Winter is over in the real world, but Game of Thrones season 7 has proved that, for Westeros, the icy season is definitely in full force. With Cersei double-crossing those fighting the White Walkers in the north (who, by the way, have a flippin’ dragon now), Daenerys and Jon finally having a steamy rendezvous, and Jaime fleeing from his megalomaniacal sister, the proverbial has well and truly hit the fan. Like Cersei you’ll probably want to get a strong glass of Dornish red to dull the pain when you realise that Game of Thrones season 8 is still a long way away, as it’s due to air in 2019. Until then there are plenty of Games of Thrones season 8 fan theories to dig into, because come on, do you really expect us to just sit and wait without obsessing over potential plot revelations? Be reasonable.
George R.R. Martin is still working on the few final books in the series, but even after that Game of Thrones season 7 ending the only thing in the TV series that’s guaranteed to also be in the books is who will ultimately end up on the Iron Throne. It’s going to be a long road until we get to that point. Some of these fan theories could happen along the way - and some are pretty out there - but just go with it, okay?
Fair warning: There are tons of spoilers ahead if you’re not up to date with Game of Thrones. Catch up with seasons 1 - 6 right here in the video above.
Got all that? Ok, let's move on to the theories.
1. Jon and Daenerys are *even more* closely related
What this means: If you were thinking it was bad enough that Jon and Dany, who consummated their romance at , appear to be aunt and nephew, suggests that the extent of the unintentional incest could be much, much worse.
A few telltale signs, such as Dany's misplaced memory of lemon trees in Braavos (they don't grow there, but in Dorne) and the fact that fellow Thrones actor John Snow's parentage to a "Luke Skywalker situation", suggests that Game of Thrones' newest love birds could in fact be half-brother and half-sister.
The idea here is that Daenerys was not King Rhaegar's sister, but one of his children conceived with his first wife, Elia Martell. It's postulated that, following Rhaegar's death, Dany was smuggled into Dorne and brought up there in hiding, in the same way that Jon was taken under Ned Stark's wing as his supposed bastard child. That means Jon and Dany share the same father, Rhaegar, but different mothers, Lyanna Stark and Elia Martell respectively, which explains why they look so different from one another despite the blood relation.
This theory leads us to re-interpret all sorts of events from Game of Thrones' televised history. Did Ned, as the king's hand in season 1, try to dissuade Robert from killing Dany because he somehow knew of Jon's close familial connection to her? What does this mean for the Azor Ahai prophesy about the prince who was promised? As for the future, could Jon and Dany end up as lovers, half-siblings, and shared rulers to the Iron Throne?
Hopefully season 8 can offer some more light on this rather disturbing subject...
2. Cersei becomes the Mad Queen
What it means: After Cersei went all 'girl on fire' against the Sept of Baelor and declared herself Ruler of the Seven Kingdoms, it seems she's fast turning into a metaphorical reincarnation of Aerys Targaryen, aka the Mad King. Throughout season 7 her behaviour has pointed to an increasing loss of perspective and control. Especially as she's already gone back on her pledge to help fight the White Walkers. This could be a serious problem. It’s no secret that Cersei isn’t the most pragmatic ruler that Westeros has ever had, but her recent actions show she’s only interested in doing what she wants, when she wants. In fact, one psychologist even “diagnosed” Cersei as a classic narcissist on Reddit (adding that he knows you can’t diagnose fictional characters).
For the longest time, Cersei’s only saving grace was her love for her children. Now that all of them are dead, she really doesn’t have anyone to hold her accountable… except for Jaime, but they're going through a bit of a rocky patch at the moment. Cersei is alone, vindictive, pregnant, and sitting on the Iron Throne. She has enemies in all directions. She's losing her grip on power after the Loot Train battle, and even Jaime - her closest ally - is now in her eyes guilty of treason. Oh, and she’s still got a ton of wildfire in the basement. Let’s just say Cersei’s reign of terror has only just begun. At least, until...
