1. The Night King will be defeated
Obvious, right? Nobody (aside from Jon Snow) thinks The Night King might actually win this thing. Plus, George R.R. Martin has teased his saga's ending as "bittersweet" while his final novel will be called A Dream of Spring — neither suggests the Night King will destroy everyone and then do... whatever it is he wants to do. The suspense, therefore, comes from who the Night King kills before he's defeated. And that’s important because...
2. The Night King must kill a major character
Sure, he took down Viserion, but Frosty Darth Maul must kill a major human character too. It's hard to imagine GoT would establish the Night King as an epic Big Bad across several seasons and not have him claim at least one person the audience really cares about. And his most likely target is a big one...
3. Daenerys dies (unless Jon dies)
The Mother of Dragons is the most likely top-shelf hero to perish — not despite seeming invincible but precisely because she does. GoT periodically topples its reigning heroes and Dany has long dominated the show's power rankings; nothing would be more expected, and therefore less likely, than for her to triumph unscathed in the final battle. Plus, remember how Tyrion kept fretting about Dany taking dangerous chances by risking herself during season 7? This could be foreshadowing. Perhaps she takes one chance too many? But it seems unlikely she would die before she...
4. Dany and Jon have a baby
There were hints in season 7 that Dany might not be infertile after all, and a pregnancy would certainly add an intriguing complication to Jon and Dany’s already complicated romance (plus it gives Dany yet another thing in common with arch-rival Cersei). In fact, their child could even be revealed a...
5. The Prince Who Was Promised is revealed
Why is Melisandre so confused about whether her prophecy applies to Jon or Dany? Maybe because it applies to both and it’s their child who’s the Prince? Perhaps this is why the Lord of Light brought back Jon Snow -- to fulfill this baby-making purpose? (We love that Jaime Lannister as Azor Ahai theory too.) But Dany having a baby would probably require something we bet you overlooked...
Season 8 must start where season 7 ended because Bran and Sam are about to tell Jon about his parentage (and there’s no way GoT would deny us seeing that .... we hope). So when would Dany have a child? Either she's killed before she gives birth (pretty dark), or she very rapidly gets more visibly pregnant with each of the final season's six episodes, or there's a time jump at some point. But if there's a jump in the finale after the action concludes, it would likely mean Daenerys actually lives, and it’s Jon Snow who died (we’re basically convinced one of them is doomed -- #bittersweet). But Jon can’t die before he...
Drogon already seems cool with Jon. And notice the show went to some lengths to not have Jon simply climb onto Drogon when Dany rescued his team at the frozen lake -- perhaps the writers wanted to save Jon getting on a dragon for the final season? Oh, and Ghost? After being sidelined in season 7, we expect Jon’s direwolf will have at least one awesome scene before the end (perhaps one that has direwolves and dragons at the same time -- which would quite something). One character who is firmly safe, however, is..
Helen Sloan/courtesy of HBO
It's been said that Martin once revealed his wife told him the one character he cannot kill is Arya (the original source of this rumor remains elusive, however). Even if untrue, the fan favorite is probably the safest character in the final season. But she’ll likely be involved in...
9. The biggest GoT battle yet
The GoT producers have hinted there's some action coming in the final season that will be the grandest yet. That Jon and Dany are headed for White Harbor — a castle south of Winterfell — makes me suspect that the forces of the North (along with Jaime Lannister perhaps?) will make their stand near there. If they can't hold off the Army of the Dead, they could the flee via ships to King's Landing for a more final confrontation. But here's one wild prediction for that White Harbor meetup...
10. Gendry will become a love interest
The return of Gendry has fans assuming he must play some key political role given he’s King Robert's bastard. But what if his role is more romantic? Once Team Snow presumably meets back up with the rest of the Starks could Arya or, more likely, Sansa take an interest in him? And if Gendry ends up the new head of House Baratheon and Sansa is the head of House Stark (since Jon is not a Stark), their pairing could make sense politically as well. But let's get back to that battle. Another long-shot prediction I have is...
There were a couple pointed references in season 7 to the Ironborn escaping the Night King by taking off for islands since the dead can't swim. But I'm reminded of something Melisandre said in season 2 when talking about the prophecy: "The cold breath of winter will freeze the seas, and the dead shall rise..." Could just be pretty words, or could literally be true. Here's another prediction:
Macall B. Polay/HBO
12. Cleganebowl will happen
When The Hound confronted his brother The Mountain at the Dragonpit summit the show made this face-off feel totally inevitable. We don't think The Mountain will pull off another upset this time and predict that The Hound wins and even survives the final season. Speaking of The Mountain...
13. Qyburn will cook up a weapon
The mad scientist of Westeros helped Cersei reanimate The Mountain, nuke the Sept and created a weapon to take down a dragon. So do you really think Cersei is going to let the man sit idly by in the final season while the Army of the Dead marches to the Red Keep? No way. The maester will cook up with something to help his queen, and we wonder if it’s a game-changer that Jaime won’t like. Which brings us to...
14. Missandei and Grey Worm will survive
The major romantic couples on the show are Dany and Jon, Missandei and Grey Worm, and Cersei and Jaime. You wouldn't expect all to survive intact, or all to be mercilessly shattered either. We talked about Jon and Dany. Cersei feels utterly doomed (yet again!) and everybody seems to think Jaime will kill her (which is the best reason to think he won't — at least not in a direct way). I bet Cersei's prophecised downfall will happen, and Jaime is destined to revisit his Kingslayer decision in some fashion. So that leaves Missandei and Grey Worm as the most likely to squeak through. But let's not also forget about...
15. Melisandre will bring back a surprise
The Red Woman said she was leaving for the Lord of Light worshipper HQ of Volantis. She also said she must return to Westeros one more time to die. She's not going there and coming back for no reason, which suggests she's bringing something to aid the Great War (a bunch of fellow glum ageless resurrection priestesses perhaps?).
16. More predictions in our GoT podcast
Darren and I run down our feelings about season 7 as a whole (I give my “why S7 critics are spoiled whiners” rant), plus make our S8 predictions (Like Theon and Tyrion’s fates). Check out the EW Game of Thrones Weekly podcast here