The Game of Thrones trailer dropped early yesterday and the Internet has been buzzing with theories. Who dies? Who lives? What’s chasing Arya? If Hot Pie dies, does he become Cold Pie? We must know.
Warning: This Game of Thrones trailer speculation breakdown will contain casting spoilers, episode order spoilers, and content from the released trailers with adjusted lighting. The comments may have additional spoilers, so read with caution. We welcome comments on this post that may contain spoilers! Go wild, guys.
What’s Arya running from?
The biggest cause for concern for many folks is what Arya could possibly be running from in the Game of Thrones trailer. Arya has gained a reputation for her bravery in the face of extraordinarily scary situations. She’s an assassin, and not much causes her to emote in such a way. The nature of being a stealth killer requires that she has a good handle on her emotions. So whatever is after her must be horrific.
So of course Internet detectives immediately started picking apart these moments of the trailer, brightening these shots, and slowing the footage down in an attempt to figure out what on earth is scaring Arya so much. And what did the Internet detectives find? A big black blotch. Damn you HBO!
The above image was taken from this thread in the r/FreeFolk community on Reddit. If you have a Reddit account, go give the original poster an upvote. They deserve all the credit for that work. In fact, if you have a Reddit account, that entire community is worth a follow. The most intense speculation regarding that scene is happening over there and they deserve some karma for it. If any r/FreeFolk people wander over here, big shout out and much appreciation to you! You guys are awesome.
Speaking of the Internet detectives at r/FreeFolk, others on that forum have been brightening her scenes with varying results. Though it appears HBO attempted to block out whatever is behind her in anticipation of these intrepid Internet detectives, it doesn’t seem it was entirely successful for every frame. This brightened clip gives a better glimpse into what’s chasing her, though the black blotch still obscures it from being positively identifiable. Then there’s this still frame that isn’t even blacked out at all. Between these two moments we can see there are numerous people and/or creatures behind her, both humanoid in shape. But it doesn’t feel like Arya would be this scared of normal humans. They have to be something particularly scary.
The best speculation I’ve seen is that she could be running from a loved one raised from the dead as a wight. This theory has taken on many forms in numerous places on the Internet, so it’s difficult to pin down the origin. Some suspect it could be Gendry, though it appears there are at least two humanoid figures behind her so I don’t think it could be just him. Some think it could be Sansa, but I don’t think the figures we see resemble her in any way. Some think it could be Starks from the crypts raised as wights, which might be the closest as it would account for both the size and the number of figures behind her. Of all the wight-related theories, the last one seems the most plausible.
Other theories regarding the identity of the figures behind her include the Night King or a Faceless Man. The latter theory has some support as the actress who plays The Waif has been spotted on set (albeit, not in Ireland where the Winterfell scenes are shot). The former could be possible, but I’m not sure why the Night King would spend time chasing down Arya when he has an army of wights to do that sort of work for him. But who knows? We’ll see, I guess.
Who will win the Battle of Winterfell?
This episode took 11 weeks of exhausting overnight shoots in freezing conditions. For inspiration Sapochnik looked to the Helm’s Deep sequence in The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers – a continuous battle sequence that ran to around 40 minutes in the film – but the Battle of Winterfell is even longer and more ambitious, according to the show’s producers.
The closing of the Game of Thrones trailer seems to be the very first moments of the infamous Battle of Winterfell. At this time, we know the battle is going to be the third episode of the season, which means there’s three full episodes after it before the show is completely over. One could argue there’s a lot of loose ends to tie up, but are there three episodes of loose ends? This is especially difficult to believe when the episodes are the length of films themselves. Thus, it seems our protagonists are going to lose at the Battle of Winterfell and the Army of the Dead will continue to push south towards Kings Landing.
The battle will also feature an extremely large amount of main characters, most of which I speculate will die. The only characters I feel confident will escape will be Daenerys, Jon, and Tyrion atop Rhaegal and Drogon. I feel like they have unfinished business in King’s Landing and can’t die before heading south. We’ve learned early on in this series that no one is ‘safe,’ but their plots still have a lot of mileage and I don’t see them dropping this close to the finish line. You never know, though. If any story is going to do it, it’s going to be Game of Thrones.
Everyone else, though? That’s up in the air.
