A new season of Game of Thrones is right around the corner. The first of the show’s final two seasons doesn’t have a release date yet, but should debut a bit later than the typical spring premiere, likely in early summer. Nevertheless, Season 7 promises a whole lot of surprises in its limited 7-episode run announced by HBO. Because of time constraints, the action of the season is likely to be majorly condensed and concentrated— jam-packed with major battles, a violent invasion and an onslaught of compelling surprises.
What’s particularly exciting about the upcoming season is the long-awaited invasion of Westeros by one Daenerys Targaryen. An exciting offshoot of Dany’s invasion will be the convergence of two sets of characters we’ve yet to see come together. Think about it: next season may see Greyworm take on The Mountain in single combat, or include the long-fabled confrontation between Daenerys and Cersei Lannister, or even Dany’s dragons taking on the Night King and his White Walkers.
The new season will likely feature battles between Dany’s host and Cersei, between the Vale and the North, between the Iron Islands and… everyone else. The possibilities for Season 7 are endless— and with the condensed, frenzied, action-promising 7-episode angle, more characters than ever are likely to meet their demise at the cruel hands of GoT’s show runners.
Here are eight of those characters who won’t live to see Season 8 (and seven who’ll narrowly make it).
15. Dead – Melisandre
Does Melisandre have an actual purpose to serve the show, now that Jon’s resurrected and all? Many speculate she’ll stick around ’til the very end because she might be able to provide some necessary knowledge for Jon to transition into the legendary Prince Who Was Promised figure with the power to vanquish the White Walkers from Westeros.
Still, with Stannis dead and Melisandre narrowly avoiding execution by the Night’s Watch last season, it’s likely she’ll be a goner by season’s end. My guess is she’ll encounter Arya, a reunion that’s almost certain to happen at some point because of some pretty-transparent foreshadowing in earlier seasons. Melisandre’s capable of some pretty wicked sorcery and had demonstrated an ability to foresee future events, so this confrontation might show us the extent of her— and Arya’s— powers.
14. Survivor – Euron
Season 6 saw the emergence in Westeros of Euron Greyjoy as the King of the Iron Islands after spending years traveling the world as a pirate. Will Euron team up with Cersei, or will he somehow manage his long-wished-for pipe dream of sealing an alliance with Daenerys through a marriage alliance?
My bet’s on Euron being turned down by Dany, who already has an allegiance with Yara and Theon from the Iron Islands. He’ll then be courted by Cersei, who he’ll enter into an uneasy alliance with. At this point, Euron’s fleet of experienced, battle-hardened warships is probably more powerful than Cersei’s drained and newly Tyrell-less army. Cersei’s demonstrated a willingness to do whatever it takes to hold on to the crown, including burning her own people, but it remains to be seen what Euron’s real motivation is. Is it possible he may be more of a rival to Daenerys’ seemingly-unbeatable company than Cersei is? My guess is he’ll play an important role in both season 7 and 8— and perhaps even raise ice dragons, a sea monster or wrestle control of Dany’s dragon’s through the power of a magical horn.
13. Dead – The Mountain
Following the long-awaited reveal of Jon’s true parentage, the next big event Game of Thrones’ fans unanimously seem to crave is the Glegane bowl, where The Hound will finally take a lifetime’s worth of revenge on his frightening older brother, The Mountain. While these two giants clashing longswords does seem appealing, it’s far more likely Gregor Glegane will be defeated while serving as the lead raider and warrior in Cersei’s fight waged against the invading Daenerys.
Or, perhaps, might we see a trial by combat in which The Mountain serves as Cersei’s champion and locks swords with an equal, maybe even his brother? It could happen. Imagine The mountain locking swords with Greyworm, or Jorah, or even a member of Dany’s Dothraki horde.
The means is still up in the air, but as the vanguard of Cersei’s almost-certainly doomed attempt to clutch onto the Iron Throne, The Mountain is certainly unlikely to make it past a few battles in Season 7.
12. Survivor – Gendry
Robert Baratheon’s naive bastard son will almost certainly re-appear in Season 7. He’ll also likely be swept up in someone else’s ambitious plans, whether it be Arya, Melisandre or someone else with knowledge of his heritage. Melisandre has shown interest in Gendry in the past, and my bet is she reaches him before Arya does in Season 7. She was last seen riding south from the Wall, directly toward where Gendry was last seen in previous seasons.
Is it possible Gendry might learn who his father is in Season 7 and become involved in some improbable and doomed attempt to place him on the Iron Throne as the next Baratheon king? Indeed, I could see Littlefinger or perhaps even Varyss involving Gendry in their plans… perhaps even in a marriage alliance with Daenerys Targaryen.
