Over the course of seven seasons, more than 60 hours of television, and myriad bloody episodes, a few select Game of Thrones characters have been fortunate enough to come back from death, or at least the very brink of it. They are, of course, in the minority: One estimate puts the death count over the course of the entire series at 173,373.
Among the resurrected and reincarnated are Beric Dondarrion, of the Brotherhood Without Banners, who was revived by his compatriot Thoros of Myr no fewer than six times before Thoros was taken down by an undead bear in the seventh season. (Zombies, everywhere.) The dragon Viserion is probably the most recognizable convert to the Army of the Dead. Uncle Benjy, or Benjen Stark, is now an undead non-zombie who can only exist north of the Wall (R.I.P.) and drops in at convenient intervals. (With the fall of the Wall, though, perhaps those rules no longer apply.) Cersei’s faithful strongman Gregor Clegane, better known as The Mountain, is brought back to life by the sorcerer Qyburn as a red-eyed, bloodthirsty demon. (Or, as Qyburn warns, the resurrection process will “change” him.)
Of the less mystical revivals, The Mountain's brother Sandor Clegane, alias The Hound, is presumed dead—the victim of Brienne of Tarth and a nasty bite courtesy of Biter—before he’s nursed back to health and makes a surprise reappearance in the sixth season. Thanks to Samwell Tarly, Jorah Mormont is one of the few known survivors of greyscale.
Then, of course, there’s Jon Snow, the most famous of the undead. After a squad of Night’s Watch members stabs him to death, Melisandre, who’s been nothing but trouble (see also: Shireen Baratheon) and who we’re likely to be seeing again this season, brings him back. Using the same magic (courtesy of the Lord of Light) as Thoros of Myr, she does a way better job than Qyburn; so far, at least, Jon’s got all his facilities intact. (Kit Harington, on the other hand, did not escape this episode unscathed.)
With just six episodes to go, we can look forward to the return of Melisandre and the long march of the Army of the Dead, and with them, a few more excursions into death and back again. Here’s who could be the next to return to the land of the living.
The dominant Reddit theories still hold that, somehow, Bran is the Night King, so clearly there’s some undead voodoo going on there.
The Starks, generally.
At the beginning of Game of Thrones, back in its first season, Ned Stark’s execution set the tone: This show was not, in fact, planning to take any prisoners. In the teaser for the eighth season, the Stark children—or, rather, Sansa and Arya, and their not-really-half-brother Jon Snow—pace through the crypts of Winterfell, where their deceased ancestors are buried, their likenesses carved into stone. Said ancestors whisper sweet nothings at the kids as they walk past—“All the horror that has come to my family,” Catelyn Stark murmurs, a dialogue excerpt from the third season, “it’s all because I couldn’t love a motherless child”; “You are a Stark,” Ned seems to tell Jon—until the three Stark (-ish) youths converge at the end of the tunnel. So, in the eighth season, we’re primed for the return, in some form or another, of the late Ned, Catelyn, and Lyanna Stark.
What better way to raise the stakes of the inevitable Cleganebowl than to make Sandor a zombie, just like his brother Gregor? Hound vs. Mountain, undead edition.
Last seen being torn to shreds by a flock of wights in the sixth season, Hodor could well reappear as one among the Army of the Dead—especially if actor Kristian Nairn, who portrays Hodor in the series, has anything to do with it. In an interview after his character’s apparent demise, Nairn said “heck yeah” he would be open to returning. Prior to Hodor’s onscreen death, showrunners David Benioff and Dan Weiss called to warn him season 6 would be his last, assuring him “it’s a really cool scene” that he would be “happy” with. And, by the sound of it, he was: “I think it’s so well done,” he told the Huffington Post in the interview. “You don’t actually see him die. Is he dead? Who knows?” When the interviewer pressed further, asking if Benioff and Weiss had asked him to return for the final season, Nairn demurred: “I’m not gonna tell you that. Nice try.”
Dragons, polar bears, Night’s Watchmen—it seems like the Army of the Dead can recruit just about anyone. But the Night King has, to our knowledge, yet to exert his hold over a direwolf. Jon Snow’s trusty companion, who accompanied him to the Wall and back, remained at Winterfell while Daenerys and Jon made their way south to King’s Landing for the G-20 summit of the Seven Kingdoms. Meanwhile, the Army of the Dead—Viserion included—has begun its slow march south, now that the Wall has crumbled. There would be some tragic, poetic symmetry if Jon were to lose his animal familiar, just like his aunt.
The usurper of the Iron Islands already wears enough black eye makeup to look like an undead… something. So it’s a short leap to, you know, actual zombie. Plus, as actor Pilou Asbaek pointed out in a recent interview with Entertainment Weekly, Euron really, really wants to be king—which puts him directly in a lot of people’s crosshairs. Unlike Daenerys, Gendry, Jon, or even Cersei, Euron’s claim is not exactly legitimate.
Fated to die in Westeros… but since Melisandre is the one who has portended his demise, perhaps she’ll also be willing to lend her powers to bring him back.
Though the Game of Thrones showrunners and cast members (minus Sophie Turner) have kept a relatively tight lid on this season’s goings-on, they have revealed that, when the Army of the Dead arrives at Winterfell, there will be an episode-long battle scene to lay out the consequences. And, as we’ve seen, perhaps the only thing the game of thrones loves more than a good cathartic death is an even better, more cathartic resurrection. Residents of Westeros, watch out.