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Questions Game of Thrones needs to answer in its final season

Game of Thrones will wrap up its thrilling run with its eighth and final season, premiering on April 14, 2019. Considering the final season’s astronomical budget and intense shooting schedule, as well as the fact that each episode will be the length of a feature film, fans have every reason to be excited about this last season of Thrones and hopeful that their beloved story will get a satisfying resolution. The final season has a lot of basic questions to answer — what will happen now that the Wall has fallen? Who will sit on the Iron Throne when all is said and done? — that have been a backbone of the series since the beginning, but after season 7’s staggering finale, viewers were left with questions they never even anticipated. From ice dragons to Cleganebowl and the fate of some of our favorite characters, here are all the questions Game of Thrones needs to answer in its final season.

What will happen with the ice dragon?

Ever since they hatched in the season 1 finale, Daenerys’ (Emilia Clarke) three dragons (Drogon, Rhaegal, & Viserion) have been an integral part of the show, largely because none of the other characters believed that dragons still existed at all. As part of the ancient and royal Targaryen family, Daenerys is known throughout Westeros and beyond as the “Mother of Dragons,” and since she spends a fair amount of time in the show’s later seasons swooping into battle on a dragon, the title feels fairly apt.

However, just as fans started to tire of Daenerys ex Machina, the show threw a wrench into her plan — during a risky (and stupid) mission beyond the Wall, Daenerys flew in to save Jon Snow and his motley crew once again, but Viserion was felled by the Night’s King and became an ice dragon, later used to take down the Wall itself.

So what does this mean for Daenerys, who considers the dragons her children? Will an ice dragon still be under her command, or has Viserion gone completely rogue? How does this tie into the series’ theme of fire and ice? Some fans think that, based on a prophecy regarding the “three heads” of the dragon, Jon Snow (Kit Harington) will end up riding Viserion. With so many theories floating around, it can be hard to keep track, but fans can expect a dragon showdown at the very least.

How will Jon and Daenerys react when they find out they’re related?

Season 7’s finale confirmed a long-held fan theory spawned by the books that will seriously affect their future — Jon is not Ned Stark’s (Sean Bean) bastard at all, but is actually Aegon Targaryen. His mother, Lyanna Stark (Ned’s beloved sister), was married to Daenerys’ brother Rhaegar Targaryen, who was killed by King Robert Baratheon’s army during the Rebellion, as it was believed that Rhaegar was a madman who had kidnapped Lyanna (whom Robert loved). As Lyanna died in childbirth, Ned found her, and she begged her brother to keep her baby safe from Robert’s wrath; after all, Aegon Targaryen is the son of royalty, and has perhaps the best claim of anyone to the Iron Throne.

Beyond Jon’s likely discomfort with his new name and title — recently crowned King in the North, some believe he might not even want the Iron Throne — he and Daenerys are in for a nasty surprise, as the fact that they’re (closely) related might throw a wrench into their budding romance. Considering Jon has promised to help Daenerys secure the Throne for herself, things may get even more awkward when she realizes her new lover isn’t just her biggest rival.

Will Arya finish her list?

From a sword-wielding pipsqueak to an identity-shifting assassin, Arya Stark (Maisie Williams), daughter of Ned Stark, has undergone one of the most dramatic and terrifying journeys in the entire show (which, considering this is Game of Thrones, is really saying something). After watching her father’s execution in season 1, Arya has been on an endless quest for blood, whispering her “kill list” to herself every night before she goes to sleep, waiting for her chance to exact revenge on those who hurt everyone from her father to her mother to her friend Gendry.

So far, several names on Arya’s list have been killed by other people, and she’s personally taken down a few using her face-shifting abilities, including Meryn Trant and Walder Frey, but there are still several huge names on her list that haven’t yet been taken down. Though she thinks she killed the Hound, he’s still alive, and after their journey together, he may have earned a place off of the list — but big bads like The Mountain, executioner Ilyn Payne, Melisandre, and, of course, Cersei Lannister are still on the loose for Arya to hunt down, leaving fans in suspense about whether she’ll make it to the end of her list.

What role will Sansa play during the final conflict?

Sansa Stark (Sophie Turner), the current Lady of Winterfell, has also been through quite a journey — once a self-involved child who wanted nothing more than to marry Joffrey and live in King’s Landing, Sansa has been to hell and back throughout Thrones’ run. After Ned’s death, Sansa was little more than a prisoner at Joffrey’s mercy in King’s Landing, but when he met a grisly end at his own wedding, she found herself shuttled between several different powerful (and reprehensible) men, from the conniving Littlefinger (Aiden Gillen) to the sadistic Ramsay Bolton (Iwan Rheon, who she was given to in marriage). Though she eventually escaped Ramsay’s clutches, many fans of the show remain upset at the way Sansa was treated, and hope for a victorious ending for one of the show’s toughest women and most stalwart survivors.

Now that Sansa is back home at Winterfell with many members of her family, fans are getting excited for the Starks to come back with a vengeance, and Sansa has appeared in teasers for season 8, whether she’s welcoming Jon and Daenerys to Winterfell or confronting her ghosts in the crypts alongside Jon and Arya. Sansa is sure to play an extremely large role in the show’s final season, but how still remains to be seen.

Is Cersei really pregnant, and if she is, how will that pan out?

Cersei Lannister (Lena Headey) has always been one of the show’s most despicable and complicated characters, and currently, she holds the Iron Throne. Though Cersei was taken down several pegs during her famous Walk of Shame, she’ll do anything to hold her powerful position. When her younger brother Tyrion (Peter Dinklage) tries to reason with her, she confides in him that she’s pregnant with her fourth child — and as audiences know, if Cersei’s pregnant, her twin brother Jaime is the father.

As to the question of whether Cersei truly is pregnant, Jeremy Podeswa, director of the season 7 finale, believes she is, and if viewers take his word, then it’s important to take a certain plot point into consideration. Cersei received a prophecy as a child, and so far, much of it has come true — that she will wed the king, that she will be challenged by a young queen, and her three children will die. In the books, this prophecy includes another warning: that Cersei will be vanquished by her valonqar, or little brother. Though Cersei always assumes this means Tyrion, Jaime is just a few minutes younger than she is, so many fans believe that if she really is pregnant with his child, the pregnancy could cost Cersei her life.

What role will Melisandre play?

Audiences first met the mysterious Red Woman Melisandre (Carice van Houten) at the start of Thrones’ second season, and since then, she has traveled Westeros and beyond looking for the prophesied Prince who was Promised. Though she initially believed it to be Stannis, after she helped the guy murder his daughter for, ultimately, no reason at all, she’s been on the run, particularly from Davos Seaworth (Liam Cunningham), Stannis’ former right hand man, who is out for her blood. Beyond that, audiences have learned some seriously weird things about the priestess, including that she’s actually an ancient crone, aided by a magical necklace that changes her appearance and seems to prolong her life.

Even so, she’s done her part when needed — most notably, she raised Jon Snow from the dead in season 6, saving one of the show’s greatest heroes — and in season 7, during a meeting with the cunning eunuch Varys (Conleth Hill), the two agree that Melisandre should head to Volantis, and though their conversation is riddled with clues for superfans, it’s still hard to decipher what role Melisandre will play in the show’s final season. Now that she’s brought Jon Snow and Daenerys together, it’s likely audiences haven’t seen the last of the Red Woman, as she still could have a major impact on the war to come.

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