If there’s one thing GAME OF THRONES fans can agree on, it’s that none of us know what’s going to happen in the final season. “Expect the unexpected” is an understatement when it comes to this show. But that hasn’t stopped some over-achieving fans from combing through the last seven seasons and five books to pull together some impressive theories. We’ve talked about some of the main ones already, so check out our GAME OF THRONES character studies for the big Jon and Dany theories, among others. If you’re looking for the good, the bad, and the weirdness of GAME OF THRONES theories, then you’ve come to the right place.

1. Arya Gets Revenge

Let’s just agree for the sake of this article that Cersei is going to die. The only question is who will kill her. According to her prophecy, it will be “the valonqar” or “little brother” in Valyrian. Lucky for Cersei she’s got two of those. It could be Tyrion, whom she has tormented for years and would have every right to kill her. Or it could be Jaime in a star-crossed lover King analogy situation. Or it could be someone else entirely. There are some major holes in that prophecy. For one, it doesn’t say it’s her little brother. And second, “valonqar” is a gender-neutral term in Valyrian so it really just means younger sibling.

She’s ready to snatch faces and take names. Courtesy of HBO.

Why is this important? A major theory says that Arya is the one to finally kill Cersei using the stolen face of Jaime. That would make her Cersei’s little brother in appearance and a younger sister in truth, checking off all possibilities for the prophecy. In addition to that, the valonqar part of the prophecy wasn’t in the show, so that part of things doesn’t totally matter anyway.

Theory Plausibility: Moderate

All the pieces are there: Arya is the most skilled person when it comes to assassination. She has a means of getting close to Cersei (Jaime’s face). She has been planning on doing so for the last seven seasons and Cersei wouldn’t see it coming. But at the same time, there are so many people who want Cersei dead. It’s hard to narrow it down to any one person for sure.

Theory Desirability: Moderate

It would be a satisfying ending for Arya’s story to finally check the last name off her list. In some ways, it’s the only satisfying end for her, since her whole arc has centered around her list. And the added drama of Jaime’s face would make an awesome scene. But many fans have their hearts set on Jaime himself being the perpetrator. It would be an equally fitting and moving end for their stories. Jaime’s Kingslayer title has haunted him throughout the series, and the parallel of Cersei to the Mad King is quite obvious. Cersei’s downward spiral and thirst for power ruined their relationship, but it would be heartbreaking for it to end in death.

2. Bran is Actually Interesting

Look. I know Bran is important. I just find him painfully boring. So it’s great that several season eight theories make him infinitely more interesting. You’ve probably heard of “Bran is the Night King” by now. If not, I’ll try to sum it up: When all is lost in the war against the White Walkers, Bran wargs into the past to stop the Children of the Forest from creating the Night King. He messes up so catastrophically that he becomes the Night King, a la accidentally warging into past-Hodor. Bran’s time-traveling hijinks have been getting weirder over the seasons.

So it’s not out of the realm of possibility that he gets stuck as the Night King. Beyond the Night King theory, there are plenty of tidbits about how Bran caused basically every event in GAME OF THRONES through his time traveling. Before trying to stop the Night King’s creation, Bran made other stops. First, he went to King Aerys to tell him to stockpile wildfire to kill the White Walkers that would eventually attack King’s Landing. The same way we saw Bran whisper to Ned at the Tower of Joy, he could whisper to Aerys from the future. But Aerys may not take it so well. The Mad King allegedly heard voices that drove him mad. Maybe those voices were Bran’s.

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God, I’m bored just looking at him. Courtesy of HBO.

Having failed that time, Bran goes back further, to when the White Walkers first moved south. Bran’s namesake, Bran the Builder, built the Wall to keep them out. But what if that Bran is our Bran? We don’t know how the 700-foot tall Wall was made but we can assume it was some kind of magic. And who has confusing and potentially limitless magic? Bran.

Theory Plausibility: High

There are a lot of breadcrumbs that point to some of these theories. Bran’s Three-Eyed Raven-ing was a huge part of season seven and will inevitably be of his main importance in season eight since he seems to have no interest in having emotions or anything. His interactions with the past have grown weirder and more dangerous, too. He doesn’t seem to fully grasp the potential disaster in going back, so that has to bite him at some point. The Reeds and the former Three-Eyed Raven warned him that he can get stuck in his warging if he stays too long and that he really shouldn’t interfere with the past. Obviously, this means that he is going to interfere with the past to disastrous effect. That’s how time travel stories work.

