This article contains spoilers for “Battle of Winterfell” GAME OF THRONES season 8 episode 2 and everything prior. Read at your own risk.

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Winter is so season seven. Death is coming in season eight in the form of the Battle of Winterfell. We’re still one episode away from the fight that will surely change everything, but episode two of season eight teed up some major character deaths to come. As our heroes spent the episode reckoning with their impending doom, finding closure, and getting their affairs in order, it became ever more clear who will fall next Sunday night. Let’s make some final predictions on who’s most likely to be the Night King’s next victim.

9. Tyrion Lannister, the Hand and Fist

Tyrion is a tricky character to make predictions for. His loyalties shift often, not because of strategic maneuvering but because he wants to do what’s good and right. But he is also strategically brilliant. He usually sees the whole chess board in front of him and can work around obstacles, helping him keep his head over the seasons. But he’s starting to slip into season eight. He trusted Cersei’s word, which is worse than a rookie mistake.

In episode two, we start to see the fallout from that. Daenerys is not happy about his folly and threatens to remove him from his position as hand of the queen should he slip up again. This could lead Tyrion down one of two paths. On the one hand, he could become somewhat overzealous in trying to prove himself, putting himself in harm’s way. On the other hand, he could become more cautious in trusting people and situations to avoid making another mistake.

battle of winterfell
Courtesy of HBO

When it comes to the Battle of Winterfell, Daenerys chose to play it safe and confine Tyrion to the crypts for his own safety. She still needs him by her side and his mind is more important than his skill on the battlefield. But the crypts are far from guaranteed survival. The sheer number of times they were invoked in episode two as a fortress implies the exact opposite. We’ve seen the season eight trailers and we know something dark goes down in those crypts. Could Tyrion’s presence there protect its inhabitants or put him in the crosshairs? Or will he find a way onto the front lines after all?

Likelihood of death: 3/10

8. Arya Stark, the Battle of Winterfell’s Final Girl

As much as it likes to subvert them, GAME OF THRONES knows its tropes. It mostly draws from the world of fantasy, but in its darker moments, there’s a strong air of horror. It was on display in the trailers depicting the Battle of Winterfell, especially Arya’s moments. She runs through the crypts of Winterfell like she’s in a SCREAM movie.

One of the most common and mocked tropes of horror movies is “death by sex,” meaning that a character (a woman, usually) who has sex is going to die. And how did Arya spend her potential last night on Earth? Having sex with Gendry.

battle of winterfell
Courtesy of HBO

GAME OF THRONES has a less prudish approach to sex than the average horror movie, but I wouldn’t put it past them to accidental fall into such a regressive trope. The women of GoT are punished and brutalized all the time, even though they also tend to be the show’s strongest characters. Arya is one of the few women who hasn’t been raped or otherwise had her story heavily feature her sexuality. A post-coital death is far from the worst thing GAME OF THRONES has inflicted on its women.

At the same time, dying in the Battle of Winterfell is almost too clean for Arya. She has unfinished business to attend to — namely killing Cersei. To have that story truncated would be a tragedy. As she tells Gendry in episode two, she knows Death and its many faces. It will take a lot for her to meet her maker.

Likelihood of death: 4/10

7. Lyanna Mormont, Bad Ass for the Ages

GAME OF THRONES doesn’t care about your feelings. They will kill anybody just to say they did it. And that goes double for beloved fan favorites. Lady Lyanna Mormont checks all those boxes. She’s been a breakout star since her first appearance in Jon and Sansa’s court in season six. She doesn’t take guff from anyone, no matter age, status, nor gender. She and her 62 soldiers are ready to fight.

battle of winterfell
Courtesy of HBO

Her appearance in episode two scared the crap out of me, I’ll admit it. Not in the same way that young Lord Umber’s at the end of episode one did, no. I’m scared because she showed up only to insist to her cousin Jorah that she’d be on the front lines of the Battle of Winterfell with the rest of the warriors.

Which means she’s probably going to die. Why else would we see her so vehemently declare that she would not hide in the presumed safety of the crypts? As a minor character, she doesn’t have any loose ends to tie up plot-wise and her death wouldn’t necessarily shake the show in the way a main character’s death would. But, oh boy, would it get people talking. And crying, if you’re like me. It’s the kind of emotional shock value that GAME OF THRONES has promised for this final season.

Likelihood of death: 5/10

6. Gilly, Sam, and That Little Girl, the Crypt Keepers

In the same way that Lyanna’s sudden appearance in episode two raised some red flags, the unnamed little girl who insists on fighting to Ser Davos didn’t show up for no reason. And her concession to defend crypts during the Battle of Winterfell is almost worse. The crypts will be ground zero for something. And, bless her heart, this little girl will be by Gilly’s side in the thick of it. Gilly’s death would be a lot like Lyanna’s. She has never gotten much of a story of her own. It has mostly revolved around Sam. So her death would be a galvanizing force for Sam (also called fridging, speaking of brutalizing women) while not cutting her own plot off in the middle.

battle of winterfell
Courtesy of HBO

Remember when we met Gilly back in season two? We met her because she was pregnant with Little Sam by her father, Craster. She came to Big Sam in desperation to save her baby, since all Craster’s sons were given to the White Walkers in exchange for living in peace. Sam witnessed one of these babies being turned and after they fled with Little Sam, a White Walker came after them to take what he was promised.

