Another episode of Game of Thrones is upon and with it the potential for some fan-favorite characters to meet their ends. Tonight's episode may be especially fatal since it contains the Battle of Winterfell. Rumor has it that ti will be the biggest battle in television and even film history.
The Battle of Winterfell sees the Night King and his army of undead descend upon Winterfell. As seen in last week's episode, a band of warriors and soldiers from across houses, even former rivals, have joined together to oppose this march. This force is smaller than expected since Cersei Lannister chose not to send Lannister forces to aid in the fight. Since Cersei is still safe in King's Landing, she's the most likely to survive this episode.
The Battle of Winterfell may serve as a way for the showrunners to trim down the cast as the show enters its final episodes. That means supporting characters and any character whose arc has come to its natural conclusion are in danger. Brienne of Tarth had a beautiful moment in "A Knight of the Seven Kingdoms" when Jaime Lannister knighted her. It would be a typical Game of Thrones move to have her die a knight in the next episode.
Bran Stark is the Night King's target. As the Three-Eyed Raven, Bran is the "living memory" of the world of Westeros. The Night King wants to end that memory and bring darkness to the world. Theon Greyjoy will be defending Bran in the godswood during the battle and Theon as a high chance of dying. Theon's arc is more or less complete. He rescued his sister and mended their relationship in the first episode of the season. He's returned to Winterfell to atone for his sins against the Starks. Now all that's left is a tragic death defending Bran to wrap things up.
Bran himself may also die, depending on where Game of Thrones is going with its themes. Some theorize that there will be no one on the Iron Throne at the end of the war, that the monarchy itself will fall. The death of the old world's living memory would punctuate the end of one era and the start of another.
Speaking of the Iron Throne, there's still that battle to look forward to. Jaime Lannister will likely survive this battle as he has unfinished business in King's Landing, but it isn't a certainty. He may die to further motivate Cersei Lannister.
Then there's Jon Snow and Daenerys Targaryen, who are both now aware that they could be rivals for the throne. On one hand, watching them work out how to rule together would be a natural extension of Game of Thrones' story, and so they may be safe. On the other, having one of them die would be the kind of surprise death Game of Thrones does so well. It would also simplify and streamline the show's final few episodes a good deal.
Anyone hiding in the crypts — Tyrion Lannister, Varys, Gilly — is in danger, though Tyrion less so than the others. There's a theory that the Night King will raise the dead in those crypts, making it one of the most dangerous spots in Winterfell.
The Hound will live, we suspect, to fight his brother on another day. Jorah Mormont is another example of a character whose arc seems to have run its course, making him expendable. The same is true of Samwell Tarly, while Dolorous Edd, Beric Dondarrion, and Tormund Gianstbane never had arcs to speak of. As such, they're always expendable during these giant battles.
The toughest calls in this episode are the Stark sisters. Sansa and Arya have both gone through their arcs and may have little to do once Winterfell is (we assume) safe. As characters somewhat less involved in the struggle for the Iron Throne, they may die. That would be one final failure to haunt Jon Snow. We're not sure such a fate would be doing either character justice, but it isn't out of the question.
Who do you think will die in the Battle of Winterfell? Let us know in the comments. Game of Thrones airs Sundays at 9 p.m. ET on HBO.
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