Battle of Winterfell dead

This Sunday, the final season of Game of Thrones reaches its halfway point with a feature-length episode built around a single battle. The Night King and his army of the undead have arrived at Winterfell, and only a small-ish force of Northerners, Free Folk, Unsullied, dragons, Night’s Watchmen, Brotherhood Without Banners members, and even a few Lannisters stand in their way. The battle has already received a great deal of press. It’s apparently going to be the biggest and most sustained action scene in history. It’s going to shake the core foundations of the entire show. And…it’s going to trim a large portion of the cast from the ensemble.

Come Monday morning, we’ll be grieving the loss of some of our favorite characters. Win or lose, the battle will kill off a significant number of the major characters assembled at Winterfell. So /Film’s Game of Thrones experts Jacob Hall and Ben Pearson decided to play a little guessing game. Who’s guaranteed to live? Who’s guaranteed to die? Who falls in the space in-between? Place your bets.

Note: While we do not have access to spoilers, this post will feature us making educated guesses and stabs at the dark, some of which may turn out to be accurate. If you want to go into this episode completely fresh, this is your chance to turn back.

Also, this list does not include the lucky few not at Winterfell, like Cersei, Bronn, Qyburn, Yara, etc. They’ll live to die another day.

Brienne of Tarth

Why They Will Surely Live: Brienne of Tarth just became Ser Brienne of Tarth in one of the most moving scenes in the show’s history. They can’t off a fan-favorite like that!

Why They Will Surely Die: Brienne of Tarth just became Ser Brienne of Tarth in the kind of scene you give a character to complete a journey so they can have a meaningful death. And yes, Game of Thrones would totally off a fan-favorite like that, especially since she’s leading the left flank.

Odds of Survival: Low

Sandor “The Hound” Clegane

Why They Will Surely Live: The prospect of Clegane-Bowl, in which the Hound will theoretically face off against his brother The Mountain, is still very much in play.

Why They Will Surely Die: As Arya mentioned in the most recent episode, The Hound is selflessly fighting for someone other than himself for the first time in his life. A death on the battlefield would complete his redemption arc.

Odds of Survival: Modest

Beric Dondarrion

Why They Will Surely Live: Uh…

Why They Will Surely Die: Look, a lot of people whose stories have come to an end have been maneuvered to Winterfell so we can watch a bunch of familiar faces get chopped to bloody bits to make it very clear that we’re truly in the endgame now. With Thoros dead and Melisandre off doing who-knows-what, this will be his final death.

Odds of Survival: Walking Dead

Drogon

Why They Will Surely Live: Drogon has always been the alpha of the dragon trio, so he’s not about to let Viserion, his undead little brother, bring him down with a blast of blue flames.

Why They Will Surely Die: He might get injured, but he’s not going down.

Odds of Survival: High

Tormund Giantsbane

Why They Will Surely Live: Few guys are as tough as this Wildling leader, who lived through the Battle of the Wall, the Battle of the Bastards, the battle against the undead army on the frozen lake, and the collapse of Eastwatch. He’s a mighty warrior with experience against Wights.

Why They Will Surely Die: Tormund has dodged death’s scythe one too many times and one of the Free Folk dying to defend Winterfell would complete his arc perfectly. Say goodbye to that glorious beard.

Odds of Survival: Low

Gendry

Why They Will Surely Live: Robert Baratheon’s bastard son seems like the kind of guy who’d end up sitting on a porch somewhere, spinning yarns about that wild time he got swept up in one of history’s greatest battles and lived to tell the tale.

Why They Will Surely Die: Gendry also seems like the exact type of low-to-mid-tier Game of Thrones character who will end up going down in the chaos, hopefully making eye contact with Arya one last time just before he breathes his last.

Odds of Survival: Modest

Ghost

Why They Will Surely Live: Hey, Ghost just came back! Neat! Maybe he gets to do stuff now!

Why They Will Surely Die: Well, you gotta pay for those dragons by sacrificing the Direwolf budget. Sorry, Ghost. There are still expensive battles ahead.

Odds of Survival: Low

Gilly

Why They Will Surely Live: This is Gilly we’re talking about, the scrappy Wildling who survived her rapist father and became a paragon of motherly love. The show needs a few purely good characters like this to keep it from getting too depressing.

Why They Will Surely Die: I guess the show didn’t have any compunction about murdering a pregnant Talisa on screen, so I guess it could return to its grisly roots by murdering Gilly and Little Sam. But it would certainly lose a lot of goodwill if it went that far.

