This traditionally pivotal and action-packed episode promises that finally, “Winter is Here”.
The Suicide Squad. The Magnificent Seven. The Avengers of Westeros. No matter what you want to call them, the team heading beyond the wall on a seemingly impossible mission are among the best of the best.
There aren’t many characters on Game of Thrones who you would want to see on this squad who aren’t already there.
Arya’s fighting skills and that Valyrian steel dagger would come in handy, but being able to change faces would mean nothing north of the wall.
Brienne and Oathkeeper would be a welcome addition, but that may prove too great a distraction for Tormund. But that’s about it.
This merry band of misfits, mopers, brooders and curmudgeons are venturing into enemy territory to try and bring proof to all those in the south that the threat is very real. With stakes this high, it seems unlikely that all of these characters will survive.
With that in mind, here is a breakdown of who’s on the team, their fantasy stats, and their chances of living or dying in Sunday’s Game of Thrones.
***I have not watched any leaks or read any spoilers so this is just pure speculation***
Titles: Team Captain. King in the North. Also soon to be known as Jon Targaryen.
Allegiances: The North. Formerly Team Captain of The Night’s Watch.
Strengths: Jon carries Longclaw, a Valyrian steel sword that has already proven it can kill White Walkers. Great leadership and one of the most skilled swordsmen in the realm.
Weaknesses: Redheads. Knives to the heart. Honor (the kind that gets you killed).
Conflicts: Jon now carries the sword that was meant for Jorah. This wasn’t brought up last episode but it could lead to at least an interesting exchange between the two.
Reasons he’ll live: If Jon dies the story is over. Jon still needs to learn the truth of his parentage, which has been hinted at with increasing frequency this season.
The way Jon parted with Dany (and Drogon) implies that there are more interactions between these two to come. We also want to see the reunion of Jon and Arya.
Jon is the hero of this story if anybody is and there is simply too much built up around Jon’s importance for him to die without fulfilling his role.
Reasons he’ll die: George R.R. Martin is all about audience contempt. He likes to get you invested in characters and their arcs and then kill them, unceremoniously and without warning.
His storytelling is a contrast to traditional fantasy story tropes and the hero’s journey. Jon is on a hero’s journey now, so killing him would be a very Martin thing to do.
It would also be very in Jon’s character to sacrifice himself for the sake of the mission.
Prediction: He has died and may die again, but not this time. He’ll live.
Titles: Leader of the wildlings. Tormund Thunderfist (in the books). Probably Jon’s second in command on this team.
Allegiances: The Free Folk/Wildlings. The North.
Strengths: Tormund fights with a battle axe. A strong, powerful warrior who has experience points having fought the army of the dead and seen the Night King.
Weaknesses: Captain Phasma. Also in the books he is a heavy drinker and claims to have once gotten drunk and slept with a bear. Not sure if that’s a weakness exactly but can’t see how it will help either.
Conflicts: The show did something dumb last episode and tried to create a conflict between Tormund and Jorah.
Jorah’s father wasn’t killed by wildlings, he was killed by mutineers. And Tormund has no specific hatred for Mormonts; Jon fought and killed wildlings too. Very forced and not up to Game of Thrones writing standards.
Reasons he’ll live: Tormund is basically a stand-in who represents all of the free folk. If he dies there is no established character to take his place.
The wildlings will essentially lose their role on the show. Also we need more comedic moments of him staring at Brienne.
Reasons he’ll die: Beyond wanting to see him finally speak to Brienne (you can’t be shy if your name is Giantsbane!) instead of just blatantly gawking at her, there are no real story threads or reunions we are anticipating for him.
He is also a character people like and care about so his death would have more weight than say Thoros or Beric.
Prediction: I’ve went back and forth on this one but I’m going to predict he will live to make unwanted advances on ‘the big woman’ again.
Allegiances: House Baratheon (even though he is a bastard and not technically a Baratheon, yet). He is also becoming fast friends with Jon and seems like he will be loyal to him.
Strengths: He swings a mean warhammer and is great at blacksmithing.
Weaknesses: Like Jon, redheads. And leeches.
Conflicts: The Brotherhood sold Gendry to Melisandre who planned on sacrificing him to the red god. So he is not a huge fan of them.
