Readers like you keep news free for everyone.

More than 5,000 readers have already pitched in to keep free access to The Journal.

For the price of one cup of coffee each week you can help keep paywalls away.

Support us today
Not now
Monday 4 December 2023 Dublin: 4°C
Will it be this guy?
you win or die

Who will sit on the Iron Throne? Our writers give their Game of Thrones Season 8 predictions

Gendry, anyone?

FOR GAME OF Thrones fans, the wait is finally over. 

Almost two years since the last season ended, tomorrow will see the beginning of the eighth and final season of the hit HBO show.

If you don’t know (or care about) your Lannisters from your Starks, you’re likely not to bother with who – if anybody – ends up on the Iron Throne when all the dust settles at the end of the six episodes this season. 

Here, some writers from give their two cents on who will win the day after all the battles and bloodshed we’re likely to see over the next few weeks.

For those who haven’t watched the show, beware the below is dark and full of spoilers:

Sean Murray

Back from the dead?

So many people have died across the first seven series of Game of Thrones. There have literally been hundreds, according to the statisticians who compile these things

Some deaths were heartbreaking, some deserved but one in particular stands out as being utterly nonsensical.

And it’s that of the notorious schemer Petyr Baelish – known as Littlefinger. Played admirably by Irish actor Aidan Gillen, the slimy Baelish managed to be two steps ahead of everyone season after season.

The master of manipulation managed to have some of the most dangerous people in Westeros wrapped around his – yes, I know – little finger.

And then he was outwitted and outfought rather easily in the last episode of Season 7 by Arya and Sansa Stark, and unceremoniously had his throat cut open before all in Winterfell. 

But is he really gone? Could Littlefinger have been outwitted so easily? 

Inexplicably, he’s third-favourite with the bookies to sit on the Iron Throne at the end of all this – despite the fact that he’s dead.

But maybe he isn’t dead. One of the more popular of the million fan theories flying around is that Baelish faked his death, with a Faceless Man – just like Arya who can take on the face of anyone she wants at this stage – and is just waiting for the right time to strike. 

With most of the heroes in Winterfell set to face the dreaded Army of the Dead and the Night King in a cataclysmic battle (just to show you the lengths that have been gone to – Insurance Brokers GMHD estimate the insurance premium on Winterfell would be a cool €6 million) who will be left to pick up the pieces when it’s all over?

Jon Snow will die – because he’s an idiot, with Operation Stupid to go beyond the wall and steal a dead man the case in point. Dany has a sadistic streak in her that’ll lead to the people turning on her. 

Jaime Lannister has to die because of this weird hero arc he has. Gendry won’t be king because it takes more than long-distance running abilities to make a ruler. 

Does a show as cruel as Game of Thrones let the ruthless Cersei win it all? And if she’s outsmarted at the end? It’ll only leave Petyr Baelish left standing to take it all for himself. 

Aoife Barry

Sisters could end up doing it for themselves…

In Game of Thrones, even the ‘good’ people have to be a little bit evil once in a while. So perhaps it’s best not to think of who’s the best person for the iron throne, but who’s willing to be most evil to get it. After all, if you want to survive in the world of Westeros, you have to be looking over your shoulder constantly. There be – quite literally – dragons.

For me, there are three obvious contenders for the throne, aside from the most obvious one, Daenerys Stormborn . She’s too obvious, so I don’t see her getting it. Next!

I’m a fan of the underdog, which is why I think Tyrion Lannister could be in with a chance. It would be an amazing story of redemption for him, given how much he has suffered at the hands of his insufferable family. He’s a man who’s had to become bitter, and access the dark side to himself. But inside he’s still a good person. Go on, let him be triumphant for once.

Then there’s Cersei, who is empirically not a good person. But she gets shit done, she does what she wants, no ragrets. There’d be something very fitting about her hanging on to the iron throne and proving that no one else can get near it. You can just see that smug look on her face as she sups another glass of wine. 

The final option in my mind – and my favourite – is that the throne ends up shared by Sansa and Arya. How fitting would it be for these Stark sisters, who have suffered many indiginities at the hands of violent idiot men around them, to hold the ultimate power? It’s been a joy to watch their story arcs move from victim to owning their strength – now let’s see them do sisterhood and womanhood a turn and share the throne together.

Cormac Fitzgerald

An incredibly detailed entry here from someone who clearly ignored the 150-200 word brief

Picture this:

The Night King has been felled and his army defeated. The heroes of Westeros lay strewn across a battlefield that spans many miles of blood and bones.

The camera pans across all the fallen bodies. You recognise many familiar faces.

There’s Brienne of Tarth, who died locked in battle with a White Walker – she got the upper hand but was devoured by wights as her foe turned to shards.

There’s The Hound and Tormund who died back to back, overcome by the swarm of the undead.

The cold winds howl through an abandoned Winterfell and a stricken North – The war has been won, but at an immense human cost.

The carcasses of three dragons entangled in one another in a scorched field can be seen from miles away. They died in a scrap that lit up the skies and turned the fields and forests to ash.

