Game Of Thrones has evolved over the past few seasons into a show that doesn’t really resemble the earliest seasons, or the books – certainly in terms of the way it presents strategy. That makes things slightly trickier to predict, but still not impossible.
Showrunners David Benioff and DB Weiss have at least tried to echo that groundbreaking first season during season eight.
If that pattern continues, then Thrones fans could be in for the biggest surprise of the series next week. And it’ll come after Cersei Lannister dies.
Episode five will be the penultimate episode, and it’ll take place in King’s Landing. Traditionally, the penultimate episode is where Game Of Thrones puts its biggest shocks.
Cersei Lannister will almost certainly – finally – meet the Stranger. ‘The Last Of The Starks’ put all the pieces into place for that, which means there are no end of contenders for her murderer.
Will it be Grey Worm? He’s one of Westeros’ greatest fighters, and he’s certainly got the motivation now that Missandei’s headless. Will Daenerys avenge her friend, and her child Rhaegal, by burning Cersei alive in front of all of her subjects? Will Arya steal enough faces to slip by Cersei’s guards while the Hound fights the Mountain?
There’s also a wild card element. You can add Euron to the list of contenders if he has any sense – how would Tyrion know Cersei’s pregnant if it’s Euron’s baby? As the youngest brother in his family, Euron fits the terms of the valonqar prophecy…
Still, our money’s on Arya, and it seems the show’s title sequence contains a major clue as to how it’ll happen.
Fans who have paid close attention to the fancy new title sequence this season have picked up lots of little clues – whether it’s the path of the Night King’s army (RIP Night King), the creation of a new dragon-killing weapon, or the fact that the Crypts of Winterfell might not be safe – from the title sequence over the course of season eight.
And it appears there’s still stuff to read into, specifically in terms of how next week’s events will go down.
We haven’t seen King’s Landing in the intro for a couple of episodes now, but we returned to the animation that sees the camera approaches King’s Landing, entering the catacombs first, before climbing the Iron Throne, this week.
That’s interesting, especially as we know that Arya’s on her way to King’s Landing to kill Cersei, and, of all the characters on their way to kill the queen, she’s the one who knows the catacombs best. Could that be her path to victory?
We know some fans would be annoyed if Arya defeats the Night King and the Mad Queen, but of all the players on the table, she really does deserve to deal the killing blow – Sansa and Arya are the only revengers left who saw Ned Stark beheaded, and Sansa’s staying in Winterfell. Arya would need to wear Tyrion or Jaime’s face to do it, to fulfil the prophecy, but we can see that happening.
But, speaking of Ned Stark, there’s another very worrying clue in the opening title sequence that could be hinting we’ll get a bigger shock than Cersei’s death next week.
Let’s say the showrunners don’t try to match ‘The Long Night’ with another episode-long battle, and the fight in King’s Landing is wrapped up relatively early. What then?
Then Jon Snow fans should start to worry. Snow made a fatal mistake this week – much like the fatal mistake Ned Stark made in season one. He told the truth out of a sense of honour, and in doing so he betrayed the queen. That decision led to Ned losing his head; what if the same happens here?
In this week’s making of, Benioff and Weiss made it clear that Jon Snow’s one of the biggest issues on Dany’s mind.
“She’s scarred by the events that just took place but she’s also very much thinking about what Jon Snow told her and she’s really shaken when she sees everyone celebrating with him and talking about what a mad man and what a king he is for getting on a dragon,” Benioff said.
“He has love and respect from these people that even with the gesture she just made, she can’t ever equal,” Weiss continued.
“She realizes his true identity is a real threat to her if it comes out,” Benioff concurred.
When the pair retire from the main celebration area, Daenerys begs Jon not to tell anyone about his true heritage.
“Once Dany introduces the idea that everything can be as it was if Jon keeps this secret buttoned down and tells no one, she’s introducing a conflict that plays forward,” Weiss said.
But how will that conflict play out? The show’s new astrolabe engravings may contain a – disturbing – clue.
The astrolabe engravings (the pictures on the round spinny thing) depict moments from Game Of Thrones history. This season they’ve changed to include three images; the Night King burning the wall down, a beheaded Dire Wolf, and Dany’s dragons being born.
The Night King died last week, one of Dany’s dragons died this episode – is the astrolabe operating as a bad omen for everyone depicted on it?
If that’s the case, and the showrunners really are mirroring season one, then Jon Snow could very well end up losing his head in the penultimate episode, after his betrayal of Dany is revealed.
It would take the show right back to the impact of season one, creating a moment fans will never forget. Some would say he deserves it, after his DISGRACEFUL treatment of good boy Ghost in this week’s episode, but we couldn’t possibly comment.
— Stephanie T (@fit_wino_dogmom) May 6, 2019
If Snow dies next week, it will be the biggest shock in Game Of Thrones history, but we can’t say she didn’t warn him. And you can’t say we didn’t warn you.