Theory Desirability: Moderate

People seem to be really into this theory, perhaps because it is one of the more well-known. To me, it feels a little too plausible. It’s all very clean, while still not answering a lot of important questions (What is Night King Bran’s motivation for trying to kill everyone? Why didn’t the old Three-Eyed Raven stop Bran from doing all this if he knew it would happen?). Of course, there has to be room for GAME OF THRONES to actually answer those questions in season eight, but I don’t always have the most confidence in this show to tie up all its loose ends.

Plus, this theory lacks a certain amount of emotional impact. Maybe I’m just a Bran hater, but I don’t necessarily feel bad for him getting turned into the Night King or mournful for all the “what ifs” involved in his story. It doesn’t really change anything in the show. There’s no gut-punch of emotion that comes from this theory the way there is with others. It would put an interesting cap on Bran’s story and season eight on the whole, but I don’t feel moved in any way.

3. Tyrion the Targaryen

Fans have been debating Tyrion’s parentage since GAME OF THRONES was but a glimmer in HBO’s bank account. Devotees of the book series speculate that Tyrion is actually the son of Joanna Lannister and Aerys Targaryen, the Mad King. It makes some sense: Tywin Lannister vocally hates Tyrion, ostensibly for being a dwarf, but it always seems to be deeper than that. He even says as he dies, “You are no son of mine.” Was he speaking literally or metaphorically?

Plus, Tyrion is able to interact safely with Dany’s dragons, a trait otherwise seen in Jon, a known Targaryen.

Theory Plausibility: Low

The book series drops more hints about Tyrion being a secret Targaryen than the TV show does. It mentions that King Aerys was obsessed with Joanna and took “unwonted liberties” with her (gross). Tyrion’s hair is described as a paler blonde, perhaps Lannister blonde mixed with Targaryen grey. He was even obsessed with dragons as a kid, having dreams about them, which is very Targaryen. All these things would point towards Tyrion being a Targaryen… in the books. Very little of this evidence bleeds into the show.

It is a little suspicious… Courtesy of HBO.

Given the extremely slow burn of Jon’s Targaryen reveal, we know how GAME OF THRONES likes to drop hints along the way in order to build to something. It seems unlikely that they would cram Tyrion’s own twist into last season. This is especially true when you think about what the repercussions would be. They would be largely personal, which would require delving into Tyrion’s sense of identity, family, duty, etc. Another fallout would be political. Tyrion would be the eldest, bastard son of the dead king, giving him some kind of claim to the throne. There just isn’t enough time for season eight to address these things.

Theory Desirability: Moderate

We’re supposed to root for Tyrion. He’s always been kinder, smarter, and more human than his Lannister kin. So for him to not even be fully related to them would feel like a weight lifted, vindicating even. And it would be fascinating to watch his character grapple with that new reveal if the show were willing to dedicate the time to it. If this had happened back in season four, say, then it would have been a great theory. But as with this season eight theory, it feels a little too late.

4. Dragon Riders

Building off the Tyrion theory is the whole “dragon with three heads” theory. Again, this only appears in the books, but it almost appears in the show. When Dany has visions in the House of the Undying, in the book she sees Rhaegar telling her that “the dragon has three heads.” What does this mean? Literally, no one knows. There are so many theories. It could refer to the Targaryen sigil, to Aerys’s three children, to Dany’s three dragons, or that she’ll need some kind of triumvirate to win the game of thrones. Fans have adopted a modified version of the latter, specifically that Dany will need two other people (likely Targaryens) to ride her dragons with her.

The theory got a boost in season six when Tyrion freed Rhaegal and Viserion without dying a fiery death. And then we found out that Jon is a Targaryen and has a connection with the dragons, too. But then Viserion died and everything went up in smoke. Or did it? There’s one person who could still control the undead dragon: Bran. If Bran is the Night King, he most likely can ride Viserion. If he’s not, he could maybe warg into him, as many have speculated he’d do to a living dragon. He isn’t a Targaryen (Or at least I hope not. My brain can’t handle that.), but there’s really nothing that says he has to be. All he has to do is not get immediately eaten and/or burned alive.

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That boy’s gonna ride a dragon. Courtesy of HBO.

Theory Plausibility: High

Somebody’s riding a dragon. Based on the season eight trailer, it’s Jon. But there’s always a possibility that Tyrion or Bran have to sub in during the Battle of Winterfell or beyond. The real question is whether or not Jon and Dany will realize that Jon’s a Targaryen before or after he rides a dragon that is named after his father (they can be real dumb sometimes).