11. Dead – Greyworm
Daenerys will almost certainly spend Season 7 conquering mainland Westeros. With the Dothraki, the Tyrells, the Dornishmen and the Ironmen of Theon and Yara augmenting her army of Unsullied, she’ll almost certainly do so with a minimum of trouble. Someone’s going to have to die, though, and my bet is on Greyworm.
Look, I get it, Greyworm’s a fan favorite, and he’s been with Dany from the very beginning. Frankly, though, it’s unlikely for a warrior, any warrior, to face as many battles as Greyworm has faced and come out unscathed. He’ll likely sacrifice himself or do something heroic in the name of Dany’s quest, but his end shouldn’t come as much of a surprise to anyone. Daenerys’ other right-hand-man, Jorah, has a heroic journey back from a greyscale infection to complete. That means Greyworm is likely on his way out— but it shouldn’t hurt too bad, as Unsullied famously feel no pain.
10. Survivor – Jorah
Jorah had an eventful Season 6: after nearly saving Daenerys from the Dothraki, she commands him to travel the world in search of a cure for his debilitating greyscale infection. Jorah’s search will likely lead him to Westeros, possibly even back to his native Bear Island north of Winterfell or even to the Citadel in Oldtown, a hotbed of medical knowledge and innovation where Samuel Tarly currently resides.
This is where Jorah will likely play his most-important role in the upcoming season: acting as an envoy between his queen Daenerys and Jon Snow through Sam, their mutual connection at the Citadel who just happens to have access to an entire nation’s network of communicative ravens. Could Jorah broker an alliance between Jon, Dany and the Citadel? He’ll have to survive through Season 7 to do so.
9. Dead – Theon
Okay, I’ll say it: we’ve all been waiting for Theon to finally get what he’s deserved since… episode 1? At this point in the show, Theon doesn’t add much to the plot except as a sidekick to Yara’s occasional badassary. I’m betting he’ll die by the hand of his uncle Euron, or perhaps even in a revenge move from Arya for Theon’s betrayal of the North and the other Starks.
I won’t lie— a part of me would like to see a continuation of Theon’s moral resurrection theme that’s begun in recent seasons, but with the simple lack of time left for a whole lot to happen for the plot of GoT, there may just not be room for a happy end for everyone. Theon’s a goner in my book, though it’s not clear if it’ll be by him getting thrown off a ship or stabbed in the back by a faceless assassin.
8. Survivor – Davos
The show’s shining light of morality, humility and goodness has had his fair share of close calls in the past, and has in fact nearly been killed on multiple occasions in the past. Many believed in previous seasons that it would take the death of Davos Seaworth to finally demonstrate Melisandre’s deranged cruelty to Stannis, but with Stannis’ death and Melisandre’s banishment south, Davos seems destined to occupy a new place of high social standing: as Jon Snow’s right-hand-man in the North.
Now, that’s not to say warring with Jon Snow is an especially safe or secure position to occupy. Jon’s been especially reckless since his resurrection, and he’s almost certain to face multiple battles in the coming season. Could Davos fall against Cersei, Euron or the White Walkers? It’s certainly possible, but my bet is that this fan-favorite narrowly clings to at least one more season.
7. Dead – Thoros of Myr and Beric Donnadarian
Like a few others on this list, Arya is almost certainly going to have her way with Beric Dondarrian and flaming-sword wielder Thoros of Myr. The two men are regular occupants on Arya’s “kill list,” due to their attempt to ransom her to the Lannisters and their role in handing over Gendry to the red priestess Melisandre.
At this point, however, it’s just as likely that The Hound will be the one to end up killing either Thoros or Beric (for the second time). The Riverlands are perpetually ravaged by war, and these two are always in the thick of things. I predict at least one of the two to be sacrificed by the showrunners as part of an early-season run on minor, less-central characters to showcase the violence that Westeros is now prone to once again. Admittedly, however, I’d like to see Melisandre and Thoros encounter each other in Season 7; Thoros may have unique knowledge about Melisandre’s past and background.
6. Survivor – Brienne
It’s a popular theory among fans that there’ll be an early-season run on non-vital characters to consolidate loose plot points for the shortened season. Surprisingly, Brienne is a mainstay on many people’s lists, though I’m not sure why. No, she’s not a vital character, and she never really has been. Her main function on the show has generally been to chase after the Stark girls, but they’re generally safe at this point. Could Brienne meet back up with Jaime? That seems like the most fulfilling course of action for her in the coming story arc.
She may go North to meet with Sansa, though, and to serve in the campaign against either Daenerys, Littlefinger, Euron or Cersei. Brienne’s story is literally up in the air, and could take her to almost any corner of the realm. I’m guessing she’ll encounter the Hound once again before season’s end, and that perhaps she’ll also extract some revenge on those who’ve wronged her in the past. Either way, she’ll live to see Season 8 for sure, though I’m not sure how large her role in the show will be moving forward.
