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GAME OF THRONES Deathwatch: Who Will Survive the Finale?

This Sunday is the last chance for Game of Thrones to kill off the people you love this season. Trying to guess who will get the broadsword has been a tradition since Ned Stark showed us what the show was really made of, but let’s be real with each other: the show’s position on killing has changed.

It’s a safer show. This season, with its impossible dragon fire ducking and returns from deep watery graves, has proven that attention has shifted away from the brutish, short life of Westeros to the traditional fantasy structure of Chosen Ones battling the growling hordes of unsympathetic monsters.

But did anyone ask the Night King what he wants? What if he’s actually a totally reasonable zombie? Did no one in Westeros see I Am Legend?

If Game of Thrones wants to genuinely shock us again, the entire last season will be from the Night King’s POV. I mean, there are crazier theories out there. Plus, it would be especially easy to shift our attention over to the White Walkers if everyone else is super dead. What are the chances of that happening? We’re breaking down some of the odds on Nerdist News today:

But then we also thought to go a little further, dive a little deeper, and have some fun with it. So who else might eat it in the finale? Let’s take a look.

Cersei

Chance of death: 0%

Getting the easy stuff out of the way first. Cersei hasn’t blown up entire, ancient religious superstructures to get snuffed in her first meeting with the Dragon Queen. There are too many loose ends, and her death would create massive complications that D.B. Weiss and David Benioff don’t seem interested in tackling at all right now unless teleportation is involved. Is it possible that she’ll overplay her hand, and Jaime or Tyrion will kill her (as that random woman prophesied all those years ago)? Sure. It’s also far more likely that her death will come next season. Especially since the most reliable rumors claim Lena Headey, Emilia Clarke, Peter Dinklage, Kit Harington, and Nikolaj Coster-Waldau have all secured hefty per-episode contracts for season eight.

Dany and Jon

Chance of death: 0% + 0%

It’s taken seasons and seasons of what you could ungenerously call The Prologue to bring Daenerys across the Narrow Sea and reveal that Jon Targaryen Snow is the other main character of the story. She may lose her life next season, but killing her on Sunday would be a deep betrayal of what the new chapter of the saga has been building. Although, “Beyond the Wall” concerned itself largely with her potential death and the lack of true successors, so the show is clearly thinking about it in the context of a secured peace where (at least) 5 random throne-claimers don’t pop up just because a boar attacked the wrong fat guy.

As for Jon, they’ve already eaten their death cake and had it to too many times with him, including last week. That said, it the show killed either of these characters in “The Dragon and the Wolf,” I’ll shout like a madman into the night air that it’s the gutsiest show of all time.

The Night King

Chance of death: A snowball’s chance in hell

Uh, he’s the big bad. And he just got a dragon. And everyone’s gonna be in King’s Landing, so unless you have a teleporter…

Drogon/Rhaegal/Zombie Viserion

Chance of death or re-death: 0%

Speaking of dragons, the show would be insane to kill the zombie it just created or to slay another dragon so soon after. We’re just now getting to see their power on the field of battle, and dragon-fighting-dragon thrills are a series finale-sized spectacle, not something for immediate consumption.

The Three-Eyed Raven

Chance of death: What is death anyway, man?

Can you imagine if they killed Bran in the next episode? After all that wandering around north of The Wall and hanging out with Children of the Forest and doing ‘shrooms with Max von Sydow? He comes home, spouts cryptic nonsense, spooks Littlefinger over a dagger, and then croaks?

Tyrion and Jaime

Chance of death: 13% each

Going off the contract rumors once again, it seems like Jaime and Tyrion are both safe until next season, but there’s also no reason to take HBO’s pay structure as iron clad proof they’ll live through the rest of the tale.

Since Game of Thrones appears to be saving Jaime for…something…it would be back in Red Wedding sardonic mode to shake off his mortal coil after his dance with the dragon. Is he destined to kill his sisterlover? If so, will they die together? It’s a long shot, but the show loves its little parallels, so his final conversation with Lady Olenna lingering so headily on the poison (and the point about his “mercy” belabored again when chastised by Cersei) makes me wonder if he and Cersei aren’t headed for some Romeo and Juliet action.

Jamie and Tyrion are both in interesting positions, though. Major enough characters to be a shock, but minor enough (at this point) that the show could go on with few plot bumps. The emotional bumps are another thing entirely. Killing the Queen’s Hand, or killing the Other Queen’s brotherlover might create the kind of revenge that makes people forget about the undead things marching toward The Wall.

Bronn

Chance of death: 16%

Who even wants Bronn dead? The only person he really interacts with is Jaime now, and he’s not important enough for the major players to remove him from the board. He’s a sidekick in the truest sense, meaning that if he were to eat it this Sunday, it would be the result of a plot concept introduced this Sunday. Then again, he’s also traditionally expendable, so maybe he’ll end up sacrificing himself and slowly closing his eyes as he dreams of a castle he’ll never own.