Odds of Survival: High

Theon Greyjoy

Why They Will Surely Live: Because Theon is a coward who has never met a fight from which he wouldn’t flee.

Why They Will Surely Die: The show has gone out of its way to maneuver Theon back to Winterfell, to the place where he was raised, to the family that loved him, to the House he betrayed, to the castle he briefly ruled and lost. If he doesn’t perish fighting for redemption, what are we even doing here?

Odds of Survival: Walking Dead

Grey Worm

Why They Will Surely Live: Grey Worm is the best of the best of the Unsullied, the most fearsome fighting force the world has ever seen. He can handle himself.

Why They Will Surely Die: Damn it, Grey Worm, you really shouldn’t have planned out your future with Missandei just before you walked onto the battlefield. That’s classic pop culture shorthand for “this dude’s gonna die.”

Odds of Survival: Modest

Jaime Lannister

Why They Will Surely Live: Jaime still has the love of his life in the South, a Queen pregnant with their fourth child who officially has an axe to grind against his throat. A plotline that juicy can’t be stopped in its tracks by a battle, right?

Why They Will Surely Die: Because killing Jamie Lannister at this point in the series would rival the death of Ned Stark for a “Holy shit!” moment.

Odds of Survival: High

Tyrion Lannister

Why They Will Surely Live: Tyrion’s been sent to the crypts specifically because Daenerys wants to protect him. His mind is valuable enough that she wants him around to help her rule when the battle is won.

Why They Will Surely Die: What if Dany doesn’t end up ruling after all? And with all of those dead bodies down there, are the crypts really going to be the safest place in Winterfell?

Odds of Survival: High

Missandei

Why They Will Surely Live: Dany’s right-hand lady will be safe in the crypts beneath Winterfell, away from the fighting. And we’ll need someone of note to mourn the dead.

Why They Will Surely Die: She has promised to abscond with Grey Worm when the war is over and life in peace is Essos. One member of this couple has to die after that. Hey, I don’t write the rules.

Odds of Survival: Modest

Jorah Mormont

Why They Will Surely Live: Jorah’s been banished by Dany twice so far, experienced excruciating pain during that greyscale removal, and made it back to her side. He can’t just die on the battlefield while Dany’s soaring around on a dragon, can he?

Why They Will Surely Die: Armed with Sam’s ancestral sword, Jorah has fought tooth and nail to serve his queen – and he’ll easily give his life in the final stand if it means keeping her safe for just one minute longer. Farewell, Ser Jorah.

Odds of Survival: Low

Lyanna Mormont

Why They Will Surely Live: A minor character who quickly became a fan-favorite, Lyanna is one of the most competent people in the game of thrones despite being a young child. She knows how to handle herself better than most grown men.

Why They Will Surely Die: This battle is going to split the North into pieces. How better to sell the pain and the chaos than to take down someone so brave and competent?

Odds of Survival: Modest

The Night King

Why They Will Surely Live: Because after the entire North is wiped out, he’ll continue marching toward King’s Landing to take out Cersei, Euron, the Golden Company, and the rest of Westeros.

Why They Will Surely Die: If the Night King stays alive, the Battle of Winterfell would just rage on until every human is dead. We don’t know what happens after episode three, but the battle is only supposed to last for one episode.

Odds of Survival: Modest

Podrick Payne

Why They Will Surely Live: Podrick’s transformation from a lowly but brave squire to a competent and brave warrior has seen him traverse the continent, train with a master warrior, and survive all kinds of chaos. He knows how to survive a tough spot.

Why They Will Surely Die: Poor Pod is the exact kind of character who is expendable in this fight – beloved enough to get our tears going, not vital enough to the plot to be missed. Plus, his demise would give Tyrion and Brienne alike someone to mourn.

Odds of Survival: Low

Rhaegal

Why They Will Surely Live: Dany’s already lost one of her “children,” and she’s going to do everything in her power to make sure she doesn’t lose another one.

Why They Will Surely Die: Rhaegal’s on a much more even playing field with Viserion, and besides – Jon doesn’t need a dragon to ride around on like Dany does. At this point, Rhaegal’s expendable.

Odds of Survival: Modest

Yohn Royce

Why They Will Surely Live: Well…someone has to take care of the Eyrie and the Vale of Arryn, right?