5. Dead – Littlefinger
Oh, poor Petyr Baelish. Arguably Westeros’ most-successful schemer throughout the series, can any of us realistically envision an end in which Littlefinger isn’t pushed out of a Moondoor, or stabbed in the back by Arya, or burned in his castle by dragonfire like so many haughty schemers before him?
Indeed, I think Littlefinger’s death may come sooner rather than later. Sansa may turn on him in long-awaited revenge for her father’s death, which Littlefinger directly arranged, and for his turning her over to Ramsay Bolton. He also may face a rebellion from the lords of the Vale, especially in the event of little lord Robin Arryn’s death, as they’ve never been fully comfortable with his rule.
Littlefinger’s chances of reaching Season 8’s premiere seem very low at this point. The man’s simply created far too many enemies. Sansa, Cersei, Jon, and even Daenerys have all developed motivations, whether directly or indirectly, to distrust and despise Baelish. I give him 3-4 episodes before he’s the first major casualty of a very-destructive run on main characters to begin the season.
4. Survivor – The Night King
The show’s primary villain— even though he’s only appeared a handful of times so far— can’t be vanquished before the final episode, right? The Night King won’t die until the show’s very end, which means his role in Season 7 will likely involve an invasion of the North, smaller battles with Jon Snow, and a gradual, slow series of victories moving southward until Dany’s finally secure enough on the Iron Throne to take him on with her dragons.
My guess is that the Night King’s forces may end up killing a few familiar faces before the end of the series— Sam, Melisandre, Davos, Meera, Benjen and even Littlefinger are popular candidates to be killed by White Walkers in the coming season. There’s a lot of magic tied up behind those chilling icy eyes of his, so it’s likely we haven’t yet seen the true extent of the Night King’s powers. How he’ll defeat three dragons, I don’t know, but my bet is only Bran will be able to find a way to conquer this nearly-insurmountable foe.
3. Dead – Rhaegal or Viserion
Daenerys is going to lose one of her dragons. That much is certain. Dany’s closest dragon that she’ll likely personally ride into battle, Drogon, should be safe. But her other two dragons— Rhaegal and Viserion— don’t seem quite so secure.
During the original Targaryen conquest, all three of Aegon the Conqueror’s dragons survived the main invasion, but one was killed by a random scorpion bolt in Dorne. A popular theory is that Jon will end up riding Rhaegal, the dragon named after his father Rhaegar, and that one of either Tyrion or Bran will form a bond with Viserion. I think it doubtful that Rhaegal will be the one to fall, as he’ll likely be too important in the final battles against the White Walkers, but if he doesn’t end up forming a bond with Jon, his role will likely be much smaller. My guess is, similar to during the original conquest, a dragon will die in some odd, unexpected way— and it’ll mobilize Dany to take drastic action against the Night King or whoever else managed to kill one of her precious dragons.
2. Survivor – Jaime
Season 7’s worst-kept secret is the tension developing between the formerly-inseparable Jamie and Cersei Lannister. Remember back to Season 1 when the two pushed Bran out of a tower to avoid detection? Now they’re barely capable of occupying the same room together, and seemed destined to clash by season’s end.
Regardless of what happens with Cersei, GoT seems hell-bent on offering its characters second chances to change their histories and their perception to the public. As terrible as Jaime was in early seasons, and he was truly awful, he’s been a changed man after his capture by the Starks. I don’t think Jaime will make it through the end of the series, but unlike one of his close family members, Season 7 will be a bit too early for his demise. Instead, Season 8 will likely feature Jaime’s heroic and sacrificial death, perhaps to save Brienne. Until then, he’s safe.
1. Dead – Cersei
Arguably the character who has shaped the events of Westeros the most throughout the entire series is Cersei Lannister. However, with Daenerys and Jon now the focal points of the show’s confrontation with White Walkers, whose threat to the realm Cersei has barely even acknowledged, she’s likely to meet a mouthful of dragonfire by the end of the season if a younger brother doesn’t get to her first.
Cersei will almost certainly die at the hands of one of Danaerys’ henchmen, but remember the prophesy Maggy the Frog told in a flashback to the young Cersei two seasons ago. The Valonquar prophesy foretells Cersei’s demise by a younger brother. Jaime, being her twin, wouldn’t seem to qualify; however, having been born a few minutes after she is, he’s technically younger. Could Jaime end up killing his twin, the only woman he’s ever loved?
Assuming Season 8 will be dominated by the climactic clash with the White Walkers, I’m predicting Cersei’s downfall to come in the finale of Season 7, perhaps even at the hands of her own wildfire as she burns down King’s Landing. Wouldn’t it be satisfying to see Cersei’s years of cruelty finally come back on her?