3. Jaime will kill Cersei
What this means: With the death of Tommen, Maggy the Frog’s prediction that all of Cersei’s children will die has come true. Where her latest pregnancy fits in... I don't know. However, there’s one more tidbit that concludes the childhood prophecy: Cersei will be killed by her “Valonqar,” or little brother. A lot of people have taken that to mean Tyrion, who’s already gained access to the Red Keep to meet with Jaime. However, he’s not Cersei’s only little brother. Jaime, Cersei’s twin, was born a few minutes after her.
Jaime has seen Daenerys' dragons first-hand, he knows Cersei won't win in open battle, and he's clearly not happy with the direction the kingdom and his family are taking. Especially as Cersei has pretty much just sacrificed the entire North to the White Walkers. Even though Jaime has said time and time again that Cersei is the most important thing in his life, he may be more sympathetic to Tyrion's pleas after discovering his little brother didn't murder Joffrey at the Purple Wedding. I mean... he did agree to a secret meeting without telling his sister. And, given his reputation as the Kingslayer, it would be heartbreakingly poetic justice to have Jaime kill the Mad Queen, too, if she pushes her rulership of King's Landing too far.
4. Tyrion Lannister is a Targaryen
What it means: Jon Snow isn't the only Targaryen around. Tyrion Lannister is also believed to be one of the prophesied heads of the dragon along with Dany and Jon. It comes from the theory that mad King Aerys Targaryen had an affair with Tywin Lannister's wife, Joanna, the mother of Tyrion, which might explain why Tywin hated him so much. And despite what happens in the books, the TV show is pointing in that direction, with Tywin saying "you're no son of mine" just before Tyrion shoots him with an arrow. Although this could just be part of Tywin's constant rejection of Tyrion's suitability as a Lannister, something that's alluded to again and again throughout the first four seasons.
We’ve also seen a strong connection develop between Tyrion and Dany, with her trusting him above almost anyone else. This is likely to be Tyrion showing loyalty to Dany (loyalty is a genuinely new thing for Tyrion, given his rather selfish nature) and vice versa, but some corners of the internet think it goes deeper than respect and friendship. So far season 7 has only shed light on Jon's lineage.
5. Jon Snow is Azor Ahai, or the Warrior of Light, or The Prince Who Was Promised
What it means: Now that we’ve gotten that pesky “R+L=J” theory out of the way, because it’s totally canon now, we get to look further into what that means. The biggest is whether he is the Warrior of Light or Prince Who Was Promised. All signs point to yes. Melisandre’s prophecy states that the Prince Who Was Promised will have the blood of the dragon and will be reborn in smoke and salt (in the books Jon's wounds smoke and his comrades cry salty tears all over him). Whenever she’s looked into the fires for Azor, she’s only seen things to do with snow, which can’t be a coincidence. In addition, Jon picked his Night's Watch post over his lady love (Ygritte), which ties into the original Azor Ahai and Nissa Nissa prophecy.
Interestingly, a less popular fan theory suggests that Ser Davos could be the Prince Who Was Promised. He has been linked to Melisandre throughout the show, and was reborn in smoke and salt when he was pulled from the water during the Battle of the Blackwater. His presence could also explain why Melisandre assumed it was Stannis for five seasons, before he was killed by Brienne. Food for thought.
In season 7 episode 2 Melisandre suggests it could be Daenerys, as she speaks to her about the prophecy. The show makes a point of stating that the High Valyrian term for 'Prince' is non-gender specific, suggesting it could even be Dany herself.
6. Euron Greyjoy will control a dragon
What it means: Euron Greyjoy has already pledged his allegiance to Cersei by wrecking Daenerys' fleet, and bringing her Ellaria Sand and Tyene as prisoners. Last we saw, they were dying in a prison cell, at different rates. However, that may not be the only trick Euron has up his very stylish sleeves.
In the books, Euron Greyjoy acquires a horn called Dragonbinder while searching the ruins of Old Valyria. He claims it can be used to control a dragon, but it hasn’t been tested. We haven't seen Euron with Dragonbinder in the series so far, but he could definitely surprise Dany and her army. If someone used one of her own dragons against her it would be devastating for Dany. Unlikely, now, as Euron has already established himself as a powerful villain in his own right, and it seems the show is leaving it to Qyburn to deal with the impending dragon assault on King's Landing with his Scorpions, which we know work, thanks to Bronn's heroics at the Battle of the Loot Train. Also, the Night King has Viserion in his army, so adding a third player in the dragon vs dragon battle seems excessive.
