After eight years and 73 episodes, we’ll finally get to see the Game of Thrones ending next year. Fans of the George R.R. Martin novels have speculated on the fate of characters such as Arya and Sansa Stark for even longer than that – book one of the A Song of Ice and Fire franchise was published in 1996. Whichever your medium of choice for all things Westerosi, closure is coming at long long last, as Martin shared salient details of the tale’s climax with show co-creators David Benioff and DB Weiss, and all will be revealed during Game of Thrones season 8.
While the final season won’t be here until April 2019, with the Game of Thrones ending airing six weeks after that, it’s already possible to speculate on many aspect of the series thanks to hints from cast members – who’ve now wrapped their scenes, and appear just as excited for the show’s finale as its devoted fanbase. Maisie Williams (Arya), Sophie Turner (Sansa), Kit Harington (Jon Snow) and Peter Dinklage (Tyrion Lannister) are among the big names who’ve dropped teases about the final season’s outcome, and below we’ve grouped together the critical ones – and offered detailed analysis of exactly what they mean. Beware spoilers, obviously. Because there really are some major Games of Thrones ending clues ahead…
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The biggest battle occurs in episode 3
Who: Vladimir Furdik, AKA The Night King
What they said: "In the third part of the last season, there is a battle that the creators intend to be the biggest in television history," Furdik told Sorozat Wiki. "Almost the full episode will be about the battle, it will take about an hour.”
What it might mean: Tear up all your season 8 assumptions and start again. Most presumed the ultimate Game of Thrones ending would be humans vs White Walkers; in fact, that showdown will be over by the end of episode three. Likely leaving episode four to explore its fallout, and the fifth and sixth to take us to the end game. That surely means that the dragonglass-aided Westerosi come out on top – otherwise we’re looking at three hours’ worth of political discourse between the Night King and an undead dragon which, even for a show as expectation-shattering as Thrones, feels beyond the realm of possibility.
Might Sansa be bound for the Iron Throne?
Who: Sophie Turner, AKA Sansa Stark
What they said: "Finally, [Sansa] has the strength of her family behind her," Turner told Digital Spy. "She's used Littlefinger for all he has. As she said: 'Thank you for all your lessons'. He has nothing left to give her. So she is so empowered. She has a family behind her. She has Littlefinger, Cersei, Margaery, everyone's wisdom and teachings all behind her. She's a real, true leader of Winterfell now.”
What it might mean: There’s underlying friction between Sansa and brother Jon Snow over his alliance with Daenerys. Given her confidence-building story arc over the show’s first seven seasons, could she be planning a last-ditch power play to take the throne herself, with all of the North behind her? It’d be a shocking turn of events - but not out of the question. GRRM cites the War of the Roses as inspiration for ASOIAF, and who took over the British throne after the fall of the controversial Bloody Mary? Elizabeth I. AKA a young, confident redhead…
The final series is heartbreaking
Who: Nathalie Emmanuel, AKA Missandei
What they said: ”There are so many characters and stories that haven't found their conclusion,” Emmanuel told the Hindustan Times. “So, this season is going to be incredibly satisfying for people. It is going to be incredibly exciting and heartbreaking.”
What it might mean: Lots of characters you like are going to die just when you figure they’ve found love/happiness/redemption. We all expected this anyway, right?
Jaime Lannister survives to the final episode
Who: Nikolaj Coster-Waldau, AKA Jaime Lannister
What they said: “God, every time we got a new script I thought: ‘OK, this is probably going to be the one’,” Coster-Waldau told the Huffington Post. “But no. The Lannister kids made it to the end.”
What it might mean: Initially this quote seemed to imply merely that Jamie and Cersei made it to the final season, but a lawsuit against Coster-Waldau’s ex-manager has now confirmed that he’s in all six episodes. That doesn’t mean he survives the Game of Thrones ending, but does imply that Lannister successfully endures the humans vs White Walkers battle Vladimir Furdik tabbed for episode 3. Giving a very clear clue as to which of those sides wins out.
We might see Dany in a different light
Who: Emilia Clarke, AKA Daenerys Targaryen
What they said: “It fucked me up,” Clarke told Vanity Fair. “Knowing that is going to be a lasting flavor in someone’s mouth of what Daenerys is…”
What it might mean: OMG! What is Dany going to do?! This is by far the closest Emilia Clarke has ever come to telling us anything concrete about how Game of Thrones ends (you can tell by the way she trails off and doesn’t continue the thought...) and it sounds like it might not be a happy ending for the Mother of Dragons. With Daenerys becoming more bloody-thirsty in Game of Thrones season 7, could we see that continue into the final season? Is Dany going to do something really questionable? Will she become the very thing she’s fighting against?
