The latest Game of Thrones episode brought a twist in the form of Bran Stark’s time-jumping powers and our understanding of how Hodor came to be Hodor. But that’s just the beginning — George R.R. Martin has reportedly told showrunners David Benioff and D.B. Weiss that there will be three major twists before the end.
Granted, we’ve already seen two of them; Shireen’s death being the first and Hodor being the second. The revelation about Jon Snow’s mother will likely be the third, but because everyone has already guessed it, we’re not counting it as a “twist.” We’ll give the story the benefit of the doubt and assume it has something more surprising up it’s sleeve. Here are the four most likely epic final twists.
1. Bran can turn the White Walkers human again
“The Door” revealed that the White Walkers were created from the First Men. In an incredibly poorly conceived plan, The Children created an army of nearly unstoppable ice-zombies to protect themselves from humans — perhaps not taking into account that White Walkers don’t discriminate between humans and Children in their cannon-fodder.
If they were created from men, could there be a way to turn them back? That would be a hell of an end to the great war to come. As Bran Stark is getting more powerful, it stands to reason he would be the one to figure out how to do it. It would also tie his narrative nicely in with Jon and Sansa’s.
2. Jaime will kill Cersei
In that Season 5 flashback scene in which a teenage Cersei visits a witch in the woods, the witch predicts her children’s deaths. “Gold will be their crowns and gold their shrouds,” she sneers. Though it wasn’t included in the show, in the books, she also tells Cersei she will meet her own end through “the Valonqar,” which means “little brother” in High Valyrian. Tyrion might be too obvious a choice, and since Jaime was born after Cersei, he could be the one.
As Cersei descends into further into madness, determined to burn her enemies and kill everyone who dared look upon her naked body in Season 5’s “Mother’s Mercy,” she could end up going the route of the Mad King. Many Reddit users have already speculated Jaime will be forced to be a Kingslayer of sorts for the second time, and kill Cersei to prevent her from burning the city.
3. Daenerys will claim the throne, then succumb to Targaryen madness
Daenerys might say she has a right to the throne and is taking what’s hers — but is it really hers? Her family essentially ran Westeros into the ground through their questionable ruling methods. Her father was an insane psychopath who murdered innocents for kicks and her brother started a war through his inability to keep it in his pants in the company of a lovely lady. And sure, in “Book of the Stranger,” those Khals were misogynistic, but did they really deserve to die in a firey inferno while Daenerys smiled? Jon’s murderers arguably deserved death more, and Jon took no joy in it. It would be just like Game of Thrones to have Daenerys conquer Westeros and seemingly give the story a happy ending, only to have her show her true Targaryen nature and prove to be as manic a ruler as everyone who came before her.
4. The Children will reclaim their land after everything is over
George R.R. Martin has famously proclaimed his intention to end his own story in a manner that emulates Tolkien. He said,
I mean, it’s no secret that Tolkien has been a huge influence on me, and I love the way he ended Lord of the Rings. It ends with victory, but it’s a bittersweet victory. Frodo is never whole again, and he goes away to the Undying Lands, and the other people live their lives. And the scouring of the Shire — brilliant piece of work, which I didnt understand when I was 13 years old: “Why is this here? The story’s over?” But every time I read it I understand the brilliance of that segment more and more. All I can say is that’s the kind of tone I will be aiming for.
The phrase to note is the Scouring of the Shire — an event that was left out of Peter Jackson’s films in favor of a less bleak ending. If you haven’t read the books, just when you think everything is over, when the hobbits return home at last, they find their home is a wasteland, ruled by miscreants and corrupted by the evil wizard Sauron.
In Game of Thrones the mysterious Children of the Forest are clearly going to be a stronger presence in the narrative. And though their behavior towards Bran Stark was benign in “The Door,” they’ve traditionally been at odds with humans, fighting over lands. It’s within reason, then, that just when the Starks have some semblance of a normal life after everything is over, the Children of the Forest could decide to reclaim their lands — and perhaps Winterfell — from the realm of men.
Then again, it’s possible this “final twist,” really is just the R+L=J reveal. But for the story’s sake, any of these would make an intriguing final gut-punch.