7. Bran is actually Bran The Builder
What it means: For those who don’t know, Bran The Builder was the man who created Winterfell and raised The Wall over 8000 years before the events covered in Game of Thrones. There’s belief that our Bran and the former Bran are one and the same person because of his ability to influence the past. We already know Bran can see into the past and future, and he can influence events and 'warg' into people. “Hold the door,” anyone?
Seeing as he's aware of the White Walkers in the present day, maybe it's his responsibility to travel into the past and raise The Wall to keep them out. Also, in the books Old Nan mentions - on several occasions - that Bran's favourite stories are the ones about... yup, Bran The Builder. Is that an echo of the young Stark's future? Maybe. But hang on... if Bran builds the wall, but also gets marked by the Night King and allows the Whitewalkers to pass it... ? Does that mean he's wasted his time? Or does it mean he built the wall to hold the undead at bay until man is ready to deal with them? Hmmm...
8. Cleganebowl is still on!
What this means: That The Hound and his brother The Mountain will meet and fight to the death. At the end of season 4 it looked pretty bad for the Clegane brothers. Sandor 'The Hound' Clegane was beaten by Brienne and left to die by Arya, while Gregor 'The Mountain' Clegane was fatally poisoned by Prince Oberyn of Dorne. However, both of them survived and now they're on a collision course.
Cleganebowl is one of the biggest Game of Thrones theories, and it's still very possible that we'll see it. The Hound is currently teamed up with Jon Snow and the Northmen. But before he was fighting alongside Beric Dondarrion and the Brotherhood without Banners, who were originally sent by Robert Baratheon to kill Gregor Clegane (in the books). Wouldn't it be delicious if Gregor finally fulfilled this mission in season 8, by taking down undead Gregor once and for all? The fans demand it, and the showrunners are listening.
9. The Wedding of Ice and Fire
What this means: Snow and Fire. Black and Blonde. Cute and Cuter. Yes, people have been shipping Jon Snow and Daenerys Targaryen since basically the beginning of the series, and for good reason. They’re both attractive and awesome and cool and they’d make super cute babies. Overall, an alliance between these two is a smart idea. She’s the Dragon Queen, and he’s the newly crowned King of the North. No one would be able to stop them.
At the end of season 7 Jon has definitely bent the knee, as their steamy night on the boat and his letter to Sansa proved. Sure, they might be related, but that’s kind of been the Targaryen M.O. for a long time. In the end, these two are almost definitely going to team up, not only to stop Cersei and her reign of insanity, but also to put an end to the White Walker invasion that’s coming, because winter and all that.
10. Sam Tarly has exposed a Conspiracy of Maesters
What this means: During his time at the Citadel, Sam pleaded with the Arch Maester to help him fight the White Walker invasion. However, despite admitting that he believed Sam, the Arch Maester refused to act - even belittling Sam in a meeting when the raven arrived from Winterfell in season 7 episode 5. It could just be that the Maesters are stubborn old fools, refusing to face impending disaster. After all, they've weathered countless wars and catastrophes. However, the Maester Conspiracy theory suggests that they're in league with Cersei, who has paid them to help her win the PR war against Daenerys. After all, the common people will do as the Maesters tell them, so while they don't fight they are a powerful ally.
Another branch to that theory suggests that the Maesters have an agenda to deny all magic in the world of Westeros, promoting fact and history over the unexplained. The existence of dragons and White Walkers would threaten this world view, so the Arch Maester will never publicly admit the existence of either. Which is why Sam has finally left.
11. Daenerys, Tyrion, and Jon are going to ride dragons
What this means: You'll know the Targaryen sigil by now: a red, three-headed dragon. It won't seem so odd then that when Dany went into the House of the Undying she saw a vision of her dead brother, Rhaegar, saying "the dragon has three heads". However, the prophecy haunts her, and in the books Jorah Mormont eventually relents and explains that the Targaryens originally conquered Westeros with three dragons and three dragon riders, explaining that the "three heads" refers to the riders of Drogon, Viserion, and Rhaegal. But if Daenerys is one, who are the other two? Seeing as R+L=J has been confirmed, people are thinking that the three riders will have Targaryen blood: Jon, Daenerys, and... Tyrion. Yes, really. Right before Tywin's death at Tyrion's hands, he mutters "you're no son of mine", leading some to suspect that his wife Joanna had an affair with Aerys II Targaryen. Tyrion is their child, leading him to have Valyrian blood and being the perfect third candidate for a dragonrider. As for Jon? Drogon was getting awful friendly with him in episode 5...
