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Game of Thrones: Who Wins, Who Dies, Who Tells the Story

By Brian Byrd & Genevieve Burgess | Game of Thrones | June 19, 2016 |

By Brian Byrd & Genevieve Burgess | Game of Thrones | June 19, 2016 |

There’s only two episodes left in this season of Game of Thrones, and only 15 episodes left overall thanks to shortened 7th and 8th seasons. It’s been a while since we’ve lost any significant characters, Hodor excepted, but with under 20 hours to go it’s pretty likely that we’re going to start losing some main and least secondary characters again. But which ones? Brian Byrd and I sat down to rank how likely it was that we’d be losing any of these big names within the next two weeks, or ever. Most of these predictions are rooted in our own understandings of where the plot is taking us, and we all know that there are no guarantees when it comes to that. And we were not always in agreement. Play along at home if you like, the death pool is big enough for everyone. - Genevieve Burgess


Jon: Practically Immortal
Having the most loathsome character in series history (save your Joffrey hot takes the game dun changed, ok?) kill Jon Snow in front of his sister on the lands outside his childhood home — seven episodes after he returns from the dead, no less — is peak Game of Thrones. Just unimaginably cruel. So why is Jon in the Practically Immortal camp? Because it too much this late in the game, even for a writing staff that masturbates to Faces of Death videos. Jon didn’t come back just to die by a sadist’s hand. Killing him now would be a storytelling and a fan satisfaction failure. No, Jon will survive this season. Victory will cost the bastard Snow, but he won’t pay with his own life. — Brian


Sansa: Practically Immortal
Again, having Sansa’s rapist ex-husband kill her in battle would be a tipping point for too many viewers. She’s grown in every way a character can this season. Snatching her life after coming so far serves no purpose beyond viewer torture. S-squared will live to reclaim Winterfell for the Starks. How long she stays breathing after that is anyone’s guess. — Brian

I have Sansa more as 80/20 in favor of survival. Not because it brings me any joy (I am already in the process of planning a “Queen in the North” Halloween costume) but because occasionally this show doesn’t know how to use their traditionally feminine characters well. I can’t shake the sense that someone considers her newfound interest in leading an army and making tactical decisions arrogant and she’ll be “punished” somehow for it. - Genevieve

game-thrones-season-6-arya-maisie-williams (1).jpg

Arya: Practically Immortal
She’s bulletproof. That said, having Arya drown offscreen while crossing the Narrow Sea would be the best troll job in television history. - Brian

Yeah, if she’s already survived massive blood loss and sepsis through gumption, they’re not taking her out anytime soon. - Genevieve


Bran: Practically Immortal
Coldhands to the left of me
Meera to the right
Here is Bran
Stuck in this tree and confused
Here is Bran
Stuck in this tree and confused

Bran’s world-expanding powers are too valuable from a storytelling standpoint to vanish now. He’ll be around for a while. - Brian


Tyrion and Dany: Practically Immortal
The Meereenese crew will be on Greyjoy ships headed west as slavers’ ship burn in the background. Their story is finally beginning, not ending. As long as they wear life vest and respect nautical law, they’ll be fine.- Brian

In the Game of Thrones, you win or you die. But you never die while traveling somewhere if you’re a main character. - Genevieve


Brienne: 80/20
Gonna assume Brienne and Pod encounter The Hound and the Brotherhood in the finale. The duo will either join one another (unlikely), hang from a tree (even less likely), or part ways amicably (most likely). Still, the Brotherhood does feel a certain way about Westerosi knights so it’s possible Brienne draws her final breath before the season concludes. - Brian

The strike against Brienne here is the same as it always is; she’s stomping about in Lannister armor with a Lannister sword. The Hound will know her. But with the absence of Lady Stoneheart and Beric’s mission to the North, it seems unlikely that it will matter. Plus, Brienne can let them know about the OTHER Stark sister still alive and kicking. The Hound might be as close to happy as he ever gets to hear it. - Genevieve


Jaime: 80/20
The show invested significant time turning Jaime Lannister into a likable, redemptive rogue cursed to love someone who will probably be his downfall. Slaying him now would be cheap and pointless. Not sure there’s a way Jaime survives the length of the series, but he still has a part to play in the larger wars to come. - Brian

I can see Jaime being the Lannister who walks away from it all. Even though Cersei and Tyrion aren’t alike, exactly, they’re both drawn to power and they both seem to think that they’re better at manipulating people and thinking strategically than they are. Cersei more so than Tyrion, but Tyrion’s made a few extremely questionable calls. Jaime seems to be disgusted by all of it. I hope he ends the series on a farm somewhere, alone, leading a simple, quiet life. But simple, quiet lives are not what this story is about. - Genevieve


Theon: 50/50
Really difficult to guess what role Theon will play in the inevitable Dany-Iron Islands alliance. How will Tyrion view a potential Lord of Pyke in the inner circle? Can Asha and Dany — two fiercely independent leaders who appear to have similar goals but little interest in sharing power — co-exist for long? Will the Westerosi Ken doll play peacemaker or be swatted away like a dickless gnat? Asha’s plot-stalling speech in Volantis seemed to exist solely to kick Theon’s ass into gear, making a quick exit feel unlikely. - Brian


