Photo: Selen Sloane/HBO

We’ve waited a long time for Game Of Thrones to return, but seven blessings it’s finally here. Before the Great War kicks off, though, you had lots of questions about what to expect during the show’s final year. In this pre-season Mailbag Of Thrones we’re answering your inquiries about what Bran actually knows, who— and what—will die (and then un-die), and if the famed sword Lightbringer might turn out to be the friends we made along the way. And as always, be sure to send any questions that arise during or after this week’s episode to mailbagofthrones@avclub.com.

Charlie asks: When the Night King touched Bran mid-warg and “marked” him, as the former Three-Eyed Raven told him, the magical boundary that protected the cave from the White Walkers was destroyed. My question is whether Bran’s mark applied to The Wall and its subsequent destruction. I realize the ice dragon had a lot to do with bringing it down, but did The Wall’s magical properties vanish once Bran returned south because of the mark? Is it possible The Wall could have prevented the Night King’s army from entering Westeros had Bran simply stayed north of it?

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If you had asked this question before the season seven finale I would have said it was likely Bran unknowingly canceled the magical properties of The Wall and made it possible for the Night King to pass for exactly that reason. However, after seeing how the Night King used brute force to bring it down, with no further talk of enchantments, it seems the show went with the less complicated explanation that a dragon (itself a magical creature) raised by another magical creature (the Night King) was enough to overcome any magical Wall properties.

Could we discover in season eight that was only possible because Bran was “marked” and then went past The Wall? Yes, but it seems more likely we already have the full explanation on how it happened.

Nick asks: Does Bran (or the Stark clan in general) know Jaime pushed him out the window? I know Jaime admitted it to Catelyn Stark while held captive by Robb, but I can’t tell if that info made the rounds. I imagine Bran now can simply look back and watch it happen if he’s curious, but it doesn’t seem like he’s done that yet. I also would guess that Jaime will have to answer for this upon arriving in Winterfell. Seeing as that act pretty much ignited the war between the Starks and the Lannisters, it seems like it will be revisited pretty soon, no?

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Catelyn always needed Jaime alive because her daughters were held captive by the Lannisters in King’s Landing, so revealing that information to the Stark forces would not have been in her best interests. The only one who might have known (and is still alive) is Brienne, but she loves Jaime and likely didn’t share that information either.

As for Bran, he has never indicated he knows who pushed him, but it’s safe to guess he’s learned by now via a vision. He sometimes learns things off-screen. We didn’t see him go back and watch Littlefinger betray his father, but we know he did because he talked about it during Baelish’s “trial.” At some point during his time with (and as) the Three-Eyed Raven, he probably took a moment to find out how he fell. From a storytelling standpoint it would be insane for him not to know Jaime did it, since Jaime is currently heading to Winterfell to fight for the living. There’s almost no chance the show would deprive us of that payoff to the first episode’s shock ending, which was so important to so many major plots.

Photo: Helen Sloan (HBO)

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Jose asks: Who gets brought back to life in season eight? Who dies first? Will there be any dragons left alive at the end of season eight?

What is dead may never die! I expect to see both Hodor and the wildling woman Karsi whom we saw die at Hardhome return as wights. The Night King is evil enough to use psychological warfare in the Great War, and their returns (especially Hodor’s) will make for an incredibly terrifying and emotional moment. Also, everyone who dies during the Battle of Winterfell (and that could be a massive number of well-known characters) are likely to immediately “come back” in the army of the dead.

As for the season’s first death, we’ll stick with major characters only, and even then it could be anyone fighting at Winterfell. If we play the odds we want a great warrior who is brave and willing to lay down his or her life to protect someone. My gut tells me Brienne, sworn protector of both Stark girls, is not long for the world of the living. Bonus prediction: A wight Brienne is the unseen attacker Arya is running from in the show’s trailer. (You feel sick over that idea? Me too.)

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Photo: Helen Sloan (HBO)

As for any dragons being alive by the end, I’ve always thought dragons and White Walkers are opposite sides of the same coin, because each are agents of destruction and death. Dragonflame has definitely killed way more people than the ice demons ever have. It would be fitting for a song of ice and fire to end with both eradicated, so I’m leaning toward no dragons being left alive. (Unless you also meant human dragons. I think Jon or Daenerys will make it to the end—more likely Jon—but not both)

Todd asks: Isn’t Gendry the true remaining heir to the Baratheon line? If so, do you think our six-episode limited screen time will allow us to see him inherit the Stormlands?

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He’s the only living Baratheon in the world, bastard or lawful. If anyone he is fighting with in Winterfell takes the Iron Throne they will likely legitimize him so House Baratheon can continue on, especially as a loyal family to the throne. It would only take a line or two of dialogue to establish this, so if he’s still alive at the end of the show we’d probably learn he inherits Storm’s End and everything that goes with being its Lord. That is unless he’s the only one left and becomes King Gendry.

Aeshnar asks: What do you make of the theory Rhaegar Targaryen really was Azor Ahai, Lyanna was (his wife) Nissa Nissa, and Jon is (the sword) Lightbringer?

If you aren’t familiar with the names mentioned in this question, I’ve written about how Jon or Daenerys could forge Lightbringer in the other’s heart, but the show has never actually mentioned the legend of Azor Ahai. (It has talked about the Prince That Was Promised a lot.) For them to introduce the story of Azor Ahai in the final six episodes and then have it turn out his White Walker-defeating sword forged in his wife’s heart is not actually a sword but a person feels like a lot to ask.

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If we do get a metaphorical Lightbringer, it’s more likely to be Drogon. Overall it’s not a bad theory—but for the books, not the show.

Justin asks: Should any importance be attached to [George R.R.] Martin’s use of character chapters per book? During a re-read, I noticed there is only one character who has POV chapters in every novel: Arya Stark. Is there any meaning to this?

She’s a major character in both the books and the show, but arguably not more important than Tyrion, Jon, or Daenerys (and Bran in the books). The only reason they aren’t POV characters in every book is the way A Feast For Crows and A Dance With Dragons are split up. Arya’s inclusion in all five novels feels like more of a fluke than anything else.

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Photo: Helen Sloan (HBO)

I used to think she made the cut in both novels because George R.R. Martin didn’t want us suffering for years not knowing if Arya would ever get her sight back. My 17 failed predictions for when The Winds Of Winter would be released tells me he wasn’t worried about making us wait.

But hey, at least we don’t have to wait much longer to see who’s chasing Arya. Seven hells please don’t be wight Brienne.

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