Warning: this article contains spoilers for the final season of HBO’s Game of Thrones.
HBO executives have finally confirmed what Game of Thrones fans have long feared: the final season will see many of the show’s beloved characters killed off.
According to Variety, Francesca Orsi, HBO SVP of drama was at the INTV Conference in Israel alongside programming president Casey Bloys when she recounted her experience of being present during the read-through of the series finale
“It was a really powerful moment in our lives and our career,” she said.
“None of the cast had received the scripts prior, and one by one they started to fall down to their deaths.”
Her words echo those of Maisie Williams, who famously plays Arya Stark in the fantasy drama.
Earlier this year, the actress revealed that she and her mum “cracked open a bottle of wine and made predictions about how it was going to end” before they read the scripts for the eighth and final series of Game of Thrones.
“Neither of us was right,” she said. “I don’t know if it’s gonna surprise people, but it’s just different to what you think it’s going to be.”
So what will happen?
Well, like the rest of the world, or at least the Game of Thrones fans in it, we are still reeling from the season seven finale which was the satisfying series climax we’d all been longing for (in more ways than one).
However, there was one moment in particular which stands out – and it all has to do with Bran Stark (Isaac Hempstead Wright) and the Night King’s outfits.
This sneaky fashion detail could confirm a huge fan theory that’s been circling on Reddit for ages now: Bran is the Night King. They are one and the same. And everything we thought we knew about time does not exist.
As turm0il26 theorises, Bran will most likely attempt to travel back in time (as we saw him do with the younger Hodor) to try and stop the Night King and the White Walkers from ever setting foot in Westeros. To, in short, rewrite history.
“The first time he travels back in time, Bran tries to prepare the Mad King for the White Walkers and whispers to him to prepare wildfire under King’s Landing, where they will later attack,” says turm0il26. “But Bran fails in his task, instead causing the Mad King to go crazy from the whispers (“burn them all”) and attempt to burn the city to the ground.”
The savvy GoT viewer continues to explain that Bran will later, in an act of desperation, travel all the way back to that fateful moment the Night King was created – and end up trapped inside that body, within that timeline.
This could go some way towards explaining why the pair are so hyper-aware of one another’s comings and goings. After all, the Night King always knows when Bran is warging nearby: his eyes will scan the sky and immediately identify which of a flock of ravens Bran is sheltering inside.
But does this mean that Bran is destined to become the villain of the piece? Well, not necessarily: in fact, many believe that the Night King isn’t quite as twisted as he may first appear…
As one Reddit user writes: “Bran orchestrates everything to bring peace to Westeros. And the only way he can do it is by becoming the Night King, raising an army of undead and marching them to the Gods Eye where he will destroy the ancient COTF magic, and it turns everyone from wights back into fully healthy Humans, exactly as they were the moment of their death.
“It would be such a cool last episode. Game of Thrones season 8 episode 4/5 would be giant battle with the Night King, and the Night King Wins! He kills Jon Snow, Dany, and all the other characters we love. Everyone is super distraught. And everyone is like ‘WTF is going to happen in the last episode? everyone is dead…’
“Then the Night King makes it to the Eye, does his voodoo and instantly everyone from the entire series is alive and well again!”
That would explain why everyone is going to fall to their deaths in the final series – and means that we might get the best of both worlds: something dramatic, and heart-breaking, and wonderful, and inspiring.
We guess we just have to wait and see what winter has in store for us, eh?