Jon and Dany and their respective entourages are headed to Winterfell.
When Jon left Winterfell early on in Season 7, it was to try to form an alliance with Daenerys and access her dragonglass on Dragonstone.
Well, he got her dragonglass alright. He also bent the knee, resigning his title of King in the North and the North’s independence along with it. He’s now Warden of the North – and completely in love with Dany.
Dany, for her part, also seems to love Jon. She’s seen the Night King and even lost a dragon to him, so she’s put her quest for the Iron Throne on hold in order to help Jon deal with the undead.
The two of them officially consummated their alliance with boatsex on the way to Winterfell, and from the promo images released for Season 8 it seems they continue to be loved up. But there are a few complications on the horizon…
Sansa is Lady of Winterfell – and not happy with Jon.
After six seasons of being other people’s pawn, Sansa finally got some power of her own by becoming Lady of Winterfell and she is not about to let any of that go. There was tension between her and Arya when Arya returned home in Season 7, and while they resolved that in the season finale and talked about how “the pack survives”, there’s undoubtedly going to be tension when Jon arrives home with Daenerys in tow.
Sansa was unhappy when she heard the news that Jon had bent the knee, and Littlefinger has been whispering in her ear about not trusting Jon or relying on him for two seasons. Littlefinger is gone now, thanks to the Stark siblings teaming up to kill him in Season 7, but that doesn’t mean those doubts have been removed from Sansa’s mind. The Northern lords are also unlikely to be enthused about the news their king has ceded power to a southern/foreign leader, especially one he is in love with. It reeks of the mistakes Robb previously made. Uh oh.
The biggest complication of all in Jon and Dany’s relationship – and the question of who will sit on the Iron Throne – is the truth about Jon’s parentage. Thanks to Sam and Gilly’s reading at the Citadel and Bran’s visions, the Season 7 finale confirmed not only that Rhaegar Targaryen and Lyanna Stark are indeed Jon’s parents, but they were also secretly married after Rhaegar had his first marriage to Elia Martell annulled. This makes Jon – whose real name is Aegon Targaryen – the rightful heir to the Iron Throne ahead of Daenerys. The truth has huge implications for Jon, his position in the world, and his relationship with all the characters — but especially Daenerys, who is his aunt by blood. It’ll be interesting to see how they all react to the revelation.
Another complication, while we’re here: Dany executed Sam’s brother and father last season in a pretty brutal way. It’s likely this fact will also come out and cause even more trouble in paradise — the very least, it’ll probably make the North less likely to accept Dany as their ruler.
Of course, Bran also saw something else with his powers that kind of makes everything else kind of insignificant…
The Night King and his army are also headed to Winterfell.
Forget all the complications and questions over who deserves the Iron Throne, because the Night King and his army (including his fuck-off huge ICE DRAGON – the zombie formerly known as Viserion) are on their way to Winterfell. We last saw them breaking down the Wall at Eastwatch-by-the-Sea and officially making their way into Westeros.
We know the Battle of Winterfell happens in Episode 3, so there’s at least two episodes before the Night King and co reach the Stark seat. What will they do before then? My money is on an attack on Castle Black…
Tormund and Beric are probably at Castle Black.
Tormund and Beric were at Eastwatch-by-the-Sea when the Night King brought it down. Since they were on top of the Wall, it’s likely they ran along it and made their way straight to Castle Black. We saw them with Dolorous Edd in the trailer for Season 8, so it makes sense that that’s where they all are. They no doubt will warn Edd of the Night King’s invasion. Hopefully they all make it out alive, but I don’t like their chances.
Jaime is going to Winterfell too.
In the Season 7 finale, Tyrion negotiated with Cersei and convinced her to ally with Jon and Dany and send the Lannister troops North to fight the Night King. She was, of course, lying (whether Tyrion knows this or not is a point of contention in the fandom). The Lannister army is NOT on their way to Winterfell, as Team Stargaryen are expecting. But Jaime Lannister is, after a memorable encounter with Brienne in which she told him to “fuck loyalty”, and a conversation with Cersei in which he realised with horror she was planning to renege on her promise. Jaime’s character arc has been all about trying to reclaim his honour and become the oathkeeper he’s always wanted to be, rather than the oathbreaker he’s known as. So leaving Cersei and going North on his own is significant for him.
That doesn’t mean he’ll get a warm reception at Winterfell, of course. Last time he was there, he pushed Bran out of a window after all. But Tyrion is there, and so is Brienne — not to mention the Night King is on his way. It seems like the opposing characters will have to work out their differences in the first two episodes before the big battle begins.
Cersei is determined to maintain power in King’s Landing.
Cersei is hoping the Night King and Jon and Dany all mutually destroy each other so she doesn’t have to deal with them. But in the meantime, she’s staying in King’s Landing and preparing to fight for it. She had Euron Greyjoy fetch the Golden Company — an army of sellswords — from Essos, and we saw in the Season 8 trailer they’re headed for Westeros. What will happen when they get there remains to be seen.
Also, Cersei is pregnant with Jaime’s child – unless she is lying, as some people believe (FWIW, I don’t think she is lying, but I do think she’ll lose the baby in Season 8).
Cersei and Euron have Yara imprisoned – and Theon is on his way to rescue her.
The end of Season 7 saw Theon cobbling together the remaining Ironborn loyal to Yara to form a rescue team to get his sister back, after Euron captured her and delivered her to Cersei earlier in the season. I hope he’s successful — it’ll be interesting to see if it all goes down before the Battle of Winterfell, and whether the Greyjoys make it back there in time to fight alongside the Starks.
Melisandre was banished from the North but will probably go straight there.
After convincing Dany to see Jon Snow and bringing “ice and fire together” in Season 7, Melisandre headed to Volantis — but not before promising she would return to Westeros, telling Varys “I have to die in this strange country”. Her whole life has been dedicated to helping the side of the light in the pending fight against the dark — now that that fight is here, she’ll want to be in the centre of it.
But if she shows her face in the North she may not live to see the battle, anyway. Jon and Davos both vowed to execute her if they saw her again after learning she had sacrificed Shireen.
Gendry is…somewhere in the North.
We kind of lost track of him at the end of Season 7 after he made it to the Wall to get help for the stranded Suicide Squad. But from the looks of the Season 8 trailer, he’ll be at Winterfell helping to make dragonglass weapons (which means a REUNION WITH ARYA, YES). Basically, everyone except Cersei, Qyburn, the Mountain, the Greyjoys and the Golden Company seem set to converge at Winterfell ahead of the battle in Season 8.
I’m so hype and also so scared.