Reasons he’ll live: Gendry was just brought back to the show after many seasons away. You don’t bring back a character after that long just to kill him.
He still can play a major role if he is legitimized and made a Baratheon and lord of Storm’s End. There is also the highly anticipated reunion of him and Arya.
Reasons he’ll die: He hasn’t been a part of the show for some time and he could have been brought back just to die. In that way the mission would have an emotional cost but not one that impacts any recently active story threads.
Prediction: I think he is safe.
Titles: Ser Beric Dondarrion. The Lightning Lord. Lord of Blackhaven.
Allegiances: The Brotherhood without Banners. House Dondarrion. Loyal servant of the red god.
Strengths: He has a flaming sword. Hard to kill, harder to kill permanently.
Weaknesses: The Mountain. The Hound.
Conflicts: Gendry hates and distrusts him.
Reasons he’ll live: Beric has died before and come back so it is entirely possible he will die and rise again.
Reasons he’ll die: We do not know if Thoros’ magic will be impacted north of the wall. There may be a limit to how many times he can be brought back.
If he is killed in the thick of battle Thoros will not be able to say ‘time out’ to pray over his body.
Prediction: I think this is where Beric dies for good. It will be in heroic fashion, but I think the man Ned Stark sent on a mission in season 1, has finally run out of lives.
Thoros of Myr
Titles: The Red Wizard.
Allegiances: The Brotherhood without Banners. Priest of the red god, R’hllor.
Strengths: Using the powers of the red god, Thoros has been able to perform resurrections on Beric Dondarrion. Also a world champion drunk.
Weaknesses: Male pattern baldness.
Conflicts: Gendry hates the Brotherhood and especially red priests, so he’d like to take the hammer to Thoros given the chance.
Reasons he’ll live: His powers are useful and with Melisandre headed to Volantis he can be the resident red priest and resurrector in Westeros.
Reasons he’ll die: The Brotherhood has no real story beyond this mission. If he dies that eliminates resurrection as an option, ensuring all deaths are final until Melisandre returns.
Prediction: He’s dead.
Titles: The Hound.
Allegiances: The Brotherhood without Banners (begrudgingly).
Strengths: The red god judged him innocent in his trial by combat against Beric. He is a formidable fighter, arguably top five in the realm. He is also great at cursing and is a huge fan of chicken.
Weaknesses: Brienne of Tarth. Fire. The Mountain.
Conflicts: Jon’s probably not a fan but nobody has any crazy grudge against him. The Hound however, hates everyone.
Reasons he’ll live: The Hound is too stubborn to die and he still has a lot to live for. Fans are clinging to hope for Cleganebowl.
It would also be great to see him reunite with Arya considering how much they both have changed since they last saw each other.
Reasons he’ll die: He’s definitely not the fastest runner and when you’re running from zombies you don’t have to be the fastest, but you can’t be the slowest.
Prediction: He will live. Cleganebowl is back on!!!
Titles: Ser Jorah Mormont. Jorah the Andal.
Allegiances: He is oh so loyal to House Targaryen and specifically his true love Daenerys. Although he was banished and stripped of land and title, it is also likely that he is still loyal to House Mormont as well.
Strengths: Jorah is fiercely loyal and has proven skilled at fighting a variety of enemies.
Weaknesses: The friendzone. Has a history of dry skin.
Conflicts: The aforementioned forced and silly conflict with Tormund.
Reasons he’ll live: Jorah was just saved from greyscale by Sam so it seems silly to have him die after just being saved.
We all want to see him reunite with Dany and maybe get a pity lay after their brief reunion last episode. There is also the possibility that he will meet with his cousin and future queen of everything, Lyanna Mormont.
If he is to die the more poetic way would be some sort of direct sacrifice to save Daenerys.
Reasons he’ll die: I know he wanted to help in any way he could but it seems like a pretty dumb decision to go on this mission.
You just got back to Daenerys and decide to leave again with a bunch of people you don’t know. It’s like he’s trying to show off for the girl he likes and it will inevitably backfire horribly.
Jorah has had a tragic life and a tragic death on the edge of the world seems to fit his story.
Prediction: I don’t want it to be so but I’ve gotta say, I think this is the end for Jorah.
Game of Thrones airs Sundays at 9/8c on HBO. Images via HBO