Game of Thrones the final season premiers April 14! That is going to be a busy Sunday with the final round of The Masters all day and the GoT season premiere basically right after the ceremony in Butler Cabin. Cannot wait!
I re-watched season seven over the past few weekends, and all I’ve got to say is zzzzzzzzz. The questionable pacing that marred the original experience is less noticeable when binged in isolation from the week-to-week anticipation. But it is apparent in the jarring way the arc jumps between story lines, making it feel like I must have missed something even though I know I haven’t.
Anyway, as the final episodes approach (again that premier date is April 14, for all you Google bots out there) here are my preseason predictions.
Dream of dreams prediction: The Night King wins the iron throne. I’m so disappointed when shows sewn with sadness and despair end their run with a happy ending (witness: Revenge). So I would be thrilled if Game of Thrones ends with Cersei, Jon and Dany all defeated and the Night King reigning over Westeros. If they want to tell a story that serves as a warning for what happens when we let our lusts for power overtake the need to do what’s right for humanity, this is how they will do it.
Verdict: WRONG! The Night King was dispensed in episode three without making it past Winterfell. What went wrong? I expected the final season to be about merging the White Walker and Iron Throne storylines because they always felt like the two plots driving the entire show. The show, it turned out, viewed them as separate stories and only at the end of season seven did they really meet.
He’s hiding in plain sight prediction: Gendry is revealed as Robert and Cersei’s true born son and heir to the iron throne. I also predict he will die shortly after he learns he was entitled to the throne this whole time.
Think of the tragedy inherent in this prediction. With her son in waiting as prince, Cersei and Robert may never drift apart and the entire saga may never take root. There is no “game of thrones” if Cersei and Robert have an honest heir.
Verdict: WHOOPS! The show ended without revealing Gendry’s maternal lineage. What went wrong? I whiffed on a couple things here. First I simply gave too much importance to a tertiary character, and I admit I knew that was the main fault with the prediction. But the real swing and miss was assuming Cersei would have significant plotlines this season. She barely did anything other than moan about elephants and look out the window.
We do, however, feel great for Gendry now that he is Lord of Storms End, and we wish him well finding a lady.
One Lannister sibling and one Stark sibling will not make the finale. I predict one will die midseason, the other in the penultimate episode. This is as much about story construction as it is true predictions. There won’t be enough room in the extended finale episode to kill off everyone who’s going to die, and they can’t credibly get to that episode without killing anyone. Removing characters early gives the writers a chance to make the survivors grieve and reinforce that even a happy ending in Westeros comes at a great, great cost.
Verdict: So close! Two Lannister siblings died before the finale but all four Starks made it. What went wrong? I thought they would bring the two families’ stories along at an equal pace when in fact they finished the Lannisters first. I also put too much emphasis on the characters’ emotions. Season eight proved the writers care very little about the characters.
One of the living dragons will survive. If his life comes at the cost of his brother’s last true measure of devotion then even better. I make this prediction because of how it will hurt Dany to lose a child for the second time. Being down to one dragon will also remind her how tenuous her hold on power truly is, another great unknown to leave with the audience for all eternity.
Verdict: Right on target! The series ended with only one living dragon. Sibling relationships are the core of ASOIF, so it would have been endearing to see one die to protect the other but again that would have required deft storytelling from writers who proved they best tell stories with blunt instruments. Better to knock it from the sky with a crossbow than make it feel like a real character.
No One prediction number 1: If Cersei dies it will not be by Arya’s hand. Killing Cersei is the last purpose in Arya’s increasingly vengeful life. She won’t get the satisfaction. The wonderful little girl with an indomitable spirit will not get the one face she wants more than any other. She will have turned ruthless for nothing.
Verdict: WINNER! Arya did not kill Cersei. But I did miss on the last sentence. Arya did not turn ruthless for nothing. Seven seasons of fighting led her to kill The Night King. Still I’m giving myself the point.
Maternity ward prediction: The only way Cersei’s baby survives is if she dies and Jamie has to raise their child alone. This would be the ultimate tragedy for their incestuous love affair. Jamie, after being forced to love his children in secret, left alone to raise a child without the love of his life. Perhaps again having to play the role of uncle and adopt his own son or daughter, only now with a secret he can share with no one. This would be a fantastically sad way to say goodbye to the Kingslayer.
Verdict: I guess so? Cersei’s baby did not survive because Cersei did not survive. I’m not patting myself on the back too hard here because the pregnancy was a non-factor in anything other than her mumblings to Jamie before they were crushed by the falling Red Keep.
That other incestuous affair prediction: Jon and Dany make the finale, but one does not survive. My money is on Jon to bite the dust, possibly in a heroic sacrifice. He’s always come into his positions reluctantly, whether as the bastard of Winterfell or the King of the North. Never quite comfortable with being brought back by the Red Priestess, he’ll go contently to his death knowing it’s where he should be already.
No One prediction number 2: Littlefinger is still alive. I admit to ripping this one off but I have to include it because Littlefinger is my favourite character. Wouldn’t it be sweet if we learned Petyr was the one who moved to rip Gendry from Cersei, playing the first card in this game of thrones long before anyone ever realized? And that he’s still alive, outsmarting the Stark sisters as he waits to take ultimate revenge on the pair who—no doubt in his mind—failed to live up to the legacy of their mother whom he loved so devotedly.
Verdict: DAMMIT! Littlefinger is still dead. What went wrong? I loved Littlefinger too much, that’s what.
Something’s got to go right prediction: Sam survives. He’s the last man standing in House Tarly, with a wife and child he adores. Give us this, won’t you, gloomy writers?
Verdict: HOORAY, Sam!
The prediction prediction: We haven’t seen all we need to know to predict who wins. There are two main questions for Game of Thrones to resolve: First, does Westeros defeat the army of the dead? Second, who wins the iron throne if it does? I’m going to limit this prediction to the second question. I think are key details waiting to be told, some epic plot twists or revelations that we have to know before the pieces come together. It would be a pretty crappy show if we get that detail in episode one and resolve the winner five episodes later, so look for this to come at us all at once.
Verdict: I’m declaring a push on this question. It turned out there really was no great secret to be discovered about who would win. I was thinking about this as a mystery when the writers thought about it as something they need to resolve so they can move on to Star Trek.
The WWE wouldn’t even dream of it prediction: The series ends in the throne room. It’s Cersei, finally safe in the seat she’s coveted for so long. Humming softly with her infant at her breast (remember how she insisted on nursing her children even though they wanted her to use the wet nurse?).
But wait, her eyes are closed.
We hear the hideous screech of Viserion roaring over King’s Landing as a smile forms on her lips.
Her eyelids jump open, revealing the ice blue eyes of the undead queen reigning over Westeros.
Verdict: You fool. That is not how the series ended. What went wrong here is simple: I thought the writers could actually tell a compelling story. I thought they were worthy of the source material they were adapting to television. It turns out they were not. We know that know. D&D couldn’t write their way out of a paper bag.
Prediction that they could turns out to be my biggest whiff.