Game Of Thrones Theories: 7 Possibilities After Season 8's Episode 4, "The Last Of The Starks"
To be the queen of Westeros, you have to earn it.
We're coming up on the final two episodes of Game of Thrones. Season 8 will continue this Sunday, May 12, with Episode 5, which looks to consist of the final big battle for the Iron Throne and Westeros.
After Episode 3's 82-minute battle against the Night King, the White Walkers, and the undead, Episode 4 took a moment to catch its breath. Barring a brief (but devastating) naval encounter midway through the episode, the show got back to the thing that it excels at: psychological maneuvering, whispered conversations in secluded places, and lining up all the game pieces before an inevitable attack.
The show shines brightest when it focuses on its characters rather than The Plot, which feels increasingly labored. It's started to look like we won't get a satisfactory end to this story, which, as we discuss below, might be the point, after all.
Here are our newest theories and thoughts with only two episodes left in this series. This covers some possibilities involving Cersei and her unborn child, Dany the Mad Queen, and much more.
You can read our full review of Season 8, Episode 4, "The Last of the Starks" for more of our reflections and thoughts about the latest episode. You can also check out Episode 4 Easter eggs or get a look ahead at the Episode 5 preview trailer, which offers some clues as to where things are going.
1. The Euron/Jaime/Cersei Paternity Triangle
Cersei is now lying to Euron about her pregnancy, assuming that she is pregnant and this is not some elaborate hoax where she's lying to Jaime as well.
There is no way this doesn't figure into the plot in the upcoming two episodes. With Jaime heading back to King's Landing, he could be the one to tell Euron that Cersei lied to him.
Or maybe he's suspicious already. At the very end of this episode, when Tyrion is begging Cersei to surrender, he mentions her unborn child as a reason she should agree to peace. If Euron does the math, even he should be able to figure out that the timeline doesn't match up.
2. A Mad Queen?
Missandei is decapitated in the final moments of this episode, and that, combined with the death of Rhaegal, makes Daenerys apoplectic with rage. It took all of Varys's persuasive skills to convince Dany not to attack King's Landing after Rhaegal's death. With the death of her best friend and closest confidante, it'll be nearly impossible to prevent bloodshed at this point.
When Emilia Clarke appeared on Jimmy Kimmel Live a few days before the episode aired, she said that next week's Episode 5 will be even more intense and crazy than Episode 3. This keeps with a trend; the penultimate episode for each Game of Thrones season tends to be the most shocking and violent. So it seems like we'll see some sort of military confrontation between Cersei and Daenerys.
The question is, what will happen if Daenerys takes things too far? Will her advisers step in? How far would they go to protect innocent people from her wrath? Or will Varys, Jon, and Tyrion step aside?
Varys has already lost faith in Dany, and Tyrion is beginning to as well. And Jon loves her, but he's honest and moral to a fault, even at the cost of his own happiness and safety. He doesn't want the Iron Throne, but he certainly won't want to be the consort to the queen who murders men, women, and children in the process of winning it.
Game Of Thrones Season 8 Episode 4 The Last of the Starks Breakdown!
Watch Ryan, Lucy, Dave, and Tamoor dissect Game of Thrones Season 8, Episode 4 above, and keep reading for more theories.
3. Jaime's Loyalty Doublespeak
Jaime leaves Winterfell and rides back south when he hears that Cersei and Euron killed Rhaegal. The implication, from the way Brienne was begging for him to stay, was that he was going back to King's Landing to be by Cersei's side and defend her when Dany inevitably sacks the city. He explained this choice by calling himself a horrible person like Cersei, and not the good man that Brienne believes him to be.
But perhaps this means something much more redemptive than it initially appears. Jaime might be saying that he is a bad person right now, and that for him to consider himself good, and truly balance the scales, he has to kill Cersei. He's misleading Brienne to protect her, so that she doesn't follow him and die trying to help him. And he's allowing her to move on emotionally, should he die in his attempt at murdering his sister.
4. The Ending Will Be Deliberately Unresolved
Much like a gymnastics vault, if a TV show doesn't stick the landing, it can retroactively diminish what came beforehand. And with two episodes left, and with so many unanswered questions dangling, it's becoming increasingly apparent that the show cannot resolve this much plot in such a short window of time, and it would be a fool's errand to try.
So instead of chasing an end-all, be-all resolution and failing at it, we may be looking at a situation like Lost or The Sopranos, where the finale leaves us with as many questions as answers, and ends with some discomfort, rather than satisfaction.
The world that Martin created is so complex that we always get the impression of vastness--that we are seeing a small part of a history that spans thousands of years. The finale may confirm that sentiment; this will not be a prophesied destiny that guarantees a new, peaceful world moving forward. It is just another link in a long chain of human pettiness, that will continue long after these characters die and new ones take their place.
And as for our analysis of prophecies and symbols and figurative visuals? The joke's on us. We undeservedly placed faith in these beloved characters to do better. This is not an epic tale of how idealism and right finally triumphs over wrong; it's an epic tale about how the best intentions get broken and hardened until they're indistinguishable from the evil that destroyed them.
5. The Iron Throne is Destroyed
The other option is that no one gets to sit on the Iron Throne, because by the time the dust clears, there will be no Iron Throne. Born out of dragonfire, it will get melted down by Drogon in the next two episodes, and whoever is left standing after the dust clears will reject the title outright. Westeros will become a republic, or seven separate kingdoms. For there to be peace, no one person can have all the power.
The catch is that Jon Snow would have to be the last one standing; Cersei would never abdicate, obviously, and even Daenerys' vision of a peaceful, transformed kingdom has her at the head of it; she sees herself as a benevolent mother figure, even though the audience, and most of the characters, recognize that she has a dark side.
Jon has both southern and northern blood, and he's made alliances with the Free Folk beyond the Wall. He is a uniquely qualified, unifying figure to sit on the Iron Throne, who would have the approval of more than most. And thus, ironically, he would also be in the best position to dissolve the monarchy.
But one is reminded of Frodo at the lip of Mount Doom, refusing to give up the One Ring at the moment of truth. Every man is moral, until he's faced with the prospect of absolute power.
6. Arya is Already In King's Landing
We last see Arya heading south with The Hound, each with their own objective. We can assume, with a fair amount of confidence, that they are headed to King's Landing to kill Cersei and The Mountain, respectively. But with the city on lockdown and Daenerys about to burn it down, how did they get in?
In Season 1 Episode 5, Arya was chasing cats and spying on Varys beneath King's Landing, and this led her through a tunnel that led outside the city by the shoreline. Used in reverse, this could be the perfect passage for a Faceless assassin and her considerably bigger companion. The next time we see Arya, she'll probably be taking off the face of someone else she's killed.
7. Sansa Is Helping Cersei?
Here's a frightening prospect. We know that Sansa is working to undermine Daenerys by telling Tyrion about Jon's true parentage, despite Jon swearing her to secrecy. But what if Sansa is doing even more than that? What if Sansa is tipping off Cersei on Dany's military routes, which is how Euron was able to intercept her ships and kill Rhaegal? It seems bizarre that he was simply at the right place at the right time. It could be bad screenwriting. It could also be a crafty plan by Sansa to destroy the Dragon Queen by having her subjects lose trust in her.
Sansa learned well from her time with Littlefinger. And she would rather take on Cersei, who she knows personally (and potentially get Jon on the Iron Throne), than take on Daenerys, who she doesn't trust and cannot predict.