Thursday, August 17, 2017

Thrones and Theories For the Final Act of Game of Thrones [Contributor: Melanie]

Image result for game of thrones season 7 episode 5

DISCLAIMER: This was written several hours prior to the episode six leak and contains no information or theories beyond what was presented as of episode five.

Since my recaps for individual episodes have gotten too long and analytic for me to put in theories every week, I wanted to get them all out there before we move into the endgame stages of this season. As seven years of watching has told us, the penultimate episodes of Game of Thrones seasons tend to be the most important ones (though last season’s finale came very close to outshining “The Battle of the Bastards”). We’ve got a set-up of Jon leading a party into the wilds beyond the Wall to capture a wight and return with it, long enough to prove to Cersei the threat is real and hope she cares enough about literally anything besides herself (we’ll get into if that’s true or not).

So below I’ve listed out my theories and personal deadpools for the coming last two episodes and what it means going into the final season of the show. I’ll likely have a part two to this with amended theories when all is said and done. But for now, here is where things stand in my mind...


At first glance, it sounds like a fanfic idea. But it’s a theory that has been floating for some time and George RR Martin himself has helped stoked those fires. Back in 1980, George RR Martin published a children’s novel companion entitled The Ice Dragon. Though Martin has claimed the stories contained in the short novel do not take place in the world of A Song of Ice and Fire many still believe it’s a massive hint to an element he decided to include in his books. Ice dragons do exist in the world of Game of Thrones — of course it’s in the same way many people thought the White Walkers existed, but look at where we are now.

Ice dragons are a completely different species of dragon from the ones found in Valyria, at least from what we know. They’re larger — where Valyrian dragons are “fire made flesh,” these ones are ice. According to legends told around Westerosi campfires, these dragons roam the Shivering Sea and the White Waste (an arctic sea north of Essos). There are theories that they’re descended, in some way, from the dragons found in the fires of Valyria, but they’re little more than myth in the world of GoT.

But will we see one this week? Or in coming episodes? I have to imagine the Night King has a lot more up his sleeve than an army of of snow zombies. Though the battle at Hardhome proved how deadly they can be, three dragon still seems like more than enough of a match when fighting from the safety of the air... unless the Night King has some aerial support of his own. From interviews with George RR Martin, we know he has had an interest the idea of an ice dragon long before A Song of Ice and Fire and it seems that interest may have even been what sparked the idea that became the book series. There’s a very real possibility that the final battle will be between the Targaryens and their dragons and the Night King and his.

After all, Dany dreamed several times in the book of the Wall, and herself fighting an army of men in armor of ice and getting the feeling that “this was the real war” and “the other had been a dream.” Jon has similar dreams as well.


We know not all of our buddies in Jon’s group are making it home. Tormund has cheated death enough times on GoT that he might finally be on the chopping block here. Beric Dondarrion has also been brought back so many times that it’s likely time for him to go as well. Jon’s got bulletproof plot armor and I don’t see them bringing Gendry back just to off him an episode later (but anything is possible in this show). There’s a real chance Jorah may die but he still might have some resolutions to make with his family that save him from death up North. The Hound also seems to have an important role. His fear of fire, yet his ability to look into the flames and see visions is incredibly eerie. A fringe but still, somehow, active theory in the fandom is that he might even be the Prince That Was Promised. Fat chance. But he’s important. Then again, it’s entirely possible they all die and Jon makes it out as the only survivor of the group.

That all being said, I don’t actually think they’ll get their wight. I think this episode, in conjunction with the theory above, might serve a larger purpose at revealing had big the fight against the White Walkers will actually be.

“A Targaryen alone in the world is a terrible thing.” 

When Maester Aemon died, he lamented that he was leaving his niece, Daenerys, as the last of her kind. However, we’ve gotten almost 100% confirmation that she has more immediate family than she realized: not only is Jon snow the son of her eldest brother, but his conception and birth happened under legitimate circumstances, giving him the same last name as Dany. But, that’s not the end of the growing list of secret Targaryens. Dany may not be a brotherless orphan after all.

