Game of Thrones Season 8 Ending Theory
By the end of Season Six, Game of Thrones had firmly established its four main players in this conflict: Jon Snow, Daenerys Targaryen, Cersei Lannister, and the Night King. In the North, we had Jon preparing for the ultimate battle between the living and the dead. Sailing toward Westeros was Dany, with three dragons ready to take her rightful place on the Iron Throne. In King’s Landing, Cersei was preparing to make her stand against everyone who might try and challenge her position of power.
Here we are, heading into the second episode of the final season, and the stakes of Game of Thrones seem even more clear. Jon and Dany have teamed up to fight the dead, helped by the uncertain alliance with Cersei. Unfortunately, things likely won’t play out that easily. Cersei is preparing to betray Jon and Dany after their battle with the White Walker army and kill whatever is left over with her Golden Company army to keep the Iron Throne.
The obvious conclusion to this story would be this: Jon and Dany defeat the Night King then march south to King’s Landing to take the Iron Throne from Cersei.
But, one new Reddit theory predicts a much more unexpected—and tragic—ending to Game of Thrones.
In the premiere of Season Eight, Game of Thrones pretty clearly set the stage for a rift between Jon and Dany’s new alliance. In one lengthy theory, Reddit user Nosefouratoo explains how each supporting character could help divide the wolf and dragon union even further.
It begins with Varys and Tyrion, who have been expressing their doubts about Dany lately:
Right now, these two are two of Dany’s top advisors, but they have expressed genuine concerns about her leadership before. Tyrion and Varys spoke in worried tones about her possibly becoming more like her father after what happened with the Tarlys. Tyrion also brought up his concern to Dany’s face while Jon and Co. were beyond the wall last season. He was received with vitriol and an implication from Dany that Tyrion was a traitor. In fact, almost every time Tyrion has questioned Dany in their entire time together, she has either implicitly or explicitly accused him of still being in cahoots with the Lannisters. Tyrion is aware of what Dany’s worst impulses are; he even brought them up to his mortal enemy Cersei. These events and worries from last season will come to a head with Dany’s treatment of Jaime when he stands before the council in Winterfell. In the “Next on GOT” segment for S8E2, we hear Dany bringing up Jaime killing her father. Dany also says, “He [Tyrion] should’ve never trusted Cersei” and we see a shot of Dany walking away angrily from Tyrion while he looks dejected. If Dany decides to imprison Jaime, or intends to execute him but is talked out of it, this may very well be the last straw for Tyrion in being able to think Dany is a just ruler. He will undoubtedly learn of Jon’s heritage sooner than later, and possibly decide to switch to his side because of his better claim and temperament. Varys will surely follow suit.
We also saw in the first episode of Season Eight, Sam’s emotional reaction to the murders of his brother and father, which opened his eyes to the cruelty of Dany:
Sam now has a vendetta against Dany for killing his brother. Think back to the episode in season 5 when the Night’s Watch held an election to see who would become the next Lord Commander. Sam was the one who nominated Jon. Spoke for him even though Jon didn’t want the job, because he knew that the Watch would suffer under Thorne and prosper under Jon. In the books, he set even more machinations into motion in order to ensure Jon’s victory. Sam’s story this season may be a very similar scenario to that scene only on a bigger, higher stakes scale. He could reveal this information to Sansa, who already seems to despise Dany, and work with her to get the lords of the North behind Jon as the One True King. Sam has already planted the idea in Jon’s head that he is far more fit to rule than Dany, precisely because he was willing to give up his ability to rule at all for the safety of his people. Sam is Jon’s best friend and probably most trusted advisor. If Sam thinks Dany isn’t fit to rule, Jon will begin to have serious doubts about her as well, even if he does love her.
Though I’m still having trouble imagining Sam would be this emotionally attached to a father who literally disowned him, the logic here still tracks.
Then there’s Sansa, who has been pretty openly critical of Jon’s new alliance with Dany:
I think this one line and its importance flew over a lot of peoples’ heads on Sunday night. Right before the Dothraki Khal comes up to Dany to inform her about the dragons not eating properly, Dany laments Sansa not liking her to Jon. Paraphrasing here, but she says something to the effect of, “she doesn’t have to be my friend, but if she can’t respect me….” and trails off. This is obviously implying a threat on Sansa’s life if she doesn’t fall in line. It isn’t a fact, but there are few other things she could have possibly meant. What does Dany do to those who don’t respect her? Ask Samwell Tarly. Jon looked concerned when she said this, but the subject was changed to more concrete matters too quickly to be pursued. When Sansa was talking to Jon alone in her room, she quipped that Dany was in fact much like her father, only “prettier”. Dany’s behavior, statements, and attitude since arriving at Winterfell could make Jon end up believing this more and more.
And in the reunion between Jon and Arya, his sister clearly establishes that she is siding with Sansa on what’s best for the North. If Sansa and Arya are united, will Jon take their side?
That brings us to the growing tension between Jon and Dany:
How Dany reacts to Jon’s true heritage could be the death knell of their love and alliance. If she reacts with anger and calls him a traitor or something to that effect, this will prove everything he has been hearing from all of his loved ones to be true. He will pull away from her, and make a claim on the throne in an effort to save the realm from another monarch who puts power lust in front of all else. I think there may be some kind of inciting event during or right before the battle for Winterfell that will truly sour Jon against Dany enough to go to war or at least to redact his proclamation that she is his Queen. That piece I haven’t figured out yet, but I think it may be essential to the believability of Jon waging war against Dany. At that point, he will reluctantly become Aegon Targaryen in earnest, and a military conflict between the two Targaryens may be on the horizon.
This just leaves the question of how Cersei will be dealt with:
What if Jaime or Arya kills Cersei before she ever gets the chance to attack Jon and Dany? In the books, the Golden Company support Young Griff, widely believed to be a fake Aegon Targaryen. What if in the show, after Cersei’s death, they decide to throw their support behind the real Aegon Targaryen? The Golden Company was started by Blackfyre (Targaryen bastard) loyalists. Maybe the show will find a way to show Harry Strickland having hidden Targaryen loyalty that will be revealed when Jon’s true heritage spreads throughout the Seven Kingdoms. With the Golden Company behind Jon, and with Tyrion and Jaime supplying him with the remaining Lannister forces, and with Sansa providing him with the Knights of the Vale and Northmen, Jon will have an army that can rival and most likely overwhelm what will remain of the Dothraki and Unsullied.
And finally, there’s what I find the most interesting part of this theory. The dragons:
I think there was more to the dragon riding scene in the premiere than meets the eye. Jon has now ridden Rhaegal while Dany never has. Could it be possible that now Rhaegal could be more partial to Jon than he is to Dany? Could he decide to bind himself to Jon? Has he already done so? It seems very possible to me. We had the Field of Fire Part II in season 7. What if we end with the Dance of Dragons Part II in season 8? Jon, Rhaegal and his army vs. Dany, Drogon, and her army.
As we’ve explained about Dragonriding, once a person of Targaryen blood binds with a dragon they are bound for life. So it does seem entirely possible that Rhaegal and Jon could lead an entirely separate faction against Dany. This would bring new meaning to the popular Three-Headed Dragon theory.
In the end, as the Reddit user explains, this theory aligns with George R.R. Martin’s outlook on fiction in general, that it should be about a conflict of the human heart. And the only true conflict of human heart to be found in this story would be between Jon Snow and Daenerys Targaryen. So, what happens after a battle between Jon and Dany? Do they destroy each other? Does Jon win? Does Dany win? We have five episodes to find out.