Can it be
May 19 already? After eight seasons, we'll find out how the Game of Thrones saga concludes at last. Well, at least the TV show's version — George R. R. Martin's A Song of Ice and Fire series is still unfolding (and may be forever).
The show's title,
Game of Thrones, indicates exactly what the show really is: a game. There will be a victor. But victory might look different than what we first envisioned in season 1, which was entirely concerned with power grabs between mere mortals. Now, Westeros faces an existential threat — and that threat is officially marching South in the form of a massive White Walker and wight army led by the Night King.
Clearly, the show's conclusion won't be as simple as: "So and so sat in the Iron Throne, and all was well." At the very least, we know
Game of Thrones' conclusion will not bring us joy. "I don't think anyone is going to be satisfied [when it ends]," Maisie Williams, who plays Arya Stark, told Sky News.
We break down the odds of who will sit on the Iron Throne.
1. Jon Snow will sit on the Iron Throne.
Well, duh — this was always a likely outcome. Jon Snow (aka
) is often
prophesied to be Azor Ahai
, the reincarnation of the first man to vanquish the White Walkers. According to OddsShark, a sports bedding website,
Jon Snow has the highest chances
of sitting on the Iron Throne (next in line are Bran and Sansa Stark). The
legitimate son of Rhaegar Targaryen
and Lyanna Stark, Jon has the clearest claim to the throne.
But Jon sitting on the Iron Throne would be the obvious ending — and we doubt
Game of Thrones
will go the obvious route.
2a. Cersei's shrewd maneuverings will win out.
Cersei clawed her way into becoming Queen of Westeros by wielding her ruthless, manipulative intelligence at every turn. If she hadn't taken control of her fate, she'd still be married to Robert Baratheon — can you imagine that? She's
got the Golden Company
got the potential heir
. She's got the wildfire. So she
win, though her odds of dying are higher than her odds of winning. See:
Maggy the Frog's prophecy
2b. Cersei will be foiled by the Golden Company — or by Jaime, or by Arya Stark.
Cersei is the reigning Queen of Westeros, but she faces threats from
directions, including from the company of mercenaries she just hired to vanquish her enemies.
The Golden Company
comes with strings attached. For one, the Golden Company will turn on anyone who doesn't pay their fee — they once sacked the city of Qohor. The mercenaries' loyalty isn't guaranteed, either. The Golden Company once broke a military contract with the city of Myr to instead participate in the succession struggle happening in Westeros.
So, given the obvious flaws in Cersei's plan, Golden Company's men may decide to switch sides — especially since the Golden Company was initially formed to show support behind Aegon Targaryen. They may be secret Targaryen loyalists.
Another strong alternative? Either Jaime will kill Cersei, or Arya will — while
Jaime's face. To Cersei, this will
like a fulfillment of Maggy the Frog's prophecy: "Valonqar," aka "little brother" in High Valyrian, killing her. But in reality, it be
Arya using her face-swap skills
to complete her kill list.
3. The Night King will take over Westeros.
The Night King and the White Walkers are probably far more complex than we previously thought. We know they can turn humans into ice zombies. We know they're intent on marching south. But there's so much about the Night King and his army we
has the attack begun now
? What are they saying when they speak in Skroth? Do they have an
, like the rest of Westeros?
And, most importantly, what's the Night King's end goal? As
Game of Thrones
progresses, we may see the Night King and his horde as a mass more refined than the typical villains of the zombie apocalypse. They might be rulers.
4. Democracy is the real end game.
Maybe the cycle of mad kings and dynastic power grabs is nearly over. Maybe the fight with the White Walkers will culminate in a radical rethinking of Westeros' current feudal system, creating a strong centralized government. One
redditor thinks Game of Thrones
is one long allegory about the destruction of monarchy. Drogon will melt the Iron Throne, erecting a ballot box in its place.
this is the ending
Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez wants. "Could you imagine if no one ends on the throne and they transition to democracy?" Ocasio-Cortez said on an interview with
"Wouldn't that be badass?"
Though there are significant
flaws with this i
dea — for one, Westeros will probably need an industrial revolution for democracy to stick.
5. Jon and Daenerys will fight each other, and the victor will rule.
Jon and Daenerys are in it together
. They're making out next to waterfalls; they're ready to head into battle. But there's a lot they don't know about each other.
Namely, what will Daenerys do when she finds out that Jon has a more legitimate claim to the throne than she does? Could this be the tipping point that renders her mad like her father, Aerys II?
On the other hand, Jon has been
shielded from Daenerys' true character.
Dany's cruel streak has always co-existed alongside her revolutionary liberator tendencies. She freed slave cities, but she also mercilessly scorched the Tarlys to death. At some point, Jon will need to weigh Daenerys' character and determine whether it's worth questioning her power.
6. Sansa will rule an independent North, or all of Westeros.
The season 8 premiere showed that Sansa, like much of the other Northerners, is
skeptical of a Targaryen queen
. In fact, she's skeptical of other rulers in
. She'd rather the North be ruled by a competent individual who has the North's interests in mind — and
fits the bill. Sansa's
narrative has been arcing
toward leadership of either the North or the Kingdom.
In fact, she may be more qualified to sit on the Iron Throne than Jon. Sansa has more fluency in the ways of the North and the capital. She's observed horrors and hardship from every possible angle. Her harrowing experiences have made her a capable, compassionate leader. Westeros would be lucky to have her.
8. Bran will rule (as Bran).
Bran is actually
favored to rule Westeros
some betting sites
, though Three-Eyed Ravens don't have a history of being kings. But if the Vegas fixers have any say in the matter, Bran will become the Westerosi weirdo in chief.