Whether we like it or not, we’ve just spent the penultimate season of Game of Thrones rushing to the final chapter. After six grueling seasons and one speedy one, we’re nearing the sure-to-be epic end of the song of ice and fire. The stage has been set for the remaining hours—a final season of only 6 episodes that are sure to be stunning. Until the show resumes for the final sprint to the finish line, the big question that remains is, of course, who will make it to the end.
Season 6 handled death far differently than any of the previous seasons. Only one of the central characters met his demise (albeit an insanely satisfying one) and even minor characters were saved from fates that would have been no-brainers in previous seasons. But this is still Game of Thrones, and every character, no matter how beloved or despised, might still end up losing their head or torso or limbs. Some characters are more likely to die than others, and only a select few are relatively safe. But everyone still stands to lose something as winter closes in. After careful deliberation, here are 17 Surviving Game of Thrones Characters Ranked By Their Chances of Surviving The Show. Just watch out for SPOILERS!
The long-gestating rift between everyone’s favorite twin lovers finally came to a head in the Season 7 finale, as Jaime defied Cersei and leFt her side to join the battle against the most terrifying winter ever. After Cersei confesses to her brother that her truce with Daenerys and Jon Snow was a bold-faced lie, Jaime holds to his word and risks a slaying from The Mountain at Cersei’s orders. Fortunately, he calls his sister's bluff and manages to escape King’s Landing unscathed.
Jaime’s ride north at the end of the episode (just as the cold was settling in on King’s Landing) does not bode well for the Kingslayer. Who knows whether he’ll die at the hands of Cersei, The Mountain, or the Army of the Dead. Regardless, it’s pretty safe to assume that Jaime isn’t making it through this winter alive at this point.
Last we saw of Tormund, he was standing atop the great wall moments before it came crashing down. As central characters rarely, if ever, bite the dust off screen, the wildling warrior may very well have survived the white walker raid on the wall—at least long enough to get word to Jon, Dany, and the gang that winter has come a little earlier than they expected.
But whether Tormund survived the Night King’s break through the wall or not, it seems likely that his days are numbered. He’s come painfully close to death plenty of times before (most recently in “Beyond the Wall” when he nearly meets his end in the battle with the wights), which alone makes him a prime candidate for the big, cold sleep—if he isn’t already buried under a thousand feet of ice.
She's still got the final part of that pesky curse looming over her, but Cersei has surpassed virtually everyone’s expectations of her at this point. She’s gone full Tywin in her ability to strategize and stay ten steps ahead of the enemy—to the point where it looks like she’s on equal footing with Jon and Dany when it comes to winning the war for the Iron Throne. That being said, the odds of Cersei coming out the other end of the final showdown on top are pretty darn slim. To put it simply, this lady is toast.
The closer we get to the end of Game of Thrones, the more the show has backed off from its excessive main character killing bloodlust. Anything can still happen, and Cersei is sure to bring a lot of enemies down with her in the war ahead, but the odds that she ends the show with her seat on the throne secure are still next to none.
Theon Greyjoy has had it rough. Yes, he’s made just about every wrong choice he could possibly make, as he points out to Jon Snow in one of the final scenes of the finale, and he’s paid for them ten fold. Which is why it was great to see Theon end the season on a path to redemption. But will he survive that path?
Theon’s mission to rescue Yara from their uncle Euron is sure to be a harrowing journey. With a seal of approval from John and the confidence of his crew, it’s likely that Theon will succeed in rescuing his beloved sister. But it seems equally likely that Theon’s mission will involve some serious self-sacrifice, a tragic but fitting end to the saga of the unluckiest man in Westeros.
13 Jorah Mormont
Oh, Jorah. We love you, but it looks like your tear-jerker reunion with your beloved Khaleesi has been sidelined by the hottest new love story in the GoT incest saga. Showrunners David Benioff and D.B. Weiss have been playing fast and loose this season. Without the guidance of the source novels, the pair has been moving the story along in what many fans are considering a haphazard fashion. There’s no reason to believe they won’t kill off poor Jorah Mormont in some heart-wrenching form of self-sacrifice for his love to make more room for the Jon/Dany lovefest.
There are a number of secondary characters that should be making their peace with the gods right about now, as they’re the ones whose deaths are most imminent in the harrowing battles with the Night King’s army that are surely ahead. Jorah’s place in the narrative puts him firmly in the crossfire. But who knows, maybe he’ll live long enough to see Dany and Jon take the Iron Throne together and cry himself to sleep every night for years.
