This article comes from Den of Geek UK.
Not only have we all been waiting eight years for the culmination of HBO’s epic saga, some book readers have been waiting since the 1990s to get to some of the scenes listed here. So without further ado, here are some of the things we’re hoping or expecting to see in Game Of Thrones season 8 that we can’t wait to finally witness on screen.
Arya and Jon Snow’s reunion
One of the frustrations of Game Of Thrones is that relationships are built up between characters who are then separated by thousands of miles, robbing the viewer of the chance to actually see these relationships change and develop as they are tested, or to see good relationships on screen at all.
While book readers continue to wait for resolution to all the series’ many separations, over the last two or three seasons, the TV show has slowly started to bring all these disparate groups back together. All three of Ned and Catelyn Stark’s surviving children have now been reunited, as have Danaerys and Ser Jorah, while the Lannisters have probably parted for good now (this may be the reason for one of the series’ more controversial changes to the books, as brothers Jaime and Tyrion parted on much better terms on television than their book counterparts).
But there is one reunion that fans have been waiting for since episode two of season one that still hasn’t happened yet. Although the show had only a limited amount of time to establish the relationship between (foster) brother and sister Jon Snow and Arya Stark, it does a great job establishing that they are closer to each other than to their other siblings, and that they have a loving and tender relationship and feel protective towards one another. Sansa and Arya love each other, but their relationship was always prickly, as was Sansa’s relationship with Jon, while Bran has changed so much that any reunion with him is difficult. Arya and Jon’s reunion will, we hope, be a purely loving and joyful one.
One of them is going to find the other’s corpse, aren’t they?
Is anyone else salivating with excitement over the mere prospect of seeing more of a huge, lovingly CGI-rendered, ass-kicking, ice-breathing zombie dragon? We already saw Zombie Viserion take down the Wall – next season we get to see him go into battle against his living brothers. It’s gonna be awesome.
The Three Heads of the Dragon
The dragon has three heads – it is known. But so far, we’ve only seen one dragon rider in the series, and that was the obvious one, Danaerys. We’ve been waiting years to see three warriors mounted on three dragons, riding into battle.
Fans have been guessing at the identities of the other two heads of the dragon for years – are they Jon Snow and Bran? Jon, and Arya? Jon and Tyrion? Jon and the Night King? You can the common link – there is almost no doubt that one of the three heads is Jon Snow, née Aegon Targaryen. Jon has already started to bond with Rhaegal, the dragon named after his biological father, so we’re looking forward to seeing him take on the mantle of dragon rider in the final season.
As for the third head, Viserion’s death and resurrection as a wight (or White Flyer?) would seem to imply that will be the Night King, and he will be opposing the other two. But, of course, one of the most popular fan theories is that Bran Stark is the Night King, which suggests the three heads might be Danaerys, Jon and Bran after all. The whole thing is further complicated by another thing we’re hoping to see in in season eight…
Bran warging into a dragon
Bran can pretty much warg into anything, and seems to be better at it than anyone has ever been. His power on that front is positively terrifying following the revelation of what happened to poor Hodor. So we can’t help feeling like all of this has been building up to the mother of all warging targets – a dragon.
But which dragon? Will he warg into his brother/cousin Jon’s dragon Rhaegal to help him out during a battle or other survival situation? Will he warg into Danaerys’ dragon Drogon for some reason?
Or, and this seems the most exciting and the most likely option, will he turn the tide of battle and warg into the undead Viserion to turn the Night King’s own weapon against him? That would make for a pretty thrilling conclusion. And does that mean that the three heads of the dragon are Danaerys, Jon, and Bran after all? We can’t wait to find out.
The moment Danaerys and Jon Snow find out they’re aunt and nephew
Because let’s face it, that’s going to be hilarious.
Way, way back in season one, Littlefinger explained to Sansa that Gregor Clegane pushed his brother Sandor’s face into the fire and scarred him for life when they were children, telling us all we needed to know about the brothers’ relationship and Sandor’s embittered character. Not long afterwards we saw them fight a little as Sandor rescued Ser Loras from Gregor, but we haven’t seen much of the Clegane brothers’ relationship in recent years, as they’ve been separated since the attack on King’s Landing in season two.
In the meantime, Sandor has befriended two Stark daughters, nearly been killed by Brienne, joined a peaceful group who were all horribly and predictably murdered, joined the Brotherhood Without Banners, and finally joined Jon Snow and Danaerys. Gregor has had an even more dramatic time of it, brutally killing Oberyn Martell in single combat, dying as a result of his injuries, and being resurrected as a zombiefied monster known to the fandom as FrankenGregor.
The brothers Clegane were finally briefly reunited in the season seven finale, but they were at a diplomatic peace summit, so no fighting. That’s not going to last, though. Both are bound to be heavily involved in fighting all over the place, but the fight the fandom is waiting for is the showdown nick-named Cleganebowl – a fight to the (second) death between the two, which is bound to be epic.
