Who’s ready for some Game of Thrones fan theories?
This Sunday night, HBO is dropping its seventh Game of Thrones season finale with a record 79-minute runtime. And boy are we in for some doozies.
Ever since diverging from the books, showrunners D.B. Weiss and David Benioff – or just Dan and Dave – have been aggressively churning out plot points that center around popular fan theories. Last season we got 99% confirmation (let’s be real, there’s still a little doubt lingering) of the R + L = J theory.
We got confirmation that Melisandre is actually super old and has been casting a glamour on herself this whole time. Then in the penultimate episode of the season, the ice dragon theory was confirmed – though that theory had postulated either there was an ice dragon somewhere on the grounds of Winterfell, or the Night King had resurrected one that had perished during the Dance of the Dragons war.
Given that Dan and Dave have been canonizing fan theories left and right, there’s no reason for us to think that a few more theories may come to fruition in the finale. Here are the four theories that are most likely to come true in the Season Seven finale.
Theory #1: Arya or Sansa will die by the other’s hand.
Background: After a mostly amicable reunion, it didn’t take long for Arya and Sansa to return to their strained relationship. Last week that tension escalated very quickly when Arya confronted Sansa about a letter she sent years ago – a scene that resulted in Arya downright threatening to kill Sansa, take her face, and parade around as the Lady of Winterfell. Obviously, this tension isn’t going to disappear, so I’m going to focus on the theory that this situation can only be resolved by death.
The most compelling evidence: Alan Taylor, who directed last week’s episode, told the Huffington Post that he “wanted to give the impression, as much as possible, that one of them is going to die.” There’s always the possibility that Taylor only said this to drum up hype and play off the show’s reputation as one that will kill any character at any time. However, Taylor does have a point – both sisters are ruthless in their own way, and it’s plausible that either would kill the other.
Sansa deliberately sent Brienne away from Winterfell because of her oath to protect both daughters. By doing this, Sansa is ensuring that she has less resistance if she has to kill her younger sister.
To Arya, Sansa participating in their father’s execution as a passive bystander makes her guilty of his death. Now, let’s consider Arya’s hit list. Everyone on it has either killed or hurt her family or friends, so I wouldn’t be surprised if Sansa’s name found her way to that kill list.
In the end, it’s going to boil down to one of the sisters being killed. Either Arya kills Sansa for her twisted sense of justice, or Sansa kills Arya in self-defense.
Theory #2: Arya is actually the Waif.
Background: If you need a little refresher, the Waif is the young woman in league with the Faceless Men. You know, the woman who liked to beat Arya with a stick, especially when the young Stark was blind and living on the streets. At the end of Season Six Arya and the Waif had a final battle in which Arya was the victor – or at least, that’s what we’ve been led to think.
We didn’t actually see Arya kill the Waif, and if this show has taught us anything is you can’t be sure a character is dead until you’ve seen them take their final breath. This theory hinges on the idea that it was actually Arya that lost the fight, and that the Waif took her face and has been posing as her ever since.
Compelling evidence: It’s easy to see that Arya’s been on a Walter White-like downward arc for the last few seasons, resulting in the ruthless person we see now. However, Arya’s demeanor has been especially ruthless, to the point where it feels off pace to her natural progression. Don’t get me wrong, this is the person Arya was always going to become, but this level of aggression feels like what we would see in later seasons, not right now. I want to chalk this up to bad writing on Dan and Dave’s part, but it’s still very possible that she’s acting extra antagonistic because this isn’t actually Arya. The Waif is a more skilled fighter, and a more volatile person. The way Arya has been acting much closer matches the Waif’s personality than Arya’s.
On top of that, the Waif knows who’s on Arya’s kill list. The Waif even went as far as grilling Arya on the details of her “funny little list.” This is an easy answer to the question “If that’s really the Waif, how did she know to kill the Freys?”
Also, parading around as someone else is what the Faceless Men do best. The Waif would have no trouble convincing everyone that she’s Arya.
Theory #3: Bran has been spying on everyone in Winterfell.
Background: After training with the Three-Eyed Raven, Bran has become privy to a lot of information, such as Jon Snow’s true lineage and the sexual assault Sansa experienced. Now that Bran has seemed to take the place of the Three-Eyed Raven, he’s been given a few abilities, one of those being the ability to see through the eyes of crows and ravens.
