In Game of Thrones, Daenerys Targaryen set out to “break the wheel” and free Westeros from the tyranny of an endless parade of selfish kings. But as we race headfirst towards the series finale this Sunday, it looks like Game of Thrones Season 8, Episode 6 could instead keep the wheel turning like usual. An intriguing new theory suggests that history will repeat itself in the finale this Sunday as the remaining characters play out the same conflict that set the story in motion in the first place: Robert’s Rebellion.
Warning: Possible spoilers for the Game of Thrones series finale below.
First, a quick Westeros history lesson. Robert’s Rebellion took place roughly 20 years before the events of Game of Thrones. It was a civil war in which an alliance of Starks (led by Ned) and Baratheons (led by Robert) took down King Aerys II Targaryen (aka the Mad King) with an assist from the Lannisters after Jaime renounced his position as Kingsguard and stabbed Aerys in the back, literally.
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Ok, so we know that’s a lot to remember, but there’s one more important detail: The rebellion began because Prince Rhaegar Targaryen (the Mad King’s son) allegedly kidnapped Ned’s sister, Lyanna Stark, who was supposed to marry Robert. Lyanna ended up dying under mysterious circumstances. Then, Robert became king and married Cersei Lannister instead, and the rest is HBO’s Game of Thrones.
Got it? Great. Now here’s how the story of Robert’s Rebellion could repeat itself in the Game of Thrones series finale. Step one already happened in Episode 5 when Daenerys Targaryen burned down the entire city of King’s Landing (just like her Mad King father wanted to do) and became the Mad Queen, but in Episode 6, she could go even further.
It’s not hard to imagine that Dany could aim her newfound rage at another Stark in the next episode, accusing Sansa Stark of treason and arresting her. In response, the remaining Starks (Jon Snow, Arya, and maybe Bran) would likely rebel against their new queen. That’s where the Baratheons come in.
King Robert is long dead, but in Season 8, Episode 4, Daenerys officially proclaimed Robert’s bastard son, Gendry, to be a true Baratheon and Lord of the Stormlands, a kingdom just south of the Westeros capital that was traditionally ruled by House Baratheon. Gendry may owe Dany a favor, but if she goes Mad Queen and tries to kill Sansa, we have a feeling he’ll side with the Starks in open rebellion.
The only missing piece of the puzzle is a Lannister to deliver the killing blow. In Robert’s Rebellion, that was Jaime, who was essentially working as private security for King Aerys at the time. Jaime might be dead, but his brother, Tyrion, is still alive. More importantly, he’s Dany’s most trusted advisor, putting him in the perfect position to stab her in the back if it comes to it.
Finally, if history truly does repeat itself, Gendry will end up on the Iron Throne to become King of Westeros. Of course, that assumes Jon will decline his rightful claim to the throne, but as he’s stated before, he has no interest in ruling.
Confused? I know that was a lot, so here’s a quick and dirty breakdown:
- A “mad” Targaryen was in charge: Aerys → Daenerys
- A Stark is taken prisoner: Lyanna Stark is “stolen” → Dany accuses Sansa of treason
- The Starks and Baratheons team up to rebel: Ned + Robert → Jon/Arya + Gendry
- A Lannister will betray the ruler to deal the finishing blow: Jaime → Tyrion
- A Baratheon ends up on the Iron Throne: Robert → Gendry
As redditor u/nzjamesk points out, this theory even makes sense if Daenerys directs her rage at Jon instead of Sansa:
“It also works if you switch Sansa and Jon so the genetic parentage pattern holds. Lyanna is mother to Jon so perhaps Jon will be executed at the opening of Episode 6. Then Sansa (Ned Stark’s biological daughter) will join with Gendry to fight the war, and go back North to become warden(ess) of the North.”
With all the steps laid out, it almost seems inevitable that the Game of Thrones finale will follow this structure. The only problem, as one fan on Reddit points out, is that this may be too much plot for a single episode. But with Season 8’s rapid pacing and an 80-minute runtime for Episode 6, it could definitely still happen.
At the very least, this theory gives Gendry Baratheon a much more satisfying ending than the one Game of Thrones Season 8 currently has lined up for him. What sounds better: Getting rejected by Arya and disappearing forever, or leading a rebellion against the Mad Queen and taking the Iron Throne?
The Game of Thrones series finale airs Sunday, May 19 at 9 p.m. on HBO.