Let’s get the people I think will die out of the way first. Podrick, Brienne, and Davos feel like certain deaths. They are each attached enough to the main characters that their deaths would be meaningful, but their plots are not vital to the business going on in the south. I love them so much I hate to use the word “expendable” to describe them at this juncture, but, well, sadly, they sort of are. RIP.
Now the less certain ones…
It’s possible both of the Stark sisters will survive, but I highly doubt it. If I had to choose which one will survive, I’d bet Sansa over Arya simply because of the events in the trailer. But there’s a good chance they’ll both kick the bucket during the battle, as sad as I am to say it. I hope I’m very wrong and they both somehow survive.
I think most of Daenerys’ team is going to die during the battle. I’m certain Jorah will perish, likely in a moment of self-sacrifice while Daenerys escapes. Greyworm will likely die, and possibly Missandei, too. That kiss in the trailer felt like a farewell kiss, guys. They will never see each other again, one way or another.
I can see The Hound surviving long enough for us to get a Clegane Bowl, so if that’s after the battle, he could survive. We might never get the Clegane Bowl, though, so don’t count on that saving him. This has been wished for since way back in 2013, so don’t count on it!
Now Samwell and Gilly? They’re possible survivors, though I would not be surprised if they killed them, too. Those two deaths would hurt me worse than most of the other theories here. It’s hard to explain why. I just feel like in the face of a cruel and uncertain world, their relationship has remained sweet and wholesome. I want them to live, but there’s no solid reason for them to do so.
Also, what’s up with Bran? I don’t even know where to start with that one. I’m not even going to try.
So come back and laugh at me once the show is over if you must. But that’s the detailed break down on who I think will live and die in the Battle of Winterfell. I look forward to revisiting this article later just to see how hilariously off I am on all of this.
(I’m sorry. I needed to lighten the mood, guys. Thanks again goes to r/FreeFolk).
Will Jon Snow be a dragon rider?
This one seems like the safest bit of speculation. Yes, I think Jon will become a dragon rider.
The way he and Daenerys are approaching Drogon and Rhaegal just feels like the start of a riding lesson to me. He’s a Targaryen, after all, so it’s in his blood. Furthermore, Reddit speculates some of the scenes of the dragons flying through the snow covered landscapes of the North may have had them digitally removed (and maybe some scenes weren’t edited too well and he’s sort of visible).
Seems legit to me. Let’s call this one certain and move on.
Will Jaime Lannister join Jon and Dany?
Nikolaj Coster-Waldau is one of the most vocal actors when it comes to stating opinions on the trajectory of his character. He went as far as to say that Jaime was “a bit of a douche” for pushing Bran out a window back in season one, but has also been adamant in defense of Jaime’s evolution as a character since season three. He’s actually a fan of the books, too, so if things aren’t going according to how he envisioned, he doesn’t shy away from expressing himself. I trust him with his opinions on Jaime. He gets it.
So if things were going to turn out badly for Jaime I’d suspect Nikolaj would either be completely silent or hinting in interviews about what’s in store (even if he has an NDA). Instead, he posted a video reaction of the Game of Thrones trailer on his Instagram. And he seems quite pleased.
In addition to his generally positive reaction, we also got a brief glimpse of Jaime in the Game of Thrones trailer. In it he states he “promised to fight for the living.” Cersei seems more interested in holding her power in King’s Landing instead of ‘fighting for the living,’ so it’s safe to assume his allegiance will not be with her during these final episodes. I know that sounds like a big “duh” moment, but you never know. Some parts of season seven felt like he could backslide, though we certainly hoped he would keep the character development he gained over the years. We’ve seen him become disillusioned with Cersei over the past five seasons and it’d be disappointing to see that get undone.
So who is ‘fighting for the living?” Daenerys and Jon, of course. They seem to be the only leaders taking the threat seriously. This shift seems logical and I’d say it’s a fairly safe bet. What other context could there possibly be for that line?
Want more speculation about the Game of Thrones trailer? Check out Geekiary co-admin Farid’s reaction video below. And feel free to comment with your own theories about the Game of Thrones trailer below!
Author: Angel Wilson
Angel is the admin of The Geekiary and a geek culture commentator. They earned a BA in Film & Digital Media from UC Santa Cruz. They have contributed to various podcasts and webcasts including An Englishman in San Diego, Free to Be Radio, and Genre TV for All. They’ve also written for Friends of Comic Con and is a 2019 Hugo Award winner for contributing fanfic on AO3. They identify as queer.
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