Before the revelation of the Season 7 finale, Arya’s one-track assassin’s mind was getting a bit annoying. Her rivalry with Sansa seemed like the weakest plotline in the series, up until a last minute twist, which saw the sisters conspiring against Littlefinger and besting him at his own game. Littlefinger’s climb up the chaos ladder finally caught up to him. He played his cards too forcefully against a pair of sisters he underestimated, and it finally got him killed (by Arya’s blade, no less).
But all will surely not be well at Winterfell for long. It’s quite a stretch to imagine that all the remaining Stark Children will survive the final season, and because she’s just about the most likely to put herself in harm’s way, Arya seems the most likely candidate for the last on-screen Stark death.
Brienne of Tarth’s sworn duty to protect the Stark girls has probably run its course. It’s clear that they no longer need protecting, which leaves Brienne in a precarious narrative position as both a secondary character and fearless warrior.
With the Army of the Dead heading south past the wall, Brienne’s talents on the battlefield will probably be best used against the wights when they inevitably hit Winterfell (especially with that Valyrian Steel sword she's rocking). Hopefully, Brienne will be able to share some screen time with Jaime Lannister before anything fatal happens to her, but there’s a good chance she’ll be meeting a valiant end on the battlefield. Now here’s hoping she doesn’t get turned into a wight and end up the most horrifying undead soldier to ever grace the small screen.
Varys is one sly eunuch. Following his early days as a beggar, he's lived quite successfully in Westeros on wits alone, always knowing when to slowly back out of the room when something dangerous is about to go down. He's also pretty excellent at allying himself with the right powerful people. But after his verbal sparring session with Dany earlier in the season, it seems he’s chosen the Dragon Queen as a leader he can finally believe in. The only question that remains is whether his loyalty will finally lead to his downfall.
It's especially difficult to judge whether or not Varys is going to survive the final season. As Melisandre (another shadow player whose fate seems much more grim) told Varys at the beginning of the season, “I have to die in this strange country, just like you.” Is this menacing prophecy, or simply a vague statement on the nature of life and death itself? Either way, it’s difficult to say with full confidence whether Varys will live or die in the war to come.
Before Season 7, Daenerys seemed to be on a pretty direct path to the Iron Throne. Nowadays, however, the fate of the Mother of Dragons seems less than certain. As cathartically re-iterated in the final moments of the Season 7 finale, Jon Snow is the son of Rhaegar Targaryen and Lyanna Stark, and therefore the rightful heir to the throne. Jon’s heritage significantly complicates Dany’s position, and it certainly makes her more susceptible to a Season 8 demise.
Is Dany still the ruler that Westeros deserves? Or can the nation do better? The first half of the season saw her advisors—Tyrion chief among them—working hard to stifle her “madder” impulses. Has her rise to power become too much to guarantee a safe Westeros under the rule of Daenerys? If so, perhaps a premature death is on the horizon to make way for the next King Aegon Targaryen.
Davos Seaworth is a survivor. Unfortunately, he’s also old. And in Westeros, the older you get, the less likely you are to survive the next wave of carnage. Davos has landed himself a pretty cushy position as Jon Snow’s closest advisor. He’s never the most learned guy in the room, but he's often one of the smartest (if not the smartest) nevertheless. His close proximity to the leading players in the final matches gives him an advantage in the deadpool, but his closeness to all the political action could also be the thing that leads to his demise.
Davos lands around the middle of the list because he’s a pretty impossible mortal to bet on. He’s a fan favorite, which, before Season 7, would only increase his chances of dying a brutal death. But now that the show has tempered its impulse to slaughter good guys, perhaps Davos will be sticking around until the end after all.
7 The Hound
The Cleganebowl is imminent. One of the most exciting reunions of the Season 7 finale’s big truce meeting was that of Sandor and Gregor Clegane. Never one to mince words, the Hound’s message to his homunculus brother was plain and simple: “I’ll see you on the battlefield.”
It’s possible, but not likely that The Hound will lose to The Mountain. Sure, Gregor Clegane is a walking tank in his current form, but his slightly smaller, no longer uglier brother’s return to the show most likely signifies a victory for The Hound. Obviously, a character who lives as recklessly as The Hound would stand a solid chance at an untimely death in the final season, but a bet in The Hound’s favor is the smartest one at this point.