Samwell Tarly

Chance of death: 20%

As with Bran, it’s not clear that Samwell has served his narrative purpose yet. If he died in the next episode, what was all that time spent at The Citadel for? Solely to save Jorah? To grab some scrolls on the way out? The story isn’t nearly done with Samwell, but his death would serve as a good-guy shock to the system. The only reason his percentage is so high is because the show used to kill people we liked.

Euron

Chance of death: 25%

Euron simply hasn’t had the time to establish himself as a forceful mini-boss the way, say, Ramsay “Sausage Fingers” Bolton did. He’s swift and brutal and looking to wed Cersei. The last time we saw him, he had destroyed Daenerys’ fleet in the pawn sacrifice of Casterly Rock, but if he’s returned to King’s Landing, he’s got Yara imprisoned in a dungeon there, and Theon potentially coming to join them as part of Daenerys’s retinue. That’s a recipe for killing.

Arya and Sansa

Chance of death: 30% and 40% respectively

If Game of Thrones were still the old Game of Thrones, Arya and Sansa’s season arc of sisterly distrust would feel like mutually assured destruction. Instead, it feels like a feint toward someone else’s death (scroll down a bit). Arya’s menacing monologue to her sister in the last episode was the show protesting too much. It would be crazy if the endgame were Arya killing Sansa or vice versa. Like a lot of other characters on this list, either one of them dying would raise big questions about why we watched them endure hell to become who they are only to set them at each others’ throats. What’s the point?

Still, the show has done more to put them in the direct line of harm’s way than other characters this season (except for anyone who got to see the dragons’ smiles). They’re separated from the bigger storyline and that isolation only adds to the sinister feeling of what might happen next. Fortunately, nothing bad ever happens to the Starks!

Theon

Chance of death: 4 out of 10 sausage links

At this point, Theon needs to be put out of his misery. He’s once again been shamed into despair by his own act of cowardice (abandoning his sister as Euron destroyed their fleet), which means he’d jump at the chance for retribution. In a sense, its these minor squabbles that most threaten Daenerys’ trip to King’s Landing: it’s tough to secure a truce when so many of your lieutenants want to murder the other side’s lieutenants. On the other hand, Theon killing Euron (and dying in the process) would kill a lot of birds with one stone. Cersei would be free of a nuisance, Theon could regain some stature, and the Drowned God would certainly be pleased.

Beric and Tormund

Chance of death: 50%

This is a true toss-up. Both characters are beloved (and badass) enough that seeing them go would take a real emotional toll, and they aren’t so important to the story that their demises would derail the plot, but the show had the perfect opportunity to send them off in a blaze of glory last week and didn’t. They even exploited our fear of losing Tormund before rescuing him from being buried under zombies at the last moment, and set up a scenario in which Beric could finally die for good by removing his Red Priest from the equation (R.I.P. Thoros). Then, they lived.

It would be surprising to see them return from death’s doorstep only to kick the bucket immediately afterward, but stranger things have happened, and if the crew is looking to beef up the death count for the finale, these two are (unfortunately) attractive candidates.

Littlefinger

Chance of death: 67%

Ugh. This guy. The entire narrative arc at Winterfell this season, whether you buy it or not, has focused on Littlefinger playing with fire by merely existing. It’s been impressive to watch this total non-player insert himself into the great game with wit and guile alone, rising up in the ranks all the way to Lord Paramount of the Vale with an army at his back to boot. But he’s still scheming in a way that he foolishly thinks is necessary. Old habits and all that. It would be poetic justice for him to get slashed trying to clean up a betrayal from 6 seasons ago. I mean, he told Ned Stark not to trust him. Now he’s going up against Arya and Sansa? It’s possible one of them will go down fighting him, but it seems far more likely that they’ll be rolling his corpse out of the tallest tower’s window together.

The Mountain and The Hound

Chance of death: 100% and 50%

Who’s pumped for Cleganebowl!?

I firmly believe that the outcome of this long-anticipated confrontation will cement the show’s ethos–whether that’s a return to the nihilism of the past or the hopefulness of the world Daenerys wants to create. One of them is definitely gonna die. If it’s The Mountain, there’s a chance for good guys in the new realm. If it’s The Hound, his long road to redemption will be met with the cackling laughter of Ned Stark and Robb Stark and all the others who thought justice meant something.

It’s no less than a battle for the show’s soul. Either the bad guy gets it, the good guy fails, or they both go down swinging. My money’s on The Hound walking away. He’s not one to boast before the fight is over. Right, Oberyn?

Who do you think will survive?

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Images: HBO

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