Game of Thrones: The best theories for the final season

As the last episode in the penultimate season lands, how do fans think it will all end?

Dragons and drama aside, the pull of Game of Thrones lies in its two unswaying rules: past informs the future, and character informs the actions. So towards the end of the penultimate series, we have all the clues we need to work out how the game will draw to a close: all we have to do is decipher them. With fan theories spreading faster than wildfire, here's a spoiler-heavy (repeat: this contains spoilers about the final episode of series 7) look at the most captivating. Some, all or none of which may come true.

Daenerys will regret Jon Snow bending the knee

While we once expected a happy alignment, the signs are now pointing to Jon Snow taking over the spot currently occupied by Daenerys, Queen of the etc etc. While her tyrannical ways unfurl, we've seen that he's a friend of the dragons, and a true Targaryen with a greater claim to the throne than Dany. Most tellingly, he has an anti-Midas touch when he pledges allegiance: after he kneeled in turn for Lord Commander Mormont, Stannis Baratheon and Mance Rayder, they died, with Jon replacing their positions. That means Dany's obsession with getting him to bend the knee could foretell her demise.

Tyrion Lannister is a Targaryen


We’ve seen the dragons befriend Tyrion, a strong sign of his Valyrian blood, but the biggest clue in this theory is Tywin Lannister’s last words before he died at Tyrion’s hands: “You are no son of mine”. Turns out it could be more than a figure of speech. It’s believed the mad King, Aerys Targaryen, bedded Tywin Lannister’s wife, Joanna - which adds to the reasons Tywin never considered Tyrion his heir.

Never mind Jon, Jaime Lannister is the prince that was promised

At first the Red Priestess Melisandre decided Stannis Baratheon as the Prince That Was Promised, but on his death, she figured it must be Jon Snow. How about third time lucky, because it’s also suggested that the tyrant-turned-decent guy Jaime Lannister could be the saviour. The Valyrian words for “gold” and “hand” (aeksion ondos) are very similar to “lord” and “light” (aeksio onos) suggesting a link, or even a mistranslation. It’s telling that since Jaime acquired his gold hand, he’s shown honour and fairness, if we ignore a bit of casual incest. Plus, if it’s up to the prophesised Prince to dethrone Cersei, there’s already a connection: the fortune teller she visited in season five told her she would be killed by “the valonqar” - which translates to the little brother. It could be Tyrion, on side with Daenerys, but wouldn’t it be more apt if it was the Kingslayer himself? The longstanding name could mean he’ll take on the Night King himself.

Ned Stark returns

Oh, how we want this to be true. The theory here is that it wasn’t Ned Stark whose head rolled - it was actually Faceless Man Jaqen H’ghar wearing Ned’s face. After all, both Arya and Sansa noted how their father looked different, and we’ve seen that Faceless Men can sometimes wear the faces of the living.

Back in the Red Keep cells, Ned met Jaqen, who could have been paid off by Varys to protect Ned. The theory goes on to say that Arya’s swordsman Syrio Forel didn’t die off-screen, but went to save the real Ned while wearing Jaqen’s face, and is later the Jaqen that we see. It could be true, given that the powers of the Faceless Men have yet to impact the main story, but it’s a little bit Bobby-from-Dallas, and also, what’s Ned been doing while all hell breaks lose around him?

The ‘Lightbringer’ is Winterfell

Reverting to the most popular theory that Jon is the Prince That Was Promised, a closer look at the prophecy could reveal how the game plays out. It says in order to save the world from White Walkers, the prince must forge a special sword, a Lightbringer. Fans theorise that the sword is a metaphor for Winterfell, especially the prophecy says it will break when tempered in water (represented by the attempt of the sea-faring Greyjoys to take power) and when tempered by driving into a lion’s heart (represented by the Boltons, whose symbol is the lion). In the third and successful attempt, the Lightbringer must be tempered by driving into a heart of a loved one. Assuming Jon and Dany fall in love, it suggests Jon will betray Dany and tether her dragons, who have her heart and soul, to Winterfell. Also linked to the first theory, it’s a believable proposition indeed.

Mess with the Night King, mess with the Starks

Much in the same way that Harry Potter and Voldemort were one, there’s speculation that the Night King was one of the First Men, ancestors of the Starks. As we now know, killing the Night King will wipe out all his creations, so ridding the Seven Kingdoms of the White Walkers could also rid them of the Starks. It explains the connection between Bran and the Night King, it fits in with the little we know about how the wall was built (by Bran the Builder, a Stark, likely in a pact with the White Walkers) and it provides a delicious twist for season eight.