The biggest question of Game of Thrones’ final season is who’s going to be sitting on the Iron Throne when the show is over. Fans have plenty of their own guesses, hunches, and theories as to who will come out on top. But ascending to the throne doesn’t happen in a vacuum; for someone to rise, others will have to fall and, well, die.
Game of Thrones has never been shy about killing off characters, both in shocking and heartbreaking fashion (RIP to some of my personal favorites, Oberyn Martell and sweet King Renly). But season eight might have the biggest death toll yet, with the Night King’s army marching south, and an inevitable showdown looming between Daenerys Targaryen and Cersei Lannister.
With so many characters in the mix, it’s only natural to speculate on who will live and who will die by the time season eight concludes, based on what we’ve seen so far. So here’s our assessment going into the premiere as far as which characters are currently safe, which ones aren’t, and which ones need to keep one eye open at all times.
Here’s who’s safe
Most of the major characters: Game of Thrones’ seventh season eliminated a lot of important but not quite major characters, including the Sand Snakes, Olenna Tyrell, and a couple of Tarlys. It also put the pieces in place to streamline the action into two places: Winterfell and King’s Landing. As season eight begins, Winterfell is where Daenerys Targaryen and her dragon-boosted army are headed, accompanied by Jon Snow, to join up with the Starks and assemble against the Night King.
The other major human force on the show — Cersei Lannister and her allies, including Euron Greyjoy — ended season seven either at or en route to King’s Landing. So most of the big-name cast is fairly protected, either there or at Winterfell.
We also know that Cersei is lying about sending troops North to fortify Winterfell’s defenses, and that her real plan is to strike Daenerys’s army and the Starks after they fight against and are weakened by the White Walkers. There’s little chance of any major character dying in the premiere, simply because everyone’s pretty far away from each other, and no one’s engaging with the White Walker army just yet.
If there’s one major character to keep a concerned eye on, it’s Jaime Lannister. He’s trekking north from King’s Landing toward Winterfell to fight the White Walkers alongside Dany and the Starks, a move that will no doubt anger his sister.
Plus, Jaime’s reception at Winterfell is unlikely to be especially warm and cozy, since he and Bran both know that it was Jaime who pushed Bran off the side of a tower and permanently injured him all the way back in season one. And Bran’s siblings won’t be happy with Jaime should they find out about this.
Here’s who’s in danger
Tormund Giantsbane: Tormund, the ginger, bearded Free Folk warrior of our hearts, was at the Wall when the Night King attacked it and brought it down with his zombified blue-fire dragon. He’s probably alive, as we didn’t see him die onscreen — but he’s not out of the woods, since he’s close to the Night King’s marching forces.
Yara Greyjoy: In the season seven finale, Yara was ferrying Ellaria Sand and the Sand Snakes to Dorne when her uncle, Euron Greyjoy, launched a surprise attack on her fleet. Euron killed two of the Sand Snakes and brought Ellaria and her daughter Tyene to Cersei, effectively killing them too. But he captured Yara and is currently holding her prisoner. This could be setting up her death on screen, or it could be setting up a dramatic rescue.
Game of Thrones season eight premiere airs Sunday, April 14, at 9 pm on HBO.