The last season of Game of Thrones is right around the corner, and with the remaining characters up for the biggest battle in Westeros history, it’s now a race to place bets – or harrow with anxiety – on what will be the final fate of our major players.
In the midst of all of this, we can’t deny that we have some powerful queens on board – in fact, three of the prominent houses right now are run by big bad women of royalty who didn’t think they would one day be the one calling the shots, or without a king by their side anyway. In a fantasy medieval world where the women are treated as second-class, there is something fascinating with seeing these four prominent females rise to power in different ways, through their situations, ambitions, complexities, and now, through a common problem.
This season will put their strengths to the test in a final showdown, and whatever course of action they take will decide if they live or die by the end of it. So let’s first go through each of our leading female players and see what may be in store for them for the last time:
Daenerys, The Destined Queen
The Journey Back to Westeros
Daenerys Targaryen, First of Her Name, Breaker of Chains, Mother of Dragons, and apparently now on a fight for her life against the dead and her very own scaly son-turned-White Walker dragon, Viserion. If anyone has followed her from season one, they’ll know how her story unfolded into a larger-than-life quest to fight for her place on the Iron Throne. Her growth has probably been the most iconic one, starting as a puppet for her brother, Viserys, to slowly kindling her fire as a khaleesi, and then giving birth to her three dragons in one of the coolest endings to a season ever. Her journey to take power into her own hands began with little victories and some drawbacks. Facing several trials and tribulations along the way not only exercised her true Targaryen nature but also showed the dark sides of it. It has been an incredible ride these last few years to see her strongest moments, and even the painful ones. Just when we thought she would never get to Westeros, the epic finale scene to season six proved that this steadfast queen was on her way.
The Final Battle Up Ahead
Now that she has had a taste of the North and is arriving to Winterfell with Jon Snow to prepare for the big battle – a moment that all of us have been waiting for since day one – we can look forward to big things happening. First, Dany faced and fought the White Walkers with Jon and his ragtag band of warriors, but sadly lost one of her beloved dragons in the process. This means her role in the final battle is not only going to be one of necessity, but of vengeance. Before any of this happens, she has to make peace with Sansa and the North itself, which won’t be easy considering that Jon changed his allegiance because of her. Let’s just hope it’s easier than trying to bond with Cersei.
Is she the Azor Ahazi?
Second, she may (or may not) be part of an overarching prophecy – Azor Ahazi, or the Prince That Was Promised, who was supposed to return and save them all from an eternal winter. A lot of obvious hints have either pointed at her or Jon, or both, to be the savior. There is also the possibility of seeing a third candidate join them to ride all three of Dany’s dragons into battle like Aegon I and his sisters did centuries ago (that is, if Viserion can ever turn back to the good guys’ side). But how much of this prophecy is supposed to play in the war is still a mystery, considering that we have no idea which direction the show can take. We do know that she has yet another revelation to take in – that her newfound lover is her nephew, a.k.a the child of her older brother, Rhaegar, and Lyanna Stark. Whether that means there will be a spree of awkwardness or acceptance of another living Targaryen, Dany is still going to have to make some hard decisions for her future. As always, there is never a day when there aren’t theories lining up as to what can happen to our main crew by the end of the story.
We have several hopeful and not-so-hopeful theories about the mother of dragons. For one thing, if she dies and Jon survives, then his legacy will continue to a new dawn. If she manages to survive the war and defeat the dead army, her goal to ultimately rule the seven kingdoms will still face political and social conflicts. Sure, Jon may not be interested in being a king, but there will still be the matter of creating an heir.
Before that, Cersei Lannister needs to be taken out in some way or form, and whether it’s through a showdown between two queens or Cersei’s own doing, Dany is not going to get to the throne just yet. A darker, more unfortunate, take would be that she ultimately does become the Queen of The Seven Kingdoms, only to start a new cycle of political treachery all over again (this is Game of Thrones after all). But let’s leave it to the show to go all hands on deck. At least for now we know that she is definitely going to fight in the front lines.
