With only four episodes left, Game of Thrones certainly has a lot to do to wrap everything up. There’s not only the matter of the White Walkers but also Cersei’s own (elephant-less) army, and the hanging threads that suggest something big is going to happen on the Iron Islands before it’s all said and done. And those are just the battles; there’s still all the political and personal drama to put bows on as well.
Sunday’s episode essentially served as the calm before a storm—a prelude to a major battle that, barring some shocking twist, will likely see the forces assembled at Winterfell take on the Walkers and their army of the dead next week. We’re going to go ahead and guess that next episode’s big battle won’t result in a decisive victory for either side, but that there will be major deaths involved. After all, we’ve been promised shocking deaths this season, and two episodes in we haven’t witnessed a single one.
So who’s almost assuredly dead, and who can we assume is going to survive a to fight another day? Our best guesses, here.
Whose time may have come:
Of all the Game of Thrones characters who have stuck around this long, poor Podrick seems like the most random. He’s a minor member of a minor noble house (one subservient to the Lannisters, at that), and narratively his main function has been to give more major characters someone to talk to while they’re on a journey. Other than that, his major plot points have been that he, uh, lays good pipe and is on a journey to learn to fight at least half as well as he lays that pipe. All of which is to say, he’s a character we care enough about that watching him die would be emotional, but his death ultimately wouldn’t have much bearing on that titular game of thrones. We imagine all his training over the past few seasons might mean he proves to be a force on the battlefield, but perhaps one who valiantly dies while protecting someone more important to the plot.
Not helping his case is the fact that during last night’s episode no one took advantage of his best known skill, and instead he got to display a hidden talent: singing. There’s a long history of TV producers letting actors show off their singing voice as a nod of appreciation (see Dixie Carter, a political conservative, getting to sing a song every time she had to give a liberal monologue on Designing Women). That ditty may have been the producers’ way of taking the edge off of actor Daniel Portman only lasting half the season.
Dude has survived so much, but the fact that he convinces Daenerys to keep Tyrion on as her hand instead of angling for the job himself doesn’t bode well for his chances of survival. It means producers would be free to kill him without leaving any bad blood hanging in the air.
Jorah may have received a piece of Valeryian steel to carry into the battle, but what doesn’t help his case is that literally every other character with Valeryian steel (that’s Jon, Brienne, Jamie, Arya, and Bran) is more important than he is. Perhaps Jorah dies in a moment of valor that also serves as a way to get the remaining characters to rethink their use of the weapon. In other words, he might be the Valeryian steel exception that proves some sort of new key rule.
His major scene on Sunday was joining Jon and Samwell to reflect on how they’ve all made it so far together, and that at least one of them is going to die in battle. Unfortunately, it’s seems like Eddison may be the one. Dude has lasted almost seven seasons, but his ultimate purpose may be something akin to that of a red shirt guy on Star Trek. Well, maybe a red shirt guy who gets reanimated as a flesh-hungry zombie. The bit of dialogue about the survivors setting fire to the bodies of the dead almost assures that that’s exactly what is not going to happen. Which is to say Tollett may die, but actor Ben Crompton could stick around a few more episodes as a weight.
This is the dude with the cool fire sword, and it seems like that cool fire sword will almost certainly play a big part in the big battle of fire and ice. Unfortunately, narratively, he’s not really needed beyond that. Unless, of course, his fellow Lord of Light fanatic Melisandre shows up to add some new wrinkle to the plot.
Whose fate could swing either way:
This show has been laying clues that one of Ned’s daughters will wind up with one of Robert’s sons since season one. Wouldn’t it be cruel for that to finally happen just for one night, only for dude to be killed the next day? Of course, this is Game of Thrones we’re talking about. It’s a cruel show. While we could see a happy ending in the cards (especially for one of George R. R. Martin’s favorite characters), it’s also possible that Arya witnessing the death of the man she loves during this battle could serve some narrative purpose. After all, she’s obsessed with killing people who have killed those close to her. The White Walkers haven’t necessarily done that…yet, anyway. She’s not fighting them with the same indomitability with which she’d go after Cersei. She’s doing it because, well, basically Jon thinks it’s a big deal. Gendry’s death might make the battle more personal for her and be the way the Night King winds up on her list. Plus, who knows? The show could always reveal that she’s pregnant in the final episode, which would still mean all those clues about the Starks and Baratheons joining families paid off beyond one night of passion.
Dude spent last episode reminding everyone how he’s absolutely terrible at battle but has managed to survive this long, which either means he’s going to keep on surviving…or get some great moment of battlefield heroics on his way out.
Brienne of Tarth
A lot of people seem to think Brienne is going to die. After all, being knighted and then dying in the line of duty seems like a sad but fitting end for her. Then again, she is suddenly in the middle of Westeros’s hottest love triangle. There’s also the fact she’s one of the few characters with that Valryian steel. Her function in the endgame can’t be that simple, can it?
Yet there are other people who think Tormund might end up sacrificing himself to save Brienne. That reads. The only problem? Tormund is the only major Wildling left (it’s unclear how many others are still around). His people basically served as a parable for the cruelty of borders, and it sure would be a bit messed up if the show forgot that salient theme and all the Wildings ultimately amounted to were bodies to fight on either side of the battle. At least one Wilding has to survive to serve some purpose in whatever political establishment comes after, right? There aren’t a lot of other options left.
Of all the major major characters, it would make sense for him to be the one to go mid-season. There’s enough subtext in the show to make us think that the ultimate fate of the house of Lannister is to go completely extinct. Yet this is still a television show, and not only is he one of the most popular characters, but he is currently separated from the character most important to his storyline. Cersei and Jamie’s fates have to be intertwined, right?
Our guy is probably destined to die to excuse his sins, but we imagine he has to at least survive to the point where the Iron Islands come back into play.
Thanks to making post-war plans with Missandei, everyone is joking that Greyworm now seems like the character in a police movie who dies one day before his retirement. But this show is all about subverting simple narratives. Plus, for his death to have maximum emotional impact, it would have to be witnessed by either Missandei (who is now down in the crypt) or Daenerys (who we imagine might be up on a dragon for most of the battle). That’s not to say he won’t die, but let’s give him a few more episodes. There are still more battles to come, and hence some characters whose sad deaths have to be spread out.
Forgot about this dude, eh? He’s the most important Dothraki left. We will almost certainly see some Dorthraki die next week, but whether their de facto leader is among them could go either way.
Whose lives may be spared:
Well, most of our major characters…
…but that’s exactly what they’d want us to think.