Here's where things get interesting. Bran gets told by the three-eyed crow "You will never walk again, but you will fly". Could this mean he'll be able to warg into or ride a dragon? While it could simply refer to him warging into a crow, the scalier possibility is far more exciting.
Only real problem? There are only two living dragons left, so... Pinch of salt.
12. The Night King is a Stark
What this means: This gives a whole new meaning to the "There must always be a Stark in Winterfell" saying. The Long Night ended with the Battle for the Dawn where dragonglass was used against the White Walkers, but some think it's unlikely that such a massive force was defeated by arrows. After all, White Walkers can raise the dead, which means almost endless foot soldiers. Instead fans theorise it was ended with a pact - that the North would belong to men as long as there was a Stark in Winterfell. The Starks are an ancient line so this is entirely plausible, and we've seen in season 5 how White Walkers can transform babies into blue-eyed versions of themselves. Maybe before the Battle for the Dawn they captured a Stark child and turned it into a White Walker in an effort to emotionally blackmail the Starks to stop fighting. The babe would have inherited the Night King title and struck a deal that it would stay away from Winterfell as long as Starks lived there.
13. Varys is actually a merman
What this means: Everything. This means everything. This is the probably the most spectacular thing I’ve ever heard. According to Nerdist, what Varys wants is simple: He is a merman and he wants to free his fellow merpeople. You heard that right. And not just any merman, but a member of the 'merlings' species, which exist in A Song of Ice and Fire.
The biggest hook (get it?) for this theory is the speed in which Varys traveled from Dorne to Dany’s ship. While the showrunners have chalked it up to pacing, others have loosely speculated that it’s because Varys actually has a tail. There’s even the belief that Dany’s dragons could melt the ice in The North so much that the entire Seven Kingdoms will turn into a giant ocean, leaving only merlings… and Littlefinger, because that dude will never die. Heck, season 7 has repeatedly suggested Varys has a big secret to reveal, so perhaps it's a fin-tail and an uncanny taste for salty fish.
14. Cersei will be betrayed by the Iron Bank
What this means: The theory goes that while Cersei's payment of her debt to the Iron Bank could lead to more borrowing from them... it could also allow the Iron Bank to sever ties with the Lannisters and back Daenerys, who is the most likely victor of the war in season 7. The Iron Bank places bets, and it likes to bet on the winners. In this case, Dany is the clear favorite, but the Iron Bank couldn't offer her borrowing without first being paid the massive amount of cash owed to them by Cersei and her family. Now that Tycho Nestoris has his gold... it's a good bet that he'll switch sides to try and get a safer investment with Dany.
Tywin Lannister deliberately stayed in debt to the Iron Bank because he knew they'd back him in order to one day reclaim their investment, but now that Cersei has paid up... they no longer need to have any kind of patience with her.
15. The Night King will attack King’s Landing first, not the North
According to some season 7 DVD commentary, showrunners David Benioff and D. B. Weiss have requested that the King’s Landing map room should be an exterior location in season 8. No one knows why at the moment, but there’s a theory going around that the set will be used to show Viserion flying over the castle as a sudden reveal that the Night King’s attack has started. Of course, the widely-accepted theory is that the Night King will attack the North first with his undead army. But - and this is a big but - now that he has the undead Viserion at his beck and call, the strategic choice might be to use the Wights to distract Jon Snow’s army in the snowy North while he attacks Westeros’ capital alone. Like his scaled brothers, Viserion is capable of widespread devastation (the Game of Thrones loot train battle proved just how much), so the Night King could take King’s Landing entirely on his own. Or maybe he just wants to reduce it to ash. Cersei probably won’t be pleased with either outcome.