With the Battle of Winterfell on the horizon, Season 8 Episode 2 of HBO’s epic series Game of Thrones was one of the best installments of the show we’ve seen in some time. A Knight of the Seven Kingdoms reminded fans what makes the show great: not just the action (which is cool too), but the emotional moments, depth of conversations, thorough character/plot development, and overall great storytelling.
We saw some of these deeply intricate character arcs neatly wrapped up (i.e. Theon being validated by Sansa, Jamie knighting Brienne, etc.). We were also given the gift of spending some intimate final moments with all of these favorite characters of ours in almost-real time – shortly before they’ll presumably all die this Sunday night.
GoT: As a long-time storyteller, I'm in awe of how perfectly the minds behind this show brought all the major characters together at Winterfell. They made it look easy. Constant Readers, it is not.
— Stephen King (@StephenKing) April 23, 2019
As storytellers ourselves, it’s important that we look to the best of the best storytellers for inspiration and lessons to be learned about the craft. There’s no shortage of the latter to be found in this series. So before we dive into our crazy fan theories, here are a few key takeaways.
- Tell a story that audiences connect to in a real way. Easier said than done with something as epic as Game of Thrones, but this is especially true in marketing. Don’t just inform your audience about whatever your talking about. Entertain them.
- Continuity is key. This is an extremely complex story. There can be no corner cutting in great writing. This includes creating a well-formed narrative in content and marketing writing.
- Start with the big picture and work your way down to the finer details. When a topic or vision is so complex, don’t just start writing. Map out a detailed outline, highlight your key points of emphasis, and build it out from there.
- Don’t just give everything away. Great mysteries like Game of Thrones are teased out slowly. That’s how you draw people in, get them talking, and sell more.
That last one is particularly important and relevant to this final season. With only 4 episodes left, the show has both covered so much ground and left so much to happen – open to the interpretation and theorizing of the fans. And like any fans and social media enthusiasts, our team has spent countless hours pondering and scouring depths of pop culture blogs and subreddits for assistance in forming our carefully curated ideas of how this story plays out.
So now comes the fun part, in which we offer up our expert opinions on Game of Thrones theory. But first, in very Westorsi fashion, meet your guides:
Please introduce yourself by explaining which Great House you’d be in.
Matt: I think I’d be in one in the Vale ‘cause I really love the views there. Or House Marmont, I admire Lady Marmont. She’s like the AOC of Westeros.
Kyle: Everyone’s going to want to say Stark, but I’ll say I’m more of a dangerous sellsword like Ser Bronn of the Blackwater. I’ll ride with whoever’s winning and promises me a castle.
Shivani: Tough, but I’d have to go with House Martell. I visited The Water Gardens of Dorne while in Spain, also known as the Alcazar and it is beauuttiiffulll!
Stephen: House Targaryen because I miss/loved being a blonde.
Joe: House Martell of Sunspear. Dorne reminds me of Sicily, and it seems like a great place to watch the world explode. Not to mention those people can fight like hell.
Matt Dennis: According to Buzzfeed, I’m a Stark.
Jackie: House Lannister, baby.
What’s the worst outcome for the show?
Stephen: The Night King captures Drogon and Rhaegal and makes them both wights. He then takes over all of Westeros and sits on the Iron Throne.
Matt Dennis: Anything that has to do with Bran being the puppet master.
Jackie: IF ANY OF THE BRAN THEORIES ARE TRUE. Or any concept of Jon Snow and/or Dany taking over.
What’s the best outcome for the show?
Matt: Cersei fakes her death and opens up a bar in Key West called “By The Sir Sea” where she offers gay men advice on dating. Lots or red wine and it’s on Amazon Prime!
Kyle: The Starks arrange to meet at a local tavern. Jon arrives first, puts “Don’t Stop Believing” on the jukebox, and watches customers come and go. Sansa arrives next. Jon tells her Theon will testify against him. Bran then arrives and reminds his brother of his advice to “remember the good times.” Arya arrives late and parks her horse outside. As the bell rings when Arya opens the door, Jon looks up. The scene cuts to black.
Shivani: The Night King and his army are defeated with no deaths on the living side. Dany kills Jon because he now stands in her way as the true heir to the throne. Sansa kills Dany and ends up becoming Queen. Euron kills Cersei, and he’s then killed by Theon and Yara. Everyone else just does their thing.
Joe: Bran rolling over in Winterfell next to Summer, his Direwolf, rubbing his eyes, revealing that Westeros and the whole series was a complete figment of his imagination after he fell from the window. Oh, and can totally walk and blows up Cersei’s spot… starting the whole series over again.
Kyle: Westeros is actually a theme park in Westworld. The Night King is actually the Man in Black further along on his quest to find out the meaning of the game. Jon Snow makes a series of shocked and confused faces when he realizes he’s actually a robot.
Stephen: The Children of the Forest are actually NOT extinct and have just been in hiding. They’ve been able to use their magic to multiply and have now created an army to defeat EVERYONE and take back Westeros for themselves.
Who’s your sleeper to sit on the Iron Throne?
Matt: Sansa. Or Arya in Sansa’s face. Or Sansa in Beyonce’s face.
Shivani: Lyanna Mormont. Homegirl is young and not too experienced, but much smarter and more prepared than anyone else.
Matt Dennis: Sam Tarly. He’s now the head of his house and has the wisdom to rule.
If you could kill off one living character right now who would it be and why?
Joe: Jon Snow. All men must die.
Matt Dennis: Lord Varys. I never know what he’s up to.
Jackie: Theon. WHY is he not dead already? Why?
What two characters would have hooked up in a different life?
Kyle: Now that Jaime has switched sides, I bet Cersei and Ser Gregor would have been hooking up if Ser Gregor hadn’t become some repulsive undead mutant freak.
Matt: Jamie Lannister and Jon Snow would break the internet.
Shivani: Arya and the Hound. They fight like an old married couple. OR! Brienne and Tormund. “The big woman still here?” Ahh… the real love story in GoT.
Who’s gonna finally kill Cersei?
Jackie: Invalid question. Not happening.
Matt: I refuse to validate this line of questioning.
Kyle: Arya is going to wear Jaime’s face and kill her as the only person she loves.
What are your theories for how this epic piece of storytelling plays out? Be sure to drop your crazy ideas in the comments. We’re always looking for new ones.