In a season where the intensity level has been at full throttle, it seems the upcoming penultimate episode *might* just be the craziest thing we’ve seen in a while. Warning: Spoilers for Season 7 of Game of Thrones ahead.
After a magical scene full of “Hey, do I know you?” and “I really don’t like you” at the Night’s Watch outpost at Eastwatch-by-the Sea, our beloved King in the North, Jon Snow, has assembled a ragtag group of misfits to go beyond the Wall in a suicide mission to capture a wight to bring south.
After Hardhome — the place, and the episode — you would think Jon might understand just how terrible of an idea it is to go after an army of wights and White Walkers severely outmanned. But no, instead we’ll be treated to *probably* one of the most stressful and badass 71 minutes of our lives. Jon’s assembled Avengers — a newly cured Jorah Mormont, Tormund, a recently returned Gendry, Beric Dondarrion, Thoros of Myr, and The Hound — is made up of some of the fiercest warriors in Westeros and, frankly, we’ve grown attached to most (if not all) of them.
But, as we saw last week, after Jaime Lannister and Bronn survived the Loot Train Battle, Season 7 has been relatively light on major deaths. We’re definitely due for at least one that’s going to hit us where it hurts. While, yes, Season 7 finally took care of the Sand Snakes, Lady Olenna stole her own death away from Jaime, and two of the Tarlys were torched, we *have* gotten off light in a show that offed a dozen main and supporting characters in a single explosion.
So yes, the time has (probably) come for someone to die, and all signs point to the Wall. But WHO?
Here, we’re going speculate and break down the Suicide Squad’s survival chances, person by person, and try to guess whether they’ll be making it back to the Wall (alive). Guess what, GoT fans, this is super hard because at this point they’re all heroic warriors who would probably sacrifice themselves for the greater purpose.
Okay, we’re mostly just including Jon because he’s the Major Winters in this Band of Brothers (the Damian Lewis of this group, if you will). While he’s (in theory) totally safe, there’s always a risk in war, so we’d be remiss to not acknowledge this fact.
But Jon is the safest because he’s literally the central character in Game of Thrones, and there’s still so much to be revealed about his parentage, his legacy, and, seriously, is he The Prince That Was Promised? Sure, Thoros could probably revive him if he does die during the ensuing battle, but we already know how Jon feels about having been brought back to life. And remember, he’s already died once before.
He’ll make it back to prove that the army of the dead is coming, reunite with Arya, and find out exactly what his deal is. It’s time for Jon to finally know something.
Sandor “The Hound” Clegane
The Hound has to be one of the most bizarre characters on the series. He starts the show as a simple Lannister-aligned bodyguard to Joffrey, and has committed several atrocities. But it seems the majority of the series, certainly the last few seasons, has seen The Hound on a redemption arc. During the first few seasons, he seemed on par with Bronn, two swordsmen who were major players but weren’t important enough to warrant a lot of solo screen-time. Obviously, it’s become clear — thanks to the amount of time we’ve spent with him and what he saw in the flames — that he has a greater purpose.
Now, we caught a glimpse in the second Season 7 trailer of a large man with long hair brandishing a sword — guys, it’s The Hound — so it seems he has to survive the mission. Now, there are a lot of cool theories floating around that The Hound dies and is revived by Thoros (or Beric, reviving The Hound like he sacrificed himself for Lady Stoneheart in the books), but there’s also one from Nerdist, which I love. The theory is that The Hound is wounded or killed and becomes their captured wight. In King’s Landing an undead The Hound faces off against a zombie The Mountain in an epic, high-stakes CLEGANEBOWL. It seems a bit unlikely, but tell me that isn’t an amazing theory.
Dope theories aside, I think The Hound will most likely survive because he has an even higher purpose and must go to King’s Landing before he makes the ultimate sacrifice.
Guys, Gendry FINALLY returned, only to go marching off toward danger with his new best friend Jon Snow. It would be cruel to kill off Gendry *right* after bringing him back after three and a half seasons away, but we’re fans of GoT and as Ramsay Bolton once said, “If you think this has a happy ending, you haven’t been paying attention.”
