The eighth and final season of Game of Thrones brought with it dozens upon dozens of fan theories. Each episode brought with it a new flurry of predictions and forecasts; who would live, and who would die? How would the Night King meet his demise, if at all? And most importantly, who will end up on the Iron Throne?
Here are nine fan theories we desperately wanted to believe but which are, in hindsight, preeeeeetty dumb.
1. That Ned Stark would return
According to this theory, Varys (RIP) payed Faceless Man Jaqen H’ghar to replace Ned Stark at his execution back in the Season 1 finale. Meanwhile, the real Ned was hiding out far away from Westeros and repaying his debt of life to Varys and The Faceless Men.
This theory made a lot more sense when we considered this scene from the first season: Jaqen H’ghar was being held as a prisoner in the Red Keep at the same time as Ned Stark. Arya Stark first meets Jaqen as he’s being transported out of the castle in chains. Fans pointed out the unlikelihood that a Faceless Man—THE Faceless Man—could so easily be imprisoned and held, positing that it was far more likely he was captured on purpose and publicly seen leaving “willingly.”
Dumb Level: Pretty dumb. Reviving Ned Stark after seven seasons feels cheap and feels reminiscent of Grandpa Joe in Willy Wonka, who jumped out of bed after 20 years because he was offered a chance to go to a chocolate factory. Like, where have you been Ned? We needed you! (Imagine the fan service, though!)
2. That Bran Stark was the white horse at the end of Episode 5
The final moments of Season 8, Episode 5 saw Arya Stark stumbling miraculously out of the carnage only to see a white horse standing calmly nearby. Arya then mounted the horse and rode out of King’s Landing, leading hundreds of fans to theorize that Bran Stark had warged into the white horse to save his sister.
That horse was Bran. #GameofThrones
— Michael Tannenbaum (@iamTannenbaum) May 13, 2019
This theory is dumb as hell, and I said so from the beginning.
First of all, we saw that white horse earlier in the episode, as it was the same one ridden by Golden Company leader Harry Strickland.
Second of all, Dany and Drogon were mostly done wreaking havoc on King’s Landing by that point, so it would’ve been too little too late on the part of Bran (which, tbh, is true to character in this instance.)
Dumb Level: Infinitely dumb.
3. That Sansa was pregnant with Ramsay Bolton’s baby
This theory hinged entirely on a line Sansa delivered to Littlefinger concerning her wedding to psycho rapist Ramsay Bolton: “I can still feel it. I don’t mean ‘in my tender heart it still pains me so’ — I can still feel what he did in my body standing here right now.”
Dumb level: REALLY DUMB, not only because that would have been an excessively cruel plot device to use on a character who had suffered enough, but also because it would have messed deeply with the Thrones timeline; Ramsay died in Season 6, so unless the timeline is wayyyy compressed, Sansa would already have given birth by Season 8.
4. That Jaime Lannister survived Episode 5
The last time we saw Jaime and Cersei Lannister alive, the ceiling of the Red Keep was raining on them in enormous rock chunks. Fans wanted Jaime to have survived because the instant undoing of his 7-season-long redemption arc seemed sudden and unfair.
So, by over-analyzing the social medias of the various actors on the show, fans found ‘evidence’ outside to confirm what they so desperately wanted to believe.
“Why isn’t ANYONE acknowledging that Jaime Lannister just died???” asked WeedsAreFlowersToo on Tumblr. “Why is nobody in the cast thanking Nik for his performance? Why did Pilou and Lena’s insta post not say anything about Jaime dying? Why isn’t Nik saying anything about what he thinks of the scene?”
“Why did he make a post saying goodbye to Lena, and not to the character he played for 8 years? Why is there no talk of Jaime’s death in the game revealed?”
She added that besides Lena Headey (Cersei Lannister) and Pilou Asbæk (Euron Greyjoy), Gwendoline Christie, who plays Sir Brienne of Tarth, also refrained from dedicating a post to Nikolaj Coster-Waldau.
Dumb Level: Super dumb. What would Jaime have left to do in the series finale, narratively speaking? And how would he have survived, but not Cersei?.
5. That Arya, disguised as Jaime, would kill Cersei
It would make a lot of sense for Arya to disguise herself as Jaime, not only because he’s the only character that Cersei would allow to get near her, but also because writers had to wrap up Arya’s face-swapping ability in some way. Right? RIGHT?