In their centre, Daenerys Targaryen – the Mother of Dragons – is dead too. Her army is destroyed. What remains of the fearless dothraki horde have fled Westeros. The unsullied are gone. Grey Worm? Dead; Missandei? Dead; And Tyrion Lannister? Stabbed in the back by his sister.

At the centre of a clearing, what remained of the Stark family – Arya and Sansa – all lie with fatal wounds. Their half brother – Jon Snow – is also dead. But Bran is nowhere to be seen.

They surround the shards of what one was the Night King. Jon’s blade finally felling the evil lord, but not before he had killed everything around him.

Cut to a deserted King’s Landing, the streets are quiet and empty. Enter the great hall, where more bodies are piled up. Varys lies dead in the corner. The High Sparrow is bloodied and broken .

The great hulk of the Mountain is impaled on a spear. At the foot of the Iron Throne, the bodies of Jaime and Cersei Lannister lie next to each other. The two lovers ending each other lives in a fight for the throne.

The camera pans up and there sitting above all the fallen bodies, the King of Westeros sits on the Iron Throne, eating a delicious feast of mutton and it’s…… Hot Pie?????

Definitely going to happen.

Gráinne Ní Aodha

Someone who hasn’t made it to the end of the series, but still has someone in mind

I’m going to predict that Sansa takes the Iron Throne, which was my feeling when I stopped watching the series at the end of Season Four – I got annoyed at how the most brutal, vicious, perilous existences on screen, that John Snow has still somehow managed to live on. Life is unfair enough without watching this guy repeatedly stumble to survival, while the real heroes around him die.

Since I haven’t seen the series in a while, Sansa may very well be dead by now, or may have been killed and brought back to life. Or be one of the bad guys, or maybe she was a bad buy all along (Bran is definitely not the Night King, by the way).

But since the series started with Sean Bean’s beheading, Sansa has been a character who has repeatedly been a wife-ish pawn in the Westeros fight, first to Joffrey Lannister and then to Ramsay Bolton.

Considering that painful journey, the GOT writers may see it as a fitting end to place the more placid Stark on the throne – she may well be the only one left standing.

Ceimin Burke

This writer is daring to dream of a happy ending.

When I grab hold of a weirwood root and launch through time to the Red Keep as the closing credits roll on the final episode of Game of Thrones I see that there’s many notable absences in the Great Hall. A lot of people didn’t make it. Many of the favourite faces are gone. In fact, this vision is cryptic but, I’m not even sure the Iron Throne itself survived this far.

Through the loss and confusion, I see that at the top of the room the person wearing the crown is Daenerys Stormborn of House Targaryen.

First of Her Name, the Unburnt, Queen of the Andals and the First Men, Khaleesi of the Great Grass Sea, Breaker of Chains, and Mother of Dragons. She’ll surely have to add another descriptor at that stage too, to commemorate her having saved humanity from a relentless army of corpses and ice demons.

Daenerys has the lineage, graciousness and ruthlessness to rule. She is the mother of the dragons whose birth was heralded by a red comet blazing across the sky. She has the manpower (for now) and the practicality. She’s proven her cunning by trading a young dragon for an entire army and then torching the slaver following the exchange. She’s even shown an ability to govern by lingering in Slaver’s Bay for an age before, mercifully, turning west so the storyline could finally move on.

The optimistic in me sees Daenerys ruling alongside her husband/nephew Aegon Targaryen (Jon Snow). As Rhaegar’s son Aegon is the rightful heir to the Iron Throne but he’s always been a reluctant leader, preferring poorly conceived missions, brooding and other such pursuits instead. So Jon will watch their recently conceived child grow up and help Daenerys rule. A Stark and Targaryen union. A song of ice and fire.

However, expecting such an outcome feels outrageously foolish considering everything Game of Thrones has put us through in its seven seasons so far. To quote one of Ramsey Bolton’s many memorable lines: “If you think this has a happy ending, you haven’t been paying attention.”

piratevisionsam / YouTube

Stephen McDermott

Disclaimer: Has never watched the show

It’s hard enough to say where this is going, but there’s a few things that are nailed on to happen over the next few weeks. Everyone’s favourite characters will get killed off in dramatic fashion and spawn a thousand Simpsons memes.

HBO will intersperse their deaths with more epic set pieces that make up for the slow deterioration of quality plotting in recent seasons.

Debates will rage about whether the ending was good, bad, or meh. And your coolest friend will tell you many, many times how they don’t watch Game of Thrones because the hype has just ruined it for them and fantasy is for weirdos anyway.

Amidst all that, some guy called Littlefinger might end up on the seat of swords, a lady dressed like an Amish person could ring a bell and say “shame”, and there’ll be more fashion pieces about how to get the perfect Daenerys hair.

But really, it’s anyone’s guess.

Author team
Your Voice
Readers Comments
This is YOUR comments community. Stay civil, stay constructive, stay on topic. Please familiarise yourself with our comments policy here before taking part.
Leave a Comment
    Submit a report
    Please help us understand how this comment violates our community guidelines.
    Thank you for the feedback
    Your feedback has been sent to our team for review.

    Leave a commentcancel