From what we've seen over the past few weeks, one would be forgiven for thinking that the cast and crew of Game of Thrones have somehow graduated and are indulging in a bit of a swansong.
It began with Emilia Clarke (Daenerys Targaryen) posting a goodbye message to the superhit show. The idea that Dany's part in the Game of Thrones has ended threw into sharp relief that the series is indeed ending with its eighth season.
Then came the real-life wedding of Kit Harington and Rose Leslie (Jon Snow and Ygritte) which was attended by a number of present and past stars. While no pictures of the Lannisters from the ceremony have emerged, there's no taking away from the fact that it had a farewell ensemble feel to it.
And now, no less than Arya Stark (Maisie Williams) has confirmed by posting a photo of blood-splattered shoes that not only has she wound up filming, but she's also the '#lastWomanStanding'. There is obviously a lot to read into for fans of the show, particularly as Lena Headey, who plays Queen Cersei Lannister, has tantalisingly commented 'Queen' along with a number of smileys on Williams' post. However, even if one was to steer clear of the obvious 'who dies, who doesn't' discussion, there's something really exciting about the idea that Cersei Lannister and Arya Stark may share screentime!
1. Arya and Cersei: Even though the two most murderous women in the seven kingdoms haven't come face-to-face since the very first season, Arya's desire to kill Cersei remains unwavering. She would probably have done it too, had it not been for Hot Pie telling her that the Starks aren't as dead and buried as she'd thought! If the pair are to meet in Season 8, one would think that Arya, at least, would dispense with the small talk and go for the jugular. If Cersei has the upper hand though, it's possible that there may be at least a few inquiries -- Cersei does like to play with her food.
2. Sansa and Cersei: Unlike Arya, Sansa probably does have a thing or two to say to Cersei. Don't be fooled: she may have 'learnt a great deal from her' but Sansa knows that so long as Cersei lives, the Starks aren't safe. What would they talk about though? What a meanie Joffrey was? Why Cersei didn't stop Ned Stark from being decapitated? Littlefinger? Na'ah! They're more likely to talk about something current... Maybe something along the lines of Sansa not being the foolish little dove she used to be. Could there be an armistice? Probably too much to hope for.
3. Sansa and Dany: Daenerys' meeting with Cersei was a bit of a let down. Tyrion had promised so much but what emerged was rushed and interlocuted as a grieving and wary Dany steered clear of a Cersei who had run out of options. What will happen when Dany turns up at Winterfell as Lady Stark's liege-lord though? Only on one occasion has one of them spoken of the other, and that was when Littlefinger opened up the possibility that Jon may want to marry the 'quite beautiful' Dragonqueen. Dany may have woo'd Jon but Sansa may not so easily warm up to her, one would think.
4. Sansa and Tyrion: Are they still married? Does a Westerosi wedding have to be consummated before it becomes official? Does the fact that Sansa was subsequently married off to Ramsay Bolton mean that the previous marriage was annulled? There are a lot of technicalities here, but there's probably little doubt that there's no ill-will between them. Could Tyrion help Dany break the ice with Sansa? Maybe... Will Tyrion and Sansa actually fall in love? Surely not... right?
5. Arya and Dany: This would be a puzzling encounter. Arya doesn't bring that much to the table in the context of Dany's larger storyline. She's quite apolitical, apart from that she has a list of people she wants to kill and most of those who remain are common enemies. Would Arya's 'faceless man' abilities impress Dany? - Hard to say. Could Dany look at Arya as her new consort's sweet younger sister? - Not for very long
6. Arya and Tyrion: While there is always the possibility that nobody told Arya that Tyrion wasn't as bad as the regular Lannisters and so she ends up killing him, more likely is the idea that Tyrion would be very intrigued at meeting a 'faceless man'. He probably read about them somewhere.
