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Game of Thrones: recapping season 7 and evaluating season 8 predictions

Where we are and what to expect from the final season

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Game of Thrones: recapping season 7 and evaluating season 8 predictions

Angela Karas

The season seven finale of Game of Thrones aired Aug. 27, 2017. In other words, almost two years have elapsed since the penultimate season, and, in anticipation for season eight’s April 14 premiere, I figured some may be in need of plot recap in addition to a breakdown of the season eight teasers/trailers HBO has released. Spoilers ahead.

 

Season seven recap

 

Season seven, for better or for worse, showed us the Night King in full force. Historically, much of the Game of Thrones plot has revolved around conflicting geopolitical interests in a quest for the Iron Throne. However, season seven put the bulk of this conflict on the backburner in favor of the drama showing us that winter really is here. Gone are the days of brief “beyond the wall” allusions while the plot mainly centered on the Seven Kingdoms; the Night King has been building an army and is now ready to attack.

 

Much of the season’s seven episodes lacked appropriate impetus for the action to which viewers have grown accustomed. Entire episodes could be briefly surmised by a simple “character ‘x’ is now in ‘y’ location.” Pivotal moments, like Jon finally meeting Daenerys, proved severely anticlimactic. Perhaps we should have heeded the out-of-place feel of the Ed Sheeran cameo in the season premiere as a warning of the declining quality.

 

But, this is not to say season seven entirely lacked jaw-dropping moments. Littlefinger’s long overdue death, Jon and Daenerys’ armies fighting the Night King’s battalion and the ambitious scene in which Cersei and Co. are first exposed to a White Walker proved more in line with what we’ve come to expect from the series. The season concludes on a bleak note, as Viserion, Daenerys’s White Walker-ified dragon, spews his ice blue flames to burn down the wall, and the White Walkers enter Westeros.

 

Season eight: Teasers, trailers and fan theories

 

Naturally, the actual season eight plot has been kept under tight wrap, but crucial teasers and a trailer have been released. The first teaser, “Dragonstone,” released recalls the map of Westeros featured in the opening credits, but depicts emblematic statues of the symbols of the Houses, like a direwolf for the Starks and a lion for the Lannisters, on one side enveloped in ice and on the other in fire. This continues until the ice and fire meet, at which point the show’s logo appears and the teaser abruptly concludes. “Dragonstone” proves a relatively surface-level teaser, overtly hinting at the battle that will ensue between the White Walkers and Daenerys’ dragons and paying homage to the title of the book series upon which Game of Thrones is based, A Song of Ice and Fire.

 

The second promo, “Crypts of Winterfell,” depicts Jon, Sansa and Ayra walking in the crypts past the statues of deceased characters and coming upon statues of themselves before blue fog signaling the arrival of the White Walkers brings the scene to a starling halt. As all the statues in the crypts of Winterfell represent the dead, this does not bode well for the Starks. The teaser also includes lines played in distorted manner from now-deceased characters, such as Ned Stark, who says to Jon, “You are a Stark. You may not have my name, but you have my blood.” The teaser also features a lone feather falling, which undoubtedly bears some soon to be revealed symbolism pertaining to the final season.

 

The trailer itself showcases nearly all of Westeros gearing up for battle. We see Daenerys travelling with Jon and her two remaining dragons to Winterfell, and an HBO Go commercial that aired during the Golden Globes features Sansa Stark telling Daenerys “Winterfell is yours, your grace.” Other such highlights of the official trailer include glimpses of armies on both sides forming in preparation for the inevitable battle. While season eight will only consist of only six episodes, quite a few of the episodes are movie-length, suggesting that emerging victor of the impending war will be no easy feat for either side.

 

Most recently, HBO released what are presumably the final three teasers, entitled “Aftermath,” “Survival” and “Together.” “Aftermath” does not reveal any new character footage, but does depict Winterfell in shambles with various pertinent objects, like Arya’s sword Needle and Jamie Lannister’s prosthetic hand, scattered among the ruins. The mysterious feather featured in the “Crypts of Winterfell” teaser also makes an appearance. The promo concludes with a silhouette of the Night King standing the entrance of Winterfell, framed by mounds of snow. Judging by this teaser, it does not look like the events of the final season will bode well for any of the living.

