A look at the biggest Game of Thrones fan theories ahead of Season 8

Is Tyrion a Targaryen? What’s the link between Bran and the Night King? Are the White Walkers actually the good guys?

Game of Thrones is set to return and everyone has their own theories about what will happen in the eighth and final season. NOW TV will screen the first episode of Season 8 on April 15, at the same time as it airs in the US, so at least there isn’t long to wait.

Fans of Game of Thrones are pretty obsessive and they have some detailed theories about what they think will happen in the final season. With Season 8 about to land, we’ve taken a closer look at some of the biggest and most popular fan theories.

Theory 1: A broken treaty started the war with the White Walkers

What is it?

We know that the Children of the Forest and the First Men joined forces to fight the White Walkers in the War for the Dawn. This war ended when a champion called the Last Hero/Azor Ahai defeated the White Walkers. There isn’t much detail about how one guy with a flaming sword ended a war.

However, one fan theory says that the White Walkers weren’t defeated.

It suggests that they negotiated a peace treaty that divided up the land and the First Men promised not to use fire magic, Valyrian steel or dragonglass against them. It may even have involved human sacrifices to allow the White Walkers to replenish their ranks. In return, they remained in the cold north.

Brandon Stark, founder of the Stark House, subsequently built the Wall and established the Night’s Watch to secure the northern border.

However, recent events in Westeros have violated the terms of this ancient treaty. This could have been the return of dragons, the spread of fire magic in Westeros, or even Sam Tarly killing a White Walker when it takes Gilly’s baby.

If this theoretical treaty has been broken, are the White Walkers just defending themselves against the human aggressors?

Why should we believe it?

George RR Martin has created a world where people or issues are rarely black and white. The White Walkers seem to be the personification of evil but let’s look at things from their perspective.

Fire magic has returned, red priests are burning weirwood trees, humans are encroaching on their territory and the Night’s Watch have started killing them. It’s not like there were many of them in the first place.

A White Walker even let a man escape to Winterfell in the very first episode. If you’ve tried warning people and they don’t listen, why wouldn’t you retaliate?

We know that the White Walkers can raise the dead but we’ve only seen them create other White Walkers with sacrificed babies. Remember how Craster was sacrificing his newborn sons to them at Craster’s Keep when Jon and the Night’s Watch went north of the Wall? People don’t just leave babies out in the snow so Craster presumably had some kind of an arrangement with them.

That suggests they’re capable of reason, despite Jon describing the Night King as a “general you can't negotiate with” in Season 7.

Could it be that the Last Hero/Azor Ahai didn’t defeat them during the War for the Dawn? Maybe he just negotiated a peace treaty?

Melisandre believes that Jon is the Prince That Was Promised. What if the Prince That Was Promised is actually destined to negotiate another peace treaty? Jon has a history of diplomacy, even with his natural enemies. He’s painfully honest, he’s someone who’d sacrifice his own happiness for a cause, and he’s constantly putting himself in ridiculously dangerous situations. He gets our vote if there’s dealing to be done.

Theory 2: Bran is the Night King

What is it?

The theory is that Bran has been using his powers to travel back in time to try to stop the Night King. We know that he can influence the past because of what happened to Hodor but the original Three-Eyed Raven warned him that he cannot change destiny.

“The past is already written,” he tells Bran. “The ink is dry.”

That doesn’t stop Bran from trying, without success.

Bran then tries to stop the Children of the Forest creating the Night King but it all goes terribly wrong. He ends up trapped in the body of the man who is eventually turned into the Night King. The combination of his own power and the Children of the Forest’s magic warps his mind and he becomes the Night King that we know today.

Ultimately, he ends up trapped behind the Wall, waiting for Daenerys and her dragons to come and give him a way out that he remembers from another life.

Confused? We know how you feel.

Why should we believe it?

Fans have picked up on the similar clothing worn by Bran and the Night King, and their shared connection when warging or greenseeing. How can the Night King find Bran when he’s greenseeing or know when Bran’s using ravens to spy on him? The Night King also seems to know when certain things will happen – he just happens to have some ice spears handy when Dany brings her dragons over the wall.

When the original One-Eyed Raven pulls Bran out of a vision about Winterfell, he warns Bran that there are risks involved in greenseeing. One of them seems to be getting trapped in time.

“It is beautiful beneath the sea - stay too long and you drown,” he tells Bran.

Remember the Night King flying that ice dragon at the end of Season 7? The One-Eyed Raven once told Bran that “You’ll never walk again but you will fly.”

Eagle-eyed fans also noticed that the wights took the shape of what looks like the Stark's wolf sigil when crossing the wall at the end of Season 7.

Could that suggest an ancient link between the Night King and the Starks?