Of course, everyone is looking forward to it because everyone is sort of assuming Sandor is going to win. If FrankenGregor takes down everyone’s favorite weird honorary uncle to the Stark sisters, it’ll still be epic, but a lot less satisfying.
Flashbacks to Robert’s Rebellion
Back when the show started, and for many years, the show-runners consistently refused to do flashbacks. The storyline was so complicated, the idea was to focus on the characters and actors we know, and allow them to tell us their story. Sometimes this resulted in the infamous sexposition scenes of the early seasons, but sometimes it resulted in dramatic brilliance that provided insight into not just the earlier events being narrated, but the impact the act of telling the story has on the current characters – Jaime telling Brienne about the killing of the Mad King is the classic example, but just watch Ned and Robert’s expressions as they talk about Lyanna now that we know so much more about what happened – Sean Bean obviously knew something readers had only guessed at back then!
In later seasons, however, this rule has been bent a bit more. For the most part, this is because Bran is now able to do some kind of vaguely-defined time travel (it’s clearly more than just a vision, as he can affect the past and be affected by it, but not quite full time travel, as most people can’t see him). So if Bran is seeing/visiting the past, so does the audience. But the rule has also been outright broken at times as well, notably in the very first flashback, to Cersei’s childhood, so we may see other flashbacks.
It may be that most of the flashbacks are done now that Bran and Sam know the big secrets, but there are plenty more things we still don’t know – who is the Night King, exactly? Who is the Prince that was Promised? – or would like more detail on. There’s a good chance we’ll get another flashback or two, and we say bring ‘em on – if for no other reason, it’s always nice to see Ned Stark again, even in his younger incarnation!
Jaime dying a hero
There is absolutely no chance of Jaime Lannister surviving the final season of Game Of Thrones. While there may not have been much justice in earlier seasons, as the series has gone on, it’s become clear that evil-doers always receive their comeuppance eventually. Joffrey, Ramsey, and Walder Frey all met their ends in fairly nasty ways, and even otherwise decent characters like Stannis find karma comes calling after an act of evil. No matter how much we may love Jaime now, nothing changes the fact that in the first episode of the show, he shoved Bran out of a window to cover up his affair with his sister, and for that, he must die.
But Jaime is a changed man since that first episode. In season three, we learned that he has always had a heroic side, killing the Mad King to save hundreds of lives and taking flack from all of Westeros for it. One controversial incident in season four aside, he has become progressively more heroic since spending time with Brienne, culminating in him finally abandoning Cersei for good in the season seven finale. As such, Jaime deserves a properly heroic death. Not to be randomly stabbed in the back, or poisoned at a wedding, or eaten, or have his eyes gouged out, or whatever other grisly fate awaits Game Of Thrones’ more unpleasant characters. Jaime deserves to go down fighting, hopefully at Brienne’s side, holding off hordes of zombies while other characters do their thing to save Westeros.
The end of Arya’s list
Arya Stark’s kill list has been an ever-changing and evolving thing since she started her mantra on Yoren’s suggestion back in Season 2. It’s safe to say the Hound (Sandor Clegane) is no longer on it, since she had her chance to kill him back in Season 4, and she’s killed off a few herself (most satisfyingly, Ser Meryn Trant) while several have been killed by other people (no one has died peacefully in their sleep yet – only Aemon Targaryen has been able to pull that one off).
There are still a couple of names left. When Arya told the Waif about her list, it only had three names on it – Cersei, the Mountain (Gregor Clegane) and Walder Frey. Aside from the Hound, she also seems to have become less bothered about Melisandre and Ser Beric Dondarrion (for what they did to Gendry) and Ser Ilyn Payne (who was quietly dropped from the story for real life reasons when his actor was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer).
We saw Arya kill Walder Frey at the end of Season 6 and we’re hoping for Cleganebowl to end with FrankenGregor’s second death, so that just leaves one name, who is certain to come a cropper one way or another during this final season as we see…
Cersei getting her comeuppance
With Littlefinger finally gone (hurray!) Cersei Lannisters is left as Westeros’ primary human villain. After the epic deaths of Joffrey, Ramsey, and the others, we can’t wait to see exactly how she is finally toppled from her smug, queenly perch.
Everyone has their own theory for exactly who will kill Cersei, so here’s mine – I don’t think it will be Arya. Arya made her choice at the literal crossroads, when she chose to ride north to try to reunite with her brother rather than to ride south to assassinate Cersei. Her story lies elsewhere. The books suggest that Cersei will be killed by ‘the valonquar’ (younger sibling or little brother) who will strangle her with his hands. Theories abound, many of them focusing on Jaime, Tyrion, or Arya, but my preferred theory is that the valonquar is the younger Clegane brother, Sandor. He may even use Jaime’s golden hand, or Jaime’s actual hand, which Qyburn kept and which I think FrankenGregor is now sporting (because why else preserve it?).
Only time will tell, but one thing is certain – Cersei is going down, and we can’t wait to see it.
