion as a political advisor is a safe bet, however I could also see his path leading him away from politics. Likely, we will see Tyrion lead Dany’s Small Council or in another leadership role for her. Tyrion being featured front and center in the political game he played so well would be a satisfying end note for him. I could see him in Essos, uniting and managing Dany’s freed cities as she rules from King’s Landing. I do not expect Tyrion to die, although it would be a way to throw in one last devastating death.
Where Cersei Began:
Cersei started the series as queen to Robert Baratheon and secret lover to her brother, Jaime. From the start of the series, Cersei is cold and heartless, caring entirely and only for herself and children. She plots the death of her husband in order to put her and her brother’s son, Joffery, on the throne as king. Once Joffery is king, Cersei pushes for power for herself, leading as Queen Regent.
Where Cersei Left Off:
Cersei has lost all of her children mostly due to her own mistakes and arrogance. She serves as an unhinged queen in a dramatic and ironic turn, getting what she dreamed of by losing all she cares about in the process. Cersei tricks Tyrion, Jon and the Northern Alliance into believing she has put a truce on the war, however she plots to take on the rebellion, despite all odds of failure and destruction.
What Will Happen to Cersei:
Cersei’s resistance to the North is sure to meet in a massive battle. She isn’t going to pull punches, clearly showing she would leave King’s Landing in ashes before she gives it up peacefully. We will likely see her spend the final season building alliances in desperation, including maintaining her alliance with Euron Greyjoy, The Golden Company and just about any antagonist-adjacent group she can find. She could possibly reach East to the remaining slavers or sellswords. The battle is sure to be large and climactic, however, I simply do not see this battle going in Cersei’s favor. If any character is guaranteed death, it is likely Cersei. A cold death at the hands of Jaime at the foot of the Iron Throne is almost guaranteed in my mind, and almost guaranteed to bring tears to the eyes of this Cersei-Jaime apologist.
Where Bran Began:
Bran Stark began as a happy-go-lucky child who loved to explore and express his high energy. However, everything as Bran discovers Jaimie and Cersei mid-sex and is thrown from a tower because of it. Bran’s fall awakens magical abilities, leading him on a quest to exploring the mystical realms of greenseeing magic, an ability to warg his consciousness into other living things and to see the past, present and – possibly – the future.
Where Bran Is Now:
Bran spends most of the series exploring and growing his power. He now has significant knowledge and power, becoming a shell of his former self, filled with more ability than personality. Bran is at Winterfell with his sisters, holding vital information as well as significant power to provide answers and questions still untold.
What Will Happen to Bran:
As a person who is physically crippled, Bran is hardly a combat-ready character. However, his knowledge and power will provide significant reveals prior to the end, His warging ability will also likely help in the Battle for Winterfell, maybe warging into wolves or even a dragon. However, I do not see Bran surviving this battle – at least physically. He has a connection to the Night King, and Bran is sure to be a target because of this.
I predict that, in his final moments before death, Bran will connect himself to the famous and beautiful Heart Tree at Winterfell, uploading himself to the ether, leaving his physical body to be killed by wights. This will leave Bran as a disembodied force existing beyond the physical realm, left to return in centuries when he may be needed again.
Where Sansa Began:
Sansa begins as a typical fairytale archetype. She is young, ditzy, and hopelessly in love with a prince she barely knows. She is the Ladiest of Ladies, occupied by dresses, manners and arts. She is engaged to the prince and believes her dreams are to come true, however, she begins a brutal and tragic arc of manipulation, destruction and devastation as Joffrey reveals himself to be a monster and the world around her crumbles. She lives in King’s Landing as a hostage over her Northern family, desperate to escape with seemingly no means to do it.
Where Sansa is Now:
Sansa’s series habit of jumping from monster to monster has finally paid dividends as she has found new power and confidence as the Lady of the North. She serves as Lord of Winterfell herself, taking on a strong leadership role alongside her siblings. She conspires with Arya to exact revenge on Littlefinger, the man who has orchestrated so much of her misery. Now, she reigns strongly over Winterfell, awaiting the return of Jon.
What Will Happen to Sansa:
Sansa’s leadership is bound to be challenged as several powerful figures are on their way to Winterfell. I expect a solid power struggle between Jon, Dany and Sansa early on in the season. I believe Sansa’s strong leadership and quick thinking will prove vital in maintaining order during the Battle of Winterfell, a skill she ironically learned from Cersei way back in season 2 with the Battle of Blackwater. By the end of the series, I see Sansa retaining her position as Lord of the North, likely ruling in union with Dany, Jon and the other remaining leaders. I truly do not see Sansa dying and think she is probably the safest of all characters listed here.
Where Jaime Began:
Jaime begins the series as a pompous and spoiled prettyboy. He is an infamous fighter and Kingslayer, serving on the Kingsguard and sleeping with his sister. He is arrogant and confident, shrugging off the Starks and just about anyone who dares to not take him entirely seriously. Jaime’s relationship with his sister and his own arrogance begin to simultaneously decay, as he loses his hand, reveals more of his past, and begins to question if he is serving at the right hand of a monster.
Where Jaime is Now:
When Jaime learns that his sister is planning to betray the North or die trying, he realizes the darkness that has overtaken the woman he once loved. He refuses her command and is shunned, forcing him to head off and leave King’s Landing behind, just as the first snowflakes fall on the capital in decades as winter has finally arrived.
What Will Happen to Jaime:
Jaime is surely heading North to both join forces with their fight against the dead and inform them that Cersei is not staying true to her word. This will be an incredibly dramatic arrival for Jaime. He will reunite with Bran, who he last saw as he shoved him out a tower window to his death. He will reunite with Arya, who he last saw in the days before her father’s execution. He will reunite with Sansa, who he last saw the day his son died. He will reunite with Brienne, who he last saw at the Eyrie and grew a genuine emotional connection with.
He will also finally have a chance to properly meet and win over Daenerys Targaryen, who is sure to be slow at taking in her father’s killer amongst her ranks. How Jaime maneuvers this web of pre-built connections will be some of the most interesting character moments of these final episodes. Jaime will probably serve decently as a fighter, but will more likely take on a military command role, being vital in the fight against both the White Walkers and the loyalists to the Crown.
I believe Jaime will reunite on the battlefield with Bronn, who trained him to fight one-handed, resulting in a final fight that neither one of them really wants to engage in, but will ultimately end in Jaime’s favor. The ultimate question rests on Jaime’s fate. I am truly split on if Jaime will survive the series or not. Because I have him pegged to kill Cersei, he must at least survive the final battle. I could see him dying with his sister, perhaps killing her in mercy as King’s Landing burns around them. If he survives, he will likely take on a military role in King’s Landing.
The Beginning of the End
The end of Game of Thrones creeps ever closer. Hopefully, this recap helped you catch up on here our main characters remain and where they may be going. Of course, several significant characters were left off to make room. Brienne could end up serving beside Sansa in the North. Davos could die on the front lines against the White Walkers. For more, be sure to keep up with my weekly reviews of each episode here. You can also find my personal site, including several Game of Thrones articles coming this season, at www.TristanMayerMedia.com.
Let me know who you think will live and die in the final season in the comments below, and I will see you next week for the beginning of the end of an era.
Movie-obsessed TV fanatic. Game of Thrones aficionado. Cinescape Guest Writer.