brienne of tarth
Making plans for the future? Add these two to the death pool! Credit: HBO

PREDICTION FOUR: OUR HEROES LOSE AND WINTERFELL WILL BE DESTROYED

Simply put, the Night King has had more time to prepare for this and he’s not going to lose on his first foray south of the Wall.  As I pointed out, he waited until a specific set of circumstances played out and that along with his Greensight ability all but guarantees his victory.  He’s spent time awaiting Craster’s ninety-nine sons, he’s spent time consolidating wights and building his army.  Everything he’s done has been for the singular purpose of defeating the world of the living and ensuring the Long Night returns and lasts throughout perpetuity. 

            His army is in unique in the fact that he can call upon the fallen soldiers of his enemies to join his cause.  The living cannot win a war of attrition, it just isn’t feasible.  I mean, technically it is possible, but the odds against it are astronomical.  They admitted as much to themselves in the war council scene.  The Night King not only has the ability to continually grow his army and replace any dead wights with freshly fallen corpses – which will likely be in much better condition and much more difficult to defeat than most of the half-rotten shambling things he currently has in his ranks.

            I think we will see our heroes do everything they can, exhaust all of their defenses and it still won’t be enough.  Several of them will fall and rise again (more on that later) and they will be forced to retreat into the tunnels of Winterfell that were made in case the lords of the castle ever needed to escape an enemy that overwhelmed them.  I know Ned Stark said that Winterfell could withstand a force ten times greater than that of the castle’s occupants, but he didn’t imagine anything like this.  They will flee into the catacombs and crypts with Bran in tow, and the army of the dead in hot pursuit.  I think that they will be able to escape when another group shows up to distract the Night King’s army somehow. 

            It has been said by Miguel Sapochnik, director of this episode (as well as Hardhome and The Battle of the Bastards) that he took a lot of inspiration from the Battle of Helm’s Deep in The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers film.  If you have seen this film, you know what this means.  It also backs up my theory that Winterfell will be destroyed, because that’s what happened in the battle upon which this battle was based.  There are a lot of Lord of the Rings parallels in this series, such as Podrick singing “Jenny of Oldstones” on the eve of battle.  This mirrors Pippin singing “Edge of Night”, and show composer Ramin Djawadi even made the first four notes of Jenny identical to that song.  Again, it’s no coincidence.  The only difference will be that our heroes will not be the ones victorious.  George RR Martin is not a fan of the clearly defined villain or hero.  So many characters have so many facets to their personalities and have completed some long, complicated journeys to figure out who they really are.  That leads me to my final prediction.

PREDICTION FIVE: THE DEATHS

It cannot be avoided.  Like Beric Dondarrion told Jon, Death is the only undefeated enemy.  This episode will be devastating for many of our characters and because of that, devastating to us as viewers as well.  Many of us will only have just begun to recover from the aftermath of Avengers Endgame when we watch this episode.  I know I will be counted among them.  But we have to face facts, face reality and take a deep breath to prepare ourselves for the inevitable.  On that note, here are my predictions for various characters who I believe will die in the coming episode.

Brienne of Tarth – This one is fairly obvious to me.  Her character arc has come to a conclusion.  She just got what she’s always wanted- respect, love, and knighthood – all from Jaime Lannister.  When Jaime knighted her, he sealed her fate.  Plus, she’s going to be on the front lines.  We’ll see her swarmed by wights and will turn. 

Jaime Lannister – Jaime will do everything he can to save Brienne but will not be in time, and she will rise again and kill him and he will die as he always wanted to – in the arms of the woman he loves. 

Grey Worm – He’s on the front lines and he’s making plans for the future. This is a recipe for disaster.  Although the writers do like making characters suffer so maybe he lives but…

Missandei – I’m not the only one to put this theory forward, but when Grey Worm promised to bring her home to Naath I knew that if that did come to pass, he would most likely be bringing her corpse or ashes.

The Little Girl With the Burn on Her Face – Because she was specifically added to the show to evoke thoughts and emotions tied to Shireen Baratheon, we were shown her interactions with both Davos and Gilly – both of whom were taught to read by the princess before her untimely death.  I predict that she will come back as a wight and Davos will be forced to put her down for good.

Varys – He’s not a fighter, and he’ll be in the crypts.  He also doesn’t seem to be able to move too quickly so if the crypts do get overrun and there is a mass exodus, Varys will be caught up in the stampede and will join the ranks of the undead.

Melisandre – I think, much like Gandalf the White with the Rohirrim, Mel will show up with the Fiery Hand (slave soldiers in the service of the Lord of Light) will show up and do whatever she can to distract the Night King and his army long enough for our heroes to escape.

Gilly – She’ll die protecting Little Sam in the crypts.  The Walkers will be especially angry with her for absconding with Craster’s 100th son. 

Eddison Tollett – He’s expendable, but he’ll die doing something heroic.

Lyanna Mormont – I think she dies off-screen but we see her later after the battle marching with the army of the dead, her brown eyes now blue and even more intimidating. 

Theon Greyjoy – I also think Theon will die protecting Bran.  He’ll take out a bunch of wights, maybe even a Walker, but he’s done.  His redemptive arc is also finished.  He has come full circle; he’s back where he started and will die a hero.

           That’s eleven deaths.  There may be more, there may be fewer.  Who can say, but I think I have given some pretty compelling reasons why the things I think will happen will happen.  I do think there will be some familiar faces among the dead to further shatter the hearts and minds of the viewers.  Just imagine an undead Hodor striding alongside undead Summer.  How about a zombified Ramsay Bolton?  That would be fun, with his destroyed face courtesy of his starved hounds.  The Umbers, the Glovers, wildlings, Thenns, brothers of the Night’s Watch, and more will be in this army.  Our heroes will have to battle friends and family during this conflict. 

            One prediction I can make that I think everyone will agree with is this: this is going to be emotionally draining.  There will be action and excitement and sadness and devastation. 

           And I cannot wait until Sunday night to experience it.

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