There are, once again, no books to work from on Game of Thrones this season (the final season!) and things could get confusing. To help you out, in anticipation of the finale, two resident Thrones experts/dragon enthusiasts, Josh Kurp and Ryan Harkness, will answer your eight most pressing questions.
1. Whose forces are still left alive and where do their allegiances lie?
It can sometimes be hard to tell with Game of Thrones these days. The week after the Battle for Winterfell, I would have sworn Daenerys’ Dothraki screamers were largely wiped out. Yet there they were in great numbers for the sacking of King’s Landing, even after Euron Greyjoy’s fleet sunk the ships they were traveling to Dragonstone on. So keep what I’m writing here with a grain of salt. The Golden Company was seemingly routed last Sunday, but if Harry Strickland’s white horse managed to get back up and ride Arya out of the city, who is to say others survived and aren’t regrouping in the background?
That being said, it sure seems like they’re done for. Euron’s pirate fleet went up in flames, and the majority of the Lannister army and Gold Cloak city guard either surrendered or were burnt to death or both. As far as armies go, the only battle ready forces left are Daenerys’ Dothraki and Unsullied, and Jon Snow’s Northern forces. Way too far away to help in theory but who knows in practice are Yara Greyjoy’s fleet currently in the Iron Islands (the opposite side of the continent to King’s Landing) and the forces of Dorne (far though the mountains to the south and led by a mysterious new prince no one knows much about).
Those are the only armies left that have been mentioned thus far, but with so much focus on Winterfell and King’s Landing only, there are other kingdoms in the Seven Kingdoms that could be calling their banners and marching to the Crownlands to declare for Jon Snow or Daenerys Targaryen. Keep in mind that Varys dropped his typically slick and silent Spider routine to scrawl out as many “Screw Dany, Jon/Aegon for King” letters as possible before he died, and who knows how many forces could show up next week. If this wasn’t clearly the series finale, I’d almost expect several surprise new armies to show up because that’s just a very George R.R. Martin thing to happen. — Ryan Harkness
2. Is there any chance Jon and Daenerys both get out alive or does one of them have to die?
Game of Thrones made its name off being one of the few shows willing to ruthlessly kill off its main characters, and while it hasn’t turned the act into a predictable season finale ratings stunt (*cough* The Walking Dead *cough*), it has leaned into death as the ultimate resolver of story arcs. So when in doubt, I’d say it’s safe to assume a character is more likely to die than not, and bookies are putting heavy odds on Daenerys biting it during the final episode.
Then again, it’s just as likely that the show flips the scripts and murders Jon Snow instead, leaving Dany as the tyrannical ruler of Westeros. Since when have the good guys ever come out on top in this show? Realistically, Dany has a bigger army, and they’re lifelong killers rather than the mix of soldiers and farmers recruited in Winterfell during the threat of the Night’s King. She also has a dragon which could have ended the entire conflict with Cersei two seasons ago if Daenerys hadn’t tried to do things the humane way first. So, in summary: one of the two Targaryens has to die. The only question is which one it’ll be, and how they’ll go. Which leads into our next question quite nicely… — RH