Warning: This post contains potential spoilers for Game of Thrones‘ final season. If you don’t want to accidentally stumble across one, like Gilly in the Citadel, then you should quit now, like Sam always does.
We didn’t expect it to happen because of a lawsuit, but we might finally have a real spoiler for Game of Thrones’ last season. Watchers on the Wall noticed a small but fascinating tidbit in a The Hollywood Reporter story about a legal dispute between Nikolaj Coster-Waldau and his former manager. Based on court proceedings, THR wrote:
“Coster-Waldau is now getting more than $1 million an episode for his work on Game of Thrones. (SPOILER: He’s also signed up for just four episodes in the coming season.)”
Thank the old gods and the new, that’s as good a nugget as we’ve had for the eighth and final season so far! Granted, we have no idea which of the four episodes Jaime will actually appear in. And there are potentially innocuous reasons this might be the case beyond keeping the HBO’s massive budget down.
After all, the show has done single-location episodes like “Blackwater” and “The Watchers on the Wall,” and one of these could easily keep Jaime off camera without arousing suspicion. It could also be as simple as Jaime will be traveling covertly along the King’s Road by himself (we last saw him leaving King’s Landing in disguise on horseback) so he won’t join the Northern forces immediately.
But none of those reasons are fun! And since HBO is making us wait two freaking years for the last season, we feel like doing some wild(ling) speculation. So if he’s going to be absent from one third of the season, what are the best and worst possible reasons for his shortened episode count? Based on what we know there are two extremes we think could possibly happen.
WORST CASE SCENARIO
Jaime will die fighting the White Walkers in the North and never make it back to King’s Landing.
One way or the other, the show seems to be setting up to end in/near the Capital. If Cersei isn’t leaving the safety of the Red Keep, the war is eventually coming to her. That could be because Jon and/or Daenerys defeat the White Walkers and then head south to deal with Cersei, or the White Walkers will continue on their march through Westeros.
If Jaime is involved in the first four episodes fighting in the North like he swore to do, that would mean he will be dead before the action reaches to King’s Landing. That would also mean we will never get closure to Jaime and Cersei’s relationship, sort of like how the last thing Ned said to Jon was how he would tell him about his mother the next time he saw him.
This unsatisfying ending for Jaime would be the most Game of Thrones thing ever.
BEST CASE SCENARIO
A late-arriving Jaime gets to the North just in the nick of time to save the day from the White Walkers.
Jaime’s slow travel North could make him late to Winterfell where the fight against the dead has been raging, but just like Blücher coming to Waterloo, he would turn the battle for the living. But how could a single one-handed man make that big of a difference? Because (dun dun dun) it would turn out that he—not Jon, Daenerys, Bran, or anyone else—is actually The Prince That Was Promised. He would be the one to defeat the Night King before heading back to King’s Landing for his final showdown with Cersei.
Jaime being the prophesied legend who saves the living is a theory that isn’t totally insane, and if true it would mean the villain who ended the first episode by pushing a child out of a window was the ultimate hero all along, totally upending all of our expectations.
So you know, the most Game of Thrones thing ever.
But if turns out we’re wrong and there are even more extreme best and worst case scenarios for Jaime, what are you gonna do? Sue us? Instead of doing that, tell us your best and worst case possibilities in the comments below.