Everyone who will die in Game of Thrones' final season

The final season of Game of Thrones is nearly upon us, which means we're finally going to get answers to all those questions that have been haunting us. Will the living finally band together to fight the dead? How will Daenerys and Jon handle the secret of Jon's parentage? Whose side will Jaime ultimately choose? And, of course, perhaps the biggest question hanging over the whole series: Who lives and who dies? 

Death is a constant presence in Game of Thrones, and the show made it very clear very early on that it can come for even the most vital characters. With the final season looming, no one is safe, and the battlefields of Westeros will be very bloody indeed by by the series finale. So, with that all in mind: Who can we expect to see die in those final, pivotal episodes?

Well, while we can't name every single character on the chopping block here, we do have a few guesses with regard to key characters. Here a some major players we don't think will survive the final Game of Thrones episodes.

SPOILERS ahead for the entire series!

Cersei Lannister

Let's get the biggest one out of the way first. Yes, it does feel like Cersei Lannister, the current holder of the Iron Throne, will likely not survive the show. At first glance, killing the "evil queen" at the end of the story might feel a bit too much like a fairy tale for Game of Thrones, a show that's well known for subverting the expectations of its audience. The show also loves to deliver on key fan-anticipated moments, though, especially in recent seasons, as evidenced by Littlefinger's death, the reunified Starks, and Dany and Jon hooking up at the end of season 7. With all of that in mind, watching Cersei meet some kind of gruesome end feels like the show simply delivering the goods. 

There's more to the story than just offing a villain, though. Cersei is now at odds with her last great ally, her brother Jaime, setting up a situation in which he could be the one who finally kills her once he realizes there is no hope for redemption in her anymore. The Kingslayer Jaime Lannister could become The Queenslayer, giving his sister and lover some poetic justice along the way. And then, of course, there's that prophecy Cersei received as a child which told her a younger queen would take away all she held dear. Cersei thought it would be Margaery Tyrell, but it may indeed be Daenerys Targaryen.

Jaime Lannister

If a single human character is going to kill Cersei Lannister, it seems quite likely that her brother and lover Jaime will be the one to swing the sword. We first met Jaime as Cersei's trusted companion, who carried on a lifelong affair with her right under Robert Baratheon's nose, fathered her children, and even tried to kill Bran Stark in the name of keeping their secrets. Then, he went on a journey, lost his hand, made some friends, and nearly died, only to come back and face his sister and find her very much changed. Jaime's watched Cersei slowly unravel to the point that her power may now threaten all of humanity, and he may find the strength in the final season to take matters into his own hands. Cersei is clever, though, and she still has many resources at her command, including the chemically altered enforcer that is Gregor Clegane. Jaime may kill Cersei, but if he tries, she will very likely end up being the death of him as well.

Melisandre

The last time we saw the mysterious Red Woman, Melisandre was leaving Westeros for Volantis after a long journey that took her from serving Stannis Baratheon to serving Jon Snow to, finally, advising Daenerys Targaryen, however briefly. Her previous mistakes in the presence of Jon made her reluctant to spend time near him, but in her last conversation with Varys she informed him that she was meant to bring Ice and Fire together, and that with Jon's arrival on Dragonstone she had achieved that goal. With that, she left the continent, but not without a cryptic warning: She is meant to die in Westeros. This is not something the show would drop in simply as an indicator of a far future we'll never see. It's very likely that we'll see Melisandre at some point next season, and when we do, we will also ultimately see her death scene play out. Who does the deed and why remains to be seen.

Varys

Melisandre's prediction that she will die in Westeros also came with another warning: It's also Varys' fate to die on the continent where he made a home as a spymaster. Varys has made a habit of being a survivor and always anticipating where the pendulum of power would swing next. He was devoted to the Mad King before he was deposed, then professed loyalty to the Baratheons while secretly plotting the return of the Targaryen dynasty. He played that role for years, working even for the tyrannical Joffrey Baratheon, before finally fleeing to the East in an effort to aid Daenerys Targaryen. Now, back in Westeros, he seems to be on the right side, but how much longer will his luck hold out with an army of the dead enroaching? Does he have more tricks up his sleeve? Will he switch sides yet again? One way or another, it seems likely that Varys' way with words and spies is finally going to lose its grip soon.