What makes me think his survival chance might be higher than most is the serious exposition in his grand return. Gendry may be a bastard, but he knows he’s the only living person with Baratheon blood, and it seems he’s fully embracing his heritage. Additionally, in their meeting, he and Jon were giving off major Robert and Ned vibes, so it seems the show could be setting Gendry up to revive House Baratheon.
Plus, it goes without saying, but Gendry needs to survive and reunite with Arya.
For me, Jorah is the biggest toss-up. This man has literally survived everything — exile from Westeros, banishment from Dany, and the death sentence that is greyscale. Much like with Gendry, it would be so devastating to kill him off immediately after curing him.
But there was something very final about his last scenes with Dany. Jorah’s devotion to Dany (albeit very extra) has been one of the cornerstones to Dany’s arc. He is her longest supporter and oldest friend, and it would devastating for her to lose him, but it would also be a wake-up call that the army of the dead is real.
Much like The Hound’s, Jorah’s story has been one of redemption. Banished by Ned Stark, Jorah sought pardon by acting as a spy for Varys before realizing that Dany was his true queen. Since then, he’s been trying to prove that he is her greatest supporter and will stop at nothing to see her succeed. Also, as with The Hound, there’s a theory that Jorah dies and becomes their wight. It would be shocking and hard to watch, but as Jorah is one of the better known people on the series — most characters have interacted with him or his family — it would be the perfect proof of the army.
Jorah’s entire arc has been about redemption in the eyes of Dany and making the ultimate sacrifice for his queen. While it’s genuinely a 50/50 chance whether he survives next episode, I think the ultimate sacrifice *will* happen.
If Jon Snow is the leader, Tormund is definitely his second in command (sorry, Gendry). Whether he’ll be the Captain Nixon or Lieutenant Danny Walker (aka Josh Hartnett in Pearl Harbor) remains to be seen. With a heavy heart, and I honestly hope I’m wrong, I’m starting to think the latter, and that we may have reached the end of our time with Tormund Giantsbane.
The wildling has had probably one of the coolest arcs on the series, from fiercely anti-Night’s Watch, to becoming a trusted friend to Jon — even fighting with the Night’s Watch after Jon became Lord Commander. His bizarre and charming sense of humor has been amazing to watch, too. And to think, he was the redhead Wildling Jon spent much of his life with.
Tormund’s entire life has been beyond the wall, and he’s obviously most prepared for the fight, so, objectively, he should survive, which is why it wouldn’t be surprising if he doesn’t. Tormund is a beloved character and I really don’t want him to die, but in many ways that’s the point of GoT — killing off beloved characters and reminding us that not everyone gets a happy ending.
Thoros of Myr
Of the Magnificent Seven, Thoros is by far the most minor character on the series. But through legendary tales told on the show, we know he’s a powerful soldier — he was the first to breach the walls of the Pyke during Balon Greyjoy’s rebellion, where he fought alongside Jorah and Ned — and a red priest.
Thoros hasn’t been given a lot of love, screen-time wise, but he and Beric Dondarrion have an important role to play (the Lord of Light told them and they’ve told us at every chance they get). Now, you don’t just casually have a member of your posse who has the power to bring “chosen” people back from the dead.
But the Lord of Light told him he needs to fight the White Walkers, so will he make the ultimate sacrifice and complete his mission? Thoros’s death would be a shocking blow to the series but one that makes sense.
Like Thoros, Beric is a tricky person to figure out, but we also know a bit more about him, seeing as we saw him way back in Season 1 before he died for the first time. Throughout his tenure on the show, Beric has been adamant that he’s not special and he doesn’t know why the the Lord of Light wants him to be revived but, like Thoros, he believes the Lord of Light needs him for a greater purpose in the great wars.
In the books, Beric sacrifices himself for Lady Stoneheart, but obviously the series went a completely different way with that storyline. But that doesn’t mean Beric won’t do the same on the series — for another. Amidst a group of men who are all ready to make the sacrifice, it almost seems like Beric is the *most* ready, as he’s really just a shell of a man anyway.
I think it would make a lot of sense if Beric dies during this battle. More so than any character, his entire role is about figuring out why he isn’t dead for good yet. After a heart to heart with Jon about how they both died and were brought back, Beric’s mission will finally become clear.
It’s hard to say how many characters David Benioff and D.B. Weiss are willing to off during this heroic suicide mission, but we hope our favorites make it back alive and in one piece.