7. Dany and Sam: Samwell will almost certainly know by now that his father and brother were burnt alive by the Dragonqueen. Jon will not know, however, that his new beau had his best friend's family slaughtered. There's an eerie resemblance to the final interaction between Jon Snow, Ser Davos and the lady Melisandre. It may not go well. And then there's the inescapable fact that at some point Ser Jorah is likely to tell Dany about how Sam cured him of Greyscale.
8. Jaime and Jon: This is interesting from the point-of-view that Jon, likely to be the commander of the Army of the living, is awaiting the Lannister forces to come fight beside him. However, what he's likely to get is a seasoned commander with no army but a lot of hang-ups. Will Jon trust the Kingslayer? What he clap him in irons? No, because honour will get in the way.
9. Jaime and Cersei: Will they ever meet again? Where? Will Cersei relent and come to Jaime's aid with an Army behind her? Or will Jaime assassinate everyone, living or dead, and come back to Cersei?
10. Melisandre and Bran: This meeting is unlikely to take place seeing as Jon and Ser Davos will execute Melisandre if she returns to the North. But if they do meet, will they clash in a showdown of magical power? There's evidence to suggest that Melisandre believes, from her fiery visions, that the Three-Eyed-Raven is a champion of the rival of her Lord of Light. Bran, all-seeing as he is, probably knows all about the Red Priestess, unless there are limits over his power when it comes to Melisandre's God. They are both allied to Jon Snow and to the living though. Something has to give and it's hard to say whose garb will drop.
11. Bran and Jon: 'Hi Jon...sorry, not Jon. Look, I know you're happy to see me and everything, but I'm not your little brother Bran. All trace of him is faded, so forget that... Let's talk about you. Ned Stark wasn't your father and you're not a bastard. You're Rhaegar Targaryen and Lyanna Stark's legitimate child. Your name is Aegon Targaryen... you know, after the Valyrian conqueror? You're the rightful king of the seven kingdoms! Isn't that great?'
'Also, I know you make a cute couple but Daenerys is your aunt.'
12. Jon and Arya: They'll be happy to see one another, one would imagine. They'd talk about how Jon was the one who gave her Needle. Then Jon will look back up at Bran and go: "I'm Aegon and she's my aunt?"
13. Bran and Dany (plus her Dragons): Anyone meeting with Bran has huge potential, particularly for revelations, but in Dany, Bran and the Dragons lays about half of the magic in Westeros. What happens, for instance, if Bran decides that he'd like to go for a ride by possessing Drogon's mind? Could he do that? Will the Mother of Dragons lose it completely? Bran is not Bran anymore. There's no saying what he will and won't do. Aside from that he's perfectly likeable...
14. Gendry and Arya: Will sparks fly? Will Ned Stark and Robert Baratheon posthumously fulfill their wish of joining their families by marriage? Only if they survive...
15. Theon and Euron: There'll probably only be enough time to exchange a few ill-advised jokes before the fighting starts.
16. Night King and Jon: Will we ever get to hear the Night King speak? Jon says the Night King can't be negotiated with. Does he have a larger purpose? What is his end-game? Will they draw swords right away or will there be a little ceremony -- soiree garden party -- first?
17. Night King and Cersei: If there's a pact with the devil that remains to be made in Game of Thrones, our money would be on Cersei. She doesn't care much for the North. She doesn't care much for anyone but herself, Jaime and their unborn child. Would she sacrifice everyone in the seven kingdoms and back the Night King if it comes to it? How will they meet though? And will Qyburne and his interests in all things undead have a role to play?
18. Dany and Viserion: This is likely to be both tragic and devastating. At some point, Dany is going to find out that her baby dragon wasn't just killed, but was also raised from the dead to do the bidding of her enemy. She'd be ill-advised to confront him without Drogon by her side, and maybe not even then.
19. Jon and Rhaegal: Three dragons, two with riders, one Aegon the Conqueror. Rhaegal also happens to be named after Jon's real father. All the signs are there. There was, however, the small matter of Drogon and Jon making friends. But Drogon is Daenerys' mount, right?
20. The viewers and Game of Thrones Season 8: Give. Please.
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