Dumb Level: NOT DUMB AT ALL. This theory had legs, and strong ones, at that. The fact that writers never again addressed nor employed Arya’s identity-stealing skills is a canonical tragedy.
6. That Dany’s dragons had babies
Like many Game of Thrones fan theories, this one stemmed from a promotional teaser—particularly a scene teasing Season 8, Episode 5, in which Euron Greyjoy is shown looking up at the sky, only to see something that makes his eyes widen—just as a dragon roar rings out.
Fans were understandably upset over Rhaegal’s ignominious death in Episode 4, titled ’The Last Of The Starks.’ Dany led one of her two remaining sons directly into Euron Greyjoy’s Scorpion-device trap, which ultimately led to his savage devise.
This swift dragon takedown led fans to believe that there was no way for Dany to take King’s Landing without MORE DRAGONS.
And so was born the idea that Drogon had babies. This theory hinged entirely on Drogon’s noticeable absence during nearly all of Season 5; as Redditor u/Justzxcvbnm pointed out: “In the fifth season, when Drogon spends almost a whole season gone, he’s actually laying eggs and is in fact a female thats why he was burning fields full of sheep, goats and etc to feed the baby dragons. He’s the only one who disappeared, the only one who drove herds and took them all like roasted sheep.”
Dumb Level: Hard to say. I wouldn’t have put baby dragons past Benioff and Weiss, but it certainly would have a deus ex machina sort of move. Kinda dumb.
7. That the Night King’s demise was a head fake, and that Gilly and Little Sam would further the White Walker lineage
Many fans were bummed on the Night King’s death in Season 8, Episode 3, largely because it was so…underwhelming. This lackluster ending fueled theories that we hadn’t seen the last of the Night King and his White Walkers, one of which posited that Gilly (and by extension Little Sam) had White Walker blood in them.
This particular theory also rested on the fact that Gilly’s father and husband Craster sacrificed all 99 of his sons to the White Walkers…
…And that Little Sam would be the surviving 100th Craster son, which the Night King would not let go without a fight.
Dumb Level: DUMB, if only because we’ve known for a while that killing the Night King would also kill all his White Walkers. Also, Gilly was just never ‘significant’ enough of a character to be the key to the show’s ending.
8. That Daenerys would become The Night Queen
A look back on Season 8 reveals just how much we got wrong. This particular theory was born of a Season Two dream (nightmare?) in which Dany envisioned herself in the throne room at the Red Keep. In her vision, the room is destroyed and the Iron Throne is covered in ice and snow.
We now know that this was ash, not snow.
During this vision, Dany leaves the deceased Khal Drogo and their unborn son to tend to her crying dragons as a warlock says, “The mother is reunited with her babies, and you’ll be with them through winter, summer, then winter again.” Redditor marisaann26 predicted that the Night King would kill Rhaegal and Drogon (he’d already claimed Viserion in Season 7) and Dany would end up choosing her now-zombified “children” over the living.
Compounding this theory was actress Emilia Clarke’s comments about Dany in a Vanity Fair interview from last summer: “It f***ked me up,” said Clarke. “Knowing that is going to be a lasting flavor in someone’s mouth of what Daenerys is….”
We now know that she was referencing Dany’s (unearned!) snap into the Mad Queen and subsequent death.
Dumb Level: All in all, not a terrible theory, especially considering that Dany’s pale skin and alabaster hair mirrored that of the Night Queen of lore. Just a bit dumb-ish.
9. That Daenerys would die from the poison in Varys’ rings
Just before Varys was taken down to his execution in Episode 5, titled ‘The Bells,” two important events went down: Firstly, he had a conversation with one of his ‘little birds’ Martha, revealing that he’d been trying to poison Daenerys ever since deciding she would make a tyrannical leader. Secondly, Varys is shown removing his rings and placing them in a bowl.
Fans quickly decided that since showrunners had the camera zoom heavily in on Varys’ ring, it was full of the poison he’d been trying to use on Dany (probably true) and that after his death, someone else would nab it to kill Dany with (not true).
Dumb Level: NOT dumb, considering how Olenna Tyrell used a piece of poison-filled jewelry to kill Joffrey Baratheon/Lannister in Season 4, Episode 2, ‘The Lion and the Rose.’ Would’ve worked better than Jon Snow’s stabby hug.