Jon’s scene with Drogon, where the dragon allowed him to place his hand on his snout, was an obvious hint to Jon’s heritage. Dragons have an exclusive bond with those of Valyrian descent, their fellow natives to the peninsula of Valyria and the Fourteen Flames. In fact, Quentyn Martell (a character cut from the show) was descended from the original Princess Daenerys who married into House Martell. He believed his ancestry (she was, roughly, his great-great-great grandmother) gave him connection with Dany’s dragons. He was wrong and burned alive by them when he attempted to touch one. But Drogon allows Jon to touch him and Tyrion is allowed to approach and touch Viserion and Rhaegal when they are in Meereen.

The theory that Tyrion is, in fact, Daenerys’ half-brother has been around just as long as R+L=J and just got a huge boost in possibility. King Aerys had an obsession with Joanna Lannister and eventually left court, where her husband Tywin was serving as Hand of the King, out of discomfort with his attentions. However, they fatefully meet again at a tournament held in King’s Landing and, almost a year later, she dies giving birth to Tyrion — taking the secret of his paternity to her grave. But, Tyrion is described in the books as having hair so fair that it’s nearly white. Tywin makes comments that he “cannot prove” Tyrion is not his son and — with his dying breath — tells Tyrion, “You are not son of mine.” Tyrion is also introduced to us with having a lifelong fascination with dragons and the desire to ride one some day.

He might be getting his chance. We know from a prophecy Dany witnessed in A Clash of Kings (though the show omitted it) that “the dragon must always have three heads” and, as per the traditional bond between dragons and riders, Dany and Drogon are bonded for life. That leaves a dragon open when Jon finally has his. It’s entirely possible that third dragon and the final spot in the Targaryen triad belongs to him.


By which I mean that Cersei is a liar. It seems a little too convenient that just when she found out Jaime went behind her back, she whips out the one bit of information that would keep him loyal to her. According to prophecy, she will have no more children. Perhaps this betrayal of Jaime’s trust and abuse of his affection for her is what will finally make him see the light, that it’s possible for her to even turn against him, in order to hold onto her power. Between the two of them, Jaime is more likely to be the one to see reason if a wight is brought before them and I could see him joining in with Jon and Dany to deal with the evils beyond the Wall.

But according to prophecy, he may also be the one who kills Cersei as the woods witch told her a “valonqar” (High Valyrian for “younger brother”) will “choke the life out of [her].” Cersei thought it referred to Tyrion, but many have come to believe Jaime — who is the younger twin — is the one who will kill her. He’s no stranger to regicide and may find himself utterly devastated when he learns she lied about her pregnancy to ensnare him into loyalty.

There is, however, a theory that the use of the word valonqar is not an accident. It is the only time the witch speaks in High Valyrian, suggesting the younger brother in question will have ties to Valyria, the homeland of the Targaryens. If it’s true that Tyrion is Aerys’ bastard son, it would not only explain her odd use of the word  but also have been a massive clue the witch tossed Cersei about the truth of Tyrion’s parentage.


Dany vowed in season five to “break the wheel” of power in Westeros that has kept the high lords in power and the people weak. She brought this back up in episode five of this season when she promised the Lannister soldiers that she intended to unseat Cersei and the political games of the Great Houses. So far the scene has certainly been set for entire overhaul of how Westeros is run. Not only are the majority of the Great Houses now extinct, but even their replacement houses have fallen. Doing a head count from the South up: the Martells are extinct, the Tyrells are extinct, their replacements — the Tarlys — are extinct, the Lannisters are down to three with no heirs (likely down by at least one more by the end of the season), the Baratheons are extinct, the Tullys are down to one with no heirs, the Greyjoys are down to three with no heirs (likely down by at least one more by the end of the season), the Arryns are extinct, and the Starks are down to three: a bastard and some unproductive infighting.

