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The Night King is Here, and I’m Taking All Bets that Your Favorite Character is About to Die

* Slight Spoilers Ahead *

It’s been a long, excruciating wait but on April 14, 2019, Season 8 of Game of Thrones finally blessed our screens. The wait would all be worth it they said; despite the nearly 2 year hiatus, despite the significantly reduced episode count, they promised spectacle on a scale, rarely, if ever, seen on the small screen – spectacle that could rival the likes of say a Lord of the Rings entry. And who are we to doubt, in just the last few seasons they’ve delivered some truly jaw-dropping scenes that left me wondering just, “how are they going to top that?” So with the first 2 episodes finally upon us, they delivered…* drum roll please *, a whole lot of exposition and build up…

…they continually find ways to surprise and subvert expectations even though we’ve been thoroughly trained by now to know that “something” unexpected is coming.

Was I disappointed? Maybe a little. Was I surprised? Not at all. Game of Thrones may have some truly landmark scenes that reach epic proportions but the core of the show has always been built on slow build up and a lot (and I mean a lot) of dialogue. I’m a huge fan of great storytelling and character development though so it never really bothered me and the pay offs have almost always delivered (Joffrey’s death is still sweet, sweet catharsis). In fact, that’s the show’s greatest strength, and why people are still so heavily invested in it after all these seasons: they continually find ways to surprise and subvert expectations even though we’ve been thoroughly trained by now to know that “something” unexpected is coming.

“You know nothing, Jon Snow”

That line there pretty much sums up how the show treats its viewers. It’s a world where truly no one is safe, no matter their name, or their standing, or whether they’re virtuous or not. It’s counter-intuitive to all conventional storytelling guidelines, and it’s something that I can honestly say I’ve never experienced from a TV show before and it’s what draws me back in again and again. So when I see that the first two episodes of Season 8 are full of reunions and reconciliation, and even a sort of sense of happiness, despite the very real threat of utter death and destruction lurking right around the corner, I can’t help but feel uneasy. Game of Thrones is many things, but none of those things are happy or fair.

…character redemption being thrown around like beads at a Mardi Gras parade, you just know that somebody is about to die…

With all of these relationship arcs reaching satisfying conclusions and character redemption being thrown around like beads at a Mardi Gras parade, you just know that somebody is about to die, and it’s going to be a big somebody.

Episode 3 is just days away and the Night King with his massive army of the undead are finally here, it’s time to start saying goodbye to some of our most beloved (or loathed) characters. Who knows if they’ll bite the dust in this upcoming episode or the subsequent ones, but if I was a betting man these would be the big characters I’d put my money on coming face to face with the Lord of Light:

Theon Greyjoy

I think we can all agree that Theon has had a rough go of it yeah? From being cast off by his family, to having his you-know-what removed, Theon hasn’t always been the most likeable of characters but he has been the one I’ve probably pitied the most. After all these years of hardship and living like a coward, he finally seems ready to step up and face what’s coming like a true Ironborn warrior – rescuing his sister and voluntarily joining the fight at Winterfell. So it only makes sense that he’d be the first one to die. What, you thought he’d suddenly turn into some sort of hero? Game of Thrones doesn’t care about redemption. 75% chance that Theon bites it in the first skirmish.

Jaime Lannister

I know, I know. The prevailing theory is that Jaime will be the one to end Cersei’s life as some sort of poetic justice. But that makes almost too much sense for this series and this ain’t Shakespeare. Besides, he’s far from the only one who has a claim to Cersei’s life – Arya, you little murdering badass, I’m looking at you. Imagine, Arya kills Cersei while wearing the face of Jaime. Now THAT’S poetic justice. This one could be a reach but I give it a 30% chance he doesn’t make it out of the season.

Arya, you little murdering badass, I’m looking at you. Imagine, Arya kills Cersei while wearing the face of Jaime. Now THAT’S poetic justice.

Brienne of Tarth

She’s been one of my favorite characters all series long and easily the most honorable, but after her character arc was essentially wrapped up in Episode 2 when she was finally knighted by Jaime, it’s hard to see her making it out of this one. Especially with her being right in the thick of it. It’s sad to say, but it all but looks like she’s next on the chopping block. 50% chance she dies in one final valiant act of bravery.

Tormund Giantsbane

Dammit. Tormund has quickly become one of my favorite characters on the entire show (definitely it’s most entertaining), and he’s escaped death countless times now, but what are the odds that this scene-stealer escapes the Night King a third time? I’d say very low. His story has essentially reached its climax and I don’t see him having much of a future in this world, ‘if’ they somehow win. So with a heavy heart, the pipes may just be calling for this one. 60% chance he dies in the most glorious way trying to impress Brienne one last time.

In Game of Thrones you never truly know what’s going to happen, and to whom, but with the s*** officially hitting the fan, it’s more than a safe bet that there will be blood (lots of it) and many of our most beloved characters won’t be making it out alive. A fairy tale, this series is not.

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