Winter has come, and the end is nigh for HBO’s fantasy mega-hit Game Of Thrones. There are thirteen episodes left of the epic drama: seven in season 7, and six in season 8. Across all of these episodes are a lot of conflicts left to resolve.
As Lena Headey’s Cersei Lannister pointed out in the trailer, she’s now facing foes from all points of the compass.
Emilia Clarke’s Daenerys Targaryen is approaching from the east, with armies and boats to back up her claim to the Iron Throne. Kit Harington’s Jon Snow is mobilizing forces in the north, seeking to avenge the deaths of most of his family. The Martells and the Tyrells are mourning in the south, sure to bring their own vengeance in due course. And, Gemma Whelan’s Yara Greyjoy is sailing in dramatically from the west, with enough boats to make her a real wildcard.
On top of all this, there's also the looming threat of the White Walkers, led by the icy Night King, and let’s not forget Carice van Houten’s Melisandre and Paul Kaye’s Thoros of Myr, both of whom have been gifted amazing abilities by The Lord Of Light. Also, Maisie Williams’ Arya Stark is still kicking about, brutally ticking names off her death list at every opportunity.
Here’s a primer, then, to remind you of what’s what before season 7 kicks off: the 15 Game Of Thrones Fights That Still Need To Happen...
15 Jaime Vs Brienne
The Jaime Lannister/Brienne Of Tarth partnership has grown into something really special. What began as a prisoner/jailer dynamic has, over time, become a pairing of mutual respect. There have even been calls for it to transform into a romantic relationship.
However, here’s the rub: Nikolaj Coster-Waldau’s Jaime and Gwendoline Christie’s Brienne are on opposite sides of the conflict. Towards the end of season 6, Jaime lets Brienne escape on a boat as a sign of compassion. However, things can’t stay that sweet for long.
The next time these two meet – with Jaime firmly on Team Lannister and Brienne aligned with the Starks – there’s definitely going to be some fighting. A proper duel between these two could be very epic indeed, but will either of them have the guts to kill the other?
14 Theon & Yara Vs Euron
As you’ve no doubt glimpsed in the trailer and the set pictures, a monster of a sea battle is on the cards for Game Of Thrones season 7. The groundwork for this maritime bust-up was laid in season 6, where Pilou Asbaek’s Euron Greyjoy returned, killed his brother, and took control of The Iron Islands.
Yara and Alfie Allen’s Theon Greyjoy (aka Reek) were able to escape, and forged an alliance with Daenerys Targaryen. Dany will support their claim for The Salt Throne as long as they support her bid to take the Iron Throne. (Dany has also stipulated that the Ironborn must stop raiding the mainland – a significant change to their way of life.)
The sea is a cruel mistress, and Thrones is a brutal show, so this battle – whenever it ends up occurring, over the course of the season – is bound to be an utter bloodbath.
13 Robert Vs Rhaegar (Flashback)
Isaac Hempstead Wright’s Bran Stark is the audience’s cipher regarding matters of Westeros history. Questions fans have had – such as "what’s the deal with Hodor?" – have been answered by Bran’s vision/flashback/time travel/whatever you want to call it moments.
It would be particularly great, in season 7, to see Bran witnessing a significant fight from the days of yore: young Robert Baratheon defeating Rhaegar Targaryen at The Battle Of The Trident, completing his Rebellion, claiming the Iron Throne, and unknowingly sealing Jon Snow’s fate.
As revealed in season 6, Jon is secretly the child of Rhaegar and Lyanna Stark. Ned Stark took the orphan under his wing – and created the lie that Jon was his own bastard son – after both of his true parents died during Robert’s Rebellion. With the Targaryens ousted and House Baratheon on the throne, keeping Jon’s true parentage secret was Ned’s only way forward.
Seeing this final fight between Robert and Rhaegar wouldn’t just provide some amazing action, it would also show fans a pivotal piece of context, vital to Jon’s journey.
12 Davos Vs Melisandre
Much like the unfinished business between Jaime and Brienne, there’s a battle – physical or otherwise – that needs to happen here. Liam Cunningham’s Davos Seaworth (aka The Onion Knight) has major beef with Melisandre (aka The Red Woman).
(Fun thought: if these two had a ‘ship name, it could be "Red Onion.")
Towards the end of season 6, Davos and co. let Melisandre go; they sent her out into the snow, instead of punishing Melisandre for her kid-killing crimes. It’s blatantly obvious that we haven’t seen the last of The Red Woman, especially since she’s convinced that Jon is the hero from The Lord Of Light’s prophecies.
Perhaps, Melisandre will attempt to re-enter the North, using all of her magical powers – and ancient wisdom – to try and team up with Jon again. Davos wouldn’t have any of this, of course. However, would he be able to kill Melisandre?
