The final season of Game of Thrones is finally here, and everyone has plenty of theories about how it's going to end. I first read the books back in 2006 during my Senior year of High School, so I've been waiting a LONG time to find out how this story ends. Granted, there's still some major differences in the books, so not everything will play out the same, and I'll still read the books when they come out. This post is mostly going to be my thoughts on theories, differences, and who survives the endgame. And by theories, I mostly mean how likely someone's death is. Needless to say, HEAVY SPOILERS follow, as this post assumes you are caught up with the show, and at least familiar with the major divergences in the books. Read at your own peril.
When we last left the Seven Kingdoms, Jon and Daenerys were on their way to Winterfell, Cersei finally lost Jamie, and the Night King brought the Wall down via an undead dragon with a horde of ice zombies at his back, ready to destroy the world of men. Or at least we think so, we still don't really know what the Night King wants, if anything. He may very well end up being a villain whose true end goals are beyond our own comprehension. He's one of the only characters I honestly have no theory for other than "he dies, but at great cost." Which seems like a given, but George loves to pull the rug out from under fans, so we'll see.
So, who's still alive and who's going down?
Daenerys Targaryen and Jon Snow (Aegon Targaryen) - I'm putting these two together because I firmly believe that one of them will survive the show and the other one will perish. Now which is which? I'm honestly 50/50, as I could see it going either way. Ideally, they both survive, somehow look past that they're related, and rule together, eventually putting their own psychotic incest baby on the throne. But we don't live in an ideal world, and GRRM is much crueler than that anyway. I say either Daenerys lives, and Jon dies, or Daenerys dies, and Jon lives, and I honestly can't decide which scenario is more likely.
Arya Stark - I'm going to say Arya survives because of everything she's survived so far, and because I simply cannot deal with the possibility of her dying. Everyone is looking forward to her reunion with Jon Snow, and so am I. But I'm actually looking forward to her reunion with Gendry even more. We always knew the reunion with Jon was inevitable, but a reunion with Gendry was not, especially since his story goes in such a different direction in the books. And of course, there's the question, will she be the one to kill Cersei? I'm going to say no because I have a theory about that we'll get to later, but if she does, I'm certainly not going to complain about it.
Sansa Stark - This is another one I could see going either way. She's survived a lot and become a much more competent character since season 1, and someone is going to have to rule Winterfell when Jon dies or becomes King. But as smart and dangerous as Sansa has become, she's not Arya.
Bran Stark - I think the Night King kills him in the Green Sight. There's a theory that Bran becomes the Night King through magical time travel shenanigans, and while I don't personally subscribe to that theory, I'm not willing to rule it out as a possibility. He could live since he's the Three-eyed Raven now, and someone in Westeros needs to be a Magic Tree, but I still think it's more likely Bran dies.
Tyrion Lannister - If anyone is going to survive this mess, it's going to be Tyrion. Besides, if he dies, I'm pretty sure there will be riots the world over.
Cersei and Jamie Lannister - I think the Lannister twins die, possibly at each other's hands. Ever since the books, I've been of the opinion that Jamie will be the one to kill Cersei. He's already killed one insane monarch to save Westeros, and then there's the prophecy that Cersei will be killed by her younger brother. Cersei has always believed it will be Tyrion, which is one of the reasons she hates him. But Jamie is technically the younger twin. I think that by killing his mad sister and dying, Jamie will finally earn his redemption. I just hope he gets to admit his feelings to Brienne first. Jamie/Brienne OTP!
Qyburn - Dies when Cersei finally falls, which is kind of a shame. I personally find his whole "affable but evil" mad scientist bit going makes him a fascinating character.
Ser Jorah Mormont - Killed by a White Walker.
Ser Bronn of the Blackwater - I'm going to say Bronn survives through a combination of badassery, dumb luck, and the fact that he is the only person on this show besides Tyrion with an ounce of common sense.
Davos Seaworth - I want him to live really badly, but I'm going to say gets killed by a White Walker.
Melisandre & Varys - Given that last season Melisandre said both are "fated to die on this continent," I'm going to say the both die before the end, and that they're deaths are somehow entwined. On the other hand, I could see a scenario where Davos kills Melisandre and Varys dies by one of Cersei's assassins.
The Greyjoys - Theon dies saving Yara but manages to kill their evil uncle Euron in the process, finally earning his redemption. Yara becomes Lord of the Iron Isles and a supporter of Daenerys or Jon.
The Mountain and the Hound - I say that the Clegane brothers kill each other in the highly anticipated "Clegane Bowl." Well actually, I think Sandor manages to finally kill zombie Gregor for good, and then dies of his wounds shortly afterwards. Sandor finally gets the redemption he doesn't believe he deserves (are you sensing a theme here?)
Gendry - Gendry is the last surviving Baratheon, so I'm going to say he lives and is legitimized, which leads to a touching mutual forgiveness between him and Daenerys if she lives, or a lifelong friendship with Jon if he lives. Marries Arya. You can give me ONE happy ending alright?
Tormund Giantsbane - Dies saving Brienne of Tarth.
Brienne of Tarth - Dies as a knight in the Battle of Winterfell after having her moment with Jamie Lannister.
Podrick Payne - I'm going to say Podrick survives, because when winter is over there's going to be a lot of widows that need comforting, and Podrick is the only man with a confirmed magic penis.
Ser Beric Dondarion - I'm honestly stunned he's not dead already, since in the books he died back in Storm of Swords. I'm going with killed by a White Walker or torn apart by a horde of wights, Dawn of the Dead style.
The Night's Watch - Either destroyed by White Walkers or disbanded after the Night King's defeat.
Samwell Tarly - Seeing as he's based on/inspired by Samwise Gamgee, one of the only characters in Lord of the Rings who actually gets a happy ending, I'm going to say he lives. And by extension so do Gilly and Little Sam.
Missandei and Grey Worm - I'm going to say Grey Worm dies fighting, and Missandei kills herself to join him in death. What? Stop giving me that look. WE'VE ALREADY ESTABLISHED THERE WILL BE NO HAPPY ENDING! BLAME GEORGE NOT ME!
The three things from the book that will majorly change the endgame.
No Lady Stoneheart. After the Red Wedding in book 3, the corpse of Catelyn Stark is resurrected by when Beric Dondarion gives his life for hers. She comes back hellbent on vengeance and murdering anyone remotely related to the Lannisters or Freys.
Aegon VI? - In the show it's revealed that Jon's "real" name is Aegon Targaryen, which is also the name of Rhaegar's son by Elia Martell, whom the Mountain killed during Robert's Rebellion. In the books, its revealed that Aegon was smuggled out of King's Landing before it was sacked, and that the baby Gregor killed was a peasant. The real Aegon has spent the past 17 years or so in exile, learning to become King. Book 5 ends with him landing in Westeros with an army at his back, whether he's the real Aegon VI is currently unconfirmed. The two major theories are that either he is, or that he's a Blackfyre (a House descended from Targaryen) long thought dead. This was one of the biggest twists in book 5, and it's going to have major repercussions.
Howland Reed - The father of Jojen and Meera Reed, who helped Bran across the wall, he's never been seen (except in a flashback) but he's been mentioned in the book and the show several times. A close friend of Ned Stark, he was with Ned when he found Lynna at the Tower of Joy, which means he presumably knows the truth about Jon's heritage. In the books, he may be the only individual in Westeros who does. Since Bran and Samwell know the truth, I don't think he's going to appear in the final season, but I still think he has a role to play in the books.
Those are my thoughts on the upcoming season, what do you guys think? I'd love to hear your thoughts. I'll be doing a post about each episode as this season airs, look for it.