Not everyone will like the ending
Who: Kit Harington, AKA Jon Snow
What they said: “I think a TV series that’s spanned eight, nine years is an incredibly difficult thing to end,” Harington told MTV News. “Not everyone’s going to be happy, you know, and you can’t please everyone.”
What it might mean: More hints at what we’ve covered above: a surprise name such as Sansa (rather than Daenerys) on the Iron Throne, and/or the death of popular major characters like Dany or Jaime.
Sansa could become a warrior
Who: Sansa Stark, AKA Sophie Turner
What they said: “I always saw something of a warrior in Sansa that I don’t think other people really saw,” Turner told Gold Derby. “I always had the feeling that she was learning and adapting and at some point or another it was going to manifest itself somehow, and she manifested it into being a warrior. It felt really satisfying when it happened, and I’m really happy where this storyline for her has ended up.”
What it might mean: The key part of this quote is when Turner says: "It felt really satisfying when it happened". It being, Sansa becoming a warrior? That's certainly what Turner implies here, so it might mean that we see her kicking ass in season 8. And about time too!
It gets Ser Jorah’s seal of approval
Who: Iain Glen, AKA Ser Jorah Mormont
What they said: “I am one of the few people who has read the script and I know the ending and what happens,” Glen told The India Express. “When I read it, I thought it was rather brilliant. I am a bit of a fan of the series as well, and it satiated my expectation and hopes… But we will just have to see. You know with something this big like Game of Thrones, you cannot please everyone.”
Glen added: “All I can say is that we will be doing what we have done before and the writers have written great episodes. They have had a great strike rate up to now and I am sure that will continue.”
What it might mean: That Iain Glen loves to talk? It also promises great things from the Thrones finale, although I’d be surprised if anyone involved said it was going to be bad! Still, Ser Jorah wouldn't steer us wrong and if he’s satisfied with how Game of Thrones ends, then so am I.
The sense of scale is way beyond that of previous eps
Who: David Benioff, co-creator
What they said: "The final season is taking a long time because it's the biggest thing we've ever done,” explained Benioff after 2018’s Primetime Emmy Awards. "I think it's quite extraordinary what the crew and these actors have created, and I think when people see it, they're gonna understand why it took so long. No one's going on vacation. No one's slacking off. It's just that last season is far beyond what we've ever attempted before.”
What it might mean: That the scale of all the series’ big events will be like nothing previously seen in the series. Once such event is obvious: the inevitable clash between humans and White Walkers – and living dragons vs dead dragon. After the fall of the Wall, we’ll surely see other show landmarks topple too: don’t be surprised if the Iron Throne itself it the only thing left standing in King’s Landing. And there surely has to be another colossal face-off to mark the Game of Thrones ending, again involving dragons, ships, wildfire, blood magic, and whatever else your imagination can conjure.
You need to expect the unexpected
Who: Hannah Murray, AKA Gilly
What they said: “I knew to expect the unexpected,” Murray told Watchers on the Wall. “Anything that felt too obvious to me I knew was not going to be what [happened]. So there were certain things where I was like, ‘Well it can’t be that but I don’t know what it is going to be’.”
Murray added: “It’s not like a fairytale happy ending by any means at all and I think it’s a really wonderful final season. I’m really excited for people to get to see it.”
What it might mean: That – as just Nathalie Emmanuel suggested – everyone's going to die? Hardly a huge surprise, but there's nothing quite like having it confirmed by a member of the cast. Eeek.
Jaime might side with Jon and Dany
Who: Nikolaj Coster-Waldau, AKA, Jaime Lannister
What they said: "I really liked working with Liam Cunningham, who plays Davos Seaworth." Coster-Waldau said on WRadio. "We worked together and now we get along very well. I will not go into depth because I would be giving away spoilers."
What it might mean: Coster-Waldau might be worried about spoilers, but he may have already let slip too much by revealing that he shares scenes with Cunningham in season 8. It's true that the pair have technically shared a scene before in season 7’s The Dragon and the Wolf, but as their characters never even spoke to each other, I somehow doubt this is why Coster-Waldau enjoyed working with Cunningham so much. No, I think it's much more like Jaime and Davos will meet again in season 8 and for a much more in-depth storyline. This also implies that Jaime will be hanging out with Jon and maybe even Dany as all three of them are together at the moment. Could this mean Jaime betrays Cersei and joins forces with her enemy? Or did they all just have a nice little chat while destroying White Walkers together?