Meaghan Kirby
August 25, 2017 10:39 am

While the hint is definitely in the headline, this is just a quick reminder that the following post contains a *lot* of spoilers for Season 7 of Game of Thrones. Read on with caution because Winter is here, and so are spoilers.

We’re just 79 minutes and 43 seconds away from the FINAL season of Game of Thrones, and it’s safe to say it’s going to be the most stressful 79 minutes and 43 seconds of the year. While the Season 7 death count is certainly far from zero — RIP Dickon and Randyll Tarly, Benjen Stark, The Sand Snakes, Lady Olenna Stark, Thoros of Myr, and Viserion — there’s one thing that stands out about the deaths: They’re all minor characters.

For a show that once killed off its star during the first season, it’s been rather odd that all our remaining major characters have made it through *relatively* unscathed.

HBO

Despite the shortened season, there’s been ample opportunity to kill off a few of our beloved top characters. From Theon’s inexplicable survival of Euron’s invasion, to Bronn making it out of the Loot Train Battle in one piece, to the band of brothers trip up north — but seriously, how did Tormund survive exactly? — the show has repeatedly side-stepped major deaths, something that’s been rather surprising.

Now, with the finale looming ahead, it seems there’s still opportunity to shock us one last time before the series heads into its final stretch. The question is who isn’t going to make it out of the episode alive. Below we try and figure out whether are favorite characters will live to see Season 8.

Daenerys Targaryen

HBO

Let’s face it, one of our faves will probably not survive the series. Right now it may seem like a long-shot, but as a Redditor pointed out, Dany has many of the markings of a Shakespearean tragic hero a la Hamlet and Othello. Since her arrival on Westeros, Dany hasn’t been making the progress she’s been looking for and it’s starting to show in battle. In fact, it’s starting to concern her advisors, especially Tyrion and Varys. The former even suggested she stop going into battle herself, as Dany hasn’t named a successor. While that was likely to foreshadow the death of Viserion (and impending, ahem, alliance with Jon Snow), it also served as a clever reminder that even the Mother of Dragons is not invincible.

Verdict: It’s clear that the battle against the White Walkers (probably) *isn’t* going to happen in the Season 7 finale, and since Dany seems pretty tightly connected to that storyline, we’re confident she’ll survive —  to make it to Season 8, that is.

Jon Snow

Macall B. Polay / Courtesy of HBO

How do you kill off the man who seemingly can’t stay dead? Okay, so Jon Snow’s death is definitely a long shot, but it isn’t totally out of the question. After being murdered in the Season 5 finale, and brought back to life by Melisandre, AND surviving that bad idea of a bro trip beyond The Wall, it seems the Lord of Light still has a mission or two left for Jon — which would be all the more shocking if he dies and *actually* stays dead.

Let’s face it, Jon’s a skilled fighter, but he’s not as brilliant or cunning as any of the people around him. Like Ned and Robb (and even Arya), Jon possesses the Stark qualities of honor and duty to a fault, so it’s practically sheer luck — not to mention Targaryen blood and being one of the show’s true protagonists — that he’s alive. With Thoros dead, and Melisandre brooding in Volantis, there also isn’t anyone to bring him back to life hanging around right now.

Verdict: Jon will somehow survive the episode but be faced with yet another existential crisis because…plot.

Cersei Lannister

HBO

If we’re talking Shakespearean tragic heroes, nobody is more Macbeth than Cersei Lannister. Since the pilot episode, Cersei’s been on a crusade to rule Westeros and now that she is on the Iron Throne, with no living children, Cersei’s sunk into a ruthless madness and that’s made it very clear that there’s no way for her to make it out of the series alive.

Cersei’s been at the center of many convincing fan theories, but none is more powerful than the valonqar prophecy from the series, which states that the queen will fall at the hands of “valonqar” (High Valyrian for “little brother”). It’s no secret that Cersei has been pulling tricks from the Mad King Aerys’ playbook, but it could mean that she’ll meet her end at the hands of the Kingslayer himself, her younger brother/lover Jaime.

Plus, with a six episode final season shaping up to end in a massive showdown between the people of Westeros and the army of the dead, it seems that the war over the Iron Throne may have to come to an end sooner rather than later.

Verdict: Guys, she might actually die and if not in the finale, then sometime during the course of Season 8. Cersei is going to meet her end — the question is when and how?

Jaime Lannister

Macall B. Polay / Courtesy of HBO

If there’s one thing the show has made clear, it’s that Jon Snow knows nothing and Jaime’s fate is linked with Cersei’s. Seeing as how Cersei’s set a course for DOOM, it’s safe to say that Jaime’s riding shotgun. Jaime’s blind faith in Cersei has always been his weakness, something that’s been mentioned over and over again on the series — especially during Season 7 — and let’s not pretend Jaime’s jousting match with a dragon wasn’t a foolish example of this.