Melisandre and Arya meeting again
Melisandre was on Arya’s list at one point – will Arya kill her? Will she resurrect Arya after a fight of some kind? Might Melisandre even sacrifice herself for Arya? All we know is, the Red Priestess promised that they would meet again, and whatever happens, it’s going to be dramatic.
The defeat of the Night King
This one is a bit obvious, but that doesn’t mean we’re looking forward to it any less. Game Of Thrones is a series with a lot of suffering, and we know that the ending will be bittersweet, but only a truly tragic and utterly miserable ending would involve the Night King actually winning. One way or another, eventually, he’s going down. In fiery glory. Probably at the hand of a dragon (bonus points if it’s his own dragon that Bran has warged in to).
Some kind of conclusion for Beric Dondarrion
As many fans are probably aware, because book readers aren’t exactly quiet about it, Beric Dondarrion’s role in the story has been substantially changed as a result of the biggest change the series has made to the book’s storylines (we’re being deliberately vague for the benefit of anyone who hasn’t yet read the books and would like to hang on to some element of surprise!). Are all his resurrections leading somewhere in the show’s arc? Without Thoros of Myr, it seems that this life might just be his last, but it’s just possible he might be able to transfer his life force to someone else – we’d suggest Arya or Sansa, to provide a connection of sorts with the book version – and finally die in the process.
Resolution to the stories of Daario Naharis, Meera and Howland Reed, Ghost, Jaqen H’Gar, Varys, Lyanna Mormont, and Ned’s head
Most people are written off Game Of Thrones by being killed off, and two were quietly dropped for real life reasons (Old Nan’s actor Margaret John passed away, while as we mentioned above, Ilyn Payne’s actor Wilko Johnson was diagnosed with cancer). But there are a few loose ends kicking around that we’d like to see tied up, one way or another.
Daario Naharis could easily come back in to play as both a mercenary fighter and Danaerys’ possibly bitter ex. The actress who plays Meera Reed has said that she’s not in the final season, which is a shame, but Howland Reed may finally make an appearance outside of a flashback. The Stark family direwolves were mostly killed off so that the special effects budget could be diverted to the dragons – Nymeria may or may not reappear (her story could be ended with her running wild in the forest) but we really do need some kind of closure on Ghost, the only direwolf still theoretically with his human, though we’ve barely seen him lately. Jaqen H’Gar and Varys are still surrounded by mysteries we need solutions to – just what is Varys’ plan, exactly? Is Jaqen really Syrio Forel? Meanwhile, we only want good things for Lyanna Mormont, who gives us hope for the next generation in Westeros.
And finally, much was made in earlier seasons of the fate of poor Ned Stark’s head (and the rest of him) as it sat on a pike for a while before being sent to Catelyn, who presumably sent it on home to Winterfell. Was that a plot that was going somewhere, or just an added detail? Will we see Ned’s head again? When there’s a Zombie King running around raising corpses, you just never know…
Sam and Gilly live happily ever after and die of old age surrounded by hale and hearty grandchildren
Please. Come on, HBO. Not everyone can be miserable or heart-broken or die heroically. Samwell Tarly is very obviously named for Samwise Gamgee, and he deserves to get the latter’s happy ending as well.
Arya and Gendry getting together
This one depends on your shipping preferences, but hear me out. The whole disastrous chain of events in this series was kicked off by a failed attempt to unite the Houses of Stark through the sister of Ned Stark (Lyanna Stark) and Robert Baratheon. The series itself was kicked off by a second attempt at the same marriage alliance, through the daughter of Ned Stark (Sansa Stark) and the (presumed) son of Robert Baratheon (Joffrey Baratheon). That went very wrong as well, and unbeknownst to their parents, Joffrey wasn’t Robert’s son anyway. So it would make for a nice kind of dramatic irony if, at the end of the series, Ned’s daughter (Arya) ended up married to Robert’s biological son (Gendry).
The biggest possible roadblocks are 1) either or both of them might die, but more importantly 2) Arya is not the get-married-and-be-a-Lady type. So if they get together, it has to be in such a way that both can live a fulfilling life. She can still be a ninja assassin, just a ninja assassin with a husband who can make her awesome weapons!
Bronn getting a castle
If Bronn doesn’t get his castle, we riot.
Hot Pie outliving them all
Wouldn’t it just be kind of cool if the final scene was an aged Hot Pie serving wolf-shaped bread to an equally aged Arya and Gendry? Maybe we’re just getting old and sentimental. But there is a wonderful kind of irony to the idea that Hot Pie will calmly survive while the rest of the cast gets killed off around him.
And one thing we really don’t want to see but probably will:
Hodor the wight
Has any death on this show been as traumatic as poor Hodor’s? Not just because he died saving his friends, not just because it wasn’t his own heroic choice but rather a command forced on him by Bran, but because that same command is what had rendered him effectively mute for his whole life. He’s suffered enough – we don’t want to see this beloved character artificially reanimated as a zombified wight as well. But you just know we’re going to!
Game Of Thrones season 8 premieres on HBO on April 14.