11 Dany Vs Sons Of The Harpy
In a dramatic season 6 arc, the Sons Of The Harpy rose up to rebel against Dany’s rule in Meereen. It took an appearance from Drogon and the Dothraki to bring the uprising to an end. However, to be honest, this conflict doesn’t feel like it’s fully finished.
Daenerys may be on her way to Westeros on a nice big boat, but she remains the de facto leader of Meereen and all the other places she’s conquered so far. There is bound to be some unrest in the places she’s stormed through and promptly abandoned, making a resurgence of the Sons Of The Harpy seem pretty much inevitable.
It remains to be seen how exactly Dany’s former conquests will come back to haunt her. Will the Sons Of The Harpy wreak havoc in Meereen, or follow Dany to Westeros and attack her there? Maybe their strategy to oust her will include a bit of both.
10 Cersei Vs Jaime
Since their infamous sex scene in the first ever episode of Game Of Thrones, Cersei and Jaime have been on vastly different paths. By travelling the land with Brienne and making friends with Bronn, Jaime has undertaken a sort of redemption arc. Whereas, Cersei, um... hasn’t.
Jaime returned to King’s Landing at the end of season 6, giving Cersei – who’s now blown up her enemies, induced her son’s suicide, and installed herself on the Iron Throne – an ambiguous look. Can Jaime still love this woman? Can he stay by her side at all?
Probably not, to be honest. Jaime has fragments of a kind heart - lest we forget that he helped Tyrion escape certain death, a few seasons back – and it would be out of character for him to stay in a villain/glorified henchman role forever.
Jaime has form in killing mad monarchs, of course, but will he have the guts to stab his own sister/lover? Or will his rebellion against her be a more subtle one, behind the scenes? As ever, only time will tell.
9 Arya Vs Beric & Thoros & Melisandre
Arya Stark’s death list is still of paramount importance to her, as the dramatic Walder Frey pie scene proved at the end of season 6. Arya has struck a few names off it already, but there are a few left to tackle, three of which can be grouped together under the title "Lord Of Light fanatics."
Arya has had it in for Melisandre, Thoros Of Myr, and Richard Dormer’s Beric Dondarrion for years. They all earned a place on her hate list back when the young Stark was hanging around with Joe Dempsie’s Gendry. Thoros and Beric sold Gendry to Melisandre, who took him away – never to be seen by Arya again – for her own nefarious purposes.
Using her new Many-Faced God skill-set, Arya will surely come up with a sneaky way to try and stick this trifecta with the pointy end. However, could Gendry’s much-hyped return to the show give her a reason to ditch the list and focus on the Iron Throne? There are so many possibilities.
8 Sansa Vs Littlefinger
Another conflict that’s been brewing for a while is the one betwixt Sophie Turner’s Sansa Stark and Aiden Gillen’s Petyr Baelish (aka Littlefinger). The latter has been manipulating the former for years, playing towards his ultimate endgame of sitting on the Iron Throne (or as near to it as possible).
Now that Jon is back in the picture, Littlefinger is bound to be worried. He doesn’t want Jon to be king, does he? He wants that Throne for himself or-- at a push-- Sansa. To that end, it seems plausible that Littlefinger will try to turn Sansa against Jon, to try and strengthen his own position by taking the bastard out of the equation.
Blood bonds are hard to break, however, and it seems likely that Littlefinger will only succeed in turning all of the Starks against him. They may need his soldiers at the moment, but before long House Stark will be in a strong enough position to cast out this manipulator.
He isn't exactly someone you want to be on the wrong side of, though, so the fight that follows could be a particularly sneaky and sinister one.
7 Vengeful Women Vs Cersei
Right now, Diana Rigg’s Olenna Tyrell has even more reason than most to hate Cersei Lannister. She lost her son (Roger Ashton-Griffiths’ Mace), her grandson (Finn Jones’ Loras) and her granddaughter (Natalie Dormer’s Margaery) to Cersei’s explosive power-play at the end of last season.
Indira Varma’s Ellaria Sand, of Dorne, is in a similar situation. She saw her husband's (Pedro Pascal’s Oberyn) skull caved in during another of Cersei’s violent spectacles-- the unforgettable trial by combat against The Mountain.
These women have formed an alliance now, and pledged their allegiance to Daenerys. Their soldiers will fight alongside the Mother Of Dragons, but it would be wise to expect a big moment or two for Olenna and Ellaria themselves: their vengeance against Cersei is bound to manifest in a memorable way, be it through an actual physical attack or a slice of sneaky tactics.
One thing’s for sure: a battle of words between these verbally-venomous women would be a sight to behold. Let’s hope that the actual battle can match up.