Why They Will Surely Die: There’s a chance you don’t even remember who Yohn Royce is. That’s okay. He’s a tough, smart and loyal knight, one entrusted to take care of an entire kingdom whose young ruler has not come of age, but he’s also a total dead man whose early death in the upcoming brawl will set the stage for the other deaths to follow. Sorry, Ser Royce. Your handful of scenes this season exist only to remind everyone you are still around so we’ll recognize you when you die.

Odds of Survival: Walking Dead

Davos Seaworth

Why They Will Surely Live: The former smuggler has served kings and survived two major battles already. Even though it may not always seem like it, he has some incredible luck.

Why They Will Surely Die: Davos gives wise counsel, but he’s said it himself: he’s spent most of his life avoiding fights. The Night King is making the confrontation unavoidable, and I don’t like his chances. RIP, Davos.

Odds of Survival: Low

Jon Snow

Why They Will Surely Live: We’ve learned the truth about Jon Snow. He is not the bastard son of Eddard Stark. He is actually Aegon Targaryen, the long-lost heir to the Iron Throne and now Dany’s chief rival for control of Westeros. He’s became our default main character, the guy whose Targaryen and Stark origin makes him the literal Song of Ice and Fire that this saga is named after. To kill him now, to burn these threads before he can have his final confrontation with Cersei and Daenerys, before the truth of his heritage can come out, would be a slap in the face.

Why They Will Surely Die: But what a slap in the face it would be! Good God. Can you imagine the reaction? Can you imagine the nerve if they killed Jon Snow in this battle. Oh, wow. Still: not going to happen.

Odds of Survival: Fully Plot Armored

Arya Stark

Why They Will Surely Live: Because Cersei Lannister is still on her list, and she has to use her Many-Faced God powers at least one more time. If she doesn’t, what was the point of all that training?

Why They Will Surely Die: This is the type of top-tier death that would be a genuine surprise. Has Arya reached the end of her story?

Odds of Survival: High

Bran Stark

Why They Will Surely Live: He’s the Three-Eyed Raven. He may not have perfected his powers yet, but he knows he’s the embodiment of history and that he’s incredibly important. Would he really risk himself if he foresaw his own death in the godswood?

Why They Will Surely Die: I wouldn’t be surprised if Bran’s body is cut down by the end of the episode. But if that happens, look for him to pull some weird Bran shit at the last second, like transferring his consciousness into that bleeding face on the weirwood tree.

Odds of Survival: Low

Sansa Stark

Why They Will Surely Live: Sansa has endured too much, learned too much, and proven herself too valuable to what Game of Thrones is about at its core to be another battle casualty.

Why They Will Surely Die: Because it would clear another chess piece in Daenerys’ march to King’s Landing? Eh.

Odds of Survival: High

Daenerys Targaryen

Why They Will Surely Live: Dany and Jon have some, uh, important conversations that need to be dealt with, so she’s not going anywhere until that happens. She’s come too far to die in the North without seriously reckoning with whether or not she’s going to continue her quest to be the queen of Westeros.

Why They Will Surely Die: Ain’t happenin’.

Odds of Survival: Fully Plot Armored

Samwell Tarly

Why They Will Surely Live: Jon and everyone else practically scoffed at him in the most recent episode, but what if Samwell Tarly, the first human to kill a White Walker in the modern era, ends up saving the day by killing the Night King himself? He’s Sam the Slayer, baby!

Why They Will Surely Die: What if Samwell Tarly tries to save his family and fails? The audience would be gutted, but it’d certainly be better than Gilly dying.

Odds of Survival: Modest

“Dolorous” Edd Tollet

Why They Will Surely Live: Because…I got nothing.

Why They Will Surely Die: There is literally no reason for Edd to be at Winterfell except to die. If the final image of this show is Jon Snow on the Iron Throne, with every friend he met along the way dead and buried/burnt, this will be a vital step. Either way, the always-dour Edd is not long for this world. Not at all.

Odds of Survival: Walking Dead

Varys

Why They Will Surely Live: The smartest and most slippery man in the Seven Kingdoms knows when to hold ’em, knows when to fold ’em, knows when to walk away, and knows when to run. Nobody is better at self-preservation, mainly because no one is more aware of their value and their abilities off the battlefield. Plus, Melisandre promised him in season 7 they would meet one more time and she has a knack for prophecies about, oh, 50% of the time.

Why They Will Surely Die: Take away Dany’s strongest political soldier and you give the Mother of Dragons a difficult final fight. Good drama! But do you know what’s better drama? Varys being around to help out.

Odds of Survival: High

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