Compelling evidence: A few fans have noticed distinct crow calls during or after private conversations around Winterfell. Conversations like the one between Jon and Littlefinger in the crypts, or when Arya sleuths around Littlefinger’s chambers to find Sansa’s note. This season has gotten lazy, with things like uncharacteristically fast journeys that previously took whole seasons.
But they haven’t gotten that lazy. As someone with a film degree, I can confirm that sound design and sound effects are always deliberate. Bran knows exactly what’s going on in Winterfell, and is choosing to reveal this information when he thinks it’ll be advantageous.
Theory #4: Jon is the Lightbringer.
Background: Lightbringer is a sword of legend, forged by Azor Ahai and imbued with power by the Lord of Light to vanquish the darkness. Back in the day, Melisandre gives Stannis Baratheon’s sword power and dubs it “Lightbringer” because she believes he’s the chosen one, or Azor Ahai reincarnated. Obviously, Stannis was not the chosen one, nor was his sword Lightbringer, because he was pretty easily beaten and executed by the Boltons. Also, many fans believe that Lightbringer isn’t actually a sword, but a metaphor. Which means it could even be a person.
Compelling evidence: Melisandre was able to bring Jon back from the dead with the help of the Lord of Light. She and Beric Dondarrion are always preaching the mysterious ways in which the Lord of Light works. They claim that it’s not always clear why, but when the Lord of Light intervenes, there’s a reason. It’s a pretty innocuous claim – plenty of religions, fictional or real, claim that their deity works in mysterious ways, and that there’s a reason for everything. But now with all this Lord of Light talk cropping up, and with Beric and his men joining Jon, it’s hard to say this isn’t divine intervention.
Now let’s look to the books for a second. It’s clear that Melisandre misread the signs, meaning that Stannis was not the chosen one after all. Maester Aemon of Castle Black reveals in A Feast for Crows that he believes Daenerys is the true chosen one. Now that Dany and Jon have not only met but have become entwined (Emotionally? Romantically? Politically? All of the above?), it’s very likely that this was always meant to happen. If Dany is the chosen one, then Jon is the Lightbringer that she will wield to conquer the darkness.
There are a buttload of Game of Thrones fan theories out there, and I had to be extremely selective about what could plausibly happen in the season finale. Here are some theories that are compelling, but in the end unlikely.
Theory: Daenerys ends up pregnant.
Why it won’t happen: We’re not actually sure if Daenerys can’t have children because she chooses not to or physically can’t. (Or both.) It’s never confirmed if this is because she only wanted to have Drogo’s kids, or if birthing a monstrous stillborn killed by black magic messed with her fertility. Either way, kids are not in her cards. Some have pointed out that her dragon’s death will enact the Only Death Can Pay for Life rule, which will allow her to become pregnant. But guys, even if she and Jon Snow bone down in the first scene, it’s unlikely that a pregnancy would take and manifest by the end of the finale.
Theory: Bran is the Night King.
Why it won’t happen: A lot of the arguments I’ve seen for this are based on two very flimsy pieces of evidence. The first bit is that Bran and the Night King look similar. If you’ve ever studied prosthetic makeup, or even watched an episode of Face Off, you’ll know that artists will often start with an actor’s face and build out from there. The Night King looks like Bran because hey, Vladimir Furdik looks like Isaac Hempstead Wright, and sometimes people look like other people. The second piece of evidence is that Bran can time travel, so the Night King is future Bran. The thing is, Bran hasn’t been time traveling. He’s been astral-projecting. His soul can “time travel” but his body can’t, so there’s no way that he’s the Night King.
Theory: Arya and Sansa have been playing Littlefinger this whole time.
Why it won’t happen: I’d love the rat-bag known as Littlefinger to be beaten at his own game, but if we’re being realistic, that’s not what’s going to go down. Both Arya and Sansa are calculating, but they’re not sneaky in the way Littlefinger is. Also, this show has been a lot of things, including inconsistent, but it’s not this breed of tricky. We shouldn’t expect an Ocean’s Eleven-style sleight of hand and a whole “Aha! We tricked you!” sort of reveal.
Can you think of any other Game of Thrones fan theories that could come true tomorrow? Let us know in the comments!