Season 7 of The Game of Thrones is where the show tried to tie up loose ends and set up the final season. With limited number of episodes, the entire season felt rushed. Season 8 too has limited episodes; so, it can be fairly said that plot development makes leaps and bounds compared to past seasons.
The season began killing off second and third tier characters whose stories could no longer be developed further given the limited episodes available. While we, the audience, may have hoped for the gathering of two giant sized armies that will duke it out to see who in the end will sit on the Iron Throne, then face the White Walkers, we instead are told there is one great war to fight and that is between the living and the dead.
We are also finally told — rather than us just guessing — that Jon is neither a bastard, nor the son of Ned Stark. He is, in fact, fire and ice. Most would think that the two refers to Dany, the mother of dragons (fire), and Jon, the King in the North (ice). However, it more likely refers to Jon who traces his lineage from both the Targaryens (fire) and Starks (ice). Whether or not he is also the prince who was promised is another matter but after all that he has been through for all seven seasons, one hopes that at the very least, he survives the show and manages to live happily ever after.
This might prove difficult with him bending the knee to Dany — in more ways than one (wink wink) — and having a bastard son of the late King Robert Baratheon, Gendry, roaming about. Of course, being a bastard might diminish his chances to sit on the Iron Throne. That and the fact that he appears to have no ambitions to rule might make him less of a threat to Jon but this is Westeros after all where anything can happen, including The Wall falling. People thought that the White Walkers would just walk around it when the seas freeze with winter on hand but when you have an ice-fire breathing zombie dragon, magic walls are not a problem.
Then there are the Starks. As I guessed, Littlefinger was outplayed by the Starks. Honestly, he never had a chance with Bran being the Three-Eyed Raven. The thing is, Jon may have bent the knee to Dany but the Starks have not. The Wolf Pack might just hail a new King in the North, maybe Sansa, the lady of Winterfell, as Queen in the north especially with the revelation of his lineage. In other words, being a Targaryan, he may not be so welcome in the North, not as King anyway.
Finally, there’s Cersei. Current occupant of the Iron Throne and chess master extraordinaire. Thinking three moves ahead of her rivals, she hopes to outsmart even Death. She has sent Greyjoy to recruit a mercenary army with gold from the Iron Bank. She hopes that Dany’s Dothraki hoard and the Unsullied foot soldiers will be depleted after the war with the White Walkers that they will be in no shape to fight what remains of her army and the mercenaries.
The only problem here is Theon found his balls and decided to take on his uncle to free his sister. Cersei’s plans might get upended. Gendry too, who we did not see in the finale, might try to make it difficult for Cersei to rule peacefully, that is until the wites invade Kings Landing.
We also see that soft side to this woman who can just be as brutal as any man in Westeros: for all her talk of killing her brothers, she could not bring herself to do so regardless of whatever betrayal or treason they commit, or she believes they committed, against her.
So, here’s my prediction for the final season of GoT: first, Theon is successful in saving his sister. He may die in the process but his effort will complicate matters for Cersei.
Second, Cersei will eventually march her armies to the north to join the battle against the wites. Jon did say that there is only one battle and it will be between the living and the dead, not among the living. Whether this is because of the loss of her mercenaries and, with that, a humungous debt to the Iron Bank she may no longer be able to pay, or, or maybe and, her love for her siblings, I think she will. She is with child, or so it seems, so it is difficult to imagine that the show runners will kill her off but, again, Westeros can be a cruel world.
The White Walkers can be killed by fire and we know she has a way with fire…wildfire that is, if she still has some in store that is. It took a lot to kill the Sparrow and everyone with him.
Third, it was hoped that Dany, Jon and Tyrion will ride the three dragons into battle. They are one less dragon now; so, it is highly unlikely. Tyrion too appears to be on the fence now that he had seen Dany and Jon together. He did not look happy. Tyrion, whose lineage may also be far different from the Lannisters and might be more Targaryan may likewise lay a claim to the Iron Throne. My guess: he will sit on the Iron Throne with Jamie as his Hand. If Bronn survives, then he would likely be there as well. Cersei? Not likely. How she goes is hard to see now but I don’t see her living through season 8.
Last, what about Jon and Dany? It is no secret that I have been rooting for Jon to do one thing: survive to live quietly somewhere. I hope it is not too much to ask. He will lead the armies against the White Walkers. The King Slayer himself will fight by his side. Two dragons versus one gives them an advantage. They have dragon glass and, if I am right, all of Westeros on their side but, after all that, this man who lives for one thing only — defeat the undead — has no desire for power. He is willing to bend the knee to Dany. He is the reluctant leader. He even joined the Night Watch.
As for Dany. Her children are her dragons. It remains to be seen if she will have any left after the great war with the dead but I would like to think that she too might be inclined to live in peace away from all the troubles of ruling, something Tyrion might be more suited for. If she bears a child by Jon, then she might have more reason to retire.
They may not end up together but I hope they live out the rest of their lives in peace. Fire and Ice might be Dany and Jon respectively but, if I am right, then Jon is himself both fire and ice, which simply means that they have or he has done their/his part and it is time to leave. He is destined for greatness for sure but their future is difficult to see clearly. Westeros is really quite unpredictable when it comes to nice guys. Separated from the wolf pack, he may not be so safe. Together though, he may have a chance.
A year to wait if all this comes to be. Until then, we speculate, we debate, we play our own Game of Thrones…