So if Gilly and the others in the crypts die during the Battle of Winterfell, what happens to Little Sam? He could die, too, but as sad as that would be it would be even worse and more fitting narratively for him to finally be turned by the White Walkers. The White Walkers have a one-track mind when it comes to completing these quests. They descend upon a target with military precision. Even after all these years, they probably haven’t forgotten about the boy that got away.

Likelihood of death and/or turning: 6/10

5. Ser Brienne, the Battle of Winterfell’s Knight in Shining Armor

battle of winterfell
Courtesy of HBO

If there’s one character on GAME OF THRONES that every single viewer is a fan of, it would probably be Lady Brienne. Sorry, Ser Brienne, Knight of the Seven Kingdoms. She kicks ass and is always on the right side of a conflict. She is both relatable and utterly perfect. And now, she finally got what she wanted. It’s something she deserves but would never ask for because she is so selfless and free of ego. She is finally a knight. Which means she can die happy, right? Brienne is one of the few characters for whom it would feel right to die in battle. She swore to protect the Stark children and defend the realm. That is exactly what she would do in the Battle of Winterfell. It would be heartbreaking to see her go, but no one deserves a noble death more than Brienne.

Likelihood of death: 6/10

4. Jorah Mormont, a Mormont Again

Jorah’s story — finding redemption, serving Daenerys, going in an out of her good graces, etc. — has plateaued into what you might call a happy ending. He is at peace with his place in Daenerys’s life, free from the jealousy or selfishness that had plagued him before. He even found a level of closure with his family, who had shunned him after he was exiled. His cousin Lyanna puts him in his place in a loving way that only family can. Sam bestows his own family’s sword, Heartsbane, upon him in honor of Jeor Mormont, the father figure of the Night’s Watch.

“Your father taught me how to be a man, how to do what’s right,” Sam tells Jorah. “This is right. It’s Valyrian steel. I’d be honored if you take it.”

It may not be Jeor giving him fatherly acceptance himself, but it proves that the whole family found where they needed to be because of Jorah’s actions.

battle of winterfell
Courtesy of HBO

There isn’t much left for Jorah on the road. Like Brienne, he deserves a death that reflects his bravery and dedication. The Battle of Winterfell comes at the right time and gives him that proper send-off.

Likelihood of death: 7/10

3. Jaime Lannister, the Battle of Winterfell’s Martyr

The first third or so of episode two was dedicated to wrapping up Jaime’s redemption arc. He had his day in court for killing King Aegon and, while not exonerated, was forgiven enough to be brought into the fold. He even made peace with Bran, who he pushed out the window. Jaime has made the seemingly impossible journey from love-to-hate-him bad guy to the best friend of a beloved character who is self-aware and ready to ask for forgiveness and atone for his mistakes. That’s a redemption arc for the ages.

Which means he’s going to die.

Courtesy of HBO

A storyline that is beautiful and satisfying always ends in death. You don’t get to just live fulfilling into old age with the new life lessons you’ve learned along the way. You have to take lessons about sacrifice and selflessness and the greater good and you die in a blaze of glory. Thems the rules. Jaime came to the Battle of Winterfell to fight for the living and that he shall do. But he will also die for them.

Likelihood of death: 8/10

2. Theon Greyjoy, Finally Fighting for Winterfell

Oh, Theon. You’ve been through more than nearly every character on GAME OF THRONES. You brought most of it on yourself. But like Jaime, he has put in the work to make right on those choices. His relationship with Yara, in particular, has proven that he’s learned from his mistakes. But the goodbye that he shared with his sister in episode one was very much that of a final goodbye. And now, in episode two, he finally gets to declare his loyalty to Sansa and Winterfell. He gets to pay back everything that he has taken from them.

Courtesy of HBO.

And for all the lives he took from the North, he will pay with his own. His story has reached its natural conclusion. He has learned that he can be a part of both the Greyjoy and Stark families. He isn’t so angry at the world and is, in fact, happy to serve his sister and Sansa as rightful leaders. There isn’t much more for him to do. And now that we know he will be defending Bran at the Godswood, his death feels even more certain. He won’t be able to take on the Night King. He just won’t. And it’s rather poetic that he’d die defending the person that he deposed and pretended to kill once upon a time.

Likelihood of death: 9/10

1. Greyworm, the Star-Crossed Lover

Brienne’s prime competition as a fan favorite has to be Greyworm. He has literally no flaws, which is usually a bad thing for a character but Greyworm deserves nothing but happiness. Unfortunately, he checks a lot of boxes when it comes to “things that mean a character will die.” For one, he’s black and the black guy always dies first. Plus, he made plans with Missandei for after this is all over. That’s the kiss of death. No one who expresses the desire to ride off into the sunset into a tropical, post-racial land ever gets to do so. Missandei and Greyworm’s relationship has only ever been emotional fodder. They face some conflict, but mostly they’re there to make us all happy because we want them to be happy. It’s one of the few pure things in this universe.

Courtesy of HBO.

Which means it has to come to a disastrous end. The two here fall into that classic war movie trope of a couple seeing the future wide open in front of them, only for it to be cut short with his death on the battlefield, usually doing something valiant and saving another person who brings back a piece of him to the widow/lover. They even do the “last kiss of our lives” thing. Greyworm is toast because GAME OF THRONES wants us to cry with as little work as possible.

Likelihood of death: 10/10

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