Tormund: 50/50
Zero percent chance all our favorites emerge from the Battle of the Bastards unscathed. Tormund, an immensely charismatic fan-favorite who probably has little impact on the song’s final act, would be a sensible casualty for reasons larger than just dramatic. Jon winning the battle but losing his loyal lieutenant primarily responsible for uniting the Wildlings behind Snow’s cause could pay rich storytelling dividends down the line. That said, YOU GOTTA LET HIM HAVE A SHOT AT BRIENNE!- Brian

I do not have high hopes for Tormund going into Episode 9. Big battles need real stakes and real consequences, and he seems the easiest “consequence” that would both hit viewers hard but not alter the story significantly. For fantasy characters, that’s about the worst place to be. - Genevieve


Cersei: 50/50
Cersei will perish eventually, and not from old age. We can find proof in prophecies, but really, she’s not long for Westeros because the Lannister family has exhausted its usefulness. The powerful Lions are a remnant of their early-series glory. Tyrion survives in name only and serves a Targaryen. Jamie just wants to fuck his sister and spends his days pissed he can’t queue up Death Cab for Cutie on his iPhone with a gold hand. Cersei is the only remaining Lannister who craves power yet is ironically the farther away from grabbing it. What’s left for her to do but die? A redemptive arc isn’t believable. Taking over King’s Landing (again) is unrealistic. Fleeing seems out of character with her ingrained defiance. No, Cersei will perish. She’s only 50/50 because it’s questionable whether the writers have the stones to make it happen this season. - Brian


Margaery: 50/50
My future ex-wife Margaery seems to have a plan up her sleeve. The question is whether that’ll matter if and when Cersei burns this mother down like Anthony Anderson in Harold & Kumar. On the one hand, it’d be weird for Margaery to covertly work with her grandmother on a yet-unseen plot only to have it all literally go up in flames. Why bother with the rose note if it never comes to fruition? On the other, the High Sparrow has anticipated actions five moves before they happen. Does he really think he’s turned one of the most cunning players on the board into a true believer? Margaery could be queen or a charbroiled husk by the time the credits roll. Both are equally plausible. Toughest one to pick, bar none.- Brian

Both Cersei and Margaery have thought that acquiescing to the High Sparrow was the best move. Both have found out that it turned into an “If you give a mouse a cookie” scenario very quickly. I think Margaery made a deal to save herself, and hopefully her brother, but didn’t really know how deep she’d be in until she was in. I don’t see the Sparrow or his Poor Fellows letting her go without a fight. - Genevieve


The High Sparrow: Definitely Getting Chalked Off
The High Bernie (h/t to my man ButtersBC) is playing the game far too well to last much longer. He checkmated Cersei in masterful fashion, took Highgarden off the board with ease, united the faith and crown, and converted the King’s Landing citizenry to his cause. Cersei can’t let that stand, even if it means wiping out herself, her son, and millions of innocents in the process. Man, those Bernie/Hillary comparisons just keep holding, eh?- Brian

The High Sparrow is dangerous because he’s an extremist who’s able to present himself as reasonable until he’s gotten what he wants. For all his humble appearance and talk, he is also extremely aware of the power he has, and very deft at wielding it. The time to attempt negotiations with him has passed, the only question left is how he will be killed. - Genevieve


Ramsay: Definitely Getting Chalked Off
Many will argue that Benioff and Weiss will let Ramsay slink away to reek wreak havoc in later seasons. Can’t fathom what storytelling purpose that serves with only 14 episodes remaining after the finale. No, Ramsey needs get got. The show needed a Joffrey-level taintsack be the antagonist while the White Walkers moved into position for the endgame. He performed his role admirably. But the Starks need to unite the North against this looming blue-eyed threat, and there’s no better place than Winterfell to act as a base of operations. Game of Thrones rarely grants emotional catharsis. Crushing setbacks typically follow crowd pleasing moments. And that may well occur here. Wun Wun slowly lowering Ramsay onto a giant spear anus-first will at least feel good in the moment. For us. It’ll probably hurt Ramsey a lot.- Brian

After all the writers have put us through with Ramsay, and their palpable glee at writing some of his scenes, I don’t trust them to get rid of him. Mostly so I don’t get my hopes up. He’s a 50/50 for me. - Genevieve


Tommen: Definitely Getting Chalked Off
Damn, Tommen. I haven’t seen a kid with an old man’s hand this far up his ass outside of State College. Elmo thinks you’re too much of a puppet. Ain’t no such thing as halfway kings, Tommen. You better cover your stuttering ass in foam because your momma’s about to light you up like the Griswold house in December. You’re a nice kid, Tommen, thrown into a situation you clearly weren’t prepared for. Like you, I too wanted to sex Margaery and likely never will. So I feel you. But you’re a goner. - Brian


Davos: Definitely Getting Chalked Off
Davos ain’t gonna make it, y’all. He’s served his purpose: helping Jon escape Castle Black so he could battle Ramsey for his ancestral home. Seaworth is the organizer, the DavOS keeping Jon’s intrepid band of Phish fans and pint-sized she-bears marching in the same direction. They’ve reached their destination. There’s no role left for him to play. Plus, he’s likable as hell, and the only thing Game of Thrones enjoys more than dispatching beloved characters in heart-wrenching fashion is extraneous boobage. If Benioff and Weiss could turn a sentient rack into an adored character then kill it off at the most inopportune moment possible, they would. Gleefully. - Brian

False: book readers should know that Davos is practically immortal. The man has been “dead” three times now yet keeps popping back up to ruminate on his missing fingers and how totally crazy it is that he’s a lord now. Davos for the Iron Throne. - Genevieve