Thronespotting: A civil war is brewing in the North


Over the next two months, Thronespotting will examine the final episodes of “Game of Thrones” for clues on how the epic series will end. Appropriately, the show’s final season premiere was packed with developments that will have major long-term implications. Accordingly, here are five predictions on how the program’s final arc will unfold based on what happened in “Winterfell.”

And of course…spoilery SPOILERS follow.

Did we mention?


Civil War is Coming

Although “Game of Thrones” teased the start of the Great War at the end of season seven, another conflict will clearly consume a lot of screen time this year. Despite Jon’s repeated assertions that the real fight is against the White Walkers, the North disagrees. Many of the regions power players are angry at Jon for bending the knee to Daenerys. In particular, Jon’s siblings Sansa and Arya seem downright hostile to their new queen.

Given everything the Stark sisters went through to attain power and autonomy, they aren’t going to surrender it to an outsider. Plus, survivors of Robert’s Rebellion aren’t keen to serve a Targaryen again. Conversely, Daenerys has made it clear she has no tolerance for disloyalty. As such, a civil war between Dany’s forces and the Starks and their allies seems inevitable.

Sadly, the Starks likely won’t prevail in that conflict. Daenerys’ army is massive and she has air support from two fiercely loyal dragons. The Northern Alliance was strong enough to tear down the House Bolton, but their ash in the wind against the Unburnt.

Jon Snow Still Doesn’t Know Anything

For years now, “Thrones” fans have wondered how Jon was going to react when learning of his true parentage. Following tradition, he fell into stunned silence. Although Jon is a great warrior and leader, he struggles with the unexpected. Whether it was Ned Stark’s death, the Night’s Watch betrayal, or Melisandre’s monstrous magic tricks, he doesn’t handle abrupt, massive change very well.

The former King of the North also has a blind spot for other people’s feelings. He’s so obsessed with raising alarm about the coming of Winter, he didn’t consider how his abdication of the throne would affect his family and allies. He’s also laughably oblivious to the fact that his aunt-girlfriend and sisters want to kill each other. However, following Samwell’s revelations about his true parentage, Jon’s going to have to make some big decisions about his loyalties.

Befitting his character, he will likely spend the next few episodes torn about whether he should support Daenerys or Sansa. Eventually, he’ll go with the family that raised him, but given Dany’s superior firepower he’ll likely end up leading his people to the Iron Islands after the breakup. Yara didn’t mention using her homeland as a second front this episode for no reason.

Bran Remembers Jamie but doesn’t want him Dead

Given that Bran spent hours in the freezing cold waiting for Jamie to arrive, it’s fair to say he remembers what the Kingslayer did to him back in season one. However, while everyone at Winterfell wants to see Jamie executed, the Three-Eyed Raven might have other ideas. As indicated by his eerily emotionless demeanor, he isn’t the same boy Jamie nearly killed.

Given his ability to perceive the past, present, and future near simultaneously, Bran likely knows about the split between the Lannisters. Moreover, he knows Jamie is an honorable and accomplished warrior who could play a major role in defeating the army of the night. Consequently, he’ll likely ask Sansa, Daenerys, and everyone else the Kingslayer has wronged to seek vengeance after the war is over.

Tyrion isn’t Long for the World

Although Tyrion is one of “Game of Thrones’” best and most liked characters, the events of “Winterfell” suggest his end is near. The problem is the Hand of the Queen’s vaunted cunning is failing him. As Sansa rather cruelly pointed out in the premiere, he was a fool to trust Cersei. While Tyrion wasn’t present for his sister’s descent into super-villainy, he did grow up with her. Therefore, he should’ve known she’d never bend the knee under any circumstances.

Similarly, Tyrion’s jealousy of Jon is compromising his ability to be an effective advisor to Daenerys. If he wasn’t so heartbroken, he would’ve taken Davos’ warnings more seriously. As things stand, the North is ready to rebel against their new queen. In the past, the black sheep of House Lannister would’ve anticipated that outcome. However, right now, he seems too emotional to notice everything is falling apart around him.

In fact, Tyrion seems so lost, he probably won’t question where his old friend Bron got his new crossbow until it’s too late.

Daenerys is Her Father’s Daughter

For “Game of Thrones” first few seasons, the series illustrated the many ways in which Daenerys is not like her father, Mad King Aerys. Her ability to see the nobility in common people and dedication to freedom mark her as an unusual Targaryen. However, Dany has changed immensely during her slow journey back to King’s Landing.

Daenerys’ conflicts with the cruel and brutal have made her increasingly harsh, unforgiving, and a little paranoid. Those qualities were on full display when she bluntly told Samwell she killed his father and brother. Indeed, her kneel or burn policy has made her remarkably unpopular in the North. Consequently, she’ll likely have a new war on her hands as Sansa and her allies attempt a rebellion.

Logically, the Mother of Dragons will win that conflict as she has all others. But the cost of taming the Seven Kingdoms will be significant. After quelling the insurrection and defeating the Night King’s army, she won’t have much of a realm to rule. Moreover, Jon’s probable decision to side with his family will likely harden her heart even more.

Consequently, Dany will push her allies and advisors away fearing their inevitable betrayals.

At the end of the season, Daenerys will rule all of Westeros. But as her vision showed, she’ll do so from a charred throne room. Like her father, Dany will unite the world under House Targaryen, but her reign will be a lonely one.

Twitter Reactions

“Game of Thrones” final season premiere set Twitter ablaze. Here are some of the funniest and most interesting tweets about “Winterfell.”