The Sansa of the early GoT seasons is long gone, and in her place, the Lady of Winterfell is a force to be reckoned with. Sansa Stark is the living embodiment of the phrase, “What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger.” Her journey from Winterfell’s resident naive brat to its most badass leader has been one of the most surprising fist-raising stories in the series. Sansa's journey just culminated in the finale when she ordered the execution of Petyr ‘Littlefinger’ Baelish for his failed attempt at manipulating the Stark sisters to turn against each other. Like virtually anyone else in the show, Sansa could die. But her arch thus far strongly suggests otherwise.
Jon Snow’s true heritage is sure to complicate things for the entire Stark family. Both Sansa and Arya will be left with the task of leading the North and navigating Jon’s allegiance to Daenerys. Regardless of the outcome, the most likely person to handle it with rock solid temperates, street smarts, and determination is Sansa.
The Han Solo of Game of Thrones, swashbuckling mercenary Ser Bronn of the Blackwater might just be too cool to die at this point. He’s already cheated death many times over the course of the series, most recently in a fiery face-off with Daenerys and Drogon. Luck is always susceptible to change in the blink of an eye on GoT, but Bronn’s luck seems far less likely to quit than almost anyone else’s in the show.
With both Lannister brothers on the side of the North, Bronn will almost certainly follow. As much as he likes to act like his loyalty is only to the highest bidder, we imagine that his fondness for both Jaime and Tyrion will land him smack dab in the middle of the battle against the dead. Even for the toughest of soldiers, that makes for tough odds, but if anyone can beat the odds on the battlefield, it’s Bronn.
Tyrion Lannister has defied all odds and survived just about everything. In the finale, he even survived being alone in a room with his murderous sister and her giant undead bodyguard. There’s still plenty that Tyrion will have left to survive in the final season, but given his unique track record, all signs point to an alive-and-well Tyrion when the icy dust settles on Westeros.
Being Queen’s hand to Daenerys has caused Tyrion a lot more grief than he probably imagined it would. Since arriving back on his home continent with the Mother of Dragons, he’s had to temper her more fiery impulses, as well as Jon Snow’s frustratingly noble ones. Tyrion’s orchestration of recent events has put him back in the line of fire, and there’s no reason to think he won’t survive all of it.
3 Jon Snow
The longer you live in Westeros, the more likely you are to meet the blade that will end you for good. But you’re less likely to die if you’ve already done so once.
Jon Snow was brought back to life for much more than to just reclaim the North from Ramsey Bolton. In a last-minute revelation from the combined efforts of aspiring maester Sam Tarly and Bran Stark the Three-Eyed Raven, it was not only confirmed beyond a shadow of a doubt that Jon Snow is the son of Rhaegar Targaryen and Lyanna Stark, but that the two had married in secret. Jon’s true heritage makes him the single most significant figure in the show.
His last-minute love-scene with his secret aunt, unbeknownst to him, drastically complicates his story. It puts a big question mark on everything Jon has fought so hard to build over the past three or four seasons, but that doesn’t stop his destiny from being of tantamount importance. Needless to say, this guy’s not going anywhere.
2 Sam Tarley
It’s not so much that Sam is invincible, but his place in the narrative makes him virtually impervious to death. After a frustrating stint emptying bedpans and peeling off greyscale at the Citadel, Sam Tarley has all the tools and lessons he needs to become the defacto bookkeeper of the entire Game of Thrones saga.
Granted, he’s definitely put himself in the line of fire—or ice, rather—by ditching the Citadel to set up shop in Winterfell, but there’s virtually no question that Sam should be around to keep record of the past, present, and future in Westeros. Let’s just hope, for his own sake, that he doesn’t put up a fuss about the death of his father and brother, and that he actually listens to Gilly next time she finds the most vital piece of information to the future of Westeros before he does.
1 Bran Stark
Maybe it’s a bit of a cop-out to give the #1 spot to a practically omnipotent being, but it’s hard to do anything but assume Bran Stark is going to come to the end of the final season unscathed. The impending doom of the Night King’s undead army is an unprecedented threat for every character in the show, including Bran. But even an unprecedented threat can be dwarfed by the ability to see everything that happened or will ever happen.
It remains to be seen just how heavily Bran’s powers will factor into the final days of the show. We know from the Season 7 finale that he’s all set to break the news of Jon’s true identity, and we know he’s keeping an eye on the Night King’s journey over the wall, but how much will everyone else depend on the Three Eyed Raven in the final stretch? Bran’s spot on the sidelines this season points to a much larger role in the final, and his godlike status makes him pretty well impervious to harm when the final battle commences. Probably.
What do you think of our rankings? Let us know in the comments.
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