Game of Thrones is fun, but you know what’s even more fun? The version of Game of Thrones that exists in the parallel universe of Reddit. In it, Bran is the Night King, Cersei is faking her pregnancy, and Littlefinger is somehow still alive — not to mention half a dozen other theories that are all equally ridiculous and yet tantalizingly possible.
Sadly, with just one Game of Thrones episode left to go, many of these theories are clearly never going to come to fruition. With some fans left disappointed by the direction the show has chosen to go instead, I wanted to take a moment to re-imagine what could have been in season eight — if Reddit had its way.
The resulting fan-generated eighth season of Game of Thrones is weird, it’s surprising, and it doesn’t always make complete sense. But call me biased, I think it’s maybe even better than the real thing.
This is how Game of Thrones could have ended if Reddit had its way.
In which Arya is no one
Let’s go back to the beginning of season eight, that shiny and hopeful time when everything was still possible. The White Walkers have just breached the Wall and are marching on Winterfell; Bran may yet turn out to not be completely useless; Cersei thinks she’s pulled off a brilliant tactical move by tricking the northerners into believing she’s on their side when, psyche, she’s actually waiting to mop up whoever survives the onslaught of the living dead.
In this Reddit-fied version of Thrones, the season opens with the major heroes gathering in Winterfell ahead of battle. We might happen to see Arya — who in season seven had abandoned her mission to kill Cersei in order to rally in the North with her siblings — but she is acting strangely. We’re reminded that the direwolf Nymeria didn’t recognize her when they encountered each other in the woods. Maybe Sansa starts to think too hard about that creepy bag of faces her sister is toting around, because suddenly everything clicks into place: Arya isn’t Arya. Arya is the Waif.
This theory has existed in several forms on Reddit, with one particularly good thread by Blais_Of_Glory arguing that the real Arya was killed back in Braavos in season six and that the “Arya” the show has been following is actually the Waif wearing her face as a disguise.
But why would a Faceless Man be in Winterfell? Perhaps to kill Bran. So why not send an ordinary assassin to do that instead? UniqueSobriquet has an answer: “Simple: Bran Stark. He can see everything that’s ever happened. At this point, could an ordinary Faceless Man really get past him?”
Bran, though, will be necessary later on in the plot — the Night King is still marching on Winterfell and everyone agrees the two will eventually need a dramatic confrontation — so the Stark imposter will have to be discovered by her siblings and disposed of promptly early on.
In which Littlefinger comes back
Now there is a new mystery: Who paid the Faceless Men to take out Bran, and why? Another Reddit theory might hold the answer: Littlefinger.
As the thinking goes, Littlefinger didn’t actually die in season seven and he also happens to know a liiiiitle too much about the cost of hiring the Faceless Men. “[…T]here’s a discussion about hiring the Faceless Men to kill Daenerys and Littlefinger [advises] it’s not a good idea because of the price it would take, so he also knows what price to pay them, which would give more evidence to prove that he has some kind of long-term deal with them that took action once the moment was right, when he had nothing more to do in the North,” writes ghostcookies12.
But wasn’t Littlefinger, uh, very dead last season? Sure, but if he hired Arya-not-Arya in this version of Game of Thrones, the pair might have potentially pulled off a trick together to fool the northerners. “Just because we saw [Littlefinger] dying, it doesn’t mean it’s absolute if we have evidence to offer an alternative,” ghostcookies12 further explains. “We saw half of the Avengers being turned into dust but did they really die permanently?” Fair point! Plus, when in cahoots with a death cult, these things can happen.
As for why Littlefinger would want Bran dead in the first place: “[H]e sees his plan of separating Sansa from anyone but him in danger, because Bran and Arya are back … He has plotting everything for years and now suddenly something happens that could ruin the Sansa part of his plan,” proposes FunDistrict. But if Arya isn’t really Arya, then until Jon Snow and Daenerys Targaryen return from Dragonstone, Bran is who stands left in his way.
All this could be discovered after “Arya” is revealed to be the Waif. Once alerted to foul play, perhaps Bran would locate Littlefinger, and Jon Snow, upon his return, could feed the schemer to Rhaegal.
In which Theon is redeemed
Meanwhile, down in Blackwater Bay, Game of Thrones: Reddit Edition sees Theon murder his uncle Euron — thus reducing the pirate to the status of “minor bad guy” that he deserves — and rescues Yara while also regaining the respect of the Iron Islanders.
The siblings return to the Iron Islands to rule together, depriving Cersei of her navy. “If Theon saves [Yara] and she rules the Iron Islands with all those ships from Euron, [s]he will be incredibly important to the war and survivors she may need to ferry to safety,” one Reddit theory holds.
In which Cersei has a miscarriage
Back at King’s Landing, a pregnant Cersei might be forced to reckon with Maggy the Frog’s prophecy that she will only have three children and ultimately “lose her [unborn] child,” as many fans, including -steppen-wolf-, predicted.
Where the Cersei miscarriage plotline starts to get fun is “if Bran or Melisandre could somehow reveal to Cersei that her son with Robert lived and was Gendry,” one Reddit thread posits. “…[I]t would be an amazing twist for the purpose of restoring the woman Cersei once was, with the idea that her Baratheon heir is her redemption from the perverted Lannister side.”
