Which Characters Will Lose The 'Game Of Thrones?': A Chronicle Of Many Deaths Foretold

Will Jon Snow (Kit Harington) and Daenerys (Emilia Clarke) stay safe in the final season of <em>Game of Thrones</em>? Will their kicky winter camouflage help?
Will Jon Snow (Kit Harington) and Daenerys (Emilia Clarke) stay safe in the final season of Game of Thrones? Will their kicky winter camouflage help?
/HBO

"When you play the game of thrones," Cersei Lannister (Lena Headey) told Ned Stark (Sean Bean) icily — but of course she says everything icily — "you win ... or you die."

Foreshadowing? To say the least. More like fiveshadowing.

Because she said that to him way back in the seventh episode of Game of Thrones' very first season. It was May 2011, years before the show would become the inescapable international phenomenon it has, and two episodes before it would set itself firmly down the path to becoming just that, by killing off its nominal main hero, Ned Stark.

Since that time, over the course of seven seasons, Cersei has been proven exactly right, again and again. There's been some small amount of winning, here and there, but just really a tremendous lot of dying — characters big and small, both the beloved and the benighted, have been poisoned, beheaded, slashed, gashed, stabbed, devoured by hounds, hurled from parapets, immolated, head-squished, pincushioned by arrows and — in one case — even died of old age, if you can imagine anything so grotesque.

Now that we're entering the home stretch — just six episodes left, which will clock in at an estimated seven hours and twenty minutes, total — all the series' disparate storylines are crashing together, which can be depended upon to send its body count soaring.

So let's make some predictions.

Read: Wild guesses.

These predictions are not based on anything but gut instinct. Nothing remotely spoilery lurks beneath them. Not knowledge gleaned from a close reading of the books, or from leaked on-set scuttlebutt, or anything, really, but a recent re-watch — and a reasonable understanding of how narrative arcs generally play out.

Let's take the likely deaths in piecemeal fashion, because they tend to slot into discrete categories.

The Noble Sacrificers:

These are the characters whose storylines seem most likely to end with a big, bold act of selflessness.

The Deaths Foretold:

These are the characters who've been set up — either by in-show prophecy, or just the simple, implacable demands of storytelling — to totally eat it, at some point in season eight.

The Just Desserts:

These are the series' most hissable remaining villains; rest assured, not a one of them is gonna make it. Sure, the show's allowed their cruelty to thrive for multiple seasons, in most cases — but here at the end, justice has to find them.

The Stakes-Raisers:

I dearly hope everyone in this category makes it through. I'd like to think the series will rise above the pernicious tendency to kill or abuse secondary characters (usually women) in order to inspire hero characters (usually men) into taking action. I'd like to think it won't happen. But then, I've seen the show.

The Safe As (Westeros) Houses:

These are the characters who will make it through, bloodied, beaten but unbowed.

There you have it. Again, wild guesses, all. I'll be recapping this final season of Game of Thrones here at NPR.org, so we'll have six opportunities to bask in my wrongness. I'll write them overnight, so check for them on Monday mornings, first thing.

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No okay yeah now that I think about it let's move Davos to the Safe category.

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