Cersei, The Tyrant Queen
What a Complex Woman
How do I even begin to describe Cersei Lannister? The ultimate head honcho of torture, the current mad queen of King’s Landing, and one of the most complex super-villains I have ever seen. Seriously, when was the last time you hated and loved a character so much? This woman knew how to play her cards from a very young age, and she has always been good at it. The thing that has made her so fascinating ever since the first season is how she has used the best, or worst, of her situation to turn the playing field in a world that was merciless with every little turn. For a female it was even worse, and she made sure Sansa got a taste of that harsh truth as well.
Sure she is as vile as she seems, but she has also been incredibly human, expressing a weakness for her children and no other. Too bad even a walk of shame didn’t stop her maddening thirst for power. As we have seen throughout the show, her every move has been either soaked with cold and deadly retaliation or a full-on attack, but it was only when she decided to blow up the Sept of Baelor that we saw the true extent of her monstrosity. That was probably one of the most chilling, climactic scenes in TV history, as well as a huge checkmate for this lioness to destroy her enemies once and for all and secure her spot on the Iron Throne. And boy, was she waiting for the day for a long time!
This Queen’s Wrath Continues
But Cersei’s devious power-play has not ended yet, now with the news of the White Walkers marching South and her brother, Jaime, leaving with their army to help the North fight the Night King. Cersei still has a lot up her sleeve to make sure nothing, not even the dead, can distract her from her ambitions. For one thing we know that she is pregnant with a fourth child, and she has manipulated Euron Greyjoy to bring the Golden Company to King’s Landing and level up her power by a thousand points! So what does that mean when Cersei’s festering bloodlust to defend her throne means nothing in the grand scheme of things once the White Walkers rage through?
Don’t Forget The Valonqar
Well, there has been some theories that perhaps Cersei’s wrath won’t truly be realized until the battle for the living is well and done. Meaning – there is a chance that we might see a final fight to claim the throne between Cersei with her Golden Company, and Dany, with whatever of her own army that are left alive. In which case, two of her prophetic means of demise thanks to the fortune teller, Maggy the Frog, can easily come true – she would be taken down by a younger, more beautiful, queen (a.ka. Dany), and the Valonqar (“little brother”) would be able to choke the life out of her once and for all. The latter, although not explicitly revealed like in the books as one of Maggy’s prophecies, is still a critical piece to Cersei’s potential death in the hands of her own beloved brother, Jaime (who we know is 99% the Valonqar here and not Tyrion) once he witnesses the extent of her madness.
Of course, if any of this is not the direction the show takes, and instead have Cersei face the consequences of ignoring the White Walkers altogether, then the throne will soon become as useless as it has been intimidating. Either way, this tyrant queen has a lot to prove before going out with a final bang.
Sansa, The Deserving Queen
She’s been through SO MUCH
Sansa Stark may not be a queen (yet), but if I had the chance to write a book about her potential, I would have raved about how she, in my opinion, has played the game in the most discreet and tasteful way possible. Putting that aside, let’s agree with the fact that this girl has gone through A. LOT. OF. SHIT. From witnessing the wrongful execution of her father in season one, to enduring every terrifying turn of two monsters and one slippery snake – as well as anyone who had the power to take advantage of her – Sansa had to break out of her naivety fast to learn the harsh realities of the world. What has made her journey so different – and at times, overlooked – is that her growth did not come from brandishing a sword or summoning dragons, but from paying attention. She learned from the worst and knew how to stay low when her head was on the line, as well as having a little luck on her side, thanks to Little Finger’s notorious meddling and her prominent family name.
As far as suffering goes in this show, Sansa had to go through a great deal of pain and often helplessness before she found the opportunity to lash back and taste her first victory, such as seeing that Ramsay Bolton met a gruesome end in the Battle of the Bastards. Taking justice into her own hands never felt sweeter, and we see that again when she gets back at Petyr Baelish in his own game and finishes him off for good in the most satisfying comeback ever.
