End Game: Who Will Win the Game of Thrones?
The end of Game of Thrones is coming.
On July 5, Game of Thrones showrunners David Benioff and D.B. Weiss dropped by the UFC Unfiltered podcast. They revealed that there will only be two more seasons of Game of Thrones before the series concludes, and each of the remaining seasons will be shorter than usual (until now, every season has been 10 episodes long).
With only two abbreviated seasons left, who will manage to make their way to the Iron Throne and rule Westeros when all is said and done? Unfortunately, Season 6 ruled out Hodor.
Here are the most likely winners of the great game, listed from worst odds to best:
Cersei Lannister (50:1 odds)
The latest season concluded with Cersei taking the throne after her son, the king, threw up deuces and took the name King’s Landing a little too literally.
That’s Cersei’s biggest problem – she’s already on the throne. There’s no way she lasts until the finale.
The smart money is on her brother/lover Jamie to be the one who takes her down, considering that Cersei just murdered a bunch of civilians with wildfire, which is exactly what Jamie killed King Aerys Targaryen for trying to do.
Peytr “Littlefinger” Baelish (25:1 odds)
Littlefinger has done quite a bit of social climbing in his life, scheming his way from a low family to a position as Master of Coin on the small council, and then to a de facto lordship of the Vale of Arryn.
Lordship isn’t enough for Littlefinger, though – he’s always wanted to be king.
That’s how the entire plot of the show got started – before the events of the pilot, Littlefinger convinced Lysa Arryn to poison her husband Jon Arryn, who was Hand of the King (the Westeros version of Vice President, basically). Then, Ned Stark replaced Jon Arryn as Hand of the King, and when Ned rose to power after King Robert’s sudden death, Littlefinger conspired with Cersei to have him captured. Ned was eventually executed, effectively starting the War of Five Kings. Well, actually, the Starks and Lannisters were fighting even when Ned had a head as a result of Catelyn Stark holding Tyrion Lannister hostage for attempting to murder her son (Littlefinger framed Tyrion for that crime, by the way).
This was all in Season 1.
Littlefinger did all that to destabilize Westeros and open up more opportunities to grab power for himself, and he has done so successfully.
So if this narrative is to come full-circle (as many narratives do), it would make a good deal of sense for Littlefinger’s long game to eventually pay off and for him to take the throne.
That’d be a bit of a downer ending for most of the characters in the show, but Game of Thrones is certainly no stranger to characters having downer endings.
The Night King (15:1 odds)
Of course, if Game of Thrones is going to go with a downer ending, why stop with a half-measure? Nothing would be more depressing than the Night King and his army of the undead wiping out all of humanity. The guy wouldn’t have anyone left to rule over if that happened, but he already has a built-in crown, so he might as well sit on the throne.
Daenerys Targaryen (4:1 odds)
After several seasons of meandering about Essos, Daenerys has finally set sail to conquer Westeros, and she’s bringing 3 dragons with her. And an army of Unsullied soldiers. And an army of Dothraki warriors. And, after a deal arranged by Varys in the last minutes of the Season 6 finale, the armies of Dorne and the Reach are on her side as well.
With that kind of firepower, it’s going to be all but impossible to stop Daenerys now.
Jon Snow (2:1 odds)
In terms of pure might, no one has Dany beat, so she’ll take the throne, right?
Not so fast – things can and often do change quickly on Game of Thrones. Jon Snow might only be in command of a ragtag team of Northern families and Wildings now (Editor’s Note: Wildings is not the preferred nomenclature. Free people, please), but a worldwide war against the undead could shift the power dynamics dramatically.
I mean, Jon Snow rose from the dead. The guy is basically Jesus. And the story of an underdog bastard rising to the most prestigious position in the land is just too dramatically satisfying to pass up.
But here’s the biggest reason why Jon Snow will be the king in the end – the title of the book series the show is based on is A Song of Ice and Fire.
It’s always been known that Jon is half Stark, the respected noble family from the snowy north. The other half of Jon’s parentage is considerably less respected, as everyone believes that Jon’s mom is some anonymous lowborn woman that Ned had an affair with long ago.
That’s not true, though. The Season 6 finale confirmed the popular fan theory that Jon’s parents are not Ned Stark and some rando, but rather Lyanna Stark and Rhaegar Targaryen (the Targaryens, another noble family, can ride dragons and are impervious to fire).
Being the offspring of two noble families gives Jon as much legal claim to the Iron Throne as anyone, and it will help him unite rival families and lead the fight against the Night King and his zombie army. Plus, the Starks represent Ice, and the Targaryens represent fire. Jon is Ice plus Fire. The answer to “Who will win the Game of Thrones?” has been hidden in the title of the series this whole time.
If you put money on any character to be the last man standing on Game of Thrones, make it Snow.
Adam Ritchie is a fan of Game of Thrones and will happily place a bet on the ending of GoT.
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