But lately, Jaime’s been in a crisis of faith. Having been a member of the Kingsguard under the reign of Mad King Aerys, he’s once again watching someone descend into madness. Seeing how Jaime is currently the lead candidate for valonqar, he *might* end up killing his sister for the sake of the people of Westeros — but we can’t imagine him being able to live without her, especially given that she just revealed that she’s pregnant with his child. It’s a tough dichotomy.

Verdict: Sorry Jaime, but you’re probably not going to survive the series. The real question is whether or not you’ll survive the episode — and even that could go either way.

Tyrion Lannister

Macall B. Polay/courtesy of HBO

At last we’re about to see the three Lannister siblings reunite for the first time since Season 4. Jaime and Tyrion had a secret rendezvous during “Eastwatch” but now Tyrion will face off against his brother and sister in the finale. Cersei and Tyrion are enemies, but they both love Jaime, which, until Season 4, was enough to keep them from killing each other. After Joffrey and Tywin’s deaths, Cersei was ready to see her brother die, something that hasn’t changed, even knowing that Tyrion didn’t actually kill Joffrey. Now that they’re going to come face to face — surrounded by a horde of Stark/Targaryen allies — Cersei could finally make a play for her brother’s life.

During “Beyond The Wall,” Dany complimented Tyrion for not being a hero like others (see: Jon Snow and Jorah Mormont). While Dany meant it as a compliment, Tyrion honestly wasn’t super thrilled by it. Sure, he may not be a self-sacrificing hero like Jon or Jorah, but he’s been known to step up when the time calls for it — and that has us nervous.

Tyrion’s reign as Hand of the Queen isn’t going as well as he’d like, and pair that with being told by the queen that she doesn’t consider him a hero, and we have a potentially very stupid move ahead of us. As scores of characters are killed off and whole houses are eliminated, the three Lannister siblings have remained standing and that’s likely to end soon. Jaime’s is the most predictable, Cersei’s is the most inevitable, but Tyrion is the wild card death.

Verdict: If David and Dan want to return the show to its roots as the show willing to kill anybody, Tyrion seems like the best choice.

Arya Stark

Helen Sloan / Courtesy of HBO

It seems Arya has been a bit of a ticking time bomb since arriving back in Westeros. She may be a trained assassin but we’re quickly learning that the young Stark doesn’t quite know how to play the game. Her reunion with Sansa was sweet but, in one of the most frustrating storylines of the season, the sisters quickly fell back into their Season 1 rivalry. And according to longtime GoT director Alan Taylor — who directed “Beyond The Wall” — it seems it could potentially end in death. Now, this rivalry is being fueled by chief GoT shit-stirrer Littlefinger, who is currently embroiled in a sort of cat and mouse game with Arya. In many ways, Littlefinger is the perfect foe for Arya: They’re both used to outsmarting their opponents and slipping between the cracks to avoid attention.

It seems likely that the conflict between Sansa, Arya, and by default, Littlefinger, will come to a head sometime soon and it would almost be surprising if someone doesn’t end up dead. In most cases, we’d put our money on Arya defeating anyone in her path, but if there’s one thing we’ve learned watching seven seasons of GoT, it’s that it’s more important to know how to play the game than wield a sword. If you don’t believe us Arya, ask your brother Robb (sorry, is it still too soon?). Arya can kill but she can’t play the game like Sansa can.

Verdict: Things *probably* are going to get deadly at Winterfell at some point and I’m not as confident that Arya will prevail as I once was.

Sansa Stark

Helen Sloan/courtesy of HBO

As I wrote above, things are getting *mighty* dangerous up in Winterfell. Sansa and Arya haven’t quite come to blows just yet, but all signs are pointing to the fact that things are going to get messier before they get better. Additionally, Littlefinger is still all up in Sansa’s business like the creep he is. We don’t know for certain whether or not Sansa knows that Littlefinger is the one stirring all the chaos but it seems pretty clear that Arya doesn’t quite understand Littlefinger is a formidable opponent.

Sansa has continually been underestimated over the course of the last few seasons and — due to a kind of meh storyline — Arya is making the same mistake. Sure, it makes me nervous that Sansa sent Brienne and Pod to King’s Landing — which directly points to a shitstorm heading for Winterfell – but I have faith that Sansa is fully aware of everything Littlefinger is up to and I’m hoping she can outsmart them both in a way that won’t cost Arya her life. I mean, wouldn’t it be amazing to see the sisters team up and take down Littlefinger?

Verdict: Let’s be real, half the Stark family didn’t die so Sansa and Arya could have a fight to the death.

There are so many things that could happen in the season finale. The army of the dead could *finally* breach the wall, Cleganebowl may finally happen, and the *real* story behind Lyanna Stark and Rhaegar Targaryen will probably be revealed. But right now, all signs point to certain death for at least one beloved character. While we only dug into the likelihood of whether or not the above seven characters would survive the episode, there are still a dozen others that could meet their end as well.

Come Sunday, buckle up, get yourself a drink, and maybe pour one out for a potentially fallen Game of Thrones friend.

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