Balerion the Black Dread — Aegon the Conqueror's dragon — famously forged the Iron Throne in his flame. Based on Dany’s goals and the way things seem to be going in Westeros, rather than sit on the throne, I foresee her using the flames of her own Black Dread, Drogon, to melt down the throne and finally break that wheel that cause so much strife in the world. Not sure if it’ll happen by the end of this season, but this week’s episode is 71 minutes long and the finale is 81 minutes which gives plenty time for some serious plays (especially with how fast everyone suddenly seems to be able to move around the continent).


I’m mainly talking about Euron Greyjoy here. We haven’t seen him in a while and that’s a little unnerving. While I don’t think he’ll play a part in the campaign at Eastwatch, I don’t entirely trust Cersei’s desire to negotiate an armistice with Dany, especially with Euron still wandering around the seas. According to interviews, he might just top out Ramsay and Joffrey for the most deplorable, universally disliked character on the show. That makes his absence nerve-wracking. In the books, Euron has in his possession the Hellhorn — horn forged from an enormous dragon — covered in Valyrian glyphs. It’s said that those who blow on the horn will gain control of any dragon who hears it; and that could mean trouble. There is no mention thus far of the horn in the show but I can’t imagine Qyburn and Cersei’s ominous plans to kill a dragon would end with such a fizz. With Cersei meeting with Qyburn and refusing to tell Jaime (and thus the audience) what they were discussing, right before agreeing to an armistice with Dany, it may suggest she has a secret weapon we don’t yet know about.

Meanwhile, will Melisandre be making her return this season? We know she left for Volantis after bringing Dany and Jon together, but claims she will have to return to Westeros one day because it was prophesied that she would die there. This means she still has some part to play in the war — perhaps called back to revive someone again?


This week’s penultimate episode, “Death is the Enemy,” will become only the third 9th episode (or in this case 6th episode) in the show’s history not to feature a battle. It will instead feature our Hateful Eight (Seven) getting WRECKED by the White Walker army waiting for them beyond Eastwatch. Which begs the question... what will it really be about? We’re not getting the bombastic battles we’ve had in the past. The only other two episodes not to feature a battle at this pivotal point in the season were ones in which some portion of the plot trajectory was irrevocably altered: “Baelor,” in which Ned Stark was executed, and “The Rains of Castamere,” which featured the Red Wedding. So what could happen this week to rival those episodes (widely considered two of the biggest plot twists in TV history)?

We don’t know much about the White Walkers. But I have a feeling we’re going to learn something this week that’s going to change the plan of attack when it comes to them and possibly take things from horribly awful to really, really effing bad. On the one hand, there is the ice dragon theory that says the Night King will be able to match Dany’s trump card. There are theories, some intertwined with that one: that we’re going to lose a dragon (Viserion seems the most likely candidate). There is also the possibility of a deep and dark look into the the nature of the wights and the White Walkers. The wights are the resurrected bodies of those who have died. We caught a glimpse of Wun Wun among them in the first episode this season which begs the question: Are we about to see some old friends back from the grave?

At one point in the book, Jon dreams that he’s fighting Robb and Ned as wights. He still carries baggage over his inability to help his family when Ned was executed and Robb went to war and, eventually, died. With Sansa and the rest of the North questioning his loyalties, he may find himself facing that guilty once again. And he’s not the only one with baggage. Jorah may be facing down the wight of his father in atonement for his own sins against the Mormont family.

There’s some logistical questions. After all, Ned’s body is in the crypts at Winterfell and Robb’s was mutilated after his death at the Twins. But we don’t know exactly how wights are brought back and find their way into the army of the dead.

There is also an Instagram post from Jason Momoa of great interest that suggests Dany may meet of her own past demons in the army of the dead. Momoa was in Northern Ireland with the Game of Thrones creators Benioff and Weiss with the cheeky caption “ALOHA DROGO.” It’s slim at best, especially with Drogo burned on a pyre thousands of miles away, but if death is the enemy then so is everything that comes with it: regrets, unrealized potential, and the ghosts of the past.


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