Theory 3: Arya will kill Cersei while wearing Jaime’s face

What is it?

In Episode 1 of Season 5, a witch tells a young Cersei that she will marry a king and have three children who will die.

“Gold will be their crowns and gold their shrouds,” the witch says. In the books, however, the witch went further and added what has become known as the “valonqar prophecy.”

“And when your tears have drowned you, the valonqar shall wrap his hands about your pale white throat and choke the life from you.”

Valonqar means little brother/sister in High Valyrian, which makes Cersei’s younger brothers - Tyrion and Jaime - the prime suspects. However, Cersei has a sworn enemy who can wear other people’s faces… The theory is that Arya Stark will fulfil this prophecy wearing Jaime’s face.

Why should we believe it?

Tyrion may have killed his father but it’s hard to imagine the circumstances in which he would strangle Cersei.

Jaime’s relationship with Cersei is, eh, complicated to say the least but would her brother/lover kill her with his bare hands? It may be that he’s driven to do it, as he was with the Mad King.

However, another way that Cersei’s “younger brother” could technically kill her is if Arya is wearing Jaime’s face.

If Arya survives the Battle of Winterfell, we suspect she’ll be looking to tick Cersei off her kill list. This would be an obvious way to get close to Cersei and she’s previously used the faces to kill Walder Frey.

Theory 4: Tyrion Lannister is actually a Targaryen

What is it?

This theory suggests that Tyrion is not Tywin Lannister’s son. He is actually the son of Joanna Lannister and the Mad King, Aerys Targaryen. That would make him the half brother of Daenerys and the uncle of Jon Snow.

When Tyrion tells Jon Snow that “All dwarves are bastards in their fathers’ eyes” in Season 1, he may have been foreshadowing this very revelation.

The books suggest that there was a sexual relationship between Joanna Lannister and the Mad King, although possibly not a consensual one, and that Tyrion was the product. This hasn’t been explored in the TV show but, with the recent confirmation of the R+L=J theory, maybe the A+J=T theory is also a possibility.

Why should we believe it?

With the exception of Jaime, the Lannisters don’t have much time for Tyrion. Certainly, some of Tywin’s comments suggest that he’s not convinced of Tyrion’s paternity.

"Men's laws give you the right to bear my name and display my colours since I cannot prove that you are not mine,” Tywin says in Episode 1 of Season 3, when Tyrion asks why he has not been named as heir to Casterly Rock.

At the end of Season 3, Tywin says he wanted to drown Tyrion after Joanna died giving birth to him.

“Instead I let you live and I brought you up as my son.”

“You're no son of mine,” he says, just before Tyrion kills him with a crossbow in Episode 10 of Season 4. Although having a crossbow pointed at you is unlikely to encourage any father-son bonding, in fairness.

One of the biggest hints that Tyrion may have Targaryen blood came in Episode 2 of Season 6, when he walks up to the chained Rhaegal and Viserion. Not only do the dragons let him live but they also let him unchain them.

Could they be sensing his Targaryen blood? We’ll just have to wait and see.

Theory 5: Cleganebowl

What is it?

Fans are predicting that Season 8 will finally deliver one of most anticipated dust-ups in Game of Thrones history - Cleganebowl. Cleganebowl is the natural culmination of the sibling rivalry between Sandor “the Hound” Clegane and Gregor “the Mountain” Clegane.

We know that the Mountain tortured his brother in their youth, scarring him for life when he was young and giving him a lifelong fear of fire.

What’s left of the Mountain is guarding Cersei in King’s Landing while the Hound is facing the undead in the North but fans are convinced that the show will give us the fight we’ve all been waiting for.

Why should we believe it?

The closest we’ve come to Cleganebowl was a brief clash between the two at the Tourney of the Hand in Season 1. King Robert stepped in to stop that altercation.

The Season 7 finale saw the two square up in the Dragonpit, with the Hound’s speech suggesting that Cleganebowl is still on the cards.

“What they did to you doesn’t matter,” he tells the Mountain. “It’s not how it ends for you, brother. You know who’s coming for you. You’ve always known.”

One interesting take on Cleganebowl even ties it to the Valonqar prophecy. The witch says “the valonqar” instead of “your valonqar.”

Given the Mountain’s role as Cersei’s protector and zombie sidekick, could the prophecy mean the Mountain’s little brother? If so, we can only assume that the Hound defeats his brother in Cleganebowl if he’s able to lay his hands on Cersei.

The final season of Game of Thrones. Streaming on NOW TV from 15 April. Each episode will be streamed at the same time as it is released in the US. Grab your 14 day free trial with NOW TV.

Sponsored by:

Game of Thrones. ©2019 Home Box Office, Inc. All rights reserved. HBO® and all related programs are the property of Home Box Office, Inc.