6 Arya Vs The Hound
Rory McCann’s Sandor Clegane (aka The Hound) has been on Arya’s death list for a while, after getting on the wrong side of the tiny warrior by killing her butcher’s boy pal. However, since then, their relationship has grown more complicated – in season 6, Arya even mentioned that she might not want The Hound dead anymore.
Still, with two seasons to go – and the odds significantly evened thanks to Arya’s training and skills – fans would love to see these two duking it out. Since The Hound is currently hanging out with Thoros and Beric, it shouldn’t be too long before Arya tracks him down.
Where will the story go from there? It’s anyone’s guess at the moment, but it seems plausible that Arya and The Hound could end up on the same side when push comes to shove. Neither are lovers of the Lannisters nor the undead, after all.
5 Starks & Targaryens Vs Cersei
The "final" battle – among mortal men, at least – will be the one between the Starks, Daenerys, and the Lannisters. It seems safe to assume that Dany and Jon will meet up soon and form a firm friendship, uniting all the Houses that follow them into one massive Lannister-loathing army.
The way things are looking at the moment, it will be Cersei, the King’s Guard, and Euron’s ships against Dany, three dragons, a Dothraki horde, the Starks, the Houses of the North (including Bear Island), The Knights Of The Vale, Yara’s ships, and the combined forces of the Tyrells and the Martells. This doesn’t sound like a particularly fair fight, does it?
Footage from the first proper trailer teases an all-out assault on the Lannister stronghold of Casterly Rock, which is bound to turn into a bloodbath. Cersei may need to get her Wildfire out to even the odds.
4 The Mountain Vs The Hound
Cleganebowl-- behold, the fight all fans have been waiting for. Sandor Clegane (The Hound) and his brother Gregor (The Mountain, played by Hafþór Júlíus Björnsson) had a brief scuffle back in season 1, but it’s about time they had a proper no-holds-barred bust-up.
One rumour suggests that this will play out as another iconic trial by combat sequence, with the newly-zombified Mountain fighting for Cersei and The Hound fighting for-- um-- someone else.
Might Cersei demand a trial by combat after she’s defeated on the field of war and forced to fess up to her crimes?
Failing that, if The Hound ends up teaming with Arya and therefore the Starks, he could feasibly reunite with his brother on the battlefield. Either way, it should be an epic showdown.
3 Tyrion Vs Cersei
“The last ones who count.” That’s how Cersei described her and Jaime’s status as Lannisters in the trailer for season 7, with the camera cutting quickly to a lonely shot of Tyrion on a hill.
The point was clear: Peter Dinklage’s iconic imp is well and truly out of House Lannister. It’s no surprise that, after killing the patriarch of the family, Tyrion isn’t about to be welcomed back with open arms.
This rift between Tyrion and his siblings has to come to a head at some point. Before season 8 wraps up the show for good, there has to be a showdown between Tyrion and Cersei – possibly with Jaime caught in the middle.
Again, this doesn’t necessarily have to be a fistfight. Tyrion could use his tactical nous to outsmart his sister and win the day, or he could whip out a crossbow again and make a big bloody mess. Whatever happens, hopefully Tyrion will come out on top.
2 White Walkers Vs Everyone
Of course, all the fighting between/within families is only the warm-up act. The main event will be the long-anticipated battle between all of Westeros and an ever-growing army of undead White Walkers. It remains to be seen if this will occur in season 7 or season 8, or straddle the two.
Whenever it ends up happening, it’s bound to be massive. Whichever houses remain standing, they’ll have their work cut out to overthrow an onslaught of icy zombies. There isn’t that much Dragonglass or Valyrian steel going around, after all, and the dragons can only be in so many places at once.
The unlikely key to winning this battle could be John Bradley-West’s Samwell Tarly. Not only has he already killed a White Walker, but he’s also positioned himself within the biggest library in Westeros. Does one of those dusty old books hold a solution?
1 Jon & Bran Vs The Night King
In the end, surely, it will have to be the Starks that stop Richard Brake’s frightening Night King. They’ve been talking about the coming winter for years, and now they need to stand up and deal with the consequences.
Bran has spent the last few seasons swotting up on the icy overlord of the undead horde, on his vision quest thingies, and Jon has seen first hand what The Night King is capable of-- he defended The Wall, he fought at Hardhome, and he’s one of the few people to kill a Walker.
Perhaps taking out the Night King is the key to stop the rest of the White Walkers. Maybe it’s not about defeating them all, but killing their leader. If this is the case, maybe the battle will end with Dany using a dragon to get Jon close enough to the Night King to land the fatal blow.
That’s just rampant speculation... but wouldn’t it be amazing?
Are there any other final fights that you think need to be resolved in Game of Thrones? Let us know in the comments!