'Game of Thrones': Will Dany Die?

Game of Thrones has a lot of ground to cover in its series finale, but one question looms above all others: will Daenerys die?

Warning! Spoilers for Game of Thrones through Season 8, Episode 5 lie ahead!

Daenerys has had a difficult time since arriving in Westeros last season, with even her victories coming at a heavy price. That was clear last week when she rained fire on King's Landing indiscriminately, burning many innocent civilians and soldiers who had surrendered alive.

Now, Daenerys holds the capitol and the Iron Throne, though perhaps not for long. Lord Varys appears to have incited rebellions against her, naming Jon Snow as the rightful ruler of Westeros. Meanwhile, the people themselves are unlikely to love her as her subjects in Slaver's Bay did, since she torched their homes just to get to Cersei.

Many expect Jon Snow himself to take Daenerys out now that she has become so ruthless, and perhaps even "mad." Some even point out that Jon fits the archetype of the mythical figure Azor Ahai, who forged his magic sword, Lightbringer, by stabbing his love, Nissa Nissa, through the belly with it. They suggest Jon will kill Dany to save the realm.

Others expect Arya to do the deed. We saw the assassin on the ground in King's Landing during Dany's attack, trying in futility to save people, but even she cannot sneak around dragon fire. In the trailer for next week, Arya creeps up on Daenerys' courtyard looking angry. Some expect her to kill the queen — but whose face will she be wearing when she does it?

Whether Daenerys dies or not, it seems clear that she cannot rule after last week's carnage. Some foresee a more honorable ending for her, however. Now that she is at the top, Daenerys could do as she always promised and "break the wheel" — end the oppression of smallfolk in Westeros forced upon them by the noble houses.

Dany could install a more democratic system, perhaps based on her experiences in the free cities to the east. Many fans are already speculating about who could sit on a "Council of Westeros" of some kind. That done, Daenerys could exile herself from the Seven Kingdoms, accepting that she will never be forgiven for her crimes.

0comments

There are countless other theories and variations on those theories flooding the Internet as the world awaits the Game of Thrones finale. As harsh as the criticism of this season is, at least we can all agree that the ending is not easily predictable.

The Game of Thrones series finale airs on Sunday, May 19 at 9 p.m. ET on HBO.