As for how Gendry avoids being one of Cersei’s three children named in Maggy’s prophecy, Reddit proposes he might be counted by the witch as one of Robert’s “six-and-10” children instead.
In which the Battle of Winterfell turns out to be a diversion
At last it is time for the Battle of Winterfell. But “[w]hat if the entire battle of the North is a diversion for the Night King to head to King’s Landing?” proposed Lord_of_da_Vale. “Many times it has been said that over a million people live in the capital. For the [Night King], that’s a huge gain to his army.” It’s not totally without precedent either — we saw the Lannisters pull off a similar move by attacking High Garden while Daenerys’ army was distracted taking Casterly Rock.
Some major characters will still die in the Battle of Winterfell in this version of Game of Thrones, though. One scenario put forward by sbowesuk would have Jaime Lannister die in the battle for the side of the living, completing his redemption arc (and avoiding that confusing scene where he returns to Cersei during the Battle of King’s Landing in the actual televised version of the show).
Still, the Northerners will soon realize that they are fighting a diversion, particularly when the Night King fails to make an appearance. Cut to the Night King taking King’s Landing and possibly even “making Cersei a [White] Walker, or Night Queen,” in the words of MidSolo.
A Night Queen! Now we’re talking.
In which Jon Snow and Daenerys Targaryen die
Many fan theories claimed both Jon Snow and Daenerys Targaryen would die in the show’s eighth season, and so it will be in Game of Thrones: Reddit Edition. This version borrows the prediction of datovic specifically, who wrote that “Jon Snow [would die] trying killing the current Night King, turning to a White Walker. The Night King needs someone to ride on Viserion” and Jon Snow, née Aegon Targaryen, would do the trick.
Not before Daenerys becomes pregnant, though — a plotline that many Redditors saw ending with her dying in childbirth, per the curse of the witch in season one. “During Dany’s vision (season 2 episode 10), she meets Drogo in a tent carrying a baby waiting for her,” observes seekthrow. “[M]y theory is, like her mother and all the other mothers that died during childbirth, she too will die giving birth to her and Jon’s baby, who shall be a dragon rider.”
Then what happens to the now-parentless child in this version of Game of Thrones? Ate4one has an idea: “I think Sansa will be Queen Regent of the Seven Kingdoms until Jon and Daenerys’ daughter will be proclaimed Queen of the Seven Kingdoms […] I think Sansa will marry the Hound [and] Sansa and [the] Hound will raise Jon and Daenerys’ daughter, the princess that was promised.”
In which Bran wargs into a dragon and kills the Night King
But what of the Night King, who in this version of Game of Thrones is still around and now accompanied by an evil dragon-riding Jon Snow and the Night Queen Cersei?
Many fans understandably had believed Bran would do something in season eight (rather than just sit around warging into crows). How about warging into the Night King’s ice dragon then? How that might play out, according to ded_a_chek: Bran will try to warg into Viserion, only to “encounter” the Night King doing his own warging in the dragon’s mind.
“They fight throughout events of the series and world history until they go back to the point where the Night King is a human about to be made into the Night King,” ded_a_chek goes on. “Bran is barely holding his own, he realizes he’s about to be defeated when he makes one last crazy gambit. He wargs into the human Night King just as the knife goes into his chest.”
Thus transformed into the Night King, Bran is effectively able to destroy himself.
Admittedly, this theory fails to address the fact that the Night King still doesn’t ever truly get a motivation other than just “do evil” and introduces the numerous complications and inconsistencies of time travel. But I’ll let it stand because Game of Thrones showrunners D.B. Weiss and David Benioff haven’t seemed too perturbed by these issues to date, either.
In which Tyrion takes the throne
In the aftermath of the war of Westeros in Game of Thrones: Reddit Edition, there are few left standing who have claim to the Iron Throne. While an earlier theory suggested that Sansa rule until Jon and Daenerys’ child is an adult, there is, in fact, another who also has claim to the throne: Tyrion.
Tywin Lannister — Tyrion’s father — was a distant decedent of Elyanna Baratheon, who herself was a distant relative of King Robert Baratheon’s. With both his older siblings dead, it is Tyrion who is thus the last remaining heir of the ruling Baratheon line. “Tyrion will win the throne,” writes Smelly_Scientist, with Visionioso jumping in to correct: “Not the Iron Throne. King’s Landing will be destroyed. Sansa and Tyrion will marry and rule together, probably from Casterly Rock.”
This ties nicely back into ate4one’s theory too, except instead of marrying the Hound, here Sansa and her infant ward end up in the castle of Westeros’ new king. And what better parents for the adopted baby Jonerys, the eventual ruler of the realm?
In which Sam writes a book
And what of everyone’s other favorite character, the yet-unmentioned Sam Tarly? Well, Reddit naturally has a prediction for him too:
In season seven of Game of Thrones, the Maester that Samwell is squiring [for] is writing a book called The Wars Following the Death of Robert Baratheon; when Samwell hears this title he suggests something more poetic. “A Song of Ice and Fire, perhaps?”
I speculate that season 8 will end with Sam finishing that book with the title A Song of Ice and Fire. This would be a very satisfying ending. [FrightenedGoose via Reddit]
That it would.