Theory Desirability: High

Who doesn’t want to see our favorite characters ride a dragon? That’s undeniably cool. It would allow for Rhaegal and Drogon to be more effective in a battle that we already know is a major set piece for the season. Sometimes we just want some badass TV.

5. The Song of Ice and Fire

George R. R. Martin has long said that all the answers are right in front of our faces. Some fans took this to its natural conclusion: the title of the very first book.

This theory involves the Prince That Was Promised theory, so check out our breakdown of that one here. In the books, there’s also a lot of talk about an actual song of ice and fire that the prince had. One fan on Reddit theorized that this could be a magical song that can defeat the White Walkers. The same way that folks like Melisandre and Thoros of Myr use incantations, words in a song can wield that same magic. In order to use the song, the singer must embody the magical properties of ice and fire. None of our characters yet know the song, but we do have an ace in the hole — Bran’s omniscience. And this all makes Jon Snow a more likely candidate for TPTWP. He’s the only character we know of with fire (Targaryen) and ice (Stark) in his blood.

Theory Plausibility: Low

More than anything, just this doesn’t feel like GAME OF THRONES. An incantation or something I might buy into, but a song just feels out of character. Plus, many of the references to singing are only in the books, not on the show, so it would seem even more out of left field.

Theory Desirability: Moderate

I can’t say I’m not intrigued by this theory. It is such divergence for the show that it would be kind of fun to watch them try to pull it off. It adds an extra layer of complication to an already complicated season, so that would be tricky, but the sudden switch from violence to music would be a sight to see.

6. Ned Stark Returns

It feels like an eternity ago that we were lucky enough to have Ned Stark in our lives. We didn’t know how good we had it when all we had to worry about were teenage daughters and bastard sons. As time has passed, we no longer have either of those things, but according to a theory from GameSpot, Ned Stark may make a triumphant return still.

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Gone but never forgotten. Courtesy of HBO.

Well, maybe not triumphant. GameSpot’s theory involves the Night King resurrecting Ned Stark to serve in his army and terrorizing his friends and family in Winterfell. And it doesn’t stop there: all of the deceased Starks and Winterfellians lying in the crypts could rise again.

Right off the bat, I have questions. Like the GameSpot video hosts talk about, Ned was famously decapitated. So what’s the deal with the undead Ned’s head? There’s no non-ridiculous way to have him be a White Walker without a head. So there’s that. Second, are we really to believe that generations of Winterfellians didn’t burn their dead? They talk about it in regards to other people — i.e. fallen Night’s Watchmen — quite often, so why would they not have taken precautions against their own, especially their noblemen?

Theory Plausibility: Moderate

They’d have to get all these actors back and that would be tough. The emotional impact of Ned’s death infused the entirety of the series with a wistful melancholy. We think quite frequently, “What if Ned were still alive?” That would be negated by Ned returning in any form because all those wounds would be reopened and lemon juice would be poured right into them. It’s like how Marvel has the rule that Uncle Ben can never come back even though characters come back from the dead all the time. Uncle Ben stays dead. Ned Stark stays dead.

At the same time, as GameSpot points out, the crypts have played a big role in the trailers and teasers so far. Likewise, the voices of the dead Starks have rung out. Something’s gonna go down with those crypts. This very well may be it. There are few things that could leave Arya Stark as terrified as we saw her in the season eight trailer. Her undead father, mother, or brother chasing her would probably make that list.

Theory Desirability: High

For those same reasons, we all want to see Sean Bean again on GAME OF THRONES. We yearn for that simpler time. Of course, this would not make things simpler. Quite the contrary. A more likely and less masochistic version of this theory is that the Night King raises everybody buried in Winterfell in lieu of bringing his own army.

That would be some drama: The Targaryen/Stark armies ready their battalions in Winterfell, knowing that the undead army is coming. They see the Night King approach. But wait — he’s alone. Can it be this easy? No, it can’t. The Night King raises his arms menacingly. Our heroes look around expectantly, seeing nothing. But then their reanimated friends and family emerged from the crypts (never mind how they got out of their coffins). And as people fall into battle, they too rise to the undead. Now our heroes have to fight the people they love the most and, eventually, each other.

That’s a darn good theory.

What is your favorite GAME OF THRONES theory? Let us know in the comments and on Twitter @ComicsVerse!

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