Winter is Coming… Hear Me Roar… A Naked Man Never Lies…
It’s mottos like these that normally stretch across the posters or memes for Game of Thrones, from the families Stark, Lannister, and Bolton (in that order, above). But it’s actually the motto of another house, one we rarely see together in HBO’s series, that defines the show’s ‘steady like a train, sharp like a razor’ flow and ideology:
What is Dead May Never Die.
Those are the words of House Greyjoy. While the rest above refer to direct actions or impulses, it’s the Greyjoy words that unlock the show’s – and the books’ – secret. A Naked Man Never Lies? That refers directly to flaying, and torture. We see a lot of that. Hear Me Roar? That refers to aggression and violence. We see a lot of that. Winter is Coming? Well, winter is actually coming, so that makes sense.
These are plot mottos. But What is Dead May Never Die? That’s the warning – that what you do or don’t do one day or one moment will haunt you, for better or worse. And often, for either the evil or the good characters in Game of Thrones, strengths and weaknesses are really quite the same. Like friends and enemies.
So taking that appetizer into account, here are my predictions for the End – or even just tomorrow night’s episode, to be titled ‘The Dance of Dragons‘ – of the show, and maybe even the books. I haven’t read them. I only know what you know.
1. Sansa will kill Littlefinger
You know what I said above, about how every character’s friends and enemies and strengths and weaknesses are almost the same thing? To this point, Sansa’s greatest ally has been Littlefinger – in her mind, he’s protected her and taught her. Littlefinger doesn’t care about much or many, but he does have a soft spot for Sansa Stark – he certainly didn’t know Ramsay Bolton was such a raping, skinning, slaughtering brute, for example, before he married Sansa off to him. But had he know, would he have still gone through with it? Probably.
Fact is, Sansa is Littlefinger’s weakness. And the longer she’s left to rot in Ramsay’s tower, the more she’ll realize her enemy this whole time has never been the Lannisters or the Boltons or even herself – it’s been Littlefinger, who’s responsible for the deaths of nearly everyone she’s ever loved, and is responsible for her current horror.
She’s the only one Littlefinger isn’t wary of, and she’s the only one he should be.
2. Theon will kill Ramsay
Duh, I know.
But just because it’s obvious, that doesn’t mean I can’t include it. Game of Thrones has always followed its plots through – the What is Dead May Never Die thing. Everyone pays for what they’ve done eventually. And while some will say Ramsay continues to get away with atrocity and we’re being denied his just death, I say there’s a reason Benioff and Weiss are playing the long game here.
They have to keep building Ramsay up. They have to keep adding names to his victim list. They have to make him as terrible as possible – yes, even worse than what he is now – and they’re probably getting breakup goggles with him. He’s just such a demon, how can you say goodbye to that? Every show needs a pure, unadulterated villain. Ramsay is that for Game of Thrones.
It’ll take some time, but eventually – after he’s killed or tortured a couple more major characters – it’ll come, and Theon will effectively kamikaze himself (he’ll definitely be killed by some other Bolton after he axes his tormenter) to end Ramsay’s reign.
3. Ramsay will kill Stannis
I don’t know what the books hold for either of these characters. But I’m not sure it matters.
Neither will take the Iron Throne. They’ll both die eventually. Does it really matter if the show jumps the book’s shark and prematurely knocks off Stannis?
We know Ramsay has asked his father, Roose, for 20 of the Boltons’ best soldiers to conduct some sort of recon mission. This only makes sense if Stannis is the target, because 20 men will never defeat an army. And Ramsay doesn’t care for his own life, so all the easier for him to risk sneaking into the Baratheon camp and kill the King while he’s sleeping.
4. OR… Stannis wins the Battle for Winterfell, and is then killed by Brienne
Brienne spends every night watching Winterfell from a distance, waiting to see if Sansa will signal her for help. But the Battle for Winterfell is coming – probably in this season’s finale – and she left a nugget earlier this season to Pod, telling him she’d vowed to kill Stannis as much as she’s vowed to protect the Stark sisters.
So this is perfect: Stannis’s army charges Winterfell and takes it over. The Boltons don’t have the army to match them. But Brienne has been watching and rides into the melee, just in time to cut Stannis down from behind, like his ghost killed Renly.
5. Stannis won’t kill his daughter Shireen – but his wife will try to
I’m guessing Stannis goes against the Red Lady’s wishes and refuses to sacrifice his daughter. Because, you know, that would be fu*king terrible.
So he risks her vision and rides into battle without her sorcery working its predictive, divine magic. But he wins the battle anyway, giving him one tragic moment where he thinks he’s more powerful than her God of Light… and then Brienne kills him.
Or, Ramsay does indeed take him out early (which would have to happen in Sunday’s episode).
Either way, his wife will take his mercy for Shireen as an offence to her God, and she’ll attempt to kill her daughter herself.
6. Davos will kill Stannis’s wife
7. The Night’s King and the White Walkers are dead Targaryens
The Targaryens and their followers are the thread that ties the entire Thrones anthology together. They’re good, they’re evil, they’re all dead, and then they come back again. Because, you know, What’s Dead Can Never Die.
The White Walkers’ story has barely begun, just like Daenerys’s story has barely begun. They’re both at the edge of the world, waiting to strike. Daenerys is waiting till she’s ready; the Walkers are waiting till Winter.
It would make little sense for the Night’s King to be anyone other than a long, dead, evil Targaryen. I don’t think HBO’s ready to introduce another random bad guy to us, not this far into the quilt.
(Plus, wouldn’t it make sense if The Song of Ice and Fire was referring to one family? The Tagaryens as rulers of ice and frost in the north, dragons and fire in the south? And since the Starks are the only dynasty battling evil and not laying down for it, Jon is the guy who unites those last names.)
8. Jon Snow’s a Targaryen, which is why he beat a White Walker
That last one was really to set up another angle for the R + L = J theory. Why was the Bastard of Winterfell able to defeat that White Walker in last week’s battle for Hardhome? Because he’s one of them, in some way.
It’s become clear, to me anyway, that the remaining Starks – Sansa, Arya, Bran (more below), and Jon – are the trump cards in the series. They’re the paper to everyone’s rock. And like I said the Boltons have to keep doing terrible things to set up their inevitable, awesome fall, the Starks also need to keep enduring tragedy to deserve their eventual triumph.
The rumours of Jon Snow being a Targaryen predate me even getting into this show. They’ve been around as long as Martin’s books have been around. And yeah, maybe the creator would love to string us along and then rip our hearts out, and maybe kill Jon before his origin is truly unveiled…
But it just makes so much sense. And he’d probably be the best chance to eviscerate the Faith Militant from Westeros, if he ever makes his way south.
9. Bran will defeat the White Walkers, and save the world
Think about it. He’s not in Season 5, though, so you probably haven’t…
There has to be a reason behind Bran’s whole hippie in the woods trip north, past all civilization, to that tree with the three-eyed raven and the little kids with their zombie-killing grenades. There has to be a reason behind. But there isn’t one yet.
Except it’s obvious that tree exists like garlic to the dead army’s Dracula. And the children have been holding off the evil that surrounds them. (Sam even mentioned it to Stannis a couple episodes ago, that he found ancient reports of The Children fighting the White Walkers.)
So far, Bran’s been a pity-soaked bore. Like an elastic band, he’ll come back riding the answer to all of Westeros’s problems.