 

In “Survival,” viewers see character interactions from the upcoming season. Such footage as Daenerys and Jon arriving in Winterfell with the two dragons and snippets from battle scenes promise season eight will contain a plethora of high-stakes moments.“Together” features many of the same scene snippets as “Survival,” though also introduces new material, like new battle snippets.

 

An overarching theme emerges between “Survival” and “Together” in that they both seem to promote the idea that the battle for the Iron Throne is put on the backburner in favor of banding together to defeat the Night King. In “Survival,” Jamie Lannister says “This goes beyond loyalty. This is about survival,” aptly paralleling the teaser’s title while also pressing the fact that internal war among the Seven Kingdom has been entirely trumped by the the threat of the White Walkers. In “Together,” Tyrion Lannister asserts “We must fight together now, or die,” once again both alluding to the teaser’s name and reaffirming that conflict with the White Walkers will take center stage in season eight.

 

In light of these teaser and trailers, various fan theories have abounded. Perhaps most prevalent is that of Bran Stark himself being the Night King. While certainly plausible, this theory seems almost too conspicuous. Bran undoubtedly harbors the most significant supernatural ability considering his Three-Eyed Raven status, and the show hasn’t exactly been shy about cinematically paralleling the two characters.

 

One must also consider the scene in season six episode five, when he uses his Greensight ability to find the Night King, who then marks him, thereby giving the Night King knowledge of Bran’s location. There is little known about what actually motivates the White Walkers in their quest to essentially ravage Westeros, and the idea that somehow Bran might be behind this is certainly not implausible. Yet the theory is still somewhat a stretch, especially considering that suspicion has already mounted from some fans.

 

Another fan theory gaining traction is that of Daenerys’ impending death. I do find this maintains somewhat more substance, as it is practically a universal theme in the world of television that a show’s final season is the key time to kill off main characters. Daenerys had accrued an impressive amount of power in a rather short span of time, and, without her dragons, is much less of a force to be reckoned with. The White Walkers have already turned one of her dragons, and all they would essentially need is one more to have all of Westeros at their mercy and render Daenerys largely defenseless, even with both the Unsullied and the Dothraki on her side.

 

Lastly, I would like to present a theory of my own. I think that if by the end of this war the White Walkers are defeated, Sansa Stark will take the Iron Throne. I should first preface my biases; House Stark has been my favorite House and Sansa my favorite character from season one. While the other Starks avoided the conflicts of their House (Job by joining the Night’s Watch, Arya by becoming Nobody, and Bran by becoming the Three-Eyed Raven), Sansa faced and overcame her ordeals with Joffrey and then Ramsey and emerged in season seven as an absolute powerhouse.

 

I originally thought my wish for Sansa to take the Iron Throne was largely unsubstantiated, but in the aforementioned teaser trailer, Sansa stands in the middle of Jon and Arya, indicating superiority. Furthermore, when the blue ice and fog appear, Jon and Arya stand in front of Sansa with their swords, as if it is their duty to protect her.

 

Regardless of whether my theory is correct, I do think likely something significant will happen to her character. Sophie Turner gave an interview with Entertainment Weekly, in which she reveals she told fiancé Joe Jonas how the series ends. Speaking with Entertainment Tonight on Monday, she clarified that while she did “fill [him] in” on the series’ ending, this was partially due to the fact that Jonas apparently spent a substantial enough amount of time on-set to begin to piece the plot together. She said she decided to tell him the ending and that he had to sign an NDA. While strictly speculation on my part, I do wonder whether Sophie would have divulged the show’s ending strictly on the basis on Joe having spent time on-set, or if she was partially motivated by wishing to share the fate of her character because it was exceptionally noteworthy.

Fans have much to look forward to in the upcoming final season of Game of Thrones. If the show has taught us anything, it is that anyone can die, and the final season will likely be no exception. Prepare yourselves, because winter is here.

 

EW article: https://ew.com/tv/2019/03/22/sophie-game-of-thrones-spoilers/

 

1st teaser (Winterfell crypts): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wA38GCX4Tb0

 

Actual season trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rlR4PJn8b8I

 

HBO Go trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?time_continue=7&v=wQJs9V_3448

 

Joe Jonas NDA: https://www.etonline.com/sophie-turner-on-why-fiance-joe-jonas-had-to-sign-a-game-of-thrones-nda-exclusive-122532

 

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