What can we expect from her in Season 8?
As few others – and myself –will say, Sansa Stark has displayed great leadership and protection over her people in Jon’s absence, but what can we expect from her in the final season? For one thing, the remaining Stark children are back together (because when the lone wolf dies, the pack survives), with the exception of Jon who is on his way with Daenerys and her army to rally the North again for the fight of their lives. We can definitely expect some tension between the two women, as Sansa is not going to accept Dany right away knowing about the history of the Targaryens and the latter’s actions alone. Not to mention finding out that Jon is half-Targaryen may change her views for the better or worse.
However, with the immediate threat at hand, Sansa would have to put aside her differences to accept Dany’s alliance. And since Sansa doesn’t own a sword or a needle, most of her commandeering will have to be from behind the walls of Winterfell. As for what may happen in the end? I do believe that Sansa’s fears of Cersei posing a greater danger to the North may be important somewhere, and if we are lucky, maybe Cersei can see what her “little pet” has become in another confrontation.
Since this is Game of Thrones, anything can happen. If Sansa does manage to survive the battle against the dead, she may have a chance to prove herself one more time. *Cough* Maybe she can be titled as Lady of Winterfell, or Queen of the North, then *cough*.
Arya, Just a Girl That Goes By The Name of Stark
Not a Queen but still a worthy contender
No, she is not a queen or a khaleesi. She may be ‘no one.’ But Arya deserves a spot on the list as one who defied all conventional customs to become something entirely unique of her own. Yes, we know shaping into a silent and lethal killer without a name was not part of the agenda. But for someone like Arya – with her small quick frame who from early on exhibited a thirst for swordsmanship and skilled combat – becoming a regular knight like Brienne of Tarth wasn’t going to cut it. Nor did she have the chance to.
She was ‘No One’
Like her sister, Arya has been playing the game of survival in her own way for a long time, and although her Stark title did not save her from various close-calls, her anonymity did. Posing as a peasant boy, a cup-bearer, an unlikely companion of the Hound, and a student of many teachers taught her every lesson the cruel world of Westeros had to offer, but it was when she finally learned the ropes of being a Faceless Man that she found her true power. Vengeance is sweet when it’s served with hot meat pie and fine wine.
What’s gonna happen in Season 8?
Of course, seeing her back in Winterfell is like a breath of fresh air, while watching her convincing actions against Sansa that leads to a satisfying turn of events to bring down Littlefinger is a reminder why the Starks are not to be messed around with anymore. With homage to Ned Stark’s words to band together with her sister, Arya will have to face their greatest enemy in the final season, and we can say she’s pretty excited about it too. As we have seen in the season eight trailer, Arya’s starting scene reveals that she may be caught in a very dubious situation. Other than that, we can certainly expect her to put her swashbuckling skills to the test against the White Walkers, and perhaps wear a few faces as well. Before that, we are hopefully guaranteed a warm reunion with Jon Snow, who has always been her favorite, in addition to an awkward one with the Hound.
As for meeting Dany and her dragons for the first time? Let’s hope her reaction is less unwelcoming, that is, if she is not doing something else for the war’s cause already. As for her fate? Like many of the main characters left standing, it is still up in the air. It’s not out of the ordinary to watch her die in the battlefield, as she always entertained the idea of seeing death’s face, but it’s also not unlikely that she could survive and live out the rest of her days away from Winterfell, perhaps as a girl with no name. Only time and the season finale will tell.
So now that we have seen these four females come up through their individual journeys and take their respective positions on the playing field, it’s only a matter of weeks that we see them make their most pivotal move for the last time. Will we see a battle of the queens as well as the battle to end the long night? After all, it’s the queen that has the most power on the chessboard, and if this show does not utilize that scenario, then what’s the point? Otherwise, we want to know what our readers have to say – who do you think out of these four will come out victorious, and who will exit stage left with a bittersweet downfall?
Don’t forget to tune into the eighth and last season of Game of Thrones starting April 14, 2019!
Featured image credit: HBO