Sandor and Gregor Clegane

There are many Game of Thrones fan theories, but one of them echoes particularly loudly in certain corners of the fandom: Cleganebowl, the theory that one day the hatred between the brothers Sandor and Gregor Clegan will finally boil over into a fight to the death. The season 7 finale, "The Dragon and the Wolf," only served to stoke this fire, leading many fans to believe that the confrontation will finally go down in season 8. Gregor and Sandor were always at odds with each other, but in recent seasons they've taken extremely different paths, with Gregor becoming the monstrous silent bodyguard for Cersei and Sandor going on a kind of redemption quest that ultimately led to him the Brotherhood Without Banners. Now, they're clearly on opposing sides, and while the real fight is with the army of the dead, there could be plenty of time for a major showdown in which these two massive men kill each other.

Grey Worm

Game of Thrones loves to build someone up only to tear them down, as any viewer who sat through the Red Wedding knows all too well. This is a show that swerves on beloved characters just as they seem to be winning, delivering a killing stroke that sends ripples through the show and through the fandom. At the end of season 7, Grey Worm is one of the characters who seems to be in a prime position for just such a twist. He's found love with Missandei, he's found a leader he can follow in Daenerys, and he stands at the head of a great army. He's a leader, a warrior, and a trusted ally who could prove pivotal in the fight against the dead. He's also not going to let the Unsullied go into battle without standing at the front lines, and that makes him very vulnerable indeed. It's very easy to imagine a clash with the Night King's army that costs Daenerys her commander.

Beric Dondarrion

Technically, Beric Dondarrion might already be dead, as he's one of two major characters (along with Tormund Giantsbane) we saw standing on the Wall just as the Night King brought a section of it down. It seems unlikely that the show would dismiss two major characters so quickly and off-camera, though, so let's assume Beric and Tormund are alive for now, and that we'll see them crawling out of the wreckage to fight another day in season 8. With that in mind, Beric seems like a character very likely to sacrifice himself for the cause of the light at some point in the final season, and there's a key storytelling reason for this. While Beyond the Wall, he made a speech to Jon about the importance of fighting for the light, and made clear the connection they both share to the Lord of Light, having both been resurrected by him at one point or another. Then, Beric's resurrector — Thoros of Myr — died in battle, leaving him without another way back from the dead. These two events make it very clear that Beric is both willing to die for his cause and has no clear path back this time. A warrior's death would be a fitting end.

Theon Greyjoy

Few redemption arcs have come so far so far as Theon Greyjoy's. He went from being the would-be lord of Winterfell to being Ramsay Bolton's mutilated slave to being a warrior for house Greyjoy once again, and when we last saw him, he was at long last refusing to take the easy way out, sailing off to try and rescue his sister Yara from the clutches of his deceitful uncle. The Iron Fleet is in an alliance with the Lannisters, but many Ironborn are still loyal to Yara Greyjoy, and Theon is determined to right his past wrongs by saving her and restoring their branch of the family to power. What that means for the rest of the great game is unclear, but for Theon himself it means he's in a perfect position to pay the ultimate price, sacrificing himself to save his sister and the Iron Islands. After all he's been through, and all the wrongs he's done, it seems like the right way to go.

Jorah Mormont

Few characters in Game of Thrones have suffered so long in pursuit of a single thing as Jorah Mormont. He's been to hell and back trying to win the affection of Daenerys Targaryen, even if it's not the type of affection he's actually looking for, and last season it led him all the way to the Citadel, where Samwell Tarly performed a painful and dangerous procedure to rid him of his greyscale. Now, cured of the disease that was supposed to kill him, he has obeyed his queen and returned to her side for what would seem to be the last time. Jorah's love for and loyalty to Daenerys is not in question, but his safety certainly is. He has placed himself in deadly situations countless times at this point, and with the deadliest clash of all ahead, he seems destined to die in the fight to protect his beloved khaleesi. 

Podrick Payne

Sometimes, as you may have noticed over the years, Game of Thrones is just cruel. Sometimes the show kills a character not for the sake of advancing the plot, or showing us what another character is capable of, but just to remind us that the world of the show is a harsh place, where good people sometimes meet ends they don't deserve. Season 8 will be no different in that regard, and when thinking of good people who don't really deserve to die, Podrick Payne definitely makes the cut. Pod has come a long way since we first met him in season 2, working first with Tyrion Lannister and then with Brienne of Tarth to become a better man and a better knight. Now, he's a developing fighter on the right side of the war, preparing to confront the coming darkness alongside Brienne and the Starks she has sworn to protect. It feels very likely indeed that choosing this path will cost him his life